Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith (Guest Blogger Mary Vanderplas)

Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith (Guest Blogger Mary Vanderplas)

I am very pleased to welcome back a wonderful guest blogger, someone who regularly comments on www.whatgoddoes.com, Mary Vanderplas.  She is a former Presbyterian Minister and is now the Chaplin at Florida Hospital in Leesburg, FL.  Her first guest blog was Revelation 8 (Guest-Blogger Mary Vanderplas).  Although we regularly disagree with one another, Mary regularly inspires me to look at things from a perspective that I might not otherwise.  Several times we have entered into discussion about theodicy (a spiritual/philosophical attempt to reconcile the idea that God is all-loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing with the very real presence of evil and suffering in the world).  Mary’s perspective and insight is spectacular, and her vocation puts her in a unique position to give the very churchy word “theodicy” a gripping context in the human experience. Mary wrote the following introduction for a blog series I’ll be doing based on Thomas G. Long’s book, What Shall We Say?: Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith.  I will be writing this blog series in the same manner as I have been writing the Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell series, that is, as the inspiration hits and as time allows.  Here’s Mary’s introduction…

 

A little boy, barely five, is wheeled into the ER after being found unresponsive at home.  His body, connected to life support, shakes uncontrollably from brain seizures.  His mother and grandmother look on helplessly as the medical team does their work.

 

A young woman is brought into the ER after being involved in a terrible car accident.  She is sobbing and shaking, overcome by the trauma and desperate to know if her husband – who was airlifted to another hospital, a hospital with a trauma unit – is “going to be okay.”

 

A woman not yet fifty lies limp and lifeless in the bed, her frail body riddled with cancer.  Under the influence of medication for the pain, she is in and out of consciousness.  Her husband sits by her bedside, speechless with sorrow.

 

In my role as a hospital chaplain, I encounter on a regular basis people such as these, people who are dealing with tragic suffering.  Some of the time, they are asking tough questions about God and their experience.  Some of the time, they are feeling acutely the pain and grief of their situation and are not (yet) at a point of asking, let alone thinking about an answer to, the tough questions.  Some of the time, they express their feelings, including their sense of the absence and silence of God, with loud and mournful cries of “why?”

 

Because, quite often, the people I am called upon to minister to are in the midst of crisis, my ministry is primarily one of being present with them in the pit of their suffering.  With the mother and grandmother referred to above, I sat with them in their helpless sorrow, sharing with them in the sense of injustice and the experienced absence and distance of God.  I said very little.  At one point, at the grandmother’s request, I prayed out loud.  What I prayed was a bold prayer that God would act in power to spare the boy’s life.  Since it was evident that they were overwhelmed by the pain of watching their beloved child/grandchild suffer, I did not even attempt to help them make sense of their experience of tragic suffering.  I knew that to do so at that moment would have been wholly inappropriate.  Instead, I tried to communicate by my presence and actions the presence and care of God in the midst of their tragic situation.  And by my bold prayer, I made (indirectly) a statement about protesting the expressions of evil in the world and calling upon God to do something about these expressions being a faithful response in the face of suffering.

 

With the young woman who, with her husband, was involved in a car accident, I also provided mainly a ministry of presence.  Shortly after she came in, the word came from the hospital where her husband was taken that he had not made it.  Hearing the news, the woman emitted an anguished shriek, followed by intense sobbing.  I sat with her, holding her hand and “speaking,” with words and mainly with nonverbal expressions of empathy and caring.  An hour or so later, she looked at me and asked, “Why did God have to take someone who was so good?”  Even though my best judgment told me that it wasn’t the time for a deep discussion of the theological issues that her question raised, I responded in brief to her question, which arose out a struggle (in its beginning stage) to make sense of her experience in light of what she believed about God and his ways.  First, I challenged her understanding that God had caused the tragic death of her husband.  “God didn’t take him,” I said.  “I don’t believe that God caused this terrible thing to happen.”  Second, I acknowledged that I didn’t know the ultimate source of her terrible loss and that I didn’t think that it could be known whose doing it was.  Third, I acknowledged that I didn’t know why God didn’t intervene to prevent it from happening or to save her husband’s life after it happened.  I told her, too, that what I believe and am assured of is that “God cares and he is and will be with you in this.”  Whether she heard any of what I said in that moment of deep grief I don’t know.  But I did feel compelled to begin to help her address the issues raised by her anguished question, rather than simply ignoring them, and to provide the comfort of knowing that God was not the cause of her suffering but a very present help in her time of trouble.

