Does Purgatory Exist?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by Blake Bowden, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    The other day my oldest son asked me that very question. Being Baptist I automatically said "no", but after some research the Catholics have a good argument...

    Purgatory

    Thoughts?
     
  2. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    I am not one that believes God would cast any of his children to eternal damnation. I do think he can put you in purgatory but leaves you with the ability to work your way out. I am curious if there is no purgatory in Baptist and what seems many other denominations then what is there? I hope that question did not come off crude as it was not meant to be I am just a dummy when it comes to the denominations.
     
  3. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

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    In the Baptist faith we believe that the only way to enter Heaven is to accept Jesus Christ as one's Saviour. It's either "up" or "down".
     
  4. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    Heaven or Hell
     
  5. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    What is the difference between Hell/Down and purgatory? :blush:
     
  6. Jay

    Jay Registered User

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    One Your just Pro-timing the east and the other your stuck like chuck for ever with no rocker
     
  7. Nate Riley

    Nate Riley Premium Member

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    My simplistic answer is that you can't work or get prayed out of hell. There is much more to it than that.
     
  8. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    Let us look at what the Bible says about Purgatory.

    According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Purgatory is “a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.” To summarize, in Catholic theology Purgatory is a place that a Christian’s soul goes to after death to be cleansed of the sins that had not been fully satisfied during life. Is this doctrine of Purgatory in agreement with the Bible? Absolutely not!

    Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins (Romans 5:8). Isaiah 53:5 declares, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Jesus suffered for our sins so that we could be delivered from suffering. To say that we must also suffer for our sins is to say that Jesus’ suffering was insufficient. To say that we must atone for our sins by cleansing in Purgatory is to deny the sufficiency of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (1 John 2:2). The idea that we have to suffer for our sins after death is contrary to everything the Bible says about salvation.

    The primary Scriptural passage Catholics point to for evidence of Purgatory is 1 Corinthians 3:15, which says, “If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” The passage (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) is using an illustration of things going through fire as a description of believers’ works being judged. If our works are of good quality “gold, sliver, costly stones,” they will pass through the fire unharmed, and we will be rewarded for them. If our works are of poor quality “wood, hay, and straw,” they will be consumed by the fire, and there will be no reward. The passage does not say that believers pass through the fire, but rather that a believer’s works pass through the fire. 1 Corinthians 3:15 refers to the believer “escaping through the flames,” not “being cleansed by the flames.”

    Purgatory, like many other Catholic dogmas, is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Christ’s sacrifice. Catholics view the Mass / Eucharist as a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice because they fail to understand that Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient (Hebrews 7:27). Catholics view meritorious works as contributing to salvation due to a failure to recognize that Jesus’ sacrificial payment has no need of additional “contribution” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Similarly, Purgatory is understood by Catholics as a place of cleansing in preparation for heaven because they do not recognize that because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we are already cleansed, declared righteous, forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, and sanctified.

    The very idea of Purgatory and the doctrines that are often attached to it (prayer for the dead, indulgences, meritorious works on behalf of the dead, etc.) all fail to recognize that Jesus’ death was sufficient to pay the penalty for ALL of our sins. Jesus, who was God incarnate (John 1:1,14), paid an infinite price for our sin. Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2). To limit Jesus’ sacrifice to atoning for original sin, or sins committed before salvation, is an attack on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. If we must in any sense pay for, atone for, or suffer because of our sins – that indicates Jesus’ death was not a perfect, complete, and sufficient sacrifice.

    For believers, after death is to be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). Notice that this does not say "away from the body, in Purgatory with the cleansing fire." No, because of the perfection, completion, and sufficiency of Jesus' sacrifice, we are immediately in the Lord's presence after death, fully cleansed, free from sin, glorified, perfected, and ultimately sanctified.
     
    Keith C likes this.
  9. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    Not that I believe Purgatory is the answer to all these questions, but here's my primary problem with my fundamentalist upbringing and absolute jesus or straight or hell scenario.

    Christians didn't reach the new world until 1492. According to strict doctrine, from the year 34 AD or so until 1492, every person in this hemisphere died and went to hell because they didn't accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior. Of course the same before 34AD, but after that it's on Christian time specifically. The irony is those who would supposedly be saved were first exposed to the worst Christian experience possible (genocide).

    Of course, Europe, Asia and Africa have the same histories. For however many hundreds of years after the resurrection, they all went to hell until transportation allowed missionaries, but more often conquerers and kings to expose them to Christianity.

