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 and simply teaches is that immortality is conditional. It is only for the saved (2 Timothy 1:10). Therefore, the punishment of the sinner is not preservation in torment, but eschatological death. It is Capital Punishment where body and soul destroyed in hell on Resurrection Day from the judicial hand of God. It is loss of life forever; it is eternal death beginning on Judgment Day.

It is rather interesting that most believe “death” is the worst punishment you can face on this earth in a court of law, yet do not believe this about Judgment day in God’s court. Adherents of eternal torture hold such a low view of life, that death is not a punishment for them. Yet this is exactly what the wages of sin are (Romans 6:23): body and soul destroyed in hell. For God, death is the worst judgment of all, because He holds life as precious! Adherents of eternal torment do not believe life is precious enough to believe that removal of it is a punishment! How sad!

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

This scripture is not to be given any theological “spin” to its meaning. Read it plainly. Death is the absence of life. “Death” (Gk: thanatos) does not mean torment in Greeknever. Its parallel is in Romans 6:23 which is the gift of “eternal life” for the believer. The setting is clearly eschatological. The “wages of sin” will be the sinners” loss of life (death) at the end of the age. It is their “second death” (Revelation 20:14-15) which ends (not preserves) their body and soul’s living forever (Matthew 10:28).

Let us think for a moment what we do to murderers in our society. Do we torture them endlessly? No. This would be called “cruel and unusual punishment.” The 8thAmendment to the United States Constitution states this. Is this amendment godly or ungodly? It is clearly godly! So we can see that even an unsaved lawmaker instinctively knows that the unending (24/7) physical torturing of a twenty year old murderer for the next 50 years (assuming his life span to be seventy years) would certainly not make the punishment fit the crime. Never ceasing, unending physical conscious torture for 50 years would not be a fitting punishment to any crime committed. Even evangelical biblical scholar Clark Pinnock rightly states about this eternal torture doctrine, “How can one love a God like that? I suppose one might be afraid of Him, but could we love and respect Him? A god who maintains an everlasting Auschwitz for his enemies whom he does not even allow to die.”

Again, I cannot state this strongly enough, even unsaved man knows this fact. Why do the unsaved even know that? Because they still have some retention of God’s law of right and wrong in their thoughts. God would certainly NOT approve of any courtroom sentencing any human criminal to unending conscious physical torture 24x7x365. That judgment would certainly be worse than the crime itself! They would understand that this would go against the very moral fiber built into their consciences (fallen as they may be). So we see in this specific area of our own penal system, God has placed this right understanding of punishment even among the unsaved (Romans 2:15). Then why do believers “shut off” their God given consciences and suppress every fiber in their being which screams “Eternal conscious torture (the Traditional view of hell) really does not make sense!” The punishment does not fit the crime.

Messianic Rabbi Loren Jacobs rightly 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.

The punishment must fit the crime. It does not seem right that trillions of years of torture, and more (since that would only be the beginning of one’s torture), await those who committed crimes for a few years here on Earth. 

Source: What I Believe, What I Reject, Rabbi Loren

Even in Torah (Books of Moses), there was no basis for unending physical torture-none. The conscience strokes due to a person were always limited.

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. (Deuteronomy 25:2-3)

Even Yeshua (Jesus) taught limited conscience physical sufferings upon the guilty:

“That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. (Luke 12:47-48)

The adjectives “many” and “few” in Luke 12 could not be used if eternal conscious torment were what He was teaching here. He would have used “heavier” and “lighter” if the duration of conscience sufferings were eternal. So according to Yeshua’s (Jesus”) own words, some will have “many stripes” (Hitler types) and some will have “few stripes” (only God knows).

Now there will indeed be pain and suffering in the dying process. That much is absolutely true, (just look at what happened to Jesus (Yeshua) on the cross). However, the “wage of sin” (Romans 6:23) is ultimately death, not the suffering process in getting to death itself. It is the “second death” (Rev. 2:11).

