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Offline Reformer

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Endless Torture - Part III
« on: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 11:52:18 »
REFORMATION RUMBLINGS
BUFF SCOTT, JR.
_______________________________
Endless Torture

[PART III - FINALE]

    As this will be my final column on the topic of never-ending torture, I’ll begin by quoting from one of my readers who uses a fictitious name.

    “It is strange how we can accept [the view] that a person who receives Christ will live in Heaven forever and ever, but cannot accept [the view] that a person can die and be tormented forever and ever.”

    This reader, although unknowingly, has touched upon the taproot of the controversy, for her position is that a believer will consciously live in heaven endlessly, while also believing the ungodly will consciously live endlessly in a state of torment [torture]. Both will be alive throughout eternity, but under dissimilar circumstances. Being separated from God and His glory is the ultimate endless punishment. It is irreversible—eternal, everlasting.
 
     To translate this reader’s position into a point of fact, she attributes immortality to the ungodly. This postulation cannot be biblically authenticated. Only God has immortality. “...who alone has immortality” [I Tim. 6:16]. A future immortality, however, is ascribed to believers [Rom. 2:7, 1 Cor. 15:54, plus other passages].
 
    Allow me to emphasize this: Immortality is not appropriated to the ungodly, but to believers only. Yet if the ungodly are exposed to endless conscious torment they, too, will have immortality—the very opposite of what heaven’s testimony affirms. Currently, while in the flesh, believers have immortality but in prospect or promise only. Unbelievers are not endowed with immorality in any sense, for their very existence will be extinguished.
 
    I have carefully checked the scriptures on “immortal” and “immortality.” Of the seven places the terms are used, not one is applied to the ungodly.  Yet if the ungodly suffer an endless conscious separation from the glory of God, they have immortality—a view the scriptures do not support.

    Let me reiterate. Satan is real. Hell is real. Eternal or everlasting punishment is real. But not endless torture [torment]. God is a God of mercy and compassion. He is not a Master Torturer. Nothing could be more cruel and brutal than exposing someone to excruciating torture forever.

   “They [the ungodly] will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might” (2 Thess 1:9).

    The ungodly deserve to be punished for rejecting their Creator. And they will be. But once justice has been served, out of mercy the punishment must end. If I understand the scriptures correctly, eternal destruction should be taken at face value, which, in the long-run, will be annihilation—not uninterrupted torture (torment).

    To put it in another light, if you and I had the power to create a human life and that life rebelled against us, could we sentence him to an eternity of never-ending torment—without parole? I do not doubt but that you and I would choose mercy over justice. God’s mercy is far deeper, wider, and higher than ours will ever be.
   
    One reader chastised me “for coming over as someone who knows all about God’s nature.” I explained to him that the divine testimony reveals a great lot about our God’s nature and that two of His characteristics are mercy and compassion.

    I like the way the apostle Paul phrased it when he addressed the disobedience of Jews and Gentiles. He wrote, “For God has consigned all to disobedience, that He may have mercy on all” (Rom.11:32). In another letter, Paul describes God as being “rich in mercy” (Eph. 2:4). And James says that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

    But whichever way it goes in the end, our Lord is in control and He will do as He wishes. He is the potter, we are the clay. “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God?” (Rom. 9:20).
_____

    ENDNOTE— I have before me numerous passages of scripture that pertain to the “destruction” of the ungodly. I researched the Greek for the central meaning of the term. The bedrock essence is “utter destruction” or “absolute perishing.” It is not a figurative term, nor is it employed symbolically. I leave the consensus on the laps of my readers.—Buff.
_____

    EXCERPT #3 FROM MY BOOK— Of interest is that the wise men who were led by God’s star to see the child Jesus “bowed down and worshipped Him.” If God intended that Mary be venerated, why didn’t the wise men bow down and worship them instead of Him? Why was Mary not bowed down to? Either the biblical testimony is wrong and the Catholic Hierarchy right, or the Catholic Hierarchy is wrong and the biblical evidence right. It cannot be both ways.

    For one or more free copies of this book, “The Son Of Perdition,” postage included, send me your Postal Address.—Buff.
   
« Last Edit: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 12:21:20 by Reformer »

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Endless Torture - Part III
« on: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 11:52:18 »

Offline soterion

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #1 on: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 15:13:36 »
Reformer,

I don't have a lot of disagreement with you, but I do agree with the idea that the condemned will not endure whatever punishment as immortal beings.

