Chris Date vs. Joshua Whipps

I recently participated in my second formal, moderated debate defending annihilationism. The resolution was, “The final punishment of the risen wicked will be annihilation, the permanent end to the conscious existence of the entire person.” I affirmed, and Joshua Whipps, creator of the Razor’s Kiss blog and contributor to Choosing Hats, denied. My friend Dee Dee Warren, host of The Preterist Podcast, moderated.

You can listen to the debate by subscribing to my podcast, which you can find by searching for “Theopologetics” in the iTunes Store or Zune Marketplace, or you can subscribe to the feed here, or you can stream or download the audio from www.theopologetics.com. I have divided it into three episodes: (1) Episode 88, “Death Eternal,” contains our opening statements and the first round of rebuttals; (2) Episode 89, “God of Wrath,” contains the first round of cross-examinations and second round of rebuttals; (3) Episode 90, “Christ Died For Us,” contains the second round of cross-examinations, closing statements, and listener Q&A.

Since my opening argument was, in my opinion, a pretty decent argument in favor of annihilationism—and was a little unique, it seems to me, since it argues from texts historically used to make the case for the traditional view of hell—I’ve included it below. Read on if you’re interested.

THANKS

I want to thank first and foremost Jesus Christ, who bore the punishment his people deserved in our place, rescuing us from eternal punishment—for, whatever the horrifying nature of that punishment, thankfully we won’t face it, by his grace and mercy.

Thanks also to my friend who put me in contact with Joshua, and thanks to those friends and listeners who helped me prepare for this debate. Thank you, Dee Dee, for moderating.

I also want to thank Joshua for participating, and for the passion with which he is treating this topic; for if my position is wrong, my prayer is that the Lord would use him to reveal that clearly to me and everyone listening.

EMOTIONS

I see no injustice in the idea of eternal conscious punishing; I have never found it emotionally or philosophically objectionable. And while I grieve for those who will face God’s justice, I praise God for it—in whatever form he declares in his word is appropriate. My ‘conversion’ to annihilationism was not due in any part to an emotional response to the traditional view of hell.

But the prospect of accepting a view considered heterodox—or outright heresy—by theologians and apologists I respect and admire, well, that was terrifying. I did not want to be an annihilationist; I came to my position kicking and screaming. But early on in my faith I was taught to subject my emotions—as well as my traditions and the teachings of those I respect most—to the inerrant and holy word of God.

THESIS

And the word of God teaches that “the final punishment of the risen wicked will be annihilation, the permanent end to the conscious existence of the entire person.”

I speak of the “risen wicked” because my opponent and I agree that both those who have been justified and those who remain in their sins will rise bodily from the dead. I am not affirming or denying anything about what happens prior to that general resurrection in the intermediate state.

I say final punishment is the “permanent end” because I am not arguing that the punishment of the wicked is finite in duration. No, for if were finite in duration, then by definition it would not be a permanent end. Rather, the end of the sinner is infinite in duration, eternal by definition.

I say it is the end of “conscious existence” because I am not saying that the risen wicked will instantaneously disappear into oblivion. No, the wicked will be executed. They will be violently killed, perhaps leaving behind lifeless, unconscious remains like corpses and ashes.

I say it is the end of the “entire person” because whatever the soul is, and whatever conscious existence it has after the first death of only the body, in the second death the conscious existence of the whole person will come to a permanent end, both body and soul.

ANTITHESIS

In denying this, my opponent will be representing what has become the traditional view of final punishment, which includes—as John Gill explicitly stated—12 that neither the risen bodies of the wicked nor the souls to which they will be reunited will ever die. By demonstrating that the Bible teaches that both the bodies and the souls of the risen wicked will be killed in hell, I will prove that the debate proposition is true and that my opponent’s position is false.