Again, it is eternal punishment, not eternal punishing. (Matthew 25:46) Death (when body and soul destroyed in hell) is the punishment; and it lasts forever. That is why it is called eternal punishment. It is a punishment with everlasting effects. Remember, Jesus Himself tells us that the fire was never made for humans, it was “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). Humans, however, will be destroyed therecremated according to Isaiah 66:24.

Notice, Paul also tells us exactly what the punishment of the lost is: “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Paul clearly says they will be destroyed (not preserved) and that the destruction will last forever. After suffering according to their sins, they will be shut out from everlasting life and miss out on seeing the glory of God. It is capital punishment: body and soul destroyed in hell.

Look at Capital Punishment in theory. What is the judicial underlying basis for capital punishment? In other words, how is putting them to death really a punishment? It is the years of life a condemned murderer is missing out on. That is really why it is a punishment to him or her. It is the removal of what could have been for them. That is the only valid basis for such a punishment really being a punishment to them. Please give some deep thought behind the judicial notion of Capital Punishment for a few moments and you will see that the loss of what could have been for them is indeed the main punishment to a criminal being put to death. The suffering that goes along with the process may be valid, but the final payment and penalty is death itself.

This, then, is precisely the same punishment awaiting the unsaved at the Final Judgment. The only difference will be that a human judicial court can only remove the bodily life of a person as punishment. Jesus (Yeshua) taught that God had the power to “destroy both soul and body” in Gehenna (hell) (Matthew 10:28). The word “both” is the operative word here. Jesus is saying, there is nothing left alive (functioning) of a person after God’s destruction (in whatever time frame it occurs) has taken place.

The fact that it will last forever makes it “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46) Remember, this occurs after their resurrection (Revelation 20:12). They now know that God exists and certainly has the power to raise the dead (after all, they will have just been resurrected themselves). Maybe they will have hope that this upcoming death will also be temporary and they can then gain eternal joy in the New Jerusalem? But the statement to them of their “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46) will remove all hope from them. Since they refused the payment of Yeshua (Jesus), they will suffer only for their own sins and then face the “second death.”

Evangelical author Edward Fudge, a former Traditionalist, makes the same point in his classic book The Fire that Consumes:

“Where a very serious crime is punished by death and the execution of the sentence takes only a minute, no laws consider that minute as the measure of the punishment, but rather the fact that the criminal is forever removed from the community of the living.” 

On this basis we regard a 20-year prison sentence to be greater than a 10-year sentence, a 50-year sentence worse than one for 20, and life imprisonment greater than these all. Yet, as Constible pointed out, “From the earliest records of our race capital punishment has been reckoned as not only the greatest but also the most lasting of all punishments; and it is only reckoned the greatest because it is the most lasting. A flogging, inflicted on a petty thief, inflicts more actual pain than decapitation of hanging inflicts upon a murderer. Why then is it greater and more lasting? Because it has deprived the sufferer of every hour of that life which but for it he would have had. Its duration is supposed co-existent with the period of his natural life.” 

(Edward W. Fudge, The Fire That Consumes. A Biblical and Historical Study of the Final Punishment, Houston, 1982, p. 199)

The unsaved will be destroyed forever; body and soul destroyed in hell. Paul clearly states that the unsaved will “be punished with everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Notice he does not say “everlasting preservation.” No hope of resurrection, no hope of life anymore. Just as a judicial court merits out the death penalty with the underlying basis of it being “missing out” on the rest of your life, so too will the sinners punishment be “missing out” on the rest of your eternity.

This is why Jesus (Yeshua) and the apostles and the Psalmist can all state:

  • James 4:12“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy…”

  • Matthew 7:13-14“Broad the road that leads to destruction…”

  • 2 Thessalonians 1:9“Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction…”

  • Philippians 3:19“Whose end is destruction…”

  • Galatians 6:8“…from that nature will reap destruction…” 

  • Psalm 92:7“…it is that they (i.e. all evil doers) shall be destroyed forever…”

But what is the meaning of the word “destroy”? Perhaps it means eternal torment? You certainly have to import an alien meaning to the definition of the word “destroy” (Gk: apollumi) if it means eternal torture. It is never directly translated this way in any New Testament writings. Never.

