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Friday, May 06, 2011 | Comments (109)

One view of hell that seems to be making a strong resurgence today among evangelicals is Annihilationism. There are slight variations, but it essentially teaches God will eventually snuff every unbeliever out of existence. Some Annihilationists make room for divine wrath, but they don’t allow it to extend beyond the lake of fire. In other words, they won’t allow God the full force of His judgment, which is eternal, conscious torment. For them, the lake of fire is what completely consumes and finally destroys sinners. Whether they see death as the end, or whether they see hell’s torments as limited in duration, the result is the same—a denial of the endlessness of hell.

“Wait a minute,” you protest, “what about all the biblical references to eternal flames and everlasting punishment? Doesn’t Matthew 25:46 say the wicked will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life?” Good question. For no good exegetical reason, some Annihilationists have understood the word “eternal” to refer, not to a duration of time, but to the quality of God’s judgment. It’s eternal in quality, even though it has an end. Other Annihilationists say “eternal” refers to the effect of divine judgment. That is to say, God’s judgment results in death—as in extinction, annihilation—which is a state of non-being that lasts eternally.

If you’re having a hard time bending your mind around that, you’re not alone. It’s hard to conceive of a sinner experiencing an eternal quality of judgment without it lasting forever. Matthew 25:46 clearly teaches that the duration of punishment and life are alike, both eternal. John MacArthur has said,

Punishment in hell is defined by the word aionios, which is the word eternal or everlasting. There are people who would like to redefine that word aionios and say, "Well, it doesn't really mean forever." But if you do that with hell, you've just done it with heaven, because the same word is used to describe both. If there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven. And I'll go one beyond that. The same word is used to describe God. And so if there is not an everlasting hell, then there is not an everlasting heaven, nor is there an everlasting God. It is clear that God is eternal; and, therefore, that heaven is eternal, and so is hell. (John MacArthur, “A Testimony of One Surprised to Be in Hell, Part 2”)

Augustine put it simply more than 1,500 years ago: “To say that life eternal shall be endless, [but that] punishment eternal shall come to an end is the height of absurdity.”

To say passages like Matthew 25:46 refer to eternality as a quality of judgment but say nothing about the duration, especially without exegetical support, is simply to beg the question. The meaning of “eternal” in that passage is clear—it’s everlasting.

Annihilationists sometimes explain “eternal” in the sense of an eternal effect. They say words like destruction and death refer to some kind of disintegration or consumption. God doesn’t torment the wicked for all eternity, He simply ends their existence, and the effect of that singular act of judgment lasts forever. As we noted above, they will allow God to be wrathful, but only for a time. To say divine punishment is everlasting is going way too far; it’s a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Eventually, they believe God will snuff the wicked out of existence, and that condition of non-existence lasts forever.

Apart from the metaphysical problem (How can something that no longer exists be said to last forever?), there’s a very serious problem with the “cessation of existence” view—it fails to account for a Lawgiver who is infinite and eternal by nature. The severity of an offense is measured, not merely by the nature of the act itself, but also in relation to the one offended. For example, if one man punches another man on a street corner, he may suffer some consequences—charges of disturbing the peace, assault, or battery. But to punch the President of the United States ups the ante; when the Secret Service finishes with him, he’ll be doing some serious prison time.

It’s like that with offenses committed against a holy God. Since an offense against a finite lawgiver is finite, the punishment to satisfy the offense is also finite. That’s the principle behind Exodus 21, an eye for an eye (vv. 23-25). But an offense against an infinite, eternal Lawgiver is not finite; it’s infinite and eternal. It is up to the Judge to determine the severity of the infraction itself—i.e., telling a “white” lie versus committing homicide—but the nature of the infraction is measured against the nature of God who is holy and eternal. Likewise, God, who is perfect in righteousness, determines the justice an infraction demands. According to His Word, the punishment for an offense against a holy God is everlasting torment in hell.

On a human level, it’s understandable when people recoil from the Bible’s teaching about eternal torment. It’s an absolutely horrible, terrifying doctrine. It’s impossible for us to conceive of a crime so severe—even the crimes of notorious people like Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, and Osama bin Laden—as to merit the everlasting, excruciating agony described in the Bible. But that shows just how little we understand the sinfulness of sin on the one hand, and the holiness of God on the other.

God’s ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts—we cannot fully comprehend Him (Isa. 55:8-9). In an uncomfortably poignant and penetrating way, the doctrine of eternal hell confronts our loyalty, reveals our true authority, and demands that we set aside what seems reasonable to us and trust in the righteous judgment of a holy God. When we embrace the hard doctrines of the Bible, it becomes one of the most significant evidences of true, God-given faith.

The biblical doctrine of an eternal hell gives us yet another reason to praise God for the gospel. It took an eternal person to satisfy an eternal penalty against sin, which disqualified the entire human race, except one Person—Jesus Christ. He is the Son of man and the eternal Son of God. When Jesus laid down His life, His sacrifice satisfied every requirement of divine justice. For those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Substitute, His death has satisfied the eternal wrath of an eternal, righteous God. He bore our punishment in His body, absorbing God’s eternal wrath. But for those who do not embrace Christ, they are left to themselves—they bear the guilt of their offenses against an eternal God, and they will suffer for it eternally, never able to satisfy His eternal wrath.

I hope the doctrine of eternal torment sobers you. May it fill you with praise to God for saving you from eternal punishment, for giving you eternal life instead. May it humble you when you realize you’re not getting what you deserve. And may it ignite in you a passion to proclaim the gospel to those poor souls who are unaware of the terror that awaits them outside the mercy of God.

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry


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#1  Posted by Scott Davidson  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 4:43 PM

Terrific article Travis----As I read through the article I recall that I have found myself watching people more while out and about and think of the people I am walking by and where they will spend eternity. The doctrine of hell is very sobering and the more I study Romans (our depravity) the more I find myself thanking God for choosing, electing me. How could a believer not want to be wholeheartedly devoted and obedient to God? Think about it, before speaking everything into existence, HE KNEW YOU and chose YOU. If that does not motivate a believer to serve God then I don't know what would. To me that is very humbling.

#2  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 5:31 PM

Awesome, and I was reading something in scriptures that said there would be different levels of punishment,less and greater, but the

same kind of grinding, wailing in the dark while in lake of fire

with worms chewing away. I read that in thr 3 sermons, Man's last

day in court that someone mention in Truth about hell's blog.

Tks, Kerry Halpin

I needed that. God bless.

#3  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 5:31 PM

And thanks Travis for the good post.

God bless.

#4  Posted by Trent Biller  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 5:36 PM

"In an uncomfortably poignant and penetrating way, the doctrine of eternal hell confronts our loyalty, reveals our true authority, and demands that we set aside what seems reasonable to us and trust in the righteous judgment of a holy God. When we embrace the hard doctrines of the Bible, it becomes one of the most significant evidences of true, God-given faith."

This is what it all boils down to - do you trust God? Will you set aside what you think and stand firm in your faith? God is loyal and He demands that we are loyal to Him. I tried to comment on the last post but did not like what I had to say so I deleted it, but Travis put it much better and more succintly. Thank you Travis for this post.

#5  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 5:50 PM

Travis

Thank you for your ministry.

The argument about the reason why hell must be unending torment because Gods ways are infinite and higher than ours reminds me of a poor slum child stealing a dollar

from a millionaire. Does this give the millionaire more right to punish the child than a

regular person. No.

Rom 6:23 The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. All men having

an eternal soul is a Greek philosophical view that crept into the early church. No one on this blog after many attempts has justified the view that all men elect and non elect have eternal life. The fair question to this traditional view is what sustains the sinners soul in hell if they do not have the gift of eternal life the traditional answer is continual regeneration by God of the persons soul. Listen to James White (my favorite debater) on the Unbelievable pod cast use this non biblical idea after being cornered with this question.

#6  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 7:16 PM

1Tim. 6:16 (The Lord) who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

God formed all of us and gave us life, each moment of life is God's gift. We cannot exist for even one moment apart from God's gift of life.

Plato said each human being has a body that is mortal and will finally die, but each person also has a soul that is immortal and cannot die. This is a satanic idea that has robed men from properly understand the Bible, the nature of Hell, and appreciating Gods gift of eternal life.

#7  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 9:11 PM

To everyone,

I keep hearing "tradtionalists" say (Travis said it) that to sin against an infinite God requires an infinite conscious torment. Can someone tell me where that is in the bible?

Donavan, it looks like it's just you and me. Rise up annihilationists!!!...rise up I say! :)

Grace and Peace

#8  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 10:10 PM

Hi Travis #5,

John 1:4-5 (KJV)

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

This scripture states that in Jesus only is life, but clearly men, being born sinners without the life of Christ in them, are still alive on this earth. Clearly, there is more being said about life in Romans 6:23 than just consciousness. The issue is really the quality, or better the "nature" of that life.

In Revelation 9:3,5-6 it is clear that God can supernaturally preserve men from dying, and I believe this is also a foreshadowing of the torment in Hell to come.

If the Devil, the chief of all sinners, will not die (Luke 20:36), and all men will receive eternal bodies like unto the angels after they die, then what reason is there to not believe the obvious teaching of eternal damnation?

Lastly, Revelation 21:8 reiterates the fate of unbelievers in Gehenna. Why would God reiterate this if all unbelievers, Satan and demons are all annihilated? What point does it serve?

#9  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 10:51 PM

Comment deleted by user.
#10  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 11:02 PM

Here are some verses about Hell, study them in context and try not to fit them into your system.

Mat 10:28 God can destroy both body and soul in hell

1Tim. 6:16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one

has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

Psa. 112:10 The wicked will see it and be vexed;

He will gnash his teeth and melt away;

The desire of the wicked will perish.

Matt. 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is

the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Matt. 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather,

be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that

whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2Th. 1:9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from

the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power

there are many more verses that say the same thing, just take the the term eternal destruction there is no way it can mean everlasting non-destruction. Hell has an end, just like capital punishment is not based on how long it takes to die but how long the punishment lasts.

#11  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 11:06 PM

Donavan and Garret,

Just a couple questions right now (I need to go to bed!). First, do you understand the point that punishment is only partially related to the nature of the crime, and that also considered is the "victim" of the crime? For example, do you understand that if you slap your child in the face just once for no reason nothing will happen to you, but if you slap a police officer just once for no reason you'll be imprisoned? Does that concept come across to you?

Also, there is some measure of confusion in this issue with the terms "eternal", "life", and "death" (any many more, of course). It seems as though you use "life" synonymously with "existence" such that something cannot exist if it does not have "eternal life". Since one or both of you believe the wicked will be punished subsequent to physical death, you understand that physical death refers to a change in mode of existence, not going out of existence. Both the body and the soul continue to exist, though in different ways.

Donavan, you ask, "what sustains the sinners soul in hell if they do not have the gift of eternal life?" While I will not pretend to know the philosophical ins and outs, my first response is, the same factor that sustains the existence of those who dwell eternally in God's presence. Since we understand life and death are not synonymous with existence and non-existence, I do not understand why eternal life and eternal death must be.

Garrett, do I remember correctly that you believe unbelievers will be punished/tormented according to their wickedness in the Lake of Fire, but will subsequently be extinguished when the wrath of God they stored up has been completed meted out? I'm curious what you think of Donavan's view which appears to be (correct me if I'm wrong) that the wicked are extinguished at the moment of physical death.

