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What we know about heaven and hell

Why does the Bible tell us of the afterlife?

Postby Poop Rifle » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:51 pm

I’m wondering because I see it as illogical to describe a punishment or reward for someone’s behavior as a way to judge them. Why not judge them off the content of their character without influence?
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Re: Why does the Bible tell us of the afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:51 pm

I'm not sure I'm understanding you, so let me try. It sounds as if you are suggesting that life would work better under the retribution principle (there is mostly immediate reward or punishment for good and bad behavior in this life). And if it worked according to the retribution principle, maybe there would be no need of the afterlife, because all would have been dealt with here. Is that it? If not, then help me to understand better what you are asking.
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Re: Why does the Bible tell us of the afterlife?

Postby Poop Rifle » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:42 pm

All I’m saying is that people should be judged for how they would act without knowledge of how it effects their eternity
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Re: Why does the Bible tell us of the afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:52 pm

OK, that helps. Thanks for the clarification. According to the Bible, people don't go to heaven if they're good (and hell if they are bad). We are not judged (at that stage) for how we act.

The Bible says that those who have the nature of Jesus go to heaven, and those who keep their sin nature go to hell. It's about your nature and your relationship with God, not about how you act. The Bible says we are all born with a sin nature, that is, separated from God and not in relationship with him. But God offers to do a miracle in us and change our nature to the nature of Jesus, free to us. All we have to do is repent of our sins and enter into a love relationship with God: To love God with all our hearts and minds, to love other people, to obey God (which shows that we love him).

Here's the scene: God invites each person into a loving relationship with himself. He has prepared a wonderful place for them, and leaves the door wide open. But some people refuse to come in and choose of their own free will to stay outside in the chaos. The people who reject God choose to be separated from him, and they will go to a fate that was never meant to be theirs (hell was created for the devil and his angels). We are free agents, and the choices we get to make regarding spiritual truths are real choices. God does not force anyone towards heaven or hell. Those choices are ours alone to make.

So here's the true scenario: God loves you (Jn. 3.16), knows that you can't save yourself (since no one is worthy), and so has made every provision for your rescue, offering it as a free gift to all comers. We must repudiate what separates us from God (repent of our sins), and turn to him in love (very different from "religion". It's much like a marriage ceremony, where you forsake all others to commit yourself in love to the one who loves you.). But since love must always be chosen and never forced, he informs and invites all people to come to him for rescue (salvation). The choice belongs to each individual, and it is always ours to make. No worthiness is involved, but only choice and love. All sincere comers will be accepted. All who refuse and choose to have nothing to do with God will endure the consequences of that decision: life without God, and eternity without God, if they get all the way to the end of life spurning his every invitation. They weren't created bound for hell, and Jer. 18.1-12 lets us know that they always have a legitimate choice to do as they wish with their lives. God will make adjustments according to their free-will choices. The path to hell is never a certainty unless the person in question makes it such.

The Bible pictures it this way: Let's suppose there are two doors, one leading to eternal separation from God, and one leading to eternal joy in his presence. Door #1 was only prepared for Satan and his sycophants, and door #2 was prepared for all people. Jesus is standing between the doors, and as people approach, he expresses his love for them and invites them to enter door #2 and bliss. But when people grab the handle to door #1, he cries out to them, "Don't do that. It's a terrible thing. You don't want to go there. Come this way, into door #2." But they choose to enter door #1 anyway.

So I would say that people are not judged for how they act. They are judged on whether or not they turn in love to Jesus, who is God.

As far as eternity, it's just the natural consequence. Jesus is life, so those who align with him have life. Those who refuse to align with him don't have life. It's binary. There's no other course.
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Re: Why does the Bible tell us of the afterlife?

Postby Poop Rifle » Tue Mar 06, 2018 4:28 pm

Yeah, I certainly am sinful at times, but value myself on the quality of my behavior. I just don’t feel a relationship with Jesus is possible without the belief that he is the savior, and frankly, I have heard his teachings time and time again and I honesty don’t see much of it as that great. The supposed miracles are impressive sure, but in general, he is just a human, which is the point supposedly
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Re: Why does the Bible tell us of the afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:37 pm

The quality of our behavior certainly matters, but it's not what decides heaven or hell. The Bible strongly advocates that the quality of our behavior is important.

You're right that a relationship with Jesus isn't possible without the belief that he is the savior. I don't know what you've been taught, but Jesus didn't give his life to make us happy or to give us good feelings. It's all about separation from God and His wanting to be in relationship with us.

> The supposed miracles are impressive sure, but in general, he is just a human, which is the point supposedly

This *is* the point. He could only be savior if he's NOT human. If I were in prison, say, life imprisonment, it would do me no good for another person who was also serving life imprisonment to say, "I'll serve your sentence for you." Dude, you're already IN here. I need somebody to get me out.

Or to put it this way. Suppose I'm a $billion in debt. One of my friends, who is also $billion in debt, offers to pay my debt off for me. Well, what good is that offer? Nothing. I need somebody who HAS $billion to redeem the debt. That's the point. One human can't pay the debt for another. We need someone outside of the system, so to speak, but able to enter the system to deal with the problem. That's Jesus.


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