page is made up of letters sent to a pastor friend of mine.
LETTER TO MY PASTOR FRIEND
Dear Pastor Mike
My name is H__________, and I�m a (other nations) believer.
I�m writting to you, because I�m puzzled, with a thing that happened to a friend and brother of mine; he is portuguese, but live in __________. He was a KJV-Only, defending the Word of God, with all is strenght, and had a web site, exposing the corrupt bibles, he had done research in the P________ Bibles, and expose some new translations of the P__________ bible. But something happened to him, he close his web-site, and for some time, I don�t have e-mails from him, until some days ago, that he start to send weird e-mails, this is one of them. Well, I must admit that his reasoning his logic, BUT goes against the PRESERVATION DOCTRINE. Could you try to "refute" his argument?
He had read many books, from Ruckman, and others KJV-ONLY guys.
THIS IS THE LETTER WHICH STARTED THE CONFUSION
You're not the only one to have big problems with Acts 5:1-11. Over the years I have tried to decipher its meaning but I don't think there's one single useful spiritual lesson in it for Christians. Many years back I asked a Christian friend "What happened to the money Ananias dropped at Peter's feet?" The money wasn't the issue, he said. Of course, it was!
I now consider it an apocryphal insertion, or something worse, I won't tell you. This is, obviously a "position" that carries with itself a few problems, namely, that it offends those of us who look at the entire NT as we have it today, the absolutely inerrant word of God, and that is a much bigger issue than that passage.
There are other "complicating" areas in the NT, like the Lord's Prayer's "Thy kingdom come", the story of the rich man & Lazarus's "Abraham's bosom", Paul's anathemas and others. Higher criticism is not wrong on all its findings. But we all know how quickly we start calling each other names if we dare to "question" any parts of the Bible (I think it is a trend that will go away after a while, as the Reformed Churches are already calling for a new "Reformation" with LESS Bible [or no Bible!], would you believe it).
Yes, I closed down my web site due to the incredible ferocity of the attacks I had from various fronts. Even one pastor threatened me with some "international law" or something he knew about that could harm me. I quit and called it a day (the server was also troubling me, etc).
I've now finished writing my book "Recovering Reason" and I'm looking for a publisher, otherwise I'll have to publish it myself, which is not cheap (the book contains 330 size A5 pages and 614 thousand words. If you know of any publisher that would be interested, please let me know. Thanks).
My points "against" the story of Ananias & Sapphira are the following (some coincide with yours):
There are more points, of course. I cannot see that the episode took place ever, or somebody made drastic adjustments to something that happened on another sphere, or it was a subliminal or allegorical message. Anything, but not like it is written, for sure. But if we analyse this [APOCRYPHAL] story as it stands in Acts 5, there are some horrible lessons to learn from it.
The most prominent and visible one is that Peter is the centre stage actor, where he is elevated as the authority in spiritual power, capable of striking FEAR upon the dissenters. We have to remember that a few weeks earlier, he was denying the Lord with imprecations and expletives. Did the Holy Spirit strike him dead for that? Did he not have time to repent in remorse? How come now he is demanding the death sentence for a minor "crime"? Is money more severe a sin than betrayal? Why was the unfortunate couple not given a second chance? Are we supposed to teach that to default on the offering (or give only a part of our income) is a bigger sin than swearing that we do not know Jesus? He did not only swear with vulgar language, but abandoned Jesus to his fate after promising to follow him - he was also a big coward (what "Prince of apostles"?! A guy who starts his ministry by killing two innocent people?! I said the account can only be apocryphal, didn't I?). What about Paul later on teaching that the offering is to be given from the heart with joy?
What to do with all these points? Even Scofield tries to defend Peter, but he creates more confusion. I look at Peter in this story as a vicious "Pope" (and here is why I consider it apocryphal insertion in Acts - well some "textual scientist" say it wasn't even Luke who wrote it, for, among other reasons, Acts 1:6-7, etc) already establishing himself with enough papal power to demand full obedience and submission from the adherents to his cult. Jesus had given him the "keys" to bind & loose WHATSOEVER he wanted.
