ePub Hope Beyond Hell ePub

by Gerry Beauchemin

"Hope Beyond Hell" by Gerard Beauchemin is a wonderful eye-opener, one of several books I have read recently that tackles the very difficult subject of the afterlife but particularly the Christian traditional view of hell as an 'everlasting punishment of torment and torture.'

Admittedly, this is a very sticky subject, to say the least. Many Christians are still unaware and misinformed about the subject because, like me, they've just gone along with whatever has been taught them from the pulpit, from books, TV/radio, etc., all the while unaware of the often bad translations of certain key words in their Bibles from the original Greek into English. But because, like me, they haven't been able to really make good sense of it in light of the supremely loving and all powerful God 'they know that they know' - personally and intimately, they simply have chosen to ignore or deny the subject altogether.

There simply was no Greek word-equivalent which meant "endless" or "forever" (as used in 'eternal') and so the Latin word chosen by St. Jerome and others in their early translations was "aeternal" - a word which itself doesn't even quite mean 'forever.' In fact, instead of the word 'eternal' used in our English Bibles, the original Greek word is 'aion' or 'aionian' from which we get the word 'eon,' which generally and simply means 'age' - an indefinite or indeterminable period of time. Secondly, a prominent view, even the majority view, of the early church closest to Jesus' time - for about the first 500 years or so - was that hell or Hades - as horrible as it will be - was (a) of a limited duration and of different degrees of severity for each person there; and that it was (b) solely for the purpose of correction - hell is remedial, in order to help bring a soul to the willing point of change and an open heart to God, of repentance. Yes, make no mistake - that could be a very long time in hell - even an age or ages! But there is no clear indication in the Bible, from the original Greek, of how long this 'aionian' or 'age-long' period of chastisement will last for anyone. For some, it may be a very long time, for what may seem like an eternity (literally!); for others, a shorter time. Jesus indicated it was of limited duration when he told his disciples that those who went to hell "would in nowise get out until they had paid the very last penny." He also said that "no one knows, except the Father, the day or the time of his [the Son's] return" or coming for us - and, later after his resurrection, that "it was not for [us] to know the days or times that the Father fixes [for such things] by his own authority." So it is pointless to even speculate on such things as 'how long'; suffice it to say only that hell is of limited duration, not endless (although it may very, very long time) and that it is still an unimaginably horrible place to be - like nothing we know on earth - for it is the terrifying experience of being utterly separated from God, of raw, unabated spiritual death, of 'outer darkness.'

Also the severity and intensity it seems will vary from soul to soul, depending on how they lived their lives on earth, how they treated others, but above all, whether and how they had related to God during their sojourn on earth. The bottom line is, we bring hell upon ourselves, for as the Bible often and clearly states, God is not willing that ANYONE would perish or even suffer in hell a short time. Yet for those of us who resist God and go on live wickedly, selfishly, and unlovingly, we will not 'get out until we have paid the last penny.'

This book - and judging by its popularity I'm not the only one who agrees - is a very comprehensive exposition of the - let's be honest! - questionable traditional teaching of an 'everlasting torturous hell' - whether your Adolf Hitler or Ghandi or Joseph Stalin or Mother Theresa or a baby who hasn't yet been baptized, etc., etc. It must be remembered that God is not only just, he IS good and he IS love itself.

The book's theme is logically defended, thoroughly rooted in scripture, with tons of scriptural quotes to back up every one of the author's positions - scriptures that I myself could never really 'quite' make sense of or justify in the past and so I simply chose to ignore them, really. The book is easy to understand and very well-written - it moves along at an exciting pace and will fill the reader with a fresh new hope and astonishing new way to look at God's awesome plan for ALL humanity in due time. This is THE book one should read FIRST in order to get a solid introductory grip on the issue.

In recent years, God has touched my own heart about this issue - but I really wasn't ready or willing to accept the premise of this book and so many other like it - nor was I yet knowledgeable enough. SO, I put this topic on the back burner of my mind and carried on with life, oblivious, like so many other Christians undoubtedly do and have done for centuries. But for me, no more! God has done a work in my mind and heart and I now wholly believe in his desire for ALL people to be saved - as well as in his authority and power to do it! Yes, he has a plan, all right - for the ages - for the eons. 'Life aionian' for all who will believe. And, in the end, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord," as the Bible says.

Is there a hell? A 'Hades'? Yes! And NO ONE should ever want to go there, not even for a minute. Dispensing with the truth that hell really does exist is NOT part of the doctrine of 'Christian universalism' or 'ultimate reconciliation.' But all of God's judgments - whether here on earth or in hell - are purposeful and limited, because his LOVE for us is infinite, eternal, and far beyond our imagining.

So, yes, I am now what's known as a Christian universalist - that is, one who believes in the ultimate reconciliation of all humanity and the renewal and restoration of all creation from the bondage of sin and death. I couldn't see it before - or perhaps also I was unwilling to ask, seek, and knock persistently enough to find real answers to my doubts and questions. Truth is, God's plan for us is actually FAR GREATER than I had imagined or understood before. And yet this plan of his was right there in the Bible scriptures all along. Duh! "When I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], I will draw ALL men unto Me." (Jesus). "Just as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ will ALL be made alive." (Paul) Those are just two of the hundreds and hundreds of scriptures right there in the Bible - in plain view for those 'will have eyes to see and ears to hear' it that tell God's amazing story of ultimate reconciliation. NOT to believe that 'ALL' means 'ALL' (the two uses of 'all' there are identical in the original Greek) is to believe either one of two ridiculous assumptions: either that God is not powerful enough to accomplish his own will and desire for us - or - he doesn't REALLY will it - he doesn't REALLY desire it for us, that all born in Adam will be saved by Christ in due season or age; that he's just playing games with us. Well, I no longer believe either of those assumptions! God DOES will it and he CAN do it!

What part of the word 'all' don't we understand?

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ISBN
Book Title
Book Author
PublisherMalista Press
GanreReligion
Release date 02.09.2006
Pages count258
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
File size4.8 Mb
Book rating3.88 (104 votes)
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