Why can’t we be with the unborn dead?

In the traditional Christian system, every stillborn child/abortion is going to/already in heaven, right?

If this is the case why can’t we all just be born in heaven? What is the point of being born here if the majority of human beings are not born here? (as the number of dead infants will outnumber adults by multitudes).

Why on earth are we on earth now? If life on earth now is an integral lesson, or test, or some other compulsory knowledgable experience that humans must endure, what about the dead babies? They don’t have to endure it. The majority of humans, therefore, don’t have to endure it. They are born in heaven, why aren’t all of us?

To realise I may be jealous of a dead baby is rather sobering thought, I must admit, but the question remains.
Tagged:
«1345

Comments

  • DaftweebuggerDaftweebugger Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    I must add, I’m new to this. I apologise if this is a fruitless and tasteless line of enquiry and something best left in the confines of my own skull.
  • Okay, the problem is, we simply don't know. The Bible doesn't tell us, and that's our basic source of information. However, given what we know of the Lord (merciful, always ready to grab the slightest excuse for saving somebody), I think your conclusion (that unborn babies go straight to the Lord) is perfectly correct. They are "in Christ" in the same way they are "in Adam"--by virtue of their existence as human beings--and they have certainly had no chance to reject Christ. It's likely that they make up a great deal of that "multitude without number" that celebrates Jesus in Revelation 7. So there you go.

    Now the other question--why do some of us actually live 70, 80 or more years on earth? I don't think it's a test. God doesn't appear to test people that way. He already knows what's in us, after all.

    I think what it may be is a result of God's love for variety, for beauty of every possible description. The longer people live on earth, the more they affect one another (and are affected by the rest of their environment too) and this leads to some really, really interesting people. (It also leads to some horrible failures, most unfortunately--we all know some people who seem to have failed life through the choices they make, and who are worse off at the end of life in terms of character, contentment, behavior, and the like than they were at birth. And I'm not talking about disease, which is a thing nobody can help.)

    But let's look at the successes. For example, I think of some of the elderly Christians I know in particular and I am in just in awe--first of all how kind, common-sensical, wise, gracious, interesting and downright odd they are, and second, of how very, very different they all are from one another. Each year they become more and more themselves (particularly, I'm afraid, with the help of suffering, which is why older generations referred to this world as a vale of soul-making) and basically turn into masterpieces of individuality I never could have imagined. Many also become frankly strange--the sense of humor develops, the little quirks, the take-no-shit "I'll wear an Easter bunny suit to church if I want to" attitude--these are not rule-constrained people, by and large. They are "characters," and those who know them enjoy telling stories about them.)

    I'm sorry, you can see I'm running on at the mouth here--but I've been around so many of these, and while they are not perfect by any means, they are really damn cool. I want to be one of these, some day. They are different from the children they once were because they've been shaped, hammered out, have acquired a patina--just as a lump of bronze can become a masterpiece of sculpture. Most of them have suffered--who among us does not?--but they, or God, has put the suffering to good use. They are not who they used to be, and on balance, the changes are good.

    I can see why God would want some of these people in heaven, too. I don't know about the babies, what experiences they may have in their life with God. I'm sure they are not undifferentiated lumps. But whatever the nature of their experience, it cannot include exactly the same things we undergo on earth, and so the results on the personality are probably different. It'll be fun to see them and find out.

    And the last thing--

    I suspect you ask because you are suffering right now (whether that's pandemic only, or something even more trying). You would like to avoid that suffering. So would I. I had four deaths in the family last year. Believe me when I say that I would gladly lose whatever soul-shaping and patina that suffering has caused me in order to have them all back again, safe and sound. But nobody gets out of this world without suffering, that's not even an option, and if I must suffer, I want it to serve some purpose. If I must be in pain, I don't want it to be useless pain, pain that has no value or reward to it at all. And this--the growth, refining, and individuating process that life (and suffering) leads to in the human being who allows it to do so--this is, I think, what God is after when he gives us long life.


  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    bloody fantastic LC.

