Question For Universalists

I am wondering this because I don't understand the position. If everyone goes to Heaven no matter what (Universalism), why does it matter what we do here? Who cares what we do, who cares if we sin, who cares if we steal, kill, destroy, harm, etc?

If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

Comments

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,904

    @reformed said:
    I am wondering this because I don't understand the position. If everyone goes to Heaven no matter what (Universalism), why does it matter what we do here? Who cares what we do, who cares if we sin, who cares if we steal, kill, destroy, harm, etc?

    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    Reformed,
    See my post under "A Saving Faith" by Mitchell August 27 # 2,014. I think most of your concerns will be satisfied there. CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @C_M_ said:

    @reformed said:
    I am wondering this because I don't understand the position. If everyone goes to Heaven no matter what (Universalism), why does it matter what we do here? Who cares what we do, who cares if we sin, who cares if we steal, kill, destroy, harm, etc?

    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    Reformed,
    See my post under "A Saving Faith" by Mitchell August 27 # 2,014. I think most of your concerns will be satisfied there. CM

    Thanks for the link but not that didn't really address my question.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,904

    @reformed said:
    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    Reformed,
    See my post under "A Saving Faith" by Mitchell August 27 # 2,014. I think most of your concerns will be satisfied there. CM

    Thanks for the link but not that didn't really address my question.

    If you comprehend my post, all the other answers are arrived by deductive reasoning. If not, what is your primary on this topic? CM

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @C_M_ said:

    @reformed said:
    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    Reformed,
    See my post under "A Saving Faith" by Mitchell August 27 # 2,014. I think most of your concerns will be satisfied there. CM

    Thanks for the link but not that didn't really address my question.

    If you comprehend my post, all the other answers are arrived by deductive reasoning. If not, what is your primary on this topic? CM

    What I asked about the OP. What does it matter what we do on earth if we all get to Heaven?

  • JanJan Posts: 231
    edited October 2018

    @reformed said:
    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    Universalism promotes cheap grace.

    Cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom it departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.
    Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.…
    Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ . It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.

    (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

    In short: It would not matter how we live.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @Jan said:

    @reformed said:
    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    Universalism promotes cheap grace.

    Cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom it departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.
    Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.…
    Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ . It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.

    (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

    In short: It would not matter how we live.

    So why do some Universalists then try to force a moral code onto others and condemn certain acts? It seems to me that they do not believe their own view of Scripture if that is the case. If everyone goes to Heaven, then just let everyone else be, leave them alone to live how they see fit? Right?

  • JanJan Posts: 231

    Initially I didn't want to believe you that universalists preach repentance etc.
    Apparently I was wrong. Some of them do.

    That's massively inconsistent.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @Jan said:
    Initially I didn't want to believe you that universalists preach repentance etc.
    Apparently I was wrong. Some of them do.

    That's massively inconsistent.

    Yeah it really doesn't make any sense.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,315

    @reformed said:
    I am wondering this because I don't understand the position. If everyone goes to Heaven no matter what (Universalism), why does it matter what we do here? Who cares what we do, who cares if we sin, who cares if we steal, kill, destroy, harm, etc?

    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    I speak only for myself, and not for other universalists.

    In my view, what we do here matters because God says it matters. Throughout time, as recorded in Scripture, God has commanded us to a certain kind of life. Call it righteousness, holiness, Christ-likeness, or the name of your choosing, it doesn't matter. What matters is that God calls us to that life.

    For me, the central issue is what's my motivation for living the life God commands? Is my motivation for living such a life the reward of heaven? No. It's not. In fact, I openly reject self-centeredness as a spiritually unhealthy motivation for righteousness. More plainly, in my view, righteousness prompted by the prospect of personal gain is not righteousness at all.

    • Do you hold the door open for the person behind you because you want that person's appreciation? Or do you hold the door open because it's the right thing to do?
    • Do you make financial offerings to your home church because you want the notice of your congregation's financial officers? Or do you give because you have received, and because you understand your offering as your passing back some of what God has provided?
    • In the same vein, do you follow the teachings of Jesus and the direction of God's leading because of what it will get you? Or because you have made Jesus lord of your life, and because of that decision, you live the way you do?