Ok, last thing for now. Donavan, do you see the New Testament authors being influenced by Plato, or would you say we interpret the NT in light of Plato? And I'm really curious how you reconcile Matthew 10:27-28 which appear to make a clear distinction between body and soul. It appears to me that no less than Jesus taught the body could die apart from the soul.

I dunno, maybe I'm just confused about your view of human ontology.

#12  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 11:13 PM

Donavan (#10),

Hell has an end, just like capital punishment is not based on how long it takes to die but how long the punishment lasts.

The problem is human justice is limited to physical punishment. Someone who receives the death penalty receives a human-level punishment for their crime. They will be punished by God according to His divine justice for that same crime because humans cannot exact true justice.

#13  Posted by Timothy Herrick  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 11:38 PM

Hi there. By the sound of many of the above comments, it looks as though Mr. Allen is “preaching to the choir”. As a fellow Christian and “friendly annihilationist”, may I respectfully offer a few points, amongst many, for the idea of the annihilation of the wicked:

1. In the Garden of Eden, Satan told Eve that if she ate of the forbidden fruit, she would “surely not die”. (Gen. 3:4) Yet, God did say that she would die. And, we all know that the “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23)

The argument would be that if hell fire is eternal and the punishing of the wicked also goes on for all eternity, then Satan –and not God-- would have been correct: that sin does not result ultimately in death but the wicked do go on living eternally (although under less than ideal circumstances!)

2. With the terms of “everlasting” and “forever”, if we let the Bible itself define these terms (“comparing Scripture with Scripture”), we would find that they do not necessarily mean “for endless eternity” but actually refer to many events that have ended. A few examples:

- in Jude 7, Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned as examples suffering the “vengeance of eternal fire” (even though they are not still burning)

- Hannah pledged that her son, Samuel, would serve and abide in the temple at Shiloh “forever” (in 1 Sam 1:22), obviously meaning only for as long as Samuel should live

- Jonah referred to his submarine trip as “the earth beneath barred me in forever” but was let loose after 3 days

- in Jer. 17:27, God warns Sabbath breakers in Jerusalem about kindling “an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem”, which is not burning today

- in Ex. 21:6, there is a procedure under which a servant may voluntarily stay with his master, and after “his master shall pierce his ear with an awl, he shall serve him forever”. But, we know there will be no such servants in heaven.

From all of this, we can see that the definition of “forever” is not as fixed as the lead article implies, but rather, in many instances, simply means a continuing state or condition that does, in fact, come to an end at some point.

#14  Posted by Timothy Herrick  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 11:39 PM

(2 of 2 Parts)

3. On the other hand, there are also many verses that refer to the wicked as being completely destroyed (as opposed to roasting in an “eternal barbecue”). For example:

- Ps. 27:20: “But the wicked will perish, and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away.”

- Mal. 4:1: “Surely the day is coming, it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evil doer will be stubble . . . Not a root or branch will be left of them.”

- Jesus also refers to the fate of the wicked in terms of total destruction (or annihilation), by comparing their destruction to such things as weeds to be bound and burned up (Matt. 13:30, 40), fruitless trees that are cut down (Luke 13:7), withered branches that are burned (John 15:6), unfaithful tenants who are destroyed (Luke 20:16), the people who were crushed by Siloam’s tower (Luke 13:4-5), the people of Sodom and Gomorrah who were destroyed by fire (Luke 17:29), etc.

And, as a side-note, contrary to the popular misconception of an “immortal soul” (two words never used together in the Bible), both body and soul will be destroyed completely in hell. (Matt. 10:28).

4. Might I also mention here a favorite verse of all Christians, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” “Perish” plainly involves death, and death in the Bible means the cessation of life, not an eternal roasting in hell.

5. Finally, in the Rev. 21:4, God is to create a new heaven and a new earth, where there “will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain”. This cannot be if there is co-existing with such a new heaven and new earth, an eternal hell-fire burning lost sinners, which is also going on forever and ever. The purpose of God’s salvation plan is ultimately to eradicate sin, sinners, and Satan from the universe.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this exchange of ideas. May we all be blessed as we search together for God’s truth.

#15  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Friday, May 06, 2011at 11:49 PM

Gabriel

I do believe that the Bible clearly states that Hell is a place of unimaginable fear, pain and every other description the Bible gives to it, I think it is very real. I don't know anyone who thinks that a non elect person just poofs out of existence when they die, I honestly do think that idea is one that is kept up by traditionalists including JM to easily show that views errors.

I do not see the new testament authors being influenced by Plato absolutely not the Bible was God breathed to all the authors. I do say that about the time of Augustine A.D. 350-430 there were many abhorrent societal influences that crept into the church as I'm sure you would agree.

One of the worst things about being a Conditionalist is that many cults also have the belief, in fact Calvin railed on the belief so strongly he single handedly through it into cult category until the present day. But that doesn't make it unbiblical in itself.

Matthew 10:27-28 is one of the most obvious passages supporting Conditionalism. It clearly says that God can kill the soul intimating that he will if you are not elect. If your soul is killed it is not living in eternal torture in Hell. Or maybe you are asking about the nature of the soul, a great debate, I think it is the difference between you and your corps.

Garrett put it very well when he said I don't have a soul I am a soul. God gives a soul its life

in any mode of existence. Hope that clears it up.

#16  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 12:03 AM

Gabriel

The millionaire who has a dollar stolen by a slum child, would not demand a greater penalty but hopefully he would be more sympathetic. Not to say that the millionaire wouldn't understand the offense and severity of the child's crime. If the millionaire told the police to beat the child continually and throw him in jail for the rest of his life justifying himself because he was so rich and the child was so poor that would be wrong.

#18  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 4:49 AM

Were the Sadducees in the Scriptures were annihilationists. Since

They did'nt believe in the resurrection. Just wondering. and

hope it's a good question.

God bless.

#19  Posted by Sanford Doyle  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 5:04 AM

Listen people, REPENTANCE is the key. Repent for the forgiveness that is desperatly needed. Cry out to God in brokenness and in you wretchedness. Fellowship with God for all eternity is the need.

What is needed is forgivenee FROM God, to be in fellowship WITH God through Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Debating, tossing around bible verses that everyone thinks explains their position on hell, is good and okay. But you do not want to prove it by first hand knowledge do you?

You want to find out if you are right or wrong INSIDE the gates of heaven.

Repentance is the key, forgiveness is the need. Fellowship with God is all.

#20  Posted by Fred Butler  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 6:58 AM

Donovan writes,

The argument about the reason why hell must be unending torment because Gods ways are infinite and higher than ours reminds me of a poor slum child stealing a dollar from a millionaire. Does this give the millionaire more right to punish the child than a regular person. No.

The millionaire is not the holy creator. If the millionaire had created the slum child and expected the slum child to live according to his holy law then yes, he would have every right to punish the child.

In this illustration, you dismiss the seriousness of sin and our rebellion against God.

continuing,

an eternal soul is a Greek philosophical view that crept into the early church.

No it is not. Can you demonstrate this? Froom just cheery picked citations he thought proved his point and spun citations in a circular fashion. Can you do better? The earliest church writers like Polycarp and Clement of Rome, very much believed in the immortality of the soul. Going back even further, pre-Christian era Rabbinical teaching did as well. When did orthodox Jews get influenced by Plato?

When you read other church fathers, like Justin, his contention with the Gnostics and Platonism was the pre-existence of the soul. Christian theology doesn't teach the pre-existence of the soul, but it certainly teaches the immortality of the soul after death.

Continuing,

Here are some verses about Hell, study them in context and try not to fit them into your system...

"Fitting" verses into systems cuts both ways. Is there a verse that says the human soul is immortal? No. But does the whole of biblical theology teach such a concept? Yes. I take it you deny the Trinity as well? Where I see a big fail with the annihilationist is in the definition of terms. You automatically claim "destroy" and "consume" mean "going out of existence," yet you haven't proved that is what those words mean or how the biblical writers in both the OT/NT use them. Further, you conveniently ignore passages like Luke 16 and Rev. 20:10 and dismiss them as allegorical. But you need to explain how sinners experience torment of judgment and hell forever and ever. Unconscious people don't experience torment.

#21  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 7:27 AM

"Destruction is the concept of damage to an object, system, or being. It may apply either as a measurable degree of damage up to and including a state beyond use or repair, or it may indicate a state wherein such damage is occurring and continuing. Something 'being destroyed' is in a 'state of destruction.'" From Wikipedia

"1.the act of destroying: wanton destruction of a town.

2.the condition of being destroyed;demolition; annihilation.

3.a cause or means of destroying." from Dictionary.co

demolition, devastation.....from Thesaurus.com

Synonyms:abolishing, abolition, annihilation, assassinating, bane, carnage, crashing, crushing, disintegrating, disrupting, dissolving, downfall, elimination, end, eradication, extermination, extinction, extinguishing, extirpation, havoc, invalidating, invalidation, liquidation, loss, massacre, murder, overthrow, ravaging, ruin, ruination, sacking, shattering, slaughter, slaying, subjugation, subversion, subverting, undoing, wreckage, wrecking

Antonyms:building, construction, creation, improvement, reparation, restoration

#22  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 7:50 AM

Let's go back to Romans 6:1-4: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

1.Died to sin? Did they actually physically experience death when dying to sin?

2.Baptized into His death? Did I physically die when I was baptized?

3.We were buried with Him? I was put 6 feet under?

What about verse 11? "Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord."

My understanding it that unbelievers, "life as they know it" will cease.The former things have passed away.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." Passed away? As in dead?

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” There it is again. Former things have what?....passed away. And death shall what? Be no more.

So in light of the context in which "dead and died" are used in Romans 6...before we even get to verse 23...in other words....the previous verses set the context of the remainder of the chapter....how are we to view dead, died with regard to the chapter as a whole?

#23  Posted by Chad Smith  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 8:39 AM

God is eternal (Deuteronomy 33:27) we know that beyond a shadow of a doubt that scripture teaches that and we know that heaven is eternal (2 Peter 1:11) so when you say that Hell is not eternal then you have to say that both heaven and as JM has said God is not eternal and that is a clear contradiction to say that . Hell has to be eternal just like Fred noted above in Rev. 20:10 that satan and false prophets will be tormented forever and ever not for a short period of time ,FOREVER.

We also know form scripture that God's has an eternal purpose(Eph.12:5).and for those who reject the cure for there sin and turn away from God suffer eternal punishment , my friends it is the only thing that makes sense , you cant say that God and Heaven aren't eternal thats just not biblical to say that because if God isn't eternal then that means he was created which is blasphemy because then he isnt God if thats the case and if heaven isn't eternal then believers die(spiritually) and that is also not biblical to say . I might also add that Ecclesiastes 12:15 refers to man having an eternal home , so to me that's a no brainer that even though it doesn't specificley say that Hell is eternal there are clear proofs that it is, just like the trinity there's no where in scripture that God says " I am Jesus" but it is overwhelming clear that the Bible teaches that he is. Thank you all and I hope this helps God bless and may the Lord be glorified in everything we think say and do.

#24  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 8:58 AM

Fred

I think you missed the point in the slum child story. You say I was dismissing the seriousness of the sin. The story was about the sin,

and how the millionaire, who knew the value of money better than

anyone would understand. All analogies are limited and what I was

trying to convey was the incorrect use of the infinite God / lowly sinner penalty scale.

Platonism in the early church:

I’m surprised you mention Platonism and then deny it. Here is a past from one of the many websites that discusses the infiltration of Greek thought in the early church.

