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 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. The purpose of this study is to plainly show that the Bible does not teach this perverse belief and never has.

What Adherents of Eternal Torment REALLY Believe John 3:16 Says

As already established, the eternal torment doctrine is often covered up by various code words and phrases. Proponents of this view teach that unrepentant sinners will “perish” or be “destroyed” even though they mean no such thing. Another favorite cover-up phrase is that unrepentant sinners will be “eternally separated from God.” This is a nice and vague expression. Yet, none of these code words or phrases even remotely suggest what adherents of eternal torment really mean by such language — never-ending conscious torment with no merciful pause or end to the suffering.

To illustrate what I’m getting at, let’s consider one of the most popular verses of the Bible:

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.”

We frequently see or hear this passage on billboards, on the internet, in magazines, on the radio, at sports events, in tracts, etc. What’s strange is that adherents of eternal torment deny what this passage literally teaches. In fact, they argue that “perish” means something completely opposite to what it actually means.

Just for a moment let’s put aside these misleading code words and quote this popular passage the way proponents of eternal torment actually interpret it:

JOHN 3:16 (as eternal torturists interpret it)
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not be tortured forever in hell but go to heaven.”

This is what adherents of eternal torment really believe this passage says. Yes, when we disregard all their misleading code words this is what they honestly believe! Can you imagine this beloved evangelical passage, written as such, plastered on billboards, magazines, tracts, etc. everywhere? Can you imagine seeing it on a banister or in the crowd at the next Superbowl? Why not? This is what they really believe it says.

Needless to say, when the light of blatant truth exposes the lie like this, we see how fiendish and ludicrous it really is.

JOHN 3:16 happens to be my favorite passage in the Bible. I adhere to it wholeheartedly and completely. It plainly states the most important truths of the Bible: 1. God loves us. 2. He doesn’t want any of us to perish, which is the ultimate wage of sin. 3. He therefore made a great sacrifice — the death of His Son — to set us free from sin and its ultimate consequence. And 4. he did this in order to grant us the gracious gift of eternal life, which shows that people don’t intrinsically possess eternal life apart from the gospel. This is all I’m saying in this study in a nutshell. Why have religionists made such easy-to-understand and beautiful truths as these so complicated, hideous and ludicrous?

Will God Torture People Forever?

Will God torture people forever? This is what I really wanted to call this book. I decided not to, however, because I figured the average person would consider it too extreme of a title and be turned off. But is it too extreme? I believe the question “Will God torture people forever?” rips through all the lies and niceties and gets straight to the heart of the matter of damnation.

310720As already pointed out in Chapter One, many adherents of eternal torment object to what this blunt question implies because they argue that people “choose hell.” I often hear this clichéd statement. Evidently, according to their reasoning, God has absolutely nothing to do with people going to hell — the lake of fire — or what they will experience there.

Actually “hell” is just another code word for adherents of eternal torment. Whenever they use the word “hell” what they really mean is eternal conscious torture with no merciful pause or end to the suffering. So when they adamantly state that “People choose hell,” what they really mean is “People choose never-ending fiery conscious agony.” What utter ridiculousness.

It is true, however, that people choose sin, that is, they choose to rebel against the righteous will of their Maker. And, as the Bible makes repeatedly clear, the wages of sin is death. So people choose sin, which ultimately leads to death, and God is the supreme authority and judge who must ultimately carry out this sentence. As Scripture plainly declares:

JAMES 4:12a
There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy,

When it comes down to it, God is ultimately either going to save people — grant them eternal life — or destroy them — that is, execute them by extinguishing them from existence. Because God is the supreme authority and giver of life he therefore has the right to take life away, if He must. His ultimate decision to take a person’s life is based on that person’s choices. God’s moral nature never changes (Hebrews 13:8James 1:17); His plain statement to the Israelites, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life,” (Deuteronomy 30:19b) is His ultimate proposition to all humanity. This explains why we see this bottom-line proposition all over the Bible; for example, Matthew 7:13-14, John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:13, Galatians 6:8, etc. If people freely choose to rebel against God and His righteous way, then they are freely choosing to be cursed by Him and condemned to death. This reveals how much respect God has for our free moral agency — He honors the choices we make.

This helps us to understand Jesus’ straightforward and solemn statement:

“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.”

