One of the things I find myself doing more and more lately, is observing how I Perceive & Understand the world around me. It goes with saying that my Perceptions affect my ability to truly learn and change. This is I am sure closely related to my desire to see beyond the Fixed Horizons I have built up over the years. Most of these fixed Horizons to my dismay are constructed more of fiction than fact, although for many years I have been loath to admit it.
This for me has been most acute in the area of Theology, which for many years I treated as an exact science rather than the art form it really is. There is a reason why the Theology Department at a liberal arts college, is not found in the Science Building. Because Theology uses some of the same tools of logic and language, I just Assumed it carried with it the same weight.
So let me tell you what changed, I simply stopped treating the study of an Infinite God as a Fixed Horizon. More importantly I stopped being fearful of questions that challenged by heretofore untouchable understanding and perceptions. If there is one thing I am most thankful for in this Post Modern Age of Derrida, Rob Bell, Peter Rollins, and a whole host of new thinkers. Is the courage by which these women and men ask questions that challenge Orthodoxy which holds the idea and assumption that it alone has the right of succession. Because after all only the Old Questions and the assumptive answers discovered in ages past, can rightly be called the Truth. It reminds me of how Dear Leader is chosen in North Korea, did anyone doubt it wasn’t going to be a Jong boy child?
Of course these types of environments are dangerous to challenge but without any credible threat other than a seven letter word (heretic), the questions are out of the bag.With the result that our passionate pursuit of God might actually begin to look like something, more than just a fortified castle with moat and burning oil included.
Let me give you an example from the other day, I had always assumed back in my Calvinist day, that Adam died spiritually in the Garden with Eve. Then one day I heard someone ask a question that would challenge all my Fixed Horizons. What if He only died Physically and it was His perceptions that changed His ability to see God clearly? Wow then man being born to die and go to hell was just a perception based on an assumption, pretending to be a Fixed Horizon.
What would my theology look like if God still thought it was all Good and the process is one of restoration, rather than a courtroom with God demanding payment for being offended?
What if God is Love?
What if I was partly or completely wrong?
So my New Perceptions and Assumptions are no more fixed than theirs, and are based on the Fluid Horizon of What if. I have discovered and infinite God there who Loves me, a God who must be forever discovered, Horizon over Horizon over Horizon! I have discovered faith again and the actual need for grace in the face of my ignorance, with eyes wide open.
A local Pastor asked a question on his face book page, if there is no hell then what are we saved from? The first thing I have to say is that the question itself assumes Hell is mankind’s destiny unless saved. Rather than seeing Hell at least the one made for the devil and his angels as a destiny for a very few wicked beings. Some mix the Augustinian view of Original Sin with a little Calvinism, Arminianism, Dante and that’s how Jesus saves you from the Hell we are all destined for.
The reason why this Pastor has this assumption has nothing to do with what Jesus or Paul taught, but rather what the Doctrines of Men teach. Jesus tells us why he came, “to seek and save that which is lost” not bound for Hell. Further He teaches in
Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, 19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
Not to save us from Hell but to save us from the effects of the fall on Mankind and the Creation. Hell is for a very few and those that find themselves there walk in with eyes wide open, and a life committed to Evil. This kind of Hell focus though is a distraction away from the true reason for the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Or as Rob Bell calls it a “Goat Gospel” as he says “The Good News is much bigger than that.
Jesus saves us from sin and death, He saves us for a Future time and a Future world. His saving work is not even about Heaven but as my Catholic friends would say “worlds without end amen.” Jesus Christ paid the price for all who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, which is everyone.No where that I am aware of does Jesus say I have come to save you from Hell, but rather I have come that you may have Life.You see Jesus has come to save us and the creation from the rule of Satan, whose future is Hell.
All will stand before The God who is love, justice and full of Mercy. God alone shall judge the quick and the dead, because Jesus Christ has saved us all from the Power of Death and the Grave (Hell).Jesus does not save us from Hell or from God, but rather from the Power of Sin, Death and the Grave.
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” ( Revelations 1:18 )
It is God who sent The Word in order to save the World He loved, to all who will believe. The when, where and how of that faith in Jesus, is to be determined by God and not some narrow man-made doctrines.
Jesus; John teaches is the price paid to ransom us from sin and death and not us alone but the whole world. 1 John 2:2Jesus as the Last Adam is now the head of all mankind as Adam was before Christ’s death and resurrection.God created Hell as an abode for the wicked, not your next store neighbor who happens not to believe in your version and interpretation of scattered verses.
Jesus did not come save us from Hell unless you mean the Grave, because scripture doesn’t teach I was born destined for the Devils Hell. It’s Men that teach that and they I believe are dead wrong, and have brought a lot of Hell where it doesn’t belong. I am quite sure however they are as forgiven and covered by the blood of Lamb as we all are.
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s (Adam’s) offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s (Jesus’) righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.
2 Kings 14:6, But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.“