Of working with kids and how it has affected my views on heaven and hell

Now not too long ago I put together a post on what I think about Heaven and Hell as a Red Letter Christ-centric Universalist. Yet as I have written on this subject, I realize that there’s another facet to my views about the afterlife and it stems from working with kids.

I work with kids 7am to 3pm Monday through Friday. I work with the same kids pretty much everyday, and so there are certainly bonds of connection between them and I, we get along great for the most part, but sometimes not so much. Whether it’s physical aggression, verbal aggression, lying, manipulating, etc. it disrupts our engagement with one another for a season- sometimes that’s 5 minutes and sometimes it lasts all day… but it doesn’t last forever! We patch things up with each other, there isn’t malice or hard feelings, we own up to what we’ve done and move on.

***

I am led to believe within every cell of my being that God too operates on this level. Because if I possess the capacity to do this on a small scale, why wouldn’t God do this on a much larger scale? Some people will contend that God won’t and doesn’t. Statements of “God is a just God” gets thrown out by those who claim a higher spiritual/moral high ground, but the “just” that gets presented perpetuates paradigms of up vs down, heaven vs hell, right vs wrong, belief vs faith, us vs them, and so on.
This “just” strikes me as more of a human construct than a divine one because it marginalizes people from other people, and last time I checked, God doesn’t marginalize anyone for the ground is level at the foot of the cross.

So to you the reader who believes in the existence of an afterlife conscious torment-filled hell, I give you permission to question this- why? You don’t have to post anything if you want to, but still give yourself space to explore the ins and outs.

– Nathanael –

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2 thoughts on “Of working with kids and how it has affected my views on heaven and hell

  1. Good morning, son.

    I read with high interest on how you working with kids affects your view of God. Correct me if I am wrong, but you are saying

    – the way you interact with kids reflects the way God interacts with us – that just as you persistently forgive so also does God persistently forgive.

    – the statement “God is a just God” is a human construct.

    Seriously consider your logic. Because you forgive the kids you work with you believe God persistently forgives everyone else.

    It seems like what you are doing is creating God in your own image. Crafting a human construct about God based on a sample of one.

    I am proud that you persistently contend with these important, eternal issues.

    But I challenge you to do what many and perhaps most Red Letter Christians do not do. Many and even most cannot answer the question, “What does Jesus say?”

    So, when it comes to heaven and hell, please, son, dig in. Don’t stop with one verse or platitude. What DOES Jesus say?

    LoLove FAE, Dad

  2. Hi I’m older & new to blogging and got a blog barely started. Our hope He is risen. Now I think when we look at this crazy world and many kids abused and killed, and also when we listen to ourselves we can sense evil, and many martyrs all around world sure hoped God would do something. Rev 20:9 seems to tell us when God will do something (see also Mt 13 thrown in fire at end of time) & where in the lake of fire – fire came down from heaven and devoured those resurrected unjust (from second resurrection) trying to attack the New Jerusalem with just (first resurrection) here on the Earth. This plain verse is followed by figurative beast/false prophet and lake of fire (results in second death). The fire that came down from God then leads to complete cleansing and re-creation of the perfect earth for us, like it was in garden of Genesis (with no more suffering, pain, evil, death or HELL around (as death/Hell thrown into lake of fire)).
    Like you eternal torment does not fully square with justice. Now I’ve become convinced thru scripture that Hell/lake of fire (judgment of God) does have an end but it takes a bit of time (like 6 questions below) to show that “wide is the road that leads to destruction”. Please bear with this long post as our view of Hell/eternal torment & Heaven are critical issue. (see Hell&MrFudge, amazingdiscoveries.org or creation.com for some other very good answers). Search scriptures & God bless!
    Now, is our understanding of Hell important? Think of renowned people for whom Hell was a big factor alongside Evolution and suffering (in one direction Charles Templeton -Farewell to God and Brian Baker -From Faith to Reason, and in the opposite direction ex-atheist Anthony Flew -There IS a God and Greg Boyd’s ex-skeptic father – Letters to a skeptic). Note that although the logic of Creation eventually convinced Flew, he could not believe in Jesus because of eternal conscious torment. As we can see, Hell is therefore a life and death very important subject and we need to talk about it. Although an oversimplification, please consider what is the Eternal Punishment by answering 6 questions:
    1-How long do you believe the judging goes on in the “eternal judgment”? Heb 6:2
    A- Basically Judged & Re-Judged each & every day every moment Forever, for the rest of eternity
    B- Or finally judged just once…but last judgment is permanent, eternal, for the rest of eternity
    2-How long do you believe the saving goes on in the “eternal salvation”? Heb 5:9
    A- Basically Saved & Re-saved each & every moment Forever, for the rest of eternity
    B- Or fully/finally saved once…but it is permanent/irreversible, for the rest of eternity
    3-How long do you believe the redeeming goes on in the “eternal redemption”? Heb 9:12
    A – Basically Redeemed/re-redeemed each and every moment Forever, for the rest of eternity
    B- Or fully Redeemed once… but it is permanent, irreversible, for the rest of eternity
    4- How long do you believe the destructing of Hell goes on in “eternal destruction”?2Th1:9
    A – Basically Destroyed/Re-destroyed each & every moment Forever, for the rest of eternity?
    B- Or finally DESTROYED ONCE… but it is permanent/irreversible/for the rest of eternity
    5- How long do you believe the condemnation goes on in “eternal condemnation”? Mk3:29
    A – Basically Condemned/Re-Condemned each & every moment Forever, for the rest of eternity
    B- Or finally CONDEMNED ONCE… but it is permanent/irreversible/for the rest of eternity
    6- How long do you believe the punishing of Hell goes on in the “eternal punishment”? Matt 25:46
    A – Basically Punished/Re-punished each and every moment Forever, for the rest of eternity?
    B- Or finally PUNISHED ONCE… but it is permanent/irreversible/eternal/for the rest of eternity


