Reviewing Lee Salisbury’s Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?: Contradictions In Holy Scripture: Regarding the “Whole” World, and Regarding the Creation.

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We have read many scriptures to this point of this review of Mr. Salisbury’s work. Each scripture we’ve examined stands on its own. Nothing needs to be added to them to make them understandable. No other scripture is necessary to help us unlock what any of those scriptures truly mean.

We have discussed how the orthodoxy has to contradict scripture to sustain their doctrine of eternal conscious torment. The doctrine cannot stand unless the verses we’ve discussed are declared to mean something different than the plain, simple interpretation they deserve.

We look lastly at scriptures regarding the whole world and those scriptures regarding the creation. The orthodoxy has to contradict these verses so their doctrine of eternal conscious torment remains alive.

It is important to remember there are consequences for misapplying scripture and creating doctrines not intended to be gleaned from scripture. If only by chance the doctrine of “eternal punishment” is not true, then all those preaching it run the risk of losing their share “in the tree of life and in the holy city….”

If the doctrine of “eternal punishment” is even possibly untrue, it should not be taught. It seems to me a person dedicated to presenting the Gospel of Christ Jesus to others would want to tell only the Truth; that is the Truth that is not doubted.

1 John 2:2

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Christ Jesus was obedient to His Father to the point of dying on a cross. Christ Jesus died on that cross for the clearing of my account. My sins are no longer recorded. Christ Jesus paid my account in full. Not only has he cleared my account He has cleared the accounts “for the sins of the whole world.”

His death was not in vain.

There is nothing here to suggest that His death was for the sins of the whole believing world only. He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.”

Mark 16:15

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”

Here Jesus is giving instructions to His Disciples. “Go into all the world.” Gather yourselves and prepare to carry the gospel. Jesus commands that gospel be presented to the “whole creation.”

Did Jesus mean just a few? What about those that never heard the gospel? There were some of those. Not everyone in Jerusalem heard the gospel. There are places on the earth that have not yet given the Word of God or His Gospel. Missionaries do all they are able to spread the gospel to the “whole creation,” but we have to be open to the strong likelihood some people never heard the gospel. There are some alive today that will not hear the Gospel of Christ before they die.

The orthodoxy does not believe the gospel will go out to the “whole creation.” Some in the orthodoxy believe God chose them to hear the gospel and they were saved by His choice. Some of the orthodoxy believe they chose to hear the gospel and chose to believe. That’s convenient and supports their personal theology. The proponents of eternal conscious torment will not suffer the consequences they will on others.

Col 1:21-23

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

This is interesting. Moments ago I made an assertion that there are some who are alive today and have not heard the Gospel. Verse 23 dismisses that assertion because “…the gospel you heard…has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven.”

“All creation” has received the Gospel. It has been proclaimed to “all creation under heaven.” The blessed hope.

“All creation” receives the gospel and “every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the Glory of the Father.”

What good news! What a Gospel!

Rom 8:20-21

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

We are “the creation.” Each and every person ever created or to ever be created will be placed into lives of futility. No person ever wanted to be put in such a state of hopelessness. Creation does not choose to be placed in life to be hopeless.

God places us in this position of futility. He allows us to flail in stormy waters and to swim against the current. He lets us make choices that are contrary to Him. He lets us live lives of futility.

God wants us to see Him as our Lord, Savior, King. He wants us to see the key to living that sets “creation free.” It is my prayer that every element of creation would “free itself from its bondage to corruption….”

Nowhere in these verses do we see a reference to eternal conscious torment. We read only that God’s creation is subjected to futility and God’s hope that creation frees itself. We have every reason to believe it is God’s will that all be saved.

Revelation 5:11-14

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

What a scene! Every angel in heaven was singing. There were more angels than a person could count. The number of angels singing is indescribably large. Angels at the Throne of God singing. Elders singing praises to the Son of God.

There should be no doubt that “…every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,…” means every creature. These scriptures say nothing about any kind or size of excluded creature. “Every creature…” praises the Father and the Son.

The orthodoxy has to find excluded creatures in order for their doctrine of eternal conscious torment to be accepted. To the orthodoxy “every creature” means something less than “every creature.”

Psalm 145:8-9

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

These kinds of verses build my faith. Our God is good; so very, very good. He is love; so very, very loving. It is His will that all will be saved and “…His mercy is over all he has made.”

His grace is compounded in His grace. He is “grace upon grace.”

His mercy has no limits. “His mercy is over all that He has made.” Let’s recall:

John 1:3

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

The Son is The Father’s grace. Grace made us and grace saves us. Christ Jesus is Grace. God is merciful to all.

The orthodoxy diminishes God’s capacity for mercy. The orthodoxy would have us believe that God’s mercy is not really “over all.” God’s mercy is upon them, but those that do not agree with them are consigned to eternal conscious torment.

The orthodoxy does not want all God’s creation to be reconciled to Him. Never mind that His will is that all will be saved. Never mind that His mercy is over all. Never mind God’s power. Never mind His authority over all creation. I reiterate; it is His will that all be saved.

Mr. Salisbury posits this conclusion:

If the doctrine of “eternal punishment” is true, then not one of the above scriptures (and there are many more) can be accepted at face value. God’s ability to regenerate the spirit of man and to fulfill His own word is limited by the heartbeat of man.

That is a profound statement. It is profound in its simplicity.

All of the scriptures we have read to this point have been fairly treated. The verses stand alone. They do not require any references to other scriptures to support them. Yet, these verses are contradicted by the orthodoxy to support their false doctrine of eternal conscious torment.

The orthodoxy wrongly builds their doctrine of eternal conscious torment by their contradictions to the plain, simple meaning of the Word. Denominations have been built around these contradictions. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment has become a “tradition of man.”

Pride has led us to this place. We have denied God’s power when we say He is unable “…to regenerate the spirit of man (mankind, Adam). We have denied God’s promise when we say He is unable “…to fulfill His own Word….”

Pride has led us to this place. Lord help me to shed my pride. Help us all to see You in a Light that is all consuming fire, love, mercy. Lead us to preach. Amen.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
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