Those who choose to fear God — respect God — and receive His gift of reconciliation will be blessed with eternal life (“perpetual life in the age to come”). Those who foolishly refuse will be mercifully executed in the lake of fire, God’s incinerator and trash dump. If you object to my referring to the lake of fire as an incinerator and trash dump, keep in mind that this was precisely the point Jesus was getting across when he referred to the lake of fire as Gehenna, the Valley of Hinnom, as detailed here.

So to answer the question: Will God torture people forever? The answer is no. Such an idea is utterly repulsive to the moral, just nature of the Almighty. Literal death is the wage of sin, and He will justly-but-mercifully issue out this wage on judgment day — if He must.

God of course doesn’t want anyone to perish like this. As it is written:

EZEKIEL 18:31-32
“Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

God is talking to His people Israel here, but this passage reveals His heart on the matter — the LORD doesn’t want anyone to perish. This is repeated in reference to all humanity:

2 PETER 3:7-9
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
(8) But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (9) 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.

God’s will on the matter is clear: He desires all humanity to repent and be blessed with eternal life. Those who foolishly choose selfishness and rebellion will suffer the destruction of the second death. That’s the wages of sin — death.

If you are not sure that Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth and the life,” as he claimed in John 14:6, then I encourage you to honestly and humbly seek it out. As the LORD declared in Jeremiah 29:13-14a: “ ‘You will seek me and find when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD.” God will reveal Himself to those who sincerely seek Him. It’s an axiom.

Conclusion: Hell is Not a Place of Eternal Torment for Human Beings

This study concludes that the doctrine of eternal torture is a sadistic teaching completely foreign to the Bible. It originated from a satanic lie, is founded on a pagan view of human nature — an immortal soul apart from Christ — and is perpetuated by religious tradition. It is a horrible stain on Christianity and a blasphemy to the just, merciful name of the Almighty.

Some may criticize that I’ve come across too strong in HELL KNOW, others may argue that I’ve been overly repetitive with major points and Scripture citations, still others will object to my habit of illustrating the absurdity of eternal torment by quoting plain Bible passages the way adherents of this belief actually interpret them; but this error is so deeply embedded in the psyche of the church and culture that it’s going to take such an approach to wake us up to Biblical reality.


The doctrine of eternal torment is simply a gross mistake in the history of Christendom. It’s an error that can no longer be ignored or tolerated. We need to quit mindlessly believing unbiblical doctrines that misguided ministers continue to peddle generation after generation and let the scriptural facts speak for themselves. It’s time for Christians of all persuasions across the planet to rise up and boldly proclaim the biblical truth about everlasting destruction. Yes, this must be proclaimed in a spirit of love and compassion, with much patience in face of the closed-minded stubbornness of religionists and traditionalists; and, no, it’s not an issue to break fellowship over (even though staunch advocates of eternal torment often do this). As we faithfully proclaim what the Judeo-Christian Scriptures plainly teach on human damnation the truth will expose the hideous lie that the church has wrongly embraced for so long. The doctrine of eternal torment needs to be put to rest in favor of what the Bible has always clearly taught on human damnation — everlasting literal destruction with no hope of restoration or resurrection.

PREVIOUS CHAPTER                         APPENDIX A: Old Testament Hell Verses

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  1. Phil

    I would like to hear your thoughts on Near Death Experiences (NDE) of people who have died and said to have seen/experienced hell and heaven before being brought back to life. Some of them that I’ve heard are pretty terrifying where they see souls in constant unending burning.

    • Dirk Waren

      Hi Phil.

      What you bring up concerns the nature of Sheol (or Hades in the Greek), which is the intermediate state of unredeemed souls between death and resurrection and is therefore a temporary condition. SHEOL KNOW addresses this topic at length whereas HELL KNOW examines the nature of Gehenna/the Lake of Fire. To explain, when unsaved people die their souls are held in Sheol (Hades) until their resurrection on Judgment Day to stand before God; whoever’s name is not found in the Book of Life will then be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is “the second death.” This is plainly relayed in Revelation 20:11-15, Matthew 10:28 and Hebrews 10:26-27. I point this out to show that Sheol/Hades and Gehenna/the Lake of Fire are two separate subjects. Both link to human damnation, but only the Lake of Fire relates to “the second death” or “everlasting destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:9 & Luke 19:27).