    Were you consistent? Think! Unless you can answer A to #1-3 (for the just), you are inconsistent to answer A to #4-6 (for unjust) because these sentences with word “eternal” are exactly the same. So, if B to #1-3, then you should at least consider B for #4-6. If not, why not? The point of 6 questions is to show that our view and understanding of eternal comes from outside ideas/texts – not the word itself.

    Now, note powerfully that the DURATION can be exactly the same – i.e. all 6 imparted ONCE (redeemed/ destroyed/punished once) but all permanent state, irreversible, for the rest of eternity, hence all ETERNAL. WOW! It would appear that the eternal punishment is not necessarily equal to eternal torment, when looked at consistently for both just & unjust. Now I think that typical atheists cruel monster arguments and our free will God is just arguments both try to explain a misinterpretation of the word eternal.

    Could I prove this? Could this be the plain consistent meaning for eternal in entire scriptures including Mt 25:46 and especially for all “eternal life“ texts. I`d have to say Yes! Although we have a measure of life now, Scripture indicates that eternal life is fully GIVEN ONCE at the applicable resurrection/ judgment… when mortality is swallowed up, when we will be MADE ALIVE (finally/fully ONCE but only) at His coming (1Cor 15:22-23), when we receive (once)… in the AGE TO COME, ETERNAL LIFE (Luke 18:30). Notice that in Lk 18:30, Jesus was asked “what” to do to inherit eternal life and Jesus answered “when” – in the age to come. So let’s spell out eternal in Mt 25:46 in a more consistent manner (i.e. the same for both just/unjust).

    “And these shall go away into eternal punishment (a just complete permanent horrific destruction (body & soul Mt 10:28) imparted once at the just judgment – as per example of judgment of wicked at flood and at Sodom), but the righteous into eternal life” (a permanent life also imparted once at His coming, in the age to come).

    Again, WOW! Once it is understood that the gift of eternal life is basically imparted ONCE in the age to come (per John 6:40 at last day when raised to life from the dead), we can see that the eternal punishment is also imparted once as a last day everlasting destruction FROM GOD’s CONSUMING APPEARING IN GLORY, a second but permanent/eternal death, an irreversible state of complete destruction.
    With the above I have shown that eternal conscious torment is not necessarily found in Mt 25:46 (#1 verse quoted in support of eternal torment), unless we want the meaning of eternal to be inconsistent between the just and unjust, based on outside inputs, or verses, most of which are quite figurative.

    In closing, since Hell is such a big issue for many people like Flew, I think we Christians should make sure it is fully re-studied with a proper understanding of the word eternal, starting with studying the 6 questions above to see our inconsistencies.

    Finally, let’s think about justice: Just like before Flood, evil and injustice is now everywhere (downtown, ISIS, Boca Haram), and our Creator will have once again to restrain us by cleansing this earth and make it completely new, where there will be no more pain, suffering, evil, death, sin, and no sinners writing in pain in Hell. Earth will be re-created “very good”, just like it was in Eden with no traces of evil, death or sufferings, or Hell once the punishment is imparted. Just like the ark, there is again only one way to live on. The wages of every sin (big or small) is death. The choice is ours: repent & life in Christ or permanent death. Choose to live – it’s pretty simple – love your neighbor (created in His image) and love Jesus Christ the Creator and Savior.

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