What is Hell? (Part One)

Hel-Statue-norse-mythology

Odin contemplated the girl [named Hel], and he remembered his dreams. Then Odin said, “This child will be the ruler of the deepest of the dark places, and ruler of the dead of all the nine worlds. She will be the queen of those poor souls who die in unworthy ways — of disease or of old age, of accidents or in childbirth. Warriors who die in battle will always come to us here in Valhalla. But the dead who die in other ways will be her folk, to attend her in her darkness.”

For the first time since she had been taken from her mother, the girl Hel smiled, with half a mouth.

Odin took Hel down to the lightless world, and he showed her the immense hall in which she would receive her subjects, and watched as she named her possessions. “I will call my bowl Hunger,” said Hel. She picked up a knife. “This is called Famine. And my bed is called Sickbed.”*

***

The kingdom of the dead was ruled by one of the twelve great Olympians, Hades [or Pluto]… It is often called by his name, Hades. It lies, the Iliad says, beneath the secret places of the earth. In the Odyssey, the way to it leads over the edge of the world across Ocean. In later poets there are various entrances to it from the earth through caverns and beside deep lakes.

Tartarus and Erebus are sometimes two divisions of the underworld, Tartarus the deeper of the two, the prison of the Sons of Earth; Erebus where the dead pass as soon as they die. Often, however, there is no distinction between the two, and either is used, especially Tartarus, as a name for the entire lower region.†

***

“And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell [Hades]: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”‡

***

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment … The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement to be punished…§

***

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell [Gehenna].”||

***

“If I wait, the grave [Sheol] is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.”¶

***

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.**

***

* Gaiman, Neil. Norse Mythology. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017, page 81.
† Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Little, Brown and Company, 1942, page 42.
‡ Matthew 11:23
§ 2 Peter 2:4,9
|| Matthew 5:29
¶ Job 17:13-16
** Dante Inferno. Words above the gates to Hell.

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Jesus an Idol

Progressive Christians are so aghast at the idea that the Old Testament is a true portrayal of God, that they, rather than going full-on atheist (an atheist being one who calls God a liar rather than being one who denies God’s existence) they accuse the O.T. authors of being liars, and from there, recreate Jesus into their own image. They make Jesus into an idol. You would think that wouldn’t be possible, but they’ve done it.

I’ve seen Jesus made an idol here in S.E. Asia — the Jesus shrine hanging on the wall next to the Buddha shrine — and Progressive Christianity is no different than that; only a more sophisticated idolatry.

Related reading:

Postmodern Jesusism

Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God

Explaining Postmodernism

Are Progressive Christians the only ones guilty of making Jesus into an idol?

jesusgun

Constitutions and Marriage Vows

Second marriage vows.When two people get married, they speak their vows. Now, even though those two people will change over the following ten, twenty, thirty years, the vows will remain the same for the life of the marriage. If the husband says after twenty years, “Our marriage vows are outdated. I think we should rewrite them to fit our current situation more accurately,” what he’s really saying is, “I want our marriage as it has been for the last twenty years to end, and I want to create an entirely new marriage.”

It is the same with a nation’s constitution. The constitution, as written by the nation’s founders, is meant to remain unchanged for the lifespan of that nation. When you hear people saying that it’s time to update the constitution, what they’re really saying is that they want a revolution — they want a new nation.

Related reading:

The Age of Empires

There’s no Going Back

Revolutions & Counter-revolutions

Perplexity of Rats and Dogs

pavlovexperiment

I, like most people, get frustrated when working in unpredictable situations. I worked many years in construction, and even though I don’t anymore, I still oversee the occasional construction project or some other kinds of projects. Nothing drives me crazy quicker than being told wrong information which causes me to make faulty plans. If the unpredictable conditions persist, it becomes impossible to function and the work stalls.

Following is an excerpt of an essay titled Visual Presentation of Social Matters written by Michael Polanyi…

Perplexity of Rats and Dogs

Even rats and dogs cannot live in perplexity. Take three sets of rats: give one set a meal a day; give the other set the same meal only every second day; and restrict the third group to a meal on every third day. All three groups will thrive (…) But take a fourth set of rats and feed them at periods varying irregularly between one and three days and you will see the rats of this set die. They get more than the [fed only every third day] rats, yet while those prosper on their meager diet [the irregularly fed rats] perish because their organism is thrown into a state of confusion, all their reflexes of digestion are dislocated, they die of perplexity.

Dogs are more human than rats, and so the experiment by which Pavlov drove his dogs mad shows us even more closely what is wrong with ourselves. He trained a dog to expect food when a luminous circle appeared on a screen, and to recognize that no food would come when a flat ellipse with a ratio of semiaxis 2:1 was produced. The dog learned to differentiate precisely between the circle and the ellipse, showing signs of appetite when the former, not when the latter was shown. The shape of the ellipse was then approximated by stages to that of the circle (ratios of the semiaxis 3:2, 4:3 and so on) and the training of discrimination continued through the successive ellipses. The dog found it increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ellipses and the circle and finally, when the ellipse was given a ratio of 9:8 he became quite uncertain in his discrimination. But Pavlov tried to educate him to the limit and continued with this experiment for three weeks. The result, however, was no improvement in the dog’s training but a total breakdown of his discriminating power. At the end he could not see the difference even between the at 2:1 ellipse and the circle. The dog’s behaviour also underwent a complete change. It began to squeal in its stand, kept wriggling about, tore off with his teeth the apparatus and bit through various tubes. In short, as Pavlov says, it fell into the condition of an acute neurosis.

This dog broke down when his powers of understanding were overstrained. They were overstrained when it became too difficult for him to distinguish between the symbols signifying food and hunger. His happiness was destroyed, not by need of supplies but by what Pavlov describes as a conflict between excitation and inhibition which its brain found too difficult to resolve.

Notice the last sentence: “His happiness was destroyed, not by need of supplies but by … a conflict between excitation and inhibition.”

pavlovs-dogs-mark-stiversIt reminds me of Proverbs 13:12…

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Predictability, habit, and routine are good things in life, and the best excitement is the one that comes as a result of hard work and planning. It is a battle though, and can easily be frustrated.

The best things you can do to overcome perplexity are to remove all unpredictable elements in your life as much as possible, focus on always telling the truth, and expecting the same from those around you.