Hell, Hades, and the Afterlife

Hell and the afterlife are eternally important topics. There are three Christian viewpoints on hell and the afterlife:

  • Traditionalism (eternal torment in hell)
  • Universalism (all are saved from hell)
  • Annihilationism, otherwise known as Conditional Immortality (total destruction in hell – body and soul)

This website is in-depth information on the third view point: Annihilationism and Conditional Immortality. You will find this Biblical information very eye-opening and it will answer the questions and doubts that you’ve kept secret from your Christian friends. 

 

 


Great Books

book conditional immortality

Conditional Immortality

Conditional Immortality: Biblical Proof of Annihilation in Hell by D. Barry It is clear that Plato and many Greek philosophers taught the soul was indestructible. However, the Scriptures teach the soul is destructible and immortality is only available when you accept the gospel. Who are you going to believe? The ...
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hell know book

HELL KNOW!

Death and Hell: Eternal Torture or Everlasting Destruction? by Dirk Waren The Bible teaches about death and hell...that those who reject God’s message of reconciliation and gift of eternal life will be cast into the lake of fire,which is described as “the second death.” This is eternal damnation with no hope ...
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sheol know book

SHEOL KNOW!

Sheol: The Intermediate State of the Unsaved Dead by Dirk Waren What happens to the soul & spirit of unsaved people when they die? By “unsaved” I’m referring to anyone who has not experienced spiritual regeneration through the gospel (see John 3:3,6 and Titus 3:5), which includes Old Testament saints—holy people who were in ...
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Articles 

613179

Hell and False Doctrine: Issues of Morality & Justice

Let's discuss hell and false doctrine. 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 ...
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606009

Immortal Soul: The Great Lie

Let's discuss the great lie of the "immortal soul." 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 ...
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jesus 31

The Book of Life is exactly that: A Book of Life

The scriptures talk over and over again about a "Book of Life": "He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess ...
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heaven15

The Bible and Hell: Supposed Proof Texts for Eternal Torture

Let's discuss the Bible and Hell. 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 ...
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sheol08

Sheol In the Bible: Psalms Part 1

Let's discuss Sheol in the Bible. The book of Psalms consists of 150 songs called psalms. Half of the psalms were written by Solomon’s father, King David, and some anonymous ones were likely written by him as well. Other psalmists ...
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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Answering Questions About the Afterlife & Hell Questions about the Afterlife and hell are eternally important. Thankfully, Conditionally Immortality is growing in belief among evangelicals. A great article was written by respected evangelical scholar Clark Pinnock who has come out ...
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jesus crowned in heaven

Everlasting contempt means disgust not torment

Doesn't Daniel 12:2 say some will face "everlasting contempt"? "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:2 This verse is used ...
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701558

Hell in the Bible: The True Literal View

When studying "hell" in the Bible, 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 ...
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hell12

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 ...
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hell10

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 ...
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sheol09

Conclusion on Sheol

The most amazing thing about Sheol (Hades) is how blatantly obvious God’s Word is on the topic. The truth about Sheol isn’t hidden whatsoever, but people have been hindered from seeing it due to the power of religious tradition and ...
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heaven05

Epilogue: The Nature of Eternal Life

I think it's only fitting that this two-part study on human damnation -- HELL KNOW and SHEOL KNOW -- should close on a positive note by looking at what the Bible says about eternal life in the new heavens and new ...
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heaven 30

Immortality: Will all souls live forever, either in heaven or hell?

Immortality: Will all souls live forever, either in heaven or hell? This is a key question. Please take a moment and think about it. What you believe about the nature of the soul will be the lens by which you ...
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sheol07

What Is Sheol?

Sheol is the Intermediate State To understand Sheol, let's start with the great white throne judgment. The great white throne judgment is when God will resurrect every un-regenerated soul from Hades (HAY-deez) to be judged as shown in this passage: ...
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angel

What is Conditional Immortality?