* "Among major schools of Greek thought, only Epicureans denied the soul's immortality." (Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary New Testament, Downers Grove, Inter Varsity Press, 1993, p.374)

* " 'immortality of the soul' , as normally understood, is not a Biblical doctrine..." (The International Bible Commentary, second edition, Grand Rapids, MI, Zondervan Publishing House, 1986, p.60 column 2)

"It is a truism that Plato's teaching has profoundly influenced Christian anthropology." (Forward by F.F. Bruce, The Fire that Consumes, Edward Fudge .)

Fitting verses into our own systems:

Yes I agree, we can fit any words into our own system if we try. I submit that it is

hardest for men like John MacArthur and Chuck Smith to change their views than

anyone else. I personally know the pain of being the one who is ostracized for not

believing particular doctrines. Try growing up in Chuck Smiths church and then becoming a Calvinist. Try turning to Preterism while working in John MacArthurs’s church etc. We find our own identity and social acceptance in the way we believe in the Bible, I personally know how hard it is hard to turn away from a doctrine like everlasting Hell but I must put the Bible and God first before my own Christian social status.

#25  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 9:23 AM

It seems so many people are being lead astray today with hell. There is no purpose in Christ if what others say is true.

The other day there was this wacko on television talking about essentially the same thing with nothing more than mere pathos, and a couple definitions backing up his sermon on hell, which he claims is not forever.

Clearly he did not know the Greek, when aion is used it does mean age or forever depending on the context also when used with eis....pretty much all the time it means forever and if it is used more than once like in some cases you definitely know it means forever. On top of that what about Jesus and his permanent priesthood that last forever? So is Christ not eternal or does he not reign forever?

Annihilationists are inconsistent, sorry but they are.

What next? Deny that God and heaven last forever? That God is not perfectly eternal?

#26  Posted by Chad Smith  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 9:24 AM

..Sorry everyone that's supposed to be Eph. 3:11 refering to Gods eternal purpose not Eph 12:5

#28  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 11:16 AM

Rebecca #22

I appreciate your post, death often doesn’t mean physical death in the Bible. The strength of using Rom 6:23 for the Conditionalist is not the analogy between life and spiritual death I would agree with that. The important aspect is that eternal life is a gift. If you don’t get the gift what aren’t you getting, eternal life, there lies the problem for the traditionalist.

Hope that helps

#29  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 11:21 AM

Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

It seems incredibly presumptuous that all of us commenting here on the GTY website think we know more than a man who has studied and preached the word or God longer than probably most of us have been alive. And MacArthur isn't the only great man of God that holds his view. Other great preachers like Adrian Rogers, Spurgeon, the Puritan writers and many of those who have long since been joined with Christ have all shared the same "traditionalist" view. It's "traditional" for a reason - over the long ages of Christian thought, these views have stood the test of time and scrutiny to remain the unerring truth of the word of God.

Until someone can tear apart all of the many great sermons on this subject, many of which can be found on this site, the burden of proof is on the non-traditional viewpoint. MacArthur has done much to invalidate almost every annihilationist viewpoint that has been posted on these blogs, so please read up on what the man of God has taught and come back when you have sure scriptural evidence that this "traditional" viewpoint is unscriptural.

#30  Posted by Sanford Doyle  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 11:41 AM

Donovan and Garrett,

An honest and plain reading of scripture shows your arguements about hell, are in a word...absurd.

Do not search scripture for verses that you think support your point of view.

Search the scripture, then let the scripture search you. Read the bible, then let the bible read you.

A hard look at scripture requires a hard look at yourself.

As the puritain Thomas Watson wrote " Hell is the jail where you will lie rotting forever."

#31  Posted by Kim Eriksen  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 12:54 PM

TY GTY 4 these wonderful articles!!! i hope gty will make this series into a booklet?or small book..i love to read and love gty and JM for his wonderful ministry and love for our Lord Jesus and His Word..Praise to our Father in heaven for His Love and Mercy!!! Thank you again and Blessings to you..

Because of Calvary

Kim Eriksen

Savannah Ga

#32  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 12:59 PM

Elaine

Sorry my answer to your post didn’t get posted.

I was saying that Conditionalism solved the problem between the age of accountability and Calvinism.

What I said was:

After you understand annihilationism / conditional immorality it makes Calvinism and the age of accountability question easy. When a baby dies and it was not elect it would not be tormented in the intermediate state because it had not willfully sinned it would simply be annihilated. This circumstance would not be the case if the unsaved person was above the age of accountability and was tormented in the intermediate state (for a just amount of time that only God knows) and then annihilated.

You said:

No, it doesn't. Unless, of course, you ignore some other passages. You say "not willfully sinned". Whatever happened to Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ?

I agree with you, everyone was born in sin and deserves to go to Hell (thank God for his gift of eternal life) but I used the term willfully sinned, so as to draw a distinction to the age of accountability, which I don’t believe in.

Buy the way, If you believe in eternal everlasting torture in Hell, and the doctrine of the age of accountability you should be for abortion. Think about it, better these little ones should go to heaven than end up being tortured forever. Narrow is the gate and few...The logic of the doctrine of the age of accountability and Calvinism do not go together.

#33  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 1:22 PM

Fred

You wrote:

You automatically claim "destroy" and "consume" mean "going out of existence," yet you haven't proved that is what those words mean or how the biblical writers in both the OT/NT use them.

I know you know the terms the Bible uses to describe what happens to the people in Hell. It is a futile effort to convince you of their meaning. But try this: Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire. If you look up the word it means (Gr. halisko) to expend, to use up. Other places in the old and new testaments make its meaning to be drink or eat. But when used as a consuming fire or a consuming God, it means using up every aspect of the subject.

You write:

Further, you conveniently ignore passages like Luke 16 and Rev. 20:10 and dismiss them as allegorical.

Luke16:

I really don’t know why traditionalists use Luke 16 to prove anything about Hell. This is the fourth in a series of parables It is an older parable that Jesus was using because his audience was familiar with the story, not to describe Hell but to describe the differences between the haves and the have nots. See the summery sentence it has nothing to do with Hell.

Just curious are you such a literalist concerning Luke 16 that you think people can speak between the saved and the lost conversing with each other after death in view of others close by. Do you think literal tongues that burn with literal fire and literal water that does not cool are among them.

As for Rev. 20:10:

Go back to Timothy Herrick’s post # 13 and 14, he explains your question very well.

#34  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 1:28 PM

#28 Donavan. My mistake. I thought you considered "dead" In Romans6:23 to mean annihilation. So we do agree that all of Romans 6 speaks of death as a loss...not of life but life specifically with Christ Jesus. And if we aren't "in" Christ, we must be "out" of Christ. If we aren't "with" Christ,as in living with Christ, we must be living "apart" from Christ....somewhere other than heaven.Wanted to get that clear.

But why is it you don't see the point in see Romans 6:23 to be the fact that the "free gift" is having a life IN Christ Jesus. Why does that not jump out at you? Why do you think the emphasis or focus should be on "eternal" rather than "Christ Jesus"? Now that's what's problematic for me.

#35  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 1:32 PM

I use God's word literally and I do not to make up things behind

the passages like on bible movies.

As God says, a literally heaven and a literally hell. So be it, and

turn and confess then you live.

God bless.

#36  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 2:02 PM

Deut. 25:2-3 If the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down and have him flogged in his presence with the number of lashes his crime deserves,

but he must not give him more than forty lashes. If he is flogged more than that, your brother will be degraded in your eyes.

This brings me to the Idea of justice, an infinite penalty for a finite crime. I no, I no, you say

that the one who you do the crime to is infinite (God) so that makes the sin an infinite crime, I say why, and what scripture do you have for this. I just showed you laws given directly from God that are strictly limited in all cases. By saying that Gods ways are higher than our ways begs the question, and could be used as an excuse for any any cultic doctrine you could think of.

#37  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 2:41 PM

Rebecca #34

Rom 6:23 does mean "life in Christ", but the text says eternal life as a description of the specific kind of life in Christ. I agree with you all the way.

Also:

Since I'm a believer in Gods sovereignty I think that gift (eternal life in Christ) is only by grace and for Gods glory. May I ask how does God receive glory for a soul being tormented forever? I understand the sinners are getting what they want and deserve I'm just asking how does eternal torture in hell give God glory.

#38  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 3:07 PM

Defining Terms:

The annihilationists posting here have a simplistic and unbiblical view of life and death. For them, life equals existence and death equals non-existence. It's understandable in a secularist, materialist culture like ours to make that mistake, but if we let the Bible speak for itself, we'll find life and death mean something different than mere existence/non-existence.

For example, when God promised Adam and Eve would die upon eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and they did not cease to exist immediately upon eating the fruit, it's clear that death means something other than mere non-existence. Otherwise, you would have to admit Satan was speaking the truth when he said, "You will not surely die," and that God was not telling the truth when He said, "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Of "life," John 1:4 says of Jesus, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." And in John 10:10, when Jesus said about His sheep, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly," He spoke of at least some sheep who were already in existence (e.g., His disciples). And what of the equation Jesus made in John 17:3--"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent"? Life clearly means something more than mere existence.

So, for all you annihilationists who are hovering among us simple choir members, are you prepared to accept the implications of your belief that death equals non-existence? Are you prepared to be consistent with your simplistic, materialistic view that life merely equals existence? I hope not.

If you're willing to do your homework, you'll find overwhelming support for the "traditionalist" position. Let's take the word "death" as a start.

Merrill summarizes his article on moot in NIDOTTE, "death in the OT...does not suggest cessation of being or even loss of consciousness. It is, indeed, a radical change in existence, but one that does not altogether preclude existence."

Grenz says in his entry on death in PDTT, "[The] consequence [of sin entering the world] is spiritual alienation or separation from God. As a result of sin humans also experience physical death, a visible and universal reminder of the ongoing effects of sin. [The second death, Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8, is] the final separation of the wicked from God's glorious presence for all eternity."

There are many articles and entries in lexicons and theological dictionaries that support what we're saying. We don't have time to do all your homework for you, but if you're willing and truly open, you can find it for yourself.

Start by studying thoroughly all these terms you keep throwing around so casually--e.g., consume, destroy, perish, life, death, Hades. Then apply what you've learned within the boundaries of a grammatical-historical hermeneutic--stay consistent and consider the implications. So far, your comments betray your lack of seroius study.

#39  Posted by Alan Kern  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 3:28 PM

I notice the annihilationists here are using Romans 6:23 as evidence that death does not equal hell.

However, let us examine Revelation 21:8, which states: "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, [etc.]—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."

This verse seems to be the nail in the coffin for any kind of annihilationist theory. It describes the lake of burning sulfur as the second death reserved for the ungodly. Juxtaposing this verse with Romans 6:23, we can see how eternal hell--the second death--is also the wages of sin. The two are completely compatible.

In other words,

I. The wages of sin is death

II. Eternal hell is the second death

III. Therefore eternal hell is the wages of sin

The only other option for an annihilationist, I observe, is to deny the validity of the Book of Revelation.

#40  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 3:35 PM

#37

When I first read the bible. I read it literally and God open my

mind to understand what Christ was say in my heart. I don't look

at anything but God's word. I read word for word. I may not understand some of the scriptures until I study it. It works, believe me. Only God gives wisdom.

I refuse to be an annihilationist. Thank you for the definition for

that word, Travis.

God bless.

#41  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 4:30 PM

Travis and Alan #38 and 39

I agree with both of your views. There is no incompatibility with Conditionalists as far as your your premises just your conclusions we would differ. It's a bit frustrating trying to just say what the annihilationist position is because it is constantly being incorrectly preached just to be stood up and knocked over. It seems to me Travis that the Conditionalists/Annihilationists on this blog have shown to be well read and have done their homework, sorry you don’t think so, I could use more complicated theological terms but that would only be self serving.

