Wandering Planets

Wandering Planets

“Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night; God said Let Newton be! and all was light.”

Alexander Pope (1688–1744), British satirical poet.  Epitaph Intended for Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey (1730).

 

During Galileo’s childhood, the most widely accepted belief about the mechanism to explain planetary motion was that planets rode on an eternally unchanging solid crystalline sphere.  However, a supernova and a very bright comet, likely seen and remembered by Galileo, shook this seemingly firm foundation of the universe.  Between this and the “wandering planets” (two words some people use to describe any pesky little details that just don’t fit current scientific understanding), Galileo began to see the universe as a clock where motions are caused by some force.

It is no secret that Galileo’s ideas, and empirical science in general, were fiercely opposed by religious leaders.

Both in science and in religion, when someone takes the time to think ideas through, to examine, meditate upon, and imagine explanations for wandering planets, it often leads to some of the greatest discoveries mankind has known. Newton’s Mercury did not follow planetary laws, and had Newton left the idea alone, we might not have benefitted from Einstein’s subsequent laws of gravity – concepts that radically changed our understanding of space and time.  It has been suggested that Newton’s ideas about attractive and repulsive forces were inspired by his dabbling in the practice of alchemy.  This practice was frowned upon by religious leaders.  The way I see it, God knows exactly what He is doing, and if alchemy is what Newton needed in order to make his important discoveries, then God placed Newton in such an environment purposefully – so that Newton could hone his thinking-outside-the-box skills.

The same concept can be applied to pesky scriptures that don’t conform to widely accepted doctrine as well as an innate (God-given) understanding that somewhere along the way, humanity really screwed up true spirituality with religious dogma.  Orthodox Christians can look down their noses at people who read their horoscopes, go to palm readers, get involved in Scientology or mysticism.  Meanwhile, God is doing what He inevitably does best – revealing Himself to people.  Sometimes that revelation takes place through a long and difficult learning experience, a path of trial and error.

Giving people the breathing space to explore spiritual matters without condemnation is often viewed, through the orthodox lens, as condoning Satanic or antichrist activity.  But this view does not take into account the possibility that God stoops to the individual’s current level of understanding.  He knows what knowledge an individual can and can’t receive at any given season in his or her life. Furthermore, God is the only one who knows the intentions of the individual’s heart – whether his or her intent might be defined as the exact opposite of antichrist, that is, he or she may be hungry for spiritual truth, a desire to know God that has been initiated by God Himself, and may be acting upon that desire in the only manner he or she knows.  Who are these spiritual police, who know little or nothing about our Father’s timetable and method of reconciliation, to stand in judgment of their brothers and sisters?  God stoops for all of us, not just heretics and heathens.  Every one of us, every day, maybe even every hour or minute, are all in need of God’s grace.

In scientific theories about gravitation, the new “wandering planets” include extra fast moving stars, the rate of expansion of the universe, extra energetic photons.  In spiritual theories, the new “wandering planets” are not even on the table for consideration, at least not within the walls of the orthodox institutions.  I believe that God allowed a wedge to be driven between science and religion for a very good reason: so that religious people would become sick to death of religion-in-a-box and learn a thing or two from the scientific community about considering all possibilities, having the ability to admit that perhaps there have been and continue to be some terrible misunderstandings about Who God is and what God does.  In fact, this has already begun – look at the mass exodus of the human population from the institutional church.*  People will discover the significant difference between religion and spirituality.  In addition, people will discover that science and spirituality, like intellect and emotion, are both necessary in order to unravel the mysteries of the universe.  It’s only a matter of time…

 

*Read or listen to NPR’s story, “You Lost Me”: Young Christians Rethink Faith

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert April 27, 2012 at 2:31 am

    Dear Alice, your wandering star is Judas Iscariot whom Jesus prayed {John 17: 12} saying he was lost, perished, and without remedy. You don’t want to believe Jesus’ words. You want to label it institutional dogma instead of the authorative Word of God, inspired by the HolySpirit, spoken by the Son of God, addressed to the Holy Father.

    He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. {John 12: 48}

    Jesus didn’t teach Christian Universalism: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat {Matthew 7: 13}
    I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. {John 8: 24}

    Alice, you also have another wandering star: the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants ends with a populated Lake of Fire without a remedy of escape.

    There’s nothing Christian about your universalism and you’re a pagan going to hell because you will die in your sins and go where siinners in their sins go. Beware, daughter of Satan, because you broadcast his lies and are yourself a liar, like him. God cannot have mercy on him, but since you’re human, God still has mercy toward you waiting for your repentance, but only in this life, or else you die in your sins without remedy, without mercy, and there grace cannot touch you.

    • admin April 27, 2012 at 9:29 am

      If your closing statement is true, then you disagree with the idea that God’s grace knows no bounds. But God says, “Sufficient for thee is My grace, for My power in infirmity is perfected”. I suspect that your first objection will be to the idea that this applies to only Paul or only believers, because of the context. And this is a reasonable argument, but it is also an incomplete argument. The first portion, “Sufficient for THEE is My grace”, deals with Paul’s immediate request (his “thorn”). However, the second part is the unchanging truth given as evidence or validation for God’s reply, “FOR (because) My power in infirmity is perfected.” If you can demonstrate that God’s power is ultimately NOT perfected in infirmity, then perhaps your judgment that God’s grace “cannot touch” me is true. Are you willing to disagree with God’s own assessment of His power? Are you not concerned with the possibility that you are painting a picture of God that shows HIM as the weak One rather than US? May God help you to believe what He says about Himself and put an end to your continual God-bashing theology “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm

        Don’t you see how you westle grace into an inappropriate context? Look at your own words or go again to the last half of Romans 1 and learn that God makes an end to His efforts to bring humans to reconciliation. Sovereignity is not weakness, Alice. This is not a fairy tale where they all lived happily everafter: or do you make God your fairy-God-father? Get real with what He wrote to you in His Book. Believe Judas is eternally lost and the Lake of Fire has no fire-escape.

        NOW is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation {2 Corinthians 6: 2}

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 27, 2012 at 2:51 am

    In spiritual theories, the new “wandering planets” are not even on the table for consideration, at least not within the walls of the orthodox institutions. Sorry above for calling them stars instead of planets. You’re wrong about them not on the table because on the table yours are discredited and you are given the label of a pagan as the truth be told in any orthodox institution. That’s why you feel rejected and naturally overstated the case.

