Jump to content

Once Saved...


Cynthia
 Share

Recommended Posts

I thought this might be a good starting point for a discussion about what it means to be "saved" in popular parlance, or what it means to follow Jesus. Barbara Crafton wrote the following:

 

What Paul Would Give Up

 

For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh.

Romans 9:2

 

People seldom preach on this verse. It is a far cry from the every-man-for-himself approach to faith that typifies American Christian thought and behavior, so let's be clear about what Paul is saying: He would give up his own salvation for the salvation of his fellow Jews. Paul's faith isn't about him and his Jesus and the heck with everyone else. It isn't even about talking other people into a faith that's about them and their Jesus. It is something else entirely.

 

It is about oneness before our creator and our redeemer. It is about the blossoming of an ancient tradition, and the blossom isn't the same as the root or the stem -- it can be expected to look different.

 

A powerful conversion experience is not an end -- it is a beginning. It inaugurates a life lived in expectation of God's continuing action, which includes God's capacity and freedom to bring ancient things to flower in blossoms that look different from their roots. A powerful conversion experience like Paul had does not substitute spiritual self-absorption for material selfishness: it introduces us, rather, to a life lived without anxiety about what we will wear or what we will eat or how many cars we will have.

 

Our life in Christ is no longer our own. More than anything else, conversion introduces us into a community whose hallmark is its diversity -- Christ goes everywhere, touches everyone, lives in every culture, is not dependent on cultural certification for any of his power to enter human lives and change them.

 

 

Any thoughts???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice quote. Sounds like I'd like her a lot.

 

Paul's faith isn't about him and his Jesus and the heck with everyone else. It isn't even about talking other people into a faith that's about them and their Jesus. It is something else entirely.

 

I really appreciate how McLaren emphacizes this in Generous Orthodoxy - his use of the term "missional", his pictoral representation of the individual within the church and the church within the world (you have the book, you know what I mean). :)

 

It is about the blossoming of an ancient tradition, and the blossom isn't the same as the root or the stem -- it can be expected to look different.

 

Again, I like McLaren's use of the word "emergent" and the metaphor of rings of a tree.

 

The external ring of the tree wouldn't be possible without the next ring in. That ring would not be possible without the next ring in. And so on and so on and so on ... The church today has EMERGED from everything that has happened in the past and those happenings should be embraced (as rings in a tree), not tossed aside. The church today, like a blossom that grows from a root and a stem, has emerged and is continually emerging.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I glean, and not from the verse so much as from what both of you have said, is that we are all needed or wanted in this case. With the example of the tree, even though there are times that examples can be wrong, I find this one to be quite useful.

 

Just as those who are on the outside ring, or the boundary of the faith are need to, we also need those who have been around the block a few times. And around the block not just in years but in thought. I happen to feel that we need some Fundamentalist in our midst to remind us that sometimes things are a lot more simple than we try and make them. And they need us, progressives, because, well they are crazy.(only kidding, in part)

 

I don’t happen to be a big fan of Feminist theology, but I do understand that there are things that I can learn and the Church can learn from them. What they have to understand is that they can still learn from us White Guys too.

 

One of the common themes that I picked up one when I was younger, a theme from Paul, was the breaking down of walls, or the dismantling of that which separates us. We might always be separate, and maybe that is just the way it is, but we don’t have to always keep separate. I think that is part of what Paul meant when he said ‘if food is a cause of my brother’s (or sisters, that my feminism for today) falling, I will never eat meant, lest I cause my brother to fall.

I know I miss the point of it, but I still feel that part of what is said is about taking down those walls.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Saved," in the fundamentalist's paradigm, often means "changed from the destiny of going to hell to the destiny of going to heaven."

 

I find such a viewpoint too narrow and too limited in scope. I think "salvation" is better described as "healing, wholeness, completeness" that is more appropriate to experiences in THIS life rather than a "get in free" card for the afterlife. I see salvation as a process that is lived and worked out rather than as an event or a status symbol.

 

So, for me, the debate over "once saved, always saved" is somewhat of a mute point. The goal of this debate is often an attempt to answer the question as to if one can sin enough to cause God to change the track back from "going to heaven" to "going to hell." I think this whole foundation of salvation being all about going to heaven or going to hell is a faulty construct.

 

If we saw "salvation" for the way that it is most used in the Bible -- as experiencing healing, wholeness, completeness, new life, knowing God -- it would be much more apparent that salvation is, like marriage, a relationship that should continually be enjoyed. I was "once saved" but I am still "being saved" and I don't see the two concepts as being in opposition to each other.

