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Featured Is God really love......(1 John 4:8) ??

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Light of the East, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    Is God really love?

    Let's start out by defining love. Let's use first the common and accepted definition: love is seeking to do that for another being which is in their best interests. Love always does that which is best for the other person.

    Now let's take the Bible definition:

    1Co 13:4 The love is long-suffering, it is kind, the love doth not envy, the love doth not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, 5 doth not act unseemly, doth not seek its own things, is not provoked, doth not impute evil, 6 rejoiceth not over the unrighteousness, and rejoiceth with the truth;
    7 all things it beareth, all it believeth, all it hopeth, all it endureth. 8 The love doth never fail;

    And finally, the outworking of such love as instructed by Jesus:

    Mat 5:43 Ye heard that it was said: Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and shalt hate thine enemy; 44 but I -- I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those cursing you, do good to those hating you, and pray for those accusing you falsely, and persecuting you, 45 that ye may be sons of your Father in the heavens, because His sun He doth cause to rise on evil and good, and He doth send rain on righteous and unrighteous. 46 'For, if ye may love those loving you, what reward have ye? do not also the tax-gatherers the same? 47 and if ye may salute your brethren only, what do ye abundant? do not also the tax-gatherers so? 48 ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.

    So according to Jesus, to do good to those who are your enemies makes us perfect like our Father in heaven.

    But according to the concept of eternal conscious torment, God does not forgive His enemies, does not do good to them, but instead gets revenge on them in the most excruciating manner possible.

    Which is love: chastising a wayward and rebellious child so that it may be healed of its rebellion, or putting that child's hand on a hot stove and leaving it there for the rest of its life?

    Which is love: creating sentient beings that will be tortured forever so that you can receive glory from their suffering, or having a plan to rescue them from themselves after a period of chastening?

    Which is love: destroying sin forever so that it no longer can desecrate what you have created, or keeping it alive in sentient beings to torment them forever and ever because you will neither annihilate nor cure them?

    Which is love: torturing sentient beings forever in a punishment that accomplishes absolutely nothing and in its endlessness never ceases, or chastising them in fire which will burn away their evil and bring them to the holiness which was the original plan for all mankind?

    How is it that we can speak of "God is love" out of one side of our mouths and then attribute to Him things that if you or I were to do them, we would be labeled as psychotics and madmen? Has Christianity lost site of what love really is and does? Or is God only love because you get to go to heaven, but if the rest of the world doesn't ......meeeeaaaah, so what?

    And how is that last attitude really love - the desiring of the best for others - on your part?
     
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  2. maintenance man

    maintenance man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    God doesn't do any of the things you list - He allows everyone to make a choice.

    Yes God is love.

    A God of love will one day destroy evil.
     
  3. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Vengeance from God is not in the sense of uncontrolled vindictiveness, but in the sense of just retribution by the eternal Judge for trespasses against His law.
     
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  4. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Did not the Father send the Son?
     
  5. 1213

    1213 Disciple of Jesus

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    Now the problem really is, do you know really well what is good and what God will really do. Bible tells that people are destroyed in hell.

    And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
    Matt. 10:28

    These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
    Mat. 25:46

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Romans 6:23

    I think it is not bad, if evil/unrighteous people don’t get eternal life. I think it would be bad to let unrighteous to have eternal life, because they would make it eternal suffering for all. And it would be also bad to force unrighteous people to live eternally so that they can’t do what they want (evil). So, logically, destruction is the best thing for evil people. However, if I am wrong and all live eternally, unrighteous in hell and righteous in heaven, I think hell would be suffering because of the unrighteous people who want and do all kind of evil things.
     
  6. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    Thank you for answering, however, you entirely miss the point. Chastisement is not the same as vengeance, and in the Orthodox faith, we do not believe that God has retribution as you describe. So let's speak about the word you used - "just" - as in justice.