    He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. {John 12: 48}

    • admin April 27, 2012 at 9:02 am

      It has been my experience in the institution, since childhood, that any spiritual exploration outside orthodoxy is met with shock and horror. The practical response of orthodoxy is to condemn and shun. Since when does the congregation meet for an informal round-table discussion or examine (and reexamine) orthodox claims? It is as if the leaders of the orthodox institutions believe that those decision-making individuals from around 300-600 AD had a complete and accurate understanding of all things spiritual, and that for all time, humanity must cower and accept their decisions, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. There is no such thing as lengthy and in-depth explorations within the church walls. Systems of hierarchy and tradition shut down the conversation before it can even begin. Sure, the hierarchy make a pretense of conversation, by stating and restating traditional beliefs, but they forget or ignore the fact that a conversation, by definition, is an exchange of idea involving at least two viewpoints. The religious leaders not only control the conversation about answers, they control the question-asking as well. There are certain questions that the average church-goer is simply not allowed to ask without immediately opening themselves to one of two discriminatory assumptions: either the question-asking individual is labeled “ignorant” and subsequently subjected to a reindoctrination of tradition (to which they must agree and conform to in order to be accepted among their peers), or the individual is labeled a “trouble-maker” or some other similar name and subsequently subjected to ridicule and contempt. If there is an orthodox institution that accurately defines orthodoxy as having the “right” opinion or being in agreement with the most widely accepted opinion and if such an institution simultaneously acknowledges that the context of orthodoxy (at least in Christianity) was/is determined by fallible human beings who were more interested in controlling the masses, generating wealth, and satisfying their own bloodlust and that this system of deciding upon truth is the same type of system that resulted in crucifixion of Jesus Christ – I have yet to discover such an institution. It is time to discover why we believe what we believe and let truth stand in the light of scrutiny. Scrutiny (noun): a close, careful examination or study, inquiry, inspection. Interestingly, the etymology of the word “scrutiny” is very telling: “early 15c., ‘a vote to choose someone to decide a question,’ from L.L. scrutinium “a search, inquiry”. In other words, not only does the institution decide what is right, it votes exclusively for itself as the only qualified decision-maker. I reject the idea that the historically corrupt, hierarchical system of orthodox Christianity, where only those on the top of the pyramid are given a voice, is in any way subjecting itself or its claims to real scrutiny.

  • Mary Vanderplas April 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I agree that theology, like science, is a dynamic enterprise and that an attitude of humility with respect to one’s beliefs and radical openness to the truth are called for. I agree, too, that to the extent that these things are missing from religion (as they too often are in the interest of protecting cherished doctrines and rejecting the new and different), much in the way of potential for discovering life-transforming, world-transforming truth is lost. I think you’re right on in what you say about religion having something to learn from science in this regard. Indeed, freedom of thought, acceptance of doubt, humility, and radical openness to the truth are essential in the scientific investigation of reality – and are needed also in the church if we are to know the truth that will set us free.

    I agree generally with what you say about religion versus spirituality, though I would argue that the problem with religion is claiming doctrinal certitude and not simply subscribing to certain doctrines. I agree, though, that lack of openness to alternative interpretations of scripture that challenge the accepted viewpoint, or lack of willingness to consider at all texts that “don’t fit,” coupled with condemnation of attempts of people to find God outside the Christian circle are the antithesis of what we as people of faith are called to. And I share your view that it is arrogant in the extreme to imagine that we know all about how God works to accomplish his gracious purposes. (It is worth noting, I think, that there is biblical precedent for evangelism that starts where people are in terms of their spiritual understanding and experiences and leads them gradually to understand the truth of the God we know in Jesus Christ – Acts 17:22-31).

    I agree with your comments about the rejection of organized religion by many today, though I’m not sure that the current “spiritual-but-not-religious” climate is solely about disdain for the institution and what it represents in terms of lack of openness to discovering truth. Tom Long, a Christian preacher and scholar, suggests that the current climate may have more to do with an inability to speak meaningfully about God’s presence and role in a world of innocent suffering, leading people to abandon belief in the biblical God who acts in history and instead to embrace an alternative nature spirituality. This isn’t to dispute your point that an emphasis on dogma and a lack of openness to the new and different are an enormous turn-off for many who are in the role of seekers. It is only to say that, at least for some who reject traditional beliefs in favor of an alternative spirituality, there are likely other reasons for their rejection of all things religious that go beyond a general loathing of the institution.

    I like what you say, and, as always, what you say is well-written and thought-provoking.

    • admin April 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      It is always good to read your expounding on my blogs. I’ll have to look up this Tom Long guy.

      • Mary Vanderplas April 29, 2012 at 6:51 am

        The context of Tom Long’s comments is a discussion of the preacher’s role in helping his/her congregation deal with the question of God and innocent suffering. Long argues that the preacher owes it to the congregation to do more than provide a “ministry of presence” in the face of suffering, that s/he needs to help God’s people think about and find meaning in their grappling with the questions of suffering and evil. If this doesn’t happen, if people are unable to make some kind of sense of God’s presence and role in a world of innocent suffering, then there is a good chance that they will be inclined to leave behind belief in the biblical God who acts in history and in the actual circumstances of people’s lives and gravitate toward a mystical God.
        Long goes on to wonder whether this might account for the fact that many today are “spiritual but not religious.” (What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith by Thomas G. Long, pp. 29-39)

  • Mary Vanderplas April 28, 2012 at 10:30 am

    I tried posting a comment last night and was notified that my comment is “awaiting moderation.” Hmmm.

    I tried reposting it this morning and was notified that I am suffering from short-term memory loss – which, alas, is old news.

    I wanted to say, too, in response to your blog that I agree with your statement that both science and spirituality are valuable and needed. While they are two distinct ways of thinking and understanding reality and therefore should not be put together, that they both have much to offer in our efforts to probe the mystery of the universe is, in my view, beyond question.

    • admin April 28, 2012 at 11:58 am

      I did an update on plug-ins, and I guess it reset the comments so that it doesn’t recognize any regular blog commenters automatically. It shouldn’t give you this error message again now that I’ve approved your comment. If it does, let me know. I think the two (science and religion) are like two lines, not quite parallel, and rightly so – for the time being. Eventually the lines will meet, according to God’s sovereign timing.

      • Mary Vanderplas April 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm

        I like your picture of the relationship between science and religion and think you’re right about them eventually coming together. John Polkinghorne argues that science and religion are cousins in the search for truth, emphasizing that while they of course deal with very different aspects of the truth and employ different methods and entail different ways of knowing, still they have a common aim – namely, the pursuit of truth. He encourages dialogue between them, with each one acknowledging its own limits and allowing space for the other and listening to the other with the expectation of benefiting. This makes a lot of sense to me. From a theological perspective, it is hard to see how science and religion can be enemies if it is true that God is one and that everything that exists, inclusive of both the physical and the spiritual, has its origin in God.

  • Lanny A. Eichert April 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation. is a statement I also wondered why it was reoccurring.

    Since God does not save most of humanity, such a picture of God does not concern me simply because to YOU that shows Him as the weak One rather than us. Why should I care what you think, because you willfully reject the sovereign plan of God as given to us in the Scriptures? Scripture is more important than whether or not YOU think I am continually promoting a God-bashing theology. You like to twist the key issue from your calling God a Liar to bashing me for some unkind imaginary thought against God YOU suppose to accuse me. You have an evil imagination and an evil heart by which YOU seek to persuade me from the Truth by appealing to my sense of kindness.