    I find Colossians 1.9-14 helpful here:

    9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 1:9–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    What motivates the writer to a faithful, fruitful life? Is it the promise of everlasting life? No. That gift is real (v.12) but it's not the motivation! The motivation is knowledge of God's will in spiritual wisdom and understanding. We live righteously NOT because of some eternal life insurance policy, but because our knowledge/relationship with God produces in us a desire for righteousness (e.g. doors held open and financial offerings provided)

    Where does the promise of eternal life fit in? As the gift it is. The writer of Colossians says God has "qualified" us for eternal life. Who did the qualifying? God did, not us. By definition, we don't earn the gift, we receive it. I don't live right to avoid eternal punishment in part because God has qualified me; in part, because I believe God won't let me go; but mostly because I know God, I am connected to Jesus, and as a result of those connections - created and grown through worship, a devotional life, and acts of service - I seek righteousness in my life, in the lives of the people I serve in ministry, in my community, state, nation, and world. I do NOT pursue righteousness out of fear for my destiny.

    My universalist position is that God doesn't let God's people go (consider Hosea 11.1-11) that God has decided nothing will separate God from God's people. But God still commands God's people to live differently - to be salt and light; not to conform to the ways of the world. Are there consequences for not doing so? Yes. Sometimes and in this life.

    Think about the book of Job, whose central question in the view of a religious studies professor/rabbi had in my undergraduate days is "Is disinterested piety possible?" Since that wonderful class oh so many decades ago, I've come to the conclusion that Job is more about God's utter otherness, but it is surely truth that God's otherness affects Job's piety.

    Before all hell breaks loose in his life, Job has held comfortably to the view that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. A series of calamities causes him to doubt the truth of his worldview, and fuels his part in a spirited exchange with three friends who promote the worldview he has abandoned. Knowing that bad things CAN and DO happen to good people, Job must decide whether he's willing to pursue righteousness even though he may not benefit from such a life in the way he's always thought he would. I contend that in the end, Job decides righteousness is its own "reward," and that he does the right thing, not because of what he's going to get, but because his connection to God compels him to.

    @jan said:

    Initially I didn't want to believe you that universalists preach repentance etc.
    Apparently I was wrong. Some of them do.

    That's massively inconsistent.

    Not in my view, Jan.

    I believe repentance restores the connection and intimacy between God and the repentant one, just as it restores - or at least has the potential to restore - the connection between people whose relationships have been broken by sin, unrighteousness, whatever.

    The absence of repentance - i.e. a broken connection with God - has its consequences in this life - e.g. separation and isolation; a wounded spirit - but not in the next, for in the next life the only necessary action is God's grace, God's decision not to let us go.

    I acknowledge that I wrestle with the meaning and possible eternal consequences of the "in my Father's house are many rooms" imagery Jesus employs in John 14.2. I grant that there could well be some kind of gradation of setting or experiences in heaven, decided by our earthly lives. But my baseline attitude about my own fate is that I will never deserve to step inside the gates of glory, let alone anywhere near the throne. So even if I'm in the distant reaches of the parking lot, a mile and a half from the stadium where all the action is, at least I'll be on heaven's property, which will be FAR more than I deserve.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @Bill_Coley said:

    @reformed said:
    I am wondering this because I don't understand the position. If everyone goes to Heaven no matter what (Universalism), why does it matter what we do here? Who cares what we do, who cares if we sin, who cares if we steal, kill, destroy, harm, etc?

    If we all go to paradise, why does any of it matter? Why do we need to preach? Why do we need to witness? Why does it matter?

    I speak only for myself, and not for other universalists.

    In my view, what we do here matters because God says it matters. Throughout time, as recorded in Scripture, God has commanded us to a certain kind of life. Call it righteousness, holiness, Christ-likeness, or the name of your choosing, it doesn't matter. What matters is that God calls us to that life.

