A Letter from a Biblical Literalist, and My Reply

I received this correspondence today from someone who objects to my position that there is no hell. I have corrected most of the spelling errors, which were plentiful not because the person isn’t intelligent but rather because of the passion with which they wrote. The letter I received is in italics, my response is in regular font.

Bishop Craig I am not a theologian all I know is that I have a relationship with Jesus Christ through the cross. All I believe that God’s word is the truth the bible is God’s word if I didnt believe in it or the creation then what good or use is the word of God. Jesus says I am the way the truth and life no man can come to the father except by me.

Adam and Eve were made with free will they disobeyed God and that way man was born into sin. Man has always tried to get right with God who is Holy and can’t stand sin by scarificing animals Abraham would have sacrificed Issac but God said no at the last minute but instead as a total atonement for sin God scarficed Jesus who is the Son of God and sinleess. HE took our place on the cross so we didn’t don’t have to face eternal damanation the wrath of God. if we accept this and ask for forgines and acknowlege Jesus took all our sin and pain and shame on the cross and ask to go his way and turn 180 round from our ways and ackowledge Jesus conquered hell and that he rose again on the thrid day we have hope the promise of eternal life and are raised into new creations.

We are either for God or we arent for God if not we face hell
A horrible terrible place. To enter God’s house he asks us to give our lived to him and change from our sinful ways and ask for forgivnees. Would you want a murdere in your house or a theif or someone you didnt like that spoat at you and called you names NO so why should God allow everyone in his house?

God is ligth hell is dark, Jesus brings living water the enemy bring death and no water but thurst and fear and everything oposite to God. If Jesus died on the cross it was for something if not to save u from Gods wrath what else did he have to die for?
zacheriah 9 v 11
As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
Lev 17 v11International Version (©1984)
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. in hell there is no blood so you are in pain constantly
Job 13 v 6
Judges 16 v 7
Isaiah 14 v 10
Job 7 v 14

there is a place called hell and heaven and we must remembte that if you died tonoght where would you be going do you know Jesus do youn have a rtealtionship with him. Can you call him saviour have you repented and gone Jesus way If you think theres no hell then you are wrong its through Jesus going to the cross we are sanctfied saved and unless people beieve they will go to Hell

Dear _______,

I didn’t realize you were Jewish. Every one of your citations is from the Hebrew Scriptures, which you apparently find carry more weight than Jesus does, despite your claim of love for Jesus. Curious. Since you quote Leviticus, I wonder if you are wearing clothes made of blended fabrics right now or if you have a garden in which you plant two different plants (LV 19:19), for if you do, you are sinning. When you have a sore on your skin, do you present yourself to the priest so that he can sacrifice two live birds on your behalf (LV 13)? Has it been your constant practice to, during your monthly period, not allow anyone to have any contact with you – even shaking hands – and to have anyone who touches anything you have touched during this time immediately bathe (LV 15:20-27)? Eight days after your monthly period, have you always taken two young pidgeons to the priest so he can sacrifice them on your behalf (LV 15:28-30)? When you have found mildew in your home, have you gone to the priest and informed him as required in LV 14:33-53, and did he purify the house with the blood of a dead bird?

My point is this. You claim to be completely compliant with the “word of God.” There are two problems with that assertion. The first is that the Bible is not the word of God (cf: John 1:1), Christ (not Jesus) is the Word of God. The Word was with God in the beginning, which means that Word is Christ, since neither Jesus nor the Bible came onto the scene for many years. The second problem is that we can use the Bible to prove anything. If, as you suggest, the Bible must be followed completely and in its entirety, then you are in violation of several Levitical prohibitions that I listed above, and I didn’t even get to eating pork or shell fish. The punishment for these things is, by contemporary standards, barbaric – but if we are compelled to follow everything the Bible says then we are most likely going to have to isolate you from the community and, quite possibly, stone you to death. Do you believe the Earth is flat and supported on four pillars? If not, you are rejecting Psalm 75:3. Those pictures from space simply must be wrong. Your argument fails because its method is faulty. If you have children, when they disobeyed you did you stone them to death? I hope so, because the Law requires it and you are a biblical literalist.

I would encourage you to read the Gospels again, leaving behind as best you can the doctrine and dogma you find there. Jesus said the entire Law and Prophets, which means the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures, hangs on two Laws: Love God with all your heart, and Love your neighbor as yourself. I believe it’s reasonable to assume God finds these two Laws good. Please tell me how it’s loving to place someone in a customized torture chamber for all of eternity. Adolph Hitler burned six million Jews until they were dead, but couldn’t hurt them once they were dead – yet some would have us believe God is torturing people from death throughout eternity, making God a bigger despot than Hitler! Can you reconcile that with the God of your experience?

Genesis tells us that God created everything that is. It does not say that on the first day, God created a part supply house. Therefore God created everything out of God’s own self. Would God cast a part of Himself into hell? How could that be?

There is no hell. Jewish thought didn’t contain a heaven or a hell. Hell was a later addition by Greek philosophy. In Jewish thought, everyone went to Sheol when they died. Sheol was more or less a state of limbo. After Israel was conquered and taken into captivity, they started believing in an afterlife – what you and I might call heaven – but still there was no hell. Jesus taught that the Kingdom of heaven is among us, is on earth, is right now – and never taught an eternal hell. These things are perversions of the biblical record, yet many use the Bible to try to prove that hell exists.

Don’t take the word of your priest, or your doctrine, or even me. Read the Gospels, really read them. Read Jesus through your own eyes, over and over. Don’t use Paul to interpret Jesus, use Jesus to interpret Paul – after all, Jesus is Lord, not Paul. You will see the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Much love!

+Craig

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