To be clear life does not equal existence and death does not equal non-existence in any view of Hell that I know of. Please see previous posts where this has been covered.

As far as homework:

What I personally do when learning about a subject is, read all the books I can find, read all the commentaries I can find, look up where the Bible uses the same ideas in different passages, being sure to use the Bible to interpret the Bible, and then look up the key words in the original languages, always trying to keep in mind the context, I also am a debate junky and listen to every debate I can on the subjects. But most of all try to let the Holy Spirit give me wisdom. Honestly I don’t understand the part of the Holly Spirit in Bible interpretation because there are so many godly men with different views.

#42  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 4:33 PM

#37, Donavan-"Since I'm a believer in Gods sovereignty I think that gift (eternal life in Christ) is only by grace and for Gods glory. May I ask how does God receive glory for a soul being tormented forever? I understand the sinners are getting what they want and deserve I'm just asking how does eternal torture in hell give God glory."

If I understand your point, you believe that God can show His glory through torment as long as it is held to a minimal? Then just how much is enough? I mean, whether you're an annihilationist or traditionalist, either way seems gruesome.Torment and then death is OK by you? That is God's glory? How do you put any limitations on it at all? Might the answers vary among annihilationists about what limits are appropriate? I mean, who decides when enough is enough? There is nothing in scripture that tells us what about God is fair and what isn't. He is just....all the time.

I'm using reasoning because that is what you are using. It doesn't seem reasonable to you. That was your defense. So I ask you just how much in your opinion can God do before He is no longer glorious and before you find Him no longer reasonable?

You can't base Romans 6:23 as being not forever because you simply feel it can't glorify God. God's perfect justice glorifies Him. If He had no backbone, then He would not be glorified. You think death and being apart from God is enough justice for rebelling and denying Jesus and killing Him. That seems to me to just knock God right off of His holy throne.

Look, we are made in His image...not the other way around. I really have listened to the arguments and they have been impressive. But I keep feeling like you and others are trying desperately to put God and all His mysteries into something you can relate to and if you can't relate to it, then you deny it. I know you believe that God has the right and if He wanted to make it eternal, He could. You just think He won't and why? Because you can't relate to it and you can't imagine it. It is not about my imagination or yours. It just is. Just like in Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM,". There is no other. None like Him. None that know His ways, His standards, His love or His justice. If you're not careful with that kind of reasoning, you might fall prey to asking,"How could He allow His son to be killed so brutally or at all? What kind of parent does that? Does that show His glory if He can't find another way out?" Pretty bizarre for most of us to imagine, right?

#43  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 5:00 PM

I am praying for the annihilationist, that the Lord will gracefully

show them the truth and I love them for Christ loves me first. Just

being honest.

#41

The Holy Spirit is the helper and he guides us through his word and

through life too.

God bless.

#44  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 5:59 PM

Rebecca #42

I should have made myself more clear. I was hoping you would give me a Biblical reference to show how torturing people in Hell forever gave God glory, I would yell the loudest at people who use emotional and personal feelings putting God in a box. Rom 9 says the potter can do what ever he wants with the clay, maybe he wants to torture little kids for fun, if God did that it would be right and just because he is God. Please understand as far as I'm concerned unless the argument comes from the Bible it really doesn't matter.

#45  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 6:53 PM

To Everyone:

There is so much Biblical evidence to make the Conditional Immortality view, it’s hard to make a coherent post in a blog such as this. I feel that if you look at the mountain of Biblical evidence for the view honestly, guided by the Holly Spirit, you will change. Ya that is really scary, I think most Christians unknowingly put their traditions, systems and Christian social status before the word of God. Ya they will call you a Seventh Day Adventist, or a Jehovah’s Witness, or say you'r like some other cult, but you will be true to God and this word and that is the highest calling.

Even if you want to refute a Conditional / annihilationist you should know the view

accurately, try to get info from a web site called “Jewishnotgreek.com it seems rather complete.

God Bless.

#46  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 8:01 PM

Regarding the word translated “eternal” or “forever” (aionios in Gk):

That exact Greek word is everywhere in the New Testament. Some examples:

The commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 16:25-27)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. (2 Thess. 3)

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim. 1:17)

And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:9)

How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb. 9:14)

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8)

One of the most clear and powerful verses to explain the meaning of “eternal” is found in 2 Corinthians. Paul says:

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor. 4:17-5:1)

Paul contrasts “eternal” with “momentary,” “temporary,” and “destroyed.” He’s arguing that what awaits believers in heaven—far from being momentary, temporary, and subject to destruction—is eternal. It will endure forever.

That puts “eternal punishment,” “eternal judgment,” and “eternal flames” into perspective.

Beyond that, there are NT references to eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12); an eternal inheritance (Heb. 9:15); the eternal covenant (Heb. 13:20); eternal glory (1 Pet. 5:10); the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11); the eternal reign of Christ (Rev. 11:15); and even the eternal gospel (Rev. 14:6). And those are just a few. If hell isn’t eternal in the sense of lasting forever, then neither are heaven, the gospel, redemption—even the trinity.

In the words of Robert Dabney, the duration of hell is “parallel with the eternity of God.” The meaning is inescapable. Compromise the eternality of hell, and you compromise the trinity.

Theologian A.H. Strong, writing about the words used to describe hell says, “If, when used to describe the future punishment of the wicked, they do not declare the endlessness of that punishment, there are no words in the Greek language which could express that meaning.”

#47  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 8:08 PM

Donovan:

Instead of just asserting your position, why don't you simply deal with the passage I cited in the article--Matthew 25:46? If you're able to reconcile that passage with the annihilationist position, while remaining faithful to a consistent historical-grammatical hermeneutic, your position might carry some weight. I haven't run into a JW or SDA yet who can answer that challenge; perhaps you think you can.

As for your approach to study--"I read all the books I can find, read all the commentaries I can find"--not all books and commentaries are worthy of your time. For example, the website you linked above cited favorably Dr. Greg Boyd's interactions with his unbelieving father on the issue of hell.

Donovan, you need to be very careful what you embrace. I'm not sure if you understand who Dr. Boyd is--he's one of the chief proponents of Open Theism, and it's pure poison. You need to read wisely, which means there are some things you shouldn't read to form your doctrinal positions, especially on doctrines like hell.

However, perhaps you really do understand the positions you're taking, you're committed to them. If that's the case, then you really have nothing more to say on this website.

#48  Posted by Aidan Clevinger  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 9:14 PM

Everyone,

On a quick side note, the question was posed as to how the eternal torment of unbelievers could possibly glorify God. Paul addresses that same question in Romans 9:22-23: "What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory".

The suffering of the damned fulfills two purposes: 1. It puts God's just wrath on full display, 2. It causes the saved to rejoice in the sovereign mercy that alone made their fates differ. That is why, in Revelation 14, the "smoke of their torment" ascends into the presence of Christ (and with Him, presumably, the believers in Heaven): because Hell is both a direct reflection of God's justice and an indirect reflection of His mercy. Therefore, it does indeed glorify Him.

I'm not a Calvinist myself, but I do believe that Edwards came to the same conclusion. "The End of the Wicked as Contemplated by the Righteous" or something of the sort.

Love in Christ,

Aidan

#49  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 9:47 PM

Mat 25:46 Not what you may think.

OK, Matthew 25:46. It’s a huge problem for eternal torture people, why you ask, well it’s not because of the word “Aionios” in fact the use of aionios is a draw in scripture, 51 times it is used to mean an unlimited about of time and 71 times it is used in a limited time frame the exact numbers are argued, so lets not talk about that believe me it’s not hard to find scores of pages of deep exegesis on that word and it’s usage.

Here’s the problem for traditionalists in Mat 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Simply look at the grammar.

Understand the difference between punishment and punishing. The passage doesn’t say “And these will go away into eternal punishing, it says punishment (Gr. kolasis) which means punishment, not punishing. Eternal punishment can by definition only happen once. You could say capital punishment, but you could never say capital punishing for example. I could go on about this but I’m sure you understand. I went to this passage often trying to prove continual punishment until I listened to a Conditionalist who showed me the passage without my system doing the interpreting, as you say just let the Bible speak.

Travis:

I know who Dr. Boyd is and I don't agree with Open Theism at all, the web site was just to get an overview of the view, there are many names listed on that site I’m sure some of them believe in some odd views.

Love

#50  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 9:49 PM

To everyone,

The whole point of me posting my annihilationist views on this website is to win people to my side of the fence (as of now I can happily report zero converts). I think these hell forums are good for people on both sides of the fence (iron sharpens iron). I thought I knew everything "traditionalists" thought. I was wrong. However, I can say my passion for my beliefs has only increased because of these threads. Likewise, I'm sure "traditionalists" will say the same thing. I hope I'm allowed to respectfully disagree and sharpen more iron.

With regards to the eternality of hell, this is what I think. I believe in eternal punishment. Like Travis said, I think what is permanent is the result, not the process. I think "traditionalists" believe in eternal punishing, where the act of punishing never stops. In the bible, words like eternal, everlasting, and forever usually mean just that, forever. However, as Timothy #13 said, there are a number of times when eternal, everlasting, and forever mean for a certain time or, until death. Read #13 as proof. Don't get me wrong, I believe eternal, in Matthew 25:46 means forever. For as long as the righteous receive their reward, eternal life, the wicked recieve their punishmnent, eternal death.

I really don't care if Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists believe what I believe. To say that only these 2 groups believe in annihilationism (Travis #47) is assasination by association. If you believe in annihilation, then you must be one of them. With all due respect, I think this is wrong.

Finally, If one believes in eternal torment, then the bible must use the word torment consistently...it doesn't. Instead, it consistently uses words like perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, burn up, and death to describe the fate of the wicked. These words, taken literally, don't mean torment. They mean to go out of existence. In his book Life in Christ, Edward White said, "My mind fails to conceive a grosser misinterpretation of language than when the five or six strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying 'destroy' or 'destruction,' are explained to mean maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence. To translate black as white is nothing to this."

Grace and Peace

#51  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 10:17 PM

#44 Donovan

"I was hoping you would give me a Biblical reference to show how torturing people in Hell forever gave God glory".

I was hoping that you could give me a verse that shows God's righteous and justice doesn't give Him the glory at all.

"maybe he wants to torture little kids for fun, if God did that it would be right and just because he is God."

Now that is just dirty. There is no way to answer a suggestive question like cause to answer would imply I think God wants to torture little children. That was covered on a previous blog. Your attempt is to get me to say yes, if God wanted to torture little children, then OK by me cause He's God. That was disgraceful!

And while we are on the subject of what God wants to do, He doesn't desire that any perish or be tortured or be in Hell for a second let alone an eternity. He's done everything possible to make sure you and I are not hell-bound...just short of taking our will away, our brains and making us dummies in order to get us to do the right thing.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."2 Peter 3:9 or

how about Hebrews 10:26 or maybe Romans 11:14 or John 3:17 or

this one I really like, "Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'"Ezekiel 33:11

and "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!" Ezekiel 18:32 and "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"Ezekiel 18:23

Hell was created for Satan & the fallen angels. Satan lying about what God has truly said goes back to the Garden of Eden. And now we have generations of men that have elected to do the same...lie about God's word. It is a choice. God would prefer that they repent and turn away from their sin & avoid hell. Go figure that people would blame God for eternal hell even though He sacrificed His son for them and is not quick to anger and provides all the time we need to avoid hell. It's God's fault because He made hell.Not their fault because of disobedience.That is teenage mentality.