    For me, the central issue is what's my motivation for living the life God commands? Is my motivation for living such a life the reward of heaven? No. It's not. In fact, I openly reject self-centeredness as a spiritually unhealthy motivation for righteousness. More plainly, in my view, righteousness prompted by the prospect of personal gain is not righteousness at all.

    • Do you hold the door open for the person behind you because you want that person's appreciation? Or do you hold the door open because it's the right thing to do?
    • Do you make financial offerings to your home church because you want the notice of your congregation's financial officers? Or do you give because you have received, and because you understand your offering as your passing back some of what God has provided?
    • In the same vein, do you follow the teachings of Jesus and the direction of God's leading because of what it will get you? Or because you have made Jesus lord of your life, and because of that decision, you live the way you do?

    I find Colossians 1.9-14 helpful here:

    9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Col 1:9–14). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    What motivates the writer to a faithful, fruitful life? Is it the promise of everlasting life? No. That gift is real (v.12) but it's not the motivation! The motivation is knowledge of God's will in spiritual wisdom and understanding. We live righteously NOT because of some eternal life insurance policy, but because our knowledge/relationship with God produces in us a desire for righteousness (e.g. doors held open and financial offerings provided)

    Where does the promise of eternal life fit in? As the gift it is. The writer of Colossians says God has "qualified" us for eternal life. Who did the qualifying? God did, not us. By definition, we don't earn the gift, we receive it. I don't live right to avoid eternal punishment in part because God has qualified me; in part, because I believe God won't let me go; but mostly because I know God, I am connected to Jesus, and as a result of those connections - created and grown through worship, a devotional life, and acts of service - I seek righteousness in my life, in the lives of the people I serve in ministry, in my community, state, nation, and world. I do NOT pursue righteousness out of fear for my destiny.

    My universalist position is that God doesn't let God's people go (consider Hosea 11.1-11) that God has decided nothing will separate God from God's people. But God still commands God's people to live differently - to be salt and light; not to conform to the ways of the world. Are there consequences for not doing so? Yes. Sometimes and in this life.

    Think about the book of Job, whose central question in the view of a religious studies professor/rabbi had in my undergraduate days is "Is disinterested piety possible?" Since that wonderful class oh so many decades ago, I've come to the conclusion that Job is more about God's utter otherness, but it is surely truth that God's otherness affects Job's piety.

    Before all hell breaks loose in his life, Job has held comfortably to the view that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. A series of calamities causes him to doubt the truth of his worldview, and fuels his part in a spirited exchange with three friends who promote the worldview he has abandoned. Knowing that bad things CAN and DO happen to good people, Job must decide whether he's willing to pursue righteousness even though he may not benefit from such a life in the way he's always thought he would. I contend that in the end, Job decides righteousness is its own "reward," and that he does the right thing, not because of what he's going to get, but because his connection to God compels him to.

    @jan said:

    Initially I didn't want to believe you that universalists preach repentance etc.
    Apparently I was wrong. Some of them do.

    That's massively inconsistent.

    Not in my view, Jan.

    I believe repentance restores the connection and intimacy between God and the repentant one, just as it restores - or at least has the potential to restore - the connection between people whose relationships have been broken by sin, unrighteousness, whatever.

    The absence of repentance - i.e. a broken connection with God - has its consequences in this life - e.g. separation and isolation; a wounded spirit - but not in the next, for in the next life the only necessary action is God's grace, God's decision not to let us go.

    I acknowledge that I wrestle with the meaning and possible eternal consequences of the "in my Father's house are many rooms" imagery Jesus employs in John 14.2. I grant that there could well be some kind of gradation of setting or experiences in heaven, decided by our earthly lives. But my baseline attitude about my own fate is that I will never deserve to step inside the gates of glory, let alone anywhere near the throne. So even if I'm in the distant reaches of the parking lot, a mile and a half from the stadium where all the action is, at least I'll be on heaven's property, which will be FAR more than I deserve.

