Of course one of the problems that still has to
be examined head on is that Jesus did mention on many
occasions the terms «judgment», «reward» and «punishment»,
terms that do not fit at all in my view of things. And
there are others.
1. Jesus and salvation
One of the problems is that the Roman Catholic
Church insists that salvation would not have occurred
without the crucial and determinant events of Jesus'
death and resurrection. This statement is difficult
to reconcile with the other fact that God is Love and
has been from all eternity. God has been Saviour from
all eternity, which of course means that He has been
loving all His humans and all His creation from the
very beginning of time.
In my scheme, Jesus'
death and resurrection are not events that had to take
place at one time for humankind to be «saved»; they
are events that took place as the definite statement
of Who God is and how He «wants» us to live, or, put
differently, a statement on how we must be to enjoy His
presence for ever. We are «saved» in the measure that
we take Jesus' life as an example to follow and His
words as God's own. We are «saved» in the measure that
we let God change us in His image. And this had been
the case for humanity for all of its existence. That
is why Jesus did not have to appear until two thousand
years ago while humanity has been around for so much
God has always «conversed» with each and every human
to teach her how to live. Many understood how powerless
they were and decided to just trust in God's providence.
They knew that they could not defend their families and
their friends against enemies or the elements. They
accepted what they considered God's will and so were not
at war with any one, and were quite ready to accept
God as He is, just like they accepted everything that
happened to them: as a matter of fact. These people
knew deep down how to live at peace with themselves.
It is only when humans decided to organize in hordes
and then in city states with lords, laws and so on
that war and greed become options. It is only then
that comparisons can be made and with that, the judgement by some of others.
It is interesting to note that what the book of Genesis
considers as the basic, the original «error» (sin) is
the urge for the knowledge of good and evil, the
knowledge required to judge others, to pass sentence
on others. Humans lived happily before that, and
found nothing wrong with their nakedness, just
like all the animals do today with the single
exception of ourselves. They just were; they had
needs, but no sense of shame as this requires judgment.
They accepted their lives and difficulties, their
needs and their satisfactions. That does not mean
that humans at that time did not have some form of
hierarchy like monkeys and dogs for example. Greed,
the excess of possessions, does not exist in any
kind of animals except humankind. Neither does the
need to possess others.
By the way, nakedness
is a great equalizer. You cannot pretend to «own»
others if you are stark naked: you have to wear
something to announce your superiority. The females
cannot be «owned» by any male as they all are,
like the males, in full display to all: no specific
male can disrobe one and claim her for himself at
that time as she is uncovered only for him. In fact,
nakedness of everyone is not an
enticement to sex.1
Leaving this digression, the idea that
humanity was not «saved» and the dead raised before
Jesus' death and resurrection is flatly contradicted
by Jesus in the Gospels. He clearly states that:
And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye
not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God
spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham,
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He
is not the God of the dead, but the God of the
living: ye therefore do greatly
As Jesus clearly states that Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob are alive as He speaks, it follows
that they had risen from the dead before Jesus
did as, after all, He was not yet dead! Furthermore
Moses and Elijah conversed3
with Jesus on Mount Tabor, exactly like Jesus conversed
with his disciples on the road to Emmaus.
God loves His humans too much to let them
just die: He raises them as soon as they die: that
is why they are in Heaven or Hell just «after» death.
As humans are their body, they have to be a body to
be alive, one very different from the one they
were before of course, but a body nonetheless. The very fact
that resurrection is considered a requirement by
Jesus and by His apostles implies that a human
cannot exist without the body that defines her.
The idea, taken from mythology, of the existence
of «shades», though existing only while they are
waiting for the final judgment to raise from the
«dead», is not based on the Gospels.