The word "whatsoever" in Matthew 16:19 has also troubled me for many years, and I have a section in my book about this word. I make it another apocryphal insertion in the text.
Popes went from the subliminal command in that word and built a massive pyramid of "legislation" to protect their CULT with rows of barbed wire of anathemas, interdicts, excommunications, expropriations, and generalized material, moral, intellectual and spiritual ROBBERY. They even picked up weapons and killed many innocent conscientious objectors to defend their "whatsoever" dogmas.
You pointed out the element "FEAR" in the account (verse 5 - Ruckman considers 5:5 to mean death, like in Genesis 5:5 - I think it is nonsense). It was not only "fear", it was "GREAT FEAR" (KJV), see also 5:11. Do you see how the "first pope" imposes himself right at the beginning of his "papacy"? Cults run on fear, and sometimes they KILL to protect their idiotic idiosyncrasies - see the popes' history: picking up weapons to defend dogmas - Inquisitions, Crusades, Pogroms, Massacres, and the vicious Anathemas. It was fear of death, if money was not given to the pope! Now, if we consider how money is handled in the Christian churches, my friend, we should see a lot of dead copses strewn all over the congregations! Where is in Paul's gospel an instruction to tithe, for instance? Or, for that matter, to spend it in building a cathedral?
On the subject of tithing, and the articles I had against it on my web site, I never stopped receiving stern reprimands from pastors, Catholics and church members against them! I ignored many, but the "hatred" I was attacked with for standing against that ROBBERY in the church is something else.
So, yes, "great fear", (not great rejoicing, no, never!) because a man was killed for retaining what was his. Over 40 years of listening to sermons on "Stewardship" I never heard one sermon defending Ananias. The man is always vilified and viciously attacked and condemned for retaining part of the money he got from selling HIS "possession" (KJV). Look at Peter's cynical approach in verse 3, involving Satan and the Holy Ghost in the situation. Ananias wasn't even allowed to speak and defend himself in the drama. What could Ananias reply to such a theological question posed by a pope? I'm sure Ananias said something in trying to defend himself, but it is not registered as "Scripture". Maybe he replied that he had never heard of the Holy Ghost, or maybe he told Peter that he was exaggerating things and had nothing to do with what he did with his money.
But Peter was a rough fisherman, not intelligent enough to understand and reason the merits of logic, and had no patience for "money cheaters", and attacks Ananias with all his papal aggression in verse four: "You lied to God!" ("Yes, I denied my Lord and Saviour, but you did worse, you robbed him!").
Yes, Peter, we know where you're coming from; don't think we are all stupid, dear pope! You wanted all the money; otherwise, you would kill to get it. Ananias dies in front of that FIRST inquisitorial tribunal. The story is short on detail; but preachers insist that every syllable is "inspired scripture" with profound spiritual lessons.
I see none.
What happened to the money Ananias brought in? WHO kept it, if the couple was murdered? Did Peter bury it with the bodies? "Inspiration" here is thrown out of the window! That part of the drama should be mentioned in the detail, but in a hurry to "spiritualise" everything at odds with logic, we overlook a lot of inconsistency and contradiction in the Scriptures. And, my goodness, we almost go to war to defend our opinions! Remember the popes killing to defend "Transubstantiation"? Remember Calvin killing to defend "Trinitarianism" and his Hyper-"Madness"? Do you remember Luther and 30 years of war devastation? What happened to the money is what worries me most in this story.
What did Ananias die from? Was he struck by lightning, or did he get so upset with Peter that he tried to hit him and was killed by the pope's assistants? There were young men there (strong bodyguards) defending the pope. Maybe they were paid from the cash Peter got from Ananias!! Well, today we see big shots, like Charismatic charlatans going shopping protected by bodyguards!