Again, I repeat the keen observation of that great evangelical commentator, John R. Stott, when he states:

“…it would seem strange…if people who are said to suffer destruction are in fact not destroyed…it is difficult to imagine a perpetually inconclusive process of perishing.”

(J. Stott and D. Edwards, Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988, p. 316)

The fact of the matter is this, the body and soul of unbelievers can and will be destroyed one day. It will be Judgment Day to be exact. This “Day” is spoken about over and over again in scripture. Yes, the process itself will include suffering, but the end result according to the Jewish scriptures (the Bible) is destruction, death, cessation of life and thought.

Jesus taught that God would not “preserve” (as is commonly taught) but “destroy” both body and soul one day. Even if no other Biblical writer ever used the word “destroy,” we would still be forced to accept the “destructibility” of the unsaved soul even if only based upon this rock solid statement of the Son of God in Matthew 10:28 when Jesus said, “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.”

Plato was wrong, the soul is not indestructible.

Jesus was right, it is destructible.

This is what is Biblically true. Conditionalism correctly teaches this truth from God’s Holy Word.

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  1. Damien

    Hi…if the body and soul is destroyed, what happens to the spirit? Its believed that we are comprised of a body, soul and spirit, aren’t we?

    • Dirk Waren

      Hi Damien.

      It’s the human soul (aka mind) that has conscious life & volition and is animated by the human spirit, aka the spiritual “breath of life” from God; the spirit/soul gives life to the body.

      These types of details concerning human nature are covered in HELL KNOW, in particular Appendix B, which you can read here.

      Your Servant,

    • Damien

      So…the spirit of the person will go back to God and stay there forever, while the body and soul gets snuffed out, correct?

    • Dirk Waren

      Yes, as verified by Psalm 146:4 & Ecclesiastes 12:7, with the understanding that ‘spirit’ in this context refers to the spiritual breath of life from God and not a conscious entity. God is the “fountain of life” (Psalm 36:9) and thus all living things depend on the LORD for animation, whether physical or spiritual. When/if they die, that life (which animates them) returns to God who gave it.

      I encourage you to breeze through Appendix B of HELL KNOW for important scriptural insights on human nature — spirit, mind & flesh — from hundreds of pertinent passages.

      You’re welcome to write me at dawaren@msn.com

  2. Tim B.

    I have the same idea about hell when reading scripture. I ‘m not a 100% sure about it, but the idea still stands in my mind and it has not been put to the test since. So i’ m not the expert. However. It amazes me that some people have the idea that the eternal destruction of the soul is getting off easy.

    While dying on earth and coming to the conclusion that God really exists. You have to go to trial before the almighty judge. You will not be able to deny any of your sins, all of them will be out in the open for all to see. What a shameful trial that wil be!

    You will have to plead guilty, and the punishment is death, as God said. You get the chair. Worst thing you can get! So while fully knowing you could have been saved they take you to the hell fire and throw you in. But it does not kill you on the spot, we know this because the rich man could still talk whilst in the flame. But according to your deeds it takes an amount of time to be destroyed for eternity. Whilst you know you could have lived. This is terrible! And no one will be there without reason. All the time knowing you are losing your eternal life that could have been great.

    This is not getting off easy at all.