Lastly,you said "Please understand as far as I'm concerned unless the argument comes from the Bible it really doesn't matter." Really? Were you looking into a mirror when you said that?I answered your question when you asked "how does eternal torture in hell give God glory" back in #37 You don't give scripture on how it doesn't glorify and yet want me to give scripture that shows it does? I did that already. God's punishment is perfect justice and it glorifies each time it is administered. I trust God's wrath.You don't.It's too much for you. Don't try to tweak it.

#52  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 10:36 PM

Donavan:

You said, "Eternal punishment can by definition only happen once." Since you're looking at Matt. 25:46 through the pretext of annihilation, you're not able to recognize what you said is utter nonsense. Even on the human level, a punishment can be carried out over a duration of time. It's called a prison sentence. The fallen angels of Jude 6, and Satan in Rev. 20:1-3, 7 understand that perfectly.

No one who supports the traditional view of eternal, conscious punishment believes aionios always means "never ending" in every context. But it clearly means "never ending" in Matt. 25:46. In fact, the grammar strongly supports the traditional view while it undermines the annihilationist view. The preposition eis modifies both phrases--"into eternal punishment" and "into eternal life." The wicked and the righteous enter into two different states of being.

So, we're still waiting for you to, as I said above, "reconcile that passage with the annihilationist position, while remaining faithful to a consistent historical-grammatical hermeneutic."

#53  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 10:48 PM

Donavan,

I don't think your grammatical understanding takes enough grammar into consideration. The noun punishment is not mutually exclusive to the verb punishing. The noun makes no reference to the process. If I tell my child, "I'm going to punish you," I make no clear reference to the extent or process of punishment. That must be defined further. On the other hand, if I tell my child, "I'm going to punish you for two weeks." Then my child understands that I've made a reference to length, but still haven't defined what the punishment will look like.

The point of Matthew 25:46 is not explicitly that the process is defined, but that the extent of time in which that punishment is carried out is defined.

Personally, it makes no sense to me that if the punishment is annihilation there would be any need to refer to extent of time. If a man tells his teenage son, "I'm going to punish you by selling you (my) car," there is no need to add, "for the rest of your life." The act of selling that car is final. Annihilation is by definition eternal and requires no time reference. You mention capital punishment. You could never say "eternal capital punishment" because that would be redundant.

Would you agree that "eternal life" means eternal living and not the eternal effects of a one-time life? Then why would "eternal punishment" mean the eternal effects of a one-time punishment and not eternal punishing?

Can you define "eternal life" in Matthew 25:46 consistently with how you define "eternal punishment" in a way that is consistent with how the rest of Scripture uses eternal life?

#54  Posted by Travis Allen  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 10:54 PM

Garrett Dulin:

You said, "The whole point of me posting my annihilationist views on this website is to win people to my side of the fence." I appreciate the honesty. Thanks for letting us know your intentions.

If you're willing to concede "eternal" means "forever" in Matt. 25:46, then what of the biblical definition of death (see comment #38)? If the biblical definition of death is separation, then why is it so difficult to see Matt. 25:46 as teaching a punishment of a final, conscious separation from God that lasts for all eternity?

By the way, my quip about JWs and SDAs was not at all intended as "assasination by association," as you put it. I was winking at Donavan who first mention the two groups in comment #45. I realize you can hold to Annihilationism without being a JW, an SDA, or a cultist, and I think most of our readers understand that too.

Your final point about being consistently literal with words like "perish, destroy, destruction, ashes, burn up, and death" is too simplistic. Biblical interpretation is a bit more complex than that, allowing for different nuances of meaning, the use of figures of speech, the use of phenomenological language, etc., all depending on the context. As in interpreting any language, context is king.

Thanks for your post.

#55  Posted by Caleb Eaves  |  Saturday, May 07, 2011at 11:57 PM

Donovan,

There is a problem with the millionaire analogy. You make the offender look like a poor, innocent child. The thing is, the offender ought to be pictured as a robber not a poor child. Any one who deserves God's wrath deserves God's wrath. There are no innocent poor children. I know you didn't say "innocent" but that is exactly what you imply by using a child for the symbol for the offender. Plus, God says that He is slow to anger. He isn't some raging, short termpered God. The analogy should look like a grown man who has been a serial robber his whole life who steals from a millionaire time again and again while the millionaire allows him the oppurtunity to stop and warns the robber of his consequences if he does not stop. Finally, the millionaire seeks justice and punishes the thief.

#56  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 5:07 AM

#51 Rebecca

Very sorry you thought I was trying to trick you with the torture babies for fun comment I wasn’t bating you I really believe that if God wanted to do that he would have a good and just reason for doing so.

I agree with your other points except your free will note, I believe that our free will is actually determined by God (another subject).

You said:

you don't give scripture on how it doesn't glorify and yet want me to give scripture that shows it does?

That was a very good point, sorry. I think Rom 9 is a good argument for showing Gods glory in justice by putting someone in hell as I understand it “eternal destruction, 2nd death, burnt up, parishing, being destroyed, killed, melt away, etc. But I do not see a convincing argument for Gods glory in justice for eternal torture.

Understand I do think God can do anything even if it looks like an atrocity to us and still be right and just. I don’t think there is Biblical warrant for eternal torture, limited torture yes, but eternal torture, no.

#57  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 5:53 AM

To Everyone:

Conditionalism has at least 3 separate and strong argument.

#1 The Biblical passages for eternal life with an immortal soul being a gift from God Rom 6:23, the idea that all men are not born with an “immortal soul” (that term is nowhere in the Bible) platonism (Greek phylosphical influence) says all men do have an immortal soul. We believe eternal life is a gift, and God could destroy the soul if he wants to Mat 10:28.

#2 The numerous terms describing hell, that in context, looking at the original languages point toward hell as absolute death and absolute destruction.

#3 The positive Biblical idea that God will win in the end. Timothy #14 put it like this: Finally, in Rev. 21:4 God is to create a new heaven and a new earth, where there “will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain”. This cannot be if there is co-existing with such a new heaven and new earth, an eternal hell-fire burning lost sinners, which is also going on forever and ever. The purpose of God’s salvation plan is ultimately to eradicate sin, sinners, and Satan from the universe.

Hope that helps.

#58  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 6:01 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#59  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 6:05 AM

And saying no one can come to heaven less' he becomes like a child'.

Remember when Jesus had a child stand by him for his disciples were

wondering who is the best disciple. Like who is greater.

Become as a child means a humble repentive heart.

God bless.

#60  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 2:22 PM

#38 Travis

Oh what a wonderful reply. Yes Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life. I’ll join the choir and sing to His praise.

#61  Posted by Jeffrey & Melody Nerhood  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 3:28 PM

@Scott Davidson: Amen, brother. My first thoughts were the same as yours. The truth about hell is very, very sobering indeed.

#62  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 3:36 PM

Jesus, isn't He the tree of life in the garden. In Him is eternal life.

#64  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 4:43 PM

# 57 - Donavan. I am no scholar, not even close. I could even say that you know more than I do (even though I think you are not using your knowledge properly, but... that's not my point).

The above cited comment, # 3. Of course you must understand that unbelievers won't enjoy new heaves and new earth! As a matter of fact, Revelation 21:4 starts like this: "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes..." Whose eyes??? the ones in hell? No, the ones in heaven! All what you read in that verse has to do with Christians, not with unbelievers. So why would you assume that hell is part of new heavens and new earth? Also, note that the Great White Throne Judgement has already happened (previous chapter), unbelievers are not even in the picture any longer. Sin is indeed gone in the new heavens and new earth. The existence of the lake of fire and sinners being eternally tormented will not destroy the peace and joy of the new heavens and new earth. New heavens and new earth is not part of sinners existence - Rev 21:8 "... their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."

You are trying to make sense of God's purpose according to your own thinking. It doesn't work that way. You cannot suppose to understand the mind of God.

Travis' # 38 and Gabriel's # 53 are great, very helpful.

E.

#65  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 5:02 PM

One thing, those in lake of fire would have to sink or float forever.

I am not being funny, no. It's hot like lava.

#66  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 8:37 PM

#56 Donavan.... None of us know why God elects some and not others. I have my own theory but either way, no scripture to support it. That is a different topic and one that has already been covered on a blog concerning such. My point is and was, God has provided and it is God who will judge the wicked. But we're blogging hell rather than the elect.

I'd like to make an observation. In post #24, you said "I submit that it is hardest for men like John MacArthur and Chuck Smith to change their views than anyone else."

I don't know if you mean changing views in general is hard for John MacArthur and Chuck Smith or more specifically regarding hell and issues of eternity? It got me thinking, thanks to you, which view is more palatable...eternal hell with no end or hell for a period of time? Which one is the most difficult to explain to unbelievers or new believers before they have developed a relationship with Christ Jesus, before they have learned of His mercy in a mature way, before they learned of his perfect justice, before they are seasoned believers?

And, of course, eternal damnation is the hardest to explain. Most folks have heard more about "God is love" and "God forgives" than they have heard about hell...eternal or temporary. If we could say, "well as long as you are saved, you receive eternal life in Heaven with Jesus but the rest....they get a pretty severe punishment and then God puts them out of their misery"...if I were going to bend to one that makes it easier to go down...that would be the one. If I were to bend.

So if you think those two men are just stubborn and would rather make things more difficult for their flock and for themselves, that just doesn't make sense. Your view is way easier. I would want to hold on to the view that makes it easier to witness and to defend. In our humanness and our fallenness, we and the one being witnessed to have a real need to believe Hell is temporary way more than MacArthur and Smith have a need to believe it's eternal.Who would argue it's not more comfortable?

Or maybe you think they will not budge because they are proud men? Maybe they haven't been devoted to teaching the bible with accuracy? Maybe they don't really believe that shepherding a flock with bad theology will bring greater judgement on them? Maybe they would rather die & go to hell & experience God's wrath than admit publically they discovered you were right all along? Which would mean, they didn't really have integrity after all? And that's odd because if I remember correctly, you and Garrett have praised JM on other lessons and even said you had learned a lot from him. Was that true? Do I recall correctly? I don't know how one can trust another to teach with integrity if one feels that the other lacks integrity in any part of essentials?

So if I'm wrong about why you think JM and CS won't budge, let me know what you think it is. It can't be that either have less resources than yourself. So what is it?

#67  Posted by Garrett Dulin  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 10:10 PM

Travis #54 and everyone,

Sorry Travis...I get worked up about this topic and sometimes act like a Chihuahua yipping at peoples ankles.

With regards to death, spiritual or literal, I think context is the key. The bible doesn't always refer to death as merely spiritual. Here is something from another annihilationist, Babu Ranganathan, "in the original Hebrew, in which the Old Testament was written, the grammatical tense of the word "die" in Genesis 2:17 is in the imperfect mood. The imperfect mood denotes a process. Thus, what God was actually saying to Adam is that he would start dying on the day he ate the forbidden fruit. The literal translation from the Hebrew of what God said to Adam is: "Dying you will die." God was not, therefore, referring to spiritual death but to physical death. The fact that God later prevented Adam and Eve from having access to the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24) so that they would not live eternally proves that God was referring to physical death and not spiritual death." . "Traditionalists" accuse annihilationists of having a simplistic view of death. I would point out the simplistic intent of Paul in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord". Notice how simply life is contrasted with death. Believer's get life, the lost get death. He didn't say joy vs. pain, or ecstasy vs. sorrow. There is simply no way death can mean life in Romans 6:23.