    How is it just to send a baby to everlasting torment, as the hero of Catholicism, Augustine, suggested, when the child has done NOTHING? How is it just to eternally punish someone for a sin committed in time and which was A.) short in duration & B.) created no lasting ill effects, such as having a wrong opinion of God (false worship or Protestantism, as the RC Church has taught).
     
  7. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    That does not connect the two issues. Back to the original question. According to the eschatology of Western theologians, God sends the wicked into eternal hell. Therefore, God allows, permits, or has created hell to be permanent.

    How is that condign with love?
     
  8. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    Did you read what I wrote? Apparently not, or you at least didn't give it some real thought.

    Your post appears to have touches of the Orthodox eschatology in it. In Orthodoxy, those who love wickedness and have not the love of Christ living in them will find the presence of God to be torment. But let's get back to the question - which you did not answer - is it love to allow this condition to go on forever?

    As for annihilating the wicked - God is Father. Do fathers normally kill their children if the child is sick? Or do they take steps to get the proper medicine and heal the child.?

    Those who advocate for eternal conscious torment paint a picture of God who is not love, does not do that which is best for the sick child, but instead torments and tortures the child forever because it was bad.

    Those who advocate for annihilation of the child paint an equally worse picture of God, one that is not determined to cure the sick child, but to get revenge and that alone.
     
  9. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Sin by definition is the transgression of the Law. God will judge Law breakers.

    But He provided this wonderful gift for all Who believe and they won’t perish. See John 3.
     
  10. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    It has EVERYTHING to do with Jesus.
     
  11. D.A. Wright

    D.A. Wright Unworthy Recipient Of Unfathomable Love Supporter

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    God Is Love. Christians need not have any doubts about this. I know God. Or, at least, I am following on to know the Lord (Hosea 6:3). If that seems arrogant or boastful, please keep in mind that this is what we are, by implication of Christ's recorded prayer in John 17 (especially John 17:3), urged to seek after. Whatever mistakes I make: whatever shame I may bring to the Lord at times, I cannot give up or abandon my faith or the profession thereof (Proverbs 24:16). I simply can't. Where else shall I go? (John 6:67-68) John 17 is actually a good place to start when looking for God's love, since it is on full display there (John 17:24, in declaration).

    Folks simply do not take the Bible seriously enough (and I'm no exception). When God, through the beloved disciple, says "God is love," it is not as though a poor, wretched human being was saying it. When God speaks, His Word goes out on a mission, and it does come back until it has accomplished that mission (Isaiah 55:11). So it is His will that we understand what it means that His very essence (a word I use with some reservation, being mindful that I am treading on Holy ground) is literally synonymous with the construct of charity itemized in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. With the Spirit being fully part of the Godhead, His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) would surely qualify, as well, as characteristics worthy of helping us to understand this subject.

    Another fact worth considering is: Was God love before He created any sentient beings capable of reciprocating His love? Well, for those of us who identify as trinitarian Christians the answer is fairly obvious (again, John 17:24). Not to mention the tenet of His unchanging nature (Malachi 3:6). This pre-creative situation has implications, the surface of which has barely been scratched, and will prove to be the death knell of many a heresy as well as rationalization of popular sins. The relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit is the very pattern and example for self-sacrificing, other-centered love.

    Finally, much of the difficulty in understanding God as love seems to stem from the reconciliation of His mercy and justice, and the disposition of sin and unrepentants, in specific, pervades the discussion here, as is usual.

    The good news (from the Specialist of it, Himself) is that no special effort need be exerted in finding the answer to the problem. But it does require the willingness of the seeker to be prepared to lay down long-held, popular beliefs. This is very hard for many people, and the need for kindness and sympathy is not lost on me.

    Presenting the answer is not a specialty of mine. It should be, but it just isn't. The best answer I can give from the heart to the question:

    "How can a God Who declares Himself to be synonymous with love torture even a man who might have had just short of 1000 years to perpetrate the worst kinds of mischief for countless millions upon billions of years in inexpressible agony?" is:

    He wouldn't. And He will not.