    I'm a little wary of the idea that the unborn go to heaven. I suspect it of being a pastorally useful idea, in the way that Purgatory was, or so I heard somewhere. That doesn't exclude the possibility of course, and you make a very good argument for the proposition. As you say yourself, its one of those things we can't know.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    bloody fantastic LC.

    I'm a little wary of the idea that the unborn go to heaven. I suspect it of being a pastorally useful idea, in the way that Purgatory was, or so I heard somewhere. That doesn't exclude the possibility of course, and you make a very good argument for the proposition. As you say yourself, its one of those things we can't know.

    The thing that gets me is, Jesus says, "For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few" (Matthew 7:14) but then we get this: "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands..." (Revelation 7:9). The two don't add up IMHO, unless God is drawing on that massive, massive number of children who never make it to birth (or possibly some point beyond, what do I know about God's thinking on age?). It could also include those who who haven't got the capacity to reject Christ because of disability.

    In my experience, God is unscrupulous and will seize any pretext to get people into his kingdom, regardless of whether it scandalizes me as "insufficient cause." Take Paul's "For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:21-22) which is incidentally our best textual hope for universalism (don't I hope it turns out that way!) because, here at least, the only "ground" for being in Christ and therefore saved appears to be "I am a human being."

    It is certainly true that "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) and as Jesus says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6). So being in Christ is a prerequisite for everlasting life and salvation. However, it says nowhere that to be in Christ, you must a) know his name, b) intellectually comprehend a series of facts, or c) reach a certain level of competence in doctrine. Jesus spoke of "these little ones who believe in me" at a time when he was holding a child in his arms--so not very old, then. I conclude that saving faith is not dependent on the intellect or on age, and indeed, that is exactly what the Bible indicates when it talks of saving faith as something the Holy Spirit gives, not something we work up for ourselves. And he can give his gifts to anyone he wants to, even a child unborn.

    (And knowing him, you can guess just how many babies he is going to shepherd through that loophole he left. That's right, it's large enough to drive a Lear Jet through--or more than half the human race. Would he miss such an opportunity? Not on your life.)
  • Mr Chopped, good sir, I wasn’t sure I’d even get a response, let alone such a gracious one. Thank you for entertaining my ramblings.

    To paraphrase your response as I see it (quoting on an iPad is a tad tricky):
    - Variation is the fruit of life
    - Without Adam there would be no babies

    I have to agree with both these points. And I’m pretty much happy to accept that logic and leave it at that.

    But of course I must retort, because why not?

    I realise I’m basically asking “why is there suffering?” which is a painful and infinite rabbit hole. But I have to do it. Terminal illness and chronic pain for example (neither of which I have personally suffered or encountered, might I add) seem like a mighty high price to pay just to get some interesting dinner guests.

    Is there really no better way to make us varied, refined and defined? Really? Must we all really go through the gauntlet? And Die?

    If God thinks so, I guess it must be so. But it’s a rather bitter pill indeed. I’d love a fast track ticket to get on the rides straight away. Although standing in the ‘cue’ has been a novel experience, I must admit. I’ve met some masterpieces of individuality myself and I’m damn happy I did. I could have met them on the bouncy castle though.

    I do have to clarify I’m suffering no more and certainly less than many. My troubles are minute. I have little to complain about, but I do it anyway. God bless free will 😁
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    Actually, I loved your question, because I love thinking about the Bible, God, theology, and etc. And I don't get enough of that on Ship, where politics is the current fad. (oh, and by the way I'm female, though I don't mind being called either)

    Anyway...

    About death. Yes, it is our enemy, and yes, it is a Bad Thing and something Christ came to destroy (and so all that "circle of life" stuff is complete bull and anyone trying to comfort me with it may get their ears screamed in then and there). Looking at death from this side of it, it is a horror. It looms, and it gibbers and shambles, and scares the crap out of us, and our hate and fear reactions are perfectly justified.

