Skip to comments.NT Wright Wrong About Eternal Torment?
Posted on 12/25/2012 7:59:39 AM PST by SeekAndFind
The last thing any of us want to think about is eternal torment. And yet there we find it....smack dab in the middle of God's Word, and regularly mentioned by the very One who suffered on the cross for our sins. As much as we would like to ignore it completely....or pretend it doesn't exist....we find ourselves compelled to honestly accept everything God has placed in His Word....even when it has such extreme consequences.
Nothing could be further from our natural way of thinking than the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell....and the Son of God suffering on a cross....and a land of inexpressible joy as the alternative to eternal torment. Who could come up with this stuff? That is, if it wasn't true.
Oh wait. I forgot. God and his eternal declarations will only be fulfilled if we understand them....and if we give the go ahead....and if we find them acceptable. It all boils down to our approval, right? We are the masters of the universe....and the ones who get to call the shots on eternity. Yea right.
Speaking of "right," N.T. Wright was an Anglican bishop in the Church of England from 2003 until his retirement in 2010. In recent years, he has written some questionable opinions and made some provocative statements concerning heaven and hell. Wright is very direct when talking about the resurrection of the body....especially for those who will spend all of eternity with Christ. But he becomes quite vague when asked about hell. He tends to view hell more as a "progressive shrinking of human life" in this world, rather than as a literal "lake of fire" in the next world. (see Rev. 20:14,15)
Wright doesn't, however, completely rule out any judgment in the next life for some people. In an interview a few years ago he stated, "My description is neither an annihilationist view nor an eternal conscious torment view." And so he lands somewhere in the middle. He has adopted a theory that makes sense to him. Frankly, I don't think any definition of hell makes much sense when funneled through our human reason. Other than God....and those who are in hell right now....who can truly grasp the reasoning behind the doctrine of hell?
N.T. Wright has asked on various occasions, "Why are Americans so fixated on hell?" On a subject of this magnitude, he is asking the wrong question. The question he should be asking is simply, "Why did Jesus talk so much about hell?" And why did our Lord spend more time talking about that subject than most Americans ever talk about it? (see Matt. 5:22; Matt. 5:29,30; Matt. 7:13,14; Matt. 8:12; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 11:23,24; Matt. 13:49,50; Matt. 16:18; Matt. 18:8,9; Matt. 18:34,35; Matt. 22:13; Matt. 23:15,33; Matt. 25:30; Matt. 25:41; Matt. 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Luke 10:15; Luke 12:5; Luke 16:22-24)
Jesus talked about many things, and hell is just one of the topics he discussed. But when he addressed it, he gave us a glimpse behind the veil. Hell is so horrible that our words and thoughts can barely begin to express the torment which takes place there. It is the second toughest thing that Spirit-filled Christians think about, or talk about....the toughest thing is the painful ordeal which our Lord suffered on the day of His crucifixion. Let's face it. God hates sin a lot more than you or I do.....and He punishes it far more severely than you or I would punish it. The cross proves it. And so does the reality of hell, which by the way, was originally prepared for the devil and his angels. (see Matt. 25:41) It's above our pay grade to fully comprehend it, but that doesn't make hell any less real. When you interpret the Bible with honesty and integrity, you end up with both heaven and hell....sin and grace....law and gospel....forgiveness and punishment....eternal joy and eternal torment.
N.T. Wright has said that Americans seem "really determined to be sure that they know precisely who is going to be frying in hell and what the temperature will be and so on." Really? Not in my experience. Wright's comment speaks volumes concerning the cavalier manner in which he tends to address this somber issue. I wonder how many Christians he hangs around who are filled with compassion for anyone who is on the highway to hell.