A growing number of well-known Christian leaders, such as Dr. David R. Reagan, John R. Stott, Greg Boyd, Roger Forster (co-founder of the March for Jesus events), Philip Hughes, Michael Green, Stephen Travis, and Clark Pinnock have declared support for ...
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sheol 6

Conditional Immortality: Answering the Critics

Thankfully, Conditional Immortality is growing in belief among evangelicals. A great article was written by respected evangelical scholar Clark Pinnock who has come out strongly in favor of this position: The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent. The fact that it ...
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jesus greek

14 Reasons Why the Traditional View of Hell Is Untrue

14 Reasons why the Traditional view of hell is untrue The Traditional view of hell is not Biblical. Scripture says that God has put His standards in man's conscience and calls us to reason together with Him (Isaiah 1:18). So does the ...
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hell hades afterlife

Hell, Hades, and the Afterlife

Hell and the afterlife are eternally important topics. There are three Christian viewpoints on hell and the afterlife: Traditionalism (eternal torment in hell) Universalism (all are saved from hell) Annihilationism, otherwise known as Conditional Immortality (total destruction in hell - ...
Read More
hell19

The Problem of Hell: Traditionalism vs. Annihilationism

What Does the Bible Teach about hell? There are two major views on hell by Christians: Traditionalism vs Annihilationism. Traditionally, the most prominent view regarding eternal damnation is that the people cast into hell -- the lake of fire -- ...
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sheol04

The Meaning of Sheol According to the Prophets

Let's now observe what the Old Testament prophets had to say about the nature of Sheol. “Sheol Has Enlarged Its Appetite” We’ll start with Sheol as used in the book of Isaiah: ISAIAH 5:11-14 (NRSV) Ah, you who rise early in the morning ...
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612440

Sheol in the New Testament

In this chapter we will examine New Testament references to Sheol (Hades) other than Jesus’ Parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus, which we addressed in the previous chapter. We’ll look at direct and indirect references to Hades and also every passage ...
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sheol01

Sheol in the Bible: Psalms Part 2

Continuing with our study of Sheol in the Bible, Psalms, let's consider this important question... Did David Pray for His Ex-Friend to Go to a Hellish Torture Chamber? Notice David’s statement in this passage: PSALM 55:15 (KJV) Let death seize upon ...
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heaven 41

Hell is where both the body and soul are destroyed

"If hell is where both the body and soul are destroyed," are you saying there is no "punishment" for the unsaved?  Absolutely not. The lost clearly need to be saved from their sins. (see Matthew 1:21) What Conditional Immortality correctly ...
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sheol2

Sheol In the Old Testament

Jacob, Job, and Solomon's View of Sheol, the Intermediate State We’ll begin our scriptural study on  the intermediate state by observing how Jacob, Job and Solomon viewed Sheol in the Old Testament. All three were godly men of the Old Testament era. Jacob ...
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209475

The Truth About Hell: Other Arguments Proving Annihilation

Let's discuss the truth about hell. 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 ...
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sheol3

Sheol Definition & Descriptions in the Bible

Let's now look at various biblical descriptions and insights about Sheol not yet addressed or, at least, not fully addressed. Sheol is Contrasted with “the Land of the Living” The reality that Sheol is the realm where dead souls are held awaiting their resurrection ...
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richman-lazarus

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Let’s now look at the sole reason why Christians have traditionally believed that Sheol is a state of conscious existence where bad people suffer constant fiery torment hoping for a tiny bit of water for relief and Old Testament saints ...
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jesus 8

Gehenna: Place of worms and fire not tortured souls

Isaiah 66:24 is the key to understanding Gehenna Isaiah 66:24 states "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and ...
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606014

What does the Old Testament say about hell?

