|Christians have been dealing with this for generations. Such luminaries as C.S. Lewis and Madeline L'Engle (my favorite Christian author) have struggled with this issue and implied in their writings that they accept mamabadger's concept that anyone who is saved has by definition accepted Christ whether they know it or not (sorry, Sme! ). It's not really dealt with clearly in the Bible
Ok, with all due respect, I believe it is dealt with in the bible, which is why Im certain that the answers will come (for me).
|One thing, though, that I think is important is to learn what "hell" was back then. From what I have learned, Judaism did not have a concept of hell like what is taught in Christianity. Jesus lived and existed within that context and I think kept his teaching within the cultural and religious context of his day.
So with that in mind, if there was not a teaching/belief in literal hell (sheol was where all went at death - righteous and unrighteous), what did Jesus mean when he used the word. Also, what was the original word in Greek and/or Aramaic? I guess I would want to look into those answers before I could gather an opinion on what he meant, if that makes sense.
I do think it is important to learn what hell IS. Not just back then, but what it is forever. If it even exists, which I believe it does. Im not sure if 'back then' judaism did have a 'concept' of hell like the one taught in christianity, in that it is eternal condemnation, punishment, etc, but, I look at verses in Isaiah and Daniel, Malachi and think they did. Maybe it was something that they just pondered, discussed, the way Sme, in this thread or another, said Jews do. But I believe Jesus came to make things clearer, to say something like 'you dont have to guess anymore, Im gonna tell you how it is'. Which is why he often talked about 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like...'
Note: Im not sure if Jews consider all these as part of their sacred writings, I must admit Im a little bit unedumacated as far as thats concerned
. Since the Jews of Jesus' day, his followers who became known as christians, and since Jesus was a jew (even tho I believe he was equally divine, which goes a LONG way to explain what and why I believe what I believe), since a lot of them quoted the jewish scriptures (what they considered Jewish scriptures of their day) I tend to believe they did have a 'concept' of hell. Even if Jews may not recognise those particular books as sacred (?) today. Well, forgive my ignorance, but I dont even know if jews think of their books as sacred, am I right in making that assumption (apologies for a stupid question).
14 The sinners in Zion are terrified;
trembling grips the godless:
"Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?"
That ones not as good at making my point but I think Daniel is better.
|2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Malachi 4 talks about it too.
|1 "Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.
Im keeping the quotes simple and to the point so as not to get sidetracked.
Admittedly I found lots more scripture dealing with hell and eternal condemnation in the new testament. ...But, I think there is a reason for that and its something I learned a little bit about before but right now its being driven home, and its the fact that, I believe, God reveals things over time. I believe that Jesus is one with the Father, that he came from heaven (or eternity
if you like), so, being that he knew all things from eternity (he often talks about how he can do nothing that wasnt taught him from God. His Father has taught him everything etc) He knows a lot more then what God had previously revealed to mankind ... and at that time in human history revealed that much more to us.
Did I go all over the place here, Im trying to keep it simple.