Jump to content

The Unpardonable Sin


Neon Genesis
 Share

Recommended Posts

My parents don't know I'm an atheist so I still have to go to church with them and they're both fundamentalist Christians. This morning in Sunday school, we were studying the Holy Spirit and we were studying the verses in Matthew 12:30-32 where Jesus talks about how blaspheming the Holy Spirit is the unpardonable sin. The fundamentalists in Sunday school claimed that the unpardonable sin was slandering. If we ever said anything negative about the Holy Spirit, then Jesus would never forgive us even if we repented and God would still send us to hell. But is this really what the unpardonable sin means? Isn't hell Gehanna in the NT anyway? What is the meaning of the unpardonable sin or is this one of those ambiguous verses where we'll never know what Jesus meant by it?

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's my opinion that Jesus was to some extent an eschatological prophet or that the NT presents him that way. So, yes, I think his warnings about hell mostly referred to Gehenna, the destruction of Jerusalem that happened in AD 60. If this view is correct, then it stands to reason that Jesus would essentially say, "Look, the Spirit is speaking through me to warn you of impending doom. If you don't take this warning to heart, then don't expect to be forgiven for your unbelief and, therefore, for your lack of preparedness when destruction overtakes you."

 

There are way too many "this generation"-type warnings in the NT for people to assume that Jesus did not have a warning message to his audience. He did seem to have a rather urgent mission, as if the world really was about to end. And because his early follows did see him as indwelt by the spirit of God, I think they did feel that he spoke for God (as most Jewish prophets claimed to do anyway). So the greater the authority that one has when one speaks, the more response-able people should be to that authority. And perhaps this is why Jesus used such strident language and word-pictures sometimes.

 

But to use the unpardonable sin, as many conservatives do, as a "You had better get saved now!" invitation or a "You had better not talk like that" warning is, IMO, quite a stretch. When I was in Bible college, our class debated the unpardonable sin for 3 months straight, with much diversity of opinion about it and no resolution to exactly what it was or how to avoid it for sure. I remembered thinking to myself, "Well, for such a serious offense against God, for a sin that would, supposedly, damn someone to hell once and for all, God sure has left this thing sort of nebulous and undefined hasn't he?" :D

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Neon Genesis,

 

For me, an interesting but difficult topic to answer with clarity.

Thanks for the opportunity for my 2 cents....

 

If one believes the Bible is the inerrant Word of God as written, and that the verses in question as written were translated accurately to our language by men, and are clearly understandable as written then it seems to me that there is an unpardonable sin that cannot be forgiven. (whew!) But having said that, i would be so bold to say and am inclined to a certainty that the "unpardonable sin" scenario is a myth and an invention of the human mind.

 

Biblically, on one hand we are told that we are forgiven as we forgive others. We are told to forgive and you shall be forgiven. It is written without exceptions. Then, in another area of writing we are told there is an exception and that blaspheming the holy ghost is unforgivable both here in this world and in the life after. This is a common fundamental doctrine of the Christian church. The question to me is, Is it true?

 

Personally it is settled in my mind that the Bible, ( though an inspired document of men) as we know it, is not the inerrant Word of God as written. Also that this passage in particular understood as written is not true. In other parts of it we can read that part of you that is born of God is eternal and cannot sin. To sin, one must commit a transgression. To commit a transgression one must put himself under a law and have an accuser. No law, no transgression. Are you still placing yourself under the law or are you free from the law? No accuser, sin is not imputed. Do you accuse yourself? if so, for what purpose? What of, "that which is born of God cannot sin"? Is there another creator besides God?

 

Some churches would say, okay i agree but that is for Christians, unbelievers can commit the unpardonable sin. Yet the same book says ...

For when the [/url]Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) Romans 2:14-15 (KJV)

 

The Gentiles which were then the non-believers created their own unwritten laws on their hearts by either accusing or excusing one another. The same principle of law but unwritten. No accuser, no transgression. This does not undermine the law of sowing and reaping but it does absolve sin and guilt. It has been shown to me that if one walks in total forgiveness of others, forgiving others unconditionally even before an offence takes place (that's the spirit of Love) then it is impossible for sin to be imputed. This perhaps because of the inherent law of spirit , as revealed to me, says as you measure it shall be measured you, as you judge , you shall be judged, as you forgive you shall be forgiven. Hence the golden rule as a guide in a number of major religions.

