A Bloggers Take on "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" and "Hell".
HAPPY DADS AND THE HORRORS OF HELL
by Jeff Turner
Jonathan Edwards once said the following words:
“Reprobate infants are vipers of vengeance, which Jehovah will hold over hell, in the tongs of his wrath, till they turn and spit venom in his face!”
Elsewhere, Edwards asked the question:
“Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell?”
Now, a bit of clarification: Edwards is not referring to God when he speaks of the “believing father in Heaven”. Rather, he is speaking an earthly father who enters Heaven, while His children are sentenced to an eternity in Hell. One would assume that Edwards’ answer to this question would be something akin to, “Nay! And a thousand times nay!”.
Unfortunately, his answer was as follows:
“…it [the sight of his children in Hell] will increase rather than diminish his bliss.”
To be honest with you, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read more demonic, and putrid words in all of my life. I have a level of respect for Jonathan Edwards, and know that these statements do not equal the thesis statement of his life, nor is he defined by them. I know that some of his other works and words seem almost contradictory to these words. However, it is Edwards’ words on hell and the demise of the damned which have made him famous, and, are the ideas which he is most known for proclaiming.
My respect, and contextual understandings aside, to think that there is a form of religion out there which teaches and prepares parents to rejoice, and experience “increased bliss” at the sight of their children being barbecued alive in an eternal hell, is not only disturbing, but downright revolting, and, in my opinion, utterly satanic.
Unfortunately, heretical Christianity has, for years, encouraged otherwise sane men and women, to gleefully anticipate death, misery, and eternal torment for a vast majority of earth’s populace. This is neither, healthy nor sane. It is madness, and madness of the most disgusting kind. I know that my words seem harsh here, but truly, this is an issue which has plagued the Church, and thus the world, for centuries.
Allow me to share with you why I’m writing this today in the first place:
Earlier this week, I was on a certain online forum, reading through various posts concerning theology and such. My eyes, however, were drawn to a particular post entitled, “The most lost generation EVER”. I will quote a portion of the original post, while keeping it’s author’s identity concealed out of respect.
The post went as follows:
“After witnessing again tonight and hearing AGAIN from yet another shockingly hard-hearted person how the Bible is supposedly ‘all fiction’ and absolutely NOTHING i said could make any difference, i must conclude that this generation is thee most hopeless EVER. I think i have heard it ALL now. Every last excuse, every last accusation and diatribe. And it is crystal clear that Americans do not want Christ, no matter what. The hearts of this people have turned to STONE. It is like bashing my head against a brick wall talking to these people. Many of them even contradict their own selves. I have come to hate witnessing. It is tiresome. It is offensive to hear the awful things they say. They never run out of excuses for rejecting Christ, yet any of the pagan ‘gods’ will do. I have tolerated the most deplorable things and shown nothing but kindness, friendship, and love/charity to them. When the bomb or whatever hits this country, whatever finally comes, i can’t feel no pity. UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.”
Now, certainly, anyone who has ever attempted to present the Gospel to an unbeliever can sympathize with this young man’s frustrations. However, notice the last line preceding the prolonged “UGH”. The young man states that when apocalyptic judgement “finally” hits this nation, he will feel no pity. Why? Because we’ll apparently deserve it. And this young man, frustrated with the wickedness of the wicked and the unbelief of the unbelieving, seems to be looking forward to the fiery demise of his own peers and countrymen.
However, can this young man truly be blamed for having this thought? Would this not be the natural response of an individual who has been taught to believe that God is cooking up one “hell” (pun intended) of a reckoning day for the wicked, and unbelieving?
Now, let me clarify, because I most certainly believe in a day of judgement, as the Bible is quite clear on the issue. The idea, however, that a house of horrors and torture await all of those who have never had the chance, or, who have rejected the chance to “repeat after me”, is absurd, and cannot rightly be called biblical. Again, I do not set aside the notion of hell. No, there is far too much said in the scriptures concerning a “hell” to outrightly reject the idea. It is not the doctrine of “hell” that I take issue with. It is the modern interpretations of hell – the idea of hell as a mammoth tortured chamber that makes Nazi concentration camps look like Disney World, that every individual who met with the unfortunate fate of being born in a nation void of Christianity will one day eternally inhabit – that I take issue with.
