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Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Sat Oct 20, 2018 6:26 am




Given empirical knowledge of the apparent nature of existence (that it only appears in the form of a person and that which the person experiences), one can make an induction about the nature of the external world based on the nature of human consciousness. consciousness).

Human consciousness essentially consists of a single first-person subject of experiences and the experiences springing upon the subject at any given moment in time. The experiences that appear and disappear before and within the subject exist in seven distinct “modes” or modalities categorized by the anagram VAGOTET:

V=Visual Perception or Vision (Sense of Sight)


A=Auditory Perception or Audition (Sense of Sound or Hearing)


G=Gustatory Perception or Gustation (Sense of Taste)


O=Olfactory Perception or Olfaction (Sense of Smell)


T=Tactile Perception or Taction (Sense of Touch and/or Inward Biological Feel)


E=Emotional Experience (in the modes of Positive, Negative, or Neutral)


T=Thought (Mental perception in the form of visual and verbal thought in the form of memories and ideas, and dreams)


At any given moment in time, human consciousness resides within a particular Frame of VAGOTET: a “moving picture frame” of a specific example of VAGOTET occurring to a person at a certain moment in time. Humans and other forms of consciousness do nothing but shift, moment by moment, from one frame of VAGOTET to the next.

(Note: Certain conscious beings do not possess the entire anagram. For example, a blind person exists as ongoing frames of -AGOTET while a deaf person exists as shifting frames of V-GOTET.)

The State of The External World In The Absence of Mind-Independent Doppelgangers of the Content of Visual Perception

If there are no mind-independent doppelgangers of the content of visual perception and (given the existence of consciousness as a hint as to what exists in the external world) the external world consists of nothing but conscious experience or the material used to make up conscious experience, the fact that persons exist implies the external world tends to produce persons (as it constantly cranks out persons).


A person may be reductively explained as a temporary (or eternal) series of connected frames of VAGOTET.

Aside from persons, using the ever-changing or transitory nature of conscious experience as a guide, the external world may consist of a psychic substance or matter that is divided in quality and property into seven elements (the seven forms of consciousness or VAGOTET).


The seven elements of the psychic substance existing in (or making up) the external world, using the complex organization of person-consciousness as a guide, most likely exist in the form of particles of the seven types of conscious experience: the seven types of PSYCHEONS that comprise every person that shall ever exist. Psycheons are the quantum of consciousness, particles of the seven elements of subjective experience, the modes of VAGOTET in miniaturized from (compare Chalmer’s panprotopsychism without the physical “candy shell”).


Each Psycheon or particle of VAGOTET corresponds to each and every experience of every being that shall ever exist in the whole of eternity (infinite time) and infinity (infinite space). The existence of any person in this simplest explanation of the origin of consciousness vitally depends upon the chance existence of every Psycheon making up every frame of VAGOTET in the entire series of a person’s existence from birth to death, from birth to eternity, or from eternity to eternity.

There is probably no need to reduce Psycheons or psychic particles to “Planck size”, as this involves extra imaginary work in reducing particles of VAGOTET to a size wherein there is no lesser height, width, length, and sensation before imaginatively building these into the particles of VAGOTET making up every person that can exist (as the existence of a persons depends upon whether or not their particular particles of VAGOTET exist).

Either way, regardless of whether or not one begins with particles of VAGOTET, analogized as the “jigsaw puzzle pieces” of every experience a person shall have from birth to death, birth to eternity, or eternity to eternity (each fragment having an irreducible microscopic “size” that is the most minimal form of the subjective experience of the person that can be recognized as a fragment of that person—or further reduces microscopic experience to an unrecognizable minimum that cannot be recognized as any person but is entailed to aggregate into all persons) the existence of actual persons implies the external world probably contains Psycheons corresponding to each person that does, can, or shall exist.

The logic of the existence of Psycheons is comparable to the logic of the existence of physical sub-atomic particles or atoms of the Standard Model of Physics. It is a basic induction that objects, environments, and the bodies of persons are probably did not eternally exist as complete, indivisible wholes but are collectives of smaller entities that “Lego block” into macroscopic objects.

