Archives for the month of: March, 2016

I’ve grown up in theology and philosophical thinking. I’ve argued most topics over and over for more than four decades. I’ve never encountered universalism much. It has always been too shallow to consider. However, it has come up again and again for some years now, and lately, it has been put right in my lap, virtually, at least. I’m not really working much at what follows. So, I’m sure it will be even more rambling than normal for me, and less cohesive. Again, it isn’t something I’ve ever taken seriously. It is too silly to do so. It is wishful thinking, pie-in-the-sky thinking. Since so many would seem to end up eternally separated from us, we pine. We rationalize. We pretend it will all eventually be alright. Some day that evil, heinous monster of a relative who hurt everyone he ever came in contact with will be made right, repentant, and redeemed, because as bad as he was, eternal torture is just too unconscionable to bear. Blood is thicker than water, and all that.

However, the bible is quite clear that many will spend eternity separated from God.

Jesus was quite clear that many will be cast out, even tormented for eternity. He said so while on earth before his death and resurrection, and he said so after in the revelation to John. There is no doubt. No room for speculation.

The goats and the sheep are about as clear as is possible.

In Revelation 3:4, they walked with him, clothed in white, because they were worthy.

One cannot become worthy by spending a moment in hell-fire. Penance isn’t biblical. Christ paid the price. The punishment has been met. There is no sin problem. There is only a heart problem, and those who choose not to submit their hearts will spend eternity separated from God.

The 25th chapter of Matthew shows clearly that Jesus knew that many would reject him eternally.

The Final Judgment

31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Verse 41 can be translated, “Get away from me, I cursed you!”

He told them to go to eternal fire forever.
The word for fire means fire, but it often carries connotations of eternal fire. The word forever is “age-during” or aeon, but it clearly carries permanence in the meaning as used. “αἰώνιον” [αἰώνιος, ία, ιον]

It is ridiculous to consider the meaning as a-long-time. No, it is the same context as the eternal life (same word) of the believer, the redeemed. Moreover, Jesus clarifies that this is the fire prepared for the adversary and all his demons. It is simply ridiculous to suppose this fire as other than truly eternal in the simple sense of forever and ever!


These into just, fitting, punishment age-during! Indeed, the righteous into life age-during!
Same word: αἰώνιον and αἰώνιον
Same context, same meaning. Choose whatever meaning you like, because you will anyway. The New Testament consistently states we, the redeemed, have life age-during. This word,  αἰώνιον, cannot be construed to mean some length of time. It is timeless, beyond all ages, forever. Peter states that Christ’s glory is age-during. Same word.

Jesus, in the same story, in the same sentence, said κόλασιν (just, fitting, punishment) αἰώνιον  (age-during) AND ζωὴν (life, existence) αἰώνιον (age-during). There can be no doubt that Jesus intended the same meaning for the two phrases. Everlasting punishment for the selfish and everlasting life for the righteous givers.

Matthew 7, 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Jesus specifically said not everyone will get into heaven. Plainly! Jesus said he knows who are his, and he clearly says that he never knew these lawless ones. Never knew them, never.

Revelation 20: 11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

I mean, come on! Duh! Second death can mean nothing other than eternal separation from God. Forever! Even θάνατος and ᾅδης are thrown in there. If the people thrown in come out, shouldn’t we expect death and hades too?

In verse 10, just before, the lake of fire is described as being for the age of the ages. It is not possible to state eternity more clearly or forcefully. Forever and ever amen.

Backing up to Revelation 14:9And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Tortured and tormented, and the smoke of the torment to the ages of the ages, forever.

In 19:3 the smoke of Babylon goes up to the ages of the ages, forever.

These words are harsh, hard, cruel.

How do we square it? It is hard. It seems John went out of his way to say it was all just, justified. I would suppose he had a problem with it too.

There it is.

It is silly, superficial, and wishful to suppose God uses time after this earth, after our cosmos. We have our time. Time is a gift of love and grace. Without time there’d be no time to change, time to be tried, humbled and broken, time to hear the words of love spoken. And then, it is gone. New heaven and new earth–eternity.

God is timeless. Eternity is incomprehensible. To suppose that eventually God gets through to everyone is to suppose that God is bound by time. Not so. Not so.

There is so much more to it. So much more than we can even comprehend. It is literally not possible to know all. It is not even possible to study everything in the natural cosmos, much less in the spirit, in religion from the immediate and practical to the ultimate and eternal. We cannot know it all, not even collectively, not even with a trillion years to grow, expand, and try. And it is unreasonable to suppose our universe, the cosmos will remain that long.

We cannot know it all. We cannot understand God. We cannot reconcile all the bible says. We cannot reconcile all we see and do know.

Our experience exceeds our abilities continuously. We simply cannot figure it all out.

It does help a little to recognize that most of the things we consider bad are just part of life. The only true evil is when one harms, coerces, or defrauds another.

