Hell? Conditional Immortality? Something Else? What Happens to Those Who Reject God?

I agree with believers who suggest that God offers eternal life after death to everyone — even those who have never heard, and even those of other religions. Thus it is possible that all who ever lived could be part of God’s eternal community.

However, as we discussed before, there might be those, exercising their independent free will, who reject God’s offer of eternal life. If this is so, then what becomes of them? Surely God will make an alternative arrangement for such people; what might it be?

Believers have suggested several scenarios.

1. Everlasting punishment in a burning fire. We explored this in previous posts 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 God’s love, which is so overwhelming that we will have no choice but to accept it. 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 as some assume. Jesus’ message in the New Testament is that we can have eternal life (become immortal); however, this offer of immortality does not apply to those who reject the offer so they experience death or extinction.

I believe conditional immortality determines what happens to those who reject eternal life.

Conditional ImmortalityWhat Is Conditional Immortality?

The final death of those who do not wish to live eternally in God’s community is not punishment; it is simply the natural result of our innate mortality; we do not have unconditional immortality. God offers an alternative—eternal life, but if one rejects the offer they experience the natural consequence of mortality–extinction.

The New Testament has vivid warnings of potential calamity and destruction. Two Old Testament images used to illustrate these warnings are the story of Gehenna in Jeremiah 19 and the destruction of the rebels in Isaiah 66. In both cases there is destruction; the worms do not die, the fire is not extinguished, but the people are destroyed—they die and they ARE extinguished.

Jesus Speaks of Destruction

We can see how appropriate it is for Jesus to use these images in warning people of his day. The issue is not eternal punishment but personal destruction—final annihilation based on their own preference and choice. However, annihilation is not caused by God robbing immortality from those who say ‘No’ to eternal life; we do not have immortality to begin with. Final death is our natural experience.

A big part of Jesus’ message in the New Testament is that we can have eternal life (become immortal); he demonstrated this by his victory over death in the resurrection. However, this immortality is an aspect of the eternal life God offers us and does not apply to those who reject it. Those rejecting God’s provision of eternal peace and happiness in his/her community are also rejecting immortality—so they experience annihilation.

Conditional Immortality vs. Universal Immortality

Many assume we are all born immortal, so we either spend eternity with God or apart from him, but this is not a Jewish-Christian idea; it is a Greek idea popularized by Plato who taught that our ‘spirits’ exist from eternity and will last through eternity. Christians rejected Plato’s idea of our existing eternally in the past, but many came to accept the idea of our existing eternally in the future. And if this were the case, they felt there must be a place for those who reject the Father.

Instead, I believe we have conditional immortality—we have immortality only on the condition of God’s provision of eternal life. If we reject this provision, we also reject immortality and simply cease to exist.

Christian adherents of conditional immortality existed throughout Christian history, and increasing numbers of evangelicals embrace it today. In the book, Four Views on Hell (1996), a group of evangelicals debate the options–including conditional immortality supported by scholar Clark Pinnock who mentions a number books that promote the idea of conditional immortality.

Is the Threat of Hell Necessary to Control Behavior?

Final annihilation is terrible to contemplate. There is nothing worse than destruction and extinction. But wait! There is something worse—eternal torture in burning fire!

Those who teach a burning hell believe it is true, but I am certain they are mistaken. When arguments against such belief are raised, they often protest that behavior would be unrestrained without the prospect of eternal punishment in hell. They think fear of hell is a useful tool to draw people to God and away from their evil ways; but, in fact, it often has the opposite effect as people reject such a cruel and callous god.

Jesus did not bring a message of fear but of love, and our behavior is based on our response to God’s love rather than fear. When we begin to understand God’s love, we can begin to love ourselves and then to love others as we love ourselves. This is all the motivation we need.

The doctrine of eternal punishment in hell-fire is mistaken harmful baggage that distorts the character of God and breeds fear and superstition. I contend that part of Jesus’ coming to us was to remove fear and superstition, and the concept of hell should be among the first superstitions to go.

