The Problem of Hell: “Traditionalism” vs. Annihilationism

The Problem of Hell: “Traditionalism” vs. Annihilationism

What Does the Bible Teach about hell? Traditionally, the most prominent view regarding eternal damnation is that the people cast into hell — the lake of fire — will suffer fiery conscious torments forever and ever. Depicting the horrors of this belief was a favorite subject amongst artists in medieval times, resulting in all manner of imaginative and ghastly portraits of people suffering unending agony. Some have since tried to modify this position a bit, suggesting a more metaphorical view, that the unending pain experienced probably refers to the mental anguish of eternal loss and “separation from God”; but it makes no significant difference as both views involve the notion of eternal torment. This may indeed be the traditionally prominent...

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Examples of Everlasting Destruction in the Bible

Examples of Everlasting Destruction in the Bible

      Here we shall look at prominent biblical examples of literal everlasting destruction that back-up the numerous passages which blatantly state that unrighteous people will be destroyed in the lake of fire and not suffer never-ending roasting torment, such as Matthew 10:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and 2 Peter 3:7.   The Example of Gehenna: “Hell”   Let’s start with the very word “hell” itself. There is only one biblical word translated as “hell” which refers to the lake of fire and is therefore relevant to the final disposition of ungodly people: Gehenna (GEH-en-nah). Gehenna is the Greek form of the Hebrew Ge-Hinnom, which literally means “the Valley of Hinnom.” The Hinnom Valley, also referred to as Topheth (TOH-feth), which means “a place to be...

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Further Proof that Hell is Everlasting Destruction

Further Proof that Hell is Everlasting Destruction

          There is one biblical book in particular that simply and clearly backs up all the evidence for literal everlasting destruction that we’ve amassed so far, the book of 2 Peter.   2 Peter on Everlasting Destruction   Let’s observe what this book has to say about human damnation starting with a text already briefly touched on in Chapter One: 2 PETER 2:6 If he [God] condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly… God is telling us right here precisely what the eternal fate of ungodly people will be: The utter destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is God’s example of what will ultimately happen to them. How exactly did God destroy these cities as an example? Why, by...

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Immortal Soul: The Great Lie

Immortal Soul: The Great Lie

          In light of the colossal amount of scriptural evidence for literal everlasting destruction that we’ve amassed so far, how could anyone who knows how to read possibly adhere to the theory of eternal torment? What is it that prevents adherents of this position from accepting all this evidence for everlasting destruction literally? After all, don’t they generally adhere to a literal view of the Bible? NOTE: Interestingly, adherents of eternal torture often refer to their doctrine as “the literal view,” but it’s not really a literal view at all because, as we’ve seen, they fail to take the Bible literally on the subject of human damnation. Everlasting destruction is the true literal view. See Chapter Nine for more details on this. Actually there are a...

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The Bible and Hell: Supposed Proof Texts for Eternal Torture

The Bible and Hell: Supposed Proof Texts for Eternal Torture

          Since the Bible doesn’t teach that unredeemed people possess immortality or that they will suffer eternal torment in the lake of fire, the only way adherents of these beliefs can defend their position is by milking a small number of passages for details that the entire rest of the Bible refutes. This chapter is devoted to honestly examining these passages. Ironically, as you shall see, a close examination of these texts actually gives further support for literal everlasting destruction.   Daniel 12:2: “Shame and Everlasting Contempt”   Our first supposed proof text for eternal torture is this passage from Daniel: DANIEL 12:2-3 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting...

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The Truth About Hell: Other Arguments proving Annihilation

The Truth About Hell: Other Arguments proving Annihilation

      In light of the overwhelmingly clear biblical support for literal everlasting destruction and the lack thereof for eternal torment, adherents of the latter view have had to resort to all sorts of bizarre religious theories and objections. This chapter and the next one are devoted to looking at the truth about hell and these various extra-biblical arguments.   “Death Means ‘Separation’ ”    Let’s start with the strange theory that death doesn’t really mean death, but “separation.” Consider Paul’s unmistakable statement in this passage: ROMANS 6:23 For the wages of sin is death (thanatos), but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. As we’ve already seen in Chapter One, “death” here is translated from the Greek word...

