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 strongly in favor of this position: The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent.
The fact that it is gaining ground must be the reason why a few are writing responses to it. They usually all quote the same four or five verses in defense of eternal torment, so these are now going to be addressed in this section.
First, in scripture, Jesus speaks definitively on the fate of the unsaved soul, it will be destroyed.
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. (Matt 10:28)
It is Jesus who gives us the truly critical and pivotal scripture for understanding the fate of the lost soul–that it can and will be destroyed. It will die (cease to function anymore) on Judgment Day at the end of the age. This will happen in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15) which will be a terrible fate-cremation. However, Matthew 10:28 is the text through which all other scriptures and their interpretations must be filtered. Without using this text as the foundation for the fate of the lost, there will be confusion. With this text, (Matthew 10:28) as a foundational text, all other texts follow smoothly. Additionally, Paul also taught that immortality is brought to light through the gospel only. (2 Timothy 1:10) With this as a biblical filter, an important rule of biblical hermeneutics can now be followed-plain texts must interpret any symbolic texts.
Cults Believe in Hell and Teach Everlasting Destruction--Not Eternal Torment Some have opposed the view of literal everlasting destruction (not eternal torment) on the grounds that it is adhered to (in one form or another) by various cult/borderline cult groups like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Seventh-Day Adventists, Christadelphians and the ... [Read More]
The question, "Can a soul or spirit be destroyed?" is an important one. Some oppose literal destruction by resorting to the reasoning that people are spiritual beings, and “By definition, a spirit cannot die. A spirit is an immortal being” (Robertson 72). You’ll notice that anyone who makes such an ... [Read More]
Eternal Torment is Not Eternal Torture You may have noticed in this study that I regularly refer to the view of eternal torment as eternal torture. Both references obviously apply to the same position---that of never-ending conscious suffering. Norman Geisler, a staunch adherent of eternal torment, objects to this practice ... [Read More]
An interesting question is, "Burn in hell: When you burn something, doesn't it simply change form?" H. Buis comments on how adherents of literal everlasting destruction place great emphasis on the fact that the figure of “fire” is used in the Bible to describe the second death, “and fire, they ... [Read More]
The question, "What is spiritual death?" is a common objection. This next objection goes hand in hand with the objection just examined. Under the guise of “interpretation” many sincere Christian people add the word “spiritual” to the numerous plain statements which promise death to unrepentant sinners. For instance, these people ... [Read More]
The question "Doesn't death just mean separation from God?" needs to be addressed. Let’s start with the strange theory that death doesn’t really mean "death," but “separation.” For example, consider Paul’s unmistakable statement in this previously viewed passage: ROMANS 6:23 For the wages of sin is death (thanatos), but the ... [Read More]
To answer the question, "What about Revelation 20:10 which says the devil and the beast and the false prophet will be tormented forever?" They will indeed be tormented forever; however they are not humans. Jesus says Gehenna (hell) was specifically made for Satan and demons (Matthew 25:41), however fire does ... [Read More]
The question, "Doesn't Revelation tell us that people who take the mark of the beast will have no rest day or night?" is interesting. Yes, they will indeed have "no rest," but when will this happen? It will be during the tribulation period while on this earth. It is important ... [Read More]
Let's answer the question, "Doesn't Revelation 14 tell us that people will be tormented forever?" First let's look at what the text actually says...Revelation 14:10-11 is about a specific group of people at "the end times." It is about people who take the mark of the beast during what many ... [Read More]
Everyone asks, "What about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19?" The teaching of Conditional Immortality means that the soul of man is finally destroyed on the Day of Judgment-at the end of this age. Therefore, technically speaking, this scripture has no bearing on this doctrine. However, as a ... [Read More]
The question, "What about the eternal punishment of Matthew 25:46?" is covered in Are you saying there is no "punishment" for the unsaved? But to state very briefly, the punishment (or wages) of sin according to scripture is always death. Romans 6:23 and many other scriptures state this very clearly, "The wages of ... [Read More]
When responding to, "What about the unquenchable fire in Mark 9:48?" we need to realize that Jesus is quoting verbatim Isaiah 66:24 in this passage so please read, Why rarely cited Isaiah 66:24 is a key for a more complete understanding of this scripture. Proper hermeneutics demands that we interpret scripture with ... [Read More]
A common myth you may have heard is, "Jesus talked more about hell than heaven?" No he didn't! Not even close. And the word translated as "hell" was sometimes Hades (Sheol) or mostly Gehenna...the ancient garbage dump outside of Jerusalem where trash and dead bodies were burned and destroyed. Concordance ... [Read More]
Here's an interesting synopsis on Annihilationism vs Traditionalism. According to Traditionalists, the Bible doesn't actually mean what it says. Annihilationism vs Traditionalism TRADITIONALISM ANNIHILATIONISM Perish: Eternally tortured in hell Perish: To die. Death: Eternally tortured in hell. Death: To die. Opposite of living. Die: Eternally tortured in hell. Die: The ... [Read More]
What did Jesus say about hell? Did Jesus really talk more about hell than heaven (common myth)? Why do Christians say God will torture unbelievers forever in hell? God used the clearest words He could throughout His word, the Bible: --That those who live a lifestyle of unrepentant sin deserve ... [Read More]