Then Why Need We Share the Good News of Jesus?

But if eternal life is available to everyone whether they have heard or even if they follow another religion, then why do we need to share the good news of Jesus with anyone at all? Good question! We will talk about that next time.

Articles in this series: Jesus, World Religions, and Eternal Life

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46 Responses to Hell? Conditional Immortality? Something Else? What Happens to Those Who Reject God?

  1. Pingback: Will Everyone Live Forever with God After Death? Not Necessarily! | Jesus Without Baggage

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  5. Marjorie Weiss says:

    I prefer the concept of annihilation to eternal damnation, but what is the Biblical support for it? The second death of Revelation? (And I am certainly not a Biblical literalist so no worries there.)

    I have usually liked theologians who offer up the idea of people getting the chance to come to God even after death. Episcopal priest, Robert Capon uses a favorite image of that for me. Heaven is a baseball game, and Jesus alternates between playing for either team or cheering on a team. Everyone is having a great time eating their hot dogs, drinking their beer, and waving their pennants. All except for a group in the right field stands. They are all miserably unhappy. These folks, Capon says are in hell.
    They are already at the heavenly party through the action of Jesus, but just don’t know it. It kinda goes along with CS Lewis’ dwarves who are in Aslan’s Land in his last Narnia book, “The Last Battle.” All they had to do was leave the hut in which they were huddled and find themselves in the land of their dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Marjorie, I have always liked the scene of the Dwarves in The Last Battle; the first time I read it reminded me of a particular group with which I was familiar that seemed very much like those dwarves!

      As for biblical support for conditional immortality I would point to the many places where Jesus talked of destruction (rather than punishment). In addition, all the passages used to support Universalism would apply, with the added consideration of independent free will and whether God overrides free will.

      So while there is no absolutely clear reference to conditional immortality, the real choice is between eternal punishment or something else. I don’t believe eternal punishment is taught anywhere in the Bible and it also conflicts with God’s character in my opinion. Therefore the question is what is the ‘something else’? I certainly don’t know for sure, but conditional immortality by far makes the best sense for me.

      There are a number of books by believers on conditional immortality. You might peruse them on Amazon to see if any of them seem to address your question is greater detail.

      By the way, I don’t think the ‘second death’ in Revelation is pertinent to the discussion of conditional immortality because Revelation is not concerned with end-time issues. Rather, it is an apocalyptic piece written to give hope and encouragement to a group of believers undergoing severe Roman persecution in the first century.

      Thanks for the insightful question!

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      • I just stumbled upon your site. This discussion intrigues me. I haven’t read all that you have to offer, but some. I can’t remember when I have ever totally agreed with everything someone has written or even preached. I try to understand each subject based on Scriptures teaching. I try to incorporate what it says into what Jesus says. Concerning Hell He seems to imply punishment in His telling of the rich man and Lazarus. However I agree with your take that Hell is ultimately destruction of the mortal, which we are If we are not in Him — where there is eternal life. But destruction need not be immediate. Hell was created for Satan and his angels, but my conclusion based on scripture is that man can refuse God’s payment for his sin and by so doing elect to pay for his sin against God himself. Once his sin is fully paid — like paying of a car he then ceases to exist — he is destroyed. Only God is able to judge what each deserves. Some may in fact deserve no punishment. God only holds man accountable for what he has been given in the way of knowledge of Him, and what he does with that knowledge. We who have knowledge (the word, the gospel) may actually lose rewards because we are lax or even refuse in the spreading of it. But let me give you an example of what I think may happen. Take abortion which is probably playing God. It’s the taking of an innocent life for mostly selfish reasons. I do believe that there could be times where abortion is the right choice e.g. saving a mothers life where others are dependent on her. But let’s consider if a life is aborted and not even given a chance to know God or about Him, is that not a greater sin than taking the life that has had that opportunity? So in my mind payment for sin has to be made, and if one rejects God’s payment, why would He not be justified in requiring that payment from the one who incountered the debt? Maybe I look at things too simply, but if I am to take one of Jesus sayings and make it my own, then I must take all of them and incorporate them into my doctrine. Notice I said my doctrine, because we each believe what we believe. As to being progressive — it’s another word that must be defined before I tout it as describing myself. I believe in progressive revelation from God, but that revelation cannot contradict His written word but only further explain it. What I say may or may not help someone else further understand what God says. If I twist God’s word in my statements it will be to my own destruction. This is why teachers are judged more harshly than others. But then does God really judge? — some say no, I say yes. Jerry Parks AND THEN THE END SHALL COME.