    But Jesus has told us that there is something coming on the other side that is even greater than death, but in a positive form--something that is so overwhelmingly good that death won't even weigh in the balance against it. That thing is the resurrected life. Once we are past death, and Christ hits the reset button on the universe and we have the new heaven and new earth, we are in for wonders we can barely imagine now. Not boredom, in spite of the comics--the exact opposite of boredom. Celebration, joy and delight. Friendship, community, and endless people (when you want them). Solitude with God alone when you want that. "At thy right hand are pleasures forevermore"--what pleasures? I have no idea, but the one who invented earthly pleasures certainly knows what we like! The certainty of getting to know aliens--for what are angels if not another kind of rational creature?--and if angels exist, there may be countless other "aliens" we can get to know and visit with as well. Responsible, worthwhile, creative work to do (see the parables of the workers, we're not going to be idle). A whole cosmos to explore. An eternity to make and enjoy art, music, conversation, and who knows what forms of creativity we can't even imagine now.

    The creative aspect of the kingdom of God is what in my opinion makes the idea of eternity bearable. People always ask, "What happens when you run out of X or Y or Z pleasures? You'll be bored, right?" Well, no, not if you are a maker, a creator of new things. You were made in the image of the creator God, and how should you not be creative yourself? And every creative person knows that life is too short for all the awesome stuff they want to do and make and invent and share. Eternity may be too short. Whatever comes, you'll never be bored. And since your personal creativity is sourced out of God's own creativity, you'll never hit bottom. To use a computer metaphor, there is always more memory to use--always more storage--and retrieval speed is Not a Problem.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Interesting question @Daftweebugger

    (PS it’s Mrs Chopped, he’s a she)

  • Oh, by the way, I have chronic pain from a disabling genetic condition. For what it's worth.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    LC wrote:
    It is certainly true that "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) and as Jesus says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6). So being in Christ is a prerequisite for everlasting life and salvation. However, it says nowhere that to be in Christ, you must a) know his name, b) intellectually comprehend a series of facts, or c) reach a certain level of competence in doctrine. Jesus spoke of "these little ones who believe in me" at a time when he was holding a child in his arms--so not very old, then. I conclude that saving faith is not dependent on the intellect or on age, and indeed, that is exactly what the Bible indicates when it talks of saving faith as something the Holy Spirit gives, not something we work up for ourselves. And he can give his gifts to anyone he wants to, even a child unborn.

    I teared up with the truth of this.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    I once heard a pastor preach about his vision of heaven. He saw himself visiting with Christ who spent time showing the pastor multitudes of the infinite wonders of creation and explaining why he, Christ, loved them so. It was one of the best sermons I've heard given by a very smart and joyful man who lived in recovery from addiction.
  • Ms/Mrs Chopped, my sincere apologies. I assumed ones gender.

    Your take on what’s to come made me all warm and fuzzy inside. I’m realising the more I type the more I don’t need convincing of anything. The thought of what comes later does put everything else in shadow really. Terence Mckenna, loopy though he was, described a vision of beings “singing other beings into existence”. Although he was talking about experiences taking hallucinogens, this was still a fantastical and beautiful image. The possibilities of what is to come are quite endless.

    I would truly love to ponder those possibilities ad nauseam, but I’m aware I may have digressed. (Feel free to share your thoughts on this though, I am completely all ears).

    My initial question has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time. You’ve addressed it more completely than I could have hoped and for this I am very grateful. Thank you.

    Your outlook despite your personal circumstances is also very admirable and humbling. I wish you well.


  • W HyattW Hyatt Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    As a Swedenborgian, I would suggest that the whole of creation needs to be grounded in something physical, which is a role we fulfill for those in heaven from the time we're conceived to the time we die.
  • You're very kind!

    What follows is pure speculation, so be warned.

    My son used to ask what heaven would be like when he was a wee child and in love with Legos. Together we speculated that perhaps part of the work God has for us to do involves creating new things--a new animal, perhaps, or if you work up to it, maybe a new ecosystem? He adored the idea--who wouldn't? and set about imagining the animal he would create. (I'd love to do this, too.)