The Lord has provided a way for man to escape hell and make it into heaven. But there is only one way. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Just as there was only one door on the ark of Noah at the time of the great flood, so also, there is only one door that leads to heaven. Jesus said, "I am the door. Whoever enters through me will be saved." (John 10:9)
The Bible reveals to us that God wants people on the road to heaven rather than the road to hell. "God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) "The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9) "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." (John 3:16) "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
Just as God's punishment is far greater than we would ever hand out, so also His love is far greater than we would ever demonstrate. And yet amazingly, we often speak and act as if heaven and hell should make sense to us....being the all-wise ones that we pretend to be. When we attempt to pontificate on heaven and hell using our own wisdom, we don't have a clue what we are really talking about.
And then there are the Lord's words on the matter. Jesus is God. He knows everything. He chose to give man serious warnings about the reality of hell....and the eternal nature of it. Many Christians in America rightly believe His words about both heaven and hell. That doesn't mean most Christians in America are glad about it .and rejoice in it. That is unthinkable. Again I must ask, "Who has N.T. Wright been hanging around?" It sounds like he needs to get out more .and meet plenty of Spirit-filled believers who shudder at the thought of people suffering in hell.
N.T. Wright seems to pick out the parts of the Bible he likes....and he trusts that those things will come to pass. But when it comes to hell, he takes the easy way out....and the dangerous way. He relies upon his human reason rather than the words of the King. Will he eventually attempt to alter the "eternal" aspect of heaven as well? I guess he could just publish his own version of the Bible (the "Wright" Bible) and define heaven and hell according to his own preferences and opinions. But don't tamper with God's Word and attempt to pass it off as anything more than wishful thinking. The clear teaching of the New Testament....and the clear teaching of Christ Himself....is that the Son of God suffered for awhile, in order to rescue men from suffering forever.
If that were not actually the case, would Jesus have left heaven and come here to suffer the way He did? No. The truth is that Christ's suffering points as much to the reality of hell as it does to the reality of heaven. If you take N.T. Wright's comments a step further, perhaps Christians in America spend too much time thinking and talking about the suffering of Christ on the cross.
Wright's opinion concerning eternal torment seems to me to be the equivalent of saying, "Jesus Christ may not have actually suffered that much physical torment for that long on the cross."
You see my point. It is futile to live in a fantasy world where we pick and choose those parts of the Bible that are pleasing to us. The words of our Lord are either entirely true, or entirely false. When you tamper with God's inerrant Word and call the "hard stuff" into question, you are being misled....and you are also misleading others on those difficult doctrines. So let's see....N.T. Wright seems convinced that when our Lord referred to "everlasting life" for believers, He meant forever. But when he talked about hell, He didn't really mean what he said about it being a place of eternal torment. So did the Holy Spirit teach that progressive interpretation to this former bishop, or was it simply wishful thinking on the part of this biblical theorist from Scotland?
If I could snap my fingers and make N.T. Wright's version of hell become the real one, I would do it. Who wouldn't, in our natural understanding, desire less punishment for sinners rather than more punishment? But is it up to us? Did we create the world....and man....and give him boundaries not to cross? Is it up to us to hand out the punishment to lawbreakers....and the free gift of eternal life to sinners who repent and believe the good news? All of this is beyond us, and outside of our human understanding. Apart from biblical revelation, who knows anything about heaven and hell?
Oh but man assumes that he does. We are so smart. After all, we made it to the moon....and we created computers....so why wouldn't we know what we are talking about when it comes to eternal joy in heaven....wherever that is....and eternal torment (or not) in hell....wherever that is. Yea....we got this one nailed, just like everything else we have discovered through scientific research and development. Yea right. If that's what you want to tell yourself, I suppose you will just keep on believing it. Not me.
If Jesus was telling the truth about eternal torment for those who reject Him, then N.T. Wright is wrong to cast aspersions upon our Lord's words regarding eternal punishment. They can't both be right. So was Jesus telling the truth, or wasn't He?
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.
