For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Through the years, many have noted the incongruity between the description of God, who loves the world so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins, and a being who would cause sinners to be tormented for eternity. Some have tried to reason around this inconsistency by saying that God’s greatness demands such punishment for sin. But this reasoning is flawed, for it contradicts the Scriptures.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Here, the opposite of receiving everlasting life is to “perish.” God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked”—not their ongoing punishment (Ezekiel 33:11). He is not “willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9).
Realizing that the Bible teaches that the wicked will be mercifully destroyed, some churches now refer to this teaching as annihilation. It is clearly a better explanation of what happens to the wicked.
I fail to see how so simplistic a view can either land you in heaven or hell (whatever those might be), for who has always been either helpful or unhelpful. What happens to those that have helped some strangers, but not all? Were the followers of Jesus really so simplistic as to not see this problem? I can't believe that, something has to have been lost, either to time or translation. In either case, I don't see that Jesus would cast the "wicked" into either eternal torment or annihilation, that just doesn't fit with all his prior teaching of love. What am I missing here?
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:MatthewChapter 25
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
The other thing completely unrelated I've been thinking about is how our measurement of time seems to affect our thinking and expectations. It seems that societies that don't mark the passage of every second, hour, minute, ..., year have a more circular view of time (i.e. the flow of the seasons), whereas those that do have a linear view. I live in one of the linear view societies, but I'm not convinced it is the best way to view things. Look at our view on the environment, I think that's directly attributable to how we view time in a linear fashion, we don't see the way we treat things as coming back "full circle" and influencing the future like the more circular view would. More on this later.