• Welcome to Talk Jesus

    A true bible based, Jesus centered online community. Join over 13,000 members today

    Register Log In

The Purpose of Damnation as Punishment

Users who viewed this discussion (Total:0)

Member
Hello.

A friendly atheist here. (I promise, not trolling for a fight – just some thoughtful Christian perspective.)

My wife and I have two kids. We punish them as part of their upbringing (nothing physical). As far as I can figure, there are only two reasons (and they are admittedly related) why we do:

1. Negative conditioning to correct a misbehavior so that misbehavior acquires bad associations, hence reducing the appeal of repeating that misbehavior in the future.

2. The threat of punishment as a means of deterrence from any particular misbehavior, whether or not this misbehavior has ever been exhibited.

When either of my children misbehave in some way that has wronged a third party, my wife and I see to it that they make amends. However, we do not teach that this is part of their “punishment,” but, instead, a responsibility they bear for the consequences of their misbehavior. An understanding we hope they internalize and carry with them into adulthood.

The “punishment” aspect to their upbringing, then, is simply a training method. When they reach adulthood, and become subject to full responsibility for all their actions and decisions, my wife and I have no intention of “punishing” them from that point onward.

I have read and heard Christian thinkers explain that divine punishment for the unrepentant sinner is akin to a loving parent punishing a wayward child. In that vein, I don’t understand how damnation (whether it be consignment to a literal Hell, with eternal torment we would physically equate to torture, or simply eternal expulsion from God’s presence) parallels either reason why I, as a parent, punish my children. Obviously, the purpose of reason #1 (aversion through conditioning) does not apply because one does not have a second chance to accept Christ once damnation has been sentenced. #2 (deterrence) may be a closer analog, except when I punish my children, even if it is to follow through on a threat that was originally intended as pure deterrence, it is still designed to guide future behavior. And, as I have said, once my children are capable of (and obligated to) their own personal responsibility, my interest in (and the efficacy of) deterrent punishment is useless.

Hence, what is the efficacy of damnation purely as a deterrence? If it fails to deter any single individual from refusing acceptance of Christ prior to Judgement, it can never be applied to that person again.

Finally, the notion of damnation-as-justice doesn’t seem to apply either. As I said, when my wife and I mete out justice to our children, it is so they can make reparations for whatever “crime” or “infraction” they commit. But once that “debt to society” is paid, our children earn full reinstatement in whatever rights to which they (such as a six- and a nine-year-old) are entitled. Justice is a restoration to a peaceful, egalitarian order.

So (thanks if you’ve read this far), where is my disconnect? Is the analogy between parental love and God’s love for His Creation just not a very good one? Or are my motives in, and criteria for, using punishment to discipline my children confused?

PS – For those of you who believe that damnation is not literal torment in a lake of fire, but simply eternal separation from the Grace and glory of God, what is your understanding of how that separation is different (i.e.: worse) than physical life on earth?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
 
Active

RJ

what is your understanding of how that separation is different (i.e.: worse) than physical life on earth?
Your punishment or separation in the physical life on earth is temporary; the separation in the next life would be for ever and permanent!
Is the analogy between parental love and God’s love for His Creation just not a very good one?
The analogy is totally inaccurate and impossible to be the same.Parental love is often conditional and temporary, God's love is perfectly unconditional and eternal!
But once that “debt to society” is paid, our children earn full reinstatement in whatever rights to which they (such as a six- and a nine-year-old) are entitled.
Reinstatement here would be analogous to to God's justification. But again, this reinstatement is temporary and God's justification ( just as if they had not sinned) is eternal and because Jesus paid the debt for your children and not that they paid a debt to you or society.
Hence, what is the efficacy of damnation purely as a deterrence?
There is none. It is not about the aspect of ,not going to hell, as a deterrent; hell is just a result of a wrong decision. Ephesians 2:8-9
You are saved by grace alone. You either take God's free gift or you don't. For you, God does not send you to hell as much as you choose to not take his gift and risk the possibility of going to hell.
 
Member
Your punishment or separation in the physical life on earth is temporary; the separation in the next life would be for ever and permanent!

The analogy is totally inaccurate and impossible to be the same.Parental love is often conditional and temporary, God's love is perfectly unconditional and eternal!

Reinstatement here would be analogous to to God's justification. But again, this reinstatement is temporary and God's justification ( just as if they had not sinned) is eternal and because Jesus paid the debt for your children and not that they paid a debt to you or society.

There is none. It is not about the aspect of ,not going to hell, as a deterrent; hell is just a result of a wrong decision. Ephesians 2:8-9
You are saved by grace alone. You either take God's free gift or you don't. For you, God does not send you to hell as much as you choose to not take his gift and risk the possibility of going to hell.
The idea that someone should be sent to hell for mere unbelief is ludicrous. As there is not the slightest bit of verifiable proof a deity does exist, to disbelieve is the default position, imo.
 
