Monday, December 22, 2014
“New Age Bible Versions” - Chapter 18
Chapter 18: “Judgement or Interment?” Riplinger opens the chapter by citing 1 John 4:8 (“God is love.”), Hebrews 12:29 (“God is a consuming fire.”) and Romans 11:22 (“Behold the goodness and severity of God.”) Her premise is that the two mentioned attributes of God require judgment for our sins, and therefore there is indeed a place of “everlasting fire.” This place is known as hell, and was not created for man, but that was enlarged to accommodate those who reject God. She uses as her “proof text” Isaiah 5:14. However, Isaiah is only talking about the grave (as translated by the NIV). And that is the crux of this chapter: “Hell’s presentation in the bible [sic] can hardly be extinguished, but recent versions have diluted it by submerging the reader in a welter of words, substituting ‘death’, ‘grave’, ‘sheol’, ‘hades’, and ‘the depths’ for the word ‘hell.’ Using five additional ambiguous words fractures the impact. The fracture flies in the face of clarity, obscuring God’s warning. Descending progressively downward from ‘death,’ to the ‘grave,’ then to ‘sheol’ or ‘hades,’ then ‘the depths,’ and finally to ‘hell,’ the NIV offers a station, waiting to prove the afterlife theory of every philosophy and cult afloat.”
Aside from the hyperbolic rhetoric, Riplinger believes every reference to “hell” in the KJV is a reference to the place of eternal damnation, yet this idea has no basis in reality. What is interesting about this first section is that she just chastises the NIV when the NAS is also guilty!
1. On pages 292 and 293, Riplinger has two chart showing the replacement of KJV’s “hell” in numerous Old Testament verses. On p.292 “death” is the new word (6 passages), while on p. 293 (“The NIV has again erected a shaky fire escape on the foundation of their faulty theology.”) there are 20 “grave” changes and one “depths” change. Every one of these passages uses the Hebrew word “Sheol,” which Strong’s says means, “grave; by extension, realm of death, deepest depths.” These passages have nothing to do with the place of eternal torment and the new versions have translated the word correctly!
2. The chart on p.293 also includes four passages from the New Testament, two being changed to “grave” and two to “depths.” These passages use the Greek word “hades,” which means, “the grave, the place of the dead,’the underworld.’” Again, there is nothing in these passages to suggest anything in relation to the place of eternal torment, and the new version Bibles accurately translate the text.
3. P.294: “Hell or Hades and Sheol.” Riplinger then uses the logic fallacy of pointing out that the new versions translate these passages in the same way as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. But if something is true, it doesn’t matter if a cult also teaches it — truth is true no matter who speaks it!
a. NT translations of “hell” to “hades” — 10 passages. All of these passages use the same Greek word “hades,” which means they are translated correctly. In these passages the word CANNOT mean the place of eternal punishment. In fact, in the last passage, Rev. 20:14, death and hades are both thrown into “the lake of fire,” which is understood to be the place of eternal torment. If Hades equals Hell, then there is a problem here!
b. In the NAS Bible, “Sheol” replaces “hell” in the Old Testament 67 times. It doesn’t matter that this is proper, what matters to Riplinger is that the Jehovah’s Witness Bible does the same thing.
New version Bibles do NOT make hell into series of steps to the afterlife as claimed. They all have explicit teachings about hell as a place of eternal torment for unbelievers. The fact that they corrected many of the KJV passages to reflect the actual context of the passages being the grave, does not make them “New Age.” Neither Sheol nor Hades are Hell — both words refer simply to the grave, the land of the dead. They have nothing to do with Hell as a place of eternal torment. When the New Testament refers to the place of eternal punishment, it uses the word “Gehenna.”
4. After some convoluted arguments and logic fallacies, we come to the end of the chapter on p.298. Here Riplinger prefixes a chart with this statement: “The NASB has entirely omitted ‘everlasting punishment’ from the New Testament. The NIV has also dropped all references to “everlasting punishment’ for man.” She continues with a claim about the ideology of NIV editors.
Now, here’s the complaint: KJV uses “everlasting” while new versions use “eternal.” Riplinger says there is a difference between these two terms, and that somehow when “eternal” is used instead of “everlasting” in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 it means the people are “left to rot in their graves.” But the two words are synonymous!!!! Current culture doesn’t use the word “everlasting,” so the more culturally-familiar term “eternal” is used, but they mean the very same thing! How can something be “everlasting” without being “eternal,” or how can something “eternal” without being “everlasting”? This charge is just ludicrous!
5. We now see that Riplinger’s complaints in this chapter are totally without warrant.