In this article, Dr. Glenn Peoples discusses the well-known blogger Tim Challies' views on the nature of God in light of eternal torment, which were recently endorsed and republished by Answers in Genesis (AiG). This article drew an interesting reaction from AiG supporters on social media, many of whom expressed support for conditionalism instead.

Answering Answers in Genesis: An Infinitely Bad Argument

RETHINKING Hell doesn’t take a stance on many issues other than final punishment, including questions about the age of the earth or the right way to interpret the creation narratives in the book of Genesis. Some of our team members are sympathetic to Answers In Genesis’s points of view on these matters, others less so. If you want to hear two fine fellows who share AIG’s stance, you can listen to Chris Date interviewing Chuck McKnight, whom AIG forced to resign (i.e. fired) when they learned that he held to (what we consider to be) a biblical view of judgment.

Speaking of Answers in Genesis and fire, while Rethinking Hell does not take a stance on such secondary matters as the right way to read early Genesis, Answers in Genesis does take a strong view on the doctrine of hell. This was brought to the forefront again recently when AIG published an article by Tim Challies called “What Kind of God Would Condemn People to Eternal Torment?

Challies’s answer to this troubling question is striking. In reply to the question of how we can believe in a God who would torment people forever, he has a question of his own: “How can you believe in a God who would not?” He explains:

To ask the first question is to fundamentally misunderstand the very nature of God; it is to re-form God in the image of man, because here’s the thing: If you want a God who is good—truly good—and if you want a God who is just and holy, then you must have this God, this God who condemns people to suffer the eternal torments of hell. You cannot have the God you want unless there is a hell. You cannot have a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful and so very good. God’s goodness doesn’t negate eternal punishment in hell; it demands it.

Like many other Christians, I affirm that God will punish forever. But where I think Challies goes astray from the biblical teaching is in this question: of what does that punishment consist?I beg to differ with Challies’s claim that we “cannot have a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful and so very good.” Indeed, the Christian faith has always maintained that this is exactly what God is like. But there are obviously some issues to separate here. Suppose we agree with the claim that “You cannot have the God you want unless there is a hell.” Suppose we accept that “God’s goodness doesn’t negate eternal punishment in hell; it demands it.” Granting these claims is not enough to grant Challies’s striking position. The issue here is not simply whether we can believe in a good God if there is a hell, or whether we can believe that a good God punishes forever. The question that Challies is setting out to answer is whether or not we can believe in a perfectly good God who torments people forever. Like many other Christians, I affirm that God will punish forever. But where I think Challies goes astray from the biblical teaching is in this question: of what does that punishment consist? The biblical picture of eternal punishment is one of “everlasting destruction,” as St Paul described it in 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

In fact, this is the central weakness in Challies’s article. He starts out with the very strong claim that if we believe God is good and holy, then we must believe in a God who torments people forever. Yet the the biblical evidence to which Challies alludes offers support for no such claim. For example:

The Bible describes hell as a place where God pours out His wrath on people who have been created in His image (Matthew 10:28; 25:46; Revelation 14:10–11; 20:10–15). God the Father has appointed His Son to be the eternal Judge who will condemn people to hell (Matthew 25:31–34, 25:41; Acts 10:42). This is not momentary or temporary torture dispensed by Satan or his demons, but eternal torment poured out by God Himself. This punishment will be inflicted upon conscious human beings, people who know who they are, what they were, what they have done (Luke 16:22–31).

It is common for proponents of the doctrine of eternal torment to simply take their view for granted, so that any time the Bible refers to the concept of judgment or punishment, they will assume that it is referring to eternal torment.It is common for proponents of the doctrine of eternal torment to simply take their view for granted, so that any time the Bible refers to the concept of judgment or punishment, they will assume that it is referring to eternal torment. But even a quick glance at the content of the passages Challies lists shows that they do not support this idea. It is incredible, actually, that the list of proof texts begins with Matthew 10:28, a passage where Jesus states that God is “able to destroy both life and body in hell.”1 The typical inclusion of Matthew 25:46 is somewhat frustrating. As Conditionalists have been pointing out for a long time, this passage refers to “eternal punishment” without telling us what the punishment consists of. As traditionalists like Jonathan Edwards have candidly acknowledged, permanent destruction would certainly be eternal. Challies elsewhere makes the same error, saying that simply because Matthew 25:26 says “eternal punishment,” the lost “will never cease to exist or be annihilated.” To this we can say: “Get thee to Jonathan Edwards!” Or take Challies’s inclusion of Acts 10:42, where St. Peter proclaims that God has appointed Jesus to be the judge of the living and the dead. There is nothing about such a passage that lends support to the doctrine of eternal torment. There is a lesson here, not just in biblical interpretation but in critical thinking more generally: the multiplication of individual pieces of evidence in itself does not make your argument stronger unless the evidence is relevant. Generating long lists of proof texts may be visually impressive if your audience assumes that each piece of evidence you list must be making your case stronger, but it is something of a stolen pleasure if none of the evidence you are citing really supports the case you are trying to make.

