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February 15, 2012 Lecture

Course Code
Joseph Bryant

of 6
Feb 15, 2012 2/15/2012 4:13:00 PM
1) God is infinitely good and merciful father…man…eternal damnation or hell
Not a punishment imposed externally by god…make life hell
The state of those who definitively reject the fathers mercy even at the last
moment of their life
2) to describe this reality sacred scripture uses a symbolical language …the
old testament the condition of the dead had not yet been fully disclosed by
the new testament,,Christ by his resurrection conquered death and extended
his liberating power to the kingdom of the dead
they will be judged ―by what they have done‖
presents the place destined for evildoers as a fiery furnace, where people
will weep and gnash their teeth
pool of fire…whoever continues to be closed to the gospel is therefore
preparing for eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the lord
and from the glory of his might
3) images of hell that sacred scripture presents to us must be correctly the complete frustration and emptiness of life without god.
Rather than a place hell indicated the state of those who freely and
definitively separate themselves from god the source of all life and joy.
Eternal damnation therefore is not attributed to gods initiative
4)demons…thought of hell and even less the improper use of biblical images
must not create anxiety or despair
father accept this offering from your whole family save us from final
damnation and count is among those you have chosen
social genesis of hell and heaven
the appeals of heaven ―pie in the sky when you die?‖
Feuerbach : heaven is the key to the deepest mysteries of religion
An ideological stabilization mechanism? All is made right in the afterlife thus
tolerating what is wrong in this life? Cf. Marxist critiques: promise of
―heaven‖ in the sky sanctions ―hell‖ (exploitation, oppression) on the earth…
To offer consolation for suffering with the promise of amends or justice in
the life to come afterlife beliefs a regulative for worldly existence: endure
poverty, oppression, injustice, inequality, persecution, ascetic renunciation…
Afterlife beliefs are regulative for worldly existence: endure poverty,
oppression, injustice, inequality, persecution, ascetic renunciation….
Earth is a different place, when it lies between a heaven and a hell….
Is heaven a place? Or a state of mind/heart?
Major difference between popular views ->theological/philosophical
Axial age (c.800 BCE 200 BCE) Karl Jaspers concept Achsenzeit ) for the
evolutionary period in religious-cultural history in the civilization seed-beds
of the orient and occident a millennium of creative thought during which
the spiritual foundations of humanity were laid simultaneously and
independently…and these are the foundations upon which we continue to
live‖ (the origin and goal of history)
Greek philosophy Plato, Aristotle
Zoroastrianism and cosmic dualism
Jewish monotheism the prophets
Hinduism monotheism the Upanishads
Some of these developed as religions of salvation
--holding out the possibility of liberation from suffering to their followers:
1) mystical re-union with the divine or transcendent
2)attainment of nirvana/moksha or higher rebirths with the transmigration
of soul
3)heavens paradise temporary or eternal, following a day or moment of
what endures? What is saved or liberated? Soulbody
salvific beliefs introduce ―tensions with the world‖ (weber) as the world to
come or the transcendence of this world gains primacy
the traditional polytheisms were basically world accommodating or affirming
and the blessings or rewards were correspondingly this worldly: longevity,
progeny, wealth, health, victory and conquest, pleasures etc
with salvation religions, notions of saved, liberate and damned lost are
paradise the eternal garden of bliss, tranquility, fulfillment etc
from the Persian pairidaeza ―garden, walled enclosure‖ hunting park
via greek paradeisos for the Persian royal gardens of Sanskrit paradesha
―beyond‖ or ―supreme country/land‖ in semitic languages: akkadian
oaradesur, Hebrew pardes, Aramaic pardaysa, Arabic firdaws
sociological implication from c2500 BC down through the bronze age who
lived the most pleasurable and comfortable mode of existence? The great
kings, pharaohs, emperors, and their royal families and courtly supporters
from the natural beauty and purity of Dilmun (the lush Sumerian paradise)
ad the garden of Eden (of the Hebrew scriptures) and similar early pristine
paradises, the depictions of paradise become increasingly filled with royal
symbolism and even the gods are depicted upon thrones in palaces in
splendid cities with cultivated gardens and parks