Who Would Reject the Father and What Becomes of Them?

If there is no eternal, burning hell, does everyone ultimately become part of the Father’s family, whether they wish to or not? I don’t think so.

The idea that everyone will become part of the Father’s house, or as some would put it ‘Everyone will go to heaven’, is called universalism. This is a pleasant and comforting thought, but it raises questions about the important issue of freedom of the individual will.

The Father, in his love toward us, provides us the opportunity to live in peace and happiness forever; this is part of what Jesus came to tell us. I believe that each of us will have an opportunity to grasp the reality of this invitation with a clear understanding devoid of any prior misconceptions about Jesus and without the cloudiness of our mental deficiencies, scarred psyches, or twisted thinking. This might even occur after our death.

However, there is always the prospect that some might choose NOT to align with the Father, even though their thinking is clear; these are those who would say, ‘I would rather die than live in the Father’s community!’ What will happen to them? Will the Father force them into his place of peace and happiness against their will? I don’t think so.

One might ask: for what possible reason would a person reject the Father, when all the facts are clear? The great Christian writer C. S. Lewis proposes a possibility in his book Mere Christianity (Christian Behavior, chapter 8); it is pride or egotism. Lewis does not mean common pride in our accomplishments or relationships but rather competitive, dominating pride.

There are those who MUST be the dominant ego in any relationship. This accounts for a lot of evil among us, but there is no room for such ego-competition in the Father’s place of peace and happiness. Even if there were, the power-seeker would still be unsatisfied because, even if he subjugated every other ego in the Father’s place, he would find himself competing with the Father, himself. And that is a no-win for the egoist.

This situation would not constitute peace in the Father’s house, nor would it bring happiness to one driven by such power needs. It seems that the Father would be cruel to force a person like this into his peaceful society with no opportunity to defeat and exploit others; it would be hell to them.

Surely the Father will make alternative arrangement for such people. What might these arrangements be? Christians have suggested several scenarios.

1. Everlasting punishment in a burning fire. We have explored this in previous blogs and discovered that there is no basis for postulating such an option.

2. Everlasting punishment without fire. This is the view that the imagery of fire in the New Testament is metaphorical.

3. Universalism-everyone will go to heaven. Some believe that everyone WILL respond to the Father’s love. The Father’s love will be so overwhelming that we will have no choice but to accept it once the situation is clear to us. But wouldn’t this make us automatons—robots without the capacity for self-determination? Would we have no free will?

4. Conditional immortality-annihilation. A fourth possibility is that we are not inherently immortal. Jesus’ message in the New Testament is that we can have eternal life (become immortal). However, this immortality does not apply to those who reject eternal life. Therefore, they experience death or extinction.

In my opinion, conditional immortality is the proper answer to the question. Annihilation is not punishment; it is the natural result of our mortality. The Father offers an alternative—eternal life, but if a person rejects the offer they experience the natural consequence of mortality.

We will explore conditional immortality next time. What do YOU think will happen to those who reject the Father’s offer of eternal life?

This entry was posted in C. S. Lewis, conditional immortality, eternal life, God, hell, The Father, The Father's House and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Who Would Reject the Father and What Becomes of Them?

  1. Pingback: Revelation and the Lake of Fire | Jesus Without Baggage

  2. michaeleeast says:

    I believe that the learning process – the journey to becoming a loving person – may continue after death.
    Mediums like John Edward would confirm this.
    So there may be a kind of waiting place before we enter into God’s presence perhaps.

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  3. Michael B says:

    You mentioned that we may have an opportunity to accept God after death. Do you think that after death we will still have free will? Can people choose to be sinful in heaven?

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Michael, this is only speculation, but I think we will always have free will. I also suspect that no one in the future community will be allowed to dominate other people. Therefore, their expression of free will means declining the invitation of eternal life in the community under the condition that they are not allowed to dominate others.

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  4. Zach Van Houten says:

    Yes conditionalism is highly biblical. Throughout the whole Bible. And it lines up with Jesus’ message. Obviously the means of how God will accomplish all of that are veiled. I have suggested that the lake of fire describes that, however it is symbolic so who can know what it really describes if it is relating to that. I agree with you on the free will part. I have always disliked the Calvinist’s view of man as devoid of free will. I don’t believe it is biblical. And as you pointed out, Universalism is basically reverse Calvinism. And I think Universalism has the same challenges of reversing the meanings of life, death, destruction, perishing etc. as Traditionalists have to prove hell.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I do not consider myself a universalist, of course, and conditional immortality is not the same as universalism. On the other hand, I have never had much appreciation for Calvinism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Zach Van Houten says:

        Calvinism bothers me quite a bit. It’s bad enough to believe in eternal torment, but telling people that God created people simply for that purpose and arbitrarily chose them to go to hell is beyond ludicrous.

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Yeah, I understand that the foundation of Calvinism is the ultimate sovereignty of God; but you are right, it makes no sense at all to create people and pre-determine them for eternal punishment. I would not want to follow a God like that.

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        • It troubled me too. It’s the bleakeast worldview I can imagine. Sadly, some catholics share this view, somehow ( they talk about “lack of predestination”).