The truth is that of all the passages Challies alludes to throughout his article, only two could ever plausibly be used as part of a case for the doctrine of eternal torment, and both of them (Revelation 14:10-11 and Revelation 20:10-15) appear in contexts where a simplistic literal reading of the passage is quite certainly the wrong one. I think we can all be confident that Challies does not think that Revelation’s references to beings such as a lamb, fantastical animals with parts of different animals combined into one creature, and a dragon should be taken literally. Yet somehow he thinks it is legitimate to assume that the details of what those beings do in the vision should be taken as literal history. These passages have been discussed before at Rethinking Hell. The short story is, Challies is dead wrong when he claims that “God’s Word is clear” in teaching “the necessity and existence of eternal, conscious torment in hell.” On the contrary, as many Christians have learned—sometimes to their great surprise, having grown up simply taking Challies’s view for granted—the Bible clearly and repeatedly teaches that sin ends in death; that the lost will die, perish, be destroyed, be no more, pass away; and that eternal life or immortality is found in Christ alone.

Infinity is the concept of an unending series of numbers. How is Challies applying the notion of infinity to God?Challies’s main argument, however, is not biblical but philosophical. He argues that since God is eternally holy, it follows that the punishment for sin must be eternal torment. But there is nothing at all compelling about this argument, in spite of its popularity. In the first place, it is not clear what is even being claimed here; and in the second place, it is far from obvious that the conclusion would follow even if something clear were being claimed. Some of the claims here are fairly familiar. For example, Challies alleges that “When you sin against an infinite God—and all sin is primarily oriented toward God—you accrue an infinite debt.” But some of it is opaque. In particular, what does it mean to say that God is “infinite”? Infinity is the concept of an unending series of numbers. How is Challies applying the notion of infinity to God? We just don’t know. As far as I can tell, Challies is simply reverse-engineering the argument. He is trying to get to the conclusion of a punishment consisting of an infinite number of days/weeks/years of torment, so he inserts the language of infinity into his description of God. If Challies is using the word infinitely with its typical numerical meaning, then it does not say anything coherent to say that God is “infinite.” The classical way of talking about God is much more helpful here: God is “perfect being” or “perfectly holy” or “perfectly good.” When we say that a room has no light in it at all, we do not say that it is “infinitely dark.” Instead we say that it is “completely dark” or “in total darkness” or perhaps “perfectly dark.” Similarly, God is perfect or complete, not “infinite” in some numerical sense. Indeed, to say that God actually has an infinite number of things, whatever those things may be, is problematic from a philosophical point of view as it implies the existence of an actual infinite.

What if God’s perfect, eternal, holy being means that God will not tolerate the presence of sin forever?What’s more, it is by no means obvious that this philosophical argument is valid. Start with the premise “God is perfectly good” or “God is perfectly holy” or “God is eternal” or even just “God is perfect in every way.” How exactly are we supposed to get from there to the conclusion that God will punish people with never-ending torment? In terms of bare logic, the conclusion certainly does not follow from the premise alone. What if God’s perfect, eternal, holy being means that God will not tolerate the presence of sin forever? Does not the complete and permanent destruction of sin satisfy this demand of holiness? On what authority does Mr. Challies declare that an “infinite” God (setting aside the unexplained matter of what that means) is bound to make people suffer forever rather than bring them to an end forever?

This is precisely the sort of unexplained and unwarranted leap that has caused many to stop and say, “Wait a minute, what? How is this argument even supposed to work?”