Would N. T. Wright disagree with the bold statement? In my limited reading of his works, I doubt it. While he might disagree with the idea that entirety of hell is a literal lake of fire, IMO Wright would agree with Jesus' declaration that hell is a place of 'wailing and the gnashing of teeth' and he accepts it horrifying reality.
One thing I learned in the Federal Vision controversy of few years back - be very cautious when a critic restates his opponent's argument. Too often there is a straw-man argument in the making. While it is entirely possible that N. T. Wright is wrong on this issue, I'd like to see more of his position laid out before I'd rush to judgment.
Agreed. I saw very little quoted by Wright himself in the above piece, and I can’t help thinking he has a lot more than that to say about it, especially if this guys ire seems to be raised by it. If these slim selection of quotes are all he’s ever said on the topic, it’s almost not worth commenting on.
So God tortures people forever for what their mythological ancestors did, right?
Christianity is not just “unscientific” but insane and evil.
RE: So God tortures people forever for what their mythological ancestors did, right?
Where in the Bible does it say that?
About 1 hour 30 mins in, or 2 hours in for the hellish part.
2:15 for the lake of fire and the average unbelieving Joe...
“So God tortures people forever for what their mythological ancestors did, right?”
Nope. Did you actually read the article?
“Christianity is not just unscientific but insane and evil.”
R-I-G-H-T. Christianity, which gave us hospitals, universities, the modern roots of science, philosophy, international law and human rights is “insane and evil”. R-I-G-H-T. Are you a product of a public school?
Remember you said that.
Calling a loving God evil is blaspheme.
Perhaps more horrifying isn’t that some churches never want to talk about hell but that some churches no longer want to talk about sin. There are congregations now that embrace sin - such as homosexuality or abortion. Some even want to march down the streets proclaiming their love for sin.
Before people can understand their “hell” problem, they must first understand their “sin” problem.
RE: 2:15 for the lake of fire and the average unbelieving Joe...
Many people who reject Christianity object to the doctrine of hell, which they commonly think of as God’s judgment on unbelievers by eternal torture. They typically ask, “how can a loving God judge people (1) who weren’t properly informed, and (2) using a punishment that is so awful?” I agree that these questions are important. Two additional issues that are troublesome:
The punishment should match the crime, and
Since God is just, He would inform us ahead of time of the rules He is using.
Evangelical, fundamental Protestants typically respond to these objections by referring to John Calvin’s doctrine of Total Depravity that we are so radically wicked to the core that God is just in judging us the way He does. Another common solution to the problems comes from the liberal Christian point of view in which the Bible is not taken to be a factual, historical book but is merely a collection of myths as well as spiritually useful teaching (I reject the view of liberal theology).
I generally agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church about the nature of hell. They teach that Hell is being alone, absolutely and forever, and is the eternal experience of ultimate meaninglessness and despair. The nature of the sufferings are twofold:
1. Pain of loss from eternal separation from God.
2. Pain of sense but not sadistic tortures, although the body will share in the punishment of the soul.
1. Those in hell choose to be there with full knowledge of the consequences of their choice.
2. Hell is an expression of God’s love for those who reside there.
3. Final judgment of the wicked is not to punish them, but to judge which eternal home is suitable for them heaven or hell.
4. Sinful deeds contain within them their own judgment and punishment. When people willfully choose to sin they are also choosing to break fellowship with God. The immediate effect of Adam’s sin (his sense of guilt and separation) demonstrates this.
What Hell is Not:
1. Hell is not eternal torture by burning (but hell is “eternal fire”)
2. Hell is not punishment as the just judgment for crimes committed against God (but hell is, rather, the result of the natural consequences of sin). More on this later.
3. Hell is not a place completely without God’s presence
4. Hell is not a place where the inhabitants “vex” one another
What Hell Is:
Hell is judgment for wickedness
Hell is the consequence of unrepented sin and wickedness
Hell is eternal separation from God and self-exclusion from communion with God
Hell is a just consequence by a loving and holy God
Hell is the eternal experience of the unredeemed sinner in the presence of the holy God.
