A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hell: A Proposal

Silent Dave raises questions about hell to Christians, so I figured I'd try to take a shot at it. Of course I'm a liberal protestant so my view may not be very representational but here's a proposal:

I don’t take hell or heaven to be spatially located. To the degree that the past is taken up in the future then our actions for ill or good somehow become permanent facts in the history of our universe, and therefore contribute something to God’s story/history

To the degree that God that has an ongoing relationship with our universe it may be that hell or heaven has little to do with us and everything to do with God’s “experience” of the world. Can we live life that makes a positive difference for God and the world?

2 Comments:

At 9:08 PM , Anonymous john orgovan said...

first understand the Catholic churches view on heaven and hell. Satan tempts Jesus by offering him all the kingdoms of the world in their glory, but what good is having all the world if we lose our soul. so clearly the kingdom Jesus was talking about was one not of material bricks and stones but a spiritual kingdom if you will. but just because the Kingdom of God is not "on earth" does not mean that the two realms spiritual and physical do not exist together. i havnt looked up much more on the subject to tell you more but i can tell you that heaven and hell are not spatial they dont have space. God does not take up space he makes it for material beings, a spirit is not a material thing our souls cannot be weighed or measured.

 
At 7:34 AM , Blogger Rick Smith said...

I think much of this concept of hell or heaven as a place seems to have been popularized by Dante. However I do not know enough about theological scholarship to know if this is simply following a long thread in the understanding of heaven and hell.

The idea of something spacial in a limitless eternity does seem a bit simplistic to me.

Like John, I come from at this with a Catholic background as well, even if it never really took with me. I remember being taught that damnation is not a place of torture, but merely a cessation of existence.

If you think of it in that way, it is a bit of a mercy killing. If you think back to the idea of Dante, and how limbo and hell were places of torture, the first being a place where one exists outside the scope of God's love, and the other being a very material place where hideous things occur, then putting those who fall short of that sort of grace seems in a place like that seems quite cruel for a loving god.

 

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