    Really, if God created the universe, is going to re-create / renew it in some way, and has endless power, knowledge and attention, why shouldn't he allow a redeemed humanity to serve as subcreators? We do it already in the art and fiction we create. Once we are properly disinfected of evil, it seems to me there would be no problem with God working through us (since he dwells in us) to create new worlds, stars, black holes, dimensions... Imagine a Christian physicist who was offered the opportunity to, er, "write" a new set of natural laws for a new dimension of reality. I can see the drooling already.
  • W Hyatt wrote: »
    As a Swedenborgian, I would suggest that the whole of creation needs to be grounded in something physical, which is a role we fulfill for those in heaven from the time we're conceived to the time we die.


    I’m a layman, but does ‘the physical’ directly translate into ‘the mortal’? If we are talking about where the fabric of it all came from, this does not explain why we all have to die.
  • Simon Toad wrote: »
    LC wrote:
    It is certainly true that "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12) and as Jesus says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" John 14:6). So being in Christ is a prerequisite for everlasting life and salvation. However, it says nowhere that to be in Christ, you must a) know his name, b) intellectually comprehend a series of facts, or c) reach a certain level of competence in doctrine. Jesus spoke of "these little ones who believe in me" at a time when he was holding a child in his arms--so not very old, then. I conclude that saving faith is not dependent on the intellect or on age, and indeed, that is exactly what the Bible indicates when it talks of saving faith as something the Holy Spirit gives, not something we work up for ourselves. And he can give his gifts to anyone he wants to, even a child unborn.

    I teared up with the truth of this.

    Me too
  • I'm off to bed, folks, since it's after one a.m. where I am! See you tomorrow.
  • Lyda wrote: »
    I once heard a pastor preach about his vision of heaven. He saw himself visiting with Christ who spent time showing the pastor multitudes of the infinite wonders of creation and explaining why he, Christ, loved them so. It was one of the best sermons I've heard given by a very smart and joyful man who lived in recovery from addiction.

    Beautiful indeed

  • W HyattW Hyatt Shipmate
    Yes, 'the mortal' seems to sum it up nicely.

    As far as I'm concerned, having to die means that we live our life limited by the physical world for a time, with two parallel purposes - providing a ground or foundation for heaven and figuring out what kind of person we want to try to be. But after that, our death is a transition to a non-physical state in which we get to enjoy the full, unlimited, and unending fruits of our choices.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    I'm not sure about that "non-physical" state. Are our resurrected bodies not to be transfigured? More than LC's "disinfected," but transformed in some way that we cannot imagine, although the post-Resurrection appearances of Christ may offer some hints.
  • Roman Catholic theology used to say that unbaptised babies went to Limbo, but I think they've dropped this idea recently. I'm much happier with @Lamb Chopped's take on things.
  • I must add, I’m new to this. I apologise if this is a fruitless and tasteless line of enquiry and something best left in the confines of my own skull.

    Welcome, daftweebugger. You hit the jackpot on post one, and gave LC the opportunity to win the internet (again) :smile:
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    Daftweebugger

    A very warm welcome. Love the question and like your style! My answer to the OP starts with another question. Perhaps this life offers some valuable preparation for some of us, maybe most of us? Paul talks about "slight momentary affliction" preparing us for "eternal weight of glory". "Slight momentary affliction" seems to me to be biggest understatement of all time! But I guess it says something about perspective.
  • W Hyatt wrote: »
    Yes, 'the mortal' seems to sum it up nicely.

    As far as I'm concerned, having to die means that we live our life limited by the physical world for a time, with two parallel purposes - providing a ground or foundation for heaven and figuring out what kind of person we want to try to be. But after that, our death is a transition to a non-physical state in which we get to enjoy the full, unlimited, and unending fruits of our choices.

    I’m imagining God wanting to create life, then creating raw humans, warts and all, then smothering us with glowing magic to polish us off. I can see an order of events that is necessary to get to a satisfying end. Therefore what you say seems quite reasonable.
    cgichard wrote: »
    I'm not sure about that "non-physical" state. Are our resurrected bodies not to be transfigured? More than LC's "disinfected," but transformed in some way that we cannot imagine, although the post-Resurrection appearances of Christ may offer some hints.

