“I really liked this book, although it's kind of long and sometimes the verses used in support of the author's point aren't that great. Better to leave those out and build a case on the really good ones. It's definitely a good book though, I read this after first reading Love Wins and this goes into more detail. However, I'd recommend building up to this one. Overall I recommend this be maybe the second or third book you read on the topic, since, like I said, it's pretty in depth.
Author of Hell and Eternity - It's all Greek to me
“Hope Beyond Hell challenged the traditions of my faith at the onset. In many ways the writer captured and brought to the surface my buried questions...things that have never made sense about hell and God's purpose with it. I am deeply pondering the totally different angle this book presents and I trust God will adhere to my heart what He chooses. The part I dearly love about Hope Beyond Hell is the unabashed, unfiltered, all-out focus on who God is. Nothing satisfies my soul more than to behold the glorious beauties that make up Who He is. All in all, I finished this book thankful for the focus on God's love.”Lisa Bishop wrote this review Wednesday, August 8, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Review by Craig Gunhouse
I am currently at about 27% through the book and I have the book marked up so much that you would think the pages were yellow and not white. The biggest flaw so far is the author's use of the word "all". He would take a verse that has "all" in it and apply it to every person born past, present and future, however, usually these verses have a qualifier either prior or later in the text. For example, in the section titled "God Loves All People" the author used "God so loved the world (Jn. 3:16)" but the verse is actually qualified both prior and after:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.
"whosoever believeth" is used to qualify the word "all".
I am currently at the spot in the book which the author titles "A Just Judge", I have a major problem with the author's logic. The author uses the "eye for eye, tooth for tooth", which is first used in Exodus, to explain that a punishment should fit the crime. He then goes on to say that no crime fits an infinite punishment. Let look at some verse before I explain the problem:
Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned: -
Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These verses indicate that the "wages of sin is death", and that "for that all sinned". In term of God's judgment, He judges in terms of man's sin. What is the punishment for sin and what is it duration? Does sin fade over time or does sin have a half-life? I have not found a verse that refers to sin having a finite duration, the only thing that effects it's duration is a belief in Jesus. Since God is infinite and everything to do with Him has an infinite impact (the exceptions are where God Himself has limited Himself by what He has said in His Word), this implies that sin has an infinite duration. If sin has an infinite duration, it must also have infinite consequence based on the "eye for eye, tooth for tooth" punishment logic.
As I continue to read this book, I may or may not update this review. In fact, as continue to read this book, the Lord continues to show me the flaws within Universalism, so much so, that I may respond in the form of a book that I would co-write with my wife Linda McBurney-Gunhouse, who is already an author with books on Amazon.
Update at 30%:
In the section titled "Question of Questions" the author has a paragraph starting with "How can we believe God is good", but this is actually the root of man's problem. When we took ownership of the definition of the words "good" and "evil" from God in Genesis 3:6, we actually started to judge God against our definition of "good" and "evil", we put ourselves on the throne and God at our feet. I find making a statement like this is like saying to God, "I still own the definition of good and evil" and I believe that this is wrong. As a Christian we say "God is good" and there are no "if's, and's or but's" period, it is not a question we should even think about.
(Mat 19:17) And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Update at 35%:
The author uses the following verses, 'If we do not provide, love, and care for our own household, we have denied the faith and are worse than unbelievers' (1Ti. 5:8) and `We must love our family members and neighbors "as" ourselves' (Ro. 13:8-9). He then uses thes verses imply that if you love someone you can't have peace and joy unless you know that they are eternally secure.
Even if we provide all that is required in 1 Ti 5:8, we do NOT have the power change other's hearts. We can plant the seed and/or water the seed but we can't make the seed take root or grow. The growth is up to that person and God and not me.
(1Co 3:6-7) I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
So in response to the author's comment of that if you love someone you can't have peace and joy unless you know that they are eternally secure, I would have to say I would still have peace and joy, for I can only plant or/and water the seeds into other's lives, I can't make it grow. So I ask, why would I allow some other person and their status with God have so much power over me as to define my joy in the Lord, even if they are family? My joy in the Lord is independent of everything else, it is NOT dependent on the status of family, if they are saved or lost. My joy is NOT dependent on the trials that I may have to endure; my joy is in knowing that He is my Lord, my Savior and my God.
