Flamin' Hot

It's going to be 41 degrees Celcius in Melbourne today... which roughly translates in Fahrenheit as utterly unbearable.
 
I'm getting my car serviced today. After dropping off my car I will take a short walk in the sun to the nearby shopping centre / movies to enjoy an oasis of airconditioned comfort... a walk in which my children and I will probably achieve a well-developed state of dehydration. 
 
There are many metaphors of God's judgment in scripture... outer darkness, being shut out of the banquet, being left behind, imprisonment, a garbage heap (Gehenna)... but the metaphor that sticks most in the mind (perhaps thanks in part to all those Looney Toons cartoons) is that of fire.
 
At the risk of offending some readers, my opinion is that this is no more "literal" fire than the streets of heaven are paved in "literal" gold. Nonetheless, these images are to be taken seriously... God's justice will be accomplished, and those who have rejected Christ will suffer eternal regret.
 
The metaphor of heat and fire is a sobering one... for unrelieved heat is a terrible thing. As is smoke / burning sulfur. As are burns... even sunburn can hurt like mad.
 
Just as I do all I can to avoid excessive heat (airconditioned spaces, the pool or anywhere wet), I probably avoid even thinking about God's judgment. It's unpopular with preachers... probably for good pastoral reasons. No-one likes to terrorise people, or deal with those poor sensitive souls who have convinced themselves they've committed the unforgivable sin and are going to be tormented forever. Other people are universalists... they believe Christ died for all and all will be saved in the end (perhaps after a period of purification.) Perhaps our tendency in the Western world to avoid all unpleasantness and pain is behind our avoidance of reflection on God's judgment. Perhaps it's a reaction to "hellfire and brimstone" preaching that failed to emphasise grace and mercy and love.  
 
Perhaps you'd like to share with me your thoughts on judgment... or your thoughts on why God's judgment seems to be somethjng of a taboo subject. Or you might just want to let me know how you keep your cool when it's "flamin' hot". 

Comments

Janet Woodlock said…
Thanks to a quick google search and http://www.wbuf.noaa.gov/tempfc.htm, I can confirm that 41 degrees Celsius is not only utterly unbearable, but is precisely 105.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
Janet Woodlock said…
See... I thought no one would be interested in commenting on judgment. Yucky topic.

So, what's the weather like where you live?
Anonymous said…
Actually Janet I don't think it is a yucky topic. It's very real. The idea of fire I personally believe is how you discussed your dehydration. Ultimately every knee shall bow and know the love of Christ. For those who denied Him it will be an eternal hunger or thirst(fire/passion)for that very love. Any seperation from Jesus is hell, just like Jesus experienced that seperation when He went to the depths of hell for our redemption. Our judge will not only judge with the most ultimate justice but also with the knowledge and experience of those who denied Him will suffer themselves.

The thought almost makes your heart bleed not only for those who are seperated from Him, but also for Jesus who in His very nature is Love. It's the perfect way to vindicate Christ but I can't imagine Him enjoying it.

At least these are my thoughts. I've heard some say it is the things/idols they desired in this life that they will hunger for throughout eternity. Either way anything we hunger/thirst for is an abscence of love.

I experienced a small measure of that seperation and it was a terribly painful experience. Something I couldn't wish on my worst enemy.

Penney Winiarski
Janet Woodlock said…
We share similar thoughts Penney... to see Jesus in His love and power and glory... and then to be shut out of the kingdom... would be hell indeed. I don't have the understanding that God is busy cooking up a torture chamber... more the understanding that to be shut out of the kingdom inevitably brings "weeping and gnashing of teeth".

I read a book once called "Return from Tomorrow" about a young man who had a very compelling near death experience... and it was a failure to see Jesus that seemed to be the common denominator of souls with a "hellish" experience.

This is all a bit controversial... I expect people have a variety of views about the afterlife and whether NDE's have any validity as a glimpse into life beyond life. Anyway... I spoke to someone who once had a powerful NDE... who emerged with a strong sense that no one will question that justice was done.

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