Category: Engaging People

Are we hellbound monsters?—engaging Washer

Before we get started … [T]here are other people—in this room right now—who if they die, will be sent by the judgment of God straight into hell—where the grace of God is totally removed and they will be revealed as the monsters that they truly are.…

I’m concerned about one thing. One day each and every one of you will stand naked before a holy God and you will be judged. … [S]ome of you … will hear warning after warning after warning and you will not listen and you will die under the wrath of God and spend eternity in hell.

Paul Washer, Do you see God working on your life?

Certainly, an intense prelude to a sermon but is it biblical? Well, the Bible does warn us about God’s judgment and people do often ignore him… At the same time, the Bible reveals that each and every person is made in God’s image—indeed a child of God. Our Father isn’t a monster and therefore, neither are you!

Washer would probably acknowledge that at least currently, God is showing everyone grace. There are lots of examples but here are just two:

The Lord is good to everyone. He shows his mercy to everything he made.

Psalm 145:9, ERV

But I tell you, love your enemies. Pray for those who treat you badly. If you do this, you will be children who are truly like your Father in heaven. He lets the sun rise for all people, whether they are good or bad. He sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong.

Matthew 5:44-45, ERV

The question then becomes, is Washer right that God changes his attitude towards people and removes his grace? No, the Bible says God doesn’t change:

God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Numbers 23:19, NIV

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8, NIV

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17, NIV

Washer appears to be saying he is only concerned about “one thing”, namely God’s judgment. However, the Bible calls us to be concerned about many things, such as:

What about Washer’s claim that some people will “spend eternity in hell”? He doesn’t unpack that but it’s likely he is basing it on a common misinterpretation of the Greek word aionios. While many English translations often render aionios as “eternal”, when pressed scholars admit it literally means “pertaining to the next aion/aeon/eon/age”. It’s important to note that just because two things pertain to a particular age, doesn’t mean they have the same duration (e.g. tweeting and programming both pertain to the Information Age, but the former has only been around for about a decade, whereas the latter has been around for over a century). This is the case in Matthew 25:46, where the life and punishment both pertain to the next age but won’t have the same duration.

Aionios life is:

  • in the sustaining/renewing presence of God (Rev 21:23, 22:5)
  • immortal (2Tim 1:10)
  • without death (1Cor 15:26; 2Tim 1:10; Rev 20:14)
  • without rust and decay (Matt 6:20)
  • tied to our relationship with God (John 17:3)

Conversely, the duration of aionios punishment isn’t described in those terms and the Greek word translated “punishment” suggests it is corrective (see the second half of Pruning the Flock? and Punishment – Gr. Kolasis). It’s pertinent to ponder what the Bible reveals about the purpose of punishment. For example, we believe God “corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” (Proverbs 3:12). Surely, this at least opens up the possibility that punishment in the next age could be corrective, educative, and restorative. Even severely unpleasant experiences can (if carefully managed) result in the good of the one receiving it (e.g. detox, chemotherapy, pruning, or refining).

I would suggest that a passage Washer quotes shows God transforming people for their good:

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Ezekiel 36:26-27, NASB

Later Washer says, “when the holy God looks at sinful men, the only thing their sin motivates God to do is [to] judge them—to condemn them.” However, when Jesus looked at sinful men he was motivated to forgive:

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.

Luke 23:34, CSB

Likewise, the Apostle Paul says that God responded to our hostility with reconciliation:

Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds expressed in your evil actions. But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him

Colossians 1:21-22, CSB

For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.

Romans 5:10, CSB

Washer rightly recognises that “God saves us because he is a savior” but concerningly, says “first of all, God saves men in order to get glory out of that work.” While I agree that saving people is indeed a very glorious act (far more glorious than tormenting someone for eternity), my impression of God’s primary motivation is different. For example:

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.

John 3:16, CSB

As Washer’s sermon over an hour long, there’s a lot more I could engage with if I had time. However, I pray that my brief response at least encourages you to pause and test what he teaches against Scripture—may God bless you as you do so.

Mary Porterfield's painting of a volcanic hell
Painting by Mary Porterfield

Permit Me to Hope

Eclectic Orthodoxy

by Sinner Irenaeus (Brad Jersak, Ph.D.)