 

With the woman afflicted with cancer, I provided something more than a ministry of presence.  She and her husband shared that well-meaning friends had spoken much to them about God being in control and God having a purpose for what they were going through.  After battling the disease for going-on two years and being the object of many prayers, their own and others’, they were weary of the battle and they were questioning deeply whether what others seemed so confident of – namely, the existence of a loving and just God who cared about them personally – could possibly be true.  I empathized with their expressed experience of the absence and indifference of God.  I spoke directly to the notion that “God is in control” and the notion that “God has a purpose” for their suffering.  I said, specifically, that while I believe that God’s purposes for us and for the world will ultimately prevail, I don’t believe that this cancer is God’s will.  “I don’t pretend to know where it came from in an ultimate sense, but I don’t believe that it came from God.  On the contrary, I believe that God hates it, just as you do.”  I affirmed that even though I don’t think we can know where cancer and other evils come from, I rest my faith and hope on the promise that one day God will act to overcome them, to destroy them completely, and that even now God is with us when we suffer, giving courage and strength and hope.  (If I had read Tom Long’s marvelous book prior to ministering to this struggling couple, I would have said even more.)  And by my presence and actions, I tried to communicate to them something of the loving, compassionate presence of God with them in their suffering.

Next blog in this series: The Shaking of the Foundations

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert July 17, 2012 at 1:28 am

    “God didn’t take him,” I said. *** life is totally God’s domain, meaning the absence of life is also.

    Since “theodicy” is NOT answered in the Holy Bible, Alice, your exercise is vain and idle chatter.

    But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. {Matthew 12: 36}

    Stop and save yourself God’s judgment and condemnation.

    • Lanny A. Eichert July 17, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      “God didn’t take him,” I said. “I don’t believe that God caused this terrible thing to happen.”

      Mary, because life is totally God’s domain, meaning the absence of life is also, in other words, so is death under God’s control. Every time some one or some thing dies, it is by God’s mandate they die. It is an absolute lie to say “God didn’t take him” ***. Has this world system so thoroughly perverted your sense of truth that you no longer believe God is still in full control?

      • Mary Vanderplas July 25, 2012 at 7:18 am

        In my view, to affirm that God is “in full control” doesn’t require believing that God is directly responsible for everything that happens. The world operates according to certain natural laws, which at times can result in human suffering. God isn’t responsible – directly, anyway – for this suffering. When a person dies in a car crash, God isn’t to be blamed; he didn’t cause or will the tragic death. The death resulted from the force of moving objects colliding, not because God took the person or made the collision happen.

        In general, I reject a mechanistic, deterministic understanding of divine sovereignty. I think it is misguided to construe God’s being in control in terms of a causality that makes God (directly) responsible for everything that happens, including the bad things, and that makes God the only real actor in history. I don’t believe that this understanding is supported by the biblical witness. The Bible testifies not to an impersonal being that mechanically determines everything in advance and watches from a distance as the plan unfolds, but to the personal God who is actively involved in our lives and in the world for our good and for the world’s good.

  • Stephen Helbig July 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Mary, I understand and appreciate the very presence of the Lord, you bring to people in their suffering. I see no greater work than the way of your statement “To communicate to them something of the loving, compassionate presence of God with them in their suffering”.
    It is the true wisdom of the lord, when all seems to dwell in the “SHADOW” of death, that our God’s hand remains mighty to bring LIFE, and there is no greater time where deep calleth unto deep.

    The misconstrued lies that exist in this world make it difficult to navigate others to the ultimate truth that GOD IS LOVE, and to make one see into our “final victory” of “Life Forevermore”. Your work Mary is truly a commission of great worth, and I desire you to know that it is a continuous pray for all of God’s “called out ones”, that, “He reveals mysteries from the darkness, And brings the deep darkness INTO LIGHT.

    Jesus truly has gone before to prepare this place, ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

    • Mary Vanderplas July 25, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Thank you, Stephen, for your words of affirmation of my work as a chaplain.