    And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. {Genesis 6: 5} The same remains today with you as you will note the word continually, since as a true heretic you cannot retreat from your Amazing Hope doctrine. {Hebrews 3: 12} Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.

    You seek to persuade me from the Truth by appealing to my sense of kindness. Your arguments to everybody are an appeal to their sense of kindness rather than the justice and the immutability of God. God’s truth is not dependent upon the human understanding of kindness, but rather upon His immutability. Therefore Judas is perished and the Lake of Fire will be eternally populated. You disbelieve this and therefore call God a Liar; and you call yourself a Christian: in that you are the liar, yourself.

    “FOR (because) My power in infirmity is perfected.” In Paul’s infirmity, Alice, and in every saints’ infirmity it is perfected, but not in anybody else’s infirmity, dear girl. You want me to demonstrate that God’s power is ultimately NOT perfected in infirmity and I gave you Judas Iscariot, the Lake of Fire, and the last half of Romans 1: three witnesses you refuse to believe. I had previously given you {John 8: 24} Jesus’ words: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. I had asked you why Jesus made it a point twice to state “shall die in your sins” if it weren’t a final condition unreconcilable? In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is established. You do not continue in His word {31} and you are not His disciple and you do not know the truth and you are not set free from the care of nice people you loved going to eternal torment {32}. You make yourself the better judge than Jesus, Who told you Judas is perished, you may die IN your sins, and the Lake of Fire will be eternally populated.

    How long, Alice, will you halt between two opinions? Two or one, Alice? Are you a confirmed heretic for whom is no hope of repentance? Will you not listen to Judas Iscariot or the Lake of Fire?

    Why Jesus made it a point twice to state “shall die in your sins” if it weren’t a final condition unreconcilable?

    • admin April 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm

      Lanny, do you believe God is unwilling to save or unable to save? Is there a third option besides these two that I haven’t considered?

    • Lanny A. Eichert April 30, 2012 at 5:09 am

      If God is unwilling to save then He is unkind; and if God is unable to save He is incapable of being kind, right, Alice? You’re a master at deceptive questions: especially either/or questions; and deflection of what you should be answering, which is are you going to believe Jesus report of Judas Iscariot’s perished condition, dying in your sins, and the lack of a fire escape in the Lake of Fire; and you look for a THIRD option?

      The third option is to believe God is both willing and able to save His chosen ELECTION of those He will make His saints. This is what He has said to us in His Book. He has also told us He has the right as God, the Potter, to make vessels of wrath fitted to destruction after telling us that broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat as a fact of human history. Does this mean He is unwilling and unable to save those He fitted for destruction. Certainly. Do you expect God to violate His own purposes? Wouldn’t He be an unstable God if He created vessels for destruction and then didn’t destroy them?

      Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? Who are the Elect, but the vessels unto honor from the foundation of the world? Who are the damned, but the other majority portion of vessels fitted unto dishonor from the foundation of the world? Why do you think I quoted the eighth verse of the 17th chapter of the Revelation telling you their names were absent from the pages of the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world indicating the deliberate choice of God not to save them? God’s last written revelation to you, you will not believe?

      The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

      God made His choice before the foundation of the world not to save the majority of humanity, but to save only a small remnant. How will He display His grace if His grace is to everybody? Where’s the contrast? Don’t you see it is necessary for grace to go to only the few, the exceptions? Then there’s contrast for a show or demonstration of grace.

      Another way is to realize there is no eternal salvation if there is no lost eternal condition. There is no eternal righteousness if there is no eternal wickedness. Think, Alice, think; and then repent or grace will never reach you where you’re going when you die. You and all your readers only have this life in which to repent.

      • admin April 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

        What is deceptive about my questions? Please be specific, because therein lies the heart of our disagreement.

      • Lanny A. Eichert April 30, 2012 at 4:48 pm

        Your comment is awaiting moderation. Statement is still occurring April 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm and this comment also.

        The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. {Revelation 17: 8}

        Can you not see that these who are yet to be in the future who wonder have their names kept from being written in the Book of Life and that work of absenting their names began at the foundation of the earth?

        Can you not see that if there are these such whose names were kept from the Book of Life there are many other such through the course of human history?

    • Lanny A. Eichert April 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Your comment is awaiting moderation. Statement still occurred April 30, 2012 at 5:09 am

      The heart of disagreement is not your questions but your lack of faith in the words of Scripture. Your questions become deceptive because that’s where your heart is in unbelief and you purposefully box people into your corner. What is deceptive about your questions? Didn’t you read my opening sentence above: If God is unwilling to save then He is unkind; and if God is unable to save He is incapable of being kind, right, Alice? Now I ask you if there is a third option? Maybe you’re so caught up in your Amazing Hope that you can ask no other way.

      Why did Jesus say you will die in your sins if sins would be forgiven after death? Why did He speak twice of this and in doing so make it a point of reference? Do you see the connection with Judas Iscariot? What connection is there with the Lake of Fire? What connection is there with all those you loved who have died without professing Christ?

    • Mary Vanderplas April 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      Your appeal to the immutability of God to support your belief that many will be damned reflects a distorted understanding of God’s unchangeableness. The immutability of the God revealed in scripture does not mean that God has an unchangeable plan for our lives which he decided beforehand, a plan that will play itself out mechanically apart from our decisions and actions. Neither does his immutability mean that he is incapable of changing, of being moved by the particular needs and situations of people. What it does mean is that God acts always and toward everyone in ways that reflect his unchangeable character of justice and love revealed in Jesus Christ.

      Your appeal to God’s justice to support your belief in eternal torment is likewise lacking in biblical support, as I have argued previously many times. The Bible bears witness to the God whose justice is an expression of his love, who judges in order to help, not in order to get even or destroy. His justice, in other words, is always and toward every person a loving justice.

      You accuse Alice of appealing to the “sense of kindness” of her readers, asserting that “God’s truth is not dependent upon the human understanding of kindness.” No. In the first place, what Alice is appealing to is not first her readers’ sense of kindness, but the biblical claim that the sovereign God is, without qualification, a gracious God. The sovereign God is the God revealed in Jesus Christ; and this God is a gracious God who acts to reconcile all people. This is what I read in Alice’s words. In the second place, the view of God’s kindness that Alice expresses is wholly consistent with the biblical picture of who God is. It is not, as you imply, a distorted sentimental understanding that has no place for the divine judgment of sin. (Contrast this with your distorted understanding of God’s justice, your conceiving of God’s justice in all-too-sinfully-human terms: God as a mean, revenge-seeking tyrant who punishes beyond measure, as opposed to the biblical picture of God’s justice as like that of a loving parent.) In the third place, even if it could be justly said that Alice sets her own ideas of love and kindness above God, how would this be any different from your own habitual practice of insisting that the Creator conform to your ideas of what it means for him to manifest his justice toward Judas and toward all others who in your mind are beyond the scope of his love and grace? Indeed, you talk about the freedom of God, but your action of asserting what God “must” do betrays your expressed commitment to letting him be God.