    Thanks Bill

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    edited October 2018

    Bill, not to distract, and I think you have told us before, but in brief do you understand there to be pergatory or a temporary hell of some sort? Or both?

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,315

    @GaoLu said:
    Bill, not to distract, and I think you have told us before, but in brief do you understand there to be pergatory or a temporary hell of some sort? Or both?

    Neither. I don't understand there to be purgatory or any form of temporary hell.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @Bill_Coley said:

    @GaoLu said:
    Bill, not to distract, and I think you have told us before, but in brief do you understand there to be pergatory or a temporary hell of some sort? Or both?

    Neither. I don't understand there to be purgatory or any form of temporary hell.

    So now I am curious, what about when Jesus talked about the rich man and Lazarus?

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,904

    @reformed said:

    @Bill_Coley said:

    @GaoLu said:
    Bill, not to distract, and I think you have told us before, but in brief do you understand there to be pergatory or a temporary hell of some sort? Or both?

    Neither. I don't understand there to be purgatory or any form of temporary hell.

    See the most recent OP on this topic. CM

    So now I am curious, what about when Jesus talked about the rich man and Lazarus?

    I am responding to this in hopes that I am not taking away from the flow of the conversation at hand. If I am, start a new thread and we can continue the conversation there.

    "This is one of the most misunderstood and mishandled topics in the Bible. Christianity from the outset started mixing in Greek philosophy into the Hebraic revelations, which is why YHWH's use of Greek for the New Testament is one of the most effective elements of the strong delusion (2 Thes. 2:11, 12) and the famine of the hearing of the words of YHWH (Amos 8:11, 12)".

    This is a parable found in Luke 16: 19-31 of the Bible, one of the 38, told by Jesus in the NT. A parable is "a placing beside or comparison of earthly truths with heavenly truths. It is an earthly story, often historical in nature, but not necessarily so, with a heavenly meaning" (See Willmington below).

    Why Did Jesus Choose This Parable? Jesus told this story as a vehicle to teach His hearers an important lesson; it is merely an illustration. What Jesus did here was similar to what He did with the parable of the unrighteous servant (Luke 16:1-10). There Jesus was not teaching that the dishonest administration of money is right; He was emphasizing the importance of placing our resources at the service of others and of God.

    In the parable of the rich man, Jesus was retelling a story well known by His audience. The background of this parable was a folk story going back to Egyptian sources.

    • In the Jewish version, a contrast was made between the experience of a poor scholar and a rich publican. In a dream, a friend of the poor scholar saw him enjoying heavenly bliss in a paradisiacal garden with streams of water, while the rich man was standing by a stream unable to drink from the water.

    There are a few facts one needs to keep in mind to get the full message to the then disciples and for today, in light the belief or fable in Jesus' day.

    1. People who believe in the immortality of the soul and life immediately after death offer Luke 16:19-21 as proof.
    2. Upon a close reading of this passage several principles of biblical interpretation are especially helpful here:

      (a) The place, circumstance, and persons to whom the parable is spoken are keys to its meaning.
      (b) Because a parable usually illustrates one particular truth, no doctrine should be based on the parable.
      (c) A parable reflects the truth. It is not truth itself. Details of a parable are important only as they help us understand the truth reflected in it.
      (d) Knowledge of Jewish customs and ways of thinking gives us a clearer understanding of the parable's meaning.
      (d) The parable should be interpreted "in terms of the truth it is designed to teach, as set forth in the literal language in the immediate context and elsewhere in Scripture.

    In sum, Jesus tells this parable in the midst of other parables in Luke 15 and 16. Jesus is only using this story to make a point and was not meant to be taken literally. Jesus was telling this story to Jewish leaders and so He told it in a way to get their attention.

    • For example, they were big believers in Abraham, so in the story, Lazarus goes to Abraham’s bosom.

