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thoughts on sin and hell


From an email to a friend...




I think our society has totally abused the concept of sin and hell and probably even the concept of grace. Someday I'll actually have read enough to put this in theological terms (and probably correct a few errors). For now, the best I can do is to say that I understand that sin is not some horrible, heinous crime that a person commits. It's simply an act that puts distance between the person and God. Sometimes it's intentional, but many times it's totally unintentional. Everyone has done something that separates him/her from God, and the whole point of the concept of grace is that we are given an open door to renew that relationship without having any previous actions held over our head.



I also suspect that our society's concept of hell is very inaccurate--maybe because of problems with Biblical translations but probably because of things said in an effort to push people to "get saved." The familiar concept of hell portrays a place of eternal torment. That to me implies that whoever goes there would be alive to experience it, but at the same time the wages of sin is death. This is one of those contradictory concepts I haven't figured out, and actually it's this kind of stuff that makes me want to study theology. I know what God has done in my personal life, but I crave an understanding of how it fits into the big picture. I grew up with a lot of false beliefs which seemed very natural and sound to me until I started to think about what they meant in relation to other things. It was one of these false beliefs that made me choose to live my life as a Christian. Fortunately, God is bigger than false beliefs and He worked in my life anyway. Finding out that my whole "salvation experience"" was based on a false belief was painful, and it actually made me want to just give the whole experience up. But I've come too far for that. Nobody goes into a faith choice with all the answers, and the whole point of the Christian life for me is getting into a deeper relationship with God, like I would with anyone I know.


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Sarah Blake LaRose
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