What is the unforgiveable sin?

RublevRublev Shipmate
edited March 23 in Purgatory
John writes: 'There is a sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death' (1 John 5: 16-17).

And Jesus says: 'Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come' (Matthew 12: 32).

Is there such a thing as an unforgiveable sin?

If so, what is it?
«1

Comments

  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    If you reject/blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you reject the means of contact with God. You cut yourself off from him.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    That's a very helpful exegesis of the text. I am wondering if that is what is going on in the story of Simon Magus when Peter warns him to seek forgiveness - 'if possible' (Acts 8: 9-24).
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    So denying the claims of "charismatics" is unforgivable.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    It's an interesting story. Simon Magus provoked the apostles by asking to buy the gift of God. Peter reacts against this as a serious blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Which according to Matthew 12: 32 is the unforgiveable sin. However, Simon does not die and he wisely asks the apostles to pray for him. Usually it is considered that the only unforgiveable sin is the unconfessed sin.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Then we're all damned.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    We would be without Christ who is our mediator. So take heart.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    So denying the claims of "charismatics" is unforgivable.

    I would not put denying the claims of those who claim to be speaking from God in the same league as claiming yourself that your opinion is from God. Discernment is needed.

    Not just in a charismatic sense, but certain forms of proof texting in order to back up yourself. In other words I am unimpressed with any form of God agrees with me.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Rublev wrote: »
    Usually it is considered that the only unforgiveable sin is the unconfessed sin.
    AIUI you can't repent and confess without the guidance of the Holy
    Spirit. If you blaspheme/reject the Holy Spirit, you can't repent and confess.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    So if you can't repent and confess you must have blasphemed/rejected the HS?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    We would be without Christ who is our mediator. So take heart.

    What does that feel like?
  • I agree with Moo. The unforgivable sin, whatever exactly it is, consists in cutting oneself off from the Holy Spirit's influence in a permanent (which most likely means never regretted, repented) way. God will save anyone who wishes to be saved. But what can he do for those who adamantly do NOT wish to be saved, and refuse the Spirit's help to change their hearts?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    @Martin54

    I have never been asked that before. I would say that it gives a sense of completion. And it gives a sense of peace. My training minister put it this way, 'I have been in some very dark places in my life. But I have never lost hope.' That's the difference it makes.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited March 24
    So if you feel hopeless, that's unforgivable? Who would not want to be saved? When?

    Why do we insist on crushing our thinking, our believing in to a culturally fossilized box sealed 1700 years ago?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    You will be saved when you finally give in and ask to be saved. God is a very patient God.

    No one would want to read a long out of date book. It's an ongoing revelation. Have you located yourself in the story yet?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    I'm here. Trying to reconcile the rational with God with our fossil narrative of Him.

    How long have I got to be saved?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    The great C19th Baptist preacher Spurgeon once wondered what he had to do to be saved. He wandered into a Primitive Methodist chapel where an illiterate cobbler was preaching. He could barely manage to read the words, 'Look to me and be saved all ye ends of the earth.' But he knew what it meant.

    He said, 'In case any of you are wondering what you have to do to be saved, you don't have to DO anything. You only have to LOOK. Christ is the one who does everthing for you. Just accept it for yourself. And accept Him for yourself.'

    Peace be with you.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I agree with Moo. The unforgivable sin, whatever exactly it is, consists in cutting oneself off from the Holy Spirit's influence in a permanent (which most likely means never regretted, repented) way. God will save anyone who wishes to be saved. But what can he do for those who adamantly do NOT wish to be saved, and refuse the Spirit's help to change their hearts?

    So psychopaths and sociopaths? Those who will not ever care or feel any guilt/remorse?

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Who cannot through no fault of their own.
  • Guilt and remorse are not the only paradigm for salvation. There is also awareness (even intellectual awareness!) of the brokenness of the world, and/or of oneself, and the desire to be whole. There is also shame/honor, though I don't know if that is felt by psycho/sociopaths. There is the whole Christus Victor complex of ideas. There is simple "God, help me" to which God responds even more abundantly than the asker wanted, in the midst of a crisis. There is the thirst for meaning, for real life--the request for "living water" in whatever form that request comes and is answered.