     
  12. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    Okay. So I agree with you.

    Does Jesus fail at the Cross? Do most (95% according to some RC visionaries) of mankind go to hell and stay there forever? Did Jesus die for all mankind or just "the elect" as the Calvinists say? Is the Cross a victory or a defeat for God?

    Referencing Jesus, I think these are good questions to ponder.
     
  13. D.A. Wright

    D.A. Wright Unworthy Recipient Of Unfathomable Love Supporter

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    Were it not for the Sacrifice at Calvary, every human being would draw his last breath amidst his first sin. Christians may and do take that to the bank, Friend.
    I think not.
     
  14. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Jesus said He lays down His life for the sheep.
     
  15. Light of the East

    Light of the East Orthodox Inquirer Supporter

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    Well, places in Scripture also say that He died for the world, for all, and for everyone. I'd like to think that those words mean exactly what they say and that His love is not truncated to just a few.
     
  16. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    Yes God is Truth.

    Jesus also said:

    John 3: NASB

    16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.21“But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”


    And John the Baptist said:

    31“He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.32“What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33“He who has received His testimony has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34“For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. 35“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 36“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
     
  17. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    And the Apostle Paul when speaking of people complaining about God’s Justice said:

    Romans 9: NASB

    14What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”18So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

    19You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” 20On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?21Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? 23And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, 24even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
     
  18. redleghunter

    redleghunter Thank You Jesus! Supporter

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    And

    25As He says also in Hosea,
    “I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’
    AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, ‘BELOVED.’”

    26“AND IT SHALL BE THAT IN THE PLACE WHERE IT WAS SAID TO THEM, ‘YOU ARE NOT MY PEOPLE,’
    THERE THEY SHALL BE CALLED SONS OF THE LIVINGGOD.”

    27Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;28FOR THE LORD WILL EXECUTE HIS WORD ON THE EARTH, THOROUGHLY AND QUICKLY.”

    29And just as Isaiah foretold,
    “UNLESS THE LORD OF SABAOTH HAD LEFT TO US A POSTERITY,
    WE WOULD HAVE BECOME LIKE SODOM, AND WOULD HAVE RESEMBLED GOMORRAH.”

    30What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith;31but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law.32Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,

    33just as it is written,
    “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE,
    AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BEDISAPPOINTED.”
     
  19. FineLinen

    FineLinen Senior Veteran Supporter

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    The Hell of Heaven -Jan Antonsson-

    I woke abruptly from an alcohol-induced haze; liquid courage enough to ram my car into a freeway abutment. Multi-hued flames surrounded me, invaded me, but there was no pain. Ribbons of color danced around and in me. Suspended in, buoyed by flame, I attempted a step. Like walking on a cushion of air, there was no sense of movement. Profound beauty mingled with terror and anguish. I wondered at the absence of demons and the screams of tormented souls. “No one will believe me,” I thought, trying to believe it myself.

    “Welcome, Driscoll,” a voice whispered. “We’ve been waiting for you. Your place is prepared.”

    Terrified, I cried out, “Where am I, who are you?”

    “In hell, of course.” I am the hell which you so dreaded. How does it feel?”

    “Um, well, it isn’t exactly as I’d imagined it. This isn’t what the preacher described last Sunday.”

    “No, it’s not. He is ignorant and blind. He lied to you, though he doesn’t really know it. He only echoed his professors in seminary.”

    If this is hell, are you the devil?

    As beautiful as a well-tuned bell, a deep, joyful chuckle vibrated within and around me.

    “No, I’m afraid you have the wrong guy, my friend.”

    “Who then?”

    “Do you remember the text your pastor harped on for so long last Sunday?”

    “You mean the ‘lake of fire’ text?”

    “The very one. That lake is not a place. It is Me.”

    “Not sure I’m following you.”