What about the translation of words from Greek and Hebrew, Do our definitions of words differ from what the author intended? Take the Greek word apollumi for example which means to destroy. Annihilationists say it means to literally destroy in Matthew 10:28. However a traditionalist would point out scriptures such as Luke 5:37, and Luke 15:24. In these scriptures apollumi means to ruin or to become lost, not to annihilate. So they say, apollumi means to ruin in Matthew 10:28 (a life of loss, not a loss of life). I disagree and I would point out Matthew 2:13. In Matthew 2:13 it says that Herod wanted to destroy the Christ child and the word for destroy is apollumi. It's obvious from this verse that Herod wanted to end Christ's existence. In Matthew 2:13 destroy means to literally destroy, not to ruin. I believe the literal use of destroy in Matthew 10:28 also. In Matthew 3:12 it says that God will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire and the Greek word for burn up is katakaio. Katakaio means to destroy with fire. It literally means to consume wholly, to burn down to the ground. Some versions just say burn, but burn up is the correct translation. To be honest, I'm a bit weak on grammar and a novice at Greek and Hebrew. So if someone wants to really get into it, they'll win the debate :).

#68  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 10:46 PM

Happy Mothers Day

I’m beginning to think I’m a very poor communicator. I’ll try to do better.

Rebecca

I meant it’s hard for pastors like John MacArthur and Chuck Smith to change any view that they have preached for so many years because they have both taught with honesty, integrity, the guidance of the Holly Spirit and the fruit of both of their ministries is unarguable. These men are locked into their tradition stronger than laymen because they have both been teaching for such a long time and they both understand the high level of accountability in their positions. MacArthur and Smith are both men of the highest integrity and strive to teach the Bible as accurately as they can I know for sure they do not compromise any Biblical idea or take the easy way out of any passage. All this and yet they have some completely opposite views like Gods sovereignty. I hope I made that clear.

scripture I feel is essential in evaluating if Hell is unending or not:

I believe that ONLY God is immortal by nature:

1 Tim 6:16 “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen”.

I believe that no one is born with an immortal soul it is purely a gift of god:

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So how can men without the gift of eternal life, have eternal life in Hell?

These scriptures trump any arguments about the nature or quality of eternity in Heaven or Hell.

I really hope I have made this clear, and I hope I have helped some of you at least examine your own traditions.

#69  Posted by Stacey Weneck  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 10:58 PM

I find it interesting that, as far as I can tell, no one has really brought up the idea of the nature of the human soul.

We are created in the Image of God, and therefore carry certain attributes that are His. We know we have a will (do to the admonishment to make a choice to follow Christ, and obey etc.), that we have a moral understanding and can make moral decisions, etc. etc.

In this way, do our souls, made in the image of God, last eternally? If this is the case and our souls cannot cease to exist, then we must live out the rest of our existence (eternally) somewhere. Either with Him in heaven, or far from Him in hell.

Also, you ask for verses that show that an offense against an eternal God requires an eternal punishment. Well, here's a question. If an eternal punishment were not required, then why would we need Christ? The argument for the need for Christ's suffering is based on the fact that He, being God, is eternal and can bear the full weight of the punishment, which is eternal. If an eternal punishment is not required, then anyone could have died for our sins....

#70  Posted by Stacey Weneck  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 11:25 PM

It is also interesting to note that if you go to an interlinear Bible and look up the word apollumi in Matthew 10:28, you will find that the word actually has several uses even in the Gospel of Matthew alone.

It is used for: to lose, to ruin, as well as to perish, to kill, to destroy. For "to lose" or be lost, one example was Jesus talking of the lost sheep of Israel. Why are they lost? because they are "perishing in sin." So I think it is clear based on the surrounding contexts of the use of this word that apollumi does not necessarily mean a complete or total end...if you are "ruined" even in this life, you can still be alive. A banker can be ruined by losing all his money.

In Romans 14:15 it is used in the context "do not destroy one for whom CHrist died" as in, do not cause a brother to stumble by doing something he finds morally reprehensible but you do not. Clearly, Paul is not saying you will actually bring this person to an end, merely cause them to stumble or "be hurt" according to the same verse.

Not to mention Mark 9:48, where Jesus makes it clear that the torment of hell is not meant to cease - their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. How can it be any clearer?

#71  Posted by Stacey Weneck  |  Sunday, May 08, 2011at 11:32 PM

Ok, I was wrong - someone did bring up the nature of the soul.

#72  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 7:34 AM

#68 Donavan, I want to reply to your statements but first I want to ask you, who told you that the scriptures you sited "trump any arguments about the nature or quality of eternity in Heaven or Hell."? I have my own understanding but wonder how you arrived at those conclusions? Was it merely personal bible study or through a teacher?

Also, aside from the glowing remarks and excuses you made for John MacArthur, I guess you do agree that annihilationists view is more palatable than mine? You do agree with that, right? Like it doesn't cause heartburn?

#73  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 7:36 AM

#68

I see your point, but we also do not have a pre-existence, in that since we aren't immortal.

But, are you suggesting that our time in heaven will be cut drastically short since were are not truly 'immortal' like God? I

If this is the case then what is the point of preaching the gospel?

#74  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 7:38 AM

@ 68

Are you suggesting that our time in heaven will be cut drastically short as well?

If this is the case what's the point of preaching the gospel?

Seems there's a double standard....we who are in heaven last forever (if this is what you are saying) and those in hell don't.

#75  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 7:41 AM

"Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. "

under examination....in revelation it states that the wicked die twice, separation from God is the second death when tossed into the lake of fire, it is eternal therefore Paul has a right to contrast the two, seeing as how the wicked die twice for eternal and we are resurrected for eternity.

#76  Posted by Arturo Gomez III  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 8:15 AM

Wonderfully expounded. Thank you Mr. Travis. Which always leads me to the one underlying question to an unbeliever when sharing the Gospel of Christ, "Just ask yourself one question tonight, 'If I were to die today, where would I end up'? and ponder that for awhile". Repent, believe and obey.

#77  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 10:13 AM

Just a note, I do love the Lord and I will change my view if proven wrong, I’m not an apologist for the Conditional view just the Bible.

Rebecca #72

You want to know why I think the scriptures I sited trump any argument about the quality or quantity of Hell.

It’s because the of the condition of the soul mortal or immortal, thats why we call ourselves Conditionalists.

Here are the points:

If traditionalists believe that everyone has an immortal soul (on this blog it seems they to, Platonism, I call it) then there is a direct contradiction to 1 Tim 6:16 -Only God is immortal- because of this the question of Hells duration is meaningless if a non elect person doesn’t have the gift of an immortal soul then there is no use in talking about that person living forever in Hell.

The traditional fix for this problem is God continually recreating the soul in Hell, this way they get around the problem of the doomed person in hell having an immortal soul because God is creating and destroying that soul continually. I’m really surprised the traditionalists on this blog have never hear of that.

-See Dr. James Whites mini debate on the Unbelievable pod cast.

#78  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 11:10 AM

Gabriel #54

Sorry I didn’t answer you question earlier.

You said:

Can you define "eternal life" in Matthew 25:46 consistently with how you define "eternal punishment" in a way that is consistent with how the rest of Scripture uses eternal life?

Hopefully I can give you a good answer however it will probably not be “consistent” to your point of view.

Eternal life in Mat 25:46 means eternal bliss for the ones that God has graciously given the gift of eternal life to. Eternal punishment means a punishment that last eternally. Strangely simple isn’t it. Once again Mat 25:46 is often quoted as a strong argument for the traditional view. But it is actually one of the strongest arguments for the annihilationist view. We would agree to the analogy that the passage is setting up. Eternal bliss and eternal destruction, both lasting forever. Honestly I never looked at the words when I argued the traditionalist view, but now I take the Bible literally (hi Fred).

It seems like the words are hiding there in plain site. It is very hard to use a term that means total annihilation of the subject without using the words that have been used in describing what happens to souls in hell in the Bible.

Eternal punishment can only happen once. There is no way to have the same eternal punishment happen more than once, because of the definition of the word punishment and it’s grammatical usage.

Put another way.

Messianic Rabbi Loren Jacobs observes ...

Hell is a place of eternal punishment, but there is a difference between eternal punishment and eternal punishing. It is one thing to experience a punishment that is eternal in its consequences; it is another thing to experience eternal punishing. The Bible also speaks of eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:2), but it is not a judgment that continues eternally, rather a judgment that comes to an end that has eternal consequences.

Please don’t think I support and agree with everything this person has ever said or done.

Hope this helps

#79  Posted by Wayne De Villiers  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 12:20 PM

Donavan #78

You said "Eternal punishment means a punishment that last eternally. Strangely simple isn’t it."

I agree it is simple: The *punishment* is eternal. It is not the result or consequence of the punishment that is eternal, but the punishment itself. That is what the verse plainly says.

Rabbi Jacobs' distinction between "punishment" and "punishing" is nonsense. These are different parts of speech. Neither have an inherent reference to duration. As Gabriel noted (post #53), context has to define the duration. Thus one can say: (1) "a two week punishment" or (2) "He is punishing him for two weeks." Both mean the same thing. The first does not mean a punishment that happened once and the consequence lasted for two weeks. It means the punishment was experienced for two weeks. For example, if the punishment was a prison sentence, then we would all understand that "a two week prison sentence" means that a person would be in prison for two weeks, *not* that he would be in prison for a day, and the effect of being in prison would last two weeks. The latter interpretation is absurd.

Jesus was clear. He specified the duration of the punishment itself (not the consequence or effect). The punishment is eternal, just as the hope of the gospel is eternal in duration.

#80  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 1:16 PM

Donavan, I zig, you zag. I so want to get into the immortality..2 Cor. 5:8, issues but that would take away from this blog. And we've been asked to keep to the topic which concerns eternal life and whether hell is unending. So I will comply. There is some good info on gty, What Happens to Christians Who Die? Part 1, Code: 52-17. There's tons more but I'm up against a clock here.

Concerning death and how Paul used it as a metaphor: There is the power of sin and the power of righteousness. In Romans 6-8,sin personified is possibly the dominate power as is righteousness. The reader is encouraged to commit to righteousness rather than sin. We are legally identified with the death of Christ and no longer legally bound to sin. Romans7:9, Paul says,"he was alive apart from the law." This means he had a position(one of dominance)over the power of his sin. Before he came under the Law, before he died to self, he was the king of his own life. He dominated his own corrupt life. Sin crept into the law and perverted it. Paul knew the law but was walking as a dead man, robotic like. He wasn't convicted by the law but rather tempted by it.But when Paul died to sin, he didn't physically die but gave up dominion over his life. He was no longer king of his life. So we see life as dominion illustrated here and death as the loss of dominion. So based on the way Paul speaks of death in Romans, it appears that Romans 6:23 is saying the wages of sin leads to loss of dominion....in this life and the one to come.Paul uses death as a metaphor.

Now that would seem to me...if we want some consistency here, that Romans 8:13 means a future (as in the End Times)loss in dominion. We know when he says "put to death the deeds of the body" he is using death as a metaphor which he seems to do a lot of in Romans. He keeps using death as a metaphor and me thinks it's more than annihilation of the body, the person, the soul, the whatever. He uses it as loss....loss of dominion.If you understand death in Romans as a metaphor and if you try substituting death with loss of dominion in the way Paul uses it, then all of Romans makes so much more sense. To say, for example, "cut off sin's oxygen", we know that is not literal. We might get a good visual of it and that might be helpful but we know we won't see sin gasp for air and turn blue. On the other hand, if I wrote metaphors like that in a book and a innocent,inexperienced,naive toddler had it read to him,he might take it all literally.

