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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Our Wily Father

I was recuperating at the gym--this physique isn't natural, ya know--the other day, when a woman and her young daughter were leaving. The kid was dawdling, watching the tennis players etc. The mother announced, "Julia, I'm leaving. See you later," as she headed out the door. The kid panicked and ran after her, not wanting to be left behind.

I chuckled because my wife and I have used this trick many a time on our 3-year-old. The very idea that you would leave your little buddy at the zoo! And yet he is so incapable of conceiving of how much we love him, that he actually thinks we're serious.

Then it occurred to me: What if God doesn't really send anybody to hell?

7 comments:

  1. Araglin7:21 PM

    Bob,

    On that point, you might be interested in a book by the world renowned Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, entitled Dare We Hope "That All Men Be Saved"?: With a Short Discourse on Hell. It is a sustained meditation on issues surrounding the question you posed, which presents a number of well-grounded arguments for why it should at least be hoped by all Christians that the population of Hell is the null set, without running off the rails of orthodoxy into a kind of feel-good Hell-denial. It also cites favorably (and then further develops) the insight expressed by C.S. Lewis that, “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense successful rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked from the inside.”

    Here's a link to the Amazon page:
    http://www.amazon.com/Dare-Hope-That-All-Saved/dp/0898702070/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202256617&sr=8-1

    Cheers,
    Araglin

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  2. Yeah, I don't think God sends anyone to Hell -- we send ourselves! (And I think Augustine thought the same thing, although I'm no Augustinian scholar.)

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  3. Michael1:11 AM

    Following up on the above comment, traditional Christian theology does not teach that God sends anyone to hell, but rather that God is an all consumimg fire, and what some people experience as love, others experience as agony - because of their own particular disposition towards God.

    The western view of hell and salvation is quite problematic, but even in the west many acknowledge that the passage in Romans 9 which seems awful on the face of it (God "choosing" some for destruction) literally reads, "those who fitted themselves for destruction," i.e as Lewis said, locking the gate from the inside.

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  4. God loves us, each and every one, so much that He chooses the fate which is best for us, despite our delusional preferences, even if that fate is eternal shrieking torment. Non nobis domine.

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  5. What if God doesn't really send anybody to hell?

    That would be a surprising act of decency.

    ReplyDelete
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