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Reply Topic: Re: *Eternal* punishment?
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[quote="webb" post=5132][quote="Timothew" post=718]They say that eternal means aionian, whcih means "pertaining to the age". So eternal punishment is punishment pertaining to the age of punishment. When that age is completed, the sin will be burnt away and the perfected person goes to God. I've said what they say as well as I could. I have a problem with this doctrine though because it leaves the sacrifice of Jesus Christ completely out. If I can have salvation by going through hell, then salvation is not by faith in Jesus Christ. It's almost like having faith in hellfire.[/quote]I would say a number of things based on the model of eternal punishment being age-long punishment: 1. Those not found worthy of a resurrection to incorruptible life at Christ's coming in glory don't go through "hell," if that means the lake of fire. They go to or stay in Hades. 2. You don't burn away sin through punishment. A person who refuses to receive and/or to extend the grace of God's forgiveness in Christ may be handed over to the lex talionis--so that the pain they caused to others and refused to repent of and forgive others of ended up being done to them. That doesn't burn away sins any more than the suffering of a prison sentence makes people come out law abiding on the other side. If people want to repent and receive grace and forgiveness while in the prison of Hades, good for them. The blood Jesus Christ shed on the cross does not have a shelf life. 3. Even on the model that people who suffer in Hades (or even the lake of fire) can be saved, they are not saved by atoning for their own sins. If they are saved, they are saved by the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus," who, if it were not for his grace, could have and would have simply expunged them from creation. But "in Christ all are made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22), and "all who are in the tombs will hear his voice, and those who hear will live" (Jn 5:25). That they should be given resurrection at all is down to the grace of God. 4. I am not a universalist, but if I were, I would deny that I had "faith in hellfire." I would affirm that I had faith that God would not bring a created being with the potential for everlasting life into existence unless he had a plan to bring that being into its potential. Just as some convert at a young age and some at an old age, so, in the afterlife some will convert after even longer--but not because their sins are washed away by fire or because God has essentially tortured them into compliance. It will be (on the universal salvation theory) because every being has their own process, and that's between them and God.[/quote]
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