  3. Artaxerxes Miguel Garcia

    I think William had never read the whole article, does not know how to listen and pay attention to what was written. He said that it’s cherry-picking the Scriptures. But the belief in soul indestructibility is itself cherry-picking of Scriptures! And why would you, William, love to preach about hell? Is that your best motivation to frighten people to serve God? What about those who cannot be frightened with hell or with God as in Lk. 18.2,4? Will that doctrine about hell help to convince them? No. You cannot evangelize people using that lowest level of mental attributes, -fear. In 1John 4.17,18 it is Agape, NOT fear that gives us boldness in the day of judgement. I would not be interested in preachers telling me that there is hell since I cannot be frightened with anything in this life, not even death. There is no way to serve God being frightened by His justice, no matter how dread it may be. I do not care, i would not care. No one, not even God can force me to be afraid of Him. That is my free will, and I am free to will not to be afraid of anything. So what can your hell doctrine do to me? Nothing! What can your terrible God do to me? Nothing! But if someone like Christ talks about God’s love, and that He came not to destroy but to save, and that it is the sinners who destroy themselves, NOT Him, and that the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels were indeed the lake of fire prepared BY THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS, then I would come to God and serve Him in love. Do you suppose that the way I look at God is the same with what Papal-Evangelical churches wrongly depict of Him? No. I am a Seventh-day Adventist. We are the remnant, and we will make known to the world the true character of God, the God who does not kill, but save. And we will expose Satan and his church, the antichrist churches that it is Satan and his servants who delight in destruction and who misrepresents God’s character in their lives and bad doctrines. Two of these bad doctrines are: 1) Belief that the soul is naturally immortal, 2) Belief that there is an eternal inferno, a literally burning hell that burns forever. We reject such nonsense. We will continue to spread the true character of God to the world, and daily we gain believers, believers who came out from the fallen Sunday-keeping churches.

    • Diogo

      The SDA holds false doctrines regarding food:

      Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (2)speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, (3) forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. (4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; (5) for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
      1 Timothy 4:1-5

    • Artaxerxes Miguel Garcia

      Then blame God for instructing Leviticus 11. Maybe you don’t know how to exegete any Pauline Epistle. Know the distinction between bromatos and bromies. Somebody is sleeping in his Greek class!

    • Dirk Waren

      Thanks for the input, Artaxerxes, but actually Christ declared all foods clean under the New Covenant, as shown in Mark 7:18-19, which is plainly backed up by other New Testament passages, which you can read here.

  4. The world thinks that hell is a joke or a fantasy. But, once it experiences the taste of hell, it would regret it.

    There are 2 problems with many people:

    1. They do not want to accept the truth that Jesus Christ is the only Way, Entrance, and Key to Heaven.

    2. They want to do what they want to do.

    If an unsaved sinner is willing to go to the eternal lake of fire in order to do what he or she wants to do on earth, he/she deserves to be eternally punished.

    People are real. Animals are real. Time is real. Spirits are real. Therefore, everything else (heaven or hell) seen or unseen is real.

    • Shankara

      explain the cowards and evil of this religion ? were all genocides from christianity in act of god or devil

  5. William

    Be VERY careful what you say! Jesus said that your OWN words will condem you at the day of judgment. Stop twisting and cherry picking God’s Holy scriptures to suit your own wicked perverted doctrine! Jesus spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven. He constantly warned the people about the eternal fiery judgment that’s to come for the sinners and unbelievers. Stop preaching lies! Repent of your ways and ask God to lead you to the truth.

  6. James Cordero

    This website is simply gorgeous. The content and visuals really leave me breathless. It may be the best that I’ve seen and there are more and more Conditionalism sites popping up all the time. It is just unbelievable that the useful and biblical evidence that is now available is so much superior to that which is presented by those of the traditional conviction. I almost feel guilty about the advantage that the truth has positioned us in. There is though, an unfounded but powerful durability encasing the traditional doctrine that almost has it’s believers totally mesmerized. The quicksand of Satan’s first lie continues to enforce it’s grip on so many believers.

    • Dirk Waren

      Thanks for the feedback, James. Yes, despite what the Scriptures clearly and consistently say on the topic of human damnation, religious tradition is a powerful force that perpetuates the false doctrine of never-ending roasting torture of unredeemed human beings.

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