    Obviously, not only do we not go straight to heaven or hell when we die, but we also do not go to Abraham but to Jesus. This is an obvious sign this story is not meant to be taken literally. The Rich man asks for water to be sprinkled on his tongue. Again if this was literal, what good would a few drops of water do? At the end of the story, Jesus makes the point that if they did not believe already they would not believe though someone rose from the dead. Here Jesus makes the whole point of the story. Jesus picked the name Lazarus in His make-believe story, to remind them that one named Lazarus did indeed rise from the dead and they still did not believe. And of course, the real Lazarus who rose from the dead had no tales to tell from the grave as he had been dead and asleep the whole time. Truth found truth shared. CM

    Source:

    -- Willmington, H. L. (1987). Willmington’s book of Bible lists. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale.
    pg 6.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367

    @C_M_ So one might assume that your position on purgatory and hell would be the same as @Bill_Coley's. Right? If not, how does it differ?

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    There are so many problems with the post above from CM I don't even know where to begin...

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,315

    @C_M_ said:

    I am responding to this in hopes that I am not taking away from the flow of the conversation at hand. If I am, start a new thread and we can continue the conversation there.

    Thank you for your post, CM. I find the analysis of the Lazarus parable you quoted to be intriguing and worthy of additional consideration. I am particularly struck by the author's reference to Lazarus as one who the parable's audience might/would know to have risen from the dead. A fascinating take.

    I don't think the parable is to be taken literally. I think it's a teaching tale that stresses the importance of repentance. Note that Luke 17 begins with Jesus' teaching about forgiveness, specifically that where there is repentance (Luke 17.3) forgiveness is required. In addition, the character of the afterlife described in the parable is not at all what we expect, given the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" outcome he depicts in multiple other places.

    @reformed said:
    There are so many problems with the post above from CM I don't even know where to begin...

    The one thing you DON'T do, reformed, is "begin." Your empty criticism of CM's post is akin to a prosecutor who stands before the jury and says, "There's SO much evidence against our defendant in this case that I don't know where to begin. And with that, the people rest, your honor."

    I know you will help my understanding of your critique if you identify some of the "many problems" you believe exist in the quoted material.

  • reformedreformed Posts: 2,206

    @Bill_Coley said:
    @C_M_ said:

    I am responding to this in hopes that I am not taking away from the flow of the conversation at hand. If I am, start a new thread and we can continue the conversation there.

    Thank you for your post, CM. I find the analysis of the Lazarus parable you quoted to be intriguing and worthy of additional consideration. I am particularly struck by the author's reference to Lazarus as one who the parable's audience might/would know to have risen from the dead. A fascinating take.

    I don't think the parable is to be taken literally. I think it's a teaching tale that stresses the importance of repentance. Note that Luke 17 begins with Jesus' teaching about forgiveness, specifically that where there is repentance (Luke 17.3) forgiveness is required. In addition, the character of the afterlife described in the parable is not at all what we expect, given the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" outcome he depicts in multiple other places.

    @reformed said:
    There are so many problems with the post above from CM I don't even know where to begin...

    The one thing you DON'T do, reformed, is "begin." Your empty criticism of CM's post is akin to a prosecutor who stands before the jury and says, "There's SO much evidence against our defendant in this case that I don't know where to begin. And with that, the people rest, your honor."

    I know you will help my understanding of your critique if you identify some of the "many problems" you believe exist in the quoted material.

    Let's start with the fact that he quoted a resource that said it was a dream. NOWHERE is that found within the text.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,315
    edited October 2018

    @reformed said:

    Let's start with the fact that he quoted a resource that said it was a dream. NOWHERE is that found within the text.

    But CM did NOT quote "a resource that said it was a dream." Here's the relevant section from the quoted resource: (emphasis added)

    "In the Jewish version, a contrast was made between the experience of a poor scholar and a rich publican. In a dream, a friend of the poor scholar saw him enjoying heavenly bliss in a paradisiacal garden with streams of water, while the rich man was standing by a stream unable to drink from the water."

    The resource CM quoted contends that the "Jewish version" of "a folk story going back to Egyptian sources" contains a dream. The resource does NOT call the Lazarus story itself "a dream."