What I do disagree with is some of the approaches used to arrive at that conclusion. Having said that, I know that what eventually convinced me may be viewed as insufficient or in some other way lacking. I had been in the middle of the fence on this issue for some time and now I realize what you are contending for here is correct.

My main two disagreements are the emotive arguments you used and the word studies.

Quote
The controversy arises when we teach that God operates a torture chamber and those inside it will never be relieved of their excruciating misery. My God’s nature is not one of a torturer.

There were a number of statements like this. I could ask, "Who can measure the extent of God’s wrath and tell Him when enough is enough? Who am I to say that He wouldn't or couldn't do that, in order for His justice to be fulfilled?"

I could argue that annihilation is not near terrifying enough than is endless suffering. Some people may even prefer annihilation and keep their sinful life, but nobody would choose torment. But, that is just human reasoning, and that proves nothing.

Quote
My position, of course, is that the ungodly will experience a final, ceaseless existence. He inquired, “Why doesn’t the Bible say, ‘And the wicked will cease to exist, while the righteous will inherit eternal life?’ ”
 
    Well, it actually does, but not in those exact words. It is interesting that “destruction” and “perish” are never applied to the righteous. Their eternity will be endless life and eternal bliss. But not so with the wicked. They will suffer eternal destruction, or, as Jesus puts it in John 3:16, they will perish—that is, cease to exist.
 
    Such is the meaning of “perish.” The destruction of the ungodly will be eternal in that it will never be reversed or altered. Their eternal punishment will be the absence of life, away from the glory of God and the exquisite paradise He has prepared for the righteous.

Quote
I have before me numerous passages of scripture that pertain to the “destruction” of the ungodly. I researched the Greek for the central meaning of the term. The bedrock essence is “utter destruction” or “absolute perishing.” It is not a figurative term, nor is it employed symbolically. I leave the consensus on the laps of my readers.

I may be misunderstanding, but it seems like you are saying that these certain words that are translated as "destruction" and "perishing" always means "annihilation" or "ceasing to exist." If so, my response here will probably be regarded as nit-picky. ::smile::

John 17:12.
While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Luke 15:32.
But it was meet to make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

1 Corinthians 5:3-5.
For I verily, being absent in body but present in spirit, have already as though I were present judged him that hath so wrought this thing, in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Timothy 6:9.
But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition.

The Greek word for perished in John 17 and lost in Luke 15 is apollumi. It's the same word used in John 3:16 for perish and Matthew 10:28 for destroy.

The Greek word for destruction in 1 Corinthians 5 and 1 Timothy 6 is olethros. It's the same word used in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9 for destruction.

The quoted passages use these two words in a sense that does not mean annihilation and ceasing to exist. Judas is spoken of Jesus as having already perished, or lost. In Luke 15, that which is lost (perished) can be found or restored. In 1 Timothy 6, the drowning in destruction and perdition describes a present condition for such people.

Of course, the context of a passage should tell us what the meaning of a word should be, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that those words always mean ___________. Even in the Matthew and Thessalonian passages, it should take other scriptural supports, and not just word meanings, for us to understand the fate of the condemned.

It is these other supports that convinced me. Mainly, that all of God's previous judgments have always resulted in the annihilation of those who are irredeemable, such as Sodom & Gomorrah. Even in the gospels, the description of the fate of the wicked strongly suggests ashes and lack of existence, such as the burning of the chaff. When looking at all such examples across scripture, coupled with Jesus warning people about hell, I seriously doubt they pictured non-ending torment, even when looking at the Valley of Hinnom.

Regardless of what people believe about all of this, I think there are two things we can all agree on. 1) It should be feared and folks should be warned about it so as to not refuse God's call unto salvation, and 2) whatever hell turns out to be, it will satisfy God’s wrath on the ungodly and unbelieving. Point 1 - God is merciful; Point 2 - God is just.

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #1 on: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 15:13:36 »

Offline Reformer

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #2 on: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 20:24:00 »
soterion:

    You have expressed yourself quite well. Your sentiments are easy to grasp. Overall, we agree—with the exception of a  few incidental or  insignificant points. As to my “emotive arguments,” as you phrased it, you quoted me as...

    “The controversy arises when we teach that God operates a torture chamber and those inside it will never be relieved of their excruciating misery. My God’s nature is not one of a torturer.”