Hell is punishment in the sense that the unredeemed wicked are not given the gift of righteousness
What is the “Fire” of Hell?
Note that the standard view of hell as eternal torture by fire is not supported by the Bible.
The image of hell as fire is figurative.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10)
If we interpret this literally we would have to believe that the wicked are annihilated, a view that I reject. Rather, this image is figurative and has a figurative meaning. The image concerns burning trash because it has no usefulness.
Hell is therefore a place where those who don’t bear spiritual fruit (who reject God) are discarded from God’s plan and purpose. It doesn’t say that they are burned in eternal hell fire taking the image of fire as literal results in annihilationism, not eternal torture.
The image of fire refers to God testing what we are made of, not to eternal torture.
His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (1 Corinthians 3:13)
The fire which consumes the wicked is the same thing as judgment. In other words, fire = judgment, not punishment.
Only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:27)
If we take the image of fire literally we have annihilation because fire consumes by annihilating, not by eternal torture.
In the following passage the word punishment refers to judgment by death because the wicked in these towns were judged by being killed. Their example is that God judges wickedness, not that He tortures them forever in hell.
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)
Everlasting destruction is an oxymoron. Once something is destroyed it is gone and you can’t destroy it anymore.
Everlasting destruction refers to the results of God’s judgment of the wicked and what becomes of them. It does not imply eternal torture.
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power. (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)
I think hell is the absence of God. An atheist may not believe in Him, but he still benefits from Gods presence. At death, after having had every chance to know Him, God removes Himself completely from that person, leaving him tormented when he finally realizes hes rejected Gods love. If you doubt this, ask God. If Hes real, Hell answer you. If He isnt, you havent lost a thing.
Dear S&F, I noticed that the pastor does not site which of N.T. Wright’s many worthy books he drew the quotation from, and thus enabling us to get the entire context. From my readings of Wright, he had mentioned the “American” belief in a (my paraphrase) “Fire and brimstone version of Hell.” A version that I associate with the 19th century and especially Baptist and Holy Roller churches of my youth in the 20th century. It sounds like the pastor/writer of this article is of that vein of belief.
I don’t envision Hell as litterally fire and brimstone,which is more of a description of the burning trash pits at Gehanna, where the aborted children and unwanted new borns were tossed to be disposed of by fire.
To me, Hell is being denied the presence of Jesus and His Father. There is a spiritual realm of evil to which souls of those who practice evil go and it is to those whom Jesus also offers his sacrifice for the forgiveness of their souls as well as ours, only if they ask for it.
As it is, N.T. Wright is one of my favorite writers and teachers of Christianity. I have also found the volumes on Jesus by Pope Benedict XVI worth reading and pondering. And the Pontiff’s volumes are quite readable and understandible, as are Wright’s.
Whether "lakes of fire" or whatnot are metaphors or to be understood literally is not very important; someone who thinks eternal separation from God would be somehow more tolerable if no lakes of fire are involved is missing the whole point of the exercise.
Dear S&F, thank you for your post #11. I, a Protestant, am thus more in line with the Roman Catholic view stated by the author.
Very well said.
Seems like your eternal fate is strongly correlated with where you were born.
This could be a useful link for you to explore:
TITLE: Molinism, the Unevangelized, and Cultural Chauvinism
So why have billions of East Asians chosen to be in hell and only a handful chose to be Christian?
Or, to put it another way, why don't you allow for the possibility that Perfect Love and Infinite Intellect is not going to find human ignorance to be much of an obstacle?
John 3:16 is pretty clear. Some go to everlasting life which is, well, everlasting. The rest go to destruction which is, well, permanent. And there is no life outside the presence of God. Death means death. The bible is pretty clear about those who die without Christ. Death and sestruction. And they STAY dead for all eternity.