 

Anyone else's thoughts on this?

 

- wayfaring

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to agree with you wayfaring, for the most part. Reading literature from fundamentalists or some conservatives, it seems to me that the only debate that they have is whether or not to be Calvinist or Armenian. I admit that I am more of a Wesleyan Christian myself, though I still hold loyalty to the Church (of England).

 

It never seemed like much of a debate, the Saved/Always Saved bit. I thought it was silly to spend so much time on this and nothing else. As a Wesleyan it seemed as though we were always defending our ‘free-will’ thoughts against those who felt that God was in control of and controlled all life on earth. We said, ‘all men chose what they will’, and they said, ‘all men are chosen for what they will’.

 

Now, having learned a little more, I think that both of these are not adequate enough to really have the grounds to stand on (and claim victory in the fight).

As for what I think of salvation now, I don’t really know. It has been awhile since I thought of it or really tried to figure out what I thought of it.

 

Maybe I will get something to use here.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve, I lean Methodist myself but I don't think our will is ever "free" in the sense of being unaffected by God's will. :)

 

I agree with you about the tree ring being a pretty good analogy. Often times, the conservatives get so focused on "personal" salvation that they seem to forget that salvation should be a social blessing also. God "saved" Abraham so that all the nations would be blessed.

 

Cynthia's post said: "A powerful conversion experience is not an end -- it is a beginning."

 

Those who argue about "once saved, always saved" seem more focused on salvation being an end, not the means to an end (that of knowing and experiencing God).

 

My own salvation, if I could call it that, is best substantiated, not by unassailable verses attesting to the fact that God pulled me out of sure everlasting torment, but by the fruit of His Spirit in my life that, I hope, overflows into the lives of others around me. I know that I am refreshed by their fruit also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Saved," in the fundamentalist's paradigm, often means "changed from the destiny of going to hell to the destiny of going to heaven."

 

I find such a viewpoint too narrow and too limited in scope. I think "salvation" is better described as "healing, wholeness, completeness" that is more appropriate to experiences in THIS life rather than a "get in free" card for the afterlife. I see salvation as a process that is lived and worked out rather than as an event or a status symbol.

 

So, for me, the debate over "once saved, always saved" is somewhat of a mute point. The goal of this debate is often an attempt to answer the question as to if one can sin enough to cause God to change the track back from "going to heaven" to "going to hell." I think this whole foundation of salvation being all about going to heaven or going to hell is a faulty construct.

 

If we saw "salvation" for the way that it is most used in the Bible -- as experiencing healing, wholeness, completeness, new life, knowing God -- it would be much more apparent that salvation is, like marriage, a relationship that should continually be enjoyed. I was "once saved" but I am still "being saved" and I don't see the two concepts as being in opposition to each other.

 

Anyone else's thoughts on this?

 

- wayfaring

 

 

This is my experience of God. Every day is a new salvation. My faith in God is a relationship which grows every day. I sometimes think that those who talk about a "personal" relationship with God do not have such. However that is me being bitchy, and it is not my place to judge anyone's relation with God.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From what I understand it isn't a one time thing. I also feel the "born again" thing to be a continual thing-- or at least you have the opportunity to be "new again", and would only use the term that way. Salvation as a term implying saving from burning in hell seems quite repugnant to me.

 

--des

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great thoughts everybody!

 

I'm in the deep South where the once saved always saved or "I'm in the book" idea is common. I agree, Comrade, the people who insist upon this often seem to bear little fruit. (I also agree that I have no right to judge anyone's relationship with God.... but judgement is one of my favorite sins :) )

 

I like McLaren's concept... thanks for the reminder about the tree - that current ideas of salvation are selfish - how do I get to heaven??? Ok, done. He talks about salvation much like this thread has - as a gift that goes through you to the people around you. Personally, my experience is that this is ongoing. Sometimes I seem to block the flow and need some spiritual draino :lol: .

 

Today promises to hold great potential for blocked flow leading to sarcasm (not so much the funny kind), judgement, and lack of grace. My goal today is to be a fully functioning pipeline of God's grace and love. aaacccckkk. Off to meditate!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wayfaring wrote: So, for me, the debate over "once saved, always saved" is somewhat of a mute point. The goal of this debate is often an attempt to answer the question as to if one can sin enough to cause God to change the track back from "going to heaven" to "going to hell." I think this whole foundation of salvation being all about going to heaven or going to hell is a faulty construct.