        Liked by 1 person

        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          “If I am to take one of Jesus sayings and make it my own, then I must take all of them and incorporate them into my doctrine. Notice I said my doctrine, because we each believe what we believe.” Jerry, I think this is a great insight–our doctrines are just that–our own individual doctrines. No two thinking people agree on every religious issue; if they do, then at least one of them is not thinking.

          I respect your thinking process but I believe we think differently on some issues you mentioned. You refer to hell being created for Satan and his fallen angels, which I think is not based in ‘scripture’ but in the Book of Enoch written not long before Jesus’ birth. And I think the story of Lazarus and the rich man is not a description of reality but only a parable to make a point. I don’t find any substance in the Bible indicating punishment in hell.

          Another area in which we seem to differ regards payment for sin. Your statements seem to reflect the penal substitution theory which I cannot embrace because it doesn’t seem to have solid support either in the Bible or in church history before Calvin.

          However, it is always good to hear alternate views from those who have given their views considerable thought. Thanks for the contribution! Feel free to offer more.

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          • I find Jesus making reference to punishment in Hell at least three times in Matthew 22 and 23. In one of these He actually mentions the sentence of hell. Matthew 23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? He also offers some hyperbole when calling for the chopping off of hands and plucking out of eyes which when fully evaluated leads to some interesting thoughts about hells toll on the individual. I have to believe that a sentence is involved for those rejecting eternal life.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Tim, I’m still pondering why you have come to the conclusion you have on Hell and some other things as well. I possess what you might call a simple faith, and yet it has lead me into some pretty deep places, and it puts me at odds with most modern teaching even that of the fundamentalists. And even the evangelicals. I have a great deal of difficulty with the liberals who don’t seem to be able to find any word of God on which to build their faith. So how do I roll? Since Jesus affirmed Peter and Peter affirms Paul even though they had their disagreements, still I accept the scriptures as inspired by the Holy Spirit who entered these lives. These letters were passed around and read by the early churches. They seemed to adopt their doctrines based on these letters. So my simple faith tells me that there is truth in them that must be mined out. I don’t know what critical facts you discovered within the science of evolution that caused you to gain more faith in its substance than in a simple faith that God is able to speak a mature universe into existance that is yes still expanding and even evolving in some instances. You may want to call me naive, but this faith has taken me to places I would not want to have missed, and to truths I would not want to expunge from my knowledge base. If one believes that there is such an eternal being who is capable of creating an ordered universe such as exists in reality, not just in our mind, then the faith needed to believe that He created all that is including man in a mature state in seven days takes practically no faith at all from ones faith bank. Just saying. I have no problem with believers who want to think that God created through evolution, and I have no beef with those who find a different truth than what I have found within the pages of scripture; but I guess my question is how can there be a foundation for faith if one does not accept the scriptures as truth, but instead goes to sources that were never adopted by the church? To me the scripture itself is living. Let me explain — often I find myself questioning what in the heck does this mean. When that happens I ask God to let me understand this, and what I find happens is that in another time in another passage He speaks to me and says here is your answer. I get excited about those revelations. I get excited about the fact that God is still listening to and speaking to me. He cares that I have understanding.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jerry, I agree that Jesus mentions ‘hell’ a number of times in English translations, but the word ‘hell’ represents two words from the originals: Hades (death) and Gehenna (an historical place of destruction). He also borrows imagery from the Book of Enoch popular in his day. But I do not think Jesus teaches hell as a place of eternal punishment.