    Just because so much of the Western world confines itself to a paradigm of guilt and remorse does not mean God, or the Bible, do the same.
  • MamacitaMamacita Shipmate
    This thread is not a discussion of the Bible, so I am asking Admins to move it to Purg. Carry on, but don't be surprised if you have to look elsewhere for it.

    Mamacita, Keryg Host
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited March 24
    @Rublev. And also with you. No un-deconstructed story of salvation works for me at all any more. All the language is ancient metaphor. Assuming the incarnation to be real, it's meaning is all but swamped by Jesus' humanity. All of that has to be stripped away. What's left?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    And aye Lamb Chopped, the narrow Western take carried down twisted narrow Protestant byways is a dead end.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited March 24
    I will pass you over to C S Lewis who is always good value for money:

    'I'm trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was really a man and said the sorts of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fiend, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.'

    (Mere Christianity).
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Clive was blind to myth.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    And yet he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    The irony!
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited March 24
    Sometimes it is nice to walk along the road to Emmeus and talk. I think we are meant to be discussing the weighty matter of the Unforgiveable Sin. What puzzles me is that Jesus said that whoever speaks against the Son of Man would be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. What is the difference?
  • Bob Dylan believed that even Jesus would never forgive what the Masters of War did.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    edited March 24
    Rublev wrote: »
    Sometimes it is nice to walk along the road to Emmeus and talk. I think we are meant to be discussing the weighty matter of the Unforgiveable Sin. What puzzles me is that Jesus said that whoever speaks against the Son of Man would be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. What is the difference?
    They are different persons of the Trinity? Why that makes a difference in the hierarchy of sins I'm not sure, since the Son and the Spirit are both members of the Godhead.

  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    Sometimes it is nice to walk along the road to Emmeus and talk. I think we are meant to be discussing the weighty matter of the Unforgiveable Sin. What puzzles me is that Jesus said that whoever speaks against the Son of Man would be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus. What is the difference?

    Good question!

    I'm inclined to think that the Holy Spirit here stands for God in our conscience, in our sub-conscious and in that secret part of us that we can't even understand. A real, living part of God's in-dwelling and power, but in our lives, in our experience; as it was in Christ's. Eg, by all means sin against Jesus the man and be forgiven; but witness the work of God's Spirit in Christ, call it demonic, and that's another story. Hence, Jesus could forgive the people who put him (the Son of God, no less) on the cross; but warned the Pharisees who called his miracles the work of Beelzebub, that they were potentially blaspheming the Holy Spirit. You would think it would be the other way round!

    I don't believe that the hopeless person has committed the unforgivable sin. I believe Christ died for precisely that level of despair (including other sins). He died to bring life to where there was death, and nothing is more dead than the person who is in despair and 'knows' God isn't real, or God has forsaken them, or life isn't worth living etc.

    Someone who has deliberately committed evil for pleasure may be forgiven, presumably, if they genuinely repent. How is it possible for a human being to put themselves beyond the salvation of an all-powerful God simply by thinking they are not saveable? It makes a nonsense of God's power and love.

    Despair isn't even one of the seven deadly sins. But pride is. I think Christ taught that the pride that drives some people to knowingly ascribe goodness (God's attribute) to Evil is not forgivable, because it remains the impediment between the self-knowledge of one's fault and God's desire to remove it.

    How God ultimately judges those who follow this way of thought and action is less easy to ascertain.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited March 25
    IMHO the difference is that the Holy Spirit's function with regards to us is different from that of Christ or the Father. He is God at his most immediate to us; without him we have neither the Father nor the Son, because it is by him (and the faith he creates, the grace he imparts, the life he gives) that we are united to God as God's people.

    To use an analogy: If we are fools enough to shut our eyes to the sun, we miss out on the sun's benefits, but there is still the possibility of reopening our eyes and returning to enjoy its light. But if we rip out our eyes, we will have neither them nor the sun nor the light. We lose everything. In this analog, of course, the H.S. is our eyes.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Bob Dylan believed that even Jesus would never forgive what the Masters of War did.