    Yes, when any of us teach—and at one time most of us did, and many still do—that the ungodly will be consciously tormented endlessly, such may very well be translated into how it is described above.

    It was not my intent to “measure the extent of God’s wrath,” whether high or low, but to strike at the core of what “endless torment” entails. I might have come over more pleasantly had I softened the statement, however.

    You added, “I may be misunderstanding, but it seems like you are saying that these certain words that are translated as ‘destruction’ and ‘perishing’ always means ‘annihilation’ or ‘ceasing to exist.’ ”

    As with a whole host of words, meanings often overlap. I remarked that when “destruction” is used in relation to the fate of the ungodly, the term can and most often does mean to “destroy completely.” One of the connotations of “annihilation” is to “destroy completely.” It also means “to exterminate,” “obliterate,” or “to lay waste.”

    However, I do very much understand, as you noted, that “destruction” in some biblical passages does not encompass annihilation or extermination. It depends a lot on the subject matter.

    Hey, please feel free to add other comments, if you wish. I’m open to additional light.

Buff
« Last Edit: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 20:26:48 by Reformer »

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #2 on: Sun Jun 03, 2018 - 20:24:00 »

Offline fish153

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #3 on: Mon Jun 04, 2018 - 16:15:34 »
Buff--

Thanks for the post with my statement in it below.  First, let me state that I am a male not a female----but that's OK, no problem. I believe
it is very important to quote what Jesus said long ago: "A little leaven leavens the whole loaf'.  If we "give in" on one doctrine it leaves
the door open to do the same with other difficult, yet important doctrines.

What you are doing Buff is appealing to mercy, and pointing out how compassionate God is---which is VERY true.  However, we cannot sacrifice
God's Justice when doing so.  "Oh God is too kind to ever throw anyone into hell"---we hear this quite often.  And you are using the same
logic which I pointed out in an earlier post.  I must point out that there is a HUGE difference between eternal TORMENT and eternal TORTURE.
Atheists and other accuse God of "torturing" souls in hell----not true.  Their "torment" is their own---it is an eternal torment based in the
knowledge that they COULD have been saved.  They are OUTSIDE when they could have been INSIDE---this is one of the greatest "torments"
in my opinion.

Buff----many people believe that when life ends they disappear into nothingness.  Your theology is actually pretty close to that belief. Of course, I believe you are stating
 a "judgment"would come first--but THEN they would be annihilated.  I would suppose the doctrine of annihilation was very comforting to Hitler, and Stalin and Chairman Mao----a brief time of torments, and then the bliss of nothingness.

Let's take two people as an example:   Fergie Hermann of Indiana--she never accepts Christ, but has a very kind heart--and the very worst thing she has ever done is kicked
a dog when she was 11 years old.  Heinrich Himmler of Germany--- in charge of the mass murder of millions of Jews--responsible for unimaginable misery to millions of
souls.  But, in the end, they will both be judged, and then ANNIHILATED.   Buff----when you think of God does that example seem fair?  You speak quite a lot about the mercy of
God towards the damned----but what about his justice towards the damned?   Will God really annihilate Fergie Hermann the same as he will annihilate Heinrich Himmler? I don't
believe so. Of course, I am using human logic (the same as you are) when saying that, but I do believe the death on the cross had ETERNAL ramifications for the souls involved---I don't
believe in the doctrine of Annihilation. The cross created a CHOICE of where you will spend eternity.

I noted that neither you nor Red made any comment on Revelation 20 which I mentioned.  The Beast and the False Prophet are thrown ALIVE into the Lake of Fire and are STILL THEREa thousand years later.  I have to disagree with you and Red vehemently on this issue.  DO NOT put a "little" leaven into Christian doctrine.  That is exactly what the
Jehovah's Witnesses did---and little by little they have denied Hell, The Deity of Christ, The Trinity, The cross (to them it's a 'torture stake') and the Holy Spirit as a person.  A little leaven
has leavend the whole lump.  Do not be guilty of that.
« Last Edit: Mon Jun 04, 2018 - 16:58:19 by fish153 »

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #3 on: Mon Jun 04, 2018 - 16:15:34 »
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Offline Reformer

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #4 on: Tue Jun 05, 2018 - 13:11:14 »

Fish153:

   We can go ‘round and ‘round with this until the “cows come home” and not settle the issue. I’ll make some comments on your most recent response and then close off my part of the dialogue.

1] You were not the writer I alluded to as “her.”

