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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009
Annihilationism Part I
Annihilationism is the doctrinal label we use to describe the unorthodox teaching that those unregenerate souls whom God condemns on judgment day will be destroyed rather than sent to spend an eternity in hell.

I will say at the outset: all things being equal, this doctrine is a comfort to anyone who doesn't plan on being reconciled to God in this life.

Let's start with the atheist.
An atheist already anticipates that upon dying he or she will simply "cease to be". There is nothing for the atheist to "flee" from, according to the doctrine of annihilationism. Consider the dilemma:

Evangelist: Mr. Atheist, I know you stand unconvinced by the gospel, and for your sake I regret that, nonetheless there is one final thing you should know, if you leave this world without having been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ His son (for there is no other way), then on judgment day you will stand before God, be judged, found guilty, and sentenced to .... destroyed.

Atheist: Destoyed?

Evangelist: (with flair) Destroooooyed! (solemn nod).

Atheist: Um, yeah, about that. So what? So I live a life, do whatever I please now, reject your notion of God, and if I am right, I die and I cease to be, and if I am wrong, I die, get judged, then cease to be... It seems it doesn't really matter whether I am right or wrong, I cease to be either way.

Next consider the Agnostic/"All religions are equal" people
These, having shopped around for a religion that satisfies their peculiar tastes, have either found one that satisfies, or are still looking. Consider the same Evangelist:

Evangelist: Mr. Other religion dude, after having shared the gospel with you, I respect that you have decided to hold onto your other world religion, but I must warn you, if you reject this truth, on judgment day my God will reject you.

Other relgion dude: (with some trepidation) oh, What will he do?

Evangelist: He will destroy you, you will cease to be!

Other relgion dude: Is that all? If I mess up with my god, He is going to hold me down and pour molten gold into my skull over and over again for all eternity.

Evangelical: Gah! That's disgusting! Why would you worship someone like that??

Other relgion dude: Hey, the question is, why would I offend someone like that. Seriously, If I am right, I (could) avoid an eternity of suffering, but if I am wrong, all that will happen to me is I will cease to be. Big deal, I'll take my chances.

Lastly, there is unorthodox Christian
This is someone who having read the bible, rejects the notion of eternal suffering/torment in favor of an immediate and one time snuffing out - which they regard as far more humane and fitting the character of God as they imagine Him to be found in scripture.

Today's Christians are (by and large) biblically illiterate. To be sure, the problem is so epidemic that I don't even have to provide proof for my assertion.

If Christians are biblically illiterate - what do they believe?

I will tell you, they believe whatever they're told to believe. If someone teaches them that the bible says such and such - they just believe it. It usually doesn't matter who tells them, they just believe it. Some are more discerning than others, but I am speaking to the general populace and not to the ever more rare exceptions.

Why do I bring up biblical illeteracy? Because it is the first step in the process of identifying something we need to keep in mind as we enter into a discussion on annihilationism. The first thing we must consider is who God is, and where we get our impression of who God is from.

I am talking about God's character - what is God like? What would God do, and what would God never do? Is God more like a liberal university activist (let's have a sit in!) or is God more like an angry, "molten-gold pouring" sadist? Our impression of God has to be formed from something, and if we are biblically illiterate, that impression is going to come to us from somewhere other than what God has told us of Himself (i.e. scripture).

I am saving that all for the next post though.


posted by Daniel @ 11:10 AM  
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