      The fact is that the view of predestination that you espouse has never been widely held. The reason is simple: a God who creates in order to condemn is not the same God revealed in the Bible and in Jesus Christ as the God who is love.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 1, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Judas is perished and the Lake of Fire will be eternally populated because God is just and immutable, Mary. Why did Jesus twice say you will die IN your sins? {John 8: 21 & 24} What’s His point, temporary torment? Of what consequence is temporary torment in view of eternal bliss? Will the saints of God magnify the justice of God if only temporary torment is God’s punishment of unbelievers?

        Mary, why is it that after at least six thousand years none of Satan’s angels have ever been converted to Christ? Don’t you see they never will be converted because they are confirmed in their wickedness? They are a picture to the world that death confirms the sinner in his wickedness. When men die they will be like the angels: forever good or forever bad. Think about it, Mary: will God’s resurrected saints be able to sin? Why then will resurrected sinners be able to do anything good? Don’t you see that in the resurrection saints will always be saints and sinners will always be sinners. Simple, isn’t it?

        But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {2 Corinthians 11: 3}

        Mary, why are you corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ by Alice’s blog?

        • Mary Vanderplas May 3, 2012 at 5:51 am

          The immutability of God means that he is consistently just and loving, not that he has made an unchangeable decision by which Judas (and others like him) is irrecoverably lost. The justice of God means that he refuses to let us get by with the ways we hurt ourselves and others when we rebel against him, not that he punishes beyond measure those who live as his enemies.

          The justice of God has been magnified in the cross of Jesus Christ – where the Judge executed his just judgment against us. His justice will be magnified in the final victory of Christ over all the forces of evil at the end of history. The One who will come to judge all people at the end is the same One who has already taken the judgment of God on himself for the sake of the world.

          The eternal bliss of the saints does not depend on the majority of humanity being damned eternally. It is a small understanding of salvation that requires the eternal torment of the unbelieving in order for the salvation of the saints to have meaning and value.

          For every text that states or implies that not all will be saved, as the John 8 text seems to, there is another that states or implies that all are finally saved (e.g., John 12:32). John 8 says nothing at all about eternal torment, though.

          If the end of the story is that the “good guys” get their reward and the “bad guys” get their just desserts, as you seem to think, then our final destiny is a matter of works, not of God’s freely given grace alone. This is not the gospel. Moreover, the Bible teaches that we are all “bad guys” and that, if there is hope for any of us, there is hope for all of us.

          “Corrupted” by Alice’s blog??? Hardly. “Enlightened” and “inspired” are more like it.

          I’m done on this.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm

          the “good guys” get their reward and the “bad guys” get their just desserts because God elected to save a few “bad guys” and in doing so made them the few “good guys” by the grace of election. The rest of the “bad guys” God has left to His immutable justice. God does NOT need to save everybody just because He chose to save a few or because in order to save the few His sacrifice was sufficient to save everybody.

          Just the facts, Mary, not any dreams.

          Your idea of justice is not equal if you think temporary torment is the antithesis of eternal bliss.

          • Mary Vanderplas May 5, 2012 at 8:39 am

            “Get their reward” and “by the grace of election” do not belong together in the same sentence. A reward is something that is earned. Grace is unmerited. Augustine’s (and Calvin’s) doctrine says that the elect are predestined to life apart from any consideration of their merit – and (asymmetrically) that the reprobate are condemned on the basis of their demerit. (Calvin sought to correct the asymmetry by asserting that while it is true that the reprobate are part of sinful humanity and are therefore left to a just condemnation, it is also the case that they are condemned simply because of God’s decision to do so, apart from any consideration of their demerit.) In any event, the doctrine of election is not about the elect “getting their reward” but about them/us getting what they/we do not deserve.

            By the grace of election, people are chosen to receive the gift of freedom that God offers. The “elect” do not instantly become “good guys,” as my own dismal track record all too readily attests.

            The issue is not whether God “needs to save everybody just because He chose to save a few.” It is, rather, whether God wills to save everybody – whether he wills to bestow the same grace equally on all people – and whether he in fact chooses everyone to receive his gracious gift. That there are more than a few texts to indicate that he does cannot be denied (e.g., 1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9, John 3:17, John 1:29, 1 Corinthians 15:22, Romans 5:18, Colossians 1:19-20, Romans 11:22).

            Only if one has a reward-and-punishment understanding of heaven and hell – which I do not – does one talk about “equal justice.” If, instead, one views heaven as a gift that is received/entered into by those who recognize their own moral and spiritual poverty apart from Christ and hell as a state that those who refuse to give up their sinful pride and self-sufficiency choose to live in, then there is no reason to exclude the possibility that all will be finally saved and that the “final” judgment and separation will be temporary, not eternal.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 4, 2012 at 12:01 am

          For every text that states or implies that not all will be saved, as the John 8 text seems to {and} John 8 says nothing at all about eternal torment, though. {said Mary}

          Well, Mary, where do the unforgiven go? Why do you seem to contradict yourself. Is there a Purgatory? Don’t you know a purgatory idea is unequal justice any way, because it makes temporary torment the antithesis of eternal bliss?

          Jesus never prayed to His Father about saving Judas Iscariot by the means of Purgatory. Judas died hopelessly in his sins, Mary, as does everybody else whom God doesn’t save in this life.

          God doesn’t save everybody or else election is meaningless. Even the Revelation 17: 8 text tells us election happened at the foundation of the world before anybody was ever born. See also Romans 9: 11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth …. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Don’t you believe in election? The crowd in the Revelation 17: 8 were never written into the Book of Life many thousands of years before they were born is what the text tells us, and without their names in the Book, God shows us that He chose not to ever save them, because He never elected them unto salvation. In fact, He elected them to the condemnation of 666. Now, Mary, if that is the case of those in the Revelation 17: 8 scene, it is also likewise for all unbelievers. God said, All of Esau have I hated. Now we are back to Psalm 11: 5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. God’s justice is immutable hatred, Mary, for the sinner.

          Mary, salvation makes a NEW man who is 100% righteous as Christ is or else God would hate the ones He saves if it weren’t so. You, in your unbelief, haven’t been willing to believe this either. You’re a totally mixed up rebellious religious person. You can’t get things right when you refuse to believe God will NOT save the majority of humanity. Alice has confused you with her confusion speaking of things she doesn’t know and that by her own admission.