            You might be interested in this list of articles on hell by myself and others:
            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/hell/

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          • Ok Tim, let’s keep things straight. I never said that hell is eternal punishment, but that does not mean that it itself is not eternal, and should God so judge a man as deserving of eternal punishment than for him hell would be eternal. I’m not sure how long Hitler might suffer for his sins just against humanity, not to mention his sins against God.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jerry, I think I understand your questions about why I can’t accept conservative views about such issues as punishment in hell, inerrancy (or inspiration), 6-day creation, and so forth. I used to firmly believe all these things. It was learning more about the Bible and how it developed that caused me to question them.

            I have a tremendous respect and regard for the Bible, but I realize that those who wrote the various parts of the Bible were simply people who felt a strong attachment to God; God did not write, direct, or guarantee the Bible as his/her inerrant truth. The writers of the NT were inspired by the teaching and example of Jesus, but that does not make everything they wrote God’s proposition truth.

            Regarding the Genesis creation stories, I no longer hold to the assumption that they were written to describe historical events. But I think they are very useful as read according to their intended purposes.

            I hope this helps clarify.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jerry thanks for the clarification on eternal hell. My view is that no one is punished in hell at all–eternally or otherwise. I suggest that God extends his grace and invitation to life after death to everyone, but those who reject the invitation will simply cease to exist, which is what rejecting life means. This is not punishment but accepting their wishes not to continue to live.

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          • Tim, I can’t debate what you believe. But only comment that if we don’t consider Jesus words concerning Hell and instead believe what we want then although that might make us feel good, it offers no foundation for our belief. I guess my concern if I thought that I needed to ignore Jesus on hell, would I not then have to cease in my trust of His teaching on eternal life? — and if that be the case would I not have to say with Paul — 1 Corinthians 15:19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. if I believed as you concerning eternal life for all without any reguard for justice for my actions or my beliefs or my teachings I would probably go out and eat drink and be merry. But the real question is — will my beliefs which are based mainly on nothing more than my beliefs actually get me eternal life if I am only accepting as truth what I want to believe?

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jerry, you bring up two issues I encounter all the time against those who do not approach the Bible as inerrantist do.

            1. “And instead believe what we want then although that might make us feel good.” I don’t want to be too direct but this is simply untrue; those of us who see the Bible from a different perspective do not do so because we ‘believe what we want’ or because ‘it makes us feel good.’ The accusation that we are cherry pickers seems to indicate to me that conservatives either misunderstand our motivation or deliberately misrepresent us.

            2. “If I believed as you concerning eternal life for all without any regard for justice for my actions or my beliefs or my teachings I would probably go out and eat drink and be merry.” Often, people tell me that if there were no hell they would sin all they want. I understand the thinking, but if it is true then it seems that such a person’s behavior is driven by fear and reward rather than goodness, integrity, and alignment with God. Of course, I don’t really think you would choose such a path.

            But I understand the reason for saying such things; they are part of the general inerrancy apologetic.

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          • Tim, I must say that you not only cherry pick what you think to be with and without error, but you also cherry pick what you chose to discuss from each post. You seem to be no different than the Dispensationalist or the hell fire preacher. These folks pick and choose what they want to use all the time, but I’m afraid that you are bourdering on the same. Just sayin.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jerry, what I see myself doing (instead of taking a flat reading of the Bible) is reading the Bible in context taking account of genre and the intent of the writer along with their era and culture.

            How would you describe a method that you would not consider cherry-picking?

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          • Perhaps before I do that you could help me by explaining your methodologies using the verses I referenced earlier in this conversation on hell. Since Jesus claimed to be the truth and the life I would consider Him to be truthful and the supplier of eternal life. You seem to accept the eternal life truth, so what causes you to reject not an eternal punishment but the sentence of reward for what has been done? Revelation 22:12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I know that your understanding of this verse may be different, but the verse seems to be in keeping with Jesus other statements on Hell.

