Episode 14: Rescue From Death, with Robert Taylor (Part 2)

Part 2 of Chris Date’s discussion with Dr. Robert Taylor, author of Rescue From Death: John 3:16 Salvation, to discuss differences among conditionalists and why consistent Dispensationalists will believe in the annihilation of the unsaved.

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  • I think it is important to review the scope of salvation history and when we do we find that Christ coming to save us from an eternal tormenting hell that He created doesn’t fit into place in the grand, unfolding scope of salvation throughout the scriptures. Man sinned..sin brought death and separation from the LifeGiver, man was condemned to die. Christ came as our substitute and took the penalty of death upon Him, thus offering the gift of eternal life to those that would accept it. Man chooses Christ and receives that gift. However, those that do not are still under the penalty of death. God promises to end all sin, make everything new and put an end to sin and suffering. Those that choose to hold on to sin and refuse the gift are eradicated when God ‘makes all things new’.

    Where exactly does an eternally tormenting hell created by God for no other purpose but to punish fit into this picture??

  • Mike Owens

    Robert Taylor makes some excellent points (briefly) in this podcast. One in particular is the fact that words like “eternal” and “forever” are adjectives that rely on the object or subject to determine the time element. In HEBREW and GREEK – “THE DESCRIPTIVE ADJECTIVE DOES NOT DETERMINE THE AGE. THE SUBJECT DETERMINES THE AGE” – - – - This explains why Jonah was in the big fish FOREVER – Hanna left her baby Samuel with Eli- FOREVER. The fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was ETERNAL (Jude 7). – - – Christians need to understand this!

    • Chris Date

      Thanks, Mike!

  • The Remonstrant

    It was actually quite refreshing to hear one from a Dispensationalist perspective to thoroughly restudy the traditional teaching of final punishment and arrive at the annihilationist view. Mr. Taylor has obviously studied the doctrine in some depth.

    It is interesting to note that we as conditionalists may take one of at least two positions regarding the fate of the unholy trinity in Revelation 20:10. We may take the passage literally and so ascribe to the eternal torment of the devil* (or at least an ongoing torment that will last an incredible length of time ["to the ages of the ages", Young's Literal Translation]). This is the position Mr. Taylor has taken (along with David R. Reagan [see recent podcast episode 19]).

    Other annihilationists take the perpetual torment spoken of in Revelation 20:10 as being symbolic or picturesque language not intended to be taken literally. I personally am inclined to opt for the latter interpretive option (Mr. Date ascribes to this view as well). This appears to make the most sense as fire throughout the Apocalypse seems to denote destruction. Even the preceding verse (20:9) speaks of a fire of divine judgement from heaven coming down to consume the adversaries of God. Also, in the verses that follow 20:10, we read of the lake of fire serving the function of destroying/obliterating death and Hades (the grave) in 20:14. We are informed that the lake of fire is the second death (20:14; 21:8). This adds further clarity to the cosmic events taking place in John’s vision. Those who are not found in the scroll of life are then said to be thrown into the lake of fire. This all sounds like annihilation to me. Clearly, hyperbolic language is employed throughout Revelation and the very passage in dispute. The most consistent approach is to read the entire text as indicating the final destruction of all the powers of evil, supernatural or otherwise. It would seem strange if the author of the Apocalypse intended for us to take the ongoing torment of the devil, the beast and the false prophet literally when figurative language is employed throughout the passage denoting the purgation of evil (20:7-15).

    (*Note: I intentionally neglected discussion of the beast and the false prophet as the identity of the two is another issue of dispute. The beast and the false prophet may or may not be personal beings. It could be that they are symbolic entities. If the latter is the case, then their being tossed into the lake of fire indisputably indicates their destruction/abolition. It is impossible for non-personal entities to endure ongoing torment. Mr. Date has addressed this elsewhere on Rethinking Hell.)

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