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Apr 30, 2010

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David

Great Post.... !

Dana Ames

God is for us. Check.
God wants to brings us from death to life. Check.
The rest of it I heard plenty of times as a Protestant. No matter how much I have heard people try to defend God, a god who would allow a place of eternal conscious torment became more and more unlike the God I saw revealed in/as Jesus. Couldn't go there anymore, even before EOrthodoxy came onto my radar screen.

One of the reasons I became Orthodox is because of O. teaching that there is no created "place" of eternal torment. When the Lord returns in judgment (to put everything to rights), his very presence and love will be what some have always wanted, and what others have always dreaded, but whatever fire there is is no more or less than the fire of God's love.

Whether that situation is eternal is another question, and there is not total agreement about that. Some of the greatest eastern theologians have said it's not.

Oh yes, on Pentecost Sunday in the Vespers service we pray some prayers of St Basil, to the Lord who has "also been pleased on this most perfect and saving Feast to receive suppliant prayers of atonement for those who are immured in Hell, granting us great hopes that repose and comfort will be sent down from you to the departed from the pains which hold them, hear us, lowly and wretched, who entreat you, and give rest to the souls of your servants who have fallen asleep before us in a place of light, a place of green pasture, a place of refreshment, from which all grief, sorrow and sighing have fled away, and establish their spirits in the tents of the Just and count them worthy of peace and repose. Because the dead will not praise you, O Lord, nor do those in Hell have the freedom to offer you thanksgiving, but we the living bless you and implore you and bring before you atoning prayers and sacrifices on behalf of their souls." Some of the greatest O. saints were said to have prayed for the restoration even of satan.

Dana

Michael W. Kruse

Interesting perspective, Dana. I think some of the references that are allegedly about Hell in the gospels are in fact talking about the calamity that will come in 70 C.E. However, there are passages in the N.T. that seem to Hell as a reality. For those who lean on Christ, judgment is a wonderful thing. It means being established as just even in spite of our sin. But it seems that the flip side of justice is that sin will be vanquished and those who chose to align themselves with sin will be granted their fate. What that fate is is not entirely clear to me but I do think Jesus, Paul, and the N.T. church had some sense that those who are ultimately successful in resisting God's love will exist and encounter a different fate.

How is that for imprecision? :-)

Michael W. Kruse

Also, an interesting post on Hell by Dan Kimball, "Teaching the Truth About Hell":

Dana Ames

I read DK's post too. I think he goes about it in a much more thorough way. I'm with you about the judgment that occurred in AD 70.

Hey, imprecision is ok. That sort of characterizes the EO view on this subject too, precisely because scripture is imprecise. I have no problem with judgment- we need Jesus to set things right, esp. relationships; my understanding is that such is the "mental framework" of Hebrew/Jewish understanding of judgment. Those who resist God's love will find themselves in a very small place, for sure. But I don't think it's the "traditional Hell", and I don't believe it's "place" that God created.

I may be wrong, but I think one of the important things we will be doing after the judgment will be ministering healing to those folks in the "small places" by loving them totally, unconditionally, completely, as we will finally be able to in union with God. After the last judgment, after the New Jerusalem comes down, the river flows from the throne to outside the city, and waters the trees that will be for the healing of the nations... What more healing could there be...? Anyhow, this intrigues me.

Blessed Sunday evening to the Kruse household.

Dana

Josh Rowley

He seems just to assume that hell is "a place." Is hell a place (in a literal sense), or is hell a state? I'm guessing that he has experienced hell (his claim to the contrary notwithstanding) at some point(s) in his life--I suspect we all do.

What's with the sitting on a stool thing?

Michael W. Kruse

Dana

Thanks. Helpful thoughts as always.

Josh

"What's with the sitting on a stool thing?"

I just figured it was one of those California things and you would know all about it . Maybe it was because delivering a message standing is hell. :-)

I hear what you are saying about "a place." As Dana says above, I think Scripture is very imprecise about the matter. Just as many Jews during Second Temple Judaism thought they had future realities all figured out (although the didn't agree with each other) I think we need to be cautious about being to precise about was only vaguely referenced in Scripture. I suspect God has all sorts of things in mind that have not been revealed to us just as Jesus mission was not fully foretold prior to its reality.

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