Is it wrong?



  1. Jonathan R.
    July 7, 2009 at 5:26 pm — Reply

    And the auxiliary: Is it sinful to hold the wrong belief on that question?

  2. Cliff
    July 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm — Reply

    Not sinful, just incorrect.

    God chose to save all people on the cross. Not all people, however, choose to be saved.

    Miss you, Todd!


  3. July 8, 2009 at 7:50 am — Reply

    I seriously doubt it’s sinful, and there is certainly historical precedence for holding that belief, but it would be wrong intellectually to state that as your belief and not flesh it out.. If you think everyone goes to heaven, do you think hell exists and no one goes there because Christ went there for us? Or do you think hell doesn’t exist? What about people who perhaps don’t want to go to heaven? Why are we so concerned about heaven? After all the Hebrews didn’t seem overly concerned about it. Maybe our goal shouldn’t be salvation, but rather to walk with God now. Why do we even talk about heaven and hell in the first place.? How do the scriptures that speak of judgement and afterlife hold out against biblical criticism and other things recorded in scripture. And that’s just scratching the surface.

  4. Jonathan R.
    July 8, 2009 at 9:25 am — Reply

    Steven has a point there.

    Can we have a little background on the question, Todd?

  5. Andrew
    July 13, 2009 at 8:10 am — Reply

    Maybe salvation is walking with God now. Which is not to say that there is some afterlife destiny correspondent to that.

  6. July 13, 2009 at 1:27 pm — Reply

    How often does Jesus and the other writers in the Bible speak of Heaven and Hell? That would be the big question. I have not done enough research on this but it’s something to think about.

  7. Cliff
    July 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm — Reply


    Are your questions rhetorical?


    The scriptures seem to express that salvation is now and that it also corresponds to an “afterlife destiny”, both.


    Hell is mentioned quite a bit in the Bible and Jesus speaks about hell more than anyone else in all of scripture.

  8. Andrew
    July 14, 2009 at 7:07 am — Reply

    Think I forgot another word in the “afterlife destiny” sentence. What I mean to say is that I believe in a life after this, correspondent to the idea of salvation, but that I don’t have to wait for my death to begin experiencing that.

  9. July 14, 2009 at 11:20 am — Reply

    If we agree that sin is anything that goes against the nature of God and if we say that wrong is anything that is not true about the nature of God then my answer is yes.

  10. Jonathan R.
    July 14, 2009 at 12:38 pm — Reply

    How about this:

    “Heaven” is a metaphor.

    That is, when the term was coined in the biblical text, the science at the time (and people in general) assumed that the blue thing that we call the sky/heaven was something tangible (a “tent”, a “dome”, the inside surface of a “layer” of a “sphere”) and thus a concrete place where certain beings lived. That hypothetical, concrete place took on the metaphorical meaning of the descriptor “heaven” as “place of pure goodness and paradisiacal beauty” when it was agreed that the good spiritual powers lived in the heavens, and so the heavens must mirror the essence of the being(s) that lived there.

    “Heaven” changed from a simile (something “heavenly” was LIKE the actual place “heaven”) to a metaphor when the science/common knowledge over that blue sky-thing changed. We now no longer assume that the area above the clouds is a concrete place where concrete beings dwell. The current science (and the people who’ve been there) tell us that the atmosphere simply gets progressively thinner in the stratosphere, mesosphere, and the thermosphere because the effect of gravity on the earth’s gases wanes further away from the earth’s surface. At some point in those spheres, atmospheric gases scatter blue wavelengths of light more than other wavelengths, causing the illusion of a solid blue layer that does not, in fact exist. Ergo, the place where people assumed the good spiritual powers lived is an optical illusion, not a concrete place, and so now the word “heaven” no longer applies to a concrete place. It only refers to the imaginary place that people once thought was in the sky, a place where the good spiritual power(s) live and that is of paradisiacal beauty.

