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God’s love will be pleasure to some, and torment to others

April 13, 2011

 

Heaven and Hell in Christianity in the West is a huge topic. So huge, that I could assume that more books have been dedicated to the topic in the West than any other topic. Unbelievers even write on the subject, and turn hell into a poetic nightmare. The unbelieving world in the west are bombarded with the idea that God is angry with them, and is waiting to flick them into the pits of hell, seeing that He is really pissed off with their sins, and that they cannot stand in His holy presence.

As a reformer, I assumed as much. My thought process was that salvation was a declaration, and a change in view with God. This is clearly a Calvinistic theme, seeing that God is the one whom ultimately decides who is going to be covered by the created grace of Jesus Christ.

But questions lingered. I wondered why in Isaiah 66:24, it seemed as though the righteous were able to watch the wicked burn:

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

If  hell is a separated place, why is it we can watch the destruction of unbelievers? But, even a greater question was posed towards my own self, and that is, why would we want to watch unbelievers suffer?

I later heard someone ask R.C Sproul a question that was somewhat related too mine, which was phrased “How will we feel when a family member gets cast into hell by God?” R.C Sproul did his usual “Yes this is always a tough thing to grasp” type of set up, but his answer cemented the reality for me, he said “There will be no greater joy, as we stand next to our Holy and righteous God, then to know that in His righteousness, and holy will, that it is His doing that sends a loved one into the pits of hell. At that moment, we will want nothing more than that decision, and we will delight in it, seeing that it is the perfect decision of God” This was not satisfactory too me, but what other explanation could there be?

Well, when I first came across Orthodoxy, I read a few articles. One was this and the other was this.  It hit me like a ton of bricks, and epiphany after epiphany hit me one after another.  It make complete sense.  Seeing that hell will be how the unrighteous experience God, and heaven will be how the upright healed Christian will experience God, our observation of unbelievers won’t be an awkward experience at all too explain, seeing that their suffering is not something we are separated from, rather, what burns them, is what we delight in. God is not casting fireballs onto unbelievers, and with His other hand giving back massages to the Christians, rather, He is bestowing His love to everyone, and those who hate God, will experience His glory as absolutely intolerable. We will not rejoice that God is destroying them, but rejoice in what is destroying them, which is God’s love. It is a difference between us and them, not God. It is absolutely their own doing, and we are sitting in the same place, just experiencing God differently.

This also really destroys the idea of imputed righteousness, seeing that heaven is a place for healed individuals, and not a place of declarations.

“The sorrow which takes hold of the heart which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God. … But love acts in two different ways, as suffering in the reproved, and as joy in the blessed.” – St. Isaac of Syria

 

 

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4 Comments
  1. sermonwriter permalink

    That’s a great pic too. Where’d you find that?

  2. sermonwriter permalink

    “This also really destroys the idea of imputed righteousness, seeing that heaven is a place for healed individuals, and not a place of declarations.”

    Yes, imputation is a convenient ‘thought’ that only serves as a reason not to recieve healing or to ever come to terms with true repentance. Embracing imputation as an ‘act of faith’ is the same as embracing hell. It’s the same as going to the doctor and believing in what he tells you is the cure, is the cure itself. It’s the doctor declaring the cure that cures you, of course. No need to swallow the cure, just put it on a shelf and ‘pretend’ you’re cured. After all, if I swallow it, I will be demonstrating my lack of faith in what the doctor has declared.

  3. sermonwriter permalink

    To rephrase one of my sentences, it is the doctor declaring the cure, and my “belief in the doctor’s declaration”that ultimately cures me. I think it’s easy to see the demonic influence on that kind of faith in James 2.

  4. Eric Castleman permalink

    Well, the reason it is such a refutation against reformed theology, is because reformed theology is just a result of things like the Roman Catholic view of God and justice..unlike the popular claim, that Luther just read the bible, and saw sola fide popping out of the page, it was rather a system that was placed on the reformers. Just read Luther’s notes on Augustine and the Manicheans, and you can completely watch as Luther develops his theories of will being in bondage. It just so happens that certain scriptures were being thrown around by heretics to defends such heretical ideas in the time of Augustine, that Luther was able to cling onto them.

    However, this is why Eastern Orthodoxy is such a KO against reformed theology, since Augustine was afraid of the Greek thought himself…woops…super ousia means what? Says the Augustinians..lol

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