Daar word op die oomblik in die kerk meer gepraat oor self-ontplooiing as oor self-opoffering.-Anon.......As ‘n kerk haar woorde begin devalueer, dan word die kerk ‘n ramp vir die volk. - K Schilder

8/28/2012

Hell - a cause for hope

[...] the traditional teaching on hell is in fact a sign of the genuineness of Christianity, and it is therefore a cause for hope. Liberal Christianity is largely a human construct; it is what happens to a revealed religion after human beings finish redecorating it to modern tastes. H. Richard Niebuhr summarized the liberal gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” However, the darker parts of the Gospels are a sign of their genuineness, because they are not what we would have made up if we were inventing a religion to satisfy our desires. Promises of comfort on this earth, yes; promises of eternal bliss, yes; even viewing earthly troubles (whose existence can scarcely be denied) as an educational tool to discipline us and to make us grow spiritually, yes; but threats of eternal punishment, fires that are not quenched, and worms that do not die—no, no, no.
The fires and worms have been eliminated to make Christianity less dark, but the darkness guarantees that the Faith is a divine Word, and not a human construct. The gospel is good news, evangelion, like the imperial proclamations, not because it makes us comfortable but because it is an announcement from the innermost heart of a reality that is itself beyond our comprehension, a message we could never have dreamed of ourselves, even though creation contains hints and foreboding and dark promises.

[...]
God can be nothing else than Love, even if that creating and sustaining love becomes unendurable to those who reject it. Hell is not something we would put in a universe we constructed according to our human desires, but that is only because our understanding and our love are both weak. We do not see the depths of the human soul and the mysteries of love that endures beyond all rejection. The revelation of salvation and damnation does not have the sentimental sweetness of human wish-fulfillment, but the astringent and sobering taste of reality.- Excerpts from an article by Leon J. Podles, senior editor of touchstonemag.com - a Journal of Mere Christianity (CS Lewis).

5 comments:

Liza-Nel said...

LOS GEDAGTES/VRAE:
Hoekom is die hel so 'n omstrede onderwerp om oor te praat? Die ateïs en agnostikus ontken prontuit die bestaan daarvan, die teologiese liberalis glo dat niemand verlore sal gaan nie...maar laat dit nou net klink asof jy iemand hel toe stuur en alle hel breek los. Hoekom - as jy nie in die bestaan van die hel glo nie hoekom dan so ontsteld raak daaroor? Dit moet opsigself hel wees om so ‘n diepliggende vrees vir iets te koester dat jy alles wat daarmee verband hou ontken, ook vir God. Volstruis-politiek.

Ek is oortuig daarvan dat die mense wat eendag in die hel gaan beland diegene is wat God volhardend verwerp. Hulle is sodoende die argitekte van hul eie ondergang. Nie God nie. Want as jy God verwerp, verwerp jy die lewegewende bron… God is Lewe – die hel is die vuurdood - (Mattheus 12:37; Johannes 3:18).

NT Wright stel dit goed: : The central fact about humans in the Bible is that they bear the image of God (Genesis 1.26-8, etc.).I understand this as a vocation as much as an innate character. Humans are summoned to worship and love their creator, and to reflect his image into the world. When, however, instead of worshipping and loving him, they worship and love that which is not him — in other words, something within the order of creation, whether spiritual or material — they turn away from him. But they can only be maintained in his image, as genuine humans, by worshipping him; they depend on him for their life and character. The rest of creation, by contrast, is subject to decay and death. If we worship it, or some part of it, instead of the life-giving God, we are invoking death upon ourselves instead of life.

Henrietta said...

Ek dink die vernaamste rede vir die ontkenning van die hel is dit: As daar geen hel is nie, hoef mens nie verantwoording te doen nie, en kan mens leef nes jy wil.

Soos Rob Bell met sy universalisme wat basies wil vra: sal 'n God van liefde sondaars hel toe stuur? Ek dink juis na die sondeval is die hel nodig. As my familie deur 'n sosio-patiese reeks-moordenaar uitgemoor is, wil ek tog asseblief nie uiteindelik op dieselfde plek as hy die lewe hierna deurbring nie.

Henrietta said...

As 'n mens 'n belydende lidmaat van 'n gereformeerde kerk is, moet mens bly by die leer van daardie kerk, omdat mens 'n eed afgelê het om dit te doen - - dus ook by die leer aangaande die hel soos dit in daardie leer voorkom.

Liza-Nel said...

Some apologists argue that Hell exists because of free will, and that hell is a choice rather than an imposed punishment. - Jonathan L. Kvanvig

“ [C.S.] Lewis believes that the doors of hell are locked from the inside rather than from the outside. Thus, according to Lewis, if escape from hell never happens, it is not because God is not willing that it should happen. Instead, residence in hell is eternal because that is just what persons in hell have chosen for themselves.

Liza-Nel said...

Some apologists argue that Hell exists because of free will, and that hell is a choice rather than an imposed punishment. - Jonathan L. Kvanvig

“ [C.S.] Lewis believes that the doors of hell are locked from the inside rather than from the outside. Thus, according to Lewis, if escape from hell never happens, it is not because God is not willing that it should happen. Instead, residence in hell is eternal because that is just what persons in hell have chosen for themselves.

Luther se insig:
"I am not so sure what hell is like before the Day of Judgment. The notion that hell is a specific place, now tenanted by the souls of the damned, as artists portray it and the belly servers preach it, I consider of no value, for we know that the devils are not yet in hell, but as Peter declares (2 Peter 2:4), they are “in ropes of nether gloom.” And St. Paul speaks of “powers and world rulers in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). Christ also terms the devil “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30). To dominate the world, to commit so much villainy, and to create so much misery would be impossible for the devils if they were confined to hell. The agony of hell would surely deter them from this. Scripture also says of many saints that they went down into hell, as Jonah does here. Thus we hear this of Job (Job 17:13), and Jacob laments (Gen. 37:35): “I shall go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” Scripture uses the word “Sheol” graphically to describe the anxiety and the agony of the dying. It adapts itself to their mood and feelings. And the dying do feel as though they were descending into hell, that is, into God’s wrath, although they know of no specific place to which they are departing. Everybody carries his hell with him wherever he may be so long as he feels the final anguish of death and God’s anger. In conformity with this, St. Peter in Acts 2:27 interprets Ps. 16:10 as spoken by Christ: “Thou dost not give Me up to Sheol, etc.,” and he says (v. 24) that God “loosed the pangs of death.” St. Peter wants us to think of “Sheol” as the pain of death that Christ felt when He died on the cross and when He departed this life and passed into the power of God. However, on the Last Day this will assume a different aspect. Then hell will be a particular place and the abode of those consigned to it and the eternal wrath of God. But let this suffice. It is not very important whether or not one pictures hell as it is commonly portrayed and described. The fact remains that hell is far worse now—and will be even worse than it is now—than anyone is able to say, depict, or imagine." (LW 19:74).