What is supremely important in Jesus' life, death
and resurrection is that God proves His Love for
us by becoming a man like us, showing us exactly
how to live and proving that His Love for us is
everlasting by making His disciples experience His
resurrection and thus, His new body. Normally,
a particular human's cadaver vanishes after being
eaten, decomposed or burned while that dead human's
resurrection is in no way experienced by those
left behind. In Jesus' case, His disciples saw
the transformation of His cadaver into the new
«risen» Jesus. His is the first witnessed
resurrection. We will only be able to attest
to the one of others when we live our own, at
the end of our life, of our «time».
If God is Love, we must rise, because Love is
forever. The proof of His Love is His Son's life,
death and resurrection. Jesus rose because of
His Father's Love for Him. This is why Jesus is
so important. But it is not the only reason: not
only did Jesus rise from the dead, and not only
did He tell us by words and example how to live,
but He also gave us Himself to eat, to drink and
to breathe: He gave us His Body and Blood as well
as His Breath. He did all that for us so that we
might more readily become like Him, children of
God our Father whose Love for us knows no bounds.
2. The day of judgment
There is an expression that comes up over and
over again in Jesus' discourse: that of the day of judgment.
In Matthew we find Jesus saying:
«Verily I say unto you,
It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and
Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for
as well as:«But I say
unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of
judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified,
and by thy words thou shalt
while in Mark:«And whosoever shall not receive you,
nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust
under your feet for a testimony against them.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable
for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment,
than for that city.»6
and in Luke:«But
it shall be more tolerable for Tyre
and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven,
shalt be thrust down to
Just in case we did not get the message,
we also find in Matthew:
and in Luke:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin!
woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works,
which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon,
they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and
ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable
for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than
for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto
heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty
works, which have been done in thee, had been done in
Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say
unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land
of Sodom in the day of judgment,
than for thee.8
and, one could say to rub it in:
«Woe unto you,
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows'
houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye
shall receive the greater
as well as:«Ye serpents,
ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the
damnation of hell?»11
and «But he
that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost
hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment
with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for
she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear
the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than
Solomon is here. The men of Nineve shall rise up in
the judgment with this generation, and shall
condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas;
and, behold, a greater than Jonas is
It should be quite clear to anyone that those nine
excerpts seem to demolish my theory. So I must examine
these carefully to see if I can save it from what seems
to be certain death. The reader will remember that I
consider that any interpretation can be valid only if
it is consistent with every excerpt from everyone of
the four Gospels.
First, in all but the seventh of these excerpts,
the operative Greek term is «krisis»
(even in the
case of the eight excerpt where it is translated by
«damnation» instead of «judgment»); in the seventh
it is «krima»
This last term means «object of a
contestation or quarrel», «judgment», «judiciary
decision», and from there «condemnation», «penalty»,
«sentence». The first term means «action or faculty
of distinguishing», «choice», «election», «sorting»,
«selection», «action of separating», «decision»,
«judgment», «judiciary judgment», «condemnation».
These excerpts definitely mention a «judgment»
and state that not all «sentences» will be equal:
some «sentences» will be more tolerable than others.
But what does «judgment» entail? A judgment is
something that comes at the end of a trial. A
trial is presided by a judge and requires an
accuser and an accused. So you cannot have a
trial without at least three people. The judge
bases his decision on laws and on evidence. So
we have Moses judging cases between Israelites
by referring to the Law that He had received from God.
But the judge must not only be versed in the law,
he must also make sure that he has all the evidence.
Only then can he deliver a just «sentence». So the
first step in a trial is establishing the truth, by
making everything relevant known.
accuses at the last judgment? Is it the «Son of man»?
the «King»? God? In the famous parable of the «last
judgment» there is, in fact, no trial: just the
«separation» of people. Judgment as the last part
of a trial does not seem to be what Jesus had in
mind there - and in lots of parables - . The Greek
word translated by «judgment» would be better
translated as «separation», which is exactly what
happens in most parables.
Jesus mentions repeatedly the word translated by
«judgment», He does not very often pinpoint who accuses.