            Liked by 1 person

          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Jerry, I am happy to do that. I have written a considerable amount regarding biblical passages some people use to defend the idea of punishment in hell. They are collected together at:
            https://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/books-and-resources/hell/

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    • Mark Corbett says:

      Marjorie, you asked about the “second death” as it relates to Conditional Immortality. What a great question! I have written specifically about the “second death” and Conditional Immortality on my blog here:
      http://parresiazomai.blogspot.com/2017/02/what-is-second-death-part-1-symbols-and.html

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol says:

    Hi, does the Bible says to plead the blood of Jesus? Thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Carol, I am very familiar with this phrase from my past experience; it is used primarily in some Pentecostal and charismatic circles in conjunction with spiritual warfare–fighting against satan and demons. The idea is that the blood of Jesus has power over these demonic sources, so we can ‘plead the blood of Jesus’ (apply the power of Jesus’ blood)against the demonic enemies in our situation.

      I understand the imagery but I don’t think this is a useful practice. First of all, I don’t think Satan or demons exist (if you are interested, I am happy to let you know why). Secondly, there is no biblical example or suggestion of using this phrase. The closest thing I know of in the Bible that has any similarity at all is Revelation 12:11, ‘They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.’ But this has nothing to do with its use today and is taken from an apocalyptic scene in the book.

      In the Bible, references to the blood of Jesus are about his death–not his blood specifically. Often pleading the blood of Jesus can really get weird; I recall one instance in which a group called down ‘Buckets of the blood of Jesus’ in a prayer situation.

      I don’t think this concept is very useful. I hope I covered your question, but feel free to continue this conversation.

      Like

  7. Marjorie Weiss says:

    It says there are seven responses to this post, but I can only see mine, your response to me and a post by Carol afterward.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Marjorie, you are correct; you are seeing all the responses that were made at the time you posted your question. But if you look at the very top of the comment section you will see four links that are called ‘pingbacks’; these are included in the count of reported responses even though they are not comments at all.

      I hope this helps.

      Like

  8. newtonfinn says:

    While I do not believe that a loving God would damn anyone to eternal torment, I am unable to accept that a just God would allow a Hitler simply to disappear after wantonly killing millions of people. Ultimate things like final judgment, and heaven and hell, do not lend themselves to the logic and reason of the human mind, so I don’t pretend to understand them. But my overwhelming sense is that there is something eternal in place that will make each of us accountable for how we have lived our lives, each and every one of us. And It seems to me absolutely necessary in this regard that the consequences of our choices and actions are brought home to us AND to the entire world in some sort of final reckoning. Jesus tells us that “nothing is covered that will not be revealed; nothing is hidden that will not be made known.” And in his great parable about the final judgment, the sheep and goats are divided before the face of the nations. When it all gets sorted out, I’m fairly certain that we’ll all be there–and must be there–for it to make any meaningful sense, whatever that may turn out to be. For me, oblivion for the demonically evil works no better than eternal hell fire. Surely there is something else here that is beyond our ability to comprehend, although we can perhaps catch a glimpse from Jesus through a glass darkly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, I think the truth is that we don’t know for sure what all will happen after we die. So anything we postulate is primarily speculation; the Bible gives us almost no guidance on this except by establishing the unlimited love that God has for all of us.

      One thing I get from my understanding of God’s character is that he/she is interested in healing and reconciliation and not punishment and revenge. You raise the question of Hitler, which is a very good example; if anyone should experience revenge it should be him. But does God do that? Or does God heal and reconcile?

      “For me, oblivion for the demonically evil works no better than eternal hell fire. Surely there is something else here that is beyond our ability to comprehend, although we can perhaps catch a glimpse from Jesus through a glass darkly.”