2] I have not, nor will not, “give in” [compromise] on any doctrine until I see further light.

3] No one is “sacrificing God’s justice.” However, I might add that if God meted out His justice, not one of us would be saved. That is why His mercy is so vital in each of our lives. For without his merciful nature compensating, we will have no hope. We must be as the humble Tax Collector was in Luke 18, “God be merciful unto me the sinner that I am.”

4] As to “torment” and “torture,” I have addressed the “difference” already. Please refer to my previous remarks. The two terms overlap in meaning.

5] No, I do not accept the ideology that when life ends for the ungodly “they disappear into nothingness.” Please read me more carefully. The ungodly will be consciously punished but not endlessly.

    As God says, “They will suffer eternal destruction.” Their destruction will be eternal—endless, without end, continual, perpetual, not conscious torment or torture. To torment or torture someone endlessly is the very opposite of mercy.

   Tell me, as I asked before: If you had the power to create a human life and that life rebelled against you, could you sentence him to an eternity of never-ending torment—without parole? I do not doubt but that you would choose mercy over justice. God’s mercy is far deeper, wider, and higher than ours will ever be.

6] As you attribute “eternal life” in torment to the ungodly, you are ascribing immortality to them. Hear me correctly: Only believers are promised immortality, never the ungodly. Read my last column again.

7] Your reference to Revelation 20 should be viewed, not literally, but symbolically—meaning simply the awfulness of being lost and separated from God eternally.

8] How could you read my previous remarks and conclude my conceptions are even close to resembling the Jehovah Witnesses cult? An insinuation like this does absolutely nothing to dislodge or disprove another’s viewpoint. It’s a traditional tactic lost decades ago. It proves nothing.

   ENDNOTE: I wish you the best as we reconsider our doctrinal postures. You may respond, if you wish. I will evaluate your response, but I have said what I have said so “let it be written!”

Buff

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Offline fish153

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #5 on: Tue Jun 05, 2018 - 14:52:11 »
1)Buff----forgive me if I confused posts----but if you'll take a look at my original post you'll see how I stated "it is strange...."  and then when you refer to "her" you use the
sentence "It is strange..."    It sounds a lot like my quote--but if not I accept what you say (see below for the references):

My original post-------

>>>>Buff-----

It's strange how we can accept that a 25 year old person who receives Christ will live in Heaven forever and ever.  But we cannot accept that a 25 year old person
could die and be in torment forever and ever
.<<<

Your post----

As this will be my final column on the topic of never-ending torture, I’ll begin by quoting from one of my readers who uses a fictitious name.:

    “It is strange how we can accept [the view] that a person who receives Christ will live in Heaven forever and ever, but cannot accept [the view] that a person can die and be tormented forever and ever.”

    This reader, although unknowingly, has touched upon the taproot of the controversy, for HER position..."  HER post sounds extremely similar to mine.  Forgive me for mixing up the two though,


2)Yes Buff---you have "given in" to your own logic and understanding.  Why would Jesus say that it is better to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye and enter into Heaven, than to keep them and enter hellfire?  It is an analogy he is using----but it is a very serious analogy---if the ungodly  are "annihilated" why would he state that?

3) God HAS meted out His justice Buff---by laying the sins of EVERY person on Jesus Christ. If we accept that sacrifice we can be saved---if we reject it we face hell.

4) I'll go back and read----but Scripture says nothing about God torturing people for eternity--the torment is their own,

5) "Geez guys I really shouldn't do this cause Dad's gonna give me a whippin'-----guess I can endure it though--this is just too good to pass up".  If unbelievers think they will face a judgment, but that it ends in annihilation, then the message of the Gospel is gone--some are brough to Christ through fear (see Jude)---and some through love.  If we attempt to soften that
fear it is to the detriment of those who might be saved.

6) I believe that the ungodly will live in eternal separation from God---I believe that is what the Bible teaches.

7) No---revelation 20 should be viewed Literally----in it's verses it makes sure you realize they were thrown ALIVE into the fire----that is for a reason.

8) I did not say you believe what the Jehovah's Witnesses believe----I said you have "opened the door" to other false teachings when you allow one in first.

God bless Buff!  All the best to you.

« Last Edit: Tue Jun 05, 2018 - 15:39:17 by fish153 »

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Re: Endless Torture - Part III
« Reply #5 on: Tue Jun 05, 2018 - 14:52:11 »