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Featured The Universalist Story is Not a Realistic Story (Annihilationism vs. Universalism)

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Mark Corbett, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    [​IMG]

    This opening post was originally the second post in a series on my blog which so far has only two posts. Nevertheless, I think this can be read on its own. If you're interested, the first part can be read here: What’s Wrong with the Universalist Story. In the first part, I showed that the Universalist story goes wrong because it has the wrong ultimate goal. In this post, I seek to explain how and why the Universalist story in not realistic.

    Redemption plays an important part in many of the stories we love. Take the Star Wars saga for example. Darth Vader is saved in the end and turns back to the light. That resonates with us because redemption is a part of the true story, God’s story, that we are all a part of. But what if not only Darth Vader, but the evil Emperor, and every storm trooper, and all the other bad guys, turned good at the end. The movie would have flopped! It’s not realistic.

    But is universal redemption not being realistic just our human opinion and feelings, or is there a Biblical basis for thinking that a story where every single person is redeemed in the end does not align with reality? The Bible confirms our intuition that not everyone will be redeemed.

    The Bible shows that some people will rebel against God no matter how much revelation He gives them.

    The Bible reveals that some will choose rebellion against God no matter what. Here are some examples:

    * In Moses’ day, the Israelites saw numerous amazing signs and wonders in Egypt and in the wilderness. Huge, public miracles were a regular part of their lives. But most of them still rebelled and died in the desert.

    * When Jesus walked the earth, He did many astounding miracles in public. Dead coming back to life, blind people seeing, people crippled from birth dancing, and more, were all seen by many. He preached and practiced love and mercy. Many repented and followed Him. But others, seeing the same miracles, plotted to kill Jesus.

    * In Revelation we read about the thousand year reign. However you interpret it, in the vision John sees the devil is locked away during this thousand years. Jesus reigns over the earth with justice and blessings for all. Yet, even after a thousand years of this glorious reign of Christ, huge numbers of people choose to rebel against Jesus when the thousand years are up.

    * More amazing still, Adam and Eve started off in a perfect paradise. The devil could lie to them, but there is no evidence he could harm them. They chose to listen to the serpent and disobey God.

    * Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the devil started off as a good angel living in a perfect Heaven in the bright light of God’s truth and love. Without any source of evil in his world, the devil chose to rebel. He took many of the angels with him.

    The point is simply this: in the Bible’s grand story, we see time and time again that some of God’s creatures will choose to rebel against Him if they are allowed to. This rebellion has brought massive suffering and loss to this current earth. And if these people were allowed to live in the New Earth, there is no reason to believe they would not ruin it as well.

    The Universalist responds to all this by suggesting that if they were given enough time, everyone would eventually repent and accept God’s grace. In this sense, Universalists are a bit like those who believe in unguided evolution. They hope that a lot of time can make something happen that usually doesn’t happen. But based on biblical principles, we can see why more time, even eternal time, will not help the unrighteous come to God. In fact, more time only makes things worse.

    The Bible teaches that over time sinners get worse, their minds become darker, and their hearts become harder.

    The Universalist imagines a situation where God patiently continues working with the unrighteous for however long it takes for them to be saved. Some Universalists specifically imagine this happening after the unrighteous have died and been consigned to the lake of fire. But does the Bible indicate that God will put up with and contend with the unrighteous for however long it takes? Actually, no.

    NIV Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years."

    Genesis chapter 5 reports people living for seven, eight, and even nine hundred years. God, in His perfect wisdom and righteousness, decided that was too long a time for Him to work with people, so He announced that our life spans would be reduced to a hundred and twenty years. This does not fit very well with the Universalist narrative.

    But why would God do that? I’m sure it’s not due to any defect or lack on God’s part. I think a more likely explanation is that waiting longer than about 120 years for someone to respond to God in the right way is not effective. God designed us so that the decisions we make not only change the environment around us, but also change our hearts and our minds. This good design enables us to learn and grow in Christ when we are following God. However, when people sin, their thinking becomes increasingly futile and their hearts become increasingly hard.

    Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
    22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools

    Those who do evil tend to get worse, not better, over time:

    NIV 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
    13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

    It may very well be that God limited his efforts to win people to 120 years because by that point (and for many people, sooner) they have become so foolish, hardened, and deceived that there is no hope of their freely choosing to love Him. They have become fools as described in Proverbs:

    NIV Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

    NIV Proverbs 13:19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.