BASIS

As support for certain elements of my case I will be citing Reformed theologian John Gill and others because my opponent is a fan of some of them, Gill in particular. However, I will be making my case by means of the holy scriptures because, as chapter 1 paragraph 10 of the London Baptist Confession of 1689 reads, “The supreme judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and by which must be examined all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, and doctrines of men and private spirits can be no other than the Holy Scripture.”3 You see, the Bible is the perfect guide by which we must test what the majority of imperfect Christians have believed throughout Church history.

What’s more, I agree with the sentiment repeatedly expressed by Dr. James White in his debate on the Dividing Line with Dr. Michael Brown,4 that our focus should be on texts which specifically address the issue at hand. Therefore, I will be making my case from the most relevant texts, those which actually say something about what awaits the wicked, rather than by drawing tenuous extrapolations from texts which don’t. Whatever we think might follow from our interpretations of texts which don’t say anything about final punishment—such as what being created in the image of God implies—we need to test them in light of those clearer, more relevant texts which do say something about final punishment.

Finally, I will be making my case from texts historically used to support the traditional view of hell. I don’t have to reconcile my position with eternal torment proof-texts. My position—indeed today’s debate thesis—is the teaching of those texts.

MATTHEW 25:41-46

Perhaps the most contentious of those texts is Matthew 25:41-46, where Jesus says, “Then he will also say to those on his left, Depart from me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels,” and, “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

I agree with proponents of the traditional view of hell that eternal here means for eternity, and that it means the same thing in both eternal life and eternal punishment. What we disagree on is the meaning of punishment. Traditionalists see it as suffering forever, whereas annihilationists see it as the everlasting effect of being executed.

Linguists call this a deverbal result noun, a noun referring to the results of its corresponding verb,5 and it’s a phenomenon found both in Scripture and in modern language. When Hebrews 5:9 and 9:12 speak of eternal salvation and eternal redemption, they refer to the eternal duration of the result of the transitive verbs save and redeem. After all, Jesus will not be forever saving and redeeming. John Gill,6 A. W. Pink,78 Douglas Moo and Robert Morey all admit this, Moo and Morey further admitting that Hebrews 6:2’s eternal judgment refers to the everlasting outcome of being judged.910

This is true in English as well. John Gill and Jonathan Edwards called the earthly destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah “everlasting”11 or “eternal.”12 Edwards also called annihilation “everlasting,”13 as did Robert Reymond.14 These three traditionalists meant that the outcome of the verbs destroy and annihilate are eternal in duration; the destruction of those cities is eternal even though the word destruction has no present referent, and the same would be true of the annihilation of the wicked.

My position, therefore, is that punishment in this text is likewise a deverbal result noun, referring to the effect or outcome of the transitive verb punish. This is also how I think it’s used in the phrase “capital punishment,” and Saint Augustine would have agreed. He wrote, “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.”15

Because the duration of the final “capital punishment” is eternal, I’m affirming the obvious parallel between its duration and that of eternal life. But the differences between the nouns punishment and life warrant understanding life to be an event or process noun, rather than a result one. Unlike punishment, life nominalizes an intransitive verb; and whereas one’s punishment may refer to the result that follows being punished, life always refers to the period of time one has lived. The nature of the nouns, then, justify understanding the two nouns differently, while understanding eternal the same in both.

The question, then, is what is the nature of eternal punishment? Is it everlasting conscious suffering in a body and soul which never die, or is it the permanent end to the conscious existence of the entire person? And the answer is clear from Jesus’ reference to the “eternal fire,” a phrase found in two other places in the New Testament.

JUDE 7, MATTHEW 18:8, AND “ETERNAL FIRE”

One of them is Jude 7, where Jude writes that Sodom and Gomorrah “are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” Jude explicitly states that the cities suffered the punishment of eternal fire, as many theologians admit. Hence, the parallel in 2 Peter 2 specifically refers to their having been reduced to ashes. The eternal fire here cannot refer to the intermediate state, for it would render Sodom and Gomorrah ordinary, redundant, and superfluous. Any and all unsaved human beings suffer in the intermediate state—if such a state exists—and Jude and Peter first give other examples of wicked men who would have sufficed to illustrate God’s ongoing punishing of the wicked in the intermediate state, were that what Jude has in view.