      To address your question, while evangelization and genuine repentance are always good, these people who have supernatural experiences about Sheol/Hades (not Gehenna/the Lake of Fire) beg the question: Why did the LORD wait almost 2000 years after the biblical canon was completed to reveal these horrifying details about the nature of Sheol? If their visions (or experiences) are to be believed, why aren’t there similar such descriptions of Sheol in the Bible, the Word of God?

      Everything God wants us to know about Sheol has already been revealed in the Holy Scriptures. This is in line with the apostle Paul’s doctrinal rule: “Do not go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6), which explains why SHEOL KNOW focuses exclusively on what God’s Word says on the subject from Genesis to Revelation and not the dubious testimonies of people who claim to have visions or experiences that just so happen to wholly disagree with what God’s Word plainly teaches.

      I call this tendency to formulate vital doctrine based on dubious visions/experiences the “Eliphaz syndrome.” If you’re not familiar with Eliphaz, he was one of Job’s three “friends” whom the LORD accused of folly in what they said to their suffering friend (Job 42:7-8). Eliphaz was the one who made claims based on mysterious visions/experiences (Job 4:12-21). We can extend mercy to Eliphaz since there wasn’t much, if any, Scripture for him to rely on back then. But modern-day believers have ready access to the entire canon of God’s Word for the purpose of determining proper doctrine and correcting false doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16-17). So we have no excuse.

      Bill Wiese’ book and similar ones, including Mary Baxter’s book, are commented on in SHEOL KNOW in this chapter, just scroll down to the section titled What about People who Claim to have Visited Sheol Literally or in a Vision? (it’s a long chapter and this section is located near the end, but you can’t miss it since the cover of 23 Minutes in Hell is featured in it).

      Your Servant,

  2. Cassandra Oliphant

    It has been recently settled in my heart that this belief in torment is a pure form of Blasphemy against the Father, entirely… And recently I tried to speak of it in a Evangelistic group, and well… I was told it was all heretical. So many churches are so into this, void of love or any form of relationship in them… It all feels so twisted, the enemy is probably why. I am so relieved to come on this page… God Bless!

  3. Ryan N

    May the defenders of eternal torment have their rewards decreased accordingly during the judgment seat.

    May I also be held to the same standard which I impart upon them.


  4. Kenneth L Peters

    I am a deacon in our local Baptist church and have believed as you do for a number of years now and the only thing I have to say to you is “well-done thou good and faithful servant “. May God bless and keep you safe all the days of your life.

  5. Elia

    Do not be deceived, a spirit can not be killed or destroyed. The coming of Jesus will transform everybody into spiritual being then he will separate the good from the bad, and he is preparing place for the righteous for eternity so as he preparing lake of fire to Satan and his followers. Therefore all is eternal.

    • Dirk Waren

      Thanks for the feedback, Elia.

      The best way to “not be deceived” about human damnation (or any subject) is to stick to what God’s Word says on the topic rather than follow what sectarian religion says (John 8:31-32 & 1 Corinthians 4:6).

      You claim:

      The coming of Jesus will transform everybody into spiritual being

      This is not true. First Corinthians 15:42-54 shows that only the righteous will receive an imperishable, glorified, spiritual body at the time of their resurrection. Verse 54 speaks of this: “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ”

      Some adherents of eternal torment — apparently desperate for proof texts — cite this passage to support their claim that every human being will have immortality — including unbelievers. Yet even a novice student of the Bible can see that the passage exclusively refers to born-again believers who have been spiritually regenerated (1 Peter 1:23). For example, verse 50 of 1 Corinthians 15 plainly shows that the people addressed are those who will “inherit the kingdom of God.”

      Unbelievers, by contrast, won’t be resurrected until the White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) where “Anyone whose name is not found written in the book of life is thrown into the lake of fire”… “The lake of fire is the second death” where God will “destroy both soul and body” (Matthew 10:28) as “raging fire will consume the enemies of God” (Hebrews 10:26-27,31).

      Christ plainly said: “Just as the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age” (Matthew 13:40). This is an easy-to-understand illustration for us to grasp the concept of human damnation: Those who reject reconciliation with God through the gospel will be discarded like weeds thrown into fire. What happens to weeds cast into fire? Why, they burn for a little bit and then BURN UP.