    That is, “heaven” is now entirely whatever we imagine a place to be that is “good” and “perfect” and “godly,” each according to what that means for us, since there isn’t a physical place we can go to and check our assumptions against. It’s a metaphor for a metaphor — strictly speaking, it signifies nothing.

    Since that is so, we need to be clear what we mean when we say things like “enter into heaven”. After all, it’s no longer the same thing as saying, “I think Todd will go to Topeka.” If we say, “Todd will go to heaven,” do we mean “Todd will be released from suffering much like a candle is blown out and will be absorbed into the spirit that sustains all” (i.e. “attain Nirvana”)? Do we mean “Todd will not be in Hades with all the other spirits of the dead and instead will become like the gods” (i.e. the Greek notion)? Do we mean “Instead of being confined to Sheol like everyone else, Todd is one of the so especially righteous (more so than even the most pious and god-pleasing Jews, more so than Samuel, so righteous that he is at the level of Moses and Abraham) that he will enter the courts of Yaweh, king of kings, king of the gods, and will be treated like a god by the dead, the living, and all the spirits, ” (i.e. the Hebrew notion and also that of Islam)? Do we mean “Todd will one of the citizens of God’s heaven-like kingdom on earth, which will renew the earth and his body as it would’ve been at Creation and will be ruled by the Messiah” (i.e. the First Century Jewish notion that Jesus and Paul seem to be alluding to)? Do we mean he will re-enter the Garden of Paradise, literally (i.e. the favorite Eastern Orthodox metaphor)?

    Depending on what you mean by heaven, everyone might go there by definition (Hades, Sheol). Or the claim to be elected to go there might be so outrageous that only a few can possibly make it (the Hebrew view and the Early Christian claim). Or, if you think that We Hold This Truth to Be Self-Evident That All Men Are Created Equal, That They Are Endowed by Jesus With Certain Unalienable Rights, That Among These Are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and the Right to a Fair Trial Regarding What Their Life Amounts to Vis-a-vis God’s Will, And By Fair Trial We Mean Immunity from Moral Reality and the Law By Virtue of Our Desire That God Be Nice, And Upon Acquittal an Award of Habitation in God’s City, Robes, and a Crown To Be His to Have and to Hold the End of Time and Not to Be Infringed Upon by Tyrannical Divine Authority, then, obviously, one has to be a universalist to be intellectually honest. It’s just a question of which preferences one decides to support by select scripture so that the metaphor seems to make sense.

    I do think it’s safe to say that Precious Moments vs. Dante’s Inferno scenarios don’t seem to fit what Jesus says on the matter, but that may not be what Todd is asking. His question is perhaps misframed. Is Todd asking whether Jesus encourages us to use the metaphors “kingdom of heaven” and “hell” when we think about the world? Is he asking whether we pay too much attention to it? Is he asking whether Anselm’s interpretation of the biblical ransom-metaphor (which is the basis of the contemporary particularist/universalist debate) is problematic for the biblical judgment-metaphor? Is he asking whether actions have consequences? Is he asking whether we should talk about our faiths with “inclusive” or “exclusive” rhetoric when talking to others?

    Those are all entirely different questions.

  11. July 16, 2009 at 7:11 pm — Reply

    Listen here Jonathan. Todd may very well be more righteous than me, but I don’t really think it’s very nice of you to point it out in such a public forum. Have a little class, man!

  12. Jonathan R.
    July 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm — Reply

    Right. Sorry.

  13. josh
    July 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm — Reply

    someone wiser than me once said, “It is heresy to teach [or believe] that all will be saved. It is not heresy to hope so.”

    I think that pretty much says it all.

  14. July 29, 2009 at 2:43 am — Reply

    Jesus said that “no one comes to the Father except through Me.” I think the core belief of Christians is that all who make the choice to go to heaven do so by accepting Jesus as their savior. I think univeralism is something many people wish was true, but according to scripture, it isn’t.

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Is it wrong?