This is why the usual translation is bad. There are
exceptions: we find that both the «queen of the south»
and the «men of Nineve» «shall rise up in the judgment
with the men of this generation, and
So when Jesus has really has a trial in mind, the
accusations come from other humans!
An interesting excerpt on this topic is found
in the book of Revelation:
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels
fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and
his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place
found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was
cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and
Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast
out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with
him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now
is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of
our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser
of our brethren is cast down, which accused them
before our God day and night. And they overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their
testimony; and they loved not their lives
unto the death.14
For the author of this text, the one who
accuses humans before God «day and night» is the
«Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world».
This text complements the previous quote in stating
that when humans want others condemned, it is because
they are deceived by Satan,15
the Prince of lies. This deceit is overcome by the
Blood of the Lamb Who was slain. How? This Blood is
the proof that God Who is Love justifies rather than
condemns. «Justify» means to «make just someone who
was not». It is the process by which an individual who
was found guilty by some court is pardoned, and thus
sees her condemnation annuled and all signs of the
proceedings, deleted from her record. God could be
said to «overturn» the condemnation humans suffer at
the hands of their fellow humans.
So we can see that far from contradicting my thesis,
those texts can agree with it. Some people, used to
judge others, will insist in continuing doing so in
the after life to their grief as God's Love for all
will be manifested to them.
The revelation in the after life of all the facts
to all, without which any trial is a travesty, is
tantamount to my thesis. God's decision, given all
the facts, the most important fact being Who He Is,
a Reality that cannot be avoided but must be faced
head on, is that His Love is for all. This decision
(judgment) has for result that some will rejoice
in His reality while others will rage for all
eternity. Those creatures who intend to decide
for themselves what is good and evil rather than
submitting themselves to God's decision (judgment)
are Satan's children.
There is another
saying from Jesus that can be construed against my thesis:
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
Here we have something that will never be
forgiven: speaking against the «August Breath»,
although speaking against Jesus will be forgiven.
This text clearly states that you do not have to
believe in Him as God; you can think that He is
just a Prophet or just a Rabbi, or just a fraud;
that error will be forgiven. But not that of talking against
the «August Breath».
So what does this refer to? August Breath,
I have suggested, refers to the breathing of
someone who is at peace because convinced that
her Father does look after her; it is the Breath
of someone who has submitted herself to her Father.
If you do not submit your will to your Father, you
do not accept His ways. If you rebel by usurping the
right to decide what is right and wrong, then you
will rage against His «decision» to love everyone
of His creatures equally. You will not forgive God
for Who He Is. This act of rebellion and
unforgiveness against Reality has the same personal
end result as not being forgiven by that Reality:
burning in a personal Hell.
3. The Church's role in forgiveness
While we are finding problems, there is another
big one. The author of Matthew's gospel reports
Jesus as saying:
And Jesus answered and said unto him,
thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not
revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in
heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art
Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church;
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom
of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth
shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt
loose on earth shall be loosed in
The problem is mostly found in the last verse; in
it we have Jesus giving Peter the «power» to let
go or not other humans' debts. That Peter would have
been given the power to let go debts is not a problem
for me; but its opposite seems to contradict the
fact that God as Love «lets go» all debts. How could
it be that God would have given to Peter or his
representatives a right which goes, according to
my thesis, against His very nature?
The same kind of message is again repeated in
Matthew but this time it is aimed at all and sundry:
 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass
against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee
and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained
thy brother. 
But if he will not hear thee, then
take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of
two or three witnesses every word may be established.
 And if he
shall neglect to hear them, tell it
unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church,
let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
 Verily I
say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind
on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever
ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall
agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall
ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which
is in heaven. 
For where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there am I in the
midst of them.18
Let us examine this text very carefully.
On the one hand, verse 15 seems to be contradicted
by Jesus' repeated statement that we are to forgive
all our brother's trespasses. On the other hand, this
verse and the following two seem to be a procedurial
way to resolve problems between believers:
1. Instead of just turning the other cheek, we are
told in verse 15 to first try privately to make the
other understand our complaint and take the
2. Verse 16 applies in the case this private
meeting at conciliation has been fruitless.