The question, "What does the Old Testament say about hell?" is important. 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 ...
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310721

Understanding Human Nature: Mind, Body and Spirit

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 mind, body and spirit, and how they relate. There has ...
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310720

Conclusion: Hell is Everlasting Destruction not Eternal Torment

Hell is 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 ...
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f990ee929c[1]

Resurrections of the Dead: Firstfruits, Harvest & Gleanings

To tie everything up and see the bigger picture, we’ll focus on the resurrections of the dead in this chapter. Whether believers know it or not, the resurrections of the dead is one of the six basic doctrines of Christianity, ...
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701711

Hell Doctrine and the Early Christian Church

Exploring Judeo-Christian History Let's discuss the hell doctrine in the early christian church. 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 ...
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sheol10

Sheol in Proverbs

Of the 31 chapters of the book of Proverbs, the first 29 were written by Solomon, the wisest person who’s ever lived outside of Jesus Christ (1 Kings 3:12). In Chapter Two of this study we saw how Solomon described the nature ...
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jesus 53

Gnashing of teeth refers to anger and sadness not pain

Traditional theology is Biblically wrong about the first century phrase "gnashing of teeth" A simple review of a few of the texts about "gnashing of teeth" will clearly show that the Traditional way of thinking of it as a statement ...
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Why this topic is important

As an evangelist, I deal with Apologetics issues all the time, including hell and the afterlife. For those of you unfamiliar with this topic, it simply means giving a rational defense of the faith to those who ask you. In reading a book entitled Letters from a Skeptic A Son Wrestles with His Father’s Questions about Christianity, Dr. Gregory A. Boyd answers his fathers numerous objections to the Christian faith, including questions about hell and the afterlife. These objections were in the form of written letters that were sent back and forth over a long period of time. The father had asked many, many excellent questions that his son, Dr. Greg Boyd, took great pains to answer them very well. Then finally the issue of hell came up. Look what his father states in his letters:

Your last letter put my mind a bit more at ease about who is going to hell, but it didn’t address the problem of hell itself. This is really the more fundamental question…
 Now tell me, what the hell (excuse the pun) would be the purpose of torturing someone eternally?  What’s the point?    

     Obviously there’s no “lesson” to be learned…So it just doesn’t make sense to me, Greg. And I’m just not at the point where I can pretend to “suspend” judgment about this. The character of God is on trial (emphasis mine) in my life, and this very relevant evidence which needs to be considered.

Did you notice that? Dr. Boyd’s father considers the issue of hell and the afterlife a stumbling block to his acceptance of God and the gospel. He says the “character of God is on trial” and this is a correct observation. This is no light matter with unbelievers. Dr. Boyd then responds very lovingly with several options about hell and the afterlife. One of those options is Conditional Immortality (although he does not call it that.)

Dear Dad,

     You said it about as forcefully as it can be said. Hell is a real theological problem, I must admit it!  To be perfect honest, Dad, I’ve never been able to make much sense of it myself. But I have enough grounds for believing in Jesus and in the Bible to accept what they say on this matter, even though it doesn’t make perfect sense to me…

(after several points, Dr. Boyd then goes on…)

     A fourth and final point, Dad, is this: you wondered why God would not, after a time, finally put the rebellious out of their misery. Why doesn’t He just perform a divine act of euthanasia and exterminate the damned? You should know that a number of very reputable evangelical theologians maintain that this is exactly what the Bible teaches. 

     They maintain, on the basis of an analysis of the scriptural text, that the Bible itself teaches that God will ultimately annihilate all who are not “in Christ.” The punishment is “eternal” because it has eternal effects, not because it is endured eternally. Such theologians point out that only such a view of hell squares with all the biblical talk about the reprobate “perishing,” “being destroyed,” “burned up like chaff,” eternal torture in this view, then, God’s judgment and mercy converge on the same act. God judges the rebellious even as He mercifully puts them out of existence…

It is very important to see how Dr. Boyd’s father responds to this information about hell and the afterlife which he had never heard before (since he had never heard this point of view before.)

Dear Greg,

     I’ve recently been reviewing our letters back and forth over the last two years, Greg, and I must say we have really come a long way!…Your response about hell really helped. I especially liked that “annihilationist” view you mentioned. That was a major obstacle for me…It seems to be the only loving and just alternative. Letting someone go on…strikes me as sadistic. (Then he continues with a follow up letter to his son after becoming a believer.)