The reasoning starts out from the claim that such macroscopic objects as the earth, trees, people, mountains, and individual stars are first fully formed as such by causal processes from earlier, more primitive states. Thus such macro-objects each have their own respective beginnings in time in at least the following sense: For each of them, there is a time such that it did not exist in its final form before then, but did exist as of then or since. Incidentally, without additional theory, the correctness of this claim of temporal origin is by no means obvious in regard to all elementary particles, for example, some of which might conceivably have existed in their present form throughout all past time. But let us grant the claim for macro-objects.

-Adolf Grunbaum, The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology

If it is accepted that there are physical particles (some of which may have existed for eternity in their present form according to Grunbaum) that make up every mind-independent doppelganger of the content of visual perception, it is not out of the question that if mind-independence does not exist, the existence of consciousness and every person is probably explicable to psychical particles that, using the existence of actual conscious experience as evidence, are fragments of the particular subjective experiences of every person that can and shall exist.


Studies at the Oak Ridge Atomic Research Center have revealed that about 98 percent of all the atoms in a human body are replaced every year. You get a new suit of skin every month and a new liver every six weeks. The lining of your stomach lasts only five days before it’s replaced. Even your bones are not the solid, stable, concrete-like things you might have thought them to be: They are undergoing constant change. The bones you have today are different from the bones you had a year ago. Experts in this area of research have concluded that there is a complete, 100 percent turnover of atoms in the body at least every five years. In other words, not one single atom present in your body today was there five years ago.

(Skeptics posit that there is no turnover of atoms in neural DNA and tooth enamel)

-Stack Exchange: Skeptics-Are All The Atoms In Our Bodies Replaced On A Regular Basis?

If it is believed that there are mind-independent turnover of atoms making up the human body (regardless of whether or not one accepts the percentage and rate of change in the quote above), in the absence of mind-independent atoms and doppelgangers of the content of visual perception, it is not out of the question that there may be turnover of the psychical particles making up a deceased person as opposed to magical cessation of existence of the person or a necessary irrevocable disintegration of psychic or mental particles.


The binary code of man’s belief in what happens after death is a choice between eternal oblivion or continuance of personal consciousness in some form. One can take the “easy way out” and go with eternal oblivion, but must admit to quasi-religious faith that the external world and the mechanisms within it have ordained that to be the only fate of man, or there is the logical and metaphysical possibility that mechanisms in the external world are naturally compelled to re-form deceased consciousness. One can settle in the easy chair with the binary “0” of atheistic view of death or “take the hard path” of providing convincing argument for the logical possibility of the binary “1”: the re-formation of deceased consciousness into either the same person, a different version of the same person, an amalgamation of the deceased and another person (the Author proposes a God or other cosmic entity), or an entirely new person.

When considering what is probably the most logical imagination of what happens to a person after death, in light of the probable eternal existence of consciousness and non-existence of mind-independence, one is left with either Eternal Disintegration of consciousness or Reintegrated Consciousness.


Atheistic view of death may be maintained in a universe or reality in which the physical does not exist. In a domain of Ernst Mach’s Phenomenalism, a person is a construction of sense-data (and mental data and emotion data) that is “jigsaw puzzle pieced” into a particular person and everything that person experiences from birth to death. Death, in Machian terms is just the disintegration of the psychical or mental particles making up the person or the reversion of a person from the reality of experience to Mach’s ‘permanent possibility of experience’.

If there is something about the particular particles making up a person and their experience that allowed integration in the first place, eternal disintegration of the person involves:

(i) Either brute, arbitrary essential change in each particle upon the death of the person or further decay of each person particle into fundamental or irreducible particles that undergo brute, arbitrary essential change such that the fundamental particles can no longer be considered the lowest possible disintegration of that person (both involve the “magic” of strong emergence in which something inexplicably transforms into an entirely different or new form of existence)

The plausibility of strong emergence is questioned by some as contravening our usual understanding of physics. Mark A. Bedau observes:

Although strong emergence is logically possible, it is uncomfortably like magic. How does an irreducible but supervenient downward causal power arise, since by definition it cannot be due to the aggregation of the micro-level potentialities? Such causal powers would be quite unlike anything within our scientific ken. This not only indicates how they will discomfort reasonable forms of materialism. Their mysteriousness will only heighten the traditional worry that emergence entails illegitimately getting something from nothing.