 

In the thread about the ransom you make the comment about Jesus' saving us from "self-centeredness".

 

I wonder how many people realize what a profound statement that is. I do.

 

I'm amazed at how many times I've encountered that concept in just the past year. Not just in Christianity and the "purpose" of Jesus, but also in Judaism (I think the story of Eden is about selfishness, self-centeredness), Buddhism, Hinduism. Each of these traditions teach (in one form or another) that the reason for living, the meaning of life is to move beyond self-centeredness and to SHARE.

 

Some individuals may decide that in order to not be selfish that they'll just give up all "worldy" things. I think that can be taking it a bit too far. God gave us this world to enjoy - not to deny (on the one end of the spectrum) and not to use up and abuse (on the other end). It's a middle way, a balanced way. :)

 

Thanks for starting my day with a philosophical thought and a smile. :lol:

Edited by AletheiaRivers
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember what’s been said about religion, and Christianity in particular: is it more like sex or politics. If it is more like sex, it is something that is done in private and is intimate or very personal. But if it is more like politics, it is out there or public.

 

If our faith is more like sex we probably tend to use it like sex; only for ourselves and only personally. That is not to say that we cant use sex or, to be more accurate, have sex that is very interpersonal. That is probably what sex is for to most of us. When we have sex it is a very intimate moment between our partner and us. This can be fun or it can be passionate. It can be very uplifting or just a quicky.

 

This might be what it is like with God. If our faith is like sex, we might be having a very personal and very intimate relationship with God. This cannot be wrong, and may even be a little selfish. Just like sex, I want it to be between my partner(my wife) and myself. Noone else is allowed in that special part of our relationship. And noone is allowed in the special part of my relationship with God.

 

However, to leave it at that is truly selfish and that is where we cross over to the political side. If our faith is like politics, it might be out there for all to see. It may not be actually political, only like politics. When this happens our faith moves to the outside world. It moves to a forum that open to talking and finding. If our faith is like politics we can’t hide it. Just like Republicans or Democrats don’t hide their political faith (most of the time) we should not be hiding our Christian faith.

And just like politics is allowed to be worn as a badge, so maybe our faith should be too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have really appreciated the responses to this topic. I too, think that the fundamentalist view is narrow and self-absorbing. As if after fulfilling the basic "requirements" for salvation, we are more or less off the hook. There is so much more for each of us to experience and share. I feel that God's vision is just so much more. More than any one person will ever be able to experience in one lifetime. Perhaps that is why we are so individual.....in order to have a unique concept to explore and to use to help others?

 

The "once saved" theory (whether valid or not) seems to be an easy out. Now, I don't believe that once true enlightenment has occured that one will "fall from grace". If a true understanding has brought us together with God, why would we want to move away? :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In the relm of of fundamental Christian thought I have found '2' extreme views regarding salvation. One is the Protestant Fundamental Born Again theory of "Once Saved Always Saved." The other is like JW and Boston Church of Christ and Mormon..in which who get baptized but after this you are constantly warned to keep validating your salvation by preforming "works"/evangelicalizing..and they quote the Scripture of "Faith without works is dead."

 

So what is your take on all this? We have two extreme fundamental views...one in which you are saved and you can be the biggest haughty jackass and it doesn't matter cause once saved always saved..and then the other extreme where you must constantly forever keep earbing the validation of your salvation by feeling forced to evangelize.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother and stepfather are Independent Fundamentalist Baptist, probably the most Fundamentalist of all, and I know for sure that they believe in the once saved always saved bit. Interestingly, they would not say that a person can be saved and then ‘be the biggest haughty jackass’ because Salvation, to them, is a change. If a person becomes a Christian and goes out and continues to live a life full of ‘sin’ that person never really became a Christian. I can understand that; don’t agree, but can understand it.

 

As for the flip, to me it would seem that when you become a Christian you would want to ‘evangelize’. I know that is a dirty word in the Progressive world, but think of it this way. We are all on here, mostly to engage in a conversation, but also to learn. If that were not so, we would not ask so many questions. And just as we ask we answer.

 

It might not be that we are out banging on doors, but we are probably sharing our experience of Christ with someone. The objection to this is the feeling that our faith is no better than anyone else’s. This may be true, it also may not, but when a person finds something that is spectacular we tend to tell others about it. To me that is evangelism.

 

I don’t feel like I have to evangelize to maintain my standing with Christ, but because I have been changed and because I see the difference in my life, I evangelize.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember what’s been said about religion, and Christianity in particular: is it more like sex or politics. ...<snip>... However, to leave it at that is truly selfish and that is where we cross over to the political side.