I’ve had people argue that since death and hell are thrown into the lake of fire that oblivion is the ultimate fate of unrepentant sinners, that there is a finality to the torment that ends in destruction, rather than torment that is eternal.
Anyone want to take that on and refute it? There is at least some scriptural support for such a belief, seemingly out of context is my reaction.
Ultimately, God saves as a personal, sovereign act of his own goodness, yet while perfectly respecting our freedom. If he chooses to save some we see as ignorant of the truth about him, that is his choice, not ours. See Mt 20:15.
I think the bottom line regarding all of this is in this scripture:
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
However, since first reading about the arguments between annihilation and etternal suffering here on a freerepublic thread, I’ve found some much more in depth discussions. This is one of my new favorites:
“Hell is a lie, part I”:
Another good one:
Hell Is Not Eternal pt 1 of 4
There are some amazingly subtle but clear points made by both sources. As well as the negative impact the teaching of the turn or burn message hurts the message of salvation.
The KJV is the only version which translates 2Thess1:9 in such a way that it doesn’t contradict Rev14:10 which concludes “...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb:” His presence and the glory of his power are the SOURCE of the destruction.
Greek and English preposition “from” does not necessarily imply separation, but can also mean source. The other tanslations with few exceptions add words and radically change the meaning, creating a logical impossibility—one is in the precence of the Lamb, or not. Both cannot be true.
The only way to be saved from God’s eternal wrath is to believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ, trusting in his finished work to utterly save. Trusting in ones own righteousness (dead works) for the forgiveness of sin leads to eternal destruction.
And lots of discussion of the subject here for those interested in researching this:
Thanks for your pings. Jesus used the word Gehenna, which was the trash pit where unwanted children were burned, when he was speaking of sexual lust (Mt 5, Mk 9). He was speaking of separation from God when he spoke of the outer darkness where men weep and gnash their teeth (Mt 8:12, 22:13).
BFRL. Looks like a great article, read half - need sleep.
Is that why he is called a “Loving” God? Because he wants to condemn his children to eternal torment for being like he created them?
Scripture says in two different places that God wants all to be saved, so I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that He wants even one person in “eternal torment”. Sadly and reluctantly permits it, yes. Wants it, absolutely not.
And the interesting thing about Revelation 14:10 is that it is not talking about all humans that are not saved by grace. Rather, it is very specific about who it is talking about. That scripture doesn’t even belong in this discussion. It stands alone about a specific event and individuals.
There are LOTS of places in the bible that discuss the future of those who die without Grace. And repeatedly they use words that translate, in English, to words like “death, destruction, perish”. And yes, it WILL be eternal. They are not coming back.
—Sadly and reluctantly permits it, yes. Wants it, absolutely not.—
Permits it? He created it. And it is the default. That is, when God creates a person, odds are that is where they are going.
The teaching of eternal suffering is the main reason it is so difficult to proselytize non-believers. We are made in God’s image. Jesus spoke in plain words. When we read of eternal suffering for those who may never have heard His word, our “God’s image” side has a hard time seeing that as love for those he created. It actually sounds more like sadism. Who wants to follow such a God except out of deep fear.
What a way to live. And the whole message of Christ was to come to him out of love, thanksgiving, etc. Not out of fear of “getting it” if you don’t. That is a Muslim thing.
Is that why he is called a Loving God? Because he wants to condemn his children to eternal torment for being like he created them?
You have nailed the evil of the eternal suffering interpretation. It’s the brick wall you run up against when attempting to share the good news with non believers in a culture where people are at least somewhat familiar with scripture. They have no time for a “god” that will mete out a punishment infinitely beyond your wildest imaginings just for not believing a 2,000 year old book.
However, they WILL hear the good news when you explain that the alternative is to live out your “natural man” life and then be body dies, and then the soul dies in the second death. The “good news” is then seen as “something more”, “something born out of love” to save you from eternal death. The person now is free to choose what a loving God offers him rather than just “come to our side or else”.