It consists in involving other people
2.1. to witness the complaint and the other person's
reaction to it as well as
2.2. to ascertain the facts surrounding the complaint.
3. Verse 17 applies in the case that this second
meeting at conciliation has also been fruitless.
It consists in involving the «church» in the litigation.
3.1. It can be construed that the «church» would then
judge between the plaintiff and the defendant.
3.2. Refusal to obey the decision of the «church»
would result in expulsion.
It is after
that procedure, in verse 18, that Jesus repeats
the saying that what is untied by «them» shall
be so untied in «heaven» while what is not
«untied» by «them» will remain tied «in heaven».
Before we examine this verse 18, let us examine the
meaning of the Greek word translated by «church»,
the word «ekklèsia»
The term means «convened
assembly, which debates, discusses and deliberates».
So this term refers here to the assembly of the
believers gathered to hear the case.
three verses 15 to 17 refer to a practical way to
try to defuse and resolve conflicts within the
community without reference to anyone outside it.
This procedure, as we have just seen, is
followed by that verse about the fact that the
«them», most probably the convened and assembled
community, has the power to decide for heaven what
is «untied» or not. This is followed in verse 19 by
a statement concerning the efficacity of anything
asked for from the Father by a group of His followers
and, in verse 20, that Jesus Himself is present
with His followers if they are assembled «in His name».
What follows immediately in verses 21 and 22
is Peter asking Jesus how many times he is to
let go debts against him. Jesus' answer is basically
«all the time» as the number given is huge. This is
then followed by the parable of the unforgiving
servant already examined.
We must always keep
in mind the requirement that an interpretation
cannot be valid if it is contradicted by any verse
of the Gospels. The very fact that these verses
15 to 20 are followed by the absolute need for
forgiveness requires us to look for an interpretation
that makes sense of the lot. Surely, the author of
these lines must have thought that all these verses
made sense together!
Jesus insists on the need
to accomodate, to find a resolution to any conflict.
This is why He goes so far as to involve the community
to try to get the protagonists reconciled. His
saying «if you do not forgive, it is not forgiven in
Heaven» is a double edged sword. It can be understood
in the following way: the servant who does not forgive
on earth his fellow servant cannot forgive him in Heaven
either and thus will rage eternally when he sees God's
absolute love for him while the servant who does forgive
on earth his fellow servant will also forgive him
in Heaven and thus will be joyful when he sees God's
absolute love for him.
Interpretated this way, this «power» of the «Church»
is not something which overrides God at all. This
would not make any sense. Thinking that mere humans
can decide for God is blasphemy. God's Reality is
not subject to any human interpretation, whether it
be mine, Peter's or the whole assembly's of Jesus'
followers. So giving to Peter the keys of the Kingdom
of Heaven is giving him the power to act like God
in Jesus' name, by living the life Jesus wants him to
live, a life based on love of the other and perpetual
forgiveness. Just like the building of a life must
be done on the rock that is Jesus' teaching and life,
the building of the assembly of Jesus' followers must
be done on the rock that Simon Peter must become by
living like Jesus and by preaching Jesus' message and
no other. In other words, by living and preaching
«in Jesus' name». And no one can live and preach in
Jesus' name without forgiving at all times. After all,
someone who acts in someone else's name must follow
this person's orders and outlook.
The «Church» must be in the image of Jesus, as she
must be one with her husband, Jesus, our God, the
Lamb Who was slain to show us His absolute Love for
everyone. Jesus knew what Judas would do. He did
not expel him from His company at table on His
last meal as He still loved him absolutely: it is
Judas who decided to leave Him. When Jesus saw him
again a while later, He did not give him any
reproach; He did not expel him from His group:
Jesus, our God, never pushes away anyone. He is
and remains the Loving Servant of all.