  • Lanny A. Eichert July 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Stephen, your quote ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. is only for God’s Elect and does not apply to “the many” who love the broad way to destruction. To make it apply to each individual you meet is according to the percentages ***. On the other hand Mary’s statement doesn’t depend on percentages, but is *** no matter what way you look at it.

    [Lanny, you might consider using the word “false” instead of “lie”, because you can make your point without calling the person a liar. – Admin/Moderator/Alice]

    • Lanny A. Eichert July 18, 2012 at 6:35 pm

      Look, Alice, Mary knows better because she’s constantly writing God is in control and every reader has read that including you and the same goes for Stephen. When they take up the “nice” talk of the world and flatly say God didn’t take some one who died, they lie and do not tell the truth. It is a moral decision to say something false to spare feelings, and God says those who do so are LIARS and will burn in the Lake of Fire.

      I wrote about what she wrote and judged it. Then I wrote those who speak or write lies are liars. I judged words not persons.

      • Lanny A. Eichert July 19, 2012 at 4:19 pm

        “false” instead of “lie” ???

        “false” = “lie”

        unquenchable = eternal

        Face reality, dear Alice. The Lake of Fire is eternal fire. Stop playing word games to justify your heresies. Get fundamental and believe the perfect literal Holy Bible and the Jesus Who told you Judas is perished forever and the fire never goes out forever and the Lake of Fire will be fully populated with unbelievers without any exit ever possible to them forever.

        There’s NO surity in personal revelations, but there is in the black and white written pages of the perfect literal Holy Bible: a surity you can see and read over and over, time and again according to your need for assurance anytime you need it. That Book is God’s written warranty to His believers. Don’t cut it short; Jesus warranties it to us and proved it so in His humanity as He demonstrated how to use it as His example to us in our need.

        • admin July 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

          Suppose a child is learning math, and believes with all his heart that 5+6=12. The child puts the answer “12” on the test. The child’s answer is false, because the 5+6=11. Do we punish the child for lying? No. Of course not. The child made a mistake. The child gave a false answer for lack of understanding not because he wants to be deceptive. That is how “false” does not always mean “lie”.

      • Lanny A. Eichert July 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        Alice, I wish to demo your logic. I wrote above, the Lake of Fire will be fully populated with unbelievers without any exit ever possible to them forever. My meaning is that there is NO exit at all, but since I used the word, your logic assumes there is an exit, it exists, but just that it isn’t possible yet for the unbeliever to utilize it, however its presence implies some day it will be made available. Such an idea you insist is contained as the intent of of my statement. This is what you do to the Holy Scriptures to nullify what God actually states. You have added your meaning to God’s intended meaning to invert what He said to please yourself. To please yourself is an avoidance of being in submission to God, meaning you’re a rebel against God and particularly against His words because they hurt your sensitivities. {You have stated various times that you could not accept a God who would eternally burn people who haven’t confessed Christ in this life before they physically died.}

        Why do you do this sort of thing and call it a revelation from your god? You are predisposed to find anything that might suppress eternal punishment and speak of universalism. When you find something you had never before noticed in that “light” you naturally credit your god with revealling it to you. You reject that God was actually voicing His frustrated intentions which He knew would be majorly frustrated by the moral freedom He designed for humanity at creation. Those frustrated intentions are the assurance of hope for those who still in their unbelief are contemplating believing in Christ as God is drawing them to the very moment of repentance at that very instant when they will really believe God. That’s the power of “whosoever” and “all” and “any” in the perfect literal Holy Bible as individual words to be believed.

        Alice, it is not too late for you to believe.

        • admin July 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

          “Such an idea you insist is contained as the intent of of my statement.” – No. I assure you that when you say people burn in the Lake of Fire forever, I assume that this is what you actually believe. I don’t think that you have a hidden agenda. That’s one thing I really appreciate about you, Lanny, that you seem to be an open book, saying what you mean and meaning what you say. Having said this, if I disagree with what you say, it is not because I think you are secretly withholding ideas, but because I find error in your logic. People can be wrong without being deceptive.

          • Lanny A. Eichert July 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

            Alice, I am at all not arguing about my statement but just demonstrating how I see your logic working. You “run off” on words, using them to invert the Holy Spirit’s meaning insisting His intent to be your conclusion. I was demonstrating how you do that.