Both biblically and philosophically, the idea that those who reject God will finally come to an end—although troubling—finds clear support. The overwhelming biblical testimony is there for all to see that eternal life in any shape or form is found in Christ alone. Evil will not last forever. The end of the lost is death, and one day God’s kingdom will really be “all in all.” God’s perfect holiness will be satisfied in a way that makes sense to our basic notions of justice. Those who reject God will not get God or anything that God offers. Those who reject the very source of their being will eventually lose their being. It is not for nothing that morally intelligent people wonder at the notion that the most perfect, good, just, and loving Person imaginable would punish any offence with literally endless suffering. The biblical vision is of a future as good as it can possibly be, which contrasts in the strongest possible terms with Challies’s vision of what God will do: “It is truly, literally impossible to imagine a worse reality than this one.”

It is encouraging to see that when AIG shared a link to Challies’s article on their Facebook page there was a significant backlash from Christian readers, not because they objected to the concept of final judgment at all, but because they objected strongly to the claim that the doctrine of eternal torment was clearly biblical—or biblical at all! Their reply was clear: “This is not what the Bible teaches. The wages of sin is death.”

I hope that Answers in Genesis will take the time to consider the responses they are getting and to take a look at the doctrine of hell with a view to finding what Scripture really has to say on the matter. These strained and unbiblical arguments are not going to help reassure anybody that they are seeking answers in Scripture at all, in Genesis or elsewhere.

  1. I am aware that our translations read “soul and body,” but as translators are aware, ψυχή usually means “life” in the Gospels. However, even opting for a less than ideal translation of “soul” would not undermine the central point here: Challies has listed a text as support for the doctrine of eternal torment even though it actually supports an alternative view, namely that of annihilation. []
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100 Responses to Answering Answers in Genesis: An Infinitely Bad Argument

  1. Craig Wright says:

    1 Cor. 15: 26 says, “The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” If death is thrown into the lake of fire in Rev. 20, and it is abolished, then is logical to assume that everything and everyone else in that lake is also abolished.

    • HaakAway says:

      Yes, and it is also logical that such a “lake of fire” cannot be literal in any sense. How could physical fire do anything to a reality called Death? (I would lump in the Beast and False Prophet as additional proof although I know some interpret them as living beings.)

      • K.D. says:

        Hello HaakAway

        Could you show me some scriptures to suggest that death the beast and the false prophet as well as the beast are not physical beings but metaphor that should not be taken literally.

        Could you include death in that.

        Thank you

        • HaakAway says:

          Just to be sure I am communicating clearly: Death/Hades will literally be destroyed by God in His Final Judgement described in Revelation 20:11-15. “Death/Hades” is a concept/truth not a person or physical object that can be burned up by earthly fire right? Yet it is described as being “thrown into the lake of fire”. A literal lake of fire would be useless in ending a concept/truth. And as CW above first noted, it is logical then that other things thrown into the same place are ending and not experiencing a literal fire. I am new here but I think this is a common view among all who teach CI.

          Revelation 19:19, 20 is where you find the beast and false prophet judged in the same way. I see Revelation 17-19 as a unit describing the whole church age so you could start in 17:1. I think ti describes the Harlot, Beast and False Prophet as constant wordily systems that will come against God’s people to persecute them (since no person could live for 2,000 years right? This is just my view of Revelation and is not integral to CI so you can take it or leave it really. It is an amillennial interpretation and it makes the most sense to me from Scripture.

          • K.D. says:

            How do we know death and Hades are not a literal person. God talks like they are alive.

          • K.D. says:

            For all we know, Hades could even be a living place or a spirit of some kind. God talks as if the fires are real and those across from Abrahams bosom seemed to be burning in torment and even said it.
            So how could we assume hell is not real.

            Also God is beyond our logic and created this world through spoken words.
            I doubt sending a concept to the lake of fire would be hard for him

          • HaakAway says:

            Dear brother … Spend some time on this website and see for yourself what the Scriptures themselves teach. Your idea here that Death/Hades may be “a literal person” because “God talks like they are alive” can be cleared up by understanding figures of speech. We all use them everyday and you will enjoy adding that skill to your earnest Bible study that you obviously care about.

          • K.D. says:

            Thank you for your kind reply sir.
            But how do we know that death is not just a figure of speech to God.
            Just a word to describe something so much more.

          • HaakAway says:

            No, God is not trying to trick us but to communicate to us. He uses language as we do so that we understand. Death is a simple, well established concept to us: unable to move, think, feel or choose. We are a world full of examples of death and it means just what we see all around us.