    NIV Proverbs 27:22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.

    It’s not that God has stopped loving them. It’s just that they reach a point where they despise instruction, detest turning from evil, and resist all efforts to remove evil from them so strongly that they can no longer be saved. Of course, God could override their wills, but if He wants them to love Him freely then that option is off the table. The kindest thing He can do for them is to utterly destroy them. Allowing them to live on in misery and darkness is unthinkable.

    This would certainly explain why God assigned a mighty angel to guard the tree of life after expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Giving sinners many thousands of years of life, or worse, eternal life, would only result in greater misery.

    In this post I have tried to explain why the Universalist idea that everyone could be saved if they were given a combination of the right evidence and enough time is unrealistic. Being unrealistic is only one of many problems which plague the Universalist metanarrative. A more fundamental problem is that the unsaved cannot repent in Hell, because in Hell they perish (John 3:16), die (Romans 6:23), are destroyed in body and soul (Matthew 10:28), and are burned to ashes (2 Peter 2:6).
     
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  2. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    A good apologetic against Universalism.

    But I am wondering why you list "Annihilationism" as the other option; another choice that has no biblical support.
     
  3. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Dave, thanks for asking. My OP for this thread was actually prompted by comments in another thread where we are having a (mostly) friendly discussion between three views: eternal conscious torment, annihilationism, and universalism. If you're interested, you may read my OP in that thread, where I give some Biblical evidence in favor of annihilationism. That thread is found here:

    Conditional Immortality Supports Annihilationism, Refutes Eternal Conscious Torment and Universalism

    If you want to read that post and then discuss it either here or there, that's great. If you don't want to take time to read that post, but want to jump straight into a discussion here, that's also alright. Or perhaps none of the above. Let me know. Either way, God Bless You!
     
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  4. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

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    I read your OP over there. I do not have time to follow the discussion.

    I will give you this here and may (or may not) be back to discuss further.

    I think your understanding of "death" and "life" is not accurate from a biblical usage perspective. "Death" does not mean cessation of life or existence; it means to be cut off from God. That is why Adam and Eve died the very day they ate of the tree just as God told them; even though they lived for a few centuries more.

    Similarly, "life" means to be connected to God.
     
  5. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I anticipated this objection and actually wrote a fairly detailed explanation of the meaning of "death" and "second death" in the Bible, which you may find on my blog here.

    Below I'll quote a (slightly modified, mainly in terms of shortening) excerpt from that blog post. Keep in mind, that I was discussing not only "death", but the "second death", and so I emphasize that:

    Most Bible-believing Christians, including myself, believe that a part of us (usually called our “soul” or our “spirit”) consciously lives in God’s presence in between the time we die and the time when we are resurrected. Because we believe that a part of us lives on after death, there is a possibility that some might think that the word “death” in the Bible does not mean the complete loss of all ability to feel, think, or be aware of anything. However, when the Bible speaks of death prior to the final judgment it is focused on what happens to our bodies, as these two verses clearly demonstrate:

    James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

    Notice that the part of us that is dead when we die is “the body”. And of course, our dead body will no longer feel, think, or be aware of anything. Also notice that while separation of soul and body occurs at the time of death, death does not mean “separation”. Otherwise, the spirit would be as equally dead as the body! We see the same truth here:

    1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

    The part of Jesus that was put to death was his body, and in between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, the dead body of Jesus did not feel anything and was not aware of anything.

    After the final judgment, both the body and soul of the unsaved will experience the same fate (Matthew 10:28).

    Now let’s start to examine both the literal and metaphorical meanings of “death” in English, and then in the Bible, including the book of Revelation. After that, we will look specifically at the phrase “second death”.

    The Literal Meaning of “Death” in the Bible

    Like the word “mountain”, the word “death” is something that all people have a basic understanding of because all people have seen it. Even children have seen many dead animals, and most of us have seen the dead bodies of people. The basic meaning of death when speaking of any person is that all the essential biological activities of the person have permanently ceased (when we say “permanently”, we mean that short of God’s miraculous intervention they have ceased and there is no reasonable expectation that they could resume). These biological activities include breathing, circulating blood, and also include the ability to be conscious and feel and think. Everyone knows that if someone can still feel and think, they are not “literally dead”.