            Yes, when I say people burn in the Lake of Fire forever, that is what I actually know, not just think or believe as if there might be some uncertainty to it. I know it because I believe God’s perfect literal Holy Bible, because in it He is saying what He means and meaning what He says. His children follow His example saying what they mean and meaning what they say.

            Regarding above false = lie and your math example, context is all. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him. {John 12: 19} Don’t you see “all” have not followed Christ per the Pharisees’ useage of the world? How many people are accepting and furthering wrong religion without knowing it is wrong and where is the source of wrong religion? Satan, the father of lies. Wrong religion is a lie and those accepting and furthering it are unintentional liars, but liars nonetheless. Just as the Pharisees statement, your Amazing Hope is built on a twisted false supposed useage of all and age, and recently quench.

      • admin July 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

        I hope I represent Mary accurately in saying that she believes there is a necessary tension in paradox that only God can understand, in which an idea can be true and an idea that seems to contradict it can also be true. She is okay with this. We aren’t. I don’t agree with her, because I believe that God gave us a desire to resolve tension/paradox for a good reason – so that we will discover amazing truths that we never expected possible. I don’t know which is true and which is false, but I continually attempt to find out, because I believe that in every contradiction there is resolution. Maybe to you, “tension in paradox” is just fancy-talk for “lies” and anyone who believes that way is a liar. Neither you nor I can understand how this makes sense to Mary, but just because we don’t understand how it makes sense to her, this doesn’t mean that it DOESN’T make sense to her and she is lying about it and pretending it does make sense to her. It just means WE don’t understand how she thinks. And of course we can’t get into her head and decide that she thinks this way because she is a liar or she thinks this way because she is mistaken (or, perhaps we are the ones mistaken). There is no need to call Mary a liar. Here’s how I would have worded it, if I were you: “Mary, you constantly write that God is in control and every reader has read that including you and the same goes for Stephen. When you take up the “nice” talk of the world and flatly say God didn’t take some one who died, you are contradicting yourself. Please explain how you can believe that God is in control while you also believe that God is not responsible for death.” How do you KNOW that the reason Mary said what she said was to “spare feelings”? Maybe Mary actually believes it to be true, whether feelings are on the line or not. How do you KNOW that it is a moral decision, and not an intellectual or spiritual decision? You can’t possibly have any way of knowing this, unless you are a mind-reader. Are you a mind-reader, Lanny? You are right in saying that those who tell lies are liars. Where you err is in assuming that Mary’s statements are lies. Please refer to the example I gave of the student learning math. The teacher doesn’t write LIAR!!! on the paper or LIE!!! next to the incorrect answer, just as you should so with Mary. If you feel she is saying things that aren’t true, tell her why the thing she says isn’t true, but don’t call her a liar. You are a smart guy. You can figure out a way to challenge what people write without judging the person that wrote it. Maybe this is a new idea to you and you need practice to break old habits. I believe that you are capable of doing this, Lanny.

        • Mary Vanderplas July 25, 2012 at 7:21 am

          A paradox is, by definition, is something that doesn’t make sense to finite creatures, something that frustrates human logic. I am “okay with” paradox not because the paradox “makes sense” to me, but because I believe that it is a mystery that needs to be preserved, not dissolved. To dissolve the paradox by subordinating one side to the other is, I think, to risk having a small God. In general, I don’t see paradoxical teaching in scripture as a puzzle to be solved, but as a mystery to be embraced.

          Thank you for defending my character and for pointing out the important distinction between believing that another’s views are in error or that his/her claims are false and calling the person a liar.

    • Stephen Helbig July 19, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Lanny states; ~ “Stephen, your quote ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. is only for God’s Elect and does not apply to “the many” who love the broad way to destruction”

      My reply Lanny is this; ~ There are a people who are called out (who are presently “Now”, and also actively pursuing, “continuing”), in the presence of the Lord. These called out ones, are at all levels, (babes, sons, and fathers), each maturing as the Lord permits. There are also those who have as of yet, have not entered nor come into this rest of the Lord. However, they are definitely part of “the many” the ~ (ALL have sinned) of (Romans 5): ~ Having said this there is something of” the many” I wish to exemplify. ~ “the “many” is the same “Many” ~ it should not be necessary to enlarge on this all-inclusive statement. Nothing could be more reasonable and just than that which Paul has explained IN this passage of Romans chapter 5; ~ that since death passed upon ALL MEN because of Adam’s disobedience, so life and righteousness will eventually pass upon ALL MEN because of Christ’s obedience. For as by the disobedience of ONE “many” were made sinners, so by the obedience of ONE shall (the same) “many” be made righteous.