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Hell Doctrine and the Early Christian Church

Hell Doctrine and the Early Christian Church

    Exploring Judeo-Christian History   Because adherents of eternal torment have a difficult time finding legitimate biblical support for their position they naturally resort to extra-biblical arguments based on religious tradition and Judeo-Christian history. This chapter is devoted to exploring Judeo-Christian history as it relates to the topic of human damnation to see if there is any validity to these contentions. Let’s start with…   The Augustinian Corruption of Christendom   NOTE: Information in this section was compiled from David Reagan’s What Happens When You Die? At the end of the previous chapter we discovered that the popular saying “you will spend eternity in either heaven or hell” does not match the biblical descriptions of eternal life and...

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Hell and False Doctrine: Issues of Morality & Justice

Hell and False Doctrine: Issues of Morality & Justice

Although the most important reason for rejecting eternal torture is the simple fact that the Bible does not teach it, there are other strong arguments in opposition to it, not the least being that it is utterly repulsive to the instinctive moral and judicial senses of anyone with a conscience.   Eternal Torture: Immoral and Unjust   As mentioned in Chapter One, the idea of God subjecting his human enemies to never-ending conscious torment would make Him morally worse than Hitler. After all, Hitler may have diabolically tortured, burned and gassed to death millions of people, but he at least allowed them to perish. By contrast, the doctrine of perpetual agony suggests that, even though God has the power to mercifully execute people cast into hell, He...

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Hell in the Bible: The True Literal View

Hell in the Bible: The True Literal View

There’s an excellent book on eternal damnation titled Two Views of Hell by Edward Fudge and Robert Peterson. The view of everlasting destruction is presented by Mr. Fudge and he does a great job as his case rests totally on Scripture, which, of course, is the proper way a defense of any Christian doctrine should be conducted. Peterson, on the other hand, advocates the view of eternal conscious torture by beginning “with eleven theologians who support his view and ending with rationalistic arguments involving human creeds. Sandwiched between is his appeal to ten passages of Scripture, most of which he interprets by quoting uninspired theologians,” as Mr. Fudge points out (202). Peterson has no recourse but to resort to this approach because his position lacks any...

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Conclusion: Hell is Everlasting Destruction not Eternal Torment

Conclusion: Hell is Everlasting Destruction not Eternal Torment

As pointed out a couple of times in this study, the doctrine of eternal torment is the silent subject of the church. This is strange when considering the importance of the issue of eternal damnation — it literally deals with the eternal fate of masses of humanity. Yet you won’t hear many Christians bring the subject up. If you do, you aren’t likely to hear much elaboration on it. It’s like it’s a taboo subject. My impression is that most believers secretly wish this hideous teaching were not part of their Christian doctrine but they keep from parting with it because they’ve been taught that the Scriptures teach it. Not to mention they are pressured to unquestioningly believe whatever their pastor or denomination officially affirms as true....

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Old Testament Hell Verses

Old Testament Hell Verses

      The scriptural support for literal everlasting destruction is so immense that I actually had to limit what I included in the main body of Hell Know. I felt I provided more than enough evidence and that, to include more, would be at the risk of boring readers. This appendix contains additional Old Testament support for the reader who desires such.   “The Way of the Wicked Will Perish”   Let’s start with the first Psalm. The first three verses of this Psalm speak of how blessed a righteous person is and ends with the statement, “whatever he does prospers.” The final three verses contrast the ungodly: Not so the Wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.(5) Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the...

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Understanding Human Nature: Spirit, Mind & Body

Understanding Human Nature: Spirit, Mind & Body

          In Chapter Four we briefly looked at the subject of human nature. This appendix is for readers who desire to dig deeper in their biblical studies on the subject of spirit, mind & body and how they relate. There has been much debate in the church on the subject of human nature. Some teach that human beings are essentially a dichotomy (two-part) consisting of the inner person — soul/spirit — and the outer person — body. Others maintain that we are a trichotomy (three-part) consisting of two separate inner facets — spirit and soul (mind) — and an outer facet — body. Others insist that human beings are essentially one psychosomatic unit by nature and therefore terms that the Bible uses, such...

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Bibliography

  Akin, James. How to Explain Purgatory to Protestants. James Akin (www.cin.org/users/james/files/how2 purg.html), 1996 Arthur, Kay. How to Study the Bible. Eugene: Harvest House, 1994 Boice, James Montgomery. Does Inerrancy Matter? Oakland: International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, 1979 Buis, Harry. The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1957 Bullinger, Ethelbert W. A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975 Constable, H. Duration and Nature of Future Punishment. London: Hobbs, 1886 Crim, Keith. The Perennial Dictionary of World Religions. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1981 Dake, Finis. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Lawrenceville:...

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