          In your theology studies, Mary, what did you learn about angelology? Didn’t you learn they are confirmed in their moral state so that good angels are always good and bad angels are always bad, meaning they never change? God never is concerned that His holy angels will disobey Him and He knows the fallen angels will always oppose Him. Isn’t that what you learned the Holy Bible demonstrates? You do have a theology degree, don’t you, in order to be an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church?

          The New Creation of the saint, his 100% righteousness, that is, the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, is his security, because like the angels, which he will be in the resurrection, he will never change his moral condition. Don’t you see how important it is that angels don’t change from good to bad or visa versa?

          So angelology proves Alice’s Amazing Hope a fraud inspired of Satan and the two of you Satan’s daughters.

          • Lanny A. Eichert May 4, 2012 at 12:10 am

            because like the angels, which he will be LIKE in the resurrection

          • Mary Vanderplas May 5, 2012 at 8:47 am

            I don’t know whether there is a purgatory or probation of some kind. The Bible doesn’t say. But I can’t rule out that there might be, particularly in light of texts that state or imply universal salvation and in light of what the Bible teaches about God’s justice being a loving justice.

            I do believe the biblical teaching that God chooses people and enables them to believe and receive his gracious gift of freedom. However, I don’t believe Augustine’s or Calvin’s doctrine of double predestination. I don’t believe that God has arbitrarily chosen some and rejected others. I don’t believe that the Bible teaches that God is only just with some while both loving and just with others. He is both loving and just with everyone; and he is, without qualification, a gracious God. This is the God revealed in Jesus Christ. Neither do I believe that the Bible teaches a rigid divine plan made beforehand whereby some are unchangeably destined for salvation and others for condemnation. This isn’t true to the biblical picture of the living God who is active in history and in our lives. Moreover, the version of the doctrine of double predestination that you espouse (Calvin’s supralapsarian understanding) is, in my view, totally untenable in light of what the Bible teaches about who God is. Would a God who creates in order to condemn be the same God who is love (1John 4:16)? To subscribe to this view is essentially to make God deny himself. This view also, to say the least, takes the edge off the good news – turning it into exceedingly bad news for the majority.

            I don’t have the time or the inclination to discuss – again – the texts you cite. I’ve commented on these in the past. I will say only that I agree with what Alice says about the need to focus on the conclusion of Paul’s argument in Romans 9-11 – which is a message of mercy to all (11:32).

            The “moral condition” of angels has nothing to do with whether God will finally save all people. To say that angelology disproves universalism makes no sense whatsoever, in my view.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 1, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Alice, regardless of when the Revelation 17: 8 wondering people live and die the question is still appropriate to this discussion.

    The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

    Do you not see that these who wonder have their names kept from being written in the Book of Life and that work of absenting their names began at the foundation of the world?

    Do you not see that if there are these such whose names were kept from the Book of Life there are many other such through the course of human history?

    Do you not see that all these many others also are such because God planned it that way at the foundation of the world?

    It doesn’t matter to this discussion when they live, but what does matter is their names in the Book of Life are absent and why the time span is told for that absence. Why does the time deliberately include thousands of years before they ever lived?

    Of equal importance is why Jesus twice mentioned the possibility of dying in your sins and thus established it as the declarative historical fact of all who die without professing Christ. What it means for Judas Iscariot, the Lake of Fire population, and all those you’ve loved before they died without Christ.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Since their names are kept from being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life over a period of thousands of years, can it not be assured that even during their lives and afterward unto the final judgment their names will remain absent from the Book of Life? {Revelation 17: 8} It really looks assuring that these will be cast into the Lake of Fire to burn in torment forever as planned by God before the foundation of the world and deliberately kept that way, that is, His plan protected through all the thousands of years until it is accomplished, wouldn’t you say?

    Your comment is awaiting moderation even at May 1, 2012 at 7:29 am above

    • admin May 1, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Sorry, Lanny. I’m trying to fix the “comment awaiting moderation” problem. I don’t have the techie know-how and I’m waiting to hear back from Dreamhost on the matter.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

        It is a long shot in the dark, Alice, but I have noticed internet things require close synchronization to the clock and your time and my time differ by about twenty four minutes. Perhaps resetting your site’s clock more accurately might have an effect.

        Regarding timing and synchronization, God kept their names from being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life for more than four thousand years before they were born, Alice, and that should have quite some significance in overall Biblical interpretation. {Revelation 17: 8}

        • admin May 2, 2012 at 11:45 pm

          Thanks for the suggestion, but it isn’t working… still waiting to hear back from Dreamhost on this. They keep answering questions that I am not asking.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    So, Alice, are the angels in heaven able today to become bad angels and join Satan? Are Satan’s angels able today to become good angels and join God? Why? Does God have enough grace for the angels today? Does God’s grace know no bounds? Is God’s grace sufficient today for the angels regardless of whether they are good or bad?

    Are angels free spirits?

    The inquiry is significant because Jesus said that in the resurrection we shall become in some ways like the angels. In what other ways? If they are able to change sides, does that mean we will forever be changing sides, always fearful, and never having peace?

    • admin May 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      I don’t know enough about angelic beings to answer your questions. I do know that all things (including the heavenly things) will be reconciled to God.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 3, 2012 at 2:01 am

      I do know that all things (including the heavenly things) will be reconciled to God, you say but you do NOT know what you say. The Revelation 17: 8 proves what you say false and contrary to God’s stated purpose. Since here are people that will never be reconciled the way is open for the group to include others that likewise are not reconciled. “All things” do NOT include these wondering people of 17: 8, Alice, and there are others also that are not part of the “all things:” every unbeliever whether men or angels. They are non-reconcilable persons.

      Your ignorance of the nature of angels should prevent you from assuming the bad ones are able to be reconciled, but like a fool, you open your mouth and say you “know” they will be. Scripture reveals they never again change. Angelology is this branch of theological study.

      All things in Christ includes saints and creation, but excludes unbelievers of both men and angels. The names absent from the pages of the Lamb’s Book of Life written at or before the foundation of the world reqiures it so.

      Besides that, so does Judas Iscariot, dying IN sin, and the populated Lake of Fire without remedy require it so.

      • admin May 4, 2012 at 9:11 am

        If one scripture appears to contradict with another, then this means we have an opportunity to let the Spirit of God show us truth. Here is what the Spirit of God teaches me in regards to the apparent dichotomy between all things (including heavenly things) reconciled to God and Revelation 17:8 – “God did give into [the wondering people’s] hearts to do [the whore’s and/or beast’s] mind, and to make one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast till the sayings of God may be complete“. This demonstrates that God purposed for them to side with evil for a time, as part of a bigger plan that is not yet complete. Therefore, Rev. 17:8 (in context) can’t trump the very clear declaration:

        “…In [Christ] were the all things created, those in the heavens, and those upon the earth, those visible, and those invisible, whether thrones, whether lordships, whether principalities, whether authorities; all things through him, and for him, have been created, […] and through him to reconcile the all things to himself – having made peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether the things upon the earth, whether the things in the heavens.”