“That is all I ask of Orthodoxy—to permit me to hope.” — Fr. Aiden Kimel

After a decade of catechesis and struggle under the guidance of my spiritual father, Archbishop Lazar Puhalo, and godfather, David Goa, I was chrismated into the Orthodox Church in 2013. To some, the tutelage of these sages already disqualifies me, the rhetoric of unity of the Church notwithstanding. But I knew this. I proceeded with eyes wide open into the Orthodox Church despite her conflicts and dysfunctions. I proceeded because I felt drawn from my Evangelical foxhole into the harbor of Christian Orthodoxy, where I was exposed to a more Christlike God.

A key factor in the move was the assurance of some key Scriptures, catechisms and liturgies, along with a number of significant Orthodox saints, hierarchs and theologians, that Orthodoxypermits me to hope—that I could believe…

View original post 6,471 more words

Does God coerce people into loving Him?

No, “coerced love” is an oxymoron… but most people who ask the question already know that, so why do they ask? In my experience, as soon as I say, “God will save everyone”, people assume I’m saying God will have to use coercion to make that happen. However, if the person is a Christian, I’d want to ask them, “Did God coerce you into loving Him?” I suspect the answer will be “No”, so why do they think God has to do something different when it comes to other people?

They might object, “It must be different, as most people reject the Gospel that I’ve accepted.”

Only God really knows someone’s mind but I think that the reason that most people don’t want to be saved is that they are currently not fully experiencing their “choice”** of “independence from God”. God is blessing the rebellious in this age with “sunshine and rain” (Mt 5:45, cf Psalm 145:9, Luke 6:35, Acts 14:17, aka “common grace” ), patiently giving them an opportunity to turn to Christ (2Pet 3:9)—ideally today (2Cor 6:2).

However, for those who insist on being Prodigals (Luke 15:11-32), they will use up their inheritance (common grace) in the foreign land (this life) and end up with nothing in a pigpen (hell), where they’ll become hungrier and hungrier (perishing), until they realise even being a servant for the father (God) would be far better than the pigpen. Amazingly, not only will God accept their return, He forgives, washes, and restores them so that they come-of-age and begin to act as sons and daughters ought (I explore this in greater depth in Are only Christians children of God or is everyone??).

Withdrawing undeserved common grace isn’t coercion, it’s simply allowing someone to fully comprehend the reality of what “independence from God—Truth, Beauty, Love, Goodness, Joy, Light, Life, Mercy, and Justice” is actually like. The Bible repeatedly says that it won’t be a nice experience, and sometimes we get a taste of that now in our own lives. History is full of examples of what starts to unfold when people discard God.

I think one of the reasons God gives us our lives now is that He wants to spare us hell—learning the hard way that cutting off the branch that holds us up is catastrophic! There is a real opportunity for people to heed what God has already kindly revealed.

** I said “choice” but I think desiring “independence from God” only occurs when someone mistakenly thinks that there’s something worthwhile outside of God. When someone discovers there actually isn’t anything worthwhile apart from God, to continue on that path would then be irrational, especially as the further they went from the Light, the darker it became. A will that is enslaved to sin always rejects God, conversely a will that is freed always chooses God as it truly knows that is the only worthwhile path. Therefore, whenever God frees someone’s will, they start being in harmony with Him—the eternally and infinitely Free Will.

You could argue that I was not a free agent [when I converted], but I am more inclined to think that this came nearer to being a perfectly free act than most that I have ever done. Necessity may not be the opposite of freedom…

C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 224

"Ram It Down" by Judas Priest

Was Bishop Curry preaching Universalism at the royal wedding?

Bishop Curry’s royal wedding sermon caused quite a stir—many loved it (e.g. Bishop Michael Curry reached two billion souls with the love of Christ), some condemned it (e.g. A star-turn offers the world ‘Christianity-lite’). One thing that caught my attention, was that he repeatedly said that Jesus “died to save us all!” (he also tweeted it) Was he promoting Universalism, the belief that Jesus will save each and every person who will ever exist?

If you cannot preach like Peter, if you cannot pray like Paul, just tell the love of Jesus, who died to save us all!