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,904

    @GaoLu said:

    @C_M_ So one might assume that your position on purgatory and hell would be the same as @Bill_Coley's. Right? If not, how does it differ?

    Anyone can assume anything. GaoLu, I don't know if you are being serious about your question or it's another round of trollish tactics to attach me to Bill as a Siamese twin, a surrogate, or one of his personas. I don't want to spend one scintilla of time or energy to help you perpetuate such foolishness.

    If you are serious, I can't confirm your assumptions. I don't know enough of his position to conclude anything. Contrasting the similarities and differences on Bill's views on "purgatory and hell", with mines, it would have to be your doing.

    @Bill_Coley said:

    I don't think the parable is to be taken literally. I think it's a teaching tale that stresses the importance of repentance. Note that Luke 17 begins with Jesus' teaching about forgiveness, specifically that where there is repentance (Luke 17.3) forgiveness is required. In addition, the character of the afterlife described in the parable is not at all what we expect, given the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" outcome he depicts in multiple other places.

    You're right, the parable is NOT to be "taken literally". It shows that there were other views of the afterlife in first-century Jewish Palestinian society is also suggested by the fact that Jesus was able to tell the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Wright notes, however, that, "the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is to be treated precisely as a parable, not as a literal description of the afterlife and its possibilities. It is therefore inappropriate to use it as prima facie evidence for Jesus' own sketching (or Luke's portrait of Jesus's sketching) of a standard post-mortem scenario. It is rather, an adaptation of a well- known folktale".

    To be perfectly clear, this parable as it relates to life after death includes:

    1. Parables should not be used to support doctrinal positions.
    2. The story had no possibility of being literally or physically fulfilled.
    3. It is impossible to interpret the picture painted of life after death literally.
    4. The purpose of the parable was not to teach about life after death.

    The parable continues to show the contrast between the wealthy and the poor. How cruelly the rich can treat the poor! Yet in the kingdom of heaven, the poor find welcome, while the arrogance and selfishness of the rich restrict their entry as if the gate to the kingdom were a needle's eye and they were like a camel loaded with goods trying to negotiate it.

    One may wonder, would Jesus use a false although popular belief about people being gathered into the bosom of Abraham? As a figure of speech, yes. He used hyperbole (the use of exaggerated expressions) in the parable of the mustard seed. It teaches spiritual lessons, not horticulture! The point of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is not the state of the dead, but the attitude of those who discriminate against others.

    I read somewhere a religious writer summed up The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) Parable by saying: "This parable [the rich man and Lazarus] was designed to teach that future destiny is determined by the use men to make of the opportunities of this present life. Jesus was not discussing either the state of man in death or the time when rewards would be passed out; He was simply drawing a clear distinction between this life and the next and showing the relationship of each to the other". CM

    RESOURCES:

    -- N.T. Wright, Resurrection, 438
    -- Murray J. Harris, Raised Immortal: The Relation Between Resurrection, 134.