      I find your statement very interesting and insightful. Do you have any suggestions as to what this ‘something else’ might be?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. newtonfinn says:

    Tim, my speculation (and yes, that’s ALL that it is) draws inspiration from the NDE accounts that have been with us since ancient times and now are proliferating beyond our ability to even begin to keep track of. The fairly common NDE element of the life review, in which each person relives his or her entire life as he or she experienced it AND as it was experienced by all others who were affected by it (seeing what they saw, feeling what they felt, because of our attitudes and actions) strikes a very meaningful chord in me. This life review, which usually takes place in the non-judgmental presence of an omniscient, all-compassionate Being of Light, seems compatible with (although an elaboration of) the hints and glimpses of the final judgment and the afterlife which Jesus provides in the gospels, and I have come to embrace the idea of continuing revelation through the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us (if it hasn’t already been done, this might be a fertile area to explore in your exciting, open-minded blog). While a small minority of NDEs are dark and “hellish,” there is no indication that this darkness is a permanent condition. Rather, the implication is that even someone like Hitler can eventually be saved, after a long and difficult period of inner work leading eventually to illumination and repentance, thereby allowing access to higher, more beautiful realms in the spirit world. The old Catholic concept of purgatory comes to mind, and perhaps we Protestants were wrong in our rejection of it…or at least something like it. That’s the best I can do at this point to flesh out my speculation, and thanks for the invitation to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Yes, you have mentioned NDEs before, but I am happy to read your significant elaboration on the details. You may be aware that CS Lewis also suspected there would be something like purgatory to ‘purge’ the remnants of negative aspects before we could be completely free; but he did not envision a Catholic concept of flames and punishment as part of the process.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. newtonfinn says:

    Won’t it be wonderful when we can talk with CS and so many other wise and kindred spirits about what we got wrong and what we got right, on this side of the veil, about ultimate things? And about how little getting all the details right really mattered, so long as we lived in love and reverence for the mysterious, miraculous gift of life, following–and, yes, often stumbling–in Jesus’ footsteps. I think that much of the liberal church, in a rush to be relevant in a secular age, has thrown out the baby with the bathwater when it comes to the fullness of the Kingdom of God, which manifests not only on earth, where it will be forever incomplete, but culminates in what Jesus called paradise, where all is one with Abba and the lion lies down with the lamb.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marjorie Weiss says:

      Well said except I think conservative Christians also do that, spending so much effort on individual salvation, that social justice and love take a back seat.

      Liked by 2 people

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Newton, you’re getting me excited now! I would love to spend time with CS Lewis. There are likely thousands (millions?) of others who would want to do the same, so it might be a long line–but there will be plenty of time. And, of course, there are many others I would like to spend time with as well.

      I agree with you about the low importance of getting all the details right–who could ever do that? And I also share your concern that a lot of progressives do not give enough emphasis to the kingdom of God on earth, which we should be actively expanding.

      It is interesting that when I write about harmful doctrines such as inerrancy, angry god, legalism, creationism, and so forth, I tend to get a lot of response and shares (which I understand–these are ‘practical’ issues that people identify with). But when I write about the kingdom I usually get far less response.

      Liked by 1 person

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  12. Ok Tim I’ve read your your articles and I still don’t understand just how you decide to accept a teaching or a position from Jesus words and how you decide to ignore others? Take this verse John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. Sounds to me like two different Resurrections, and one is to life but the other is to judgment. And though I agree with your position on hell not being for eternal punishment for everyone judged still I have to think that judgment has something to do with justice and God being the Just God must in fact do justice to those raised to that judgment. I was watching 20/20 on OWN today. The show was about a Doc who had had four wives and had abused each one, but he got off concerning the case in question. Two months later he committed suicide. So you are telling me he still gets eternal life at the judgment if he wants it. Ain’t about to happen. Sorry, defies logic, not to mention what Jesus states pretty plainly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Jerry, thanks for reading the articles. I did not expect you would agree with them, but at least you have some idea of my understanding of the issue. I suppose the point is that the character of God, as presented by Jesus, is inclined to forgive me rather than punishing me; and if he can forgive me he can forgive anyone.

      John 5 states: “those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” The first question is: does this mean that we will be judged by our works alone? I don’t think this is true based on the full context of Jesus’ teaching and example in the gospels. Where is God’s forgiveness and reconciliation here?