 

Right!

 

Christianity isn't like sex OR politics ... it's like sex AND politics. :D:lol:

 

What I mean is (agreeing with you) that our relationship with God is deeply personal ... and the depth to which that relationship touches our hearts moves us to share all that we've experienced with others, who may then want to join us in fellowship (church).

 

In most churches however, individuals in that fellowship tend to have the attitude of "Jesus is my PERSONAL savior." From that viewpoint, a congregation isn't so much a covenental community as much as it is a group of like minded individuals who are all in it for themselves.

 

Like the quote from the first post:

Paul's faith isn't about him and his Jesus and the heck with everyone else. It isn't even about talking other people into a faith that's about them and their Jesus. It is something else entirely.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Remember what’s been said about religion, and Christianity in particular: is it more like sex or politics. ...<snip>... However, to leave it at that is truly selfish and that is where we cross over to the political side.

 

Right!

 

Christianity isn't like sex OR politics ... it's like sex AND politics. :D:lol:

 

What I mean is (agreeing with you) that our relationship with God is deeply personal ... and the depth to which that relationship touches our hearts moves us to share all that we've experienced with others, who may then want to join us in fellowship (church).

 

In most churches however, individuals in that fellowship tend to have the attitude of "Jesus is my PERSONAL savior." From that viewpoint, a congregation isn't so much a covenental community as much as it is a group of like minded individuals who are all in it for themselves.

 

Like the quote from the first post:

Paul's faith isn't about him and his Jesus and the heck with everyone else. It isn't even about talking other people into a faith that's about them and their Jesus. It is something else entirely.

 

 

That's my take on things as well. If we have a relationship with God, it can't help but change us. My politics is what it is because of who I am. Who I am is caused by my relationship with God. So it's not either/or, it's both.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I am a TCPC member new to these message boards. :)

 

I agree with most of the progressive view points expressed in this thread. I would like to add how I believe the topic of psycho-social-spiritual development bears on this issue. What it means to be saved will change as we progess on our faith journeys. At one time in my life, salvation had everything to do with saving my own butt by getting into heaven when I die. Today, that is not a concern at all. Today it is about how I relate to God and others right here right now. To know that I am emersed in God's love in this moment is total salvation. I don't worry about what comes after death because I know it has to be a continuation of that love. My main point, though, is that as I grew spiritually, my concept of salvation changed radically.

 

Christianity-- and especially progressive Christainity-- needs to understand and work with this sort of spiritual development. There are many stage theories that bear on this. I suggest Further Along the Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck (pp.119-134) as a good introduction with a simple but excellent stage theory. I recommend The Marriage of Sense and Soul and A Brief History of Everything both by Ken Wilber for those who want some real meat. I have read five Ken Wilber books this summer, and he has blown me away. If you really want to understand the fundamentalist-progessive conflict and the current inter/intra-religious acrimony in America and the world, read Wilber!

 

The point is not that one is more right and the other more wrong-- which is no doubt the case but not very helpful-- but that all of us must develop from self-centeredness to the God-centeredness in which we come to love all as we love ourselves. We ought to be concerned less about arguing with more traditional/conservative/fundamentalist types to convince them of a more progressive point of view and more with stimulating them to grow into that point of view for themselves. We don't grow much from arguing. The crucial activity, in my view, is spiritual practice that opens individuals to higher states of spiritial awareness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I am a TCPC member new to these message boards. :)

 

We ought to be concerned less about arguing with more traditional/conservative/fundamentalist types to convince them of a more progressive point of view and more with stimulating them to grow into that point of view for themselves. We don't grow much from arguing. The crucial activity, in my view, is spiritual practice that opens individuals to higher states of spiritial awareness.

 

Welcome to TCPC's OPEN forum, sprout. It's good to have you with us.

 

Understandably, given the excessive amount of time and space allotted to this issue of whether or not Conservatives should be welcomed to discuss issues important to them here, you appear to have the impression that we are all about "arguing" with "conservative/fundamentalists types" in order to convince them of a more progressive point of view. Actually this is not really the case. Very little of this actually goes on here. None of us are interested in arguing for arguements sake or in "converting" one another to our own point of view. Most of us would rather discuss the ideas of Ken Wilbur or other provocative thinkers than to engage in condemning and converting those who don't agree with us.

