Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Our outrage internationally of this cruel execution of a fighter pilot of Muslim faith, by radical Muslim terrorists has us understandably shaken. What ever happened to the Geneva Rules of captured enemies.
Our history has a sad string of this painful method of execution by divided people. Catholics against Protestants, Orthodox against supposed heretics. It is barbaric, and evil.
I must state the obvious and say that is why my understanding of the language of scripture makes such references to fire, ie Lake of Fire is that these are figures of speech and not literal. Fire is an element of combustion that has kept us warm, cooked our food, and even runs our combustion engines. Jesus use of Gehenna, (hell is a very bad translation of the word btw.) described a valley, the valley of Hinnom, Ge Henna, outside the south gate of the city of Jerusalem, where the unclaimed bodies of executed criminals were burned along with the rubbish from town, and after war the bodies of enemies killed were burned there, cremated as it were. He warned Israel that there rebellion may cause their enemies to throw their defeated bodies on that heap some day.
The rains washed the ashes towards the Dead Sea, the salty sea where nothing lives. The Jews told stories of fiery pits near the Dead Sea like the ones that rained fire and brimstone upon the residents of Sodom and Gommorah. They called the Dead Sea the Lake of Fire.
The Gospel heralds better things, a newer announcement, good news, that God is actually kind and not cruel, that mercy triumphs over justice, and burning forever in fire that is not quenched is not what literally happens. God help us to find that better story.