Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
The question I pose is this: Since only two of these three propositions can be true, which two of the three propositions more clearly permeate scripture through-and-through? Which two of these three more accurately reflect the nature and character of an infinitely wise, infinitely just and infinitely good God? Proposition #1 implies that God is unlimited in his love, sincerely desiring the salvation of all mankind. This is an overwhelming theme of scripture. Proposition #2 implies that God is unlimited in power, able to accomplish whatever he desires. This is also an exceedingly strong biblical theme. Proposition #3, however, seems weak in relation to the other two, and open to various interpretations, and is found in texts that often contain parable, hyperbole, metaphor and symbolism.
In order for proposition #3 to be true at the expense of either propositions #1 or #2, the biblical warrant for everlasting punishment would need to be much stronger than the biblical theme of God’s unlimited love and God’s omnipotence. And that, I think, is a case that is not easy to make.
(There is no word in the New Testament that actually means "timeless" or "forever". The concept of a timeless eternity is a philosophical idea that intrigued Augustine and especially Thomas Aquinas and found its way into their writings, which in turn became the standard interpretation of orthodoxy. The words that are translated "eternal" in these New Testament scriptures are the Greek words aion and aionios, which mean "age" or "lasting an indeterminate time" - from which we get the English word "eon", which has a beginning and an end. There is no word in the New Testament that means a timeless eternity).