Bible Studies/salvation and hell
QUESTION: is there really any bible passages specifically mention that all non-Christians go to hell for rejecting God's free gift?
ANSWER: In Mark 16:16 says, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe (in Jesus) will be condemned." John 3:16 says that "whoever believes in him (Jesus) will not perish but have eternal life." Vs.18 declares, "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only son."
The reason for this is that Jesus (not Buddha, Krishna, or Mohammed) paid the penalty for man's sin. So, through faith in Jesus' sacrifice, one is saved.
I am a Universalist and one of our major beliefs is that in Christ, all people are saved. This is a controversial belief. To look at it biblically, Jesus' death was understood by his Jewish followers to be a kind of atonement, like the one that was offered by the Jewish high priest at Passover. This sacrifice was with a lamb on behalf of the people. Jesus' atonement was much broader than that. The Universalist belief was that in Jesus' atonement, all people are saved (even those of other faiths). Let me suggest an excellent book on this, THE GOSPEL OF INCLUSION by Carlton Pearson. He also wrote GOD IS NOT A CHRISTIAN.
Ideas of salvation and hell are open to interpretation. I do not believe that God is in the business of burning people in hell. It is God's purpose that all be reconciled with Him, and, really, they, essentially, are. That is the good news of faith. The Universalist belief is that what Christ did was once and for all and included everyone. The problem is, people do not know what they are in God, or what God created them to be. We are created in God's image and we always will be. The question is, do we understand the potential of it?
There is a small group of Universalist Primitive Baptists and they believe that hell is in this life. There is such a thing as sin. Even Buddha recognized that. He called it desire or attachment. Jainists call it "ajiva" ("Jiva" is a life force, hence "ajiva" is what hinders of obstructs it). Getting beyond sin (i.e. forgiveness) and "unlife-giving" things is the object of salvation. My personal view is that hell is primarily of our own making. See, too, Emmanuel Swedenborg's HEAVEN AND HELL. Joel
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: there was a Russian scientist who claimed to had dig in to hell and recorded the screaming of the condemn souls to proof that hell is a physical
place for the tormented souls.what was really going on?
ANSWER: I do not believe that hell is a physical place. If we look at biblical wods for hell, it is "sheol" (Hebrew), which was a shadow-like existence, and "gehenna" in the New Testament which was a junk yard outside of Jerusalem. Gehenna is often used to justify a burning hell, but in the real gehenna, things were burned up or consumed, not tortured forever. Gehenna was used as an analogy in the New Testament.
Regarding the scientist who said he dug into hell, I'd consider the source. There have been mines who have dug deep into the earth, did they find hell? No. Has any geological survey or expedition given any evidence of hell or suffering souls? No.
Hell is a myth. Whatever hell there may be, we create it for ourselves. What does God have to gain by condemning people to roast for eternity? If you believe that God has everlasting love, this view is an insult to God. I'd suggest you read the sermon "Unitarian Christianity" by William Ellergy Channing. He discussed issues as hell and what it tells us about God, or whether a belief in hell is consistent with God's nature.
You ask, what's going on? Somebody is trying to sell papers or books. Nobody can dig into hell. If miners haven't done it, no scientist has. Joel
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: did the early christian church fathers believe in universalism?
That's hard to say. I heard John Dominic Crossan, a NT scholar, telling of one of the "lost gospels" where a person was lamenting those who went to hell. However, Jesus (I think) told him, "They all get out." The Universalism I'm familiar with came largely, I think, from teh Congregational church. It's a sister movement to Unitarianism (and it had roots in Poland and Transylvania). The basic premise of the Universalist Church was that due to Christ's sacrifice, all would be saved. It believed in "the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" and "the universal salvation of all souls." Joel