 

In my experience, this is for all as it really doesn't matter whether you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, etc. or even an atheist because God/Reality doesn't require belief because there is a deeper order of 'sowing and reaping' or 'karma' or whatever one wants to call it that is a divine order of the universe not affected by a lack of belief in it.

 

So all these words just to say, in my view, there is no unpardonable sin. laugh.gif

 

Love in Christ,

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the responses! What you both say makes a lot of sense to me. One of my Catholic friends believes the unpardonable sin is nearly impossible to commit. She thinks it's more than just disbelief or questioning God but you can only commit it by Presumption and Despair. I've also heard it said that the word eternal does not exist in the Greek language but I don't know Greek, so I can't verify that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've also heard it said that the word eternal does not exist in the Greek language but I don't know Greek, so I can't verify that.

 

I think that is correct, NG, the word "eternal" usually means "age-pertaining." So "eternal life" is really best translated "life of the ages". Of course, many Christians don't like this translation because they are brought up to think that "eternal" really means "life that never ends." But even in the best case of what we consider to be eternal, eternal would mean having no beginning either. And few Christians want to believe that they pre-existed before birth. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What follows seems to me like a mouse following two lions, at least in the depth and breadth of what they posted as compared to mine. So be it.

 

I have heard it said simply that if one is worried about commiting the unpardonable sin then one hasn't committed it. I have also heard that in essence the unpardonable sin is denying God what is God. I can accept that if "what is God" is dropped, but may or may not be able to if 'what is God" is kept, mainly because, if we see through a glass darkly, we are, by necessity, denying what is God as God, not intentionly, but by the limits of perception. Oh, but that is were a merciful and loving God comes into place. Perhaps accepting Jesus as the way provides the way out - uh, perhaps the way in? Whichever.

 

I follow what JosephM says but my concern, then, is that anything goes, but I don't see how anything goes. But then again, I am not raised Buddhist with Jesus/Logos speaking to my soul, offering me a way out/in, either.

 

At the risk of repeating myself, I do not see how a loving and all powerful God can create a world knowing that He is creating a world where some people will be fuel for the fires of Hell. So, what about the people that never had the chance of knowing the historical Jesus of Nazarene? Well, that above mentioned Roman verse, I think, shows the answer for that. The Law upon their heart (the spiritual Law, of the Tanakh, the OT, or perhaps just Spiritual Truth), to me, is indeed Jesus/God coming to them as a bridge.

 

Now, if one rejects that bridged to Heaven, in whatever form it is offerd, one has choosen to not cross it, and therefore not to get to Heaven. That is, if there isn't reincarnation, which Jesus says there isn't (It is appointed once for man [and women] to die, and then the judgement.)

 

Now the judgement. Several parables, certainly can't all be literally true. So, they are metaphorical reprsentative of a spiritual truth-claim. I can deal with that. So, how did I come up with my understanding of this spiritual truth? Don't know. What is my current understanding, nonetheless? Metaphorically speaking, when we die, we do come before God somehow. If we are orientated to finding him, if we are seeking him out on earth, then certainly we will go to Him. If not, then we will run the other way, like a bad guy when the cops are after him, or a child who stole cookie when Mommy or Daddy gets him, whether they know of the theft or not. Of course, there are those who are seeking but have confined God to a box, and will reject any God that does not meet there criteria.

 

So, in essence, I think we pass judgement upon ourselves when we ultimately accept or reject Jesus/God, and perhaps that is the unpardonable sin or part of it.

 

Also what comes to mind is Lucifer, when he allegedly rebelled and fought against God, ultimately being kicked out of Heaven. I don't think forgiveness is there for Lucifer. And if it is, then he aint' accepting it.

 

(As a qualifier, I do believe in evil forces, even perhaps a uberevil boss daddy, but do read the Lucifer/God war thing as a metaphorical myth, kinda like Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.)

 

Long post to say little, but perhaps it is of help, and I do welcome reflection and thoughts about what I said.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that is correct, NG, the word "eternal" usually means "age-pertaining." So "eternal life" is really best translated "life of the ages". Of course, many Christians don't like this translation because they are brought up to think that "eternal" really means "life that never ends." But even in the best case of what we consider to be eternal, eternal would mean having no beginning either. And few Christians want to believe that they pre-existed before birth. :)

 

Please clarify, if eternal life means life of the ages the what does life of the ages mean?