-Mark A. Bedau, Weak Emergence

(ii) There are forces between each particle formerly forming a particular person that continually push each particle apart (probably each person-particle is continually blocked by spatially intermittent particles that remain forever in their way, producing local forces that push each person-particle apart away, preventing re-integration (involves weak emergence in which the particles making up a particular person were always particles of that person for eternity before their aggregation into the person, and eternally remain particles of that person in eternal separation).

If consciousness cannot come into existence from previous non-existence or cease to exist and if consciousness when not in the form of persons and their experiences primarily exist in fragmented or particle form, if atheistic view of death is maintained by eternal separation of mental particles formerly making up a deceased person, an Afterlife is nothing more that re-integration of mental particles into a person.


If an Afterlife ultimately entails re-integration of mental particles into persons following the death of persons (disintegration of person-particles), for the same person to persist following death certain particles of the previous person must re-integrate, even if combined with new psychical or mental particles that make up a new incarnation or psychic form of the deceased. If no particle making up the previous person re-integrates, there is no Afterlife but mere formation of new persons.

The necessity for preservation of the psychic particles of the deceased for the existence of an Afterlife is analogous to transhumanist philosopher Max More’s belief that for a deceased person to “resurrect” through the creation of a new brain, some aspect of the old brain must factor into the creation of the new, even if the aspect is informational continuity, in which information regarding the patterns of old neural interconnectivity and function were applied to the new brain despite destruction or discarding of the old brain:

Gervais' reason for proffering the neocortical criterion for death is clear enough: "destruction of the neocortex has been shown to produce permanent unconsciousness and to be an empirically verifiable pattern of brain destruction prior to the failure of the organism as a whole. Since human death is the death of the person, and the death of the person occurs with permanent loss of consciousness, neocortical death is an adequate criterion for declaring death" [150-51]. And, a few pages later: "[T]he individual's essence consists in the possession of a conscious, yet not necessarily continuous, mental life; if all mental life ceases, the person ceases to exist; when the person ceases to exist, the person has died.

[Criticism: We cannot experience or observe the consciousness of another person (if so, we would be that person and not ourselves), thus we cannot experience or observe that mental life ceases to exist: one only believes mental life ceases to exist. Permanent unconsciousness to the third person observer is merely permanent absence of the body’s unresponsiveness to external stimuli and other signs such as stiffness, coldness, and all the bodily characteristics of a body that has died (ceased functioning and exhibiting the characteristics of life).

The person, meanwhile, is not essentially the body of the person and the person’s existence following cessation of bodily behavior and characteristic of life is ultimately a matter of a third person observer’s imagination and belief in whether or not the person persists or ceases to exist following cessation of function of the brain and body. The body cannot tell us whether or not the mind survived; one can only believe the mind survived, believe it disintegrated into psychic particles that persist in a psychic rather than physical external world, or believe the mind magically winks out of existence.]

Upper brain death destroys all capacity for a conscious mental life, and it is therefore the death of the person." (pp.157-58.) I will agree that the neocortical criterion, when carefully stated, is an adequate criterion for present day conditions, but will argue that it will not serve as a universally valid criterion. To establish this, I need to show that persons can continue to exist despite being neocortically dead (in either sense). To this end I will distinguish different types of continuity and evaluate their relative importance for the continuation of the self.

Structural Continuity: Atoms or molecules may gradually be replaced, but the arrangement of the parts of the body or brain persists. That is, the physical structure is maintained even though there may be a gradual turnover in the material of which it is composed. Structural continuity is static when two temporal stages of the system are qualitatively identical, and dynamic when the later stage has resulted from the earlier stage by a sufficiently gradual process involving no spatiotemporal discontinuity.

Functional Continuity: (a) Bodily functional continuity: The body and (perhaps) the brain continue to function (either autonomously or with mechanical support). Functional continuity may be maintained despite a serious loss of structural continuity. Replacement of the heart with a mechanical heart may maintain the original function despite the two organs having entirely different structures. (b) Psychological functional continuity: Personality continues to operate and act; consciousness (or the capacity for consciousness) is maintained. This may occur despite a radical change in the structure of the physical organ making consciousness possible. Loss of functional continuity may be (i) reversible or irreversible by current means, or (ii) reversible or irreversible by any empirically possible future technology.

