Tuesday, April 5, 2011

LOVE WINS. (Chapter 3)

Chapter 3 - HELL

Chapter 3 is much like chapter 2. Its full of definitions, translations, scriptural references, and stories. Again, to properly dissect this chapter, I think the reader must first determine if what Bell is defining and translating is correct. If so, then lets move forward and discuss the concepts he proposes.

[I also will add that 3 weeks into this discussion, no one has argued that Bell's historical facts, translations, and scriptures have been faulty or stretch the truth. Most commentary has been more focused on the broader implications of him writing this book, being a universalist, etc. But in order for accurate and healthy debate to take place, I think the chapter-by-chapter approach is necessary and vital.]

So, lets answer my first questions...are Bell's definitions, translations, historical analysis, and scriptural references correct, or lies?

Next, he doesn't say what most thought he was going to say, that hell doesn't exist. In fact, Bell writes, "There is hell now, and there is hell later, and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously" (79).

He is of course referring to the biblical posturing(s) of hell, not necessarily the Left Behind (dispensationalist) versions.

Bell discusses the usage of "eternal," "forever," and "eternity," again; calling to question our Western/English understanding versus what "aion" and "olam" really meant. Foul?

This chapter is all about how we've been taught to read things and re-learning original meaning and intent..."So when we read "eternal punishment," its important that we don't read categories and concepts into a phrase that aren't there" (92).

Please discuss and debate, but please try and keep it focused on Chapter 3, hell.



Anonymous said...

Well, without digging into the larger implications of the chapter, I guess I will comment on Bell's reading of the concept of eternal punishment. It's a poor read on the matter. The Jews had a concept of eternal punishment. They were greek speaking, at the time of Christ and had been for 400 years. They would have learned about eternal punishment from the greeks, who speak of eternity in their philosophy. Hillel and Shammai debated the nature of afterlife punishment 50 years before Christ taught this parable. They designated 3 groups that would face eternity:
1. Those who would go to heaven.
2. Those who would be punished for a while and then be destroyed only to have their ashes spread for the righteous to trod upon in heaven.
3. Those who would be punished forever.
This is in the mishna, though you can look it up in Edersheim's Life and Times of Jesus the messiah. The issue here is that the rabbi's debate demonstrates a concept of eternity because there is a temporary punishment contrasted with a not temporary punishment. Further, the early church fathers taught about eternal punishment.
To take it a step further, his translation of the phrase is wrong for several reasons. Time of pruning doesn't appear in any translations. The word used for eternity is almost always translated as eternity rather than a period of time. And the pruning is taken from the etymological root, not the common usage or context. Both take precedence over etymology. 4 verses earlier Jesus talks about the goats going to the punishment prepared for the devil and his angels. Is this temporary too? His greek is twisted so as to find the meaning he wanted and his read of the context of the passage is just wrong. for more on this issue, please check out my blog on teh book: youthguyerik.wordpress.com

Ross Christopher said...

Excellent info! Thanks for the link, I'll be sure to check it out.