Episode 13: Rescue From Death, with Robert Taylor

Dr. Robert Taylor, author of Rescue From Death: John 3:16 Salvation, joins Rethinking Hell contributor Chris Date to discuss differences among conditionalists and why consistent Dispensationalists will believe in the annihilation of the unsaved.

Referenced Resources

Interviews Podcast
Bookmark the permalink.
  • Stephen

    Thanks for this. I am a conditionalist along the lines of Robert Taylor I think. I believe that the unsaved are concious after death and before the resurrection of their physical bodies. I tend to believe this for a couple of reasons: If the wicked are punished according to their deeds there would seem to need to be a period of time where they receive (in some form) the number of “stripes” due them (Luke 12:48). Even’s Christ’s punishment for our sins it seems was not only His death on the Cross (although this was the ultimate punishment) but also His torture and beating before death (e.g. “with his stripes we are healed….”). If the wicked are annihilated body and soul in the lake of fire (as I tend to believe), when is this additional punishment to take place? Also, I have trouble taking the parable or story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 so figuratively that the charactors are not even real persons in real places; I don’t believe the rich man has a body after his earthly death and this is how he can feel the tormenting effects of “fire” without being consumed in Hades (just like we can feel sensations while dreaming). Since the rich man is in the spirit realm He can perceive other spirits like Abraham and Lazarus. Unlike traditionalists, I reject the idea of a physical human body burning in literal fire without being consumed as non-sensical. All humans are annihilated in the lake of fire in my belief.

    I have been distressed about the justice of God torturing people for thousands of years in Hades before annihilating them in the lake of fire but I recognize that in the spirit state time is likely perceived differently (eg. consider the Travis Walton abduction scenario).
    I realize that these views are at variance with many conditionalists but i really appreciate this website where we can discuss such things.

    • Chris Date

      Thanks, Stephen! Glad you’re around, even though we (lovingly) disagree on those points.

      I agree that it was not only Jesus’ death which was the punishment for our sins (although in another article here whose title begins with “Cross Purposes” I argue that it was the primary component thereof), but I think His death actually serves as very good proof that an intermediate state *isn’t* needed to account for degrees of suffering. Jesus suffered a violent, painful execution, and the final annihilation of the wicked may likewise consist of violent, painful execution, the severity of which differs from person to person. So I just don’t see any reason to believe in an intermediate state based on the need for degrees of punishment.
      I lean towards physicalism, and a denial of a conscious intermediate state. I don’t think Lazarus and the rich man should be taken to be real persons in real places. Some evidence exists that Jesus was co-opting a well-known contemporaneous folk tale. Contact Glenn Peoples for additional information.
      But yeah, man, we can absolutely discuss these differences without dividing!

  • Trident343

    Looking forward to the 2nd part. It’s good to see an interview with somebody who holds to a slightly different view than most who hold to conditional immortality.

  • I disagree with Taylor in making the ‘soul’ of the righteous to continue in the afterlife. Such thinking suffers from the same mindset that those who adhere to the traditional view of eternal torment suffers from. Eternal life as an immortal soul at our physical death takes away from the power and severe importance of the resurrection. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 makes it clear that without the resurrection, there is no eternal life at all! It is only at the resurrection that immortality for the whole man is granted. Without it, there is no hope and we are all dead in our sins.

  • Pingback: Don’t Be Afraid to Rethink Hell: Why Other Beliefs Needn’t Get In Your Way | Rethinking Hell()

Featured audio: Dr. Al Mohler & Chris Date debate
"Should Christians rethink Hell?" on Unbelievable?