    Physical or non, it’s all good to me, as long as I’m something, I’d settle for a ball of light. I’m intrigued by the post resurrection appearances you mention. By this do you mean Jesus appeared as human, therefore we will? Or did he display some other divine attributes that I may have missed?
  • Roman Catholic theology used to say that unbaptised babies went to Limbo, but I think they've dropped this idea recently. I'm much happier with @Lamb Chopped's take on things.


    I would hope they would’ve dropped this. Limbo for babies seems a lot like Hell for babies. All babies go to heaven. I’m glad we all seem to agree on that.

  • Welcome, daftweebugger. You hit the jackpot on post one, and gave LC the opportunity to win the internet (again) :smile:

    Thank you very much. I’m delighted at the level of response and courteous reception. And I think we all agree @Lamb Chopped left no stone unturned there. Get it?! Stone? Turned?

    ...I’ll get my coat
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    It’s a courteous place @Daftweebugger - but don’t go rushing to Hell just yet! 😜
  • AravisAravis Shipmate
    And we are on this earth a little space
    That we may learn to bear the beams of love
    (William Blake)
  • DaftweebuggerDaftweebugger Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    Barnabas62

    Thanking you Kindly, you seem like a fine bunch of folks indeed. I haven’t visited Hell yet however.

    So, Momentary affliction? MOMENTARY AFFLICTION?! Understatement of the....infinity? Without true knowledge of what comes next, this does almost seem like Paul is insulting our intelligence.

    Given the course of this conversation however, thinking generously and trusting that Jesus is a man of his word, maybe Pauls statement is completely within scale, or maybe it is in fact overstating the weight of suffering and death. I am more than willing to consider that.

    I can’t lie to myself however. And I would be if I said I am now completely at ease with this. Of course no one is. But I still feel like Job. Of course I have not suffered how Job did, but I also don’t get to see/hear God effectively saying “I created Rhino’s, you silly man” (I’m picturing God in Time Bandits, an impatient old Englishmen (perhaps an obscure reference)) Even in Job, God never really explained anything!

    God calling me a fool to my face would satisfy me completely (not that he would) It would be a completely fair judgment on his part. With fear of further digression I will say this. Without the slightest piece of evidence that he even exists, swallowing “suffering and death are mere inconveniences” whilst they have the universal share of evidence, is a rather big ask. A monumental ask. The ask of a lifetime. I do believe he exists, through blind faith. But my oh my, things need explaining.

    ‘Blessed are the faithful’ or some such, yes blessed indeed. ‘Blessed are the sceptical’ is better. ‘Blessed are those who want to know what the **** is going on’ is better still. Pardon my censored expletives, none directed at your good self or I AM’s good self for that matter. I’m sure he can’t take it though.

    I appear to have slipped into self indulgence. I will cease and desist.

    (Kindly edit, DWB! Hosts can do that. Barnabas62)
  • Boogie wrote: »
    It’s a courteous place @Daftweebugger - but don’t go rushing to Hell just yet! 😜

    Haha oh but it’s calling me!
  • Aravis wrote: »
    And we are on this earth a little space
    That we may learn to bear the beams of love
    (William Blake)


    All my rantings aside this is quaint and beautiful. I can still buy this school of thought. Then I can’t. Then I can. Etc.
  • (oh no, he's a bit like Martin :smile: )
  • (oh no, he's a bit like Martin :smile: )

    Hahaha! That’s because @Martin54 is my dad. If that’s who you meant. It was the Time Bandits reference wasn’t it.

  • DooneDoone Shipmate
    Thank you, @Daftweebugger I needed this thread this morning!
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    (oh no, he's a bit like Martin :smile: )

    Hahaha! That’s because @Martin54 is my dad.

    Really?

    That’s excellent - you can translate for us all! ;)

  • DaftweebuggerDaftweebugger Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    Doone wrote: »
    Thank you, @Daftweebugger I needed this thread this morning!

    The pleasure is mine!

    Really?

    That’s excellent - you can translate for us all! ;)

    I would have to understand him myself first. @Martin54 eh? Eh?