Informational Continuity: Physical structure may be destroyed, but all the information necessary potentially to allow reconstruction of the brain (or other consciousness-support structure) and thus restoration of its function persists.

-Max More, The Terminus of the Self

An Afterlife, therefore, requires an analog of More’s Structural Continuity, involving salvage and re-integration of the mental particles making up the “old” person. It is unknown if—analogous to the belief that there are an innumerable number of electrons, protons, and neutrons so that any one of them can go into the formation of any object— there are innumerable copies of every psychic particle making up a person that could substitute for original particles if the person is re-formed.

According to More, however, some aspect of the old person must go into re-formation of the person after death (at least in terms of informational reference to if not use of material from the deceased person in reconstruction of the person’s brain). I will grant the same for psychic particles making up a deceased person as requirement for an Afterlife.

[Author’s note: the most minimal aspect of the person that can or may be salvaged is the tabula rasa or basic, ground state first-person subjective experience of the formerly deceased. This, however, negates awareness and appreciation (or abhorrence) of the formerly deceased of an afterlife situation as the consciousness of the person beyond the tabula rasa does not survive. Relevant or meaningful awareness and appreciation (or abhorrence) of the Afterlife or an afterlife situation requires re-integration of (at least) the former identity if not former personality or memories of the deceased.

More to the point, what is identity after all but an idea of “who” a person is, with identity categorized and referred to by self and others in the form of a name? One may make the argument that subjective experience qua the fact or act of experiencing is homogenous across every being in existence, having the same quality and existential state regardless of whether it exists in the form of God, Satan, or any human. Identity, then, is an aspect of thought in the form of an idea the person has (manifest in the form of a mental rather than bodily or emotional sense) that it is a particular self, distinguished from every other person in existence.]


Godless Afterlife is logically possible in the form of accidental re-integrations of mental or psychic particles previously making up a deceased person, with the deceased “waking up” to an environment (consisting of Ernst Mach’s “pure data” in the seven forms of consciousness that are mental rather than physical or mind-independent external or distal objects) that may or may not resemble the environment the deceased perceived prior to first disintegration. There are no external persons or ‘gods’ having fortuitously existing causal power to sustain the idea of, decide upon, and ensure the re-integration and post-nature and fate of deceased persons: re-integrated persons are the result of accidental, unknowing ‘proto-consciousness’ in the form of fragmented particles of a person having fortuitous proximity and valence allowing cyclic repetition or temporary or eternal maintenance of the person’s consciousness.

Godless Afterlife may involve any number of re-incarnations of the deceased, ranging from mere second life (an arbitrary, random second life followed by eternal death) to an infinite number of re-integrations. Re-integrations may yield identical or slightly altered versions of pre-death experience or alien environments that differ in appearance and behavior with each re-integration.


: governed by God : subject to God's authority

-Merriam Webster Dictionary

Theonomous Afterlife, the most famous being Judeo-Christian Afterlife, entails re-integration of the consciousness of a deceased person by a separate being having knowledge of the deceased and a desire to grant the individual a second, perhaps eternal existence. Deceased persons are resurrected through arcane causation, telekinetic re-integration, or a third causal power introduced in Part 4 of this article.




Judeo-Christian Afterlife, the most famous form of afterlife, is governed by the Judeo-Christian God, the most famous god in history (one may argue God was neither conceived nor known in far distant history, but he certainly rose to prominence and fame that will possibly last until the end of human existence).

Judeo-Christian Afterlife entails the sudden awakening of a deceased person to an alternate reality regulated by the Judeo-Christian God, who holds a court of judgment in which the deceased is karmically judged according to whether or not the person accepts the existence, life, miracles, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and lives by the Golden Rule. Depending upon the presence or absence of these qualities God sentences the person to an eternity in one of two realms.