    This commonsense, literal meaning of death is also the literal meaning of death in the Bible. The context of the following verses makes clear that when they use the word “death” (the same word used in the phrase “the second death”) they are referring to literal, physical death:

    Matthew 10:21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

    John 11:13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

    Acts 13:28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed.

    Philippians 1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

    There are many more examples. Here is a partial list of more examples where “death” is used with its normal, literal meaning in the New Testament:

    Matthew 15:4, Matthew 20:18, Matthew 26:66, Luke 2:26, Luke 22:33, Luke 23:15, Luke 23:22, John 21:19, Acts 23:29, Acts 25:11, Acts 26:31, Acts 28:18, Romans 8:38, Philippians 2:27, Hebrews 7:23, Hebrews 9:16

    Just as in the rest of the New Testament, in the book of Revelation the word “death” is used with its basic, literal meaning:

    Revelation 2:10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown.

    Revelation 9:6 During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.

    Revelation 12:11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

    In the verses above, to define death as “eternal torment” would be absurd. Jesus is not asking the Christians in Smyrna to be faithful to Him even if they are eternally tormented, people will not seek eternal torment, and we do not overcome the devil by a willingness to accept eternal torment. The fact that the simple, plain, literal meaning of “death” is used commonly throughout the Bible including in Revelation should not be forgotten when we read about a “second death”.

    Metaphorical Meanings of Death in English and in the Bible

    I was once blessed with the opportunity to take a graduate level course on the science of defining words (if you do not think of that as a blessing, I understand, for not everyone shares my love of languages and meaning). The basic procedure to follow when seeking to find all the definitions a word has (both literal and metaphorical) is to look for sentences where the context of the sentence makes the meaning clear. This is what we just did for the literal meaning of death in the Bible.

    Like many words, the word “death” can be used with metaphorical meanings. Here are two examples you might find from everyday English:

    1. When Joey saw his brother had broken Mom’s favorite vase, he said, “You are so dead.”

    2. The car won’t start; the engine is dead.

    The first example combines hyperbole (it’s not likely the mom will literally kill her son) with a figure of speech called prolepsis. Prolepsis is used when we speak of something we expect to happen in the future as if it has already occurred. We use this figure of speech when we feel the future event is certain to occur. In the example above, Joey is certain that his brother will be punished even though it hasn’t happened yet.

    The second example involves a metaphorical use of the word “dead”. Metaphorical meanings are derived from the literal meaning. Literal “death” refers to the state of a formerly living being which is no longer functioning. For people and animals this means the dead person or animal is no longer breathing, its heart is no longer pumping, and it is no longer able to think or feel anything. The person is no longer capable of doing what people were intended to do. It is easy to see how this meaning can be extended metaphorically to an engine which in no longer able to run.

    We find the same types of metaphorical meanings for death in the Bible.

    With regard to prolepsis, the clearest example is probably found in the life of a king named Abimelech. The ESV provides a literal translation:

    ESV Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, "Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man's wife."

    The NIV translation makes it clear that this is an example of prolepsis:

    NIV Genesis 20:3 But God came to Abimelek in a dream one night and said to him, "You are as good as dead because of the woman you have taken; she is a married woman."

    The Bible also uses “death” with metaphorical meaning. Many Christians refer to this as “spiritual death”. The term “spiritual death” is not found in the Bible. It is alright to use this term as long as we are careful to let the Bible define “spiritual death”. We are not free to give it definitions not found in Scripture and then use those definitions when interpreting Scripture.

    “Spiritual death” refers to a situation where people who are clearly still physically living are called “dead”. Here is an example:

    Romans 8:6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
    7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
    8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

    When in verse 6 Paul writes that the mind controlled by the flesh is “death”, it seems very likely that he means the same thing that he means in verses 7 and 8 when he says that the same mind is unable to submit to God’s will and the person with that kind of mind is unable to please God. We can easily see how this meaning is derived from the literal meaning of “death”. Literal death occurs when a human body is no longer able to do what it was intended to do. So it makes sense that metaphorically death could refer to a human mind which is no longer able to do what God intended it to do. God intended human minds to understand and submit to His will and to please Him, but the minds of the unredeemed are unable to do what they were designed and intended to do, and in this way they are “dead”. We could also say that the unredeemed mind is “unresponsive” to God and God’s will in a way which is analogous to a dead body being unresponsive to the world around it.

