Why do we have a hell of a time letting go hell... ... ... . It's because, it's scary...we tug on that one thing " hell " and suddenly the theology we've clothed our self with unravels. This is what I pulled out...
- If we can get ourselves to hell not being a place of " eternal torment ", to that place where it might be described as Sheol in the OT. That place described as the pit, the grave...a place of suspended animation, of absolute disconnect...no relational knowing with anything...God, humanity, and creation. Could it be that, this might be that place of the " forsaken "...where Jesus cried out on the cross, " my God, why have you forsaken me." Maybe this is the hell that the writers of the Apostles Creed Struggled with...the three days before the resurrection.
- But when we loosen the idea of eternal punishment it's like pulling on that aggravating strand of wool hanging on a sweater...it begins to unravel. If there is no eternal punishment...it really makes us crash into the disturbing idea of God the Father, pouring out his wrath on his Son, Jesus.
- As we continue to pull, we are confronted by another dilemma...Sin, and evil. In the Garden some will say it is humanity's first encounter with Satan. Hebrew scripture does not describe Satan, as a deity, a sort of warden in charge of hell...it is described as the deceiver, opposer and accuser. Could it be similar to the entity that Paul described as the principalities of powers of darkness, less a person with red pointy horns, tail and pitch fork...put more a dark spiritual dimension always ready to ooze into ones life, or into the soul of a nation .
- Could it be that the Original Sin was not so much sin, but, a Fall into the the deception by the powers and principalities to live a life disconnected from, opposing the true life rooted in God. Could it be the powers and principalities of darkness that deceive people to live a life of disconnect give birth to evil...could this same deception deceive earthly empires, nations and religions to become corrupt and evil inflicting injustice.
- Could this not be the repeated pattern through out the OT, people and nations plugging into God, then falling away...unplugging coming corrupt.
- Could this not be the polarized conflict of the principalities and powers of darkness...and the Kingdom of God. Could this not be the true atonement and salvation the humanity needs. To finally conquer the principalities of power and darkness once and for all. That the Kingdom of God would be come the new world reality...there would be no more deception, no more opposition, no more corruption...no more injustice.
- Could it be much like the parable where after the vineyard owners have killed all the messengers…the master finally sends his own son.
We hear the story of a ( creator ) owner of a vineyard ( all creation ) who handed it over to tenants ( humanity ) and departed for a far country. When the time arrived for it to bear fruits ( the fullness of the Kingdom ), he sent his servants ( prophets ) to check on them, but the tenants ( humanity, the empire, religion ) beat some and killed others. Finally, the owner ( God ) sent his son ( Jesus ), saying, “Surely they will reverence my son.” But this was not the case. They laid hold of him, cast him out, and killed him.
- Could it be God, sends his son as humanity's last chance. At the game of life, God throws in all his chips to send his Son to finally reveal, and show humanity to live out the fullness of humanity in the Kingdom of God. We see this all through the parables in the gospels. Jesus passion is his Fathers passion...the voice of the prophets passion...the Kingdom of God.
- Could it be the same principalities and powers of darkness that have always roamed the earth, corrupted the empire of the day to inflict injustice, oppression...a life void of the abundant and just life that comes from being plugged into God. Could it be the empire deceived by the principalities and powers of darkness accused Jesus...and murdered Jesus.
- Could it be not so much a sacrifice for sin...but a horrid murder by the principalities and powers of darkness.
- Could it be on the cross, the principalities and powers of darkness were high-fiving each other that they had finally defeated the Kingdom of God. That now they would control the mind and imagination of humanity...this would be the new world order.
- Could it be Miraculously, God smashed his fist on the " reset " button of evolving creation and said " Hell No!" and in the pursuing after shocks the stone rolled away...and God resurrected Jesus and the Kingdom. The principalities and powers of darkness were finally conquered.
- So, I think belief for me, moves me into the profound mystery of the cross, that Jesus did conquer death and evil ( the principalities and powers of darkness ) , and by faith, I move into the resurrection, I move into the radical scandalous life and teaching of Jesus found in the gospels. Through the spirit of God, that profound mystery is embedded in my DNA. It is no longer I that lives, but Jesus with in me.
- Here plugged into this new life, the new creation, the kingdom of God...he calls me, and humanity to be collaborators with him building his Kingdom now...and at the same time pointing to when the fullness of his Kingdom will come into being.
- It's almost as if it is that answering of those profound words in Jesus prayer, " Father, may your Kingdom come, on earth as in heaven." It is the profound redemptive mystery of God and humanity emerging into one.