What an atheist did answer, then me (8)

QUESTION: What happens when we die?

ATHEIST: All bodily functions cease, and eventually our bodies decompose. (Ecclesiastes 3:19-21).

CHRISTIAN: From a purely naturalistic perspective this would be true, but there is more to man that just the material substance. There is the mind, and the mind is not material. From where did it originate? An atheist has no answer, but a theist does (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The passage used (3:19-21) is strictly from a physical perspective, but the wise preacher of Ecclesiastes knew there was more than the physical/material. In this there is wisdom.

QUESTION: What if your wrong? And there is a Heaven? And there is a HELL!

ATHEIST: If I am wrong, then I will go to Hell. Under such a circumstance, our choices are limited: 1) Be eternally tortured. 2) Be terrorized into submission in hopes of being allowed to spend eternity with the very being who created this scenario which lead to being so terrorized in the first place. I find neither scenario appealing. (NOTE: The concept of Hell being an old Pagan myth; and the concept of Heaven being “pie in the sky” hopes of defying nature and thereby somehow reconnecting with dearly departed loved ones; neither concept renders itself either a realistic cause for concern or a viable source of consolation).

CHRISTIAN: An atheist chooses to look upon the options as to only two, and he then chooses to value those options according to his own subjective standard. Yet, his standard is arbitrary, and not objective or transcendent. Thus, no reason to accept what he says about it; it can be summarily dismissed. The third option is to change one’s thinking in accordance with the evidence, but many atheists don’t do that since naturalism is a dogma that has to be held onto at all cost. Recently read an article where naturalism has to accept supernaturalism at the outset (see earlier reply). Interesting!

#atheism, #eternity, #heaven, #hell, #punishment

The Goodness of God and Eternal Punishment By Wayne Jackson

The late Bertrand Russell, a renowned British agnostic, wrote a small publication titled, Why I Am Not A Christian. One of the reasons he cited for his unbelief was that Jesus Christ taught that there is an eternal hell for the wicked.

Russell could not harmonize Christ’s doctrine about hell with the biblical position of a just and benevolent God; hence, he rejected the teaching of Jesus and inclined toward the belief that there is no God. Russell, who lived a life of reckless abandon, echoed the sentiments of Cain: “My punishment is greater than I can bear.” On that basis, he became a determined opponent of true religion.

The problem of reconciling eternal retribution with the goodness of God also has had a significant impact on the religious world. Many religions, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and the World Wide Church of God (Armstrongism), have rejected the doctrine of the eternal punishment of the wicked. Even the churches of Christ have had their advocates of this erroneous viewpoint (see Fudge, Smith).

Ad Hominem Arguments

An ad hominem argument (meaning, “to the man”) is the type of reasoning that focuses on an opponent’s inconsistency. Let us, at the outset of this discussion, utilize this form of argument in response to the “no hell” theory.

First, a major premise of the “no eternal punishment” dogma is the notion that such is at variance with true justice. The argument might be framed like this. The Bible speaks of a just and good God; it also teaches the doctrine of eternal hell. These two positions are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the Scriptures are inconsistent and cannot be true.

We insist, however, that those who thus argue are under obligation to defend their use of the terms “just” and “good.” By whose standard are these character traits to be measured? Critics of the Bible must not be allowed to become “theological dictionaries unto themselves.” Their reasoning is based solely upon their own ideas of how goodness and justice should be expressed.

If it is true that the Scriptures teach that God has appointed eternal punishment for impenitently evil people, and if it likewise is correct that the Bible affirms the justice and goodness of Jehovah, then it must follow that eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the nature of God. It is at odds only with some men’s perception of goodness and justice.

Second, no one (skeptic or otherwise) is ready to concede that evildoers are unworthy of any type of punishment. It is recognized that no society could survive in such an atmosphere. Should the rapist, the robber, and the murderer be told: “Admittedly, you have done wrong, but we (society) will not punish you for your crimes. This would be unjust”? Is there anyone who argues that there should be no consequences resulting from criminal conduct? Surely not! It is conceded, therefore, that punishment is not inconsistent with true justice.