God “will repay each person according to what they have done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile
-Romans 2: 6-10

Cessation of biological consciousness, therefore, is immediately followed (to the subjective experience of the deceased, though centuries or perhaps eons have passed between death and afterlife) by resurrection and a gathering before the throne of God to face the most dreaded event in the history of existence: THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT. The White Throne Judgment is the culmination of human history, which ends in a court in which the transhistorical population of the dead--every human that has ever existed--is 'judged according to their works' and eternally rewarded with Heaven or eternally punished in Hell.


During the Judgment, those to be sentenced to eternal bliss in Heaven find themselves standing to the right of God's Throne. Those sentenced to damnation in the fires of Hell find themselves standing to the left.


[Author’s Note: An idle point of interest are the two figures circled in blue in the illustration above currently standing before the Throne of God. The taller figure is the presenting angel, who presents the saved or the damned before God for judgment. The smaller figure, we must presume, is the human currently facing judgment. From which camp do you think this guy or girl came—the right or the left? Judging from the person’s position relative to the angel, it seems more likely the person was selected from the group to the right of God’s throne. It seems as if God is about to congratulate the person for accepting Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, for living a good, non-sociopathic life, and is about to allow the person to enter the eternal bliss of Heaven. Good job, center person!]

The tale of Judeo-Christian afterlife is immensely frightening, as humans are irrevocably consigned to either eternal life in the ethereal pleasures of Heaven or never-ending, insufferable pain in the fires of Hell. Hell is populated by non-Christians ('the unbelieving', though there is question in in Fundamentalist circles of the justice of consigning non-Christians that have never heard the name of Jesus Christ to the fires of hell), the malicious (those who consciously and unapologetically violate the Golden Rule), suicides, thieves, the sexually perverse, and more.


The material substance of Judeo-Christian Afterlife, the material substance of God, angels, demons, Satan, and spirits of the saved or the damned is generally assumed to be Ectoplasmic Spirit: a supernatural or “ghost” substance that is neither physical matter nor normative consciousness.


God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

-John 4:24

The concept of God as Spirit, the Chief Spirit of Christianity and Magic, suggests that ‘spirit’ is a supernatural substance distinct from physical energy or normal consciousness. God is often conceived as an all-powerful ghost composed of non-physical/non-conscious supernatural substance. In classical Judeo-Christian thought, man is essentially a ghost residing in a physical, animal shell.

The ghostly spirit of man supplants and replaces brain-generated consciousness (if one believes that consciousness is generated by brains) upon death: the ghostly spirit of a person “records” the deeds, feelings, and thoughts of brain-generated consciousness before brain-generated consciousness ceases to exist at death, leaving the ghostly spirit to take over as the person’s consciousness and carry the person’s life-record and mentality into the Afterlife.

The ghost of the person has the ability to travel to alternate planes of existence, achieving the abode of Gods and angels or descending to the depths of Hell. The substance of Spirit—Spiritual Ectoplasm—is an everlasting, indestructible substance that nevertheless experiences pain or pleasure: the ghostly spirits of the damned are able to suffer the blistering pain of Hell while spirits of the saved enjoy the rapturous thrill of Heaven.

What spiritual ectoplasm may be beyond whatever is dreamt up by normal consciousness is inconceivable, as we consist of and experience only normal consciousness (which is generic subjective experience). One imagines that those believing in spiritual ectoplasm conceive of what normal consciousness might be like in the third person and construct the image of a ghostly spirit in the form of animal man when thinking of the soul of a human being or a ghostly humanoid or monstrous form when representing the supernatural beings on either side of the Judeo-Christian divide.

It is possible, however, that the ancients could not conceive of the words ‘consciousness’ or ‘mentality’, and could only come up with the terms ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ to refer to normal consciousness rather than ghostly, supernatural substance.

If one denies the existence of the supernatural at least in terms of ‘spirit’ or ‘soul’ being extra-conscious ghostly substance, ‘spirit’ and ‘soul’ is only the ancient term for normative consciousness that survives bodily death and is non-brain-generated consciousness (if one accepts the non-existence of mind-independent doppelgangers of the content of visual perception). This non-brain-generated normative consciousness comprises God, angels, demons, insects, animals (if insects and animals are not philosopher’s zombies) and man.