    Corrected quoting code. BroJames Purgatory Host.
  • I’ve evidently not mastered these quotes yet
  • I read the opening post and thought it sounded like Martin but not quite - that explains it.
    An interesting question to pose and some thought provoking answers. Welcome to the board, Daftweebugger.
  • I read the opening post and thought it sounded like Martin but not quite - that explains it.
    An interesting question to pose and some thought provoking answers. Welcome to the board, Daftweebugger.

    Thankyou @Heavenlyannie, I needed this. And I’m aware I’m probably parroting/butchering everything I’ve heard growing up haha.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    I’ve evidently not mastered these quotes yet
    You’ll get there. ‘Preview’ is your friend, as is the BB Code practice thread in Styx.

    And welcome aboard!
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I think the Biblical narrative suggests that our present state of affairs is so to speak Plan A. It's not the second-best to heaven; it's the preferred plan that has somehow gone wrong.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    AIUI, Limbo wasn't a bad place to be. It was within sight of Heaven, and the unbaptised infans were there along with the good pagan philosophers. Whether the philosophers found the company entirely satisfactory is debatable. I expect they accepted it philosophically.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    I think the Biblical narrative suggests that our present state of affairs is so to speak Plan A. It's not the second-best to heaven; it's the preferred plan that has somehow gone wrong.

    I take it from this you are saying there’s just no easy way of doing universes. If humans are involved, it’s gotta be the hard way?
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    AIUI, Limbo wasn't a bad place to be. It was within sight of Heaven, and the unbaptised infans were there along with the good pagan philosophers. Whether the philosophers found the company entirely satisfactory is debatable. I expect they accepted it philosophically.

    I may have been a little hasty to dismiss the limbo/purgatory option. I myself have entertained it and envisioned being there, thinking it wouldn’t be so bad, especially being so close to a guaranteed finish line. I can see it serving a logical purpose in some ways, but in other ways I can’t.

    Who among us can say they are worthy to skip purgatory? Surely every person who has ever lived would need to go their first. No one is clean. Therefore what’s the point of putting another purgatory for everyone, in front of our current living one?
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    You guys make me blush. Thanks.
    cgichard wrote: »
    I'm not sure about that "non-physical" state. Are our resurrected bodies not to be transfigured? More than LC's "disinfected," but transformed in some way that we cannot imagine, although the post-Resurrection appearances of Christ may offer some hints.

    Orthodox Christianity has always taught that the bodily, physical resurrection from the dead is our final state, though there are plenty of hints that our bodies will be ... updated? Souped up? New and improved? Your "transfigured" is a good word.

    But they are just hints, which is frustrating. Like the thing with Christ's body after the resurrection--how much of what he did was due to the fact that he was and is the first example of resurrected humanity? How much is due to him being God, which we are not and will never be? I suppose we'll find out!

    It does look like certain basic functions (e.g. eating) will be optional, and probably enhanced. Jesus ate after the resurrection, though Paul tells us, “'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food'—and God will destroy both one and the other" (1 Corinthians 6:13). So the whole arrangement where we're dependent on food to stay alive is apparently going bye-bye, but something closely related (but better) may replace it--and yet, we're not told. We get hints, no more. Grrrrr.

    Have you ever noticed how conservative God is? (not in that sense, sheesh) I mean, he seems to positively dislike throwing stuff out. Humanity goes wrong, and instead of hitting "delete" and starting over, he goes to all the trouble of creating a nation, choosing a family line, sending a Savior, suffering, dying, and rising again, planting a church..." That's a lot of trouble, just to avoid starting over.

    He does it again in the flood, when he chooses to preserve eight people from the "old world" to seed the new one with humanity. Why bother? But he does.

    Given that divine quirk, I think it very very unlikely that he would ever discard matter. He seems to enjoy it. He rings all sorts of changes on it and freaks our scientists out every time they discover a new twist. So yeah, I expect we will be physical in the kingdom of God. Though maybe not precisely the same way we are here.
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    AIUI, Limbo wasn't a bad place to be. It was within sight of Heaven, and the unbaptised infans were there along with the good pagan philosophers. Whether the philosophers found the company entirely satisfactory is debatable. I expect they accepted it philosophically.