 

I do want to point out however that the word "argue" is not a four-letter word. To argue can be to simply debate, persuade, or reason together...and this we do like to do here. Squabbling, ad hominem attacks, insults, and flaming don't usually occur at all, and if they do they generally either get ignored or shouted down. The few Conservative posters we do have here are intelligent, thoughtful, and genuinely engaged in inquiry and are not out to condemn or to convert, and often raise questions that we as Progressives perhaps need to ask ourselves.

 

I think you'll like it here. Be patient, its Summertime and slow currently, but fascinating, challenging, and inspiring "arguement" should recommence soon. Again, welcome.

 

lily

Link to comment
Share on other sites

P.S. I also favor a view of salvation as progressive and ongoing and will even assert that the Bible (NT) actually speaks of salvation as ongoing. Within a strictly Christian framework there appear to be three "levels" of salvation: The initial conversion salvation of Spirit, (which I do believe is without repentence), the salvation of Soul (which is worked out with "fear and trembling") and the salvation of Body (which is also manifest throughout the Lords Body, which includes the whole of creation).

 

I'm running late this morning and so can't get really into it now, but I'd be interested in how this accords, or not, with your own understanding.

 

 

lily

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Within a strictly Christian framework there appear to be three "levels" of salvation: The initial conversion salvation of Spirit, (which I do believe is without repentence), the salvation of Soul (which is worked out with "fear and trembling") and the salvation of Body (which is also manifest throughout the Lords Body, which includes the whole of creation).

Good distinction. I also believe that any initial sense of conversion must come from God's initiative alone (the great "kernel of truth" of Reformed theology). "Once saved, always saved" seems to me to apply to this sense of salvation, i.e. that God's reconciling call is so effective that nothing in all creation can thwart it. It's a metaphysical fact of the universe, not a license to ignore your spiritual growth. Such neglect comes at your own peril: to whom much is given, much is expected...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  I also believe that any initial sense of conversion must come from God's initiative alone (the great "kernel of truth" of Reformed theology).  "Once saved, always saved" seems to me to apply to this sense of salvation, i.e. that God's reconciling call is so effective that nothing in all creation can thwart it.  It's a metaphysical fact of the universe, not a license to ignore your spiritual growth.  Such neglect comes at your own peril: to whom much is given, much is expected...

 

Well said (as always ;) Also, it seems to me that this "kernal of truth" is unique to Christianity and essential to it. This is what was most ill-fitting for me in Paganism; this (for me) alien sense of "choosing" among a pantheon of gods the God you will serve. The indisputable fact that we've (I've) been Called...Be-Gotten, is what is unique about being Christian and what may be the secret to the devotion Christianity elicits in its ecclesia, even among those of us who for a thousand "rational" reasons could find the whole situation hopeless and try to turn to something else. (many of us have tried, eh?) And yes, even to the point of fanaticism and the worse sort of idiocies and atrocities. We are called and the experience is indisputable and unforgettable and nothing else ever comes close...or so its been for me.

 

lily

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to return to the question of what we mean by saved. What salvation meant to Abraham and Moses and David and Isaiah and Jesus were all significantly different things: progeny, freedom, vindication, deliverance from domination and injustice, forgiveness and love and the emergence of God's rule on earth. I would argue that our current dominant conception of salvation (going to heaven when we die) was not a significant concern for Jesus but something that developed in the early church after he was gone.

 

"Once saved, always saved" is not true for most of these types of salvation. They are all things that can change or be lost. With most of them, being saved is something that happens over and over.

 

Nonetheless, I do agree with the statement. There is a deeper level-- of experienced grace, of connection to God, of the peace that passes understanding, of kenosis and spiritual birth-- that is somehow irrevocable.

 

I confess to being a bit of a universalist. My experience of salvation is that it always has been and always will be for everyone. What we experience as the moment of salvation is simply the moment in which we come to know that our salvation is eternal. What I mean by salvation is the loving reality of God in which we have our being. This can never change. There is no circumstance in which we can exist in anything other than God and God's love. We are indeed lost if we do not know this reality, but the reality is still there waiting for us to awaken to it. Even if we die without ever awakening to it, the reality is still there and will not abandon us. I do not know what awaits us beyond the grave, but I do know that love (God) will continue to work within it. So . . . in this sense I completely agree that "once saved, always saved"

 

I will also say that I am not at all sure that this sort of salvation necessarily involves the preservation of my personal identity. It might. Or it might be more a matter of dissolving back into God. I don't know, and I don't know if anyone does know. I guess I don't much care. The love is plenty good enough for me.