The strong clue as to the CRIME is that those "young men" did quickly take the body out and bury it! No family member was summoned to look after the burial ceremony, nothing. No authority was called to register the death. Quick, quick, bury the evidence of the crime, and go out tell the world it was a miracle!!
"What about his wife: should we not tell her?"
Peter was a sagacious and astute pope (only Innocent 3 was worse), and a woman would not intimidate him. Read the apocryphal book of Acts of Peter to know more of his character regarding money (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/actspeter.html ). When she came very worried looking for her husband and demanding to see him, she was poisoned by Peter or he did something horrible to her. This INNOCENT woman became the second victim of the INQUISITION of pope Peter One; and the victims would in the centuries count into MILLIONS! (Do you know, by the way, that among the 8 to 12 antipopes elected to oppose JP2 currently doing the rounds, one is called Peter Two, the imbecile?!)
Imagine this horrible scene happening in a church today. Imagine your pastor calling you about your offering.
"Dear Malcolm, please come UP here, will you? Look, the problem is quite serious. We have undisputable evidence that you won the lottery and kept the tithe for you! Isn't that violating the OT Law about the offering? Don't you know that we have a budget here to cover the expenses of the new Olympic-size swimming pool, and that we are building a new pastoral manse with a conference room for our ecumenical gatherings with our Catholic brethren and other religions? We have agreed and "legislated" in our recent board meeting that you have two weeks to decide whether you want to remain a member of our church. We are a blessed tithing church, and we need to uphold high our giving standards."
See you later.
Comment: The writer of the lower letter says he believes the passage in Acts 5 is apocryphal, but as the letter progresses, you can see how he writes with increasing hate for Peter, as if Peter really did murder Ananias and Saphire. This betrays a bitter spirit against the Word of God, or possibly something is very wrong in the writer's life. He is lashing out against the Word of God in order to push conviction of some other sin away from him.
In any case, this is a very sudden and vicious rush from the narrow way. This seems to be more and more common, and you need to watch for such heresy and flee it. You also need to watch your own soul lest a root of bitterness come up and quench your faith and trust in the Word and the Lord Jesus.
Steve Van Nattan
This article has brought an interesting and sad response from my readers. They all are broken hearted, and almost all express apprehention as they consider that in the End Times we will see our most trusted and zealous friends wander off. Also, nearly all responders tremble and wonder it they too could do such a thing. Thus...
As it was related to me so many years ago, Dr. Torrey was strolling down Michigan Avenue when he ran into an old preacher friend from their first days as pastors. "Well, Joe (or whatever), how are you doing these days?" "Oh, I'm good, Rube, but my theology's changed a little; I don't believe in hell any more. I just can't bring myself to ascribe such a thing to a loving God."
At which point Dr. Torrey thrust his finger into the man's chest and said, "There is indescribable SIN in your life, Brother, and you know it, and you know you need to repent!"
The man was brought to tears, for his rejection of God's punishment was not based on study, but on apprehension of what he knew deep down inside awaited him. Good news is he was brought back from that awful predicament by a preacher who did not fear to lay it on the line.
The writing style of "the letter which started the confusion" sounds a lot like _____________ to me -- I certainly hope that I'm wrong. It seems almost inconceivable that anyone who has the insight that he has had would then turn on the Word of God in such a manner -- what foundation then remains for such a person?
I've noticed that attacks on the Word are coming from what would seem the most unlikely sources these days, and I suspect that our faith is going to be tried as we've never before experienced it; it's definitely a dangerous environment for superficial or sloppy believers. I hope that you've managed to resolve the cemetery plot issue by now. I continue to remember you all in prayer.
The following has been added after readers started sending in letters from this man.