To suppose that God will coerce souls through some trial of torment is ridiculous. It is evil to suppose it. Time is pointless. As I’ve stated, God is timeless, but what is time in eternity? How long would someone suggest for punishment?

Again, Jesus met the punishment. Paying the penalty, paying the debt to society (in the heavenly-kingdom sense) isn’t the point. The point is you get to be with God or you get to be separated from God. Jesus stated a truth we know, there is no greater love than to lay down ones life. God loves us. Jesus showed us in a way we knew.

Accept it or reject it. I believe in the just and merciful judge. I believe that judgement comes to one and all and mercy and justice are satisfied. At some point, for each and every soul, that judgement is handed down. It is set at that point. Nothing can change it. Justice demands it. Mercy approves it. It is forever and ever.


Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

There are numerous duplications of effort in the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP): from multiple U.S.-funded climate-modeling groups, to multiple producers of the same climate-related data. Why are taxpayers supporting all of those duplications of effort?

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Terry Scott Taylor panegyrized the stark harshness of our times when, with Daniel Amos, he had a father explain that for some of us, our lot in life is steel rain.

Larry Norman pointed out years before that life was filled with guns and war, and everyone got trampled on the floor.

He went on to point out:

the politicians all make speeches
while the news men all take note
and they exaggerate the issues
as they shove them down our throats
is it really up to them
whether this country sinks or floats
well i wonder who would lead us
if none of us would vote

and your money says in God we trust
but it’s against the law to pray in school
you say we beat the russians to the moon
and i say you starved your children to do it
you say all men are equal all men are brothers
then why are the rich more equal than others
don’t ask me for the answer i’ve only got one
that a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son

Government is the greatest threat we still face.

Those who think it important to hurt people and increase overall costs of most everything, and especially those who think incinerating birds in flight is a important, might think the waste is worthwhile.

Watts Up With That?

Last week we reported that the Ivanpah solar power plant might be forced to close if it didn’t get a break from the California Public Utilities Commission. According to this article in the Press Enterprise, it got the break:

California electric utility regulators on Thursday, March 17, approved a deal between Pacific Gas & Electric and the owners of Ivanpah solar plant that gives plant operators more time to increase electricity production.

The plant’s owners have agreed to pay PG&E an undisclosed sum in exchange for getting time to improve the plant’s electricity output. The deal followed realizations that the plant is failing to meet its production obligations to the utility.

In return, PG&E won’t declare that its power purchase agreement with the plant owners is in default.

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the deal during a meeting in San Francisco – despite objections by the Office…

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Not in-depth, but its thermodynamics, mathematics, and chemistry (in other words, you can figure it out if you want to). So, the short version, the ocean is entirely too complex to suppose driving your SUV matters to it.

Watts Up With That?

Guest essay by James R. Barrante, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor of Physical Chemistry, Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT

It is well-known that ocean pH has decreased from approximately 8.2 pH units to 8.1 pH units in the last 150 years. One explanation is that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels is responsible. This is based on a law of physical chemistry, known as Henry’s Law, that states: if the partial pressure of a gas over a solution is increased, the concentration of the dissolved gas in the solution will increase. Since dissolved CO2 is a weak acid, one would expect the pH of the oceans to decrease.

Describing Henry’s Law in this simple manner, however, is a very narrow interpretation of the boundaries of the system. For example, the above statement of Henry’s Law is only valid, if the temperature of the…

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Did your head explode?

Watts Up With That?

I happened upon this during my travels  and thought it was a hilarious commentary on energy and politics. I’m guessing it will make some conservative and liberal heads explode equally well.


P.S. As I understand it, it is actually a working oil pump, not just a derelict with a decoration. It was in motion as I took the photo. Whether it is producing or not I can’t say, as it was behind a fence and this photo was taken through a gap in the fence.

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To ensure US citizens notice, Pointman isn’t from the states, but he sure manages to keep the pulse of America.

Spot on. For better or for worse.


A number of years back, I wrote an article about what I called political fracture points. In summary, it discussed the cyclical nature of changes in government; one party falling out of favour with the electorate and spending a decade or so in the wilderness rebuilding itself to become once more electable. Usually by the time they complete the rebuild, the incumbent party itself has had just enough time in power to become decadent and despised by the electorate. In one form or another, the battle cry of the switch of government election is a variation of “it’s time for a change”.

In the years following WWII, if not earlier, most real democracies had entrenched a political landscape that consisted of a major left-wing party, a major right-wing party and a few tiddler parties who were all things to all men for the percentage of the electorate who really didn’t…

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I came across a local TV news blurb saying the about-to-be-constructed highway (turnpike) connecting I-44 and I-40 in East Oklahoma County will cut through the very edge of a Girl Scout Camp, Camp Cookieland.

