||2013-05-18 02:52:23, 조회 : 2,834, 추천 : 582
| Michelle Yim|
The last loophole
In the previous chapter, we talked about what Universalism is and looked closely at the Bible for any signs of it. However, we concluded that Universalism doesn’t exist in any page of the Bible. In today’s chapter we will be discussing the “last loophole” that Blanchard brings up. Firstly, he brings up the final kind of annihilationism. This last one teaches that the righteous goes to heaven and the wicked goes to hell. But, the pains of hell is temporary and it will come to an end after the wicked suffers. Another topic of the last loophole is “conditional immorality”. This teaches that man is naturally mortal but that God will grant him immorality if he turns his back on sin and puts his trust in Christ.
One of the main arguments that annihilationist point out is “if God alone is immortal than all of humanity MUST be mortal”. In 1Timothy 6:15-16 states “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal”. However, when Paul had stated this he was talking about Gods “essential immorality”. He is a God of no beginning or end and a God of “everlasting to everlasting”(Psalm 90:2). Although in the Bible it doesn’t say a “mans soul is immortal” the Bible strongly points to the direction of human immorality. For instance, unlike any of the other creatures that God has created man is made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27). Man is also “made in Gods likeness” (James 3:9). Therefore, a life of a human being is more important than any other creature in this world. Also in Ecclesiastes 12:7 it states “the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”. John Calvin sums it up by saying “There can be no question that man consists of a body and soul; meaning by soul, an immortal though created essence”. Our sense of immorality is God given, as we discussed in our previous chapters.
Another argument that is brought up is said by Clark Pinnock “It just does not make sense to say that a God of love will torture people for ever for sins done in the context of a finite life…It makes no sense to suppose that, alongside the new creation, tucked away in some corner of it, there exists a lake of fire with souls burning ceaselessly in it”. The weakness of this argument is that we rely on our human logic and try to fit our answers so that it’ll make sense for us. Nevertheless, the truth of the doctrine should be relied on the Scripture and the scripture only. There are many times when God dealt with His people in ways that we may never understand. However that doesn’t give us the leeway of trying to fit it into our earth bound ideas. Conditionalist teach that there isn’t any evidence to support everlasting punishment. We can diminish this teaching quickly because the Bible speaks of the “unquenchable fire and the undying worm”. This shows us that the pain and agony will be unending.
Many people argue for annihilationism because they cannot accept that fact that God will eventually have a final triumph over all the evil in the world. So the answer to this dilemma is by stating “everybody will eventually be saved”. Sadly, throughout the bible it speaks of the separation of the “wicked and righteousness” “sheeps and the goats”. Jesus always spoke of the opposite destinies. This brings up another question that Roger Forster asks “Why shouldn’t God, who first made the creature, be unable to unmake it? If God could extinguish the pain of those who are unwilling to be saved, wouldn’t that be a more merciful thing for a loving God to do?”. The problem with this statement is if what Forster said is true than this particular attribute is held higher than all of his other characteristics (holiness, justice and righteous anger). Another thing that is problematic with this statement is that just because God has the ability to “unmake” doesn’t mean that he has to do it. For instance, God has the ability to heal every disease and sickness, however he chose not to. Does this mean we should blame God for this too?
The next argument is “Even at a human level, it is one of the principles of justice that the punishment should fit the crime. How can it be right for God to punish twenty, or sixty, or eighty years of sin with suffering that never ends?”. Blanchard brings up numerous points to argue this question. First, he gives us a story of a man that attacked a 45 year old man in broad daylight. They severed his arm with a billhook, pummeled him with a baseball bat and sprayed hydrochloric acid in his face. The assault was over in less than a minute. So would a minute in jail be an appropriate jail sentence for this man? This story shows us that the length of the crime doesn’t fix the length of the punishment, but rather the nature. We must also understand that it isn’t up to us for whats a fitting punishment for our sins. God alone has the ability to settle on the nature of the sin and the punishment. Another argument that Blanchard tells us is that our obiligation to God is to give Him glory. In Psalm 29:2 it says that it “is infinitely great”. So the failure to do so is infinite evil. And infinite evil = infinite punishment.
Another argument that annihilationist cling on to is when a “second death” is mentioned in the book of Revelations. When this second death was mentioned it didn’t mean annihilation but rather “separation”. It says in Revelation 21:18 “But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death”. In Revelation 2:11 tells us that the faithful believer “will not be hurt at all by the second death”. This shows us a clear distinction of the “separation” (second death) that will be followed.