Update at 36%:
The author indicates that God cannot be considered "impartial" and "fair" with all of mankind if He were to random select one person over another or in some way value one over another, such as the Christian over the non-Christian. The author goes further to imply that God's will and purpose for mankind would be denied and that His love would not be "without end."
This is not the case in light of verses like (Joh 3:19) "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
If you love someone, but they love another, what do you do? If you truly love them, you let them go to be with the one they love, anything less would to place them in some form of bondage. Would God hold onto those that love darkness rather than Him or would He give them over to their true love, the darkness? Is this partial and unfair on God's part? Does this mean that God has stopped loving that person?
Update at 37%:
The author indicates that the first-fruit is just the first batch with more to come, but this is not the case. The first-fruits were to be Gods, and the rest was to be consumed by the people. If anything this would imply that 10 percent of all of mankind will make it into Heaven and the rest are to be consumed.
(Exo 22:29) Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
The author also refers to Rom 11:16 but he only uses part of the verse, complete verse is:
(Rom 11:16) For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
And the following verse talks about branches being grafted in. So there are other unholy trees out there from which these branches originated. Who would these unholy trees refer to?
(1Co 5:6-7) Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Update at 41%:
Based on the logic the author uses in this section, the author creates a paradox. The implication from this section is that once death is destroyed there is life for all. Two important verses are missed by the author and when add to the author's logic creates this paradox. The first verse has to do with how death and hell are destroyed; their destruction is described by the following verse in Revelation:
(Rev 20:14) And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
So we see that death and hell are destroyed by being cast into the lake of fire. It should also be noted that "death" will suffer the "second death", if "death" and the "second death" refer to the same thing we have a paradox. Since there are no paradoxes with God they must refer to something different.
The second verse is actually the verse following the one just referenced, and that is:
(Rev 20:15) And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Who are those that are not found written in the book of life? Is it Satan, the Beast, the False Prophet? No, God deals with them specifically in other verses in Revelation. Is it the fallen angels? No, the book of life is only used in context with man. So this means the fate of those men and women who are not found written in the book of life (the lost) is the same as death and hell! If we use the author's logic, that man's fate is temporary then since death and hell share the same fate as the lost, death's and hell's fate must also be temporary and here lies the paradox in the author's logic. If you give life to all including the lost, you must restore death and hell as well because the lost share the same fate as they do. This would make life temporary again.
Savior is the word, soter, which could mean a savior, deliverer, or preserver, Vine Complete Expository Dictionary refers to preserver in reference to 1 Ti 4:10 and goes further to indicate the preserver refers to this life. Also, notice that God is used in this verse and not Jesus; normally Jesus is used in relationship with Savior and Deliver and not God. Finally, the end of the verse make more sense with Preserver than it does Savior or Deliver. As it is currently with Savior, the end of the verse is actually redundant. If preserver is used, the verse now says God is the preserver of all, especially those who believe.
Update at 43%:
"Discussion on Romans 5:18 and 19"
I can't really say I have too much of issue with what the author is saying, yes, Jesus did come to remove the sins of the world. There is however a problem, man can and has in many cases rejected, the works of Jesus Christ. Let us look at the following verses:
(Mat 12:31-32) Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
These verses were said to the Pharisees after Jesus performed miracles, including healing and casting out of demon, miracles that were signs of the working of the Holy Spirit through and in Jesus. Yet, the Pharisees rejected these sign and instead attributed these works to Satan and not the Holy Spirit.
(Joh 3:17-21) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
So when the Lost reject the work of the Cross and the deity of Jesus Christ (the light), they have done the same as the Pharisees by rejecting the works of the Holy Spirit. Mat 12:31-32 is some times referred to as the unpardonable sin (it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come). As for the excuse of the Lost not knowing or hearing of Jesus see Dr. Marc Axelrod "PM", one star review of this same book for my comments on there being no excuse.
Update at 48%:
"Pure religion and undefiled"
(Jas 1:27) Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
The author uses this verse to question how God can ask us to focus on "temporal needs" when there are eternal issues a stake. When Jesus came into the world, He came into a world filled with widows and orphans, for they had no spiritual husband or father. He came to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep Himself unspotted from the world.
Before I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I had been one of these orphans and Christian came to visit me in my spiritual affliction. They did exactly what James said to do in James 1:27, they sought to make me a member of the family of God. They were only doing what Jesus, their Lord, did.
