Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fire-proofing the damned

I’m going to complete a bit of unfinished business. Here’s what one of the brain donors over at Gregory MacDonald’s blog said in response to a post of mine:

Auggybendoggy said...

First thing is first...Learn to spell Steve… I don't see how in CU (christian universalism), believing in hell, leaves someone to persue [sic] a hellbound path… Where has Talbott or Mcdonald [sic] ever encouraged people to continue on a hellbound path…People don't want that for 10 seconds they sure as Hell (no pun intended) don't want it for a Millenium [sic]… I don't want my friends to go hell ANYMORE than I see them in it already...SEPERATED [sic] FROM GOD.

http://evangelicaluniversalist.blogspot.com/2008/07/steve-hays-responds.html

For someone who reproves me for misspelling, I can’t say that Auggy sets the most felicitous example. He should stick to theology.

On second thought, his theology is no improvement:

Where has Talbott or Mcdonald ever encouraged people to continue on a hellbound path…Ok, so many people like steve see it as inherent.__Perhaps I might explain, as I do with my "fellow men" at work._So you think hell is fun? Try this for starters. Go to a swimming pool full of water and drench yourself with lighter fluid. Take a match and light yourself on fire. Give it lets say....10 seconds. Ok, Ok, give it 5 seconds...Too long huh._What makes you think hell is just ok. __I think if Steve can do that little test then he might have a different perspective of 10 years in hell. How about 10,000 years._What about 1,000,000,000 years.__People don't want that for 10 seconds they sure as Hell (no pun intended) don't want it for a Millenium.

Several problems with this devastating counterargument to my position:

i) To my knowledge, MacDonald and Talbott don’t take the flames of hell literally. In that event, Auggy’s illustration fails to rebut my contention about MacDonald and Talbott. This example is an illustration of his assumptions rather than theirs.

ii) Auggy seems to think the lake of fire is a literal lava flow. If so, then unless the damned are made of asbestos, they couldn’t spend 10 years in hell. They’d incinerate on contact.

So that would illustrate annihilationism rather than universalism.

iii) Or does Auggy think the damned are fireproof? But, in that case, they might find a dip in the lake of fire quite refreshing.

Indeed, surfer dudes might find Auggy’s depiction of hell quite compelling. They could spend eternity riding the perfect wave.

At this rate I’m bracing myself for the sheer brilliance of Auggy’s follow-up objection.

2 comments:

  1. I'm certain you're not suggesting that the pains of Hell are in some way "tolerable", are you?

    Okay, so it's not having one's skin burnt off one's bones for all eternity. Do you deny that there is an element of physical pain and torment, though? If not, what kind of pain? Jude alludes to those who suffer the punishment of "eternal fire". Was he just using metaphor?

    Personally, I don't find the doctrine tolerable, but then again, I don't have a blog defending a God who sends people there for being exactly what He created them to be.

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  2. JAMES SAID:

    “I'm certain you're not suggesting that the pains of Hell are in some way ‘tolerable’, are you?”

    “Tolerable” in what sense? Morally tolerable? Yes.

    Physically “tolerable”? Well, that’s vague. What would it mean for the pains of hell to be intolerable? It’s not as if the damned have an escape route. So even if the pain (assuming they’re in pain) were “intolerable” or unbearable, they’d have to bear it.

    “Do you deny that there is an element of physical pain and torment, though?”

    I don’t have an opinion on that. Perhaps the damned inflict pain on each other. Perhaps the damned torment each other. Wouldn’t surprise me. But it’s all a bit speculative.

    “Was he just using metaphor?”

    Yes, fire is a metaphor.

    “Personally, I don't find the doctrine tolerable.”

    So you mean morally tolerable rather than physically tolerable.

    BTW, do you believe in moral absolutes? What is your source and standard of morality?

    “I don't have a blog defending a God who sends people there for being exactly what He created them to be.”

    Actually, they’re not exactly what he created them to be. He didn’t directly create you and me. We’re the result of second causes. We’re also moral and rational agents.

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