Third, let us take our reasoning a step further. Is it the case that genuine justice can be served even when an evil man’s punishment is extended beyond the time involved in the commission of his crime? Do we, for example, in our criminal justice system, ask the murderer, “Sir, how long did it take you to kill your wife?”—then assign his incarceration accordingly? Would justice be maintained by such an approach?

Here, then, is the point. True justice, combined with genuine goodness, allows the possibility that a wrongdoer may be required to suffer a penalty that is considerably longer than the duration of his evil. The real issue, therefore, is not punishment per se, or even protracted punishment; rather, it is eternal punishment. The skeptic (or religious materialist) simply wants to tell God how long the penalty is to be! Remember, however, in a system of true justice, the offender is not allowed to set his own sentence.

Eternal Punishment and a Just God

Since no one has ever returned from the dead to discuss his or her personal experiences, this issue is not one that can be settled by human speculation; rather, it must be decided by divine revelation. When the relevant biblical data is assembled, it will be seen, even from man’s jaundiced viewpoint, that the fact of eternal punishment is not inconsistent with the character of a righteous God. Our case will be set forth in a series of interrelated propositions. Continue reading

#ad-hominem, #christian-courier, #eternal-punishment, #god, #goodness-of-god, #hell, #jesus, #nature-of-the-body, #nature-of-the-soul, #punishment, #redemption, #religion, #salvation, #sin, #the-cross, #the-resurrection, #theology, #wayne-jackson

Question about ‘the sins of our ancestors’

Question: Is the thought of Psa 79.8 an inferior position to hold than is, say, Nehemiah’s confession of the sins of his people in 1.6? Verse 8 says:

Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors!
Let your compassion quickly meet our needs,
for we are on the brink of despair. (NLT)
Of course, we can read shades of Eze 18 in this verse, the truth that the son shall not suffer for the sins of the father. But how do you read this verse in the light of other Israelites who confessed the sin of their people? Does it fail to come up to the “spirituality” of the others?

#psalms, #punishment, #sin

Hell is not the Devil’s Domain

Many people in the world (both religious and secular alike) misunderstand what the Bible teaches concerning the one called Satan and the place called Hell. Many are under the impression that the Devil sits upon some throne ruling over the place of punishment. What they fail to realize is that this place of punishment will be taking its toll upon the Devil too. Hell isn’t a place prepared by the Devil – it’s prepared for the Devil!

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matthew 25:41)

#bible-knowledge, #devil, #hell, #punishment, #satan

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Psalm 107

Vs. 1-3 give a well-deserved praise of the LORD;

Vs. 4-9 show God’s deliverance to the bewildered;

Vs. 10-16 show God’s deliverance to the bowed down;

Vs. 17-32 show God’s deliverance to the busy;

Vs. 33-42 show God’s abundance for the blessed;

Vs. 43 describes those who pay attention.

This Psalm fits into the continuity of the preceding few, tracing God’s preservation of Israel through more of the Old Testament history, notably, bringing them back to Canaan after their Babylonian “captivity.” OR this Psalm is also worded in such a way that it might describe God’s salvation of any sinner with figures of speech that describe what it would mean to be saved. OR the wording may well point forward to events in Jesus’ life that would show God’s works through and about Jesus in order to convince sinners to come to Him for salvation. The historical Israelite setting is probably more fitting. The repeated formula of repentance in Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28 IS the history of Israel, AND of the churches of Christ. The repeated refrain in Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31 should be the learned lesson heeded by all of “the children of men,” that is, everyone!

Verses 1-3: Those who thank God for His goodness and mercy (verses 1-2) are those who realize He paid their price (“redeemed”) to make them His own. The “gathering” (verse 3) easily depicts Israel gathered from all directions to re-possess their Land of Canaan (historically recorded in the Books of Ezra & Nehemiah).

Verses 4-9: The “wandering” easily describes Israel after Egyptian bondage (historically recorded in the Book of Numbers), ending in their land with “a city for habitation,” Jerusalem (as recorded in the Books of Joshua-2 Kings). Jesus offers to satisfy the hungry and thirsty (Matthew 5:6).

Verses 10-16: The “bondage” easily fits the Israelites’ life in Babylon as punishment for their rebellion against God’s words (historically recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:1-23; Jeremiah 25:1-14). Jesus discussed the Jews’ bondage in sin (John 8:30-36) and freedom is in Him (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).