      Side note ~ As part of the fulfillment of the old covenant (law) and the transition to the new covenant (grace), God’s Word declares that “the many” have now become “All” God is not a respecter of persons, (see Acts 10:34) The barrier is broken down; the offer is made to all; God will save all on the same principle;

      Lanny I ask, Has the first Adam more power than the second? ALL were made partakers of the sinful nature through the fall of one man (Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:21-22).
      ~ Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men, for that ALL have sinned:
      ~ 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (KJV) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (the ones that death has passed upon, ~ sinners). For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be ALL in ALL.

      ~Paul, in I Tim. 2:1-6, gives the answer! “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN … for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.” ~ Man, who would know the complete will of God must look for the larger concept; we must enlarge our tent stakes and discover the real objective. A main objective is given us in this text: “I exhort therefore, that … supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for ALL MEN … for … God our Saviour … WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The will of God is so far beyond our usual thoughts that we simply cannot understand it unless the Spirit enlightens us. The eternal God, “WILL” ~is to have all men to saved! We need to ask God to fill our minds with His great truths, by His Holy Spirit. GOD WILLS that all men be saved. Let faith in those wondreful words take possession of our hearts; we must allow God’s will to BECOME OUR WILL and inspire us in “LIFE”. If we accept this will of God, by taking it into our hearts and making it truly ours, I then ask you, how will our lives be affected? The first result will be just what Paul commands ~ prayers and intercessions FOR ALL MEN. We will learn to see each man in the proper light, not the light of who he is, what he does, or what he deserves, but in the light of God’s love and God’s will for him. If God so loved miserable and unworthy creatures (you, me, and ALL of mankind), and so desired to help us that He sent His Son to die for us, and if our will is one with His, we will be inspired to LOVE others and pray earnestly for them.

      Adam had power to take the whole human family down with him; even without their consent. If the fist Adam, could do this, how much more power will the second Adam show in lifting all again, through His death and resurrection! Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. ” He did not say He would draw them if they decided to come, or He would draw them, and they could come if they chose; but if He was lifted up (which He was), “I WILL DRAW ALL UNTO ME.” It is not a partial drawing, an action to be yielded to or resisted according to the whims of the subject. It is a complete action, the subjects are drawn irresistibly and totally. If the drawn ones merely “sensed” His drawing but could resist, ~ Jesus would have said, “I will cause all men to sense my drawing power.” But the words “unto Me” denote the object and the end of the drawing. He says not, “I will draw all toward Me,” but “unto Me.” This is a total and completed action. “I will draw all men UNTO ME” all the way! It should be clear to every one that the last Adam has more power than the first; that the Almighty cannot fail; that He has a plan by which He will cause ALL to come at the appointed time.

      Lanny, God’s Oath, sworn by Himself, is an expression of God’s utter obligation to His Word, spoken in a solemn vow to HIS WHOLE CREATION. Let us consider only one of these unconditional promises revealed and confirmed by God’s own Oath. “Look unto Me, and BE SAVED, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I HAVE SWORN BY MYSELF, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that UNTO ME EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, EVERY TONGUE SHALL SWEAR” (Isa. 45:22-23). ~ “Wherefore God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: 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” (Phil. 2:9-11). ~ “I have sworn by Myself.” is the preface to this new testament promise (Paul quoting from Isaiah. ~ The word “sworn” is from the Hebrew SHABA meaning “to SEVEN oneself, i. e. swear, by repeating a declaration seven times.” The number seven is used in the Bible to indicate completeness and perfection and is used as the basis for swearing to point to the sureness and sacredness of that which was sworn.