THIS MAN IS ON HIS WAY TO BECOME AN ALDOUS HUXLEY
I have never in my life seen someone do this. I know it happens, but this man has trashed more Truth in an instant of time than some heretics accomplish in a lifetime. I wish I understood what makes a person do this. Perhaps the former zeal was all fake for some self-serving purpose. Perhaps the man's mind has slipped. It does happen, for I had to help a man who would lose all contact with reality every February like clock work. But, this book this man wrote took time to produce. He had to have been hatching this cosmic pagan egg over some months at least. The end of the following letter, forwarded from Europe via Washington state, ends with, "I know nothing." It would seem this man has disciplined his mind to become a committed agnostic with a zeal to make people comfortable about denying God and all biblical Truth. His book should sell well in this age.
FIRST LETTER VIA EUROPE(Excerpt from my book "Recovering Reason"; part one and two omitted for shortness)
"Thy kingdom come".
For those who like statistics, can you prove this one wrong?
Jesus instructed the disciples to pray for the coming of God's kingdom but it never came in 2000 years. He also suggested to his group to avoid vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7-10), because God knew their needs before they asked. As I said above, the so-called "Lord's Prayer" was initially only for Jews. Paul, for instance, never speaks of praying such a prayer.
But let me give you the following stats about that famous prayer. If ONE MILLION people prayed one "Thy kingdom come" a day for the last 2000 years, that is, 365 MILLION "Thy kingdom come" per year, it would amount to 730 BILLION prayers over the 20 centuries. If it takes 30 seconds to say one "Our Father", how many years would it take ONE person to say 730 BILLION prayers? It would take approximately 6 BILLION hours: that is, around SIX HUNDRED EIGHTY FIVE THOUSAND YEARS non-stop!
See it from another angle. If in the last century alone ONE BILLION prayers were said EVERY DAY, that would amount to 365 BILLION in one year and 36 and a half THOUSAND BILLION prayers in a century asking God for His kingdom to come! If one person had to pray all those prayers, two per minute, it would take 34 MILLION YEARS non-stop!
We know that the most fanatical Catholics pray the Rosary with 5 "Our Fathers" every time, a few times a day.
The questions are plenty, but one is most important: How many more prayers do we have to say for the elusive kingdom to finally come? We know one thing for sure: the kingdom has not come for the last 20 centuries! And, please, remember that Jesus told the disciples not to insist too much with vain repetitions, for God knew what we needed before we asked. It sounds by now like it hasn't come due to our doggedness.
The one UNIMPORTANT question to ask is this: will the kingdom ever come? Now, dear friends, don't tell me that I cannot use my REASON powers to look at this incredible quandary. Can we not be scientific on "Faith" problems?
This statistic proves something. Of course, I'm entirely aware of its implications for our Christian faith, but we have a sort of faith that can overcome the most incredible obstacles and still go on strong, so to speak.
I believe today that Jesus wouldn't have taught the "Lord's Prayer" if he were God. The other "scholarly" option is that Jesus never taught such a prayer, but was invented possibly earlier by the radical/fanatical Essenes", (or "harmonisers" included it later in Matthew and a shorter version in Luke - you must always remember that by the end of the first century and throughout the second, there was a massive tampering with the "Bible"! 1 John 4:1).
Check this against what Luke says Jesus said to his disciples at a most important hour in their lives. Please, remember that Textual Criticism has another author for the Book of Acts; some "Catholic Father" of the second century, called Theophilus (not the one in Acts 1:1), the guy who liked to "harmonise" the gospels and scrap what he didn't agree with, while having a big fight with another "harmoniser" called Marcion.
Acts 1:6 - "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses .".
As I say elsewhere in the book, here we see a "Jesus" different from the one in the gospels. This "Jesus" is not going to answer the most important question the disciples WANTED him to answer. On the contrary, Jesus tells them that he himself doesn't know what they are talking about, and offers a "nice" excuse, instead of being as clear as a bell to quieten the worried disciples.
If this "Jesus" were God, he would know when the "Kingdom of God" would come. So, either way, he cheated the disciples. They could not know at that time that the "Thy kingdom come" would NOT come for sure for at least 20 CENTURIES. The Jews would have to pray away for centuries, amounting to BILLIONS of prayers, and NO kingdom! Is that what you call the "Infallible Scriptures"? I'm just asking an innocent question.