    I see your Dylan and I acknowledge it. He'd a poet of course, not an exegete, and that's one of his songs where he expresses his hate.

    I always thought that the unforgivable sin was unbelief, and I suppose that's coming out in the discussion. I guess I was taught the conclusion. The sin of unbelief may not be forgiven, but it can be remedied in the way Lamb Chopped suggests.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Thank you, Lamb Chopped.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Claiming that our thoughts are God's thoughts cuts us off from God, claiming that we know better than God. If we continuously walk away from God after all his attempts to warn us and bring us back he will walk away from us is the way it was put in Leviticus.

    God does not separate himself from us, we separate ourselves from him, and walk away imagining there's no heaven and when the end is here and we face the final curtain go out boasting "I did it my way."

    God is more than a concept by which we measure our fears, we separate ourselves from him at our peril, literally.
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Bob Dylan believed that even Jesus would never forgive what the Masters of War did.

    I see your Dylan and I acknowledge it. He'd a poet of course, not an exegete, and that's one of his songs where he expresses his hate.

    I always thought that the unforgivable sin was unbelief, and I suppose that's coming out in the discussion. I guess I was taught the conclusion. The sin of unbelief may not be forgiven, but it can be remedied in the way Lamb Chopped suggests.
    Since this topic has appeared in Purgatory, I will respond to this. firstly, what is the difference between 'sin' and a behaviour very much towards the worst part of the scale of behaviour? Second, why is unbelief, i.e. mine, so very wrong? do you (and others on this topic) think I am suffering in some way because of lack of belief?
    balaam wrote: »
    Claiming that our thoughts are God's thoughts cuts us off from God, claiming that we know better than God. If we continuously walk away from God after all his attempts to warn us and bring us back he will walk away from us is the way it was put in Leviticus.

    God does not separate himself from us, we separate ourselves from him, and walk away imagining there's no heaven and when the end is here and we face the final curtain go out boasting "I did it my way."

    God is more than a concept by which we measure our fears, we separate ourselves from him at our peril, literally.
    How, 'literally'? I have zero feelings of impending peril. I hope the time I have left runs into years, but an end there will be, and neither I nor my family have any belief in any peril.

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    @Anselmina @Lamb Chopped @balaam

    So the unforgiveable sin is to show contempt for the grace of the Holy Spirit? This destroys the capacity of the soul to respond to God? Hell is probably the spiritual state of separation from God. But will not everything be finally redeemed and made new in God? Or is Jesus warning us that the unforgiveable sin is so destructive of our relationship with God that it puts someone completely and eternally beyond the point of restoration?

    A horrid thought.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Who's us?
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    The readers of Matthew 12: 32.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    He wasn't speaking to them. And it wasn't addressed to us. And what oratorical devices ae being used?

    We haven't the faintest idea how what He meant, whatever that typically hyperbolically was, can be interpreted for us.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    @Anselmina @Lamb Chopped @balaam

    So the unforgiveable sin is to show contempt for the grace of the Holy Spirit? This destroys the capacity of the soul to respond to God? Hell is probably the spiritual state of separation from God. But will not everything be finally redeemed and made new in God? Or is Jesus warning us that the unforgiveable sin is so destructive of our relationship with God that it puts someone completely and eternally beyond the point of restoration?

    A horrid thought.

    There must be choice even to the end of the end, or there is no freedom. If they choose separation then it has to be allowed imo

    But it doesn’t mean no redemption if they change their minds, does it?

  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Let's hope not. Some universalists think that ultimately even the fallen archangel Lucifer will be restored.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Choice is meaningless. If there is a sublime, impossible to imagine in any way beyond metaphors, it's sublime.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    How do you think we reach the sublime?
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Boogie wrote: »
    Rublev wrote: »
    @Anselmina @Lamb Chopped @balaam

    So the unforgiveable sin is to show contempt for the grace of the Holy Spirit? This destroys the capacity of the soul to respond to God? Hell is probably the spiritual state of separation from God. But will not everything be finally redeemed and made new in God? Or is Jesus warning us that the unforgiveable sin is so destructive of our relationship with God that it puts someone completely and eternally beyond the point of restoration?