Verses 17-32: The “affliction” easily fits Israel’s (the Northern Kingdom) crumbling to Assyrian conquest (2 Kings 17:1-23). Jesus stilled stormy seas (Mark 4:36-41), and also healed the “afflicted” (Matthew 4:24; 2 Corinthians 1:6). Congregated people should “praise Him” (in other words, “go to church”).

Verses 33-42: Abundance, or lack, is in the hand of God, and can depend upon a people’s wickedness or righteousness. When things go wrong, the first place to look for a reason is one’s own life! “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.’ Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God” (2 Corinthians 9:8-11).

Verse 43: The “wise” will “observe,” that is, pay attention to the lesson of history, and “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Romans 11:22).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #disobedience, #faith, #god, #obedience, #punishment, #sin, #teaching

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Psalm 80

Vs. 1-7 laments over the broken condition of God’s People;

Vs. 8-16 illustrate the problem with a metaphor of a vine;

Vs.17-19 finish with another appeal for God to change their plight.

There is little information to place this within a particular historical event, although it appears to fit into the Babylonian conquest of the Southern Kingdom of Judah (2 Chronicles 36:11-21). Just as in Psalm 79, God permitted them to be severely punished because “they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:16). This had been, not occasional sin, but an abandonment of God’s Law!

Verses 1-7: This Psalm concerns those in verse 1 who are represented by Joseph, who had saved his brothers, and father, Israel (Genesis 47:11-17), therefore his name stood for all of the Israelites. God’s presence was represented over the Ark of the Covenant between angels’ wings (Exodus 25:10-22). Jacob’s (name changed to Israel, Genesis 17:5) beloved wife, Rachel bore the sons, Joseph and Benjamin (Genesis 35:24). Joseph is represented in the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, in the Northern Kingdom, but Joseph’s brother, Benjamin’s tribe in the Southern Kingdom. Joseph’s tribes and his brother’s tribe stood for all of God’s People in these happenings (verse 2). Only God can change His disfavor (verse 3), or change His anger (verse 4), stop His People’s tears (verse 5), or reverse the ridicule from outsiders (verse 6). It is left up to God to deal differently with them (verse 7). What is missing from this appeal is the humility and repentance of His People! Their anguished cry asks the question “How long will You be angry?” (verse 4)

Verses 8-16: The Nation of Israel is the “vine” God brought out of Egypt (verse 8); planted, grown, and expanded it in the Promised Land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (verses 9-11); but now had been destroyed by enemies, described as a “boar” and “a wild beast” (verses 12-13). God is asked to reconsider this “vine,” “vineyard,” and “branch” (verses 14-15), for it presently had been “burned with fire” and “cut down” (verse 16).

Verses 17-19: God is reminded (verse 17) that to recover Israel would continue the promise to Abraham, “the man of Your right hand,” which the New Testament reveals was Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13-18). Following Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, “after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). If God restores the Nation of Israel, they promise never to abandon God again (verse 18). Only God can save His People (verse 19). He did, and they were!

Every prophecy in the Old Testament to restore God’s People to the Promised Land was fulfilled in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. There is no Old Testament prophecy that places physical Israel in a physical land after the earthly life of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught that “true worship” of God would no longer be “in Jerusalem” (John 4:21-24); that His sacrifice was to be remembered in the Lord’s Supper “in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:22-25); and it would take a “new birth” to be in His kingdom (John 3:3-7). No one can prove from the Bible of God’s promises where the physical Israelites (1) are God’s People today; (2) are promised a land on earth; (3) should ever keep Moses’ Law after Jesus’ cross.

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #god, #punishment, #salvation, #sin

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Psalm 79

Vs. 1-5 pour out the painful story of a ruined people;

Vs 6-10 request that God punish foreign nations, but have mercy toward God’s own;

Vs. 11-13 mention the humility a stunned Judah is feeling.

This Psalm seems to be descriptive of the hurt inflicted upon Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:11-21). The opening lament is an agonizing cry to God who has judged His people for their sins (2 Chronicles 36:14-17). In Jeremiah 52:28-30, the repetitions, length, and numbers of the sieges are listed.