      Secondly, those who are condemned are condemned to what? Punishment? What kind of punishment?

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      • Only a loving just God will make that decision . It not up to you and I. I was a manager of people in my former I retired life. I set rules of probation when hiring people. They were in writing. I explained that in order to maintain this position these are the min. Requirements. I wanted everyone that I hired to succeed. I liked everyone I hired. I even occasionally hired friends of my sons who were new college graduates. Each was given periodic reviews and told where they were not making it, so that they could correct there actions and progress. At the end of the six month probation they received a final review. Most times they were fine but occasionally I terminated someone I really liked but who didn’t perform. It was not that that I didn’t like them that I carried out the punishment of termination it was that they did not do or believe that I would do what I says. God is just. He has told us what He expects. He has even paid for our sins, Jesus says deny me and I will deny you before my father. If your teaching causes just 1 person to think they are all right to ignore the Holy Spirits prompting invtheir inner man and miss so great a salvation which includes eternal life, then what should happen to you? If you in this life took from some one his life unjustly men would be justified in some sort of punishment toward you. Why do you think that a perfect loving God would not be justified and praised by men when he justly punishes those who wrongly treated their fellow man. If your only sin is against yourself and God alone it might be that He will forgive you in the Judgment I don’t know, but if your one sin has pained others would he not be unloving to them to allow you to pay nothing for their pain? You decide – but then you have already decided haven’t you. I love you brother and I truly want to see you in eternity in the resurrection of the righteous not otherwise. But a just God has made it totally and completely your decision. He will not decide the outcome for you – it is on you brother. Thanks for your patience and for allowing me to speak. Jerry Parks

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  13. Pingback: 3 Reasons Why Loving Others is Not All There Is to Following Jesus | Jesus Without Baggage

  14. James Chastain says:

    I wonder if belief in eternal life (in a literal sense of continuing to be an experiencing subject that preserves the identity of our earthly embodied selves) might be part of the harmful baggage of belief in Jesus. It wouldn’t be as severe as the items you emphasize on this website, but, since we don’t know if eternal life is really true or what it’s like (despite what Jesus or his followers says), there could be a harm in the way it prevents us from reasoning correctly about the nature of life and reality, and also in the way it affects our earthly priorities. And why does it matter? Wouldn’t it be better just to be okay with going away forever than holding onto an idea of eternal life that we don’t even really understand? I can see why the message of love matters (which you can get in other religions), but why does eternal life matter?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Corbett says:

      James, I’ve seen belief in eternal life work as a very positive motivation for people. I was blessed with the opportunity to move to and live in a nation whose per capita GDP now is about 1/5 of that of the US, but was even lower during the years I lived there. I lived there 14 years. I saw people who made sacrifices to live a less comfortable life to help others. They helped with medical needs, education, housing, food, and more. The people I knew who were doing this were willing to make significant sacrifices in this life in large part because they believed (as I do) in eternal life. I wrote a blog post about this topic today. Since it appears that you don’t believe the Bible’s message of Jesus, this might not make sense to you. But for those who do believe, it makes a lot of sense. You can find my blog post here: http://parresiazomai.blogspot.com/2017/07/how-believing-in-eternal-life-can-make.html

      Liked by 1 person

      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Mark, I read you linked article and then noticed that you subscribe to conditional immortality; so do I. There is nothing more eternal than annihilation is there?

        Liked by 1 person

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Hi James (Chastain–like me!),

      “There could be a harm in the way it prevents us from reasoning correctly about the nature of life and reality, and also in the way it affects our earthly priorities. And why does it matter?”

      It would not bother me if there was no life after death, but I understand Jesus to teach that there is. And I certainly agree with you that it is harmful the way some people super-focus on the afterlife to the point that they are waiting to get to ‘heaven’ instead of living effectively in this lifetime (This World is not my home; I’m just a passin’ through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.) This is a distorted and unfortunate perspective.

      By the way, do you know your genealogical descent from Pierre Chastain?

      Like

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