God, therefore, is a Spirit ‘that must be worshipped in spirit and in truth’ in the sense that God consists not of ghostly ectoplasm but normal consciousness. Man is made in the image of God and therefore consists of normal consciousness. Arguably, the image in which God truly created man is not the animal primate form but a floating invisible, intangible first-person subjective experience without body or form. Man may essentially be a spirit (a non-embodied consciousness) that experiences a ‘simulated reality’ in which he seems to possess and reside in an animal body, experiencing the entire gamut of exteroceptive, proprioceptive, and sensory experiences that cause him to conclude that he possesses and exists within an external, objective body, but the experience of a body is an illusion granted by the ‘simulated reality’ that is the person’s particular form of consciousness appearing before the “eyes and mind” of the non-embodied spirit.

Ergo: man is created in the image of God, as God is a non-embodied mind or spirit. Man, therefore, is also a non-embodied spirit that experiences itself within a body, that in reality is an illusion of the ‘simulation’ that defines what the non-embodied spirit experiences.

One might say the difference between God (and Satan, angels, demons, and any other cosmic being) and man is that cosmic beings do not experience having or being ‘within’ a body (they are given “bodies” in terms of fanciful imagination of their appearance) and are naked, invisible and intangible consciousnesses (it is possible, given the hypothetical ability of Christ to mimic other humans and share in every negative experience of every human being that shall ever exist, for Christ (at least) to instantiate experience of the animal body of others (aside from the indigenous body he experienced for 33 years in the simulated reality of his experience as a human on “Earth”) though this is only an aspect of his ‘simulated reality’ of sharing the negative experience of every human being while dying on the cross. See “The Sacrifical Dream Hypothesis”).

[Note 1: Consciousness, particularly visual perception, is a simulated reality regardless of whether or not one believes there are mind-independent doppelgangers of the content of visual perception or that brains create consciousness. If consciousness can cease to exist while mind-independent doppelgangers of the content of visual perception remain in place unaffected by the disappearance of consciousness (as they are not created by brains and as such do not depend upon the brain in order to exist), consciousness is a brain-generated simulated reality.

If there are no mind-independent doppelgangers of the content of visual perception and brains do not create consciousness, consciousness is nevertheless a “simulated reality” in the form of an arbitrary, constructed world residing only within the mind of a non-embodied consciousness.]

[Note 2: It is conceivable that Satan mimics the consciousness of psychopathic humans, partaking in their experience.]

Aside from Christ (and possibly Satan), only man, animals, and insects (if animals and insects are not philosopher’s zombies) experience a simulated reality in which they have and exist ‘within’ organic bodies (with a particular evolving appearance) obeying the laws of biology.

Spiritual ectoplasm, the third-person imagination of souls, is a product of pagan myth and biblical interpretation that seemed to ignore the possibility that the ancients used the terms ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ to describe not an extra, supernatural substance that can be observed as ghostly “stuff” and persons but that which was right in front of them as a core aspect of their being and daily experience: subjective first-person experience.


In what respect, then, do his benevolence and mercy
resemble the benevolence and mercy of men?


There are hells of other religions, but the most famous hell is the hell of Judaeo-Christian theology. In response to the horrifying nature of Christian Hell, philosophers seek to reconcile the concept of 'good' as understood by human beings with the concept of the "righteousness" of allowance of eternal, never-ending pain. The lack of reconciliation of goodness with the willingness to allow certain beings to suffer eternally forces the conclusion that there is a problem with the concept of Hell. Eternal hell is seen to contradict the moral nature of God and presupposes an alien sense of morality and justice distinct from that comprehended by rational human beings.

God's nature is love (1 Jn. 4:8,16)..."agape" love which always seeks the best for others and never ceases until this objective is accomplished. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, and never fails (1 Cor.13:7,8). God, having perfect foreknowledge in creation, knew that all mankind would follow Adam into sin. Therefore God made provision for man's reconciliation before the foundation of the world (1Ptr.1:19,20). Statisticians tell us that over the past 6,000 years approximately 160 billion people have lived on the earth. The doctrine of "eternal punishment" declares that all who do not believe on Jesus Christ while in their mortal bodies spend eternity in an inescapable, unending hell. If 10% of the earth's people believed on Jesus Christ then the remaining 144 billion must consequently spend eternity being punished. This would mean that God's purpose in creation was eternal punishment for some 144 billion people! Apart from any knowledge of the grace and mercy of God we could hardly say this reflects a God of justice. Having a higher revelation of God's "agape" love, can we now accept this doctrine as being consistent with a God of love?