Okay, yes, and they should work with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to work things out and disrupt the small camp as little as possible. A couple of the local TV stations have already covered the subject, and most news outlets around here are covering the overall turnpike situation. It is necessary, and it will be hard on some folks, but our area needs the highway, and sooner will be easier than later. It is a matter of safety, first, and economic development, and it improves the likely longevity of Tinker Air Force Base, which is incalculable in value to Oklahoma, especially Oklahoma County.

Here is a graphic of the situation:
GS & OTA East OK County

As you can see, I copied this straight off a Google Maps search, and edited. The light green-yellow outline is the camp. (You can verify the property records with Oklahoma County.) The orange lines approximate the nearly final location of the multilane divided highway. Yes, it will matter. It should be quite workable though.

The news report I heard indicated the Girl Scout office and administration personnel were leaving it to the girl scouts to decide. They are apparently planning a meeting for the end of March. I hope they stand up for themselves, but I also do not want to see it become too much. I’ll leave it at that, because things could get worse than I could imagine. Emotions can run high anytime something inevitable is about to happen, especially if those affected suppose something different could be done. Well, something different just affects others. I’ll trust they will be reasonable on both sides. I expect the engineers were aware as they drew the lines. I also trust that OTA is prepared to defend their decision and present what little room there will be for adjustment.

I sure hope all involved will focus on the more important aspects, stay rational, subjugate their own emotions to their own reason without external coercion, and arrive at a good solution with the least pain possible for all involved. Pain in these circumstances will be unavoidable. All of us need to recognize and acknowledge how hard this is going to be on a few for a while in order for all of us to be better off in the long run.

Again, this highway is necessary. It is inevitable. Sooner rather than later results in minimized pain and maximized benefit. Let’s all cooperate and pull together as needed.

We Oklahomans have a reputation of helping our neighbors in need. This is a time to show it.

I’m too far away to be affected by the construction, but the benefits will reach several miles in all directions. Those of us in such favorable circumstances must keep in mind we just might need to go the extra mile for our neighbors sooner or later. Let’s be mindful of our obligations and fill them when we can.

Girl Scout camp link:

A tidbit, many Girl Scout camps are being sold because the organizations responsible for them can’t make an economic case for keeping them up. I have no idea what the status of this particular camp is. I think it likely that it will be around for several years to come.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority web site for the overall effort:!northeast-ok-county-loop/uaypg

There is documentation there, and recent events. At this writing, they hadn’t added information about the public meeting in Harrah in March for announcing the nearly-final route.

One last thought, noise is a nonstarter. Look up Camp DaKaNi in Google Maps. The interstate highway and Frontier City are a half-mile away. I’ve never heard anyone mention noise, and I never consciously noticed it myself in the many days I volunteered out there.

In my experience, nobody cares about noise, except on those rare occasions an E-3 or B-1 is flying low overhead. Yeah, most everyone will cover their ears, but it flies on within a few seconds. I live about two-and-one-half miles from the runway and aircraft ramps on Tinker AFB. Many people live closer.

I grew up three blocks from a major rail line. I’ve lived within 750 feet of a major US interstate highway, and I’ve known many who’ve lived even closer to such noise sources. People seem to only have problems with such noise sources when they are warned of them. When they exist, nobody notices. Airports are exceptional, but as I said, Tinker AFB is too close and too important for any of us in Oklahoma County to complain of noise.

The Pointman has a gift. I thank him for sharing it.

Not much to this page or two, but chock full of wise bits.

Go ahead and follow the link. Enjoy.

“What a great and terrible thing it is to be a human being.”


The Earth is rotating out of night and I’m a little speck on the surface of it. It’s still dark, very early in the morning and I’m listening to Dario Marinelli’s Stars and Butterflies.

On the rare occasions I wake up in the night, I don’t tend to go back to sleep. I roll out of bed as quietly as a Ninja, so as not to disturb my woman. She’s curled up and fully snuggled under two duvets in her silky nightie with the silly frills on the bottom, still embraced by that warm sleep only women seem to possess. They glow.

I want to touch her face with the tips of my fingers but I’ve been sitting naked on the side of the bed for a little while now, giving my body a little Spanish pause, because nowadays I have to give that wreck of the Hesperus corpus of mine some time to stoke up…

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What is socialism, even in the ideal, if not state-enforced charity?

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Is not this a direct injunction directly from the mouth of our lord against socialism?

 With socialism, not only does our left hand know what our right is doing, but so does half the government.

 Forced charity, forced humility, is worthy of no accolades.

Enlightening. Good answer. Still, as so often the case, more questions arise.

Is That in the Bible?

Luke’s parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is remarkable for several reasons. It is the only Gospel parable in which a character is named. It seemingly has no parallel in the other Synoptics. It is often thought to be based on a pagan folktale. And it presents a view of the afterlife that is utterly unique in the Bible.

Figuring out the author’s intent with this parable has been a challenge, and many differing opinions have been offered. I’d like to look at some of the sources Luke may have drawn upon, and what message I think the parable is intended to convey. There are also some connections with the other Gospels that might get overlooked by most readers.

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