A Hellish Discussion

Two of my closest friends, Linda, Nancy and I were talking about hell, a discussion complete with devil’s advocate (every pun intended or not).  We wondered if hell actually exists.  The reason being, how could God, who loves us all more than anyone or thing in this universe condemn people to hell?  God, who created us and loves us more than we can even imagine, how does hell figure in?

We all know that saints have told us about hell.  Dante’s Inferno certainly talks about hell and the 7 Deadly Sins.  Job’s situation for a time was beyond awful. . .because God “allowed” satan to take away Job’s wife and family, his livelihood, his health because God knew Job to be a righteous man.  Job asks God why and together they have a colloquy about who made creation, who made Job, etc. . . .of course God wins that discussion and restores Job to health and wealth.

So now the discussion between Linda, Nancy and I go on to talk about the idea that maybe there is no hell, but a purification place ~ purgatory where those who did not live a life of love, compassion and service would go.

My thoughts then went to a semi-serious comment someone somewhere made saying basically that the people you don’t expect in Heaven will surprise you when you get there.  This then begs the discussion about what does God do when someone like a Hitler or Osama bin Laden passes from this life to the next?

A very respected man of God once offered this idea. . .what happens just before a person dies???  What are their last thoughts???  Do they cry out to God???  He said, “I have a sneaky suspicion that when that person, no matter what they have done in this life, cries out to God – the God they worship (we all worship the same God – and this is my own humble opinion – even though God may be called by different names).  So the person cries out to God to save him/her.  This man of God said, I believe that as that person is falling to hell, God in His infinite mercy and compassion will reach out His loving arm, grasp the soul and bring it to Himself.

I know this statement is controversial.  This is a bold statement, but one I love to think about.  In my very human brain, I have a hard time thinking of God as one who condemns the creatures he made out of great love be thrown into the “fires of Gehenna”.

God says through Isaiah – “Can a mother forget the child of her womb?  Even if she forgets, I will never forget you”.

I am a mother and a grandmother and I can’t begin to imagine leaving my child to die because of misdeeds, even gross and fatal misdeeds.  After all, this is my child who is in need of correction and punishment, but fire???  If I can feel this way about my child, how much more would God the Father feel for His children???

Such interesting questions.  Then I thought about the parable of the workers in the field.  So, while the workers are in the field, other workers were hired much later in the day.  However, when the time came to be paid, the late hires were given as much as the workers who worked all day.  It would stand to reason, our human reason, that the workers who came in late should have been paid less, but God had other reasons.

Even though I probably badly paraphrased this parable, it really made me and the rest of us think about that parable and wondered if it in any way related to the idea of who really does get to Heaven.

I love to ponder things like this and I am still pondering. . .I wonder what you think about the things I have mentioned.  Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

May you be blessed!

Sandy Ozanich (c) June 2013

7 thoughts on “A Hellish Discussion

  1. “We all worship the same God.”
    In fact we don’t. We may call our gods by that name, but that doesn’t make it the True God revealed in Scripture and by Jesus Christ. I’ve met some folks who’ve made up their own version of God. They will explain, “My god is like this and he thinks like such and such.” But their god has only a dim resemblance to the Biblical one.

    When the heathen nations around Israel tossed their precious babies into the arms of a glowing Molech, they believed in him thoroughly and sought his blessings, but it wasn’t the same God that Israel worshiped. In fact Jehovah warned Israel, “Don’t go there. Don’t worship these idols. If you do I will punish you.” Leviticus 18:21; 2 Kings 23:10.

    Jesus says we can’t serve two masters. If I worship fame, money, or stuff I can’t worship His Father. It would be wonderful to think everyone is saved in the end, but that’s not what Jesus says. (Matt 7:13) And some people have no chance to call on anyone; death comes instantly.

    • Thank you so much for your very well thought out comments. I agree with some of what you say, but I respectfully disagree with others. I wonder about those who worship “God”, but in their primitive way don’t fully understand “our” God. I wonder about those same people who live fully for their families, do good to and for others and provide what they need to live. I wonder about those who don’t recognize God at all and yet live a life that Jesus said we should live. . .to live as a person with no guile, with love for others, with a sense of purpose and service for those around them. . .

      We certainly can agree to disagree.

      May you be blessed,
      Sandy

      • I think, too, that God judges people based on what they know or understand and how they follow that God-given direction all people are born with. I’m so thankful that He’s going to be the all-wise Judge. Some people, like my mother, got banged on the head from young on and never did understand right from wrong or truth from fiction. I do trust God will be merciful to her.

        As for doing good to be saved, we’ll all come short. Even my best motives are tinged at times with pride and selfishness. As for every person being saved, that would make Jesus a blatant liar, for example when He told of the rich man and Lazarus.

  2. Sandy…I often think the same things. I have come to believe that only those who flatly refuse to believe that God even exists are the souls that occupy hell. HE does not condemn any soul to hell. You also remind me that I need to order Vassula Ryden’s new book, “Heaven is for Real but so is Hell”.

    • Sandy, Thank you for your comment. I also believe that God does not condemn to hell, the person him/herself condemn themselves to Hell. Complete refusal to acknowledge God while also living a life that is not a life of love, compassion and service is a way to hell. Perhaps I should read the book you mention, that is after I read the stack of books I have set aside to read right now.
      May you be blessed!
      Sandy

    • Hi Clare, I loved that as well. Thank you for your kind words. I think it will be interesting to see how many different comments I get from this. I felt it was a bit controversial when I posted it.
      May you be blessed!
      SandyO

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