Thursday, May 11, 2006
salvation from what?
Of the articles I have read, one has been a comprehensive exploration of the Bible's support of our conventional definition of hell. I am told there is none. I am looking for an article with convincing argument to the contrary, just for balance. The non-existence of a place of eternal torment certainly makes sense to me. I have never quite been able to reconcile the idea of hell and a God of love.
The Jehovah's Witnesses visit me almost every week, and I always enjoy our talks. When our conversation drifted to the subject of hell, they explained to me that they don't believe in it. They said that God only promises to give eternal life to the righteous. In order for there to be a hell in the modern understanding of the word, God would have to first give eternal life to the unrighteous, and then throw them into hell. It's inefficient, illogical, and I'm finding has no base in scripture.
All of this leads me to what feels like the next most logical question..... If there is no hell, what does universal salvation save us from?
I suppose that the answer to that question could be simply death. Is it possible that aside from Christ's sacrifice, the human soul upon leaving the human body would simply cease to exist? This would make sense to me, after all, the introduction of sin is what supposedly caused man to become capable of dying, although I had always thought of that (as I think a lot of people do) in a physical sense. It had never occurred to me that the soul could cease as well. Maybe this is a result of my upbringing, or maybe the instinctive knowledge that I have indeed been saved.
I meet few people these days who don't believe in the ongoing life of a soul after the death of its body. Perhaps these people also sense the salvation of Jesus, regardless of their specific religious or spiritual beliefs.
The other nagging thought in my head is the question of whether a soul can be destroyed. Energy can't be created or destroyed, it only changes forms. Is a soul like energy? As far as I can tell, this is not a biblical idea, but I would like to explore it. I sense a foreboding conclusion at the end of that line of logic, but I want to educate myself further on the idea before I start working myself into a lather. Any thoughts on the subject would be helpful.