The disciples had heard Jesus preaching for three years about the kingdom of heaven that would come SOON, but prior to his "Ascension" (which is scholarly recognised as something that did NOT happen), the disciples, anxious to know whether the kingdom would come or not, got the cold shoulder and a vague reply, and away they went disillusioned and without hope. Then Jesus gives them another confusing sign, that is, that they would receive power to be his witnesses.
Why? Jesus had the power, had he not? So, why would he not bring the kingdom that hour? Oh, well, we NOW know that the kingdom NEVER came, and I'm sure, will NEVER come. The whole thing was a political manoeuvre that failed after the destruction of Jerusalem. Paul was cleverer than the apostles, and soon moved the gospel into the Gentile nations, and the Jews were left behind until today. Take it from any angle you want, and you arrive at the same cul-de-sac: NO kingdom ever came! Throw away your orthodoxy.
The "Our Father" was initially only for Jews, that is undisputable. "The kingdom" always had political overtones against the oppressors. To ask the Gentiles to pray "Thy kingdom come" would amount to blasphemy punishable with stoning, for the prayer was definitely against the Gentiles. Those are real historical facts nobody can dispute.
There was in the 60's CE a major revolt of Jews against the Roman gentiles, trying to bring in by force the kingdom of God back to Palestine, which failed disastrously with the destruction of Jerusalem and massive slaughtering of its inhabitants. After 70 CE, there was no more hope or need to pray "Thy kingdom come". The Masada mass-suicide of the last remnant of the Essenic Jews put an ignominious end to the logic to pray "Thy kingdom come". From then on, Gnostic sects, Catholic cults and later Protestant factions "spiritualised" that prayer and away they went praying ever more in vain a dead, unfruitful and useless request. The moral principle now is: let us repeat the prayer ad nauseam, because while there's life there's hope. That original kingdom is not going to come for sure [without a major conflagration of hatred and destruction: that is religion!].
The world had to go for 20 centuries under the brutality of various men's kingdoms, with all their cruelty. No "God's kingdom" ever came, nothing to revive our hope. On the contrary, one of those manmade brutal kingdoms was even called "The Holy Roman Empire", where millions of INNOCENT humans were slaughtered in the name of God to bring in that "wonderful" "Kingdom of God". That brutal empire ended on another brutal war, as all wars are.
An antagonist argued that 2000 years is like two days for God. Yes, how horrible! Two thousand years of suffering for our race, always hoping against all odds for a kingdom of peace and happiness that never came. For us, the suffering race, it is irrelevant how God looks at it, whether it means two days or two seconds. Our reality is 2000 years of painful praying for something that was promised by Jesus and NEVER came. That's OUR reality: it's different from God's reality. If God's kingdom will ever come, though hope is lost, it will not be for the zillions of "Our Fathers" and "Thy kingdom come" we painfully said, no. It will be at God's own time and discretion, and the prayer "Thy kingdom come" never had any real meaning or power. Quite sad to arrive at such a conclusion.
As cruel as it may sound, the evil architects of the famously ignominious "Holy Roman Empire" are still conspiring to project once again their wicked shadow of brutality on this traumatised planet, malignantly still trying to restore their dreaded and deadly "Holy Kingdom" in this new millennium.
It looks like in God's eyes it is going to be only another day or hour of pain, suffering and religious oppression. "Thy kingdom come" too late. Too late.
Protestants teach that at the end of it all, there will be another major military confrontation where perhaps a billion souls will be slaughtered to make way for a thousand years of peace on earth, which will culminate in yet another massive attack of Satan on the city of David. Oh, well, we have always been LOSER, even after praying a trillion times "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come".