So why did Jude call the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah eternal fire? Gill and Edwards said it is because the cities will never be rebuilt.1617 Contemporary traditionalists Kenneth Boa and Rob Bowman say it is because it foreshadowed the truly eternal fire awaiting the wicked.18 Whatever Jude’s reasons, that fire which came down from heaven and which Jude calls “eternal” fire is not still burning; it is one which swiftly destroyed and has since burned out.

The other place eternal fire is used is in Matthew 18:8, where Jesus says, “It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.” Jesus’ admonition here, recorded also in Matthew 5:30 and Mark 9:43, calls final punishment gehenna, a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew valley of Hinnom, which was once a place where idol worshipers burned up children as sacrifices to their gods. But Jeremiah 7:32 says gehenna would become “the valley of Slaughter … The dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth; and no one will frighten them away.” Isaiah 30 speaks of God’s fiery vengeance upon gehenna, likening it to a funeral pyre, which is a pile of wood for burning up corpses.

So Jude uses eternal fire to refer to the fire which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, killing their inhabitants. When Jesus uses it he has in mind the valley of Hinnom, a place of slaughter where fire and scavengers consume corpses. What, then, is the eternal punishment by eternal fire Jesus warns of in Matthew 25:41-46? Being killed, destroyed and rendered lifeless. Because the final punishment is eternal, those killed in the final punishment will never, ever live again.

MARK 9:48 / ISAIAH 66:24

This is further confirmed by Mark 9:48 which says that in the final punishment of gehenna “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.” Jesus is virtually quoting Isaiah 66:24 which explicitly says that it is the carcasses of the wicked whose “worm will not die” and whose “fire will not be quenched,” verse 16 having just said those slain by the Lord would be many. The picture here is of the lifeless corpses of men destroyed by fire, being consumed by maggots. And Jesus quotes Isaiah’s language describing this scene, without any hint that he is changing its meaning from lifeless corpses to living bodies.

What about unquenchable fire? It’s a fire which can’t be resisted, one which can’t be extinguished before it fully consumes. Ezekiel 20:47 says, “I am about to kindle a fire in you, and it will consume every green tree in you, as well as every dry tree; the blazing flame will not be quenched.” Jeremiah 17:27 says, “I will kindle a fire in its gates and it will devour the places of Jerusalem and not be quenched.” These aren’t saying that trees and buildings will burn forever; when that word rendered devour or consume describes what fire does it means to burn down completely. Hence, even John Gill recognized this as the meaning of the idiom in both of these passages,1920 as well as in Isaiah 34:10,21 2 Kings 22:17,22 and Jeremiah 7:20.23

As for the worm which doesn’t die, a moment ago we looked at the similar picture in Jeremiah 7:32, where no one will frighten away scavenging beasts and birds from eating dead bodies. These are idioms depicting the shame in the eyes of others, resulting from having one’s corpse left exposed and unburied. Neither has anything to do with eternal torment.

Jesus’ appeal to Isaiah 66:24 is consistent with the final execution of the wicked, but serves as no support for my opponent’s position.

MATTHEW 3:12 / LUKE 3:17 / MATTHEW 13 / MALACHI 4:3

On April 9 my opponent cited Matthew 3:12’s “unquenchable fire” in the Alpha & Omega Ministries chat channel as evidence that the risen wicked will provide fuel for the fire forever.24 Nearly two months later he wrote instead that this should not be seen as “an empirical, scientific method for describing the mechanism of the punishment.”25 This “nuancing” of his view is interesting in light of his recent claim that “the necessity for introducing ‘nuance’ indicates that the prior position held is not, in fact, sound, or valid.”26