    The metaphorical meaning of dead as “unresponsive” can also be used in a positive way. Consider this example (a different Greek word from the examples above is used for “dead” here (an adjective is used) but the range of both literal and metaphorical meanings overlaps with the Greek word for death used in the examples above):

    Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    Here, Paul is urging us to be unresponsive to temptation in the same way that a dead body is unresponsive to the world around it.

    We have identified two types of nonliteral meanings for “death” which are found in the Bible:

    1. “death” can be used proleptically to mean “good as dead”, “doomed to die”, to refer to someone who is not yet dead but is certain to be dead if their situation is not changed
    2. “death” can be used to refer to someone who is nonresponsive to influences either in a good way of being “dead” to temptation or in a bad way of being “dead” to the will of God.

    While the vast majority of uses of “death” in the Bible appear to me to be either literal or to fit well under one of the two metaphorical meanings above, there are probably a few relatively rare cases where it has another meaning. For instance, in Revelation 6:8 John sees “death” riding a horse. Here it is difficult to say what “death” means, and there are a number of guesses, but I don’t think anyone defines it as “eternal torment”! I think we have a good, if not exhaustive and detailed, list of definitions for “death” in the New Testament:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. vinsight4u

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    /nvm
     
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  7. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  8. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  9. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Yes, the end of Isaiah pictures the righteous viewing the defeated wicked and detesting them. But, keep in mind that when this happens the defeated wicked are no longer live people and they are not being tortured with worms and fire. The righteous see their dead bodies being disposed of by worms and fire. Which makes sense because all over the world and all throughout human history most dead bodies are either turned to dust by worms or turned to ashes by fire:

    NIV Isaiah 66:24 "And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind."
     
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  10. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The argument of the OP boils down to making God's omnipotence impotent, as if the Almighty has no more He can do for hardened sinners to bring about their salvation. His hands are tied. He who created billions of stars is helpless to do anything for the salvation of these lost souls.

    Scripture nowhere says anyone is beyond saving, not even Satan. Quite the contrary.

    As Jesus said, With man this is impossible, but with God all is possible.

    Is anything too difficult for Him Who created a universe that spans billions of light years in its length?

    Have people who have seen a few miracles of God and still rejected Him gone too far? Scripture speaks of Satanic forces performing amazing things as well. God hardened Pharoah's heart, if no one else. Jesus' disciple, doubting Thomas, had been with Him for years seeing His wondrous works & words of His resurrection, yet when told by other disciples the Lord is risen he refused to believe. Did his unbelief make him hardened beyond repair? No. Did Peter's denying the Lord 3 times after all Peter had been privileged to? No. How many people get to experience what Saul of Tarsus did, being made blind & healed & hearing Christ's voice from heaven? Or being made as an animal for 7 years as the King in Daniel, to humble him. Such things are just a drop in the ocean compared to what God omnipotent, who created the universe, is capable of doing to bring about the humbling of a person.
     
  11. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Genesis 6:3 was addressed in the other thread linked below:

    The same Hebrew word (OLAM, 5769) used for "forever" appears in Lam.3:31:

    For the Lord will not cast off forever, (Lam.3:31)
    32 For if He causes grief, Then He will have compassion According to His abundant lovingkindness. 33 For He does not afflict willingly Or grieve the sons of men.…

    Lamentations 3:31-33 as translated above appears to contradict your interpretation of Genesis 6:3.

    Alternate translations from yours, however, solve the puzzle:

    JPS Tanakh 1917
    And the LORD said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.'

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

    Young's Literal Translation
    And Jehovah saith, 'My Spirit doth not strive in man -- to the age; in their erring they are flesh:' and his days have been an hundred and twenty years.

    Concordant Literal Version
    And saying is Yahweh Elohim, "Not abide shall My spirit in the human for the eon, in that moreover, he is flesh. And come shall his days to be a hundred and twenty years.