The latter is not sincere.
So what is the 'second death' as you understand it - eternal torment or eternal oblivion?
How is that different from 'choose our side or else'?
It is talking about unsaved, unbelieving who take the mark of the beast. All of these are on the fast track to hell. There is no hope of salvation for them. Here, let me share the verse, so that it is obvious:
9* And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10* The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14:9,10)
The Bible says "any man" who worships the beast. Of course it has direct bearing on this discussion, since these will surely suffer eternal torment in the lake of fire. This is contrasted with those who do NOT take the mark of beast, who overcome:
4* And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Those who worship the beast and receive his mark will suffer eternal torment and destruction in the lake of fire. But all whose name is not found written in the book of life (the unbelieving) will wind up on the lake of fire:
7* He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8* But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:7,8)
He that overcometh (those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, see 1 John 5:4 "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.") will not spend eternity in the lake of fire. All else will.
This is what the Bible teaches. Men teach something different.
So what is the ‘second death’ as you understand it - eternal torment or eternal oblivion?
How is that different from ‘choose our side or else’?
Well, “or else” means, with the “annihilation” doctrine, that they live their life, eat and drink, and enjoy the fruits of their labor, and then they die like animals. They are destroyed as in the wheat vs tares parable. This applies even if you had never heard of Christ. You were not “chosen” by him, so your natural man lives and dies and that’s it. Just like your pet.
“Or else” in the “eternal torment” version means if you do not accept Christ, even if you were never properly ministered to, you will suffer for days and nights without end in a way you could not even imagine - and in ways the worst of the evil men ever to live - by God himself.
The latter is one of the main stumbling blocks of trying to bring people into the fold who are in Christian nations where the churches teach this. And rightly so because it is the default. That is, God created man, for the most part, to torture for all eternity. Only the few he chooses escape. They do not see this god as a loving god. I use lower case on purpose because I don’t either. It is not the personality of the God of the bible. This God destroys the evil and the unsaved. He doesn’t get His jollies watching them suffer at His leisure. It is not the point. The point is salvation. And salvation from permanent death/destruction/perish and the other similar words that Jesus uses.
A really good study here:
Or you can read another excellent breakdown here:
And don’t forget Lazarus and the rich man:
And one of the older rundowns:
But a loving god
So what is the ‘second death’ as you understand it - eternal torment or eternal oblivion?
The rest go to eternal life. Those two words have specific meaning and neither applies to those who go to destruction.
I disagree. See the links in my posts. I need not re-invent the wheel here.
It is actually ALL covered there - every scripture you mentioned that talks of the fate of the unsaved - and their context and meaning.
The Bible is easily understood. Eternal torment, eternal destruction are ETERNAL and Jesus warns the “worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44, 9:6, 9:48).
At the great white throne of judgement (Revelation 20:11ff) the dead who have been suffering in hell, some for thousands of years, will be resurrected unto damnation (Daniel 12:2, John 5:29). They’ve been suffering continuous torment like Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) only to be resurrected to stand before God and condemned and cast into the lake of fire where to their abject horror they discover that their suffering isn’t over, but will go on FOREVER. God is perfectly just in sending them.
Eternal destruction is not annihilation. It is a destruction that never ends. It is eternal where “the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.”
He wants it because He permits it and could prevent it. Evil only happens because He allows it to happen. He is supposed to be all-powerful yet he permits sickness, agony, death, heartbreak, wars, atrocities, etc.
He created Hell so that he would have a place for eternal torment, which seems to turn Him on. And did this knowing (because He is all-knowing) that the imperfect creatures He created would end up there.
And if my faithful dog cannot go to heaven, I don’t want to go either.
You clearly did not expose yourself to any of my links. I hate to reinvent the wheel here. All of your arguments are addressed clearly. All of them. One example, Jesus’ “worm dieth not” comment was a quote from the OT. Check out the context.