In any case, Matthew 3:12 and its parallel in Luke 3:17 are strong support for my view. In both places Jesus says the chaff will be burned up, the Greek word katakaio literally meaning to burn down completely. It isn’t a generic burning; it’s a complete consumption by fire. Thayer points out its distinct meaning as evident from its use in Exodus 3:2, where the bush was burning but was not katakaio, was not “consumed.”27 This is why the NASB—which was the translation quoted in channel when my opponent cited it—translates it “burn up.” Jesus uses katakaio again in Matthew 13:30 and 40, in the parable of the wheat and the tares. He says that just as the tares in the parable are utterly consumed, so too will his angels throw sinners into a furnace of fire, harkening to Malachi 4’s imagery of the wicked being reduced to ashes like chaff in a furnace of fire.

Whether these various images and idioms—of maggot-ridden corpses and unquenchable fire burning up chaff in a furnace of fire—are to be taken literally or as metaphorically describing the irresistible and utterly consuming wrath of God, they all paint the same picture of the wicked coming to a violent end. They provide no support for my opponent’s view that the wicked will suffer forever in immortal bodies and souls, despite having been used historically in that very way.

2 THESS 1:9 AND EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION

In 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul says those who do not know God “will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” Earlier I quoted John Gill and Jonathan Edwards who said the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was an “eternal” destruction because those cities were destroyed and will never be rebuilt. That’s essentially what Paul is saying here: the wicked will be destroyed and will never live again. Their destruction is everlasting.

Consider that in the preceding verse—or verses, depending on the translation—Paul says Jesus will be revealed “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance.” As traditionalist G. K. Beale points out, “Isaiah 66:15 [is] the only place in the Old Testament where this combination of terms is found,”28 and both passages talk about God rendering recompense to the saints’ oppressors. And how does Isaiah 66 end? Indeed, how does Isaiah end? As we’ve seen, it ends with the wicked having been reduced to lifeless, smoldering corpses.

This is the everlasting destruction Paul says awaits the wicked: being destroyed and rendered lifeless, never to live again.

MATTHEW 10:28 AND JAMES 5:20

Now we know that in the first death it is the body that dies, not the soul. Commenting on James 2:26’s “the body without the spirit is dead,” John Gill wrote, “A body, when the spirit or soul is departed from it … is dead.”29 Romans 8:10 says the believer’s “spirit is alive” but that his “body is dead,” commenting on which Gill wrote, “This fleshly body … shall in a little time die … but the soul of man … does not die with the body.”30 Jesus says in Matthew 10:28, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul,” prompting Gill to write that the soul “is immortal, it survives the body, and lives … whilst the body is in a state of death.”31

But Jesus goes on to say, “Rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” What men can’t do to souls in the first death—namely, kill them—God will in the second. The word rendered destroy is frequently a synonym for kill. In fact, with no demonstrable exception, everywhere it’s used in the synoptic gospels to describe what one person does to another, it means something like slay or kill. Bodies and souls will both be killed in the final punishment. Hence, we’re told in James 5:20 that “he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death.”

So according to Jesus and James, the bodies and souls of the damned will be killed, in the way only the body dies in the first death. A dead body cannot be tormented, and if the soul exists consciously after the first death of only the body, it is because it remains alive in the sense that the body does not. But in the second death, what is true of a dead body will be true of dead souls: both will be completely devoid of life, unable to be tormented or experience anything at all.

REVELATION 14:9-11

This is further demonstrated by the apocalyptic imagery of Revelation, so frequently cited by adherents to the view my opponent holds. Revelation 14:9-11 portrays smoke rising forever from the torment of the worshipers of the beast who have no rest day or night. But this is symbolic imagery; the ten horns and seven heads of the beast, for example, are interpreted by the angel as symbolizing hills and kings. What, then, does the imagery of smoke rising from torment forever communicate?

Well, in chapter 18 the harlot Mystery Babylon is tormented as well—but of the city the harlot represents, the interpreting angel says this in verse 21: “Babylon, the great city, [will] be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer.” And at the beginning of the next chapter, smoke rises forever from the harlot, just like it does from chapter 14’s beast-worshipers.

