Posted by: admin on Fri, Dec 2, 2011
There is no such thing as "eternal" Hell of our loving God
Divine Justice and Life After Death
The Christian Universalist Association affirms the following in our statement of faith:
This is a foundational belief of all the great spiritual traditions of the world. In Eastern religions and philosophies it is known as "karma." In the Hebrew scriptures, God promised that those who follow His commandments will experience blessings, and that judgments will befall those who do wrong (Deut. 30:15-20, Ps. 1:1-6, Prov. 3:33). Sinful actions were to be repaid in direct proportion to the violation of moral law (Ex. 21:23-25, Lev. 24:17-20). In the Gospel, Jesus offered a similar illustration of the proportionality and balance of the scales of divine justice, warning that those who take up the sword will die by the sword (Mat. 26:52). On the other side of the coin, he promised great benefits for those who devote their lives to God's calling (Mat. 19:29).
Obviously, people do not always get what they deserve -- either good or bad -- in this life. Therefore, spiritual traditions teach that life of individual human beings continues after death in some form, and that in the life to come, justice will be served. If a person has not already received the benefits or penalties of their actions in this life, they will surely receive it in the next (Gal. 6:7-8, Rev. 20:12). The law of justice necessitates that there be moral consequences for actions (1 Cor. 15:19,32). The afterlife may be comparatively "heavenly" or "hellish" for a particular individual depending on how they lived their life on earth (Mat. 18:34-35, Luke 6:37).
The Bible does not offer much detail about the specific nature of the afterlife, so that remains largely open to personal interpretation and speculation. But the Bible does promise in many passages that reward and punishment after physical death are real and to be taken seriously. Some people believe that heaven and hell are places that exist in a separate spiritual dimension of reality; others believe they are states of being that can occur in any location, even right here on earth. Jesus made the remarkable statement that "the Kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21). It could be that wherever a soul may go in God's vast and multidimensional universe -- in this body or outside of the body -- one's own past actions and present character play a significant role in generating the reality that one experiences, whether that be positive or negative.
Another thing the Bible makes clear is that the purpose of "hell" or suffering is not to torture people, but to cause them to learn from their mistakes and grow closer to perfection. Divine judgment is reformative, not vindictive. The word used in the original Greek New Testament is kolasis, which means a beneficial chastening such as a gardener prunes a vine to remove dead vegetation and make it grow more fruitfully.
Proportionality also ensures that any judgments upon a soul by God must be temporary and limited, since the sin that caused those judgments to ensue was also limited. This is a basic, Biblical teaching about divine justice -- and it is also common sense. The word used in the original New Testament to express this limited judgment is aionios, which means lasting for a distinct age or period of time with a beginning and an end. It is the Greek word from which we derive the English word eon, and it was used in the time of Jesus to refer to a period lasting anywhere from the length of a man's life to a thousand years. There is no such thing as "eternal" hell, despite what many Christians have been led to believe based on mistranslations of the Bible.
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