Destruction = destruction
It is permanent. It never ends. That which has been destroyed does not come back.
And if my faithful dog cannot go to heaven, I dont want to go either.
Billy Graham ansered this deftly a few decades ago in a letter in his collumn. A man asked if his dog would be in heaven. Billy responded, and I paraphrase, “if your joy in heaven is dependent on your dog being there, he will be there.”
He created Hell so that he would have a place for eternal torment, which seems to turn Him on. And did this knowing (because He is all-knowing) that the imperfect creatures He created would end up there.
The bible does not support that. Actually, Ecclesiastes sums up the fate of the “natural man” nicely. You eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of your labor, and then you die.
But the free gift of eternal life is offered to those who would accept and who are written in the book of life. You can turn it down if you so choose, then you do the ecclesiastes thing and die. Other than being resurrected to enable the death of your soul, you will go away forever. as the bible calls it, “death, perish, destruction”. You are no more.
The bible is very clear about this.
Hell was created for the devil and the fallen angels, not for man. The evil in the world is not from God is from Satan and his fallen angels.
The "worm dieth not" is a quote from the NT. The Gospel of Mark is in the New Testament. The context of Jesus' statement is in reference to John question another casting out demons in Jesus' name, even though that individual was not part of their group. Jesus said, "Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us, is on our part." (Mark 9:39,40). Jesus then goes on to discuss what will happen to those who offend believers. Hell is their destination where "the worm dieth not and, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark (9:44, 46, 48)
It is profitable to actually read what the Bible says about hell and eternal punishment. Destruction is NOT annihilation. We know that the lake of fire does not burn up/annihilate those cast in into nothingness, which the annihilate argument. Here is the simple proof:
10* And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)The beast and the false prophet (men) were cast into the lake of fire 1000 years before the devil will be thrown in. They are thrown in BEFORE the millennium (Rev 19:20). The devil is thrown in AFTER the millennium. These two are NOT annihilated.
It is [oxy]moronic to assume that "eternal" combined with "desruction" means that the destruction is not "eternal". Hell is called destruction, but those who are cast in are not annihilated; but rather they will be resurrected before the great white throne of judgment in Revelation 20:11ff). They shall be condemned and cast into the lake of fire (Rev 21:8) where they shall experience eternal consumpation in the fire.
It is wishful thinking to assume that God does not mean it when he says that he will punish the unbeliever for ever in hell and the lake of fire. We cannot imagine a God who would do this. (How unloving we think). Yet we also find it unimaginable that this same God would suffer death himself on the cross to save us from eternal destruction. But he has, thankfully.
With all due respect, the points you make are addressed in the links I posted. It appears you still have not read them.
Also, I said “ Jesus ‘worm dieth not’ comment was a quote from the OT. Check out the context.”
Which prompted this response from you: “The “worm dieth not” is a quote from the NT. The Gospel of Mark is in the New Testament.”
Jesus comment was, as was many of his statements, pulled directly from the OT. He was quoting old testament scripture. He did that each time with a specific purpose in mind. And each time it gave additional context to aid in understanding his point.
Regarding the refernce to Revelation, below is the text from one of my links. Again, there is no need for me to add anything to this right now:
Regarding REVELATION 14:11
“And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:11).
This verse creates some questions in my mind. At first glance, it seems to say exactly what most Christians believe: that the wicked will be tormented without end in Hell.
I’ve heard the well-known conditionalist author Dr. Edward Fudge’s explanation of this verse. He claims that “smoke of their torment” implies complete and total destruction like smoke from the fire that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah. He also says that “they have no rest day or night” is indicative of the ceaseless nature that their punishment will take on for the time that they are punished (not necessarily forever). In other words, while they are being punished, they will not get intervals of rest like we all enjoy here on earth (even when you work all day, you still get to sleep at night). Instead, they will have no rest during this time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will last forever.