    A horrid thought.

    There must be choice even to the end of the end, or there is no freedom. If they choose separation then it has to be allowed imo

    But it doesn’t mean no redemption if they change their minds, does it?

    That is the point of the Simon Magus story, Peter offers Simon a chance to repent, so I'm with @Boogie up to a point, but repent is not synonymous with change of mind: Repent is about a full change of lifestyle which goes much deeper. It includes a change of mind but also involves a change of actions. It can be seen in what we do.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited March 25
    Rublev wrote: »
    Let's hope not. Some universalists think that ultimately even the fallen archangel Lucifer will be restored.

    If there were such a being would it be beyond redemption?

    I don’t for one minute believe in actual demons/devils/angels.

    But, if there were such beings, why wouldn’t they be redeemable - if they had a complete change of heart, mind, soul and deeds? (I agree with @balaam on that)
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    Rublev wrote: »
    @Anselmina @Lamb Chopped @balaam

    So the unforgiveable sin is to show contempt for the grace of the Holy Spirit? This destroys the capacity of the soul to respond to God? Hell is probably the spiritual state of separation from God. But will not everything be finally redeemed and made new in God? Or is Jesus warning us that the unforgiveable sin is so destructive of our relationship with God that it puts someone completely and eternally beyond the point of restoration?

    A horrid thought.

    I don't know if the unforgiveable sin is to show contempt for the grace of the Holy Spirit etc. And I don't know if the unforgiveable sin actually bars the sinner from redemption. There is an argument, certainly, for that interpretation. But Christ's reference and application of that phrase is, in my view, not so specific that we can easily say with black and white definition exactly what was meant.

    I personally don't believe that anyone is put beyond God's power of restoration. As I suggested in my post, that would in fact be a God-denying factor! He couldn't be God if he was unable to restore and redeem. But as others have pointed out a certain element of free choice is given for a person to receive the gift God offers. So the unforgiveableness must lie within our attitude, perhaps, our inability to receive, to see clearly - deliberate, not deliberate? I'm not convinced we know enough to be sure what was meant.

    Christ was giving a strong warning to people who should have known better - the religious guys who were zeroing in on him to wreck his ministry, despite the good he was doing. It seems natural he would have heavy words for people who were prepared to ambush healing and love for the sake of their own narrow-minded view of 'proper' religion.

    My grey area is that liminal space of death and dying and confrontation with the God to whom we are all accountable. We don't know what happens in those moments of revelation and knowledge.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    @Boogie

    Origen wrote that all creatures including satan would eventually be reconciled to God. But this view was condemned by the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 553. The choice of the fallen angels against God is considered definitive because they are purely spiritual beings and once they decide whether to serve or rebel they never change their minds.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    I quoted Leviticus up thread — if we continue to walk away from God he will walk away from us. That is final as it is written, but in context it is a warning to a new nation that if they reject God their protector he will no longer protect them and the nation will be exiled, losing their land.

    But it is not as final as it seemed, the nation would be restored. God's love being constant even in his punishment.

    Upthread the discussion was taking a poetic turn around a quote from Bob Dylan, I answered in a poetic way, with a quote from Paul Anka sandwiched between two by John Lennon. I hope this more prosaic answer clarifies my meaning.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    By dying. What happens on that, if anything (everything!) is utterly unknowable. Rationality cannot help. We cannot extrapolate to a super-reality from this rational reality that requires no meaning, apart from the way the first iron bridges were built. Analogously. As analogues. They looked like skeletal stone ones as we had no idea how the new materials could influence form.

    So the new earth of Revelation is assumably a sphere. With a fifteen hundred mile high pyramid... And doesn't happen for a thousand years after Jesus' landing...

    The form of the concurrent sublime is different.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Rationality does not help. That's where hope comes in.
Sign In or Register to comment.