    “I AM the One you call God. I am the Creator and the Destroyer of all that is unhealthy and destructive within you. Hell is coming home to Me, to dwell in the fire that is Me, the all-consuming fire.”

    I shuddered, terrified suddenly of this Voice. Would hell be less terrifying?

    “Are you sending me to hell?”

    “Well, my beloved friend, you are in hell already. Don’t you see the fire?”

    “Well, yes, but it doesn’t hurt.”

    Again, His chuckle reverberated within me.

    “Most get it wrong, I’m afraid. They mean well, but they interpret the writings of the prophets and the words of my Son in a way that gives them power over others. Think of it this way. Didn’t the terror of hell keep you on the straight and narrow for a long time?”

    “Yes.”

    “Priests and preachers, popes and prelates all discovered that their flocks were more compliant when they believed that their particular church was the only path to Me. If they kept them terrified of an eternal torment, they sinned less and kept the church coffers full.”

    “So, no hell?”

    “Not exactly. Remember the Lake of Fire. But there is definitely no eternal hell…”

    “You mean I won’t burn forever?”

    “Let me ask you a question. Did the police in Portland where you lived shoot people if they were five miles an hour over the speed limit?”

    “No.”

    “Why then would I send a beloved child of mine to suffer in torment for eternity for a sin? Your courts tried to keep the punishment somewhat in balance with the crime, right?”

    “Yes, I suppose so, though many times justice depended on the color of skin or the wealth of the person accused.”

    “Yes, yes, but I’m not talking about that kind of inequality. I’m talking about justice based on the balance of crime and punishment.”

    “You mean the punishment fits the crime?”

    “Exactly. You were gay, right?”

    “Yes.”

    “So, if homosexuality is a missing of the mark, what you call a sin, for each homosexual act or thought, how long should I punish you to make justice balance?”

    “I have no idea.”

    “Come on, give me a number—five years, 50, 50,000, 50 million?”

    “Well, to make it interesting, let’s say 50 million.”

    “Fair enough. So let’s say there are 10,000 events for which I punish you for 50 million times each. That totals 500 billion years. Is that eternity?”

    “Not even close.”

    “So we can say that all of your sins of that kind don’t total eternity. How about if we throw in all the rest of your sins?”

    “I don’t know how many that would be.”

    “Would it equal eternity, if we could put a number to it?”

    “Well, probably not…no, it couldn’t, because eternity is infinite and my sins are not.”

    “Exactly!” I heard the smile in His voice. “Now let’s talk about purpose. Why would I want to punish you at all?”

    “Well, You’re a holy and just God. You have to punish those who disobey you?”

    “That makes me so sad. If one of your children wrote on the wall with a crayon, would you hold her hand to the burner of the stove?”

    “No, of course not! I’d be a monster.”

    “Why would you think you’re better than Me?”

    I was thunderstruck. Why indeed? How could I, a mere mortal think I was more compassionate than the God of love? I fell on my face. “Do to me according to Your will and Your goodness,” I wept. My body trembled with heart-wrenching sobs as the realization of His love surged over and within me. I drowned in His love, knew His infinite compassion and mercy. It felt as if I were disintegrating into my component atoms, dissolving in the chrysalis of Him, being reorganized from a crawling caterpillar into a creature designed to fly. Oddly, there was no pain, only joy and blessed relief. The fire didn’t fade, but now my spirit danced in harmony with it. I had no sense of passing time. Finally, I felt arms around me, folding me against a mighty chest. I heard His heartbeat, felt His warmth.

    “Welcome home, my beloved son. I’ve longed for this moment from all eternity past. It’s so good to have you here.”

    Then I was at peace. I am still at peace, content to dwell within His everlasting arms. He is that for which I searched, longed for in all the twinings of body that never satisfied. As the poet said,

    Naught satisfies thee,

    Which satisfies not Me.
     
  20. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Death is the penalty for sin. Universalism doesn't save anyone from death.
     
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