        If your interpretation of Rev. 17:8 is true, then Paul lied to the Colossians.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 4, 2012 at 9:54 am

        “If one scripture appears to contradict with another” is a manipulation of Alice to make her falsehood supportable, not a truth.

        Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. {John 7: 24}

        However Alice is incapable because she is not saved and therefore doesn’t have the Holy Spirit’s teaching.

        Because you lack understanding you make a false argument: Paul lied to the Colossians. Read again Romans 9: 22 the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

        Alice, your false ideas don’t change the facts that Judas is perished, you will die in your sins, and the Lake of Fire has no fire escape. They only make obvious that you are unregenerate and are fighting Jesus. The people you loved that have died without professing Christ are gone to hell the same as my mother and father. God’s judgment is righteous judgment. God’s judgment is immutable justice.

        • admin May 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

          I did read Romans 9. And I kept reading. Just as I always read your comments to the end, instead of just picking out one or two sentences in the middle and ignoring the rest. The end of Paul’s letter to the Romans is a summary and culmination of the entire letter where Paul takes various concepts introduced and expounded upon throughout the letter and brings them all together into one simple, elegant conclusion. Why do you feel the need to redirect to Roman’s 9, an incomplete analogy? Why are you ignoring the part of Paul’s message to the Romans (the conclusion) in which Paul’s previous statements and questions come to an answer, in which the various thoughts and ideas presented throughout the letter are finally settled? Consider this.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Have any of you thought further about the Revelation 17: 8 statement about their names not written from the foundation of the world in the Lamb’s Book of Life? I hope you know that only those whom God redeems and saves and reconciles and gives eternal life are written in that book; nobody else. Have you thought that maybe this verse tells us WHEN every name is actually written? The popular idea is because of our songs that the name is written at the moment of conversion to the faith. Doesn’t this Scripture statement indicate otherwise? Isn’t it most likely that all the names were written before the foundation of the world?

    Do you see what that means?

    • admin May 2, 2012 at 11:41 pm

      It depends on what translation you are reading and how you allow the translation to read you. There’s “from” the foundation of the world and “before” the foundation of the world. Two entirely different ideas, the first saying that since the creation of the earth, their names haven’t been written in the book. The second saying that before the world was created the names were already withheld. Do people worship the beast because their names are not in the book or are their names not in the book because they worship the beast? If it is the former, then it is destined for them and there is nothing they can do to change it. If it is the latter, then how is it that God condemned them for their sin by excluding their names before they were even born or knew any sin? In the KJV, the LAMB is slain from the foundation of the world. One more thing – why do you assume that God’s pen runs out of ink?

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 3, 2012 at 1:23 am

      God’s pen runs out of ink? No, you are so blinded you cannot even see the obvious that it is God’s DECISION to not write their names there. Alice, whatever happened to salvation is all of God? Do you conveniently neglect to factor that which you say you know is true here? Or do you hedge on that as per your question when it is convenient to imply I am casing God in unfairness {another God is not nice attempt} by supposing God condemns them before they know sin. Whatever happened to God’s omniscience and foreknowledge? Do you choose to ignore it for the sake of your question also? I expect better things of you than that. In fact the way I write assumes you know some things. Since salvation is of God and not man because man is sinful, God does not condemn a man by not including his name in His book. A man’s sins condemn him and God allows His immutable justice to complete its work. God knows all the factors and how they work to their conclusion and how He is vindicated by the whole of it.

      Either way you want to read it means their names just are NOT there, never were, and never will be, and they will never be saved or reconciled. All things that God chose to reconcile in Christ, He does not fail to reconcile. What He chose not to reconcile He does not reconcile because they are not IN CHRIST and cannot therefore be reconciled. From the foundation of the world long before they were born He chose not to write their names in His book. The Revelation 17: 8 is proof of that by God’s own declarative statement.

      For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth {Romans 9: 11} As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

      • admin May 4, 2012 at 9:43 am

        Show me “never will be” saved or reconciled. I don’t see that in your proof text. And tell me how do you explain other texts which DO INCLUDE all things reconciled, period, not all things “that God chose to reconcile in Christ” – as if there are things that will not be reconciled in Christ. Your ideas (in bold above) are added in, to accommodate your current understanding, because the text itself does not agree with your understanding. You must add in the disqualifying language in order to resolve the tension between the text and your current understanding. If your interpretation of the text is accurate, it should be able to stand in the light of scrutiny without your “help”.

        Regarding Romans 9 – if you continue reading, you will also see, “if thou mayest confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and mayest believe in thy heart that God did raise him out of the dead, thou shalt be saved, for with the heart doth [one] believe to righteousness, and with the mouth is confession made to salvation; for the Writing saith, ‘Every one who is believing on him shall not be ashamed,’ for there is no difference between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord of all [is] rich to all those calling upon Him, for every onewhoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, he shall be saved […] And those also, if they may not remain in unbelief, shall be graffed in, for God is able again to graff them in; for if thou, out of the olive tree, wild by nature, wast cut out, and, contrary to nature, wast graffed into a good olive tree, how much rather shall they, who [are] according to nature, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this secret – that ye may not be wise in your own conceits – that hardness in part to Israel hath happened till the fulness of the nations may come in; and so all Israel shall be saved […] for unrepented of [are] the gifts and the calling of God; for as ye also once did not believe in God, and now did find kindness by the unbelief of these: so also these now did not believe, that in your kindness they also may find kindness; for God did shut up together the whole to unbelief, that to the whole He might do kindness. O depth of riches, and wisdom and knowledge of God! […] because of Him, and through Him, and to Him [are] the all things; to Him [is] the glory – to the ages. Amen.

        If you reference Romans 9 as proof that God hates all unbelievers, forever, then why should Paul’s letter to the Romans end with such Amazing Hope? If God chooses to NEVER write their names in the book, as you say (not as the text says), then why should Paul explain their unbelief as a temporary condition that ultimately results in the kindness of God?

        The gospel according to Lanny: A picture of God’s kindness is the majority of humanity burning in hell forever, and this is something God planned and purposed before these people were ever created. “Because of Him [they burn in Hell forever], and through Him [they burn in Hell forever], and to Him [they burn in Hell forever]. And this is how God demonstrates “the riches of His glory”.

        If these are the riches of His glory, then how can it be said that those believing shall not be ashamed? Wouldn’t you be ashamed if you found out that your father plotted and carried out the torment of billions of human beings to demonstrate his glory? How is that glory? That is the worst kind of shame that the human mind can conceive – or in God’s own words, “an abomination” (Jer. 2).