To figure that out, first we must ask, did he exclude anyone from the “all”? For example, did the “us” before it reduce the scope? Probably not, as he said:

God is the source of us all

And based on passages like Colossians 1:16, most Christians believe God is the source/Creator of everyone who will ever exist. It was also unlikely he was just thinking of the 2 billion people who were listening, as in the next sentence he said that God’s love embodied will result in:

a new world, a new human family

In fact, he mentioned human/humanity ten times in a 13-minute talk:

Jesus began the most revolutionary movement in all of human history … fire was one of the great scientific and technological discoveries in all of human history. Fire, to a great extent, made human civilization possible … made human migration around the world a possibility … the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good … one of the greatest discoveries of all of human history … if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it would be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

So assuming he thinks God wants “to save” everyone (1Tim 2:4), does that mean he thinks God will actually succeed? That’s harder to figure out but I think there are clues. Will our enslavement to sin stop God? Well, Curry sounded very optimistic when he said:

There’s power in Love to … liberate when nothing else will.

Will our spiritual and psychological delusions stop God? Again, Curry doesn’t seem to think so:

There is a balm in Gilead [Love] to make the wounded whole. There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul… There is power in Love to help and heal when nothing else can.

Remembering that when Jesus healed during His ministry, He was primarily interested in people’s spiritual health—their “sin-sickness”—although He healed people physically too to demonstrate that He could do the former.

Are death and hell a hurdle for God? Probably not, as Curry said:

There’s power in Love to lift up [John 12:32] … when nothing else will.

Maybe Curry forgot about God’s justice? Well, five times he said love can be redemptive and four times he mentioned its sacrificial nature (1John 3:16)—explicitly in regards to Jesus’ death, which traditionally Christians see as fulfilling justice. He also proclaimed:

let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.

Additionally, he talked about hospitality and addressing poverty—both commonly associated with justice in the Bible.

What about those who don’t want to be saved? Curry talked about Love transforming everything (you, your neighbours, the entire world) and even quoted Jesus who said: “you shall love God … with all your mind” (Mt 22:36-40, noting that “shall” implies something will happen in the future).

He also sees Love bringing Shalom.

we will lay down our swords and shields—”down by the riverside to study war no more”

However, that Shalom can only fully arrive when the last person in hell stops hating God.

There was one other statement that Curry made that I thought was at least suggestive of Universalism:

We were made by a power of Love. Our lives are meant to be lived in that lovethat’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself—the source of all of our lives.

If a luthier creates a guitar to play music, then the assumption is that it will fulfil its purpose. Likewise, as God created humans to love, it is perfectly reasonable to think that will happen eventually.

Rather than Universalism, was Curry actually preaching Pluralism—the belief that sin doesn’t matter for “every road leads to heaven”? I don’t think so. He made statements such as Jesus “died to save us”, “Love is the only way”, our “sin-sick soul” needs healing, and we need to be liberated by God (the Bible says we are enslaved to sin). Similarly, he discussed the need for transformation, which implies that all “roads/states-of-being” aren’t equally good.

So was Curry preaching Christian Universalism at the royal wedding? For the reasons I’ve given, I think he was, although it may not have been intentional. Often enthusiastic preachers who promote both God’s love for everyone and God’s infinite ability, end up preaching what is essentially Universalism.

Royal Fire, Love, & Wedding

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7a, NRSV

Bishop Michael Curry’s amazing 13-minute royal wedding sermon began with the verses above followed by this quote:

We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we do that, we will make of this old world a new world. Love is the only way.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

He explained that we shouldn’t underestimate the power of that love because its source is God and its why we are here:

There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it. There’s power, power in love. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you first fell in love. The whole world seemed to center around you and your beloved. There’s power, power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love. There’s a certain sense, in which when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right. There’s something right about it. And there’s a reason for it. The reason has to do with the source. We were made by a power of Love. Our lives are meant to be lived in that love—that’s why we are here. Ultimately, the source of love is God himself—the source of all of our lives.

He backed this up with a quote from John:

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:7-8, NRSV

Sometimes the way forward seems impossible but because love is from God:

There is power in love to help and heal when nothing else can. There’s power in love to lift up and liberate when nothing else will.

As someone who believes that God’s love will succeed “when nothing else can”, I take the “died to save us all” (which Curry repeated) to literally mean that through Jesus’ death and resurrection, each and every person will be saved—healed, liberated, and lifted up.

[Jesus] sacrificed his life for the good of others, for the well-being of the world, for us. That’s what love is.

The highest good and well-being of others is to be in a mutually loving union with God. As Jesus demonstrated, this is a voluntarily self-sacrificial relationship.

When love is the way, we will let justice roll down like a mighty stream and righteousness like an ever-flowing brook.

Setting things right (justice) and right relationships (righteousness) will flow out of this love.