This not-found-any-longer language comes straight from Ezekiel 26, whose prophecy concerning the destruction of the city of Tyre was fulfilled long ago: “You will not be inhabited … you will be no more; though you will be sought, you will never be found again.” And the ever-rising smoke in Revelation 14 and 19 comes straight from Isaiah 34:8-10, describing the fires which long ago destroyed the city of Edom: “It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will go up forever.”

You see, Edom is not literally burning to this day; smoke is not still rising from its remains. The imagery of smoke rising forever communicates the permanency of Edom’s destruction, and that of Mystery Babylon. Therefore, the smoke of the torment of the beast-worshipers rising forever is imagery communicating their permanent destruction.

REVELATION 20:10ff

This brings us to the big one: Revelation 20:10, which says that the devil, beast and false prophet are “tormented day and night forever and ever.” And I suppose it’s somewhat natural to take it at face value, in isolation from the rest of the Bible, ignoring that this is apocalyptic symbolism, and come away thinking it supports eternal torment. I certainly used to.

Well we’ve already seen how Revelation uses the imagery of the harlot’s torment to communicate the permanent destruction of the city she represents. The eternal torment of the devil, beast, and false prophet is likewise symbolism communicating their permanent destruction.

This is why the beast is seen thrown into the fire. John’s readers would have immediately recognized it as the fourth beast of Daniel 7 with characteristics of the previous three beasts, imagery foretelling the same events as Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue in Daniel 2. Taken at face value, the images contradict one another: the statue is shattered to pieces; Daniel’s beast is killed and its body destroyed in a river of fire; John’s beast is thrown alive into a lake of fire and tormented eternally.

But in both of the visions in Daniel, the interpreter interprets the fate of the beast or the statue in the imagery as communicating the permanent end to the dominion of the kingdom it represents, succeeded by the kingdom of the reigning saints—a kingdom John sees as well, immediately after the beast is thrown into the fire.

John also sees death and hades thrown into the fire. Death and hades are abstractions, incapable of being tormented in reality to begin with. And if we deny that they are tormented in the imagery since John doesn’t mention their torment, we can’t arbitrarily claim that the risen wicked are tormented since John doesn’t mention their torment either. But these abstractions, death and hades, can and will come to an end. There’s a reason we call it the “intermediate” state. And in 1 Corinthians 15 Paul says death will be “abolished,” a word meaning “to make completely ineffectual.” If death is rendered ineffectual, because it’s an abstraction it can’t continue to exist powerlessly when no one will experience it again. It will have come to a permanent end.

You see, the lake of fire can be treated consistently within Revelation and with Daniel only if we accept that symbolic eternal torment in the imagery represents a permanent end in reality. Death and hades come to an end. The beast’s dominion comes to an end. Consistent application of the imagery demands that the same be true of the devil and the risen wicked. And because the risen wicked are thrown in after having their souls and bodies reunited in resurrection, we know that both the bodies and the souls of the damned will come to a permanent end.

CONCLUSION

Let me close by repeating that my case has been made from most of the texts that critics of my view point to in support of the traditional view of hell. And let me summarize this case:

  1. “Eternal punishment” is by means of “eternal fire,” a phrase referring to fire which utterly destroys and renders lifeless.
  2. Jesus’ words in Mark 9:48 quote Isaiah 66:24 which explicitly describes corpses, whose unquenchable fire and undying worm are idioms the Bible uses to communicate complete consumption and shame in the eyes of others.
  3. Jesus says in Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17, and Matthew 13 that the wicked will be chaff burned down completelyin a furnace of fire, utilizing the imagery of Malachi 4 where they are reduced to ashes.
  4. By harkening to Isaiah 66:15, Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 that “eternal destruction” regards being executed, never to live again.
  5. Matthew 10:28 indicates that whereas only the body dies in the first death, both body and soul will be killed in final punishment.
  6. The eternal torment portrayed in the apocalyptic imagery of Revelation symbolically communicates the permanent end of what is seen tormented in fire: the end of death and hades, the end of the beast’s dominion, the end of Satan, and the end of the wicked whose bodies and souls are reunited in resurrection.