 

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I confess to being a bit of a universalist. My experience of salvation is that it always has been and always will be for everyone. What we experience as the moment of salvation is simply the moment in which we come to know that our salvation is eternal. What I mean by salvation is the loving reality of God in which we have our being. This can never change. There is no circumstance in which we can exist in anything other than God and God's love. We are indeed lost if we do not know this reality, but the reality is still there waiting for us to awaken to it. Even if we die without ever awakening to it, the reality is still there and will not abandon us. I do not know what awaits us beyond the grave, but I do know that love (God) will continue to work within it. So . . . in this sense I completely agree that "once saved, always saved"

 

I will also say that I am not at all sure that this sort of salvation necessarily involves the preservation of my personal identity. It might. Or it might be more a matter of dissolving back into God. I don't know, and I don't know if anyone does know. I guess I don't much care. The love is plenty good enough for me.

 

John

 

I think that you will find several among us that would agree with both of these statements; that salvation was, is, and ever will be an accomplished fact in God and is universal, and that our personal identities are not eternal. We've discussed these things before. The interesting thing to me is what happens between our initial response to the salvific call and what may happen after we die. How does our salvation "flesh out" in life? Part of the challenge, at least, is a relinquishment of identifying with our personalities; dying before we die so that no longer is it I that live but Christ who lives in me. This, it seems to me, is key to the salvation of Soul. In modern, psychospiritual terms this can be thought of as the "death of the ego" and the supremacy of Self/Christ as ruler/Lord of the psyche. But it seems to me that this is not a "given" upon our initial salvation and that many are saved but few chosen (or who choose) to die to their "self" so that they become transparent vessels of the Spirit of Christ. Those who do "die to self" then become mediators between God and the whole of creation and thus taste the firstfruits of the salvation of the Body. And this is what the whole creation groans in anticipation of.

 

It seems to me that if more Christians would consider that salvation is an on-going process intiated by God that must be worked out; that our Calling is to a great deal more than simply heaven when we die; that we are ultimately mediators between God and all of Life, that there would be a whole lot less "converting" and "condemning" going on and a lot more individual and collective "fear and trembling" as we struggle to let go of our lives and enter the eternal realm where Christ rules in and through us.

 

 

lily

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm on board with pretty much everything you said!

 

A few comments:

 

I was actually thinking of Universalism when I posted yesterday. "Even if we die without ever awakening to it, the reality is still there and will not abandon us." I agree with this completely -- but, if we do awaken to it, and then consciously reject it, our souls may be in deep trouble. Perhaps, in Eternity, God has enough time to wait for everyone to return; but it's worth pondering whether God's gift of free will entails that we can actually spend Eternity in Hell if we so choose. I think this posture is what Satan symbolizes: he is free to repent and return to God at any time, but he chooses not to. Don't take me too literally here, I'm not talking about pearly gates and lakes of fire. But I'm not just talking about progeny and domination systems either. I'm talking about, as you put it so well, "the loving reality of God in which we have our being," and Hell is the terrible reality of being cut off from this in our deepest being.

 

On the preservation of our personal identity... Well, I'm not sure how that's all going to work out either. I have faith that whatever my ultimate state of being is, it will be more real than my earthly identity, not less -- though much of what I take to be so important about myself will no doubt be wiped away. I suspect -- though Alethia might shout Monist! ;) -- that we will come to realize that our ultimate identity was always God. "What we experience as the moment of salvation is simply the moment in which we come to know that our salvation is eternal." Or perhaps the moment in which we remember...

 

Great to have you! Keep posting...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps, in Eternity, God has enough time to wait for everyone to return; but it's worth pondering whether God's gift of free will entails that we can actually spend Eternity in Hell if we so choose.  I think this posture is what Satan symbolizes: he is free to repent and return to God at any time, but he chooses not to.

 

I was coming back to post a note on "choice" and find that Fred has already touched on it. I quoted that, "many are called, but few are chosen" and then qualified that by placing "or choose" beside it. But I don't actually believe that any of us can "choose" to die to self; we can only desire to die to self or not, and since it can be argued that we are not the author of our desires...this suggests that God initiates throughout the process of salvation according to His Plan. In other words, God is the Initiator of every stage of His Plan of Salvation. Otherwise, we have the ego attempting to subdue the ego, which only strengthens the self life (which is, I believe, also necessary as only a strong ego can yield) and its deceptions.

 

But then, I'm not as fixed on the idea of a separate and personal free will apart from the Will of God. I don't believe that our choices are quite as conscious as we like to think they are...

 

more later...gotta split

 

lily

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