ANOTHER LETTER VIA EUROPE
Let me say that to me it is strange to imagine that God is incapable of resolving man's wickedness and introduce total happiness on Earth. The human race will never be fully happy in this planet. The drama of perpetual pain will continue until we end as an extinct species. Death is our destiny. Of course, other theories insist on reincarnation, evolution and something else. Suffering and tears will never cease until the inexorable end. Religions ascertain that there is a loving God watching the drama's perpetual painful staging, but not willing to interfere and stop the horror. Stop the continuing horror, you see.
We have very few means to explain why we are alone in this planet without an outside source to really help us defeat our most dreadful enemies. It is not only that we fear the end, but also that we do not have a friend in the entire universe that can alleviate or remove the human tragedy of disease, crime, war, pain, vice and all the other hundred troubles.
How illogical to possess a mind that reasons our plight and yet being incapable of defining and following a route of real happiness for our race. We need external help, but the cosmos is forever silent. We need a God to lead us out of our disastrous destiny and point out the direction of complete happiness. Religions have tried, but failed miserably. Prophets and saviours came and left without doing one simple gesture of real help. All religions are in the end utterly useless. We know why. All religions are just dead weights we add to our already heavily troubled life. Gods, saviours, saints and prophets are useless vain imaginations of a mind in desperate pain. We need a new saviour, for all the ones we know only caused more hurt. This new one will have to be a [genetically engineered] superman, or our race will simply go on from error to error and from horror to horror. War will never end, until all swords are beaten into plowshares, and all spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4). But, if every man becomes a husbandman, fight will again ensue to protect the crops. We need a new saviour that can lead us OUT of this evil planet; not one that can keep us from fighting. The one with the real Kingdom of real love and eternal happiness.
Although the Earth is a beautiful place to see, it is at the same time the largest graveyard in the universe. This celestial rock is the ideal place for galactic tourism, but not to live here permanently. We, as a human race, desire to leave to a safer home. We are tired of this unwelcome space. Some say we are moving up to where we belonged, the stars, through a new conscientiousness or spiritual detachment, or whatever.
I know nothing.
THERE IS NO HELL DOCTRINE
Editor: When you start asking questions, and you do not find answers in the Word of God, or you WILL NOT allow the Word go answer you, then you are on your way to become an agnostic or an atheist.
An agnostic is somebody who doesn�t know or doesn�t want to know whether God exists. The same story about hell. One clear example is the pope, who says Genesis is a myth and hell represents something else.
Granted, the pope is not the only one who messes with the Bible. Catholics and Protestants avoid sermons about hell.
I have trouble with any teachings coming from Catholicism. Such fanatical religion has much of the innocent�s blood spilt through its hatred and fanaticism that it is simply dishonest to try to play the religious authority on ANY doctrine or dogma.
The dogma of Hell is no different. The catholic bibles try to redefine �hell� by returning to the �untranslatable� terms �Sheol� and �Hades�. Everybody now is avoiding the term HELL.
Let me give you an �intellectual� and/or �logical� viewpoint about hell that, accepted, would DESTROY Catholicism (even the �Protestant� faith). As a matter of interest, ask your priest to answer these �findings� if he can.
Consider the following "agnostic view" regarding Hell (remembering that reasoning about a topic is to acquire neutral knowledge, not necessarily dogmatic fighting):
1. Logically speaking, it is possible to prove that there is no hell.
2. A person dies and the body is buried in the ground turning to dust. For that body, it is the end of physical suffering, and can never end up in the biblical hell of fire and brimstone.
3. What would then go to hell? The soul? Another body representing the buried one? Would God create a new perfect body to suffer the punishment owing to the first one buried and disintegrated? If that would be so, the second body would be punished without ever having done anything wrong!
4. No hell, no need for Catholicism.
5. Believing that the sinner is spiritually destroyed is a quadratic equation � the result is zero. If it is destroyed, is it immediately after death or later? Either way it is illogical.
6. Spiritual condemnation to hell is abnormal teaching.
7. What is spiritual pain? We can understand pain only if related to the physical body. We do not have any possible way of knowing what is pain after death, because we never experienced it in the physical realm.