More....but not enough time. I would like to address later your remarks in #68 about JM and excuses you made for him not so much for your benefit but more for those who read them and might have problems with discernment. My kids will tell you in addition to eyes in the back of my head, I am able to read between the lines too. Praise God!

#81  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 1:32 PM

#68

'So how can men without the gift of eternal life, have eternal life in Hell? '

One grows up without knowing who Jesus is to groan eternally in the lake of fire in the dark.

We are born with eternal life spirituality, that's our souls inside of us.

Hope that helps.

God bless.

#82  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 1:46 PM

A strange thing is becoming evident in this blog, it seems to me that you-all do believe that men naturally have immortal souls (not orthodox). Surprising.

Rebecca # 80

Sorry you did all that work on Paul using death as an analogy. I agree with everything you said, once again the important part of my argument is that we are not immortal by nature like only God is, instead immortality is a gift of God. So really the second part of Rom 6:23 is meaningless in my argument.

#83  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 2:01 PM

Donavan,

For clarification, in your view, under what conditions does the soul die?

#84  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 2:27 PM

I have a question for the conditionalist...."we are souls"

Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,

What part of us is dead?

Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

And what part of us is made alive?

#85  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 2:33 PM

Wayne #80

You said:

Rabbi Jacobs' distinction between "punishment" and "punishing" is nonsense. These are different parts of speech. Neither have an inherent reference to duration.

The reference to duration in Mat 25:46 is the word eternal. Eternal is a word that limits the meaning of the subject, in this case punishment. Let me put it this way, if eternal punishment happened again after it was declared the same way it was before it would be silly, it wouldn’t even be redundant because you cant do the same thing eternally twice in the same way. Capital punishment can only happen once. The time that it takes for someone to die in capital punishment is not important, what we look at and why it is the strongest punishment we can give a criminal is because it’s repercussions last forever.

Did you notice the extra helping words you had to use to make punishing mean punishment in your example.

God bless

#86  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 2:34 PM

Hmmm, I thought this blog was about endless hell? And annihilate means to end. Therefore, annihilationists use the word death as literal to demonstrate that hell cannot be eternal.

What you do is not give direct responses to my direct questions. You answer to something I never asked. So I chose to explain what I think was needed more than your statements. Death is mentioned in 1 Timothy and I felt it was very relative.

You never answered who mentored you and helped you translate 1 Timothy 6:16 the way you do...even in regards to eternal life and or death? I never asked you why you do? Plus you never answered "I guess you do agree that annihilationists view is more palatable than mine? You do agree with that, right? Like it doesn't cause heartburn?" These questions are in #72. You zig, I zag.

Here is a question. We can put the idea then to rest that death in Romans is not referring to a physical death? If that's settled, then we'll move on.

Not to worry, I am confident that the time spent giving scripture benefited someone. I am aware that there are more paying attention than yourself.Please don't think if I respond that I am only thinking of you. You are just the catalyst.

#87  Posted by Wayne De Villiers  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 2:37 PM

#82 Donavan

Nothing "naturally" is immortal. Anything that exists continues in existence because Christ sustains it (Col 1:17 and Heb 1:3).

If Jesus says that punishment will be eternal, then he is indicating that He is going to sustain people eternally to experience that punishment, otherwise He could not have called it eternal punishment.

That is an argument not from some pre-conceived doctrine of "the immortality of the soul", but from the unavoidable meaning of Jesus' words in Matt 25:46.

Having said that, if we find in Matthew 25:46 and other passages that the saved are resurrected to eternal life, and that the lost are resurrected for judgment followed by eternal punishment, then it is a valid inference to say that a person is immortal, since every person will either experience eternal life or eternal punishment. This is not due to some "natural" property of the soul, but to God's sustaining power.

#88  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 3:01 PM

Regarding Wayne in #82....What he said!

#89  Posted by Wayne De Villiers  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 3:18 PM

Donavan #85

Donavan, you are assuming that the punishment is capital. Plainly, Jesus does not mean capital punishment in the sense you appear to be thinking of it (execution). The punishment here is eternal. Thus it must be a punishment which can extend for that long.

The participle "punishing" needs "helping words" to use it in a sentence. The participle (punishing) has a verbal aspect which the noun (punishment) does not have. The statements "Eternal punishment" and "eternal punishing" do not differ inherently in duration. The participle draws attention to the ongoing action of punishing, whereas the noun makes no statement about the nature of the action. The noun neither affirms nor denies whether the action is ongoing. The adjective (eternal) attached to the noun (punishment) indicates that ongoing action is referred to by the noun.

#90  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 3:35 PM

Gabriel #83 and Greg #84

Gabriel, you said:

For clarification, in your view, under what conditions does the soul die?

Mat 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The him in this verse is God. Saying if you’re not careful God will destroy not just your body as others may but also your soul which is much more valuable.

God will destroy your soul in hell at the judgement if your name is not written in the book of life.

I would like to ask you with a traditionalist view. When does God destroy the soul, seems to me you will have a problem answering that question without using continuous recreation.

Greg

You said:

"we are souls"?

Yep, most regular Christians are taught to be dichotomists (body/soul or trichotomists body/soul/spirit) because the Bible does refer to our total selves in both of these ways. The statement “I don’t have a soul I am one” means that I am a physicalist, all in one.

An excerpt from a soul website:

The Hebrew word most often translated into English as "soul" in the Bible is nephesh. That word means "a breathing creature." When used in the Bible, nephesh does not mean a spirit entity or the spirit within a person. Rather, it usually means a physical, living, breathing creature. Occasionally it conveys a related meaning such as breath, life or person. etc.

I believe God does separate our body from our soul when we die and await the judgement. I do not believe the same as many other Conditionalists concerning that topic.

The soul is a great discussion topic.

#91  Posted by Greg Gallant  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 3:54 PM

Nice dance Donavan...

You still didn't answer the question...

Ephesians 2:1 speaks in the past tense...

If man is simply a physical element and soul is merely physical life then how can it be dead and living at the same time?

1.The Law of Identity - states that A is A

2.The Law of Non-Contradiction - A cannot be both A and not A at the same time.

3.The Law of Excluded Middle -

a statement is either true or false. (it cannot be "kind of true")

#92  Posted by Gabriel Powell  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 3:58 PM

Donavan #90,

I'm a little confused. I thought you believed souls are only immortal if God grants immortality. But now you're saying souls only go out of existence if God causes them to. So in other words, it sounds like you're saying souls are naturally immortal (meaning they cannot die of natural causes like a mortal body), unless God unnaturally acts to interrupt that immortality. Do I understand you correctly?

I agree with Wayne's comments. I continue to exist only as long as Christ upholds my life. Even if I were to not eat for a year, He could supernaturally sustain my life without recreating it.

God does not destroy the soul in the sense of taking it out existence. God destroys it in the biblical sense--He sends it to hell.

#93  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 4:28 PM

#86 Rebecca

I like you, you are a lot of fun :)

You said:

You never answered who mentored you and helped you translate 1 Timothy 6:16 the way you do...even in regards to eternal life and or death?

Well, no one did, It always bothered me that eternal hell depended on all men having an immortal soul, and I knew that was only a gift of God. I was a traditionalist all my life but only argued with atheists. I finely did hear a Conditionalist speak and that helped me work out some of the contradictions.

You Said:

I never asked you why you do? I think you meant what you do?

I am a Sound Mixer for the TV show CSI Miami, I have done sound at churches for about 30 years, I even did sound at John MacArthurs church for a few years.

You said:

annihilationists view is more palatable than mine?

Palatableness (is that a word) does not matter, only truth matters, like I said whatever God does he has a good and just reason, I think annihilationists who use a that’s not fair, or God’s a tyrant for barbecuing people in Hell for all eternity, argument are doing a poor job. If I answered your question yes or no I would be doing a disservice to my own ideas on Bible interpretation and not be giving you an honest answer.

You said:

We can put the idea then to rest that death in Romans is not referring to a physical death?

Yes, please, please, please.

It seems I’m the only one on now who thinks that hell is ending, just like is says in Rev. 21:4 but that’s ok as you said I’m just being a catalyst. (I pray its for Gods truth, the Bible and honoring the Holly Spirit)

God Bless

#94  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 4:51 PM

Why do I feel everyone is ignoring me. Smiles. I like this on and on stuff. Heh. Sorry. Umm. You are correct to say God does not destroy the soul in the sense of taking it out existence. God destroys it in the biblical sense--He sends it to hell. Tks, Gabriel.

Seems have different sides and why not one side?? God's side of

what he says.

#95  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 5:02 PM

#92 Gabriel

I understand you confusion, I do not believe that the non-elect have immortal souls ever. During the time between death and the resurrection God sends the souls of everyone to the intermediate state (this will utterly confuse everyone) the non-elect souls will still not be immortal during this period.

The intermediate state is tough because there is simply not much mention of it in the Bible. I believe that after you die the elect are sent to paradise (like the thief on the cross) and the non-elect are sent to Hades (temporary abode of the dead) there the elect will live in bliss until the judgement, and the non-elect will be burned tortured, eaten by worms, and all of the unimaginable, horrors that Gods justice demands until the judgement. The duration or magnitude of the torture of the non-elect in Hades is according to Gods justice only. Remember that Hades will be itself emptied and destroyed one day Rev 20:13.

can you say can of worms!

#96  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 5:34 PM

When God created Adam and Eve. God breathe in them and they became living breathing souls in their bodies when God created Adam from

the dust of the earth and Eve from Adam's rib. Remember when God

created Adam and Eve. They were lifeless without a soul. God began

to breathe into them. God gave them a soul. Just between the lines

I read and it's a proof we have soul. Read when God created Adam and

Eve. Hope it helps.

God bless.

#97  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 6:04 PM

Donavan. no, I didn't want to know what you do. That's a guy thing. Guys always want to know what you do when they first meet another. Now that's funny! I had asked previously why you believed as you do....choices being mentor or personal bible study or both. And I think you mean, Holy Spirit. I don't usually point out others type-o's. I have my share of them. But you have called it Holly Spirit many times so I wanted to make sure there wasn't another spirit that you meant other than THE Holy Spirit? In fact, I'd have to go through all of your former posts to see if you ever spelled it with just one "L"?

So you're issue is with eternity and immortality.#87 was so spot on. So you think that when Christ conquered death,that was only for believers? In other words, you don't think Christ just flat out conquered death...period and now a new future is at stake for believers and unbelievers? What did Adam and Eve forfeit in the Garden of Eden? And as a result, what is Jesus conquer and restore? 1Timothy 6:16-God never lost His immortality.You are using that scripture to indicate we don't have it, never have and never will.

Look, you even said yourself, you struggled with "that eternal hell depended on all men having an the idea of immortal souls immortal soul, and I knew that was only a gift of God." I think our theological struggles can put us at risk for looking maybe even subconsciously for the answer that fit. I understand that. Problem is, I don't really believe that you understand 1 Timothy. But if you think you do, you'll look for your solution to your theological dilemma of everlasting hell in all the wrong places. Head games.