     Well, as I told you over the phone, I finally “took the leap.” Hallelujah!  Looking back on it, it seems that things really began to change for me when you convinced me of the Bible’s inspiration and helped me make sense out of hell. I’m not sure why, but I think it was at that point that I really started to “see the light.” 

(Letters from a Skeptic, Dr. Gregory A. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, Colorado Springs, CO, 1994, pages 160, 164, 166 &189 respectively)

I think the point is a very powerful one for me. It is all about the character of God. Dr. Boyd’s father picked it up and yet many believers don’t see it. The God we tell unbelievers about, in their mind, is unjust because we don’t explain things fully to them. God can (and will) take away their life. However, they will first suffer, in proportion for their sins. How many have turned away from the faith because they wrongly believed traditions taught about hell and the afterlife, and not the scriptures? Thankfully, Dr. Boyd shared this option with his father and his father is now going to have immortality because of it.

NOTE: Dr. Greg Boyd now holds to the doctrine of Conditional Immortality himself and has come out publicly in favor of it.

Most people don’t realize the many problems that arise from presenting the so called Traditional position about hell and the afterlife. See Questions and moral problems for those who hold to the eternal torture.

Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi makes similar comments in his excellent book, Immortality or Resurrection?

Few teachings have troubled the human conscience over the centuries more than the Traditional view of hell as the place where the lost suffer conscious punishment in body and soul for all eternity. The prospect that one day a vast number of people will be consigned to the everlasting torment of hell is most disturbing and distressing to sensitive Christians. After all, almost everyone has friends or family members who have died without making a commitment to Christ. The prospect of one day seeing them agonizing in hell for all eternity can easily lead thinking Christians to say to God: “No thank you God. I am not interested in your kind of paradise!”

It is not surprising that the Traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment has been a stumbling block for believers and an effective weapon used by skeptics to challenge the credibility of the Christian message. (Immortality or Resurrection? A Biblical Study on Human Nature and Destiny, Biblical Perspectives, Berrien Springs, MI 1997, p.193)

As an evangelist myself, I want to preach a message that is accurate. The character of God is at stake. Yes, God is holy! Yes, God will judge sin! (If you are not a believer I urge you to come to Jesus (Yeshua)). However, this topic is very important and the wrong answer can put up unnecessary stumbling blocks to the unsaved and even to believers. Look at this comment left on another web site that also teaches Conditional Immortality:

I accepted Christ a few months ago. What an awesome experience the first few weeks were! Then came visions of the majority of mankind being thrown alive into a pit of fire, where they would scream and whither for eternity. I saw faces of people I loved, people I knewburning, withering, and screaming in pain! I was in terrific fear, fighting back “God, why?” So, I prayed, “Let me understand, Lord, for I do not want to question Your righteous judgment!” But peace did not come. I was so shaken that I had to get therapy and prescription medication. I then noticed all the times the Bible used the word “perish,” “destroy,” “everlasting destruction,” “death,” and plus something in me telling me that a God who is love would never do thisYour website has brought me peace. I prayed for discernment, and I have it now. Thanks.

I think this is sufficient evidence to show that this is a very important topic. How many believers are suffering under the weight of the false teaching of eternal tormentfor their unsaved loved ones already gone? How many children are taught the wrong view of a God who will torture them for eternity in hell if they don’t accept Jesus and they are tormented by it themselves here! The truth of God’s Word helps us see the ultimate fate of unbelievers and helps us motivate them to come to salvation today, to life, to everlasting life.

16 Comments

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  4. Taken everything into consideration, I now NO LONGER believe in the God who will torture souls in an eternal lake of fire in Hell. He’s the demiurge, to say the least!! The God whom I believe, Jesus’ Father, our God, the true and loving God in the Bible…He’s the ever loving and merciful God who will never consign any soul to an eternal torment. He just can’t do that! Why, may ask…The answer is simply because GOD IS LOVE!

