Monday, November 1, 2010

How Do We Understand Justice?

This week, in continuing the discussion on Hell, I want to write about topics that affect the way we think about hell.

One of the big “road blocks” that appear when rethinking hell is Justice. One of the first oppositions people have is that evil people deserve to be punished and God is a Just God so God HAS to punish the evil people. Christians actually get mad if one even suggest that God could forgive all people.

So how do we understand Justice? Do we see it as retributive (one must be punished) or do the scriptures portray Justice as restorative?

Tomorrow I hope to expand the conversation on Justice, but until then… How do you understand Justice?

5 comments:

Matt said...

*An excerpt from a paper written on eschatology*
Although today’s culture denies any form of judgment, biblical judgment is real. God has granted the son, Christ Jesus, the authority to judge the living and the dead (John 5:27). The Bible speaks of a single final judgment for believers and unbelievers. For believers this will be a time of the faithfulness of Christ and resultant of good works (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). For unbelievers this will be a time based on the rejection of Christ, resulting in eternity in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).

Part of eschatology is the resurrection of the dead that will take place at the return of Jesus. The believers will be resurrected to life, but the unbelievers will be resurrected unto condemnation (John 5:19-30; 1 Cor. 15:35-58; Rev. 20:11-15). The unbelievers will be sent to an eternal place of conscious torment, hell (Luke 16; Rev. 19:3; Rev. 20:10).

The scriptures refer to the creation of the new heavens and a new earth, as the first heaven and the first earth will pass away (Rev. 21:1). Heaven is the place where God dwells, but also where Christians will dwell with their resurrected and glorified bodies (Rom. 8:19-22). Heaven will be a place of beauty and joy, where Christians will enjoy the presence of God and experience everything, as God desired it.

Jkub said...

Not denying judgment. Just rethinking it. But instead of thinking of it as retributive... rethinking of it as restoritive. when we (everyone) enter into judgment and the all consuming FIRE of God, everything will be brought to light and all wickedness will be dealt with and condemned forever.
Most have a hard time with restoritive justice because they think people (not themselves of course) are getting off easy and sin isnt being dealt with. I argue the opposite. What is worse than standing within the flames of a Holy, compassionate, merciful God (God is refered to and related to fire throughout the scriptures, and its always symbolic of purification or burning up completely) while all your sin and rebellions are revealed. paul speaks of judgment in this way. (1Cor 3)there is no reason to believe that death in this lifetime is the deadline for repentance. When all sin is revealed and forgivness and mercy, rather than wrath and condemnation, are still offered in the midst of it... this brings repentance. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that jesus Christ is Lord.

paultilly said...

"Matthew 7:21-23 .... And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

This is the one verse that I cant get past...I will not say that Hell is what we were taught it was in a literal sense, but this verse seems to say there will be a point of condemnation. "I never knew you" is a strong statement. He cant restore, what in a spiritual sense He "never knew" There will be those who will be forever separated from God.

Jkub said...

Paul,

Just now saw you comment. wasnt notified through email like I am usually am.

A few things... Once again Jesus appears to be using very extreme, and very metaphoric language. he uses word pictures dealing with gates, planks in peoples eyes, pearls and pigs, and trees and fruit. All metaphoric/figurative language.
Also as usual Jesus is talking about how we live and not our belief system. The people who he is saying "he never knew" (in my opinion strong figurative language to get a point across) are those who were not bearing fruit or another way of putting it.. works.

Also, you said, "God CANT restore those he never knew" i have a problem saying God CANT do anything, especially when it comes to restoration, redemption, grace, love. Nothing can seperate us from the love of God.

Jkub said...

also, i realize there are a lot of typos in that first part. haha

I would think the "Nothing" quoted above would also include ourselves.