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  5. Giles says:

    I am wondering about your statement “annihilation isn’t punishment”. It fits well with certain passages I think. So where it says “I have repaid Jerusalem double for her sins” I see that as a defeater for the claim sin demands infinite punishment and support for the version of annihilationism that see the suffering of the destructive process as the punishment for sin and annihilation as the consequence (the Jerusalemites had suffered but they weren’t dead). But other passages seem to view death as punishment. Doesn’t your position (and mine) depend upon the claim that in Mathew 25:46 irreversible death qualifies as eternal punishment? Maybe some passages take one perspective, others another, but I think conditional immortality requires the claim that death can be viewed as a punishment. Just nit picking!

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Giles, I think we are all destined to die; this is just how life works. And I don’t think there is some ‘immortal’ part of us that survives death–such as a soul or spirit. But as the Father offers us eternal life, and we accept the gift, we do enter into life after death–we have something we did not have before.

      If there are those who refuse this gift of eternal life from the Father, then eternal life is not forced on them. It is not a punishment; rather it is their choice not to accept eternal life.

      As for Matthew 25, notice that Jesus is telling a parable, or a story, to make a point–the point being that we should help others in life. The details of the story are not important, and that includes Jesus’ reference to ‘eternal punishment’. I don’t think Jesus is giving us a preview of the final judgment.

      Your thoughts?

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      • Giles says:

        Far better that he should be referring to final judgement here, IMO as if he is it is proof of inclusivism for two reasons. 1 Paul says Christians will judge the world, but here, (and in Revelation), some of those judged are saved. Ergo non Christians can be saved. 2 The sheep say “when did we see you hungry and feed you?” Christians wouldn’t need to ask. They’d know the parable of the Sheep and the Goats!

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  6. joseph says:

    Thnks, it’s fabulous Article.
    That’s why People which Encounter Jesus,Always In that , Jesus says them “FOLLOW ME”.
    so ,bro what about penal Subsitution Theory?
    Peace be With you ……

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Joseph, what, specifically, are you asking about penal substitution? What are your thoughts on the subject? I will be happy to answer when you clarify and narrow the question. Looking forward to it in fact.

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  7. Well…
    if a God exist, and is so benevolent to wish even the most wicked human being have a chance to be happy, mabye an evil person could ask to fall asleep and dream to be a god-like overlord and have all his desires fulfilled in a vivid illusion. No real sin is committed, everyone is happy. A fool’s paradise.

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  8. tonycutty says:

    I think you’re right about the conditional immortality bit. That would fit with all the Scriptural evidence. But there is also a fifth option: Repentance. Yes, even after death. We speculate that there are those who must always be the dominant one in a relationship, and that person would not be ok in heaven for various reasons. But what happens when that person sees God for Who He really is? And that there is no competition? Could not that person willingly think like, sh1t, no was I can compete with this God dude. He’s so magnificent; why should I want to be ‘over’ Him in the pecking order? What if the golry of God obviates the need for a pecking order because it’s obvious Who’s in charge? It could be argued that the main reason why people need to dominate is insecurity/fear. And seeing Him how He really is would drive out all fear and insecurity. maybe the person wouldn’t need to be dominant any more? Just some ideas, though, and I love your piece – I’ve read it before but your FB post flagged it up for me again. Cheers Tim.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giles says:

      Post mortem repentance is clearly taught in 1 Peter 3:19-4:6. Jesus preached to the spirits in prison who had formerly disobeyed. Some say this means only the fallen angels and that Jesus was just proclaiming his victory but 4:6 makes it clear that human spirits are included and that some repented.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Chas says:

        The main problem with ideas of post-mortem repentance is that we use our brain cells in our thinking, so when we have died, these are no longer available. Furthermore, we will not be able to take any memory of this physical life with us, or we would take knowledge of destruction, but with God there is no destruction. Thus the conclusion must be that the process of separation will take place here on earth and those who fulfill the requirements will continue to be aware of an independent existence when they are with God. How that could be done, only He knows.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          Chas, I see your point about the problem of the brain in the afterlife. It seems to me, though, that the NT writers believed that we would have bodies in the resurrection, which makes sense to me; otherwise what would a resurrection be?

          Of course we have no real information on what the resurrection will be like, but I would assume that our new bodies would be at lease as functional as our current bodies. I think that at least it will include identity, so that we know who we are as opposed to other people. But, as I said, the details are purely speculative.

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        • tonycutty says:

          The other problem with the brain cells argument is that in all the accounts of post-mortem ‘conversations’, like Jesus’s people saying “When did we feed You and clothe You?”, there is some sort of consciousness displayed thare. That consciousness is presumably what we’d use, should we need to. Of course, like Tim says, nobody *really* knows; the only real precedent we have is Jesus, and He didn’t need to ‘repent’ 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  9. jesuswithoutbaggage says:

    Tony, I agree with this option. I certainly believe that people can turn to God after death, even though they have spent a lifetime opposing God. In fact, I assume that this will be the case for most people. Good point!

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