Even in a "temporal" sense, visiting the widows and orphans, shows to the world that we care for those in need. Building relationships where there was one lost (husband/father), provide for needs where the provider is now gone. These are the things that God provides for us as His children, can we do no less?
So is this diverting our attentions from eternal things? No, this more likely Jesus being revealed to the world through His children by their caring and loving actions. It is Jesus that saves and not us, so by revealing Jesus to the lost we are therefore the greatest service we can to those in need of a Savior.
Update at 50%:
The author talks about God's foreknowledge and then goes onto imply that God would be responsible for a man's destiny, be it heaven or the lake of fire. Yet, using this same logic the author used, God would be responsible for both the fall of man and Satan and all the sin that has taken place from the beginning of time. The author uses an example of a boy on thin ice, but I think in this case the author is walking on thin ice.
Update at 54%:
The author speaks of a moral conscience which all men have so that they (the lost) can identify our "good" works. This maybe true but they also choose not to see it by suppressing it.
(Rom 1:18-19) The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
They also go as far as saying these good works are evil.
(Isa 5:20) Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
The author uses Genesis 3 to say that by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, mankind has gain a moral sense of good and evil. Yet Isa 5:20 indicates that this sense of good and evil does not mean that it reflect God's definition of good and evil. This was done because they suppressed the true (Rom 1:18-19).
It drains me to continue to read the author's misconception about what he calls "eternal punishment" being some kind of evil act of a loving God against an uninformed and morally good mankind. This is just not the case, God is always good and never evil, if a man ends up in the lake of fire it is not because God chose it; it is because they did! He is the perfect judge and He judges the desires of their hearts and in the end gives them the desires of their hearts, a life without God. Sure they may want the advantages of heaven but they just don't want God and God knows this! They don't want Him in this age and they won't want Him in eternity.
Well I had a long road trip so I had my kindle read the rest of the book to me. I may go back and give a more in depth commentary about these later chapters but I feel that the Lord is urging me to move on. There are a few things that I gleaned from listening to book during my drive. I believe the Lord has been showing me something important and it has to do with the word "punishment". The book continues to refer to the lake of fire and eternal torment as a punishment of God! It is not a punishment; it is a torment, and it is a torment of their own making through their own sins! Because they did not receive God's salvation, they must now live with the sin for eternity for they "loved darkness rather than light" (John 3:19)! Sin is a torture to both the soul and the flesh, it burn like a fire in them, all torment in the world today is the result of sin and not GOD! Why would we think that God is responsible for the torment in the lake of fire? Their will be enough torment from their own sin to last them an eternity.
God is good, He is always good, to imply anything other than this maligns God, yet many discussions in the book start by implying that a god that allows for an eternal punishment is less than good. The discussions then move on to rescue god from this tarnished image through the author interruption of the Bible. I have a problem with form of discussion and I guess this is partly what really bothers me about this book. By even suggesting anything other that the goodness of God places doubts about God in the minds of the readers; is this not similar to what Satan did to Eve in Genesis 3? Placing God in a position of having to be rescued and then to attempt to rescue Him using "surely God did not mean that" is troublesome to me.
In closing of this review I will say this, God is good and loving. The lake of fire is not a place that God chooses for any man or women to go, it is a place chosen by those who love the darkness more. Their torment (not punishment) is of their own making, for their sin will burn in them like a fire and will never be quenched because sin can never satisfy, only God can.
Review by Craig Gunhouse”
“My initial reaction was to give this book two stars, but after reflecting a bit it really deserves three. I was thinking two mostly because the author went to great links to present the case against eternal damnation utilizing the Bible. However since that was his goal, it seems he did a good job. Personally I'm not all that interested in cases made that way, but if you are then you should check out this book.
Most of my life I feared hell. Sure I was safe, or at least felt myself to be safe, but what about the majority of humanity? What about my family members who did not profess Jesus as lord?
I was unable to reconcile the doctrine of eternal damnation with a loving God. This book makes the case against an eternal hell. It makes a good case. In fact I don't see how you can read this book and come away still believing that Jesus failed to save the whole world.
Plus the best thing is this is a free book. Just visit this site and download it. I put the pdf on my Kindle and was able to read it comfortably.