Part Six: Additional Pushbacks
(At this point, all I can do is LIST some of the additional pushbacks that need to be addressed to round this out. So, I will simply write them up and come back later and respond).
Pushback: "Great work, glenn, notable for its INCOMPLETENESS! Your descriptions/analysis of the 'steady-state' situation in hell may be accurate, but you seem to have left out the reality of the Wrath of God and the Vengeance of God...even adjusting the OT oracles for symbolic language and hyperbolic language, the events that they referred to--famine, violent invasions, enslavement, deportation, etc--were much worse than the portrait of the afterlife YOU developed...How in the world can you reconcile your view and the 'strong' view of the wrath of God?
Pushback: "Very clever, O' deceitful one...you conveniently left the angels/demons OUT of this discussion, so you wouldn't have to deal with God and REAL TORMENT...Although the data about humans might be a bit ambiguous, the data about the angels being harshly judged, tortured endlessly, and by Jesus no less (!)--as seen from Matthew 8:29--is much, much clearer. Your God WILL torture SOME conscious beings forever, so wouldn't this sorta upset your "poor man's theodicy" a bit? And, also, if your God would do it for angels, why wouldn't He be perfectly content to do it to humans too..."
Pushback: "Good Grief, Glenn, I thought you said Jesus was Jewish! The Jews of His day ALL believed that the wicked WERE consciously tormented from the moment of their death on. The rabbi's even believed that their corpses could FEEL the immortal worms eating them--and Jesus used this image WITHOUT correcting these notions. It seems Jesus allowed His listeners to continue believing that Dante-plus beliefs, so I cannot see why we could attribute some 'less intense' perspective to Him..."
Pushback: "You know, you seem to get theologically weaker and more confused with every new article. This last one is so full of theological holes--in direct contradiction to the plain teaching of Scripture (as truthfully expounded only in Reformed symmetrical-reprobation supralapsarian 12-point Calvinism). You argue that there is a "place offered for all", whereas Scripture affirms that some were created specially "for destruction" (Rom 9.22), and from the unfathomable and unchangeable decrees of God in eternity past they were marked out (with no possibility of variance) for damnation. You argue that their choices of heaven and hell are 'their own doing', whereas Scripture teaches that God doesn't call everyone (Act 2.39), and even when they are presented with truth, He sometimes uses it to blind them (Mark 4.12), He inscrutably "hardens" whomever He wants to (Rom 9.18). He even sends deception so they WON'T be saved (2 Thess 2.11). You argue from a "more tolerable" motif and forget Heb 10.31--"it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God". You argue that God is reaching out to everyone, but you forget that God has appointed only some to accept (Acts 13.48), and that God has to regenerate someone with the New Birth BEFORE they can actually believe. You seem more interested in the welfare of His creatures than in the Glory of The Jealous and Consuming One, and in appearing to be 'more compassionate than God'--like those folks in the early apocalypses. Your are moving dangerously close to Arminianism, and seem to be blah, blah, blah..."
[probably more as I think of them...]
Coming soon ("yeah, right" I can hear you saying...)