    Rotherham Emphasized Bible
    And Yahweh said—My spirit shall not rule in man to times age—abiding, for that, he also, is flesh,—Yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

    Thus far i have addressed your remarks & annihilation theory proof texts in a number of posts, as follows, which have not been answered:

    Post # 215...page 11...re Matt.25:46 which is considered a stronghold for the anti-universalism positions, but i've shown is more favorable to universalism

    Post # 220...page 11...Phil.3:19 refuted as an alleged annihilation proof text

    Post # 221...page 12...apollumi comments of Mark Corbett refuted

    Post #225...page 12....a list of annihilation proof texts easily explained away

    Post #225...page 12....Dan. 12:2-3 shown as supporting Biblical universalism

    Additionally, i have addressed the following with no answers:

    Post #294...page 15...Rev. 20:10 shown to be harmonious with universalism

    Post #316...page 16...Universalism in 1 Cor.15:22-28 & the book of Revelation

    Conditional Immortality Supports Annihilationion, Refutes Eternal Conscious Torment and Universalism
     
  12. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    None of these verses mention "Hell". The first 2 i have addressed elsewhere & have yet to receive a response. As for 2 Pet.2:6 & Mt.10:28...

    "The use of "apollumi" is interesting; it's the same word Jesus uses to describe the people that he came to find and save. The same verb is used in the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15:8-10, which describes a woman who has "apollumi" a silver coin. After "losing" the coin, she "seeks diligently" until she finds it. After she finds it, she then "rejoices" with her friends. In the parable, the lost coin represents a sinner, while the woman represents God. The woman finding her coin is akin to a sinner repenting (God gets back something that is very valuable to him)."

    Apollumi is also used of the "lost" prodigal son who is later found (Luke 15).

    Concerning destruction by God, we see in 1 Corinthians that one is delivered by God's power over to Satan for destruction. For what purpose? That he may be saved:

    1 Cor. 5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    1 Cor. 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

    Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. (Psa. 90:3)

    Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (Jn.2:19)

    Those verses speak of destruction as being temporary or for a positive purpose leading to the salvation of the one destroyed.

    Judgement is a good thing:

    "My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." (Isa.26:9)

    The Lord is acquainted with the rescue of the devout out of trial, yet is keeping the unjust for chastening in the day of judging. (2 Pet.2:9)

    51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. (Luke 9)

    The same author who wrote Mt.10:28 penned earlier in the same book:

    Mt.1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.
    Mt.2:6b ...my people Israel.

    That includes the murderous Pharisees, Judas Iscariot & all other Jews. And since God is no respecter of person, the Gentiles will also be saved, as the Scriptures reveal.

    Matt 18:21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
    22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

    Jn.1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

    https://www.tentmaker.org/books/hope_beyond_hell.pdf
     
  13. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The main reason I believe in annihilationism and not universalism is the simple fact that the Bible says the unrighteous will perish (John 3:16), be destroyed in body and soul (Matthew 10:28), die (Romans 6:23), and be burned to ashes (2 Peter 2:6). These types of descriptions for the fate of the unrighteous are repeated in other verses. And Matthew 25:46 makes clear that this punishment which consists of being totally destroyed is not temporary, but eternal:

    NIV Matthew 25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

    I understand that you don't agree with what I see as the plain, straightforward meaning of these texts. But you have raised another argument which I quoted above. Does the fact that God does not save some people mean He lacks the power to do so? It is a good question, and not an easy one.

    Here we are asking a question which goes beyond what I think the Bible explicitly teaches. We are not asking merely what God does with the unrighteous in the end, but why does He do this instead of saving them. I will share my thoughts on this, but I do so humbly as it requires some speculation.

    I believe a central and vital part of God's desire for people is for them to love Him. This part is not controversial among Christians. This next part is more controversial: I believe that in order for people to love the way God wants them to, they must have free will. While I cannot "prove" this point, I have presented reasonable arguments for this in another OP from about 7 weeks ago, which may be read here: Does Love Require Free Will?

    [​IMG]

    What I have argued in the OP for this thread is that some of God creatures will not FREELY choose to love Him. I have given specific evidence for this. I have also given specific reasons that giving them more and more time will not help after a certain point (which God knows).

    I believe that God could override their freewill and force them to obey. But this type of forced obedience is not what He wants. It is not they type of love He wants. Rather than forcing them to obey, or allowing them to continue in misery, He chooses to destroy them completely. It is not unjust. It is not even unloving given that the alternative would be for them to live in misery, since that is the certain outcome of choosing to reject God's love and not love Him.

    Recapping: The part that I see as clear and explicit in many Scriptures is that God will cause the unrighteous to perish, be destroyed in body spirit, and be burned to ashes.
    The part which is less clear is why He does this rather than use His power to "force" their salvation. For this less clear part I have offered an explanation which I believe in reasonable, but which I admit I cannot prove definitively.
     