 

I have heard eternal life to less refer to a temporal time span and more to a state of being, as in union/communion with ultimate reality, in the Christain context - with God.

 

Thoughts, remarks, critiques?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please clarify, if eternal life means life of the ages the what does life of the ages mean?

 

I have heard eternal life to less refer to a temporal time span and more to a state of being, as in union/communion with ultimate reality, in the Christain context - with God.

 

Thoughts, remarks, critiques?

 

I think that's pretty much it, Jay Tee. The word "eternal" comes from "aionos" from which we get our word "eon". So if anything pertains to ages or eons, then it somehow still pertains to time, something that the English word "eternal" or "eternity" tries to circumvent (in other words, Christians say there is no time in eternity).

 

So my understanding is that "the life of the ages" is qualitative, not quantitative. It is about, as you've said, a state of being, not about a destination.

 

The caveat to all of this, my friend, is that no one really knows for sure exactly what these ancient words mean. Scholars do their best to derive their meanings from contexts and similar documents. But it is highly unlikely that "aionos" means "everlasting" or "perpetual." In fact, if I am correct, Paul says in Timothy that God alone is immortal, another notion that most Christians somehow ignore, given the teaching that the soul is immortal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(snip)

 

I follow what JosephM says but my concern, then, is that anything goes, but I don't see how anything goes. But then again, I am not raised Buddhist with Jesus/Logos speaking to my soul, offering me a way out/in, either.

 

(snip)

 

 

Good post Jay Tee and definitely one way to look at it and consider.

 

For now I only have a response to this one comment concerning what i said. It seems to me that thought is a common concern. (the fear that if what I said is true than anything goes). Basically what i have said does not negate the spiritual law that Jesus is recorded speaking concerning 'sowing and reaping'. Paul also is recorded saying God is not mocked for whatever a man sows , that also will he reap. Forgiveness does not negate that which we pronounce on others which in effect is on ourselves. Therefore in a sense, we are our own judges. And so yes, anything goes but effects are not bypassed. It seems to me Paul understood this when he said, "ALL things are lawful to me but all things are not expedient. All things are lawful but all things edifieth not" Forgiveness removes guilt and the vicious cycles it propagates but in my view does not undo reaping what we sow.

 

Just something to consider.

 

Love ,

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think there is an unpardonable sin that you can be aware of. If sin separates us from God that doesn't mean the relationship is over. Relationships continue as long as both parties turn toward each other. If God's approach to each of us is expectancy and not expectations then nothing we can do will shut the door forever. All we have to do is open it and God will be there anytime. No matter what we have done. When we do turn toward God we might regret our waste of "quality time" with God. We may feel blame and/or shame but that is our stuff :o and not God's condemnation. :D

 

 

Dutch

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

(Matt 12:31,32; Mark 3:29; Luke 12:10) That there is a sin that will not be forgiven is really not so very difficult to understand from the historic Christian perspective. However, dominant modern thought simply can't look past a blind faith explanation or a dismissal of the historical Jesus' words rather than toward the rational biblical explanation.

 

With the function of the Holy Spirit being understood, the answer begins to become apparent. In the plan for man's salvation, the Holy Spirit's function is to convict unto repentance or reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement.

 

In order for a sinner to appropriate Christ as Savior, he must repent of his sin. But in order to be convicted of his sin, it is necessary for him to allow the Holy Spirit to work in him. That is any sin which he confesses to Jesus, He will forgive, His being able to remove sin.

 

But if any man has not been convicted of sin, how can he confess Christ? Matt 12:32; "But whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him."(see also Mk 3:29 and Lk 12:10) Meaning: "to say at a particular time and with a full understanding of what was said."; that is, having blasphemed the Holy Spirit is willfully resisting the Holy Spirit's conviction. If one does not allow the Holy Spirit to convict him of his sinfulness, one will not be able to escape the consequence. This guilt is always upon the man who does not recognize the Holy Spirit's conviction. There is no chance of repenting in the hereafter.

 

We reap the results of the choices we make.

 

The Greek word aionios is defined as: perpetual, eternal, for ever, everlasting.

While there may be dissent, the Greeks understand it as meaning exactly as above.

 

 

DavidK

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service