    This idea of 1500 years of people going to hell because missionaries didn't have transportation to the new world is a huge part of what makes my own personal Christianity extremely more liberal than most (although in my youth I called it mysticism and may still again).

    And while this sounds cynical or bitter, its specifically because I believe in the grace of God taught through christianity that I don't buy into the hell, hell, hell dogmas.

    Purgatory might be an answer to this 1500 years of Western Hemisphere hell burners.
     
  10. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    Good stuff.
     
  11. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Very good stuff but I am still a little confused on where non-believers or people who produce poor work go? If ones work is of straw and is burnt up and no reward given what happens to the person or their soul?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2009
  12. owls84

    owls84 Moderator Premium Member

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    Disclaimer: This is not meant to attack ones personal belief but to help me better understand my own.

    If Jesus dies for ALL of man's sins and man is going to sin sometime in their life as the bible says. What if a man is lead astray and happens to sin before coming to his senses and is unable to repent dies. According to scripture, as stated in Ezekiel 18 he dies a sinner. I understand God to be a forgiving God but what does this mean, that a man can live a life of sin then repent, then a man that lives a Godly life sins as man will do he is cast to hell and the man that lived a life of sin can go to heaven. That is a tough pill to swallow. I know there is no grading system and if one repents and it is not heartfelt the question of forgivness means nothing but if God is forgiving does he not forgive the Godly man for his sin knowing it was not in his heart to sin but happens because as human we sin.

    I just would like to know if God is forgiving then why does this happen. Is there additional scripture to add to this?
     
  13. Sirius

    Sirius Registered User

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    Jesus taught that it was not the strict adherence to the law, but rather the spirit of the law that was important.

    In a paper titled Jesus' Legal Theory - A Rabbinic Reading , Chaim Saiman has some very interesting thoughts. He says:
    It simply does not make sense that a God of Love would sentence people to eternal damnation due to the fact that they had never heard the Christian message or converted but sinned at some point. This is an obvious conflict in scripture. And it goes to show that the letter of the law is not always the most important thing, as Jesus demonstrated when he healed on the Sabbath. It's not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. God wouldn't call healing on the Sabbath a sin.

    Jesus was teaching us to approach scripture logically not literally.
     
  14. SSG_Morrison

    SSG_Morrison Registered User

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    To me Purgatory is a holding place. It's not in between because I'm not sure that I believe in hell. Purgatory would be the place you might find yourself, if say you were in coma. Your not dead, but your really not alive either. I grew up in the Methodist Church, but over time I have researched the history behind the Christian belief, and I have my own belief of things.
     
  15. RedTemplar

    RedTemplar Johnny Joe Combs Premium Member

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    Is Purgatory hot as Hell? Is Hell hot in the literal or figurative sense?
     
  16. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    Is hell literally a place of fire and brimstone?"

    Answer: By raining down fire and brimstone upon the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God not only demonstrated how He felt about overt sin, but He also launched an enduring metaphor. After the events of Genesis 19:24, the mere mention of fire, brimstone, Sodom or Gomorrah instantly transports a reader into the context of God’s judgment. Such an emotionally potent symbol, however, has trouble escaping its own gravity. This fiery image can impede, rather than advance, its purpose. A symbol should show a similarity between two dissimilar entities. Fire and brimstone describes some of what hell is like—but not all of what hell is.

    The word the Bible uses to describe a burning hell—Gehenna—comes from a burning place, the valley of Gehenna adjacent to Jerusalem on the south. Gehenna is an English transliteration of the Greek form of an Aramaic word, which is derived from the Hebrew phrase “the Valley of (the son of) Hinnom.” In one of their greatest apostasies, the Jews (especially under kings Ahaz and Manasseh) passed their children through the fires in sacrifice to the god Molech in that very valley (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 32:35). Eventually, the Jews considered that location to be ritually unclean (2 Kings 23:10), and they defiled it all the more by casting the bodies of criminals into its smoldering heaps. In Jesus’ time this was a place of constant fire, but more so, it was a refuse heap, the last stop for all items judged by men to be worthless. When Jesus spoke of Gehenna hell, He was speaking of the city dump of all eternity. Yes, fire was part of it, but the purposeful casting away—the separation and loss—was all of it.

    In Mark 9:43 Jesus used another powerful image to illustrate the seriousness of hell.“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.” For most readers, this images does escape its own gravity—in spite of the goriness! Few believe that Jesus wants us literally to cut off our own hand. He would rather that we do whatever is necessary to avoid going to hell, and that is the purpose of such language—to polarize, to set up an either/or dynamic, to compare. Since the first part of the passage uses imagery, the second part does also, and therefore should not be understood as an encyclopedic description of hell.