8. Some people commit suicide because of emotional suffering, but that is ultimately physical.
9. The spirit cannot suffer eternally for the temporal sins of the flesh.
10. If the old body would be raised for punishment in hell, it would go to hell via a miracle: restoring a human body from dust! Raising a body that is now completely disintegrated is creating a new one, to be then thrown into a lake of fire or something! To attach a new body to an old sinful spirit is religiously incongruent and weird. That would mean that an Omniscient/Omnipotent Creator would have to raise � CREATE! � billions of new bodies to receive the punishment of old spirits! If the spirit is eternal, why does it need to be attached back to a physical body for eternal punishment? Body then becomes also eternal, in eternal suffering!
11. In the beginning, God created Adam, the perfect human being, with the warning that sin (disobedience) would bring in physical death. Death, then, eliminates the body but preserves the spirit, which will be later attached to a new perfect body to be eternally punished for what it didn�t do, since it did not disobey any commandment. We have to presume that the old defective body is not going to be raised with all its previous diseases and defects. God would simply not do such an imperfect job!
Repeating some points:
12. It is possible to prove intellectually that there is no hell. A person dies and the body is buried in the ground. As far as that body is concerned, it is the end of suffering for it. Many people suffer intensely in the body while alive. Nevertheless, once the body gives its last breath, suffering in that body is no longer possible.
13. To leave the body and go to hell to continue to suffer PHYSICALLY (as a soul?) it seems to be totally impossible. We do not know what is beyond the grave. But we surely know that our physical body is buried and rots away. Hell is said to be a place of intense suffering and pain, especially related to the pain of burning. Well, to feel that pain, it is necessary to be in a physical body (so we understand, because we are physical!). But since the body is buried, what OTHER body does one person have to be punished with the pain of burning?
14. Now, think. Will God give a different body to a condemned soul, so that that body is going to be punished for the sins of the first body? We surely know that the first body is buried and, in time, destroyed and turned to dust. That is what the Bible determines.
15. Yet, it seems that God has arranged ANOTHER body to be punished in the place of the first one. Is that reasonable? The first body could, certainly, feel the pain of fire burnings. But what about the second body? What kind of pain will it be, under what kind of fire? If hell is a place of real fire, the second body will be like the first. But to have fire, it is necessary to have oxygen. So, what will we think about physical hell? If it were a physical body and physical fire, in no time the body would be burnt beyond recognition. So, hell would not be eternal.
16. Now, what about a person condemned to be eternally destroyed? In that case, when would that eternal destruction take place: Immediately after death, or sometime later? If immediately after death, it would not be even noticed, for the first body is dead, and the second, just created, would only last a short moment. In that case, why would God bother to create a second body to be immediately destroyed? It does not make human sense.
17. However, if God created that second body (or soul?), remembering that the first is in the grave rotting away, to be tormented by fire for some time, why punishing a NEW body that never committed any sin? Also, if God is going to destroy that second body after a while, what physical relation does that body have with the first? Why punishing a NEW body for a while, when it was the first body that had a whole life to enjoy the pleasures of sin and then disappear in the ground?
18. If, however, hell is made of a different type of suffering, say spiritual suffering, what is then PAIN? And why is that spiritual pain illustrated with fire, something that we understand well? What is �fire� in the spiritual realm, capable of inflicting intense suffering for the sins of the flesh? We do not have any possible way of knowing what is �spiritual� pain after death, because we never experimented it in the physical life. What we could feel in the �spiritual� area of suffering was translated into physical pain in the physical body. For instance, when there is anguish it is translated into physical discomfort that can be painful. Some people commit suicide because of emotional suffering, which is ultimately physical.
19. However, what is spiritual pain beyond the grave? What sort of punishment is the spirit capable of feeling and enduring?
20. Yet, again, there is no apparent relationship between that spiritual pain and the sin practiced by the physical body.