When love is the way, there is plenty of good room for all of God’s children. Because when love is the way, we actually treat each other like we are actually family. When love is the way, we know that God is the source of us all and we are brothers and sisters, children of God. My brothers and sisters, that’s a new heaven, a new Earth, a new world, a new human family.

I agree that one of the implications of each and every person being a child of God is that we should try to treat people as family (see Everyone is a child of God).

Curry concluded by going back to the initial passage and reflecting on the why love is like fire.

There was no Bronze Age without fire, no Iron Age without fire, no Industrial Revolution without fire. The advances of science and technology are greatly dependent on the human ability and capacity to take fire and use it for human good. … Fire makes all that possible. And de Chardin said that fire was one of the greatest discoveries of all of human history. He then went on to say that if humanity ever harnesses the energy of fire again, if humanity ever captures the energy of love, it would be the second time in history that we have discovered fire.

God—the ultimate Royal—is often associated with fire in the Bible. Like God, fire is immensely powerful, it is essential to human civilization, it invigorates, it transforms, and it purifies (Surprising Fire). Praise God that the royal wedding proclaimed to the world that the Royal’s redemptive Love is unquenchable!

Bishop Michael Curry's captivating sermon at The Royal Wedding

Will God burn the world up?—The Bible Project

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:10, CSB vs KJV (other translations)

Jon: Peter, I think, talks about “the earth will be destroyed by fire”—something like that?

Tim: He uses images of fire, yes, and things melting. The things that are melting… there’s an interpretative translation challenge there, of whether it’s “elements” or whether it’s “the rebellious angelic hosts of heaven”… Either way, he uses fire imagery to talk about the purifying of Creation.

Jon: Ok. In the Flood narrative with the sign of the rainbow and God’s not going to [destroy all life again by a flood]. If the Flood represents Creation collapsing back on itself, that seems to be the paradigm of, “Start over—let Creation collapse back on itself and I’m going to pull out the remnant and start fresh”, and that’s kind of like: “let everything burn”, “Titanic’s going down”, “rapture people out”, “start afresh”. But it seems like the promise, the sign of the promise, in the Flood story is, “I’m not going to do that!”

Tim: “I won’t ever do that again”. Yes.

Jon: So is that just the end of discussion? That’s not going to happen, God isn’t going to do that.

Tim: Yeah, I think that is what that means. The reason he brings the Flood is that the heart of humans is screwed up all the time. Then the moment Noah get’s off the boat he repeats the same thing! God says, “You know what I know about humans… therefore, I’m never going to do that again.”

Jon: And if it was, “I’m never going to flood the earth again”, it’s kind of like, “Ok, thanks God, but you could burn the earth!” … But the Flood story is not about how God’s going to destroy the earth as much as it’s showing you the collapsing of Creation.

Tim: Yes, correct, that’s right.

Earth burning

Jon: And He’s saying, “I’m not going to do that again” So is it “I’m not going to flood the Earth” or “I’m not going to collapse Creation on itself”?

Tim: Yeah, I think it’s that. So when Peter brings up that narrative, he says, “Remember by the word of God the heavens existed and the Earth was formed out of water by water” [2 Peter 3:5] So the word of God, waters separate from waters, dry land.

“And through it the world was also destroyed—flooded with water.” [v6] God allows the waters to come back over.

“But by His word the present age—the present heavens and the Earth are being reserved for fire—kept for the day of justice for the destruction of…” [v7] I’m not going to finish the sentence but what in your imagination? …

Jon: Destruction of the land?

Tim: Yeah, the cosmos or something. [But] what he says is, “the destruction of the wicked”

Jon: Oh.

Tim: The purifying fire is about the removal of evil, which maps on precisely to the nature of fire imagery in the prophets. God says he’s going to burn Jerusalem so that he can remove the wicked and restore the repentant remnant into the New Jerusalem, which is purified.

Or the best is Zephaniah chapter 3, when it’s like, “I’m going to assemble all nations and pour out my burning wrath and fire on them”, and you’re like, “Oh, no more nations—they’re done for”, and then the next sentence is, “so that they can call upon me with a pure speech”—“pure” being purified. So even the fire imagery is metaphorical.

Therefore wait for me, says the Lord, for the day when I arise as a witness. For my decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out upon them my indignation, all the heat of my anger; for in the fire of my passion all the earth shall be consumed.

At that time I will change the speech of the peoples [the nations] to a pure speech, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord and serve him with one accord.