  14. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In that case people in heaven will have free will to reject God, just like the angels of heaven who allegedly rebelled with Lucifer. So what is guaranteeing your eternal life will be eternal?

    If every free will choice has a 50% chance of going either way, it would be mathematically impossible for any one to reject God forever.

    Tom Talbott on free will universalism:

    Thomas Talbott: The Inescapable Love of God (part 9)
     
  15. ClementofA

    ClementofA Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Adding to my previous comments on this verse, it is claimed many ancient translations do not say "contend with", but "abide in" or "dwell in":

    "R.V. marg. rule in. Better, according to many ancient versions, abide in..."

    "...Shall not dwell (LXX., οὐ μὴ καταμείνη; Vulgate, non permanebit; Syriac, Onkelos)."

    Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages

    "Genesis 6:3 compare perhaps continue, do something continually, in modern Egyptian Arabic (SoSK lxvii {1894}, 211 f.). (1) ᵐ5 ᵑ9 ᵑ6 Onk read ידיר or (Kue) ילון abide in, dwell, — My spirit will not abide in man for ever; this best suits the context, but ידור, as Aramaism, is dubious (2) Kn De Schr RVm render rule in, supported by Zechariah 3:7 only. (3) Thes Ew Di render be humbled in, sustained by Arabic usage, but not by Hebrew (4) strive with of AV RV (compare 6 above) is hardly justified."

    Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, Unabridged, Electronic Database.

    Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages

    JPS Tanakh 1917
    And the LORD said: 'My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for that he also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years.'

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And God said: My spirit shall not remain in man for ever, because he is flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

    Young's Literal Translation
    And Jehovah saith, 'My Spirit doth not strive in man -- to the age; in their erring they are flesh:' and his days have been an hundred and twenty years.

    Concordant Literal Version
    And saying is Yahweh Elohim, "Not abide shall My spirit in the human for the eon, in that moreover, he is flesh. And come shall his days to be a hundred and twenty years.

    Rotherham Emphasized Bible
    And Yahweh said—My spirit shall not rule in man to times age—abiding, for that, he also, is flesh,—Yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

    NET Bible
    So the LORD said, "My spirit will not remain in humankind indefinitely, since they are mortal. They will remain for 120 more years."

    ISV
    Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not remain with human beings forever, because they are truly mortal, and their lifespan will be 120 years.

    English Standard Version
    Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”

    John Wycliffe's Translation
    And God seide, My spirit schal not dwelle in man with outen ende, for he is fleisch; and the daies of hym schulen be an hundrid and twenti yeer.

    Brenton English Septuagint Translation
    And the Lord God said, My Spirit shall certainly not remain among these men for ever, because they are flesh, but their days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

    Charles Thompson Translation (of the LXX)
    then the Lord God said, "My breath must not continue in these men to this age, because they are flesh; their days however, shall be an hundred and twenty years

    Complete Apostle's Bible (of the LXX)
    And the Lord God said, My Spirit shall certainly not remain among these men forever, because they are flesh, but their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.

    "R.V. marg. rule in. Better, according to many ancient versions, abide in..."
     
  16. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Every free will choice does not have a 50% of going either way. Given a choice of a hamburger or fishburger, I always choose the hamburger.
     
  17. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  18. vinsight4u

    vinsight4u Contributor

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    /nvm
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  19. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Clement, you are correct to point out that Genesis 6:3 may be correctly translated to read "abide in" (ESV) or "remain with" (CSB) as opposed to "contend with" (NIV) or strive with" (NKJ, NAS).

    IMO, even if it is translated "abide in", the point is that God decided two things related to mankind: He would destroy all except for Noah's family in a flood and He would cut back man's time on earth to normally be no more that 120 years (although this does not happen instantly). Both of these decisions appear to be in response to mankind's wickedness. Both of these decisions indicate that there comes a point where God wisely chooses to no longer work with people individually, or mankind as a whole.

    Is Genesis 6:3 by itself "proof" that Universalism is not true. No, but I believe that it harmonizes with annihilationism much better than with universalism.
     
  20. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In the first death, I believe that only the body dies.

    ESV James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

    However, in the 2nd death, which occurs in hell, both the body and the soul are destroyed:

    ESV Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
     
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