Verses 1-5: God’s own people, it seems, had defiled the temple of God before the Chaldeans could get to it (verse 1; 2 Chronicles 36:14). Babylonian butchery is depicted (verse 2-3; 2 Chronicles 36:17; 2 Kings 25:19-21). That this has been done by God for their sins is evident in verses 4-5, and their guilty consciences ask “how long?”

Verses 6-10: The appeal in verses 6-7 is for God to turn His wrath on the nations who have violently acted toward Judah. In verses 8-9, God is asked to forgive and forget their sins, and only says “we have been brought very low,” not the strongest assessment they could have made, and seem to think God must make them right! Then, in verse 10, they raise the issue of “will the enemies think they have prevailed against God?” Judeans should have worried about what their sins and corruption did to ruin God’s reputation among the nations. With this lesson before us, Christians are reminded: “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12). One of the atheist’s arguments against God is the misbehavior of His people, but not only is that unfair because God grants freewill, it avoids the atheist having to acknowledge the living God and one’s own sins. “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” (James 4:11-12) Who are they to criticize either God (whom they deny exists!) or Christians (when they refuse to become one and see for themselves, Psalm 34:8). The hypocrisy of their position is manifest to right-thinking people!

Verses 11-13: Too hurt to sing, too humbled to praise God, their “groaning” is from having been taken “prisoner” (verse 11). Retaliation is in the hand of God, not in their own power (verse 12). All they have left is to promise to be worshiping sheep in the future (verse 13).

This should be a somber reminder to the churches of Christ, that no one is impervious to sin (1 Corinthians 10:12), and God can still allow evil men to prevail when Christians have become like them (Hebrews 12:4-11).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #daily-bible-reading, #discipline, #god, #punishment, #sin

Fire ants My little granddaughter was playing in…

Fire ants! My little granddaughter was playing in the yard and strayed onto a hidden mound and before you could count to ten, a swarm of fire ants were crawling and biting on her feet and legs. I put Orthene on every fire ant mound I find and if I am out of Orthene, I pour gasoline on the mound. I hate fire ants. It’s not that I have a prejudice against ants in general. Actually I give little thought to ants as I come and go. There are big ants and little ants and black ants and brown ants and then there are fire ants. I’m angry with fire ants and when given reason I will destroy all I can. I suppose the fire ants may shake their tiny fists at me and declare that I am unjust for I also know how to love. But as for me, let them rage. I will pour on the Orthene. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#fire-ants, #just-a-minute, #punishment

This is Just A Minute Americans have lost…

This is Just-A-Minute. Americans have lost their sense of reverence and awe of the sacred. Witness how often someone ups and starts a new church because they don’t like this or that of another. Man no longer fears God because he no longer considers God a just God. “God is love” declares the pulpit, so the pew decides that God could somehow be faulted for punishing sin. But consider: God is the Creator. He created man to do good, not bad; to live righteously not wickedly. When a man makes a tool and it doesn’t do what it was designed to do, is he faulted for throwing it on the trash heap? Of course not! So do not fault God if He has promised to destroy those who do not do what they were made to do. Someone objects that men are not tools but created in God’s image. Indeed! Thus, our guilt is multiplied and His fury justified! This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#just-a-minute, #punishment, #sacred

Yes Margaret there is a hell I am…

Yes, Margaret, there is a hell! I am tired of all the hub-bub about reexamining the Bible and deciding there is no eternal damnation. Now I admit that hell is not a popular topic – frankly, I don’t enjoy talking about it. But I am forced to by the growing numbers of those who reject it outright. Hell is a real place of eternal punishment and not a temporary rehabilitation center! Hell was not created for mankind; it was prepared for the devil and his angels. Nevertheless, if you throw in with the devil, you can expect the same eventuality, Rob Bell notwithstanding. The opportunity for rehab is right now – that is the message of the gospel – “repent and the times of refreshing will come from the Lord”. That is the gospel message. That is what Jesus died for. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#hell, #just-a-minute, #punishment, #rob-bell

Last night, in a group study, this quest…

Last night, in a group study, this question was asked: “How can God punish us for failure to obey him when we didn’t choose to be created?” I post this with anticipation in learning how you would have responded. I look forward to your thoughts.

#god, #punishment, #question