Saturday, July 29, 2006

A real picture of hell

Following are some excerpts from Perriman’s, The Coming of the Son of Man (I made mention of the book before, here), on the subject of hell and its nature, purpose and such like. He reaches some rather different conclusions from many (including our friends from last nights blog), and they are provocative enough to not only generate serious consideration, but also thoughtful critique. But criticism is for another time. First, to the citations.

“There is no question that there is a lot of “hellish” language in the Gospels (87) … It is far more likely that his audience would have heard the echoes from the Old Testament and reapplied the ancient stories to their own circumstances than that they would have found in these statements the nucleus of a systematic and universalised eschatology. When he warned them that they will perish (apoleisthe) if they do not repent, he means that they will be killed (88)

It seems quite likely …that what Jesus for taking place in this “outer darkness” [cf. Matt 8:11-12] was the wailing of Jews under the judgement of God, while the gnashing of teeth refers to their hostility towards the righteous. In any case, we appear still to be in the real world of national crisis, not in some final metaphysical state of hell (90-91)

By the first century, the Valley of Hinnom (in Greek geenna, Gehenna),… had become the city’s refuse dump in you, where slow fires smouldered day and night (92)

The judgement of Gehenna that God will bring upon the nation will mean death without any prospect of vindication (93)

Hades in which the rich man is tormented is not the conventional Hades of the Old Testament, which, as we have seen, is not a place of punishment. Nor is it the traditional “hell” of popular Christian belief. Rather it is an image of the destruction that would come upon the “wealthy” in Israel, who despite the riches and glories of the religious heritage failed to understand that, in the words of the beatitude, the kingdom of God would be given to the poor’ (96-97)”

By the way, do you want to see a real photograph of hell, without the Russian drillers and Fundie Visions?

Well, here is a recent picture of the Hinnom Valley:


At 7/29/2006 10:12 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

Luke 13
Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

'When he warned them that they will perish (apoleisthe) if they do not repent, he means that they will be killed'

Does this mean that God killed the people who perished when the Tower of Siloam collapsed on them?

Or has Perriman ripped the Biblical text out of context?

At 7/30/2006 8:21 PM, Anonymous john mcbryde said...

Hello Chris,

Having walked through the Hinnom Valley a few times. I often jokingly tell people, that I have been to Hell and back. And lived to tell the story. If I remember correctly, that picture is of the upper valley, which is a lot more pleasant to look at. The lower valley is still strewn with garbage.

Since those walks, I have often envisioned Hell as the ash heap and garbage dump of humanity. Filled with all the tyrannical dregs our history has produced. Where the smoldering fire of hatred is never quenched and the punishment you'll endure, is the company you'll keep.

Then again; what do I know?


At 7/30/2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Steven,
Not sure I understand your point here. No, I'm sure Perrimann doesn't think Jesus thinks God will kill them directly - more like a cause and effect (with Rome), with death (as in Siloam), not torment, as the result. I'm not sure, though, what you are getting at, so perhaps you want to have a look yourself at the book - Perriman discusses Luke 13 in this context on pg. 88.

All the best.

Hi John!
Next time you visit hell, be sure to take a few pictures!

At 7/31/2006 2:52 PM, Anonymous john mcbryde said...

<< Hi John!
Next time you visit hell, be sure to take a few pictures! >>

I don't think I'll be going back there soon. My eyebrows still haven't grown back yet.



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