      I encourage you to read all the clear scriptural evidence of HELL KNOW. It addresses every side of the issue, including the verses that those who embrace eternal torture claim support their doctrine. Here’s the Contents Page which grants you access to all the chapters. I urge you to especially consider the biblical material in Chapter Four as it plainly shows how eternal life and immortality are only available through Christ (see 2 Timothy 1:10 for verification).

      God Bless You!

    • Alison

      We are ALL bad: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Immortality only comes through the Gospel of Jesus as stated in 2 Timothy 1:10, “But is now made manifest through the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ Who hath abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” Death is the result of sin and not accepting Christ, as seen in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Thankfully, God wants all people to be saved from hell and death, as He says in 1 Timothy 2:3, “God, Who will have ALL men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
      God bless you as you search the Scriptures.

  6. Kristin

    The only verses that would make me question this view is-
    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11

    Could you please read verse 11 and explain your interpretation of this verse.

    Thank you,

    • Dirk Waren

      Hi Kristin.

      Every passage that adherents of eternal fiery torture use to support their doctrine is addressed in either HELL KNOW or SHEOL KNOW. The passage you cite is covered in this chapter, just scroll down to the section “The Smoke of their Torment Rises Forever”.

      Read through the chapters of HELL KNOW for additional relevant data.

      Don’t hesitate to write if you have any further questions/comments.

  7. Rick Vann 15565 Fernand St. Pierrefonds Quebec H9H 1M6

    Excellent article!

    There are a number of good books on Hell that I recommend:

    “Four Views on Hell” published by Zondervan
    “Two Views on Hell”, published by InterVarsity Press
    “The Fire That Consumes”, published by Providential Press

    Hopefully, my book, “Eternal Torment: Image and Reality” will soon be among them.

  8. Jessica Drake

    What about Matthew 25:46? I agree that most of the Bible agrees with your position but this verse clearly states there is eternal punishment. Thanks.

    • Dirk Waren

      Hi Jessica; thanks for the feedback.

      This particular article is the conclusion of a long web-book on the nature of human damnation. Matthew 25:46 is addressed in detail in this chapter; scroll down to the section “They Will Go Away to Eternal Punishment”. In short, Christ taught eternal punishment, not eternal punishing. This “eternal punishment” refers to the wages of sin which is DEATH — eternal death with no hope of resurrection (Romans 6:23, Matthew 10:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Luke 19:27 and Hebrews 10:26-27,31).

      I encourage you to read our entire web-book HELL KNOW, which addresses the topic in detail. Here’s the Contents Page and here’s Chapter One.

      God Bless You!

  9. Mark warriner

    I have believed and taught against eternal torment for some time though I think there will be degrees of punishment prior to destruction. Even without scripture it’s preposterous. Mrs Smith (Ficticious) never asked to be born.she was also born into a sinful race. She may have tried her best and not lived a bad life but because she could not quite believe. God says after 1million years of torment that’s it’s just beginning!

    • Dirk Waren

      Thanks for the feedback, Mark. This chapter of HELL KNOW addresses the issue of suffering meted out as Divine justice requires; just scroll down to the section Conscious Suffering Meted Out as Divine Justice Requires.

  10. bob

    sorry but the bible talks about degrees of punishment- obviously if all unsaved people simply perish or are destroyed, there would be no degrees of punishment- there would just be one destruction for all unsaved- no degrees involved-

    • Dirk Waren

      Thanks for the feedback, Bob.

      This is the conclusion of a 12-chapter book (10 proper chapters and 2 appendixes) on what the Bible clearly teaches on the nature of damnation (as opposed to what Augustinian tradition claims). The issue you note is addressed elsewhere, particularly in this chapter; scroll down to the section Conscious Suffering Meted Out as Divine Justice Requires.

      I humbly encourage you to read the whole book before criticizing the content of a certain chapter or section. Here’s the Contents page, which provides access to every chapter, if you’re interested.

  11. Dr. Kenneth Lucas

    I was recently reading Psalms and the text completely agrees with eternal destruction and not eternal torment in fire. I’ve been so indoctrinated by the “Church’s teachings” that I am almost too afraid to believe in eternal destruction because it feels like Blasphemy. Thank you for your article because this doctrine of eternal Hell has caused me much turmoil for those who don’t wish to be saved or receive God’s mercy. Thank you for giving me some relief.

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