Yesterday in the news, reports surfaced about the approved torture of terror suspects. “The Bush Administration approved the use of “insects placed in a confinement box” during the interrogation of top Al Qaeda official Abu Zubaydah, according to a 2002 document…The legal memorandum for the CIA…reviewed 10 enhanced techniques for interrogating Zubaydah, and determined that none of them constituted torture under U.S. criminal law. The techniques were: attention grasp, walling (hitting a detainee against a flexible wall), facial hold, facial slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, insects placed in a confinement box, and waterboarding.”
Based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, I think that we should be able to say with conviction that these methods are absolutely contrary to God’s kingdom and that there is never a time where these means are justified. But having said that, many believe that God tortures sinners for all of eternity in hell (or at least that he allows sinners to be tortured forever in hell). This would seem to make waterboarding look like a picnic by comparison. Others believe in annihilationism, where the burning only lasts for a brief period of time – could be seconds, minutes or hours depending on how much you have sinned. But yet in this view, God still tortures. I’ve heard someone say that “If Hitler doesn’t suffer in the flames for at least a few days then I will not be satisfied.” How long would someone last in a lake of fire? It would last no more than a brief nanosecond and you would be dead. Does God perform a miracle to keep people alive in the fire while fully aware of the pain? Does God torture?
The book of Peter talks about this fire. What do we make of this verse that even describes the heavens as burning up? “The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed. All these things will be destroyed in this way. So think of the kind of holy and godly lives you must live as you look forward to the day of God and eagerly wait for it to come. When that day comes, heaven will be on fire and will be destroyed. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and melt.” (2 Peter 3:10-12 GW)
In this Bible study we discussed the fire. It is one of the most important subjects as it relates to the character of God. Is sin exterminated by God torturing sinners to death? Does God resurrect the people of Sodom just to burn them one more time?
There is another way of looking at the fire…..