It is certain that we disagree on many things scripturally speaking. I have been a bible student for nearly 50 years and as such my understanding and opinions have changed many times as I learn and understand new things. I do not accept your assertion of an active punishment and prefer to stand with scripture that describes those who rejected God as being sent from His presence.
I am certainly no Bible Scholar and wouldn't even think of calling myself one. However, I have already provided two examples from Scripture which I think clearly describe God and his Angels taking an active part in casting people into a pit of fire and warning men to be scared of the wrath of God for sinning. I would be happy to look at what evidence you would like to provide to refute that interpretation should you care to provide it.
God can make whatever rules he wants, but granting Freewill (if he did so ) imposes rules on Him. If mankind is to have freewill God cannot set up a system of coercion that would PUNISH people for making choices God disagrees with. And "Punishment" is the word used consistently in the Bible. Active. Involved. Pain and Suffering for commission of a crime. When you burn yourself on the stove we call it an accident not a crime. The burn is an unfortunate result, not a punishment. If Hell is just suffering endured because of the absence of God, a natural consequence, like a burn from the stove, why would that constantly be referred to as a "punishment" in the Bible?
Why would the reason for that punishment be constantly referred to as crimes committed against God (sins)?
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So how is one to know when a description is metaphorical vs literal? The verses I have found have all been very consistent in their description of brimstone, a lake of fire, burning etc- which suggests a non-metaphorical and literal use..
It is clear to me that we have no right to enslave God, by demanding that He create and maintain a place for those who do not wish to be with Him. That appears to me to be the height of liberalism.
Um, no. You claimed we were God's Property - his pots - that is a claim of slavery of the human race BY God. IF God doesn't own us, that is NOT equivalent to an attempt to enslave him. That is like saying live and let live allows me to unfairly impose my views on you-- namely my view that I am a free human being. If God granted us free will, that imposes limits on his control over us and right to issue punishments.
God is not beholden to create or maintain "a place" (what does that mean outside of space-time? I have no clue) for the men he supposedly set free from him. But if there is no "place" for them to live free that satisfies the requirements God built into their nature, then he didn't really free them, did he? Of course according to the bible he did create a place.. Its a lake of fire where they will be tortured for all eternity.
I see no conflict between God giving you life, letting you choose, and then deciding if He wants you in His presence or not, where He has prepared a place for us. It appears to me to be His right as our Creator.
There isn't any conflict in that, as long as you don't pretend my "choice" is made without coercion and threats..
The choice cannot be made in free will , because threats of punishment have been made. God of course can do what he wants with his property of human slaves and set up any rules he desires. Those rules were not consented to by the people involved (because they cannot refuse without being punished) and therefore they were not granted free will - merely a "choice" in a coercive environment.
Perhaps your lot is unfair, but to whom shall you complain? There is no one to appeal to. God remains God and has every right to create us as He has. The freedom is there. The choice is bad. Your complaint is not that you do not have freedom to choose, you merely want other choices.
No, my complaint is that the choices offered are offered in an environment of coercion. Seriously, If I told you that you must serve me or you would be deprived of air, or water, or food , would you not feel coerced? After all, Its not my fault that you need air , water or food, so I am not coercing you, correct? In God's case it actually is his fault that you need those things, so when he threatens to deny them its worse isn't it?
“For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.”
? Thomas More, Utopia
How many millennia passed before Jesus was even sent to educate us? How imperfectly was that information spread in the world thereafter? How confusing and difficult bible scholarship is when I read one passage as think it says one thing, and you say it means something other via metaphor. The Creator of the universe couldn't communicate more clearly than this? He allowed us to become sinful and corrupted. He gave us a poor and confusing education, and then intends to punish us for doing what our natures and education incline us to do.
But, that is not ours to change. It appears just to me that the Creator can make the rules. The nature of God is such that He desires you. And He wants you to desire Him. He offers you much, when you have nothing to offer Him. Nothing. It is purely by Grace that your salvation is arranged and it is a free gift there for the taking.
God can make whatever rules he wants, but granting Freewill (if he did so ) imposes rules on Him. If mankind is to have freewill God cannot set up a system of coercion that would PUNISH people for making choices God disagrees with. Failure to comply would simply leave them free to exist without God. No "Punishment" involved.