Episode 36: Straight Thinking About Hell Part 2, with Daniel Sinclair and Chris Date

In the three most recent episodes of their Straight Thinking podcast, Reasons to Believe featured Ken Samples discussing the biblical doctrine of hell and final punishment, and offering some criticisms of conditional immortality and annihilationism. In this episode, fellow Rethinking Hell contributor Daniel Sinclair joins Chris Date to share their thoughts in response. This is the second and final part of their discussion.

Please note: None of the three major views on hell is monolithic, in terms of what proponents might believe and how they argue. We always endeavor to represent other views fairly, however on occasion we do refer to weaker versions, and we sometimes generalize. Relevant to this episode, we are aware that many universalists affirm the judgment of the lost and their suffering in hell. We look forward to engaging with the strongest versions of universalism in the future, and their foremost proponents.

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  • Roy Soliman

    “And these will go away into eternal life and eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life ” (Matt. 25:46).
    ;-)

    • Chris Date

      Pretty much!

      • thomas

        Mathew 25:41 hell was made for the devil and angels not man , So if i throw a immortal being satan he will ETC; but a mortal man not created for the lake of FIRE . Will be annihilated

  • The Remonstrant

    I would agree with Daniel that the conventional teaching of everlasting conscious torment (ECT) seriously distorts the character of God. Before I embarked on my journey in studying the doctrine of final punishment, I had always assumed ECT to be “the” biblical teaching. Nevertheless, I could not shake how horrific the notion of human beings suffering unendingly without the slightest possibility of redemption was. I began to study the doctrine of final punishment in order to see if there was anything to the annihilationist understanding of the Scriptures. To cut a long story short, I came to find out that annihilationism best comports with the biblical materials, not ECT. I deeply sensed the horrific, hopeless nature of the conventional understanding of final punishment as everlasting misery. It was this sense of horror that ultimately led me to personally study the evangelical literature pertaining to the doctrine in depth in order “to see if these things were so”. Simply put, the conventional teaching of “hell” does not reflect well on God’s character. Sincere as they might be, the evangelism of persons such as Tony Miano present the God of the Bible as a God of two faces: a two-faced God that one ought be wary to trust.

    I believe that most people intuitively recognize that the teaching of everlasting torment is off. In evangelism, it is commonplace for unbelievers or inquirers of the faith to be told by the preacher that God and Jesus are loving and compassionate, but also “just, righteous and holy”. They are then told that, according to God’s holiness and justice, he requires that the unrepentant be tormented in “hell” without end as a payment for their sins.[1] Granted, most (if not all) Christians are familiar with this line of reasoning. Many have become so overly familiar and calloused that they are not apt to find anything wrong with this picture of God or any conflict between his attributes. For many believers, I’d conjecture, there really is no problem with an unending hell because the “problem” is merely an abstract one. It is not a place they believe they or anyone they truly care about will ever end up suffering everlastingly without hope of respite or (eventual) redemption.

    The good news of the NT is that fallen humankind may be ultimately redeemed from the power of sin and death and ultimately inherit the everlasting kingdom of God with Christ in the new heavens and new earth in the age to come. The “bad news” is ultimately losing out on the gift of everlasting life in resurrected immortalized, glorified bodies with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ in the renewed creation. Contrast this with the conventional gospel presentation where “traditionalists” relate the gospel primarily in terms of “hell-avoidance”. Conventional theists typically stress the “good news” in terms of what the convert will be losing (i.e., everlasting life in suffering) as opposed to what they will ultimately be gaining in Christ.

    Note

    [1] Incidentally, “traditionalists” do not believe that the wicked can ever truly pay for their sins nor the wrath of God be exhausted seeing as they conceive of the penalty for sin as everlasting suffering.)

  • thomas

    Its funny they are so close but so far ; these traditionalist

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