        If you are going to convince me that your view is accurate, then you will need to find a better way to go about it than scripture + tradition = nightmarish God. I know God better than that. He is not at all what you make Him out to be.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

          “Because of Him [they burn in Hell forever], and through Him [they burn in Hell forever], and to Him [they burn in Hell forever]. And this is how God demonstrates “the riches of His glory”.

          I like that, Alice, because you are finally getting it.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 4, 2012 at 10:06 am

        Romans 3: 3 – 6 then how shall God judge the world?

        Your ideas end with Alice’s purgatory, because she doesn’t want a just God.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 4, 2012 at 7:16 pm

        If God chooses to NEVER write their names in the book, as you say (not as the text says)

        How many thousands of years must pass before you realize those of the Revelation 17: 8 are not God’s elect in accordance with the words of the text? Since they had not yet been born at the writing of the Revelation, more than four thousand years had passed with their names not written by God in His book and you haven’t reasoned why God started the accounting from the foundation of the world rather than their conception by their parents, the actual date of their creation.

        You actually deny the doctrine of election all together, don’t you, Alice?

        • admin May 5, 2012 at 12:37 am

          I do not deny the doctrine of election, I see it in light of an accurate understanding of God’s Plan of the AGES. The elect are called by the grace of God and given a purpose – to be priests, rulers, ministers of reconciliation. The elect are elect not for the exclusion of the non-elect, rather the benefit and inclusion of the non-elect.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 5, 2012 at 3:52 am

    Your May 4, 2012 at 9:43 am quotes are all relating to this present earth. All ethnic national Israel physically alive at the literal thousand year reign of Christ will be saved as per the promises and prophecies God gave to national Israel by the prophets. Common sense ought to have made it clear to you that the majority of historical national Israel have died without professing Christ Jesus, so “all Israel” doesn’t include them, because they are dead and gone from the earth. Since “all Israel” doesn’t mean every Israelite that ever lived, neither does “all things” include everybody that was ever born or created.

    Romans 8 is the highest note of the epistle and the last chapter contains: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

    Why don’t you heed the ending of the Revelation with a Lake of Fire populated with no escape? That’s the final summary of God’s victory over evil and the major subject of the whole revelation.

    Election is for those in this life; there is no election in the next life. Since Jesus said you will die in your sins, physical death is the end of the salvation offer. You’re dreaming foolishness, Alice.

    • admin May 5, 2012 at 9:12 am

      Here is another example of your method of scripture + tradition = nightmarish God. The text says, “hardness in part to Israel hath happened till the fulness of the nations may come in; and so all Israel shall be saved” and then you add the tradition + “All ethnic national Israel physically alive at the literal thousand year reign of Christ” and the result is = a nightmarish God Who makes but does not keep His promises, Who in His dealings with Israel has His hands tied by the work of Satan (sin and death). Your reasoning is this: “the majority of historical national Israel have died without professing Christ Jesus, so “all Israel” doesn’t include them, because they are dead and gone from the earth.” This reasoning has no basis in scripture but depends upon the faulty premise that once a person is dead and gone from the earth, the Lord Jesus Christ is unable or unwilling to do anything on that person’s behalf. Why, then, does Jesus hold the keys to death and Hades? For kicks? Death passes over the elect, but death holds captive the non-elect (or those who do not have blood on their doorposts). Jesus will “lead a train of captives” (a parade or procession, really), people who ALL THEIR LIVES lived in fear of death. Do the elect live all their lives in fear of death? Of course not! Only those who are ignorant of the redemptive work of Christ fear death all their lives. People who are dead and gone, without ever having confessed “Jesus Christ is Lord”, according to your theology, live all their lives in fear of death and then spend eternity held captive by sin and death, they are never lead out from it by Christ in a procession, and more importantly, according to your theology, they never worship Him and make a personal proclamation that “Jesus Christ is Lord”. This directly contradicts the sworn oath of God, that “every knee WILL bow and every tongue WILL confess Jesus Christ is Lord” and makes a mockery of the glory due to Him Who is COMPLETELY VICTORIOUS over sin and death.

      “…law came in, that the offence might abound, and where the sin did abound, the grace did overabound, that even as the sin did reign in the death, so also the grace may reign, through righteousness, to life…”

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

        …law came into ethnic national Israel, that the offence might abound in ethnic national Israel, and where the sin did abound in ethnic national Israel, the grace did overabound in ethnic national Israel, that even as the sin did reign in the death in ethnic national Israel, so also the grace may reign, through righteousness, to life in ethnic national Israel…

        I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. {Romans 11: 1 – 5} And the Apostle Paul is proof the literal Millennium will happen as prophesied.

        So all Israelites alive at the time will be saved when Messiah returns to reign in literal Jerusalem over the entire world on the literally renewed earth made like unto the Garden of Eden for a literal thousand years as foretold by the prophets to the ethnic national Israel.

        When you deny ethnic national Israel, you deny the Prophets.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      nightmarish shows you recoil at the thought that God judges righteously and is immutable in judgment. You err in thinking Israel is always all believers when God specifically distinguishs an ethnic group of people from Genesis 12 all through the the whole Holy Bible. You are driven by these two errors to the confusion of mixing the literal and the figurative unto double talk nonsense.

      Alice, Adam and Eve were real persons, Moses really did lead a national people to exit Egypt, David and Solomon really did reign over Israel, Nebuchadnezzar did really take Jerusalem captive, Jesus was really born in Bethlehem and was really crucufied at Jerusalem. Salvation really is of the Jews. Gentiles really are everybody else other than the Jews.

      Those you loved who died without confessing Christ are gone to hell because God is literal justice and they will be cast into the eternal Lake of Fire experiencing eternal torment without escape. That’s the way God ends His Book as a warning to you and all like you. All else are foolish rebellious dreams, especially Alice’s purgatory. Either you get forgiven now or you DIE IN YOUR SINS to hold them forever in eternal torment.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2012 at 1:15 am

      Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. {Hebrews 2: 14 – 16} proves your doctrine false because the fallen angels do NOT fear death all their life time and that’s why they do NOT change from bad to good at the preaching of the Gospel like the Elect of God do. Once the Elect convert to Christ they die to sin in Christ and are raised to new life in Christ which new life doesn’t fear death and they are no longer subject to bondage for the rest of their physical days. Death in no way passes over them because they died with Christ to sin before they physically die which they certainly do. The fear and bondage referenced is that produced by the Law given at Sinai to the Israelite people. The epistle is titled Hebrews because to them, not the Gentiles, it is addressed. Salvation is of the Jews.

      How is it that you write Jesus will lead a train of captives as if it is future when the only verb form that is not aorist is saith and the action toke place at His ascention fo Acts 1: 9? {Ephesians 4: 8} Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

      That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. {Philippians 2: 10 & 11} It is without dispute that all the saints and all the good angels will bow and confess, but there is nothing here which says all that remains condemned does any such thing. All that is said is Christ is exalted to such a degree, but the chronological event or events are not specified when. Remember the Lake of Fire is not anywhere near heaven or earth and the populace is therefore eternally exempt in eternal torment.