    I may have been a little hasty to dismiss the limbo/purgatory option. I myself have entertained it and envisioned being there, thinking it wouldn’t be so bad, especially being so close to a guaranteed finish line. I can see it serving a logical purpose in some ways, but in other ways I can’t.

    Who among us can say they are worthy to skip purgatory? Surely every person who has ever lived would need to go their first. No one is clean. Therefore what’s the point of putting another purgatory for everyone, in front of our current living one?

    And now for something completely different...

    I respect the point of view that believes in purgatory because of a deeply insightful humility about human nature. It is right to wish to be clean before entering the presence of the King.

    And yet....

    What you think of purgatory depends IMHO on your view of sin. If you tend to think of sin as something that is surface level--something that can be polished, or at worst chiseled away--

    why then, purgatory makes perfect sense. And that is parallel to our experience of physical washing in this world, so no wonder it appeals.

    But if you think of sin as something that goes deeper than that--as a stain that has gone all the way through the material--or to change the metaphor, as an infection that has attacked the entire body and is found in all parts--why then, washing and polishing isn't going to help. No amount of time purging oneself (or being purged, either way) is going to cut it. The stain goes too deep, the infection is systemic, the window is not just scratched, it is shattered. In that case, what you need is not repair, it is a new creation.

    And that is precisely what we are promised in places like 2 Corinthians 5:17:
    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

    Don't try to patch that glass, it won't work. Melt it down and re-form it. Don't cut bits off the infected body. Take it through death (shudder) and then resurrect it (this is, by the way, the standard Christian symbolism for baptism).

    Now it's obvious that this is not something we can do for ourselves. Someone else must melt us down, someone else (God, duh) must put to death and resurrect us. And that being the case, there is no need for a lengthy stay in purgatory. God can do it in a heartbeat. God does do it in a heartbeat, if the verses about baptism and the new birth are correct.

    And so I do think we walk clean and new into the presence of the King. But I don't think there's a stopover between here and there. I think the transformation happens at our baptism (or first coming to faith, if those are separate events for you) and becomes fully evident at death.
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    In the traditional Christian system, every stillborn child/abortion is going to/already in heaven, right?

    If this is the case why can’t we all just be born in heaven? What is the point of being born here if the majority of human beings are not born here? (as the number of dead infants will outnumber adults by multitudes).

    Why on earth are we on earth now? If life on earth now is an integral lesson, or test, or some other compulsory knowledgable experience that humans must endure, what about the dead babies? They don’t have to endure it. The majority of humans, therefore, don’t have to endure it. They are born in heaven, why aren’t all of us?

    To realise I may be jealous of a dead baby is rather sobering thought, I must admit, but the question remains.

    Because...
    Wine; the smell of grass after summer rain; the sound of running water; the dry brush of sand running through your fingers and the melting sharpness of snow; sun on your lover's hair; the scent of the rose; the view from the mountain-top after a long climb; the ocean swell; the flight of birds; the companionship of old friends.

    Without experience of those what would you have to fill your heaven?
  • Eirenist wrote: »
    AIUI, Limbo wasn't a bad place to be. It was within sight of Heaven, and the unbaptised infans were there along with the good pagan philosophers. Whether the philosophers found the company entirely satisfactory is debatable. I expect they accepted it philosophically.

    I may have been a little hasty to dismiss the limbo/purgatory option. I myself have entertained it and envisioned being there, thinking it wouldn’t be so bad, especially being so close to a guaranteed finish line. I can see it serving a logical purpose in some ways, but in other ways I can’t.

    Who among us can say they are worthy to skip purgatory? Surely every person who has ever lived would need to go their first. No one is clean. Therefore what’s the point of putting another purgatory for everyone, in front of our current living one?

    And now for something completely different...

    I respect the point of view that believes in purgatory because of a deeply insightful humility about human nature. It is right to wish to be clean before entering the presence of the King.

    And yet....

    What you think of purgatory depends IMHO on your view of sin. If you tend to think of sin as something that is surface level--something that can be polished, or at worst chiseled away--

    why then, purgatory makes perfect sense. And that is parallel to our experience of physical washing in this world, so no wonder it appeals.