Active
PS – For those of you who believe that damnation is not literal torment in a lake of fire, but simply eternal separation from the Grace and glory of God, what is your understanding of how that separation is different (i.e.: worse) than physical life on earth?
If you read the scriptures carefully you will find that the fire is eternal,not the punishment.
Eternal means no beginning and no end,always was and always will be,so the concept of eternal punishment or separation doesn't really fly because it would have to been always punished and that does not fit the word punishment.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

The temporal returns to the temporal and the eternal returns to the eternal.
The soul is what remains in question,a soul is not eternal if it can end or even change.
There is no condemnation for those who walk in the "spirit".

Theres a whole lot to be more to considered that mainstream christianity does not seem to aware of.
If you do not believe in either spirit or soul then no explanation will make any sense.

Long story short:
"Now" is eternal because it always "is",so if you are separated from God now then you "are" separated eternally.
If you are in God now then you always were and will be.God is an all consuming fire so he is the lake of fire.
Everything came from him and all returns to him.In him we live and move and have our being.



 
Member
Okay, RJ. I think I get most of that. If I can boil it down: We are all naturally bound for damnation. God loves us eternally and unconditionally. Out of that love, He offers us an opportunity for salvation and life eternal, all we have to do is accept Him. So, it's only through our own free will that we elect to go to Hell (whatever that may mean) when we forego taking Him up on that offer. And, even after we go to Hell, God still loves us.

I understand (and agree) that some parents' love is imperfect and transient, whereas God's love is supposed to be perfect and everlasting. Why are we taught that He does not rescue people from Hell? Certainly, if Hell is what it is supposed to be, many people quickly regret having chosen to go there. If my own children (for whom my love is as close to perfect as anything I can ever aspire to) were to plunge into a lifestyle of drug addiction, or join a destructive religious cult, or be sent to jail for any sort of crime, DESPITE my warnings and against my will; the instant they asked me to, I would do anything and everything in my power to rescue them. Why are we taught that God doesn't treat damned sinners similarly? Or is He impotent to retrieve souls from Hell once they have been judged?
 
Member
Hey, Thiscrosshurts.That's actually a very interesting perspective in that it sounds, at least on its surface, not too far from my own understanding of reality and life. (Except, of course, the "eternal" which I contend I came from and where I expect to return, is the material cosmos.)

Forgive me putting words in your mouth, then, but doesn't that mean "Hell" will never be any worse than living already is?
 
Active
Hey, Thiscrosshurts.That's actually a very interesting perspective in that it sounds, at least on its surface, not too far from my own understanding of reality and life. (Except, of course, the "eternal" which I contend I came from and where I expect to return, is the material cosmos.)
From my perspective you got that understanding from the eternal.
I understand why you see it that way but where did matter come from,and where does it go when no one is looking?


Hell is a German word for hades which is actually from Greek mythology.
If you want to know what scripture says you have to dig into the original languages.
Sheol,grave,pit,and Gehenna have been translated as hell and that leads to abundant confusion.
The wages of sin "is"death.The jews never had an afterlife theology but they believed in "a world to come".
Sin literally means "missing the mark" and it was an archery term.
Entering life is entering eternal perfection.
Jesus provides a way to walk out that perfection in time and space.
So yes,in a way suffering imperfection is death or hell.
 
Active

RJ

The idea that someone should be sent to hell for mere unbelief is ludicrous. As there is not the slightest bit of verifiable proof a deity does exist, to disbelieve is the default position, imo.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  • Galatians 6:7 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
This is a Talk Jesus forum, NOT a anti- Talk Jesus forum. You mocking God won't bode you well for understanding our view here. Maybe you both should look elsewhere.
 
Member
Wow. That's much more nuanced, and internally consistent, than I have usually experienced among many Christians I've interacted with. Is there a book (or some other source) you can recommend that fleshes this perspective out in greater detail? (I already own and have read the Bible. KJV.)
 
Active

RJ

Wow. That's much more nuanced, and internally consistent, than I have usually experienced among many Christians I've interacted with. Is there a book (or some other source) you can recommend that fleshes this perspective out in greater detail? (I already own and have read the Bible. KJV.)
I doubt that you have actually read the bible with sense of an open mindedness or searching, or you would not be so lost.
No, God has said that his word is sufficient! And, for those being save, indeed it is.
 