  • GaoLuGaoLu Posts: 1,367
    > @C_M_ said:
    > @GaoLu said:
    >
    > @C_M_ So one might assume that your position on purgatory and hell would be the same as @Bill_Coley's. Right? If not, how does it differ?
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > Anyone can assume anything. GaoLu, I don't know if you are being serious about your question or it's another round of trollish tactics to attach me to Bill as a Siamese twin, a surrogate, or one of his personas. I don't want to spend one scintilla of time or energy to help you perpetuate such foolishness.
    >
    > If you are serious, I can't confirm your assumptions. I don't know enough of his position to conclude anything. Contrasting the similarities and differences on Bill's views on "purgatory and hell", with mines, it would have to be your doing.
    >
    > @Bill_Coley said:
    >
    > I don't think the parable is to be taken literally. I think it's a teaching tale that stresses the importance of repentance. Note that Luke 17 begins with Jesus' teaching about forgiveness, specifically that where there is repentance (Luke 17.3) forgiveness is required. In addition, the character of the afterlife described in the parable is not at all what we expect, given the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" outcome he depicts in multiple other places.
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > You're right, the parable is NOT to be "taken literally". It shows that there were other views of the afterlife in first-century Jewish Palestinian society is also suggested by the fact that Jesus was able to tell the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). Wright notes, however, that, "the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is to be treated precisely as a parable, not as a literal description of the afterlife and its possibilities. It is therefore inappropriate to use it as prima facie evidence for Jesus' own sketching (or Luke's portrait of Jesus's sketching) of a standard post-mortem scenario. It is rather, an adaptation of a well- known folktale".
    >
    > To be perfectly clear, this parable as it relates to life after death includes:
    >
    >
    > * Parables should not be used to support doctrinal positions.
    > * The story had no possibility of being literally or physically fulfilled.
    > * It is impossible to interpret the picture painted of life after death literally.
    > * The purpose of the parable was not to teach about life after death.
    >
    > The parable continues to show the contrast between the wealthy and the poor. How cruelly the rich can treat the poor! Yet in the kingdom of heaven, the poor find welcome, while the arrogance and selfishness of the rich restrict their entry as if the gate to the kingdom were a needle's eye and they were like a camel loaded with goods trying to negotiate it.
    >
    > One may wonder, would Jesus use a false although popular belief about people being gathered into the bosom of Abraham? As a figure of speech, yes. He used hyperbole (the use of exaggerated expressions) in the parable of the mustard seed. It teaches spiritual lessons, not horticulture! The point of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is not the state of the dead, but the attitude of those who discriminate against others.
    >
    > I read somewhere a religious writer summed up The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) Parable by saying: "This parable [the rich man and Lazarus] was designed to teach that future destiny is determined by the use men to make of the opportunities of this present life. Jesus was not discussing either the state of man in death or the time when rewards would be passed out; He was simply drawing a clear distinction between this life and the next and showing the relationship of each to the other". CM
    >
    > RESOURCES:
    >
    > -- N.T. Wright, Resurrection, 438
    > -- Murray J. Harris, Raised Immortal: The Relation Between Resurrection, 134.

    Spectacular reaction. I’m serious. You don’t have to answer but I was interested.
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,904

    It might be helpful to consider Brad Young’s observation that although parables “are designed to portray a reality,” they only give “a pictorial representation” of said reality, and as such, careful consideration needs to be shown regarding the relationship between the picture and the portrayed reality. He notes there may be multiple “points of contact,” but suggests a parable only “communicates a single message” in order to “elicit a response” from the audience.

    • -- Brad Young. The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998], 14.

    ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
    For more on how to understand this parable--The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31):

    • -- Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2008), 378-396
    • -- Amy-Jill Levine, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi, pbk ed. (New York: HarperOne, 2015), 267-296.
    • -- Klyne R. Snodgrass, Stories with Intent: A Comprehensive Guide to the Parables of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008), 419-435.

    TRUTH FOUND TRUTH SHARED. CM

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,904

    Wyclif strongly opposed the Roman doctrine of Purgatory, and prayers for the dead, which he called “pious lies.” Wyclif opposed the anguish of the soul in Purgatory, promoted an “unconscious sleep between death and resurrection.” He denounced Masses for the soul, and indulgences and merits, as part of a gigantic system of fraud, and of no avail. In this, he introduced an eschatology wholly at variance with the established medieval system of theology.

    Wyclif refused to base any doctrinal view on a parable, maintaining that it simply had a practical bearing on the duties of daily life. “A parable is a word or story that has a spiritual meaning [“spiritual witt”]". On Luke 16, Wyclif declared the ultimate fate of the wicked to be “everlasting punishment.”

    A truth you may want to know. CM

    SOURCES:
    Wyclif, Wyclif-Select English Writings (Herbert T. Winn, ed.)
    Wyclif, Sermons, in Select English Works of John Wyclif (Thomas Arnold, ed.), vol. 1, pp. 1, 138.
    -- William Laing, Papers on Life and Advent Truth and Other Bible Themes (1901), pp. 14, 15.

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