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JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Hell Fire?

I have recently begun reading A Case for Faith by Lee Strobel. This has been a very nice read but I wanted to share something that I read:

First off, if you have never read the book, you can find out more about it [url=http://www.amazon.com/Case-Faith-Journalist-Investigates-Christianity/dp/0310234697/sr=8-1/qid=1170261825/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-9177416-3927830?ie=UTF8&s=books]here.[/url]

One of the difficult questions is addressed is:
If God cares about the people he created, how could he consign so many of them to an eternity of torture in hell just because they didn't believe the right things about him?

I was very interested to hear how this objection would be answered but I was shocked at the response. Basically, A famous conservative theologian (I forget his name) answered the question by saying that all of the scripture that refers to flames, fire and burning in hell is figurative. He said that there is no fire, it is not hot and there is no physical torture at all. He said the pain of hell is being cast out of the presence of God. He said the ‘gnashing of teeth’ involves the mental and spiritual anguish of not knowing God. He said the fire language is to describe judgment.
He provided some of the following examples:
Revelation 20:14, “Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”
How can it be a literal lake of fire when Death and Hades are thrown into it?
Hebrews 12:29, “for our "God is a consuming fire."
God is not a literal fire, but He is the ultimate judge and giver of judgment

Note: I am not presenting this information to say that this is what I believe. I am presenting this information to gather wisdom from my fellow SI’ers.

What would you say to Lee Strobel?

 2007/1/31 11:56Profile
taco
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Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 211


 Re: Hell Fire?

I think your question is sort of assuming that physical fire would be worse than spiritual fire/torment. I don't see why this would have to be so.

Surely spiritual blessings are better than physical blessings?

 2007/1/31 12:49Profile
PreachParsly
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Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164
Arkansas

 Re:

There are literal torments that have physical as well as spiritual effects.


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Josh Parsley

 2007/1/31 13:19Profile
PreachParsly
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Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164
Arkansas

 Re:

Quote:
If God cares about the people he created, how could he consign so many of them to an eternity of torture in hell just because they didn't believe the right things about him?



If I were answering this question, the first think I would point out is that this is not quite right. Men don't merely "mis-believe." The reject the truth. Men supress the truth.

Sinners are not innocent little people that have just made a few mistakes. Men are rebels, unless they have been born again.

It's not that they didn't "just... believe the right things about him" it's they they didn't believe Him at all!

It's not a mere slip from the truth but a whole rejection of it.

There is no middle ground. You are either for him or against him.


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Josh Parsley

 2007/1/31 13:25Profile
JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re:

Quote:
I think your question is sort of assuming that physical fire would be worse than spiritual fire/torment. I don't see why this would have to be so.



So the physical fire is bad but it is not the worst part?

Please explain more.

 2007/1/31 13:46Profile
JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re:

(If I may play an advocate for the other side)

Quote:
It's not that they didn't "just... believe the right things about him" it's they they didn't believe Him at all!



He would probably respond by saying that still doesn't seem to warrant everlasting torment in a lake of fire.

Everlasting/Eternal torment in the fire of hell for not believing in Christ? Isn't annihilation more humane? It would seem He is picking on us puny humans.

What would you say to someone who is inquiring about Christ and seems to want to follow him but he honestly admits his hesitancy as follows:
"I want to be a Christian, but I don't think I can serve a God who burns people alive forever...and keeps them alive forever in that fire. Just seems to far-fetched and sadistic."

Note: Thank you to all who have responded. Your answers are very helpful.

 2007/1/31 13:48Profile
PreachParsly
Member



Joined: 2005/1/14
Posts: 2164
Arkansas

 Re: This is how I would answer

Quote:
Everlasting/Eternal torment in the fire of hell for not believing in Christ? Isn't annihilation more humane? It would seem He is picking on us puny humans.



If this was the reply then I would correct him and say, "Again, it's not merely that you didn't believe something or believed it wrong. It is your sin, your rejection of Him." Sin sends a person to hell. It's not just that you "forgot to believe" or "just missed it." God is holy and eternal. Your sin eternally offends him. Do you think you are more moral than the one who gave morality?

Quote:
He would probably respond by saying that still doesn't seem to warrant everlasting torment in a lake of fire.



It doesn't matter what he thinks. He isn't God's counselor. :-)

Quote:
What would you say to someone who is inquiring about Christ and seems to want to follow him but he honestly admits his hesitancy as follows:
"I want to be a Christian, but I don't think I can serve a God who burns people alive forever...and keeps them alive forever in that fire. Just seems to far-fetched and sadistic."



This person hasn't seen their sins for what they are. That isn't the reason for his hesitancy. I think it would be deeper than that. They aren't going to threaten God and Him change.


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Josh Parsley

 2007/1/31 16:51Profile
JaySaved
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Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re:

Thanks PreachParsly for your post. I agree with you.

What would you say about the notion that the 'fire' language used in describing hell is figurative and not literal.

See my first post if you need more information on this.

Thanks.

 2007/2/1 8:59Profile









 Re:

Jay...

I am not against teachers. Clearly scripture teaches that God has placed certain giftings among churches to accomplish His will, and one of those giftings is teaching.

And I am not against commentaries and lessons. I personally consult Matthew Henry's commentary almost daily.

But first and foremost, we need to study the Word. We need to let the Holy Spirit lead and guide us as we study the Word. Today so many Christians buy up every book they can find at the Christian bookstore, and spend more time reading those books than they do the Word.

The end result is usually erroneous beliefs. Paul commended the Bereans for examining everything he taught them... and comparing his teachings with scripture.

I think that's what you're doing by asking your questions. I think that's great. Just keep in mind that what you're reading is not inspired scripture. It's one man's opinion.

Here is my opinion... in the Bible (and of course, I use the KJV) hell is referred to often as a lake of fire, fire, etc. It's never referred to as anything else. I don't believe it's symbolic or anything else. I believe it's fire. There will be wailing and nashing of teeth, which is indicative of physical pain.

In His story about Lazarus and the rich man... clearly the rich man is in hell, in fire... he experienced physical thirst... asks for water to cool his tongue.

Why would Jesus give us this picture of hell if it wasn't true? Jesus is Truth, and there is no lie in Him. If He said it, I believe it.

Krispy

 2007/2/1 9:23
JaySaved
Member



Joined: 2005/7/11
Posts: 1131
Kentucky

 Re:

Krispy, I agree with you. You and I hold the same belief when it comes to hell being having literal flames.

What I do not understand however is Revelation 20:14,
“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.”
The question the book raised concerning the Bible is how can it be a literal lake of fire when Death and Hades are thrown into it? Should this not be symbolic of something else...say judgment.

Also, what about those people who claim that the story of the rich man and Lazarus was a parable. If this part of scripture is to be taken at it's most literal then would that mean it is possible for men/women in hell to communicate with Abraham?
I know that the common response to the story not being a parable is because someone' name was mentioned, but does the Bible say that people's names cannot be in parables?

Thanks for your input. These are just thoughts running through my head. Anyone else have thoughts on this as well?

 2007/2/1 9:32Profile





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