Member
Sorry, RJ. I was responding to Thiscrosshurts with my compliments. It sounds like you and he/she have a difference of perspective on this issue. Anyway, I hope you don't mind my staying here. I am definitely here to talk Jesus. Despite whatever I might think privately, I have promised not to anti-talk Jesus here and I won't start now.
 
Member
I doubt that you have actually read the bible with sense of an open mindedness or searching
Now, you're just going to have to take my word that I HAVE read the Bible with as open a mind and with as much a sense of searching of which I am capable. I came away with lots of impressions and questions. In your opinion, does being open-minded include or exclude questioning?
 
Active
Wow. That's much more nuanced, and internally consistent, than I have usually experienced among many Christians I've interacted with. Is there a book (or some other source) you can recommend that fleshes this perspective out in greater detail? (I already own and have read the Bible. KJV.)
I have not found anyone who has taken this line of study,I came to this understanding after 25 years of research because of all the seeming contradictions that mainstream christianity espoused.
I read a book about super-string theory in 1990 and felt that some of the scripture I was struggling to understand actually could be explained by quantum science.
After I saw the double slit experiment scripture totally changed into something coherent that made quantum sense but not temporal sense..
However I have not been able to get christians to listen even a tiny bit.
They think I'm crazy,but love Jesus so they tolerate me.

1 Corinthians 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.

The one who sees a quantum world does not accept traditional science even though it seems to work.Traditional science largely rejects or disagrees with
quantum science even though it seems to work.

John 7:24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly."
I think Jesus meant stop using temporal judgements about eternal things.
Or stop using Newton and listen to Heisenberg(uncertainty principle).

There is a cool sight that I study at Genesis 1; A week of Weeks
 
Active
Now, you're just going to have to take my word that I HAVE read the Bible with as open a mind and with as much a sense of searching of which I am capable. I came away with lots of impressions and questions. In your opinion, does being open-minded include or exclude questioning?
The only difference between you and me it seems(to me) is that I took a step a faith that there was something more.
I got thrown out of e few churches for asking questions.
I may be wrong but it seems to me that you have some notion that life has purpose.
I'm not sure an atheist can believe that because it takes a leap of faith to believe that life has purpose and that life has no purpose.
I started with the assumption that life had some purpose and I had seen real miracles through my Mothers faith when I was a child.
 
Member
Yeah. I actually don't think (or, at least I THINK I don't think) that anything has any intrinsic purpose. For some reason that doesn't keep me from seeing life as wonderful and full of (non-supernatural) magic. I do think there is such a thing as "purpose," but that it is something we arrange ourselves. Which isn't to discount it. We also made the Great Pyramid of Cheops and Buffalo wings... and those are pretty amazing. :)
 
Active

RJ

Sorry, RJ. I was responding to Thiscrosshurts with my compliments. It sounds like you and he/she have a difference of perspective on this issue. Anyway, I hope you don't mind my staying here. I am definitely here to talk Jesus. Despite whatever I might think privately, I have promised not to anti-talk Jesus here and I won't start now.
I have no authority here at T.J., you can stay as long as you like, unless a moderator objects.
The idea that someone should be sent to hell for mere unbelief is ludicrous.
You agreed with conifer on the above statement, that doesn't bode well with openness and pro-Jesus talk. Since you have read the Bible, you should know that Jesus talked about hell much more than he did heaven.
 
Member
Then please answer one question truthfully, why are you here at T.J.?
Good question. As admitted, I'm a non-believer at the moment. I live in community where Christianity is held in a very lukewarm sort of way (though I am one of the few outright atheists). I take all of my more religious friends to task when we debate God and the wisdom of Christianity, and demand that they be willing to change their minds. I keep saying I am always willing to change my own mind (or faithlessness). But, I honestly have no way to say that or to know that for sure. For a long time it's been nagging me that I don't have the ability to say honestly that I've seriously exposed myself to religious conviction. So, in short, I am not here to convert you, nor am I here to resist being converted. I am here so that either (A) if I'm wrong in not believing I have a chance of being corrected and (B) I can honestly say to the people I care about that I am open and available to conversion myself.

I don't hold up any unrealistic standard by which I will or won't accept Christ. If God is who He is supposed to be, His majesty can and will overcome any academic obstacles my mind puts up to deflect His Grace from my heart.

So, I'm here to listen. (And ask questions to hear answers.) Maybe I'll be saved. Right now I'm not of that persuasion. But I claim (I "believe") that I can be persuaded. And (of course) God should have no trouble persuading me if He so desires.
 
Active

RJ

Thanks for the reply. If I read it correctly, I will take it that you are at least open to seek the Christian God, if you come to believe and wish to do so?
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Christ4Ever Devotionals 0
Curtis Devotionals 0
N Prayer Request 4

Similar threads


Top