21. Indisputably, remove the doctrine of Hell from the Bible and from the church teachings or dogma and the Christian religion suffers a major blow. (The new �bibles� are already attempting to do it! And it�s coming!) It is an important doctrine to justify the need for punishing all the sins and crimes that men and women can do in this life.
22. If hell would be eternal punishment, how could God do that, since the sins were temporal? That is, where is the logic, in human reasoning, to depart to an eternal place of suffering, to pay eternally for a very short period spent in the physical realm? And, what sort of punishment is that, that seems never to end for something, some sins that were committed in time and space?
23. If that were to be the real situation, how terrible to have been born, which is an action where a creature has no will.
24. Hell, it seems, is completely illogical and unreasonable. Since humanity has been a flow of sinning people, in its billions, where is the logic that most will be punished for this unhappy situation? Why would God create so many billions of people to be later imprisoned in an eternal form of eternal and intense punishment?
25. Yet, there remains the apparent need to have some sort of punishment for the crimes humanity has done against itself. Hell seems to be an adequate place to receive the �reward� for causing other people suffering in this physical life.
26. Christianity stands by the dogma of Hell. Remove this horrendous place of punishment and Christianity has no more reason to exist. Accordingly, Jesus was taken to the cross to SAVE humanity from such horrendous place. If there is no hell, the story of Jesus is very incongruous.
27. Since the new bible versions are ATTACKING the doctrine of hell, by casting doubt upon it, what will be left of Christianity in the future?
In that regard, why the existence of Catholicism and all its emphasis on hell and purgatory?
People are constantly looking for answers about hell and nothing seems to be resolved. Catholicism has taken advantage of the doctrine of hell to become a major fanatical and dangerous religious influence in the world. Yet, the very pope is not so sure about hell. That, in itself, would be a strong reason for the dismissal of such opportunistic individual with his useless and parasitic presence.
Comment: Steve Van Nattan
This man seems to be out of control. I have to wonder if he is possessed of devils. This man cannot deal with the invisible things anymore. I believe something in his life, in the past, caused him to question God or become angry at God. So, he is trashing the Truth in revenge.
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and
unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
FROM A READER
This letter is from a Black lady in the US Army.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan: It would be stupid of me to add anything to this lady's comments. She said it all.
THOUGHTS FROM THE GURU
Here is a response I received after alerting the guru to this web page about him:
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- There is science, and there is science. The Bible distinguishes itself from this perverted sort of science:
1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- These are the words of an elitist snob who claims to have received some choice revelation from God which the laity are not worthy of, or which will cause them to doubt the orthodoxy of the guru. So, these choice gems are only passed around amongst the scholars.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- This is subtle stuff, dear reader. I hear New Age or agnostic reasoning here, in which the plea is for spiritual realm illuminations at all costs, even if the illuminations trash the Word of God. Is this not German Rationalism warmed over? We must evolve onward in your knowledge, and God can take the hindmost. Kirkegaard's leap in the dark. I say, this is a leap INTO the dark.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- Wrong-- we who love the Word of God and have not wandered into Narnia or Nirvana will sit in judgment, as we are told to:
16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
Psalms 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
We simply agree verbally with God. David did so frequently, as did Solomon and the Apostle Paul.
1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they
of the circumcision:
That would have been called a Hate Crime today. God, from time to time, causes his people to speak very directly and personally about the wicked.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- There is an abundance of material in the letters above to give me cause to answer them from the Word of God and warn the saints that the wolf is coming.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- The man is using the self-analysis of Freud and Maslow to bed off the hook on accountability.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- The man got nearer to God by swinging back and forth in the mists of uncertainty, while questioning the Word of God and not believing it was the Word of God.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
2 Kings 17:33 They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
1 Corinthians 10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- Philosophy and intellectualism we have had since Saint Augustine tried to reason his way from earth to heaven and force his folly on his fellow men. Thousands more have followed him, but the dumbest hick preacher in the Lord's Church is infinitely more thrilling to a Bible believer than the most highly developed in horned philosopher.
Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer
of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?