In light of the utter lack of biblical support for never-ending suffering in living bodies and souls, to whatever extent these various descriptions figuratively depict the end of the wicked, the Bible’s repeated and consistent testimony is that the final punishment of the risen wicked will be annihilation, the permanent end to the conscious existence of the entire person.

Thank you.

  1. Book VII, chapter 10. He writes, “though [the body] rises to damnation and everlasting contempt, yet [it] dies not again.” []
  2. Mark 9:49Exposition of the Entire Bible. He writes, “the soul in torment shall never die.” []
  3. The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Adopted by the Ministers and Messengers of the General Assembly Which Met in London in 1689, chapter 31 paragraph 1 []
  4. The Dividing Line, 03/25/2010. At approximately 00:12:40 Dr. White says, “I find it odd that we are attempting to overthrow the entire biblical testimony about God’s decree on the basis of a judgment passage rather than upon a didactic text that specifically addresses these issues.”

    At approximately 00:48:54 he says, “We cannot allow a conclusion based on that to overthrow the plain statements of Scripture everywhere else that are actually addressing these particular issues. I think it is significant that the texts we looked at in the first half of the debate were specifically on the subject of salvation, justification, predestination, et cetera, et cetera. Now we’re taking texts and saying, ‘Well, I think that because God expresses holy and just desires for his covenant people, therefore it means there cannot be anything about a specific predestination of a specific people,’ et cetera, et cetera. I think that is a significant difference between the two positions as we look at these texts.”

    At approximately 01:20:18 he says, “So once again, why are we going to a text like 2 Peter 2 when we have Hebrews 7 and Hebrews 10 that are specifically on this subject, addressing the specific issue of the result of the atonement and the extent of the atonement, and yet when we go to those texts, well, what do they say? That the atonement perfects those for whom it is made, and that it has a specific audience for whom it is made as well. Very important things to observe.” []

  5. Sleeman, Petra, “Deverbal categories and the split vp hypothesis,” Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics 11(1) , 2009 []
  6. Gill, John. A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, book 5, chapter 3, “Of the active obedience of Christ in his state of humiliation.” He wrote, “To redeem and save the chosen people: this was the work his Father gave him to do; this was the work which was before him when he came; and this is the work which he has finished; for he has obtained eternal redemption; and is become the author of eternal salvation.” []
  7. Pink, A. W. An Exposition of Hebrews, chapter 21. He writes, “Third, the salvation procured by our great High Priest is here contrasted with that obtained by the Levitical high priest: the atonement which Aaron made, held good for one year only (Lev. 16); but that which Christ has accomplished, is of eternal validity … Aaron effected only a temporary salvation. Christ secured an eternal one.” []
  8. Ibid., chapter 41. He writes, “’Having obtained eternal redemption,’ and this before he entered Heaven. To ‘redeem’ is to deliver a person from a state of bondage, and that by the payment of an adequate ransom-price. Four things were required unto our redemption. It must be effected by the expiating of our sins. It must be by such an expiation that God, as the supreme Ruler and Judge, should accept. It must be by rendering such a satisfaction to the Law that its precepts are fulfilled and its penalty endured, so that its curse is removed. It must annul the power of Satan over us. How all of this was accomplished by the Redeemer, we have shown in our articles upon his ‘satisfaction.’ This ‘redemption’ is eternal, which is in contrast from Israel’s of old—after their deliverance from Egypt they became in bondage to the Philistines and others. As the blood of Christ can never lose its efficacy, so none redeemed by him can ever again be brought under sin’s dominion.”