It's my opinion that annihilationists over think it. Conquering death was a victory! That had to be won first. The ransom was death! Death conquered death. For those that are unbelievers, they may not see it a gift as you do. But they know what believers know, that it was indeed a victory no one can deny. As for me, being forgiven and being set free from sin and being in Christ forever is the gift. Someone said it before, more is made of the word ETERNAL and less of IN CHRIST. Eternity is nothing of value without Christ. That's where the emphasis should be.

Again you might want to address #87

#100  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 6:30 PM

Donavan,

Just a question, Do you believe animals have souls or not.

I believe they don't. Helps??

#102  Posted by Wayne De Villiers  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 7:24 PM

#86 Rebecca

In post 86 you asked whether we could agree that death was not physical in Romans. Back in post 22 you began asking questions about this subject.

I would caution against the conclusion that death is not physical in Romans. Paul uses death in a variety of ways. In some passages it is clear that he is speaking about a particular kind of death. In other passages it is not specifically defined (eg Rom 6:23). In such cases it can be dangerous to specify what the Holy Spirit did not specify. It is much safer exegetically to say with respect to Rom 6:23, for example, that death of any variety is the wages of sin.

I would also caution against trying to find a single unifying metaphorical significance for death in Romans. That approach can lead to reading meanings into the text that the Holy Spirit did not intend. I think this discussion goes beyond the scope of this blog, so I would commend to you a reliable commentary to help sort through the nuances.

#103  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 7:25 PM

I’m so sorry I’ve been spelling Holy Spirit, Holly Spirit I hope that was not unpardonable :)

Dan #94

Very sorry for not getting back to you sooner

I think the easiest verse to see that God does really destroy souls is Mat 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” This verse seems to contrast fearing an earthly source, like an evil ruler or a murder that may kill your body, with God who can kill your soul. It seems clear to me that Matthew was NOT talking about spiritually killing your body in this case, like the spiritual death of Adam. No mere man could kill the soul spiritually anyway, just like no mere man can forgive another mans sins like Jesus did. Matthew is talking about actually killing the soul because killing the soul is something that only God could do.

I hope this is clear

#104  Posted by Trent Whalin  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 8:04 PM

When reading this I couldn't help but notice a ton of lexical fallacies on the part of the annihilationists. By just using a war of words doesn't necessarily solve anything, it's context and where else is says in the Bible.

It's like me choosing a synonym for a word, and a thousand years people debating over what I said when I meant to substitute it for another word to ingrain it in people's minds.

#105  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 8:17 PM

OK for you Rebecca #87 Wayne

You said:

Nothing "naturally" is immortal. Anything that exists continues in existence because Christ sustains it (Col 1:17 and Heb 1:3).

You misunderstood, I was speaking ontologically (sorry for the term) which means the study of the nature of being, or existence. 1 Tim 6:16 is also speaking ontologically about Gods being, not something that is out in nature like a bird, or natural like feelings of friendship. With this in mind 1 Tim 6:16 is also a very strong argument for the Idea that only god is immortal. Understand that he can make us immortal but only because he chooses to give that gift to us, it’s a pretty good gift don’t you think.

You went back to the Mat 25:46 verse that we have covered at length. I do see what you are saying that because God said go off to eternal punishment he gave them immortal souls at that time so they could go off into eternal punishing, sorry I mean punishment, (bad grammar there).

I ask you-all the same question again when does God kill (in the absolute kill way) a soul like in Mat 10:28?

Come Holy Spirit we need you.

#106  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 8:28 PM

Regarding the Garden of Eden, John MacArthur teaches Genesis 2:9:

JM-God picked all the beautiful trees. Pleasing to the sight and then he picked that which was good for food.....whatever God chose to be the best, to look at and to eat. These were the natural trees that he created. But there was also a supernatural tree there. (me, Rebecca says, get that? Supernatural with a capital S!) Continuing on...

JM-End of Verse 9, "the tree of life also in the middle of the garden." And then another tree is mentioned, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Now all of a sudden in the midst of this amazing variety of trees which God has selected for the special home of man are introduced two trees that have properties that indicate they might not be natural trees.( me again, things that make you go hmmm)

Now annihilationsists, stick with me here. This might help with your immortality, eternal torture in hell issues.

JM-Or they might be natural to look at and they might have a fruit that is natural in the sense that it is a real fruit. But there is a supernatural property at least to the first tree for certain. It is the tree of life in the midst of the garden. Now what that tells us is that it apparently had special properties to sustain life eternally in the one who ate from it. As long as one ate from that tree, they would live forever. This tree was placed right in the middle of the garden. Maybe right at the crown of that mountain of God. If indeed that was there in the garden. It was always readily available from any place because it was in the very middle.

And it was so powerful, listen to this, "this tree was so powerful in sustaining life eternally that even after Adam fell and Eve fell, even after they became sinful, mortal dying people, if they had eaten of that tree, they would have continued to live eternally." And so according to Chapter 3 in Verse 22, "they had to be thrown out of the garden, less man stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and live forever, therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden." {{{{WHOA}}} That tree of life had the power to sustain the life even of a fallen sinful, mortal, dying human. The tree of life sustained life. Among the Jews, the tree of life became a phrase used a number of times. It's used at least four times in the book of Proverbs. And it's used to express life's best joys. Life's greatest delights. When the Jews said that is a tree of life, they were loading it with their highest regard.

I always wondered about those trees. Like one bite, that's it? I knew there had to be more significance!WOW!

Taken from...Man in the Garden of God, Code 90-227 Genesis 2:8-17 So much more.

My personal review: Very good read/listen. Great detail and honest account. For once, somebody looks at what happened in the Garden of Eden verse by verse and gives us what no other man dares!Truth about those trees! Thanks John MacArthur!

#107  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 8:57 PM

Rebecca #97

You said:

You don't think Christ just flat out conquered death...period and now a new future is at stake for believers and unbelievers?

This is a very complicated question and it deserves a complicated answer, I can’t do justice to it in less than 3000 words. Christ’s death on the cross was effective for all but efficient for only the elect. What I mean in answer to your question is that he didn’t conquer death for everyone now, in the same way that Rev 21:4 states. Please understand the simplification.

Rev 21:4 says “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Today there are still tears, pain, mourning, crying, and death, but someday there wont, all the past evils and sorrow will all be annihilated. (I stuck in that work for impact):

I feel like I’m answering everyones questions yet practically no one is answering mine.

Here’s one:

When we're in Heaven’s final state and God has wiped out evil and conquered the last enemy death. God says Rev:21:5 “I am making everything new!”. Is he going to make a better Hell, maybe replace the bathrooms or something? (Just kidding, sorta) if he has wiped out evil, where will most of the evil human race be while being tortured in Hell?

Best

#108  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 9:06 PM

Tks and I will keep it in mine.

With God, all things are possible, with man it's impossible.

It's impossible to understand why would God allow the unsaved to

be in the lake of fire forever,

Why, for God showing us his mercy and wrath. What God does,

he does it.

God commands us not to worry and be afraid.

I need to get some sleep now and remember it's not a war of words,

but a battle for the truth.

Thank you, Trent for that message you said.

God bless.

#109  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 9:10 PM

Rebecca #106

Thank you for that story by JM, I see a lot of what ifs and conjecture but at least it is an answer to the question (I also appreciated Wayne's answer).

That brings to mind the question, if we already have immortal life than why should we seek it?

Rom 2:7 "to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life"

Great post Rebecca

Thank you

#110  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 9:26 PM

How come the Old Testament "typology" for the sacrifices were never tortured for long periods of time. Even the sin offerings were turned to ashes. (sounds like annihilation to me)

#111  Posted by Donavan Dear  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 9:33 PM

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah Gen 13:14 were literally burnt up, but they aren't still burning, Peter said they were and example of what will happen to the unsaved

2 pet 2:6 "and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter"

Strong for Conditional/Annihilation view it seems to me.

Love you all my Brothers and Sisters in the Lord.

Goodnight and God Bless

#112  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 9:35 PM

#102- Wayne:

In post 86 you asked whether we could agree that death was not physical in Romans. Back in post 22 you began asking questions about this subject.

Me: Yes, I did. Sometimes asking rather than giving the answers helps others to think better. I think that is the reason Jesus did that.

I would caution against the conclusion that death is not physical in Romans. While Paul uses death in a variety of ways. In some passages it is clear that he is speaking about a particular kind of death. In other passages it is not specifically defined (eg Rom 6:23).

Me: Yes, I will use caution. I think I was trying to make the point to Donavan that death did not have to be physical but didn't think I suggested that it definitely was not. My attempt was to show him just what you said.....that he could not prove that Paul meant a physical death in Romans 6:23.

In such cases it can be dangerous to specify what the Holy Spirit did not specify. It is much safer exegetically to say with respect to Rom 6:23, for example, that death of any variety is the wages of sin.

Me: I agree, I should have been clearer and said that physical death was only one option but not the only option.

I would also caution against trying to find a single unifying metaphorical significance for death in Romans. That approach can lead to reading meanings into the text that the Holy Spirit did not intend. I think this discussion goes beyond the scope of this blog, so I would commend to you a reliable commentary to help sort through the nuances.

Me: In other words, I should shove off to Buffalo? Well, really my attempt was not to do as you say...try to find a single unifying metaphorical significance. It was more benign than that. As I searched scriptures, it just turned out that way. Now since I wasn't looking for it and it sort of fell in my lap, was that the Holy Spirit? Lot's of metaphors I found through the help of other commentaries. I was attempting to give Donavan evidence that dead or death in scripture does not always mean annihilated. Therefore, the damned could experience hell for an eternity. I was not attempting to make it appear that death is always a metaphor. Maybe my communication skills are way off. I do read commentaries and search scripture and cross reference in order to not give flippant answers. I'm sure the more I blog it will be evident what I know and what I don't know. But I appreciate the correction. Be ready. You might have to correct me again. Unless they shove me off to Buffalo?

~Thanks,

Rebecca

#113  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 9:45 PM

Donavan, no, spelling Holy as Holly is not the unpardonable sin. You corrected me with what you believed I meant. I thought since you did, you'd be OK with my pointing out a mistake you were consistently doing. Plus, I was ribbing you. I think you just like L's.

#114  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 10:42 PM

#107 "This is a very complicated question and it deserves a complicated answer, I can’t do justice to it in less than 3000 words."

Boy, can I relate. I feel your pain. The answer to your question is obvious to me and yet, it must not be to you or you wouldn't be asking. And I feel I would cover old ground and need to blog hog even more. I'm tired. Gonna sleep on it and see if I have a more coherent approach in the morning after 2 cups of coffee....unless Trent or Travis or Tommy or Gabriel pulls the plug! Right now I'm a loose cannon. Goodnight.

#115  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Monday, May 09, 2011at 11:48 PM

Time to close out this thread folks. Thanks to everyone who made a contribution. Here are a few closing thoughts to ponder.

The Holy Spirit had full command of every word when He authored the sacred Scriptures—every word was His servant. At the end of the day, when all the objections, protests, and arguments have been considered, we’re simply left with the infallible record from God. Consider carefully the words and phrases He chose to describe the fate of the wicked:

Everlasting contempt (Dan. 12)

Undying worms (Mark 9)

Unquenchable fires (Mark. 9)

No rest day or night (Rev. 14)

Eternal smoke of torment (Rev. 14)

Tormented Forever and ever (Rev. 20)

Eternal destruction (2 Thess. 1)

Eternal fire (Matt. 25)

Eternal punishment (Matt. 25)

Perhaps Loraine Boettner sums up the matter best when he writes, “If these expressions do not teach that the punishment of the wicked continues eternally, it is difficult to see how it could be taught in human language.”