  5. Cathy

    I am so moved by the various letters that you have posted from other Christians who have struggled with the doctrine of hell. The “traditional” doctrine of eternal torment ruined my life for many years and I am still recovering from it. When the doctrine was first explained to me, I was a new believer filled with peace, love and joy. To say that I was shocked is an understatement. I was horrified by the doctrine, yet somehow I felt that I had no choice but to accept it. Surely such loving and kind Christians would not mislead me; they knew the Bible! I lived for many years in fear bordering on terror, wondering if I was really saved and deeply depressed about all the people throughout the world who were going to burn alive forever. I had a hard time loving God and trusting Him to save me when I thought that He was keeping many holocaust victims locked up in a furnace. Sometimes I’m angry at myself for believing the doctrine and other times I struggle with anger towards the traditional Church for teaching it to me. It sounds crazy, but I feel like I have post traumatic stress syndrome from this doctrine. What really boggles my mind is the fact that so many Christians seem to want the doctrine to be true. Thank you for helping so many of us find freedom and peace of mind.

  6. Susan Dunn

    How difficult is it to find the truth anymore! Some many books, preachings, supposed experts….its overwhelming. John 8:32 You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free….. As I read John 3:16 one day the word Persish jumped out at me…I researched its meaning…complete annialation?? Why didnt it say Torment? So here I am….questioning everything I was ever taught on Hell…… What is God telling me….or is it God? Am I being lead away from or am I being drawn to something…?? Pray I find the Truth….I have many that listen to me I do not want to be responsible for injecting the wrong information in their lives! My journey has begun.

    • Dirk Waren

      We’ll be sure to keep you in prayer, Susan.

      In the meantime, I encourage you to explore the topic by breezing through the three books available at this website — Conditional Immortality, HELL KNOW and SHEOL KNOW. The first one is a compelling introduction to the topic whereas the latter two go into more detail.

      God Bless You on Your Journey, Sister. 🙂

  7. Francois

    Hi, my name is Francois (I’m male :). The topic of election and this topic of everlasting burning in hell h
    as been to me a great stumbling block in my Christian faith. Through the years I’ve questioned incorrect teachings on these topics and due to my ongoing talking about it, some of my brothers in Christ would say things like: we are not in a position to question these things of God that are above and beyond us. In obedience I would then leave it, but the election thing was used so much by the Devil in my life that I had to search harder and further, until I got the answers that sense. I recently went through a four year prosess of the Devil attacking me with a notion of “hating God”, it would be an idea, a concept, a notion he would shoot at me with an arrow and it would deeply condemn me. After much prayer, I eventually got to grips with it being the Devil, but it still didn’t go away. With determination I kept on fighting this thing for the past couple of years, and now recently, one of my best friends came up to me with this book. The revelations in this book has somehow taken away the open door the enemy had to shoot that arrow of “hate God” at me. Thank you much for your thorough work in this book. Maybe think of writing something about election too, as viewing this the wrong way can also drive you nuts. Having both election and eternal burning viewed the wrong way is just…….. I don’t know man, unbearable…
    Love in Christ, regards, Francois

    • demetrius

      that is what christianity is. apologetics for the god of eternal damnation.///who has the keys to death and hell ? not the debil, but the one who tricks you into believing he is good. because he gets off on torturing you while you worship him. that is real sadomasochism

  8. I bought copies of Hell Know! for a few friends. Does it also com in Spanish? Are copies of Shoel Know available in print in any version?

    Thank you.
    Marcos

    • Dirk Waren

      Hi Marcos.

      HELL KNOW is not yet available in Spanish, but we’ll look into this in the months ahead. The published version of SHEOL KNOW should be available by early May. As soon as I know I’ll post an update on the “About” section of the website. By the way, the published version of SHEOL KNOW contains much more material than the web-version and is just more readable.

      Your Servant,

      Dirk

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