I do believe in a Biblical doctrine of hell. The Halloween-ish, B-grade horror movie version of recent times, however, I’m completely unsold on.
Now, the reason for even making these statements is that such a belief seems to create within many an anticipation of final judgement. The quote by Jonathan Edwards is a statement by him saying that a father who makes it to Heaven, would have his “bliss increased” by watching his child burn alive in hell. In the other Edwards’ quote I presented, he states that there are some infants who will be considered reprobates, who will be roasted alive above the fires of hell in the tongs of God’s wrath. So, in Edwards estimation, there will one day be human fathers in Heaven, viewing their infant children roasting alive above the fires of hell, and these fathers will have their “bliss increased”, not diminished, by the sight. He will continue on with his Heavenly feasting and revelry, while joyously beholding the eternal torment of his infant son or daughter!
That, in any sane person’s mind, must be considered to be psychotic.
Yes, the view of hell has changed a bit since Edward’s time. His words, however, have most definitely become the context in which many evangelicals frame their view of the afterlife. What I’m attempting to say here is that a belief system which causes us to anticipate the suffering and torture of millions, if not billions of people, is warped, twisted, and cannot rightly be called Christianity.
Honestly, to think that we will one day gaze upon the charred, but living corpses of the victims of eternal justice, whilst feasting and rejoicing in Heaven, is deplorable, and turns the stomach. To think that we will gaze upon the earth during the great “seven year tribulation”, giggling and applauding whilst billions suffer under divine wrath, is the stuff of madmen’s fantasies. To joyously anticipate such a thing is nothing short of deranged.
Tertullian, the famed Christian author of the second and third centuries, once said the following concerning hell and the response of the “saints” to the horrors thereof:
“At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish then ever before from applause.”
I suppose I could sympathize with a man who lived in an era of extreme persecution. Perhaps his own pain and bitterness towards his and his predecessor’s persecutors led him to hold to such a gleeful view of eternal damnation. Even so, is that truly the God and Father whom Christ reveals?
Elsewhere, Jonathan Edwards said the following words:
“The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever.”
My friends, Christ did not reveal to us a Father who cackles like a witch, or roars maniacally at the sight of human suffering. Rather, Christ reveals to us a Father who weeps and laments when His children’s decisions invite correction. We do not serve the god of holocaust flames, but the God who’s heart is a furnace of unquenchable love for us. Our God is not a mad dictator, demanding the sick to make themselves well or face the gallows. No, we serve a God who, at great cost to Himself, became the cure to our malady. A God who, in mercy, ran to us and rescued us from sin and death.
This “god” who demands damnation as recompense for offended justice, and then enables the “righteous” to gibber, and cackle like demonic trolls at the sight of said damnation, is no God at all. He is a figment of fallen man’s mind, and, perhaps is something even more diabolical than that.
This satanic interloper, this impostor, was with us in antiquity, into the middle ages, and still stands behinds many pulpits each and every Sunday morning. He gives his hearty approval to the burning of babies before Molech, the torture of “heretics” by their Catholic and Protestant inquisitors, the burning of accused “witches” by the pious, the horrors of the holocaust, and to each and every sermon that paints our Heavenly Father in a similar light.
He is not a god. He is your enemy, and he does not deserve an ounce of worship.
The God revealed by Christ – YES – has appointed a day of judgement, and – YES – brings correction and discipline to His children. However, He is a God who Himself is the very definition of love. There is nothing that He has ever done, or will ever do, that does not have love, life, and redemption as it’s center! That being said, a belief in a god that causes us to joyously anticipate the pain, torment, and hurt of others is none other than a devil inspired monstrosity, and it belongs in the scrapheap of history.
God is Love.
Well....What do you think???