      Only those who confess Christ in this life die without sins and enjoy the super-abounding grace of God eternally. All others die hopelessly in their sins without remedy. Man’s freedom is not overrun by a bullying God making him forcibly to receive grace he doesn’t want just to prove God always wins. Mary even told you as much last year.

      Jesus said Judas Iscariot is perished, you will die in your sins, and the Lake of Fire is populated without any fire escape. Believe it or burn in eternal torment. That’s reality according to Him Who knows. You fight against God and dispute Jesus.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2012 at 1:57 am

      The Lord Jesus Christ is unable or unwilling to do anything that violates the law of God because He is Truth. He offers salvation and specified you will die in your sins if you believe not. Omnisciently, He demonstrated what He meant by declaring Judas Iscariot perished to His Father, being lead of the Holy Spirit. Why is it so hard for you to accept Jesus’ terms? Your objection is the same as those objecting because of all those people who supposedly have never heard of Jesus. You and they think a God of Justice is cruel. Every single person you loved who died without confessing Christ is without excuse. They don’t get what they don’t deserve, Alice. Rules are rules and God doesn’t bend them.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 6, 2012 at 11:05 am

      Just so you understand: them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage {Hebrews 2: 14 – 16} are Israelites under the Law seen as a national group and the reference is also to Messianic deliverance prophetically promised. It is all Jewish, Alice, and prophetic.

      The captives led captive through the streets of a seiged and captured city were the P.O.W.s paraded in naked disgrace, so your interpretation improperly imported from Hebrews 2 is contrary to what you really wanted to heretically say in Ephesians 4: 8.

      • admin May 7, 2012 at 2:07 am

        The literal translation:

        …and to each one of you was given the grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, wherefore, he saith, `Having gone up on high he led captive captivity, and gave gifts to men,’ – and that, he went up, what is it except that he also went down first to the lower parts of the earth? he who went down is the same also who went up far above all the heavens, that He may fill all things…

        This is a wonderful picture of Christ’s triumph also described in Colossians – “having stripped the principalities and the authorities, he made a shew of them openly – having triumphed over them in it”

        As “slaves” of Christ we move from being captives of sin and death to being brought into subjection to love and grace. Just as the grave could not hold Christ, it also cannot hold the human race. He showed up with the keys to death and Hades, swallowed it up in victory! Jesus makes a mockery out of sin and death by defeating sin and death via sin and death. It’s brilliant! I love it. He humbles Himself (went down – died), and by human experience and human understanding, there is no such thing as coming back from such a defeat. But He also is exalted (gone up on high – went up far above all the heavens) in the resurrection and ascension.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 7, 2012 at 2:32 am

          He made captives
          see Judges 5: 12
          Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 7, 2012 at 3:22 am

          Alice, that He led captive captivity is PAST tense and occurred at His ASCENTION in Acts 1: 9 which excludes the captives from being those to whom grace was given and those to whom grace is now given in their salvation. Gifts are given to men, not captives. The captives are not captives of sin and death. There’s no support in the quoted Psalm 68: 18 or it use in Ephesians 4: 8 for your double talk. Colossians 2: 15 does better identify the captives, so don’t say out of one side of your mouth it is Colossians 2: 15 and then out of the other side of your mouth it is “slaves” of Christ. There’s a huge difference between slaves and captives, Alice. Slaves don’t move to being captives, but at the mercy of the victor captives could be granted the move to slaves from dead men. However no such mercy is part of this context. Again this leading captivity captive was done at Christ’s ascention and is a once for all time and eternity done deal expressed He ascendED up on high, he LED captivity captive, and GAVE gifts unto men. It is not an ongoing event of leading captivity captive: He is not leading new slaves of Christ from being captives of sin and death into being captives of love and grace. That is not at all what is meant by these two texts.

          This is your typical twisting of the Scriptures by your unregenerate mind, Alice. Stick with the text and stop inventing ideas to support your heresy. Get back to the basic (A) Judas Iscariot is perished, (B) you will die in your sins, and (C) the Lake of Fire has no escape. Death is the cut-off for salvation, so believe it.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 7, 2012 at 2:25 am

        Alice, the captives are disgraced enemies made a display openly. You cannot make them those who receive grace. The text doesn’t support it. History supports the parading of the disgraced and defeated enemy through town by the invading conqueror. That’s the only picture that fits the context. Christ doesn’t parade delivered saints in an open display of victory.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 8, 2012 at 8:46 am

          I repeat:
          He made captives
          see Judges 5: 12
          Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song: arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.

          I repeat:
          WHEN He ascended.

          I repeat:
          He LED captivity captive

          I repeat:
          He GAVE gifts

          I repeat:
          Aorist tense: PAST completed action viewed as completed in a POINT of time for all three acts

          I repeat:
          in an act of conquest, war, show of victory displaying defeated enemies: paraded enemies in disgrace

          WHO the captives are is not specified in the text; Colossians 2: 15 is the best connection and it is by the same human author and also connects with Judges 5: 12

          Since the captives are not specified their identity cannot be proven and no doctrine can be built positively by the use of this statement in Ephesians 4: 8.

          The closest thing I’ve heard to your double talk useage is those who teach this occasion is the emptying of the paradise portion of hades transporting the souls of those Old Testament saints to heaven with Christ in His ascention and now all saints that die go immediately to be with Christ in heaven. There is nothing to prove it is so, just that they died and went to paradise and saints after the ascention are immediately with the Lord upon death. This an attempt to solve the difference, but it doesn’t fit with Judges 5: 12 where captives are enemies contrary to saints. However it does maintain the historical context.

          I can see your objection to Colossians 2: 15 on the basis of 1 Corinthians 15’s last enemy, death, seems to you not yet conquered. That’s your problem.

          • Lanny A. Eichert May 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

            However it does maintain the historical context only in the sense of WHEN it happened.

  • Blamilton September 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    I’m studying theatre at school. I’ve read/seen many plays and seen many films over the past several years. The climactic nature of these stories shows people, nations, families, etc., at their most extreme. I’ve learned a lot about compassion from learning to understand these characters, sometimes in order to portray them. I feel, in a small way, that I’m glimpsing what God must see. I’ve been blessed with opportunities to improve my emotional quotient during my school years, and I think that opportunity, in my life, is because of my time spent onstage and in the studio and at the library. Dramatic literature has softened me to the plight of my brothers and sisters in the world.

    I can’t honestly say that I’ve practically become more compassionate (I like to think so), but such stories have at least raised my tolerance level. I think. Regardless, I wanted to give that as an example of an unorthodox manner of God teaching me to be more Christ-like outside of an institutional setting. I still attend church, but theatre teaches me a lot.

    • admin September 25, 2012 at 12:59 am

      Our Teacher communicates creatively 🙂

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