4. Can God's forgiveness be conditional?
We have seen many excerpts where Jesus
clearly states that we will be forgiven only if we do.
This definitely seems to indicate that God's
forgiveness is conditional, and so must be His
love. I cannot accept such a conclusion. For me,
God cannot do anything else then forgive as He is
Love, something He cannot do anything about. He
cannot change His Nature, His Reality.
My solution to this predicament is not very pretty
but I feel it is needed to avoid a contradiction
between Who God is and How He acts. My solution is
that God seems not to forgive those who do not
forgive themselves because they are certain that
He acts like them. They are certain that they know
the difference between good and evil, with the
same view of it that God has. Because they are
certain of God's unforgiveness, they react to their
false perception as if it was true. Their certainty
makes it so for them. Instead of facing the Truth,
they face a Lie, the god of vengeance. If they saw
the Truth, they would realize that God loves them
all the same. As they cannot face this Truth, they
live in a false world, a world of vengeance,
of death, of suffering and rage.
Someone could then say the following: God created
humans with this particular psychology which
permits them to deceive themselves, which makes
them believe that their world view is correct.
Without it, they would not live Hell as they
believe that God is angry with them while He
really is still loving them. So it is
fundamentaly God who is responsible for them
living Hell. This is quite correct; He created
humans free to choose a wrong world view, to
make the wrong choices. So one could say that
in the last analysis everything is His fault,
that He is a tyrant responsible for all that goes
wrong in this world and the next. But is not this
the wrong world view just mentioned?
We noticed that Jesus insisted on a few points
He considered absolutely essential; that are
part and parcel of the following all encompassing
requirement which is to have total reliance on God
as He is our Father and so the One we take our
orders from. This requirement is fleshed out
in these corolaries:
1) to live every second of our life with the
knowledge that we are on this earth to serve
others and not ourselves
2) to forgive others at all time and never
to seek revenge or justice as we cannot harbour
any animosity or resentment against anyone
3) to never pass judgment on or condemn the actions
4) to never use violence of any kind for any reason
5) and to live in humility and frugality,
not looking for earthly riches or successes.
Obviously, someone who follows these prescriptions
will inherit the Kingdom as she will accept humbly
that God is right in all His ways. It is the one who
rebels against these requirements through pride that
will rage against God's infinite Mercy for her enemies.
None of these prescriptions require the fulfulment of
any specific ritual or the assent of any specific
dogma. We do not even have to believe in God as such,
as long as we follow His will without realizing that
it is His will. On the other hand, the «Good News»
brought forth by Jesus should make it easier to follow
the Father's will as long as we do not use our
knowledge of Jesus in such a way that we end up
betraying Him by using our position to exclude
others instead of embracing them like Jesus did.
He came to heal those who needed His attention so
that they would live according to His Father's will.
For all this, for this really «Good News» of God Father's infinite
love for us all, let us sing with the Psalmist
in the words of the Septuagint:
O praise the LORD, all ye nations:
praise him, all ye people.
For his merciful kindness is great toward us:
and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever.
Praise ye the LORD.19
1These equalizing and asexual
factors of total nakedness for all are most evident
when you compare the sexual arousal found on a nudist
beach with that due to the alluring swimwear worn
as a way to attract the other sex on a «normal» beach.
2Mark 12:26-27 also:
touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not
read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead,
but of the living.» (Matthew 22:31-32)
3 «And was transfigured before them:
and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment
was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared
unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.»
(Matthew 17:2-3); also Mark 9:4 and
5 Matthew 12:36-37
6 Mark 6:11
9 Luke 11:31-32
10 Matthew 23:14
12 Mark 3:29
14 Revelation 12:7-11
15 This is not a Christian idea:
Satan is said to be the accuser of men before
God in many texts found in the Septuagint.
16 Matthew 12:31-32
17 Matthew 16:17-19
18 Matthew 18:15-20
19 Psalm 117
Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 6th, 2004
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