    But if you think of sin as something that goes deeper than that--as a stain that has gone all the way through the material--or to change the metaphor, as an infection that has attacked the entire body and is found in all parts--why then, washing and polishing isn't going to help. No amount of time purging oneself (or being purged, either way) is going to cut it. The stain goes too deep, the infection is systemic, the window is not just scratched, it is shattered. In that case, what you need is not repair, it is a new creation.

    And that is precisely what we are promised in places like 2 Corinthians 5:17:
    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."

    Don't try to patch that glass, it won't work. Melt it down and re-form it. Don't cut bits off the infected body. Take it through death (shudder) and then resurrect it (this is, by the way, the standard Christian symbolism for baptism).

    Now it's obvious that this is not something we can do for ourselves. Someone else must melt us down, someone else (God, duh) must put to death and resurrect us. And that being the case, there is no need for a lengthy stay in purgatory. God can do it in a heartbeat. God does do it in a heartbeat, if the verses about baptism and the new birth are correct.

    And so I do think we walk clean and new into the presence of the King. But I don't think there's a stopover between here and there. I think the transformation happens at our baptism (or first coming to faith, if those are separate events for you) and becomes fully evident at death.

    I have to say that I see Purgatory as more transformational than a wash and polish. I view it as the painful working out of those parts of us that we have not allowed to be transformed in this life. I will freely admit that a lot of my thinking about this is cribbed from C S Lewis' The Great Divorce, which I have returned to savour many times. I think the process of our transformation requires not only our consent but our conscious participation, otherwise our transformed self will be disconnected from our present self. If I cannot trace back the route of the transformation of my impatience (say) into something glorious then how am I to consider it part of me, as surely it will be unrecognisable on the face of it?

  • Because...
    Wine; the smell of grass after summer rain; the sound of running water; the dry brush of sand running through your fingers and the melting sharpness of snow; sun on your lover's hair; the scent of the rose; the view from the mountain-top after a long climb; the ocean swell; the flight of birds; the companionship of old friends.

    Without experience of those what would you have to fill your heaven?

    Fair comment, but for arguments sake, you could discover all these things in heaven, will we not discover many other things there?
  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended

    Because...
    Wine; the smell of grass after summer rain; the sound of running water; the dry brush of sand running through your fingers and the melting sharpness of snow; sun on your lover's hair; the scent of the rose; the view from the mountain-top after a long climb; the ocean swell; the flight of birds; the companionship of old friends.

    Without experience of those what would you have to fill your heaven?

    Fair comment, but for arguments sake, you could discover all these things in heaven, will we not discover many other things there?

    Your portrayal of heaven reminded me of an enormous creche, which is close to my idea of hell. But; and speaking as an atheist I am playing devil's advocate; unless we experience the positive and wonderful things on earth along with all the unpleasant and ugliness, how will we know that those things are heavenly? We need the yin to go with the yang.
  • DaftweebuggerDaftweebugger Shipmate
    edited May 2020
    But if you think of sin as something that goes deeper than that--as a stain that has gone all the way through the material--or to change the metaphor, as an infection that has attacked the entire body and is found in all parts--why then, washing and polishing isn't going to help. No amount of time purging oneself (or being purged, either way) is going to cut it. The stain goes too deep, the infection is systemic, the window is not just scratched, it is shattered. In that case, what you need is not repair, it is a new creation.

    I’m sinful to the marrow. I’m completely aware of what is wrong, I’m completely repentant, but I’m quite certain no changing of my opinion will shift the wrong within me. I simply can’t help myself (or can I?). A divine route canal is in order. A complete refurbishment and nothing less. Maybe purgatory can offer this, who knows.

    Either way, does debating the legitimacy of purgatory confirm or deny why we were born here and not in heaven? Yes/no/maybe.

    I don’t know enough bible verses to make relevant quotes. I’m not even sure I have a coherent story in my head of what I believe. All I know is what my gut tells me. My gut tells me that God loves me and that to live is to suffer. Reconciling these two things will be a life’s work.
    Fixed quoting code. BroJames Purgatory Host
Sign In or Register to comment.