But there is another explanation that i find to be more convincing than that of Dr. Fudge. To understand this argument, we’ll need get a little bit of context by looking at the two verses leading up to verse 11.
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.” (Rev. 14:9-11, emphasis mine).
A Christian conditionalist named Scott McAliley read my article and pointed out to me that “to believe(as many do) that this is a figurative reference to everyone who failed to put their trust in God is to deny the plain language of Scripture that tells us that this is specifically a judgment on those who took the mark of the beast and worshipped him.” Indeed, this detail is frequently overlooked by traditionalists and conditionalists alike.
Furthermore, the verses clearly state this will take place “in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.” If nothing else, this should be enough to prove that this penalty is not an unending, conscious, torturing one because observing such a punishment is not the way the angels or the Lamb (Jesus Christ) will choose to spend eternity. So the passage appears to say nothing of hell or eternity at all. Instead, it would indicate that those people who are still alive at Christ’s second coming who have worshipped the Beast and received his mark will be tormented and destroyed, in the presence of Jesus and the angels, by burning sulfur raining down from Heaven.
Now, there will certainly be plenty of people who don’t agree with this or Dr. Fudge’s interpretation of Revelation 14:11. Frankly, one would be hard-pressed to find a book of the Bible with more alternate interpretations than the book of Revelation. Some may insist that the verse seems to indicate the traditional view of Hell and appears to apply to all who die in their sins (not just those who take the mark of the Beast). Yet, does that immediately mean that the traditional view is correct? Does it mean that we should abandon the wealth of Biblical evidence for the annihilationist argument? Certainly not. The reason I say this is that the Bible must be taken on the whole. There are Christian cults all over the world who have come up with ridiculous, pagan beliefs, and every one of them draws support for their convictions from the Holy Scriptures. Like it or not, the Bible can be used to support some of the most unbiblical theology any of us can imagine. Scriptures must be cross-checked against the rest of the Bible for there to be some semblance of unity.
For instance, in Matthew 5:29-30, Jesus himself says, “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you....If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you...” If these verses are taken by themselves, they obviously have the plain meaning that we should be gouging out our own eyeballs and cutting off our hands. The reason why so few Christians accept this most natural interpretation is because it’s absolutely outlandish and runs contrary to the rest of the Bible! We’re made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26), and our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19)! It would be ludicrous to believe that our Heavenly Father truly intends for us to dismember ourselves when we sin. Even if no scriptures could be found to deny the plain meaning of Matt 5:29-30, Christians would still disregard this interpretation on the basis of common sense and their knowledge of the character of God. And they would be right to do so.
So, I’m not about to claim that no support can be found for the eternal torture model of God’s final judgment, but I would definitely say that it stands in fierce conflict with the rest of the Word, with common sense, and with the character of God.
Besides that, the middle of Revelation is perhaps the most bizarre set of chapters in the entire Bible. There is a massive amount of symbolism and a plethora of strange, indiscernible visions that work like scrambled pieces of a puzzle. I would contend that “proof texts” taken from Revelation (especially those middle chapters) should automatically be called into question for this reason. And one more thing: the very book out of which this scripture (14:11) comes also has one of the clearest illustrations of annihilation in Hell in the entire Bible. Rev. 20:14-15 says, “Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
Here is a great site containing q&a about the greek and hebrew usage of phrases in the bible as pertaining to the fate of the non-believer.
You said, “Other than God....and those who are in hell right now....”. I see that the Bible in Rev. 20:15 says that people are thrown into hell AFTER the judgment before God; which has not happened yet (hades is not hell, it is the grave). Where do you get that people are in hell now?
Sorry Cuban Leaf, this was for the original posted.
You said, Other than God....and those who are in hell right now..... I see that the Bible in Rev. 20:15 says that people are thrown into hell AFTER the judgment before God; which has not happened yet (hades is not hell, it is the grave). Where do you get that people are in hell now?