Yes, our holy and just God does require accountability of man to Himself and does punish man for his sin and rebellion. But, if the punishment is unending then what purpose does it serve? Such behavior by an earthly father would be considered sadism. Is our heavenly Father's love and punishment to be degraded to the level of such an earthly father? No, for though man may fail, God's love never fails. It did, He would deny Himself.

Church History

There is no documentation that the church councils of the first four centuries embraced the doctrine of "eternal punishment." The church councils at Nice in A.D. 325, at Constantinople in A.D.381, at Ephesus in A.D.431 and at Chalcedon in A.D.451 never embraced this doctrine. In contrast, there is documented evidence that many church leaders and teachers of the first centuries A.D. wrote acclaiming the doctrine of "universal salvation" or "ultimate reconciliation", none of whom were censored. It was not until 553 A.D. that the Roman Catholic Church denounced the teaching of ultimate reconciliation as heresy.

-Salisbury, Lee: Eternal Punishment—Is It Really Of God?

If man is made in the image of God and as such inherits God's moral reason, the benevolence and mercy of God should resemble the benevolence and mercy of men. If the benevolence and mercy of God resembles that of men, then the punishment of hell, even for the most deserving sinner, should be temporary rather than eternal in the interest of a future universe completely devoid of evil and pain. A future universe in which 'all the old things are passed away' (Revelations.?) should be a universe that does not eternally hold on to the existence of the wicked with a punishment that eternally belabours the point.

Indeed, the famous version of Hell (eternal torment in hellfire) did not exist until 533 A.A. according to Salisbury or before Augustine, according to Glenn Peoples in History of Hell: Hell before Augustine:

The Apostolic Fathers – Early Church Fathers on Hell

As already noted, while some Early Church Fathers revealed that they interpreted the biblical language to refer to eternal torment, the Apostolic Fathers nowhere did this. However, on at least a couple of occasions, the Apostolic Fathers gave us a glimpse into how they interpreted the teaching of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. One good example is Ignatius of Antioch, a student of the Apostle John. Ignatius wrote a letter to the Ephesians in which chapter 17, “Beware of false doctrines,” reads as follows:

"For this end did the Lord allow the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into his church. Be not anointed with the bad odour of the doctrine of the prince of this world; let him not lead you away captive from the life which is set before you. And why are we not all prudent, since we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we foolishly perish, not recognising the gift which the Lord has of a truth sent to us?"

Less than a century later Tatian wrote that the lost will be “immortal,” and those who affirm the doctrine of eternal torment have no trouble recognising what he was saying: That the lost would be alive forever, albeit in a terrible state. Ignatius here claimed, by contrast, that immortality is Christ’s gift to his church, and that to “perish” means to not receive the gift. If traditionalists interpret immortality to mean the same thing in both cases, they must conclude that while Tatian thought that the lost would live forever, Ignatius did not.

Ignatius confirms that this was his view in his letter to the Magnesians in chapter 10, exhorting them, “Let us not, therefore, be insensible to His kindness. For were He to reward us according to our works, we should cease to be.” It is impossible to reconcile the view that the lost will not receive immortality and the reward of sinful deeds is to cease to be on one hand with the view that the lost will be punished for their sin with eternal torment in hell on the other. Knowing that this teaching was alive and well among the Apostolic Fathers makes it all the more likely that the writer of the Epistle of Barnabas was making the same point in chapter 21:

"It is well, therefore, that he who has learned the judgments of the Lord, as many as have been written, should walk in them. For he who keeps these shall be glorified in the kingdom of God; but he who chooses other things shall be destroyed with his works. On this account there will be a resurrection, on this account a retribution. I beseech you who are superiors, if you will receive any counsel of my good-will, have among yourselves those to whom you may show kindness: do not forsake them. For the day is at hand on which all things shall perish with the evil [one]."



It is generally taken for granted among those who believe in the Judeo-Christian God that when God