    In addition to fire, the New Testament describes hell as a bottomless pit (abyss) (Revelation 20:3), a lake (Revelation 20:14), darkness (Matthew 25:30), death (Revelation 2:11), destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9), everlasting torment (Revelation 20:10), a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 25:30), and a place of gradated punishment (Matthew 11:20-24; Luke 12:47-48; Revelation 20:12-13). The very variety of hell’s descriptors argues against applying a literal interpretation of any particular one. For instance, hell’s literal fire could emit no light, since hell would be literally dark. Its fire could not consume its literal fuel (persons!) since their torment is non-ending. Additionally, the gradation of punishments within hell also confounds literalness. Does hell’s fire burn Hitler more fiercely than an honest pagan? Does he fall more rapidly in the abyss than another? Is it darker for Hitler? Does he wail and gnash louder or more continually than the other? The variety and symbolic nature of descriptors do not lessen hell, however—just the opposite in fact. Their combined effect describes a hell that is worse than death, darker than darkness, and deeper than any abyss. Hell is a place with more wailing and gnashing of teeth than any single descriptor could ever portray. Its symbolic descriptors bring us to a place beyond the limits of our language—to a place far worse than we could ever imagine.
     
  17. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Well that pretty much clears that up. If you are cast to this place is there hope of ever coming out? And if so how would one do that?
     
  18. drapetomaniac

    drapetomaniac Premium Member Premium Member

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    And 1500 years of people went to hell by the grace of God because conquistadors wielding swords with missionaries in tow didn't get to them in time..

    Then again rereading the scriptures cited above, "if your hand causes you to sin", if you've never been exposed to Jewish law I guess you don't know to cut it off.
     
  19. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    Brother I hope this helps. Just keep in mind this is what I believe and I am not trying to convert you or any one.
    This must be answered in this way, Is hell real? If so Is hell eternal?

    It is interesting that a much higher percentage of people believe in the existence of heaven than believe in the existence of hell. According to the Bible, though, hell is just as real as heaven. The Bible clearly and explicitly teaches that hell is a real place to which the wicked/unbelieving are sent after death. We have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23). The just punishment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Since all of our sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), and since God is an infinite and eternal Being, the punishment for sin, death, must also be infinite and eternal. Hell is this infinite and eternal death which we have earned because of our sin.

    The punishment of the wicked dead in hell is described throughout Scripture as “eternal fire” (Matthew 25:41), “unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:12), “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), a place where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:44-49), a place of “torment” and “fire” (Luke 16:23-24), “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), a place where “the smoke of torment rises forever and ever” (Revelation 14:10-11), and a “lake of burning sulfur” where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

    The punishment of the wicked in hell is as never ending as the bliss of the righteous in heaven. Jesus Himself indicates that punishment in hell is just as everlasting as life in heaven (Matthew 25:46). The wicked are forever subject to the fury and the wrath of God. Those in hell will acknowledge the perfect justice of God (Psalm 76:10). Those who are in hell will know that their punishment is just and that they alone are to blame (Deuteronomy 32:3-5). Yes, hell is real. Yes, hell is a place of torment and punishment that lasts forever and ever, with no end. Praise God that, through Jesus, we can escape this eternal fate (John 3:16, 18, 36).
     
  20. jonesvilletexas

    jonesvilletexas Premium Member

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    What happens to those who have never heard about Jesus?

    All people are accountable to God whether or not they have “heard about Him.” The Bible tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God's grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

    In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known.

    The problem is “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). People reject the knowledge of God that is present in nature and in their own hearts, and instead decide to worship a “god” of their own creation. It is foolish to debate the fairness of God sending someone to hell who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. People are responsible to God for what God has already revealed to them. The Bible says that people reject this knowledge, and therefore God is just in condemning them to hell.

    Instead of debating the fate of those who have never heard, we, as Christians, should be doing our best to make sure they do hear. We are called to spread the gospel throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). We know people reject the knowledge of God revealed in nature, and that must motivate us to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only by accepting God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ can people be saved from their sins and rescued from an eternity apart from God.

    If we assume that those who never hear the gospel are granted mercy from God, we will run into a terrible problem. If people who never hear the gospel are saved, it is logical that we should make sure no one ever hears the gospel. The worst thing we could do would be to share the gospel with a person and have him or her reject it. If that were to happen, he or she would be condemned. People who do not hear the gospel must be condemned, or else there is no motivation for evangelism. Why run the risk of people possibly rejecting the gospel and condemning themselves when they were previously saved because they had never heard the gospel?
     

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