    See also chapter 42, in which he writes, “Those typical rites procured only a temporary ‘redemption’ from the governmental consequences of sin; Christ’s sacrifice has secured an ‘eternal redemption’ from all the consequences of sin.” []

  9. Hell Under Fire, Chapter 4, “Paul on Hell,” p. 106. []
  10. Morey, Robert. Death and the Afterlife, p. 132. He writes, “The contrast is between a temporary verdict or sentence in which there is still hope of a reversal and an endless or permanent verdict which is irreversible … The verdict is on the books for all eternity. It is endlessly binding and in force … such passages as Heb. 5:9 and 9:12 refer to the permanent and irreversible salvation which Christ accomplished for the believer through His atoning work. The word ‘everlasting’ refers to its permanence.” []
  11. Gill, John. “Commentary on Jude 1:7,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. []
  12. Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two, sermon IV, “The folly of looking back in fleeing out of Sodom,” paragraph 5. []
  13. Ibid., “Concerning the endless punishment of those will die impenitent,” paragraph 31. He writes, “And it answers the scripture expressions as well, to suppose that they shall be annihilated immediately, without any long pains, provided the annihilation be everlasting.” []
  14. Reymond, Robert. “Dr. John Stott on Hell.” Contending for the Faith: Lines in the Sand That Strengthen the Church. Scotland: Christian Focus, 2005. p. 357. []
  15. Augustine, City of God, translated by Gerald G. Walsh, book XXI chapter 11. []
  16. Gill, John. “Commentary on Jude 1:7,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. Gill called the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah “a destruction total, irreparable, and everlasting.” []
  17. Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two, sermon IV, “The folly of looking back in fleeing out of Sodom,” paragraph 5. Edwards wrote, “Those cities were destroyed, and have never been built since, and are not capable of being rebuilt.” []
  18. Boa, Kenneth and Bowman, Rob. Sense & Nonsense About Heaven & Hell, p. 111. They write that Jude “calls the fire that fell on those cities ‘eternal fire’ because it foreshadows a future ‘fire’ that really will be eternal.” []
  19. Gill, John. “Commentary on Ezekiel 20:47,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. He writes, “The flaming flame shall not be quenched or, the ‘flame, flame’; or, ‘the flame of flame’; signifying either the succession of these calamities one after another; or the force and strength of them, which should not be abated until the ruin of the city was completed.” []
  20. Gill, John. “Commentary on Jeremiah 17:27,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. He writes, “And it shall not be quenched; until it has utterly destroyed the city: this was fulfilled by the Chaldeans (Jeremiah 52:13).” []
  21. Gill, John. “Commentary on Isaiah 34:10,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. He writes, “It shall not be quenched night nor day … It will be long burning, and shall not be extinguished until it is utterly consumed.” []
  22. Gill, John. “Commentary on 2 Kings 22:17,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. He writes, “And shall not be quenched; the decree for the destruction of Jerusalem was gone forth, and not to be called back.” []
  23. Gill, John. “Commentary on Jeremiah 7:20,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. He writes, “behold, my anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place; like fire, to consume and destroy it; meaning Jerusalem, which was burned with fire…and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched; that is, the wrath of God shall burn like fire, and shall not cease until it has executed the whole will of God in the punishment of his people.” []
  24. #prosapologian chat channel, Monday, April 9th:

    ~nas matt 3:12
    Matthew 3:12 “His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (NASB)
    <RazorsKiss> (note: if the fuel for the fire no longer exists, the fire is quenced. QED.) []

  25. Joshua Whipps, “Furnaces of Fire and Outer Darkness” []
  26. Joshua Whipps, “Commentary on Comments” []
  27. Strong’s G2618. []
  28. G. K. Beale, “1-2 Thessalonians,” The IVP New Testament Commentary Series, p. 189. []
  29. Gill, John. “Commentary on James 2:26,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. []
  30. Gill, John. “Commentary on Romans 8:10,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. []
  31. Gill, John. “Commentary on Matthew 10:28,” The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible, 1999. []
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