Zephaniah 3:8-9, NRSV

Jon: It’s not about deescalating Creation into nothingness.

Tim: Then [Peter] goes on later on in the paragraph and talks about the Day of the Lord comes like a thief, the heavens pass away with a roar and then the “something” will be destroyed with heat and the land and all of its works will be… and then there’s a textual variant. One is “burned up”, the other one is “discovered” [“disclosed”], in which case, it’s another melting down to expose what needs to be removed. Like melting down metal so the dross comes up. For me at least, I think the most coherent reading is that the fire imagery is metaphorical because the things that are getting burned up isn’t Creation, it’s evil deeds.

Jon: Whether or not the fire is metaphoric, like is it getting to that this needs to be destroyed or does it need to be remade new?

Tim: Yes, so I think depending on the communication goals of an author. The Apostles will sometimes really want to emphasise the continuity between this age and the new age, and so John will talk about “I am making all things new” and this has the parallel in the resurrection narratives where Jesus is showing them his hands that have the scars and he has a human body, and they can recognise him most of the time. So the same Jesus they hung out with in Galilee is the same that is risen. So the point there is about the continuity and God’s not going to give up—He’s going to redeem this thing—the redemption from slavery imagery—Creation redeemed from slavery and decay.

But then there are other times, especially when the Apostles are focusing on the tragedy and the horror of what humans have done to the place and when they want to emphasise how that won’t be around anymore—God’s going to deal with that—what you find is that they typically use images or metaphors that emphasise discontinuity. So the world as we experience it will be burned.

Jon: “The sky will fade away”.

Tim: Correct. Again none of this is about video camera footage, it’s telling us something about the nature the world as we know it and the nature of the world to come. And there it’s evil won’t be allowed to pass through the Day of the Lord—it will stop and be removed. 


My transcript above is of the last 10 minutes of Design Patterns in the Bible Part 4: Chaotic Waters & Baptism by Jon Collins and Tim Mackie (slightly edited for readability). I’m delighted that Tim views divine fire as purifying—eradicating evil deeds rather than evildoers themselves. I think the logical trajectory of this is that only evil will be entirely eradicated forever, which seems to leave no room for eternal conscious torment or annihilationism.

Surprising Fire

Fire is an important image in the Bible about God’s presence. God appeared in a burning bush to Moses, in flames over Mount Senai, and in a pillar of fire over the tabernacle. And so the flames at Pentecost: this is the marking out of temple space—places where heaven and earth meet, become where God’s appearance manifests itself.

The Bible Project, Acts E2: Pentecost and the Expected Unexpected Spirit

(I experienced shivers down my spine as I wrote something very similar just minutes before I heard the above podcast)

Unlike earthly fire, God’s fire isn’t indiscriminate but only eradicates evil to refine and purify. For example:

I will turn my hand against you and will burn away your dross completely; I will remove all your impurities.

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for.”

Look, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

Isaiah 1:25, 6:6-7, 48:10, CSB

Isaiah being purified by glowing coal in The Bible Project's excellent video on Holiness
Isaiah’s shock at being purified by God. Image: The Bible Project’s video on Holiness

I will put this third through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined and test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are my people, and they will say: “The Lord is our God.”

Zechariah 13:9, CSB

Yet he knows the way I have taken; when he has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold.

Job 23:10, CSB

For you, God, tested us; you refined us as silver is refined.

Psalm 66:10, CSB

But who can endure the day of his coming? And who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire and like launderer’s bleach. He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.

Malachi 3:2-3, CSB

The crucible is for refining silver and the smelter for gold, but the one who purifies hearts by fire is the Lord.

Proverbs 17:3, GW

each one’s work will become obvious. For the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will experience loss, but he himself will be saved—but only as through fire.

1 Corinthians 3:13-15, CSB

This is why the Holy Spirit, whilst described as fire, doesn’t eradicate people. For example:

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but one who is more powerful than I am is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Luke 3:16, CSB

They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and rested on each one of them. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:3-4, CSB

In everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt.
1 Thessalonians 5:18-20, EHV

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the Spirit of judgment, and by the Spirit of burning.

Isa 4:4, BRG

Showing hospitality to someone who has enmity towards you is “fiery” in this sense.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head.
Romans 12:20, CSB

In my next post, God willing, I’ll look at how this, somewhat surprising, image of refining fire needs to inform the way we interpret verses about fire at the end of the age and in the ages to come (which providentially, The Bible Project discussed a few weeks ago).