MADPRIEST ON HELL

Somebody called Rob Bell (who I know nothing about although everyone else seems to) has started a discussion on the existence (or non-existence) of hell. It's gone viral all over the Christian blogosphere in the last 24 hours. I would recommend that you check out Sam's post at ELIZAPHANIAN if you want details.

This is my two-penneth:

When we talk about heaven and hell we tend to ignore the Incarnation. We are part of the body of Christ. On the last day we will be judging ourselves. This means that we will be accountable to those whom we have sinned against.

I have always felt extremely uncomfortable on those occasions when I have considered the reality of hell. I feel like a murderer designing my own prison. My conclusion is that it is only those for whom we have made life hell who have the right to deny the existence of future hells.

Comments

MADPRIEST ON HELL — 10 Comments

  1. I don’t believe this. I don’t think there’s a Hell or a Heaven. I think that when you die, that’s it. No more.

  2. I would never ignore the Incarnation, because I believe it is the greatest event in the Jesus story. We are the Body of Christ, and when one member suffers, we all suffer.

    we will be accountable to those whom we have sinned against.

    Not only will we be accountable, we will suffer the same pain we have inflicted on others. The suffering will be transformative and result in reconciliation with those whom we have sinned against.

    Look, no one really knows, but since I can’t rid myself of the idea that justice requires judgment, the theory I mention works for me. In a way, the idea resembles the cast-off notion of Purgatory, since the suffering is a kind of refining fire, and it will not be forever.

    And I’m thinking right now, MadPriest, of the suffering you’ve inflicted on me, and experiencing a bit of Schadenfreude that you will get your own back. Ah, but I will get my own back, too, which, in turn, makes me fear and tremble.

  3. And I’m thinking right now, MadPriest, of the suffering you’ve inflicted on me

    As a priest, I am merely an instrument of God. Due to your “Jezebel sins” God was worried that eternity wouldn’t be long enough, so he sent me along to get some of the punishment out of the way up front, so to speak.

  4. Well, it would be a bit off for a mere instrument of God to lie to you. That is why I always tell you the truth. Especially when it is about you.

  5. “And I also say to thee, that thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build my assembly, and gates of Hades shall not prevail against it;” is among my favorite snippets of from the Gospels. If the gates are locked from the inside so that the kingdom has to storm in, then it is our own judgement that matters.

    FWIW
    jimB

  6. What IS the answer to this question: “Who are you to judge me?”
    Suppose it’s your own Archbishop Williams? Or that nut who screams that “God hates fags!”?
    How do you know?

  7. That’s what you get for allowing anonymous comments.

    Muslims, I’ve read, do not believe that Hell is necessarily eternal.

    Lewis, in a rare moment of actual theology, believed Hell was locked from the inside.

    Milton seems to have believed that we make Hell by our own efforts and denying our own shortcomings.

    of particular interest is this:
    My conclusion is that it is only those for whom we have made life hell who have the right to deny the existence of future hells.

    Anthony Bloom related a story of a concentration camp survivor, who, when asked didn’t he feel hate for his former captors, humiliation, helplessness, said that they had empowered him. He would be able to stand before God and say, “I forgive them, and, if I can forgive, no one else can make claim against them.”