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Pharisees believed in ECT?
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TOPIC: Pharisees believed in ECT?

Re: Pharisees believed in ECT? 1 year, 11 months ago #4016

  • Timothew
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People who believe in ECT always say "Eternal Conscious Torment is Hell in horrible to think about, but I believe in it anyway". It seems like they take pride that they believe in ECT, "Even though Eternal Torment in Hell is horrible to think about, I believe in it because I have so much faith in God."

This is illogical thinking. It assumes that there is eternal conscious torment, and we have to make ourselves believe in it no matter what. It assumes that people who do not believe in ECT are just too wishy washy to accept the truth. I believe the truth because I believe what the Bible says, and that is not ECT. I would like to believe in eternal torture just as much as the next guy, but the Bible doesn't support the medieval theory, so I am forced to give up the beloved doctrine of torture.

If you HAVE to have something horrible to think about, how about this? Those who reject God miss out on having eternal life with him.
Τιμοθέῳ γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει
Tim Wiesner

Re: Pharisees believed in ECT? 1 year, 11 months ago #4018

  • kgddds
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Mcgragor wrote:
In my studies...
To me, the CI position is weakened and ECT strengthened...
To me if the Pharisee believed in ECT it is actually a very big deal...
To me, if the Jews during the time of Christ believed in ECT its a very strong argument...
I still see a lot of evidence for ECT...

In your dilemma on which side of the argument to adopt, I think it's important to consider the grand narrative and to not give mega weight to micro points. Of course, all arguments need to be properly weighed. This is not an easy thing to do, and I'm sympathetic to that.

The tendency one must fight (on both sides of any argument) is the tendency to give a ton of weight to an argument that has an ounce of relevance. Most of the time, I think, errors here come down to supporting what one wants to believe.

For those truly on the fence, though, I am perplexed as to why the torment of life is their choice over the termination of life (because everyone thinks termination is more humane than torment; that is, in our criminal justice system, everyone would conclude a death penalty to be more humane that a torture penalty). Should not the position that puts God in a better light win the uncertain battle until one is certain otherwise? Does God not deserve the benefit of the doubt? This puzzles me.

When the possibility of annihilation just cracked open its door I was immediately attracted to it. Others seem to actively repel the idea of it. That's just human nature, I suppose.

The beauty of grace is seen in the glory it reveals.
Grace is glory's seed; Glory is grace's bloom.
Last Edit: 1 year, 11 months ago by kgddds. Reason: clarified sentence reference

Re: Pharisees believed in ECT? 1 year, 11 months ago #4019

  • Singalphile
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The argument: If Jesus disagreed with the Pharisees about the fate of the wicked, the gospels would record that disagreement, or at least would not include language that could arguably be interpreted to support their view.

First, that assumes that Jesus' words about destruction and perishing and not living forever and being burned up were not aimed at their view. Perhaps He was refuting them. Unfortunately, we have only a tiny % of all that He said, and that contains relatively little of what we call "doctrine" (in the modern meaning of the word). We shouldn't read a lot into what Jesus didn't say.

Secondly, Jesus' focus was always on personal behavior and inward humility and righteousness, even when discussing more abstract theological issues (such as the afterlife). Jesus didn't come here to satisfy the Jews' (or our) curiosities about such things, so it's no wonder that He didn't focus on that, but that's not a good reason to assume that the allegedly dominant view was correct, imo.

Lastly, Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees and Sadducees and other religious leaders and, actually, that entire generation of Israel regarding their wickedness, hypocrisy, and traditions of men. In return, those leaders hated Him and conspired to murder Him. Thus, it would be odd to give a lot of weight to whatever their opinions were about ... anything. In fact, it would make more sense to assume that their opinions were wrong unless Jesus explicitly approved of them (such as their tithing).

All that said, I do think that tradition is the strongest argument in favor of ECT. The second strongest is that eternal destruction is, at least to my mind, more terrifying than some modern opinions about hell. The finality and horror of annihilation is perhaps too much for some. I would prefer a modern view of eternal conscious hell over eternal annihilation, to be honest.

(Edit: I should note that many Christians who are wiser and more Spirit-filled than me would disagree (or agree) with me on all that. That's not what it's about.)
"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.
Last Edit: 1 year, 11 months ago by Singalphile.

Re: Pharisees believed in ECT? 1 year, 11 months ago #4034

  • Sherman
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From my studies, it seems that there was much debate among the Pharisees over the fate of the especially wicked. Some believed that the longest a person would or could endure post-mortem torment was 12 months. Most people who died and did not go straight to Paradise, Abraham's side, were in a place of torment where they suffered until the angels carried them to Paradise; and most people would ascend to Paradise before 11 months of torment. For the especially wicked like Herod though, the Pharisees debated over whether or not such an evil person would be annihilated at 12 months or continue to suffer indefinitely (not necessarily endlessly) longer than 12 months.

Regardless of what the Pharisees believed though, it seems to me that if there was even the possibility of ECT, such would have been named and described as such in scripture repeatedly, at least once! But it is not. In the Greek text of scripture, the word Tartarus would have been used for it was the Hellish realm of Hades in Greek mythology. But Tartarus is not once warned of in scripture. And biblical Hebrew does not even have a word that would correctly translate as Hell.

And Gehenna is correctly interpreted into English as Hinnom Valley; tragically Gehenna continues to be completely mistranslated as Hell in most English translations! In warning of being cast into Hinnom Valley (which is predominantly quoted by Matthew) is referencing the prophets' warnings concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, where in Hinnom Valley on the SSW side of Mt. Zion the bodies of the dead were cast and consumed by dogs, vultures, maggots (worms that don't die), and unquenchable fire (likely fueled by sulfur which is also related to the destruction of Sodom).

Misinterpreting Gehenna as Hell actually nullifies scripture of its power to call anyone to repentance. Believers disregard such passages saying to themselves "No worries for me, I'm saved by grace!" And unbelievers don't care what such passages say! When all along, the Hinnom Valley (Gehenna) passages were meant to warn the Children of God of destruction that would come to them and all that they love if the continued in such sin. Jesus' use of Hinnom Valley in his warnings would have meant much to the 1st century Jew. It would be similar (though much worse) than saying to a Jew today, "Repent or you'll be burned the in fires of Auschwitz!" Hitler killed some 600,00 Jews, but the Babylonians killed untold thousands of Jews, raised Jerusalem, and even leveled the Temple! Jesus was also warning the Jews of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, thus using the warning of being cast into Hinnom Valley literally too!
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