      See ~ Brown-Driver-Briggs @ http://concordances.org/hebrew/7650.htm
      [שָׁבַע]186 verb swear (probably, so to say, seven oneself, or bind oneself by seven things,

      And I ask you Lanny, just what has God sworn that He shall accomplish? “Unto Me EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, EVERY TONGUE SHALL SWEAR.” The word translated “bow” is KAMPTO, found in the Bible only in Paul’s writings, and means TO BOW IN WORSHIP. The meaning is clarified when we understand the Spirit that moved Paul when he said, “For this cause I BOW my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:14) The spirit of the speech of Paul, the structural form of the language used here reveals something far greater than a forced confession!

      p.s. Lanny, I would venture to say that this subject of ALL is where many of our comments (here @ http://www.whatgoddoes.com) , are at variance. And if you still at this time continue to find what I say to be unacceptable to your liking, I would beseech you, ~ pray for me, as I indeed will also make… supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for ALL MEN.

      • Lanny A. Eichert July 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        Stephen, did I not write that Isaiah 45:22-23, Romans 14: 11, and Philippians 2: 10 & 11 are all in context about believers bowing the knee and confessing. Unbelievers don’t do that nor ever will in worship. The gospel invitation is given to all only in this life, but only believers respond in faith; all others perish. Unbelievers are incapable of true worship, Stephen. Don’t you see the problem? If this bowing and confessing is true worship, unbelievers are not bowing and confessing because they are incapable of true spiritual worship in the Holy Spirit. Stephen what means “all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed” {Isaiah 45: 24b}? Can a person be incensed against God’s people and worship in spirit and truth? Not at all, so “ashamed’ means God puts them to death {Matthew 25: 41} and they await in hell fire for the Lake of Fire following the Great White Throne Judgment of “the dead” small and great. This is the separation of the sheep and goats at the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ literally foretold in Isaiah 45 and Matthew 25. Your use of the bowing and confessing is all wrong according to the contexts. It has nothing to do with salvation happening in the Lake of Fire. Its primary meaning is the national salvation of scattered Israel when Christ literally comes the prophetic second time to set up His Davidic Kingdom in literal earthly Jerusalem for a thousand years. Just what has God sworn that He shall accomplish? His literal Messianic Millennial reign is what. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. {Isaiah 45: 25} All the seed of Israel is ethnic national political Israel. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob {Romans 11: 26}

        Why don’t you folks use the logic that since the alternative to faith is that of perishing, then all who are without faith do indeed perish? Don’t you see there are two options: faith and unbelief. Since there are two, then the world population from the beginning to the end must be split between the two options and Jesus told us how the split will be: the many in unbelief and the few in faith; the many perish and the few live eternally.

        Again since there is eternal life and bliss for the few, the many must suffer eternal death and torment. Since there is eternal salvation, there must also be that from which one might be saved: eternal torment. Do you see that? Salvation is ETERNAL, therefore that from which salvation eternally saves must be ETERNAL also, eternal torment. Since both are eternal, both must have participants, one participating in eternal bliss and the other participating in eternal torment.

        How can you be eternally saved if you can’t be eternally damned?

  • Lanny A. Eichert July 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Alice, all people that proclaim lies are LIARS; and their part is in the Lake of Fire as per the Revelation 21: 8

    Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by [his] fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. {Matthew 12: 33 – 37}

    • Lanny A. Eichert July 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Oh, BTW, where in But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. {Matthew 12: 36 & 37} is judgment by works? Nowhere !!! Judgment is by WORDS, not works. Works only prove your words.

      Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. {Matthew 7: 22 & 23}

      For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. {Romans 10: 13} That name is His Who prophesied in prayer {John 17: 12} that Judas Iscariot is permanently perished before Judas even betrayed Him. That name is His Who said the Lake of Fire is never extinguished not can it be three times {Mark 9: 43 – 48}, meaning eternal torment. That name is His Who gave the Revelation that ends with the Lake of Fire populated without remedy. That name is His Who cerified the literalness and accuracy of the entire Old Testament and insured that of the entire New Testament. That name is His Who never speaks an idle word.

      Please trust His literal perfect Holy Bible. Your eternal destiny depends upon it. If you don’t Hell and the Lake of Fire is assured yours without remedy for ever. His literal perfect Holy Bible tells you of the Christ you must trust to be saved from eternal fire. If you cannot trust His Bible, then you cannot know if the christ you think you must trust is real. Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem and not a bone of His body was broken when He was crucified? Because these Old Testament prophecies were literally fulfilled in perfect detail, verifying the literalness and accuracy of both Testaments from cover to cover. This Book, the Holy Bible, can be trusted for your life, so please do it.

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