          • K.D. says:

            Hello Mr. Haakaway, what forum are yall in discussing these matters . Also Genesis 4:10 speaks against our current understanding of death. God said Abel’s blood cried out to him after Abel died.

            It appears that even after death our bodies can communicate with God.

            If this is death, then death appears to be a type of souless life. Only the body goes to sleep and Jesus often called this death.

          • HaakAway says:

            “Abel’s blood crying out to God” is an example of a figure of speech. When something is impossible you can take it as a figure of speech. Blood has no way to literally speak; no vocal chords with moving air. Therefore it is a figure of speech. The crime of Cain, symbolized in the blood of Abel, gets God’s attention to respond to (as if someone was “crying out”). This is an important part of BIble study that you will enjoy learning about I promise.

          • K.D. says:

            Thank you for your response sir.
            But nothing is impossible with God.
            If you take this scripture as a figure of speech I can understand that, it sounds impossible.

            But what if God was serious. He is God after all, and he can command the sea,s and skies through his voice.
            At his rebuke the seas obey.

            Humanity itself is simply the words of God come alive as he spoke this world into being.

            Are you sure we should not take what God said at genesis 4:10 literally.

          • John Unsworth says:

            Physical death as we see it, is our example of what death is. In order to establish that the word ‘death’ in connection with punishment means something more than death as we see it and know it, you must establish a biblical line that shows clearly that where the word ‘death’ is used in scripture, it actually means ‘living forever in torment’. And this is the heart of the matter. The traditional view contends that where death is mentioned in connection with ‘eternal judgement’ it always means ‘eternal conscious torment.’ We contend that it actually means what it says ‘death’ -the end of being….As capital punishment is the ultimate punishment among men, the negation of life, in the same way eternal punishment is the ultimate punishment God will enact on the fallen creature.

            The difference then is simply in how we see ‘eternal punishment’. Is it in the sense that we see it in our world, where the loss off conscious life is the ultimate punishment, or is it as the traditional view, which dictates that it is something different, to the extent that it is conscious death, which seems to be contradictory. How can death be conscious when all that we know about it says the opposite.

            Of course you will say I have missed one major point and with that I would agree. What of the spirit of man. At physical death the spirit lives on. And here we have a good explanation for the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Clearly the final judgement has not yet come in this parable as the rich man asks that his brothers are warned, they are still alive on earth so from this we can see that the state of the spirit before the final judgement. The verse that decides the whole issue of what will happen to both body and soul (life) is Mathew 10:28

            “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

            This verse is axiomatic in this dicussion. The word ‘kill’ being used in relation to both body and soul. Man can kill the body but not the soul. God can kill both or destroy both. Their is no inherent eternal life for the soul spirit of man. It is contingent on the will of God. He, God can destroy both, if He so wills. Of this there is no question. This point is laid out clearly when our first father sinned.

            Gen 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

            Jesus is the tree of life and those who partake of Him will live forever. Those who do not will be destroyed.

      • John Unsworth says:

        The destruction of the beast and the false prophet is significant to the extent that these two identities represent both the whole of the opposition to God and the end of the opposition to God. They are representative of all that has been against God and therefore symbolic. They will be remembered forever in the minds of the elect, as a lesson, that going against the will of God, ends in corruption, which is death.

        • HaakAway says:

          The beast and false prophet symbolize all oppisiton to God and it is destroyed in the lake of fire.

          Not sure what support you have for that last sentence but I was with you until then. If we will remember it and it is intended as the lesson you point out is possible but not taught here.

    • K.D. says:

      Hello sir I had a question for you and wondered if you could answer it for me.

      What does God mean when he says, abolished?
      And what does abolished mean.

      • Craig Wright says:

        In an English dictionary “abolished” means “to render useless” or “to cause to cease to exist.” In Greek, “kathargeo” means the same thing as in English.

        • K.D. says:

          Also could you send me the Hebrew translation of death, abolished,life, and destruction.

          • Craig Wright says:

            I don’t know Hebrew, so I looked these words up in Strong’s Concordance, which you could have done. Death in Hebrew is “maveth” and it means death. Abolish is “machah” and it means to blot out, or to destroy. Life is “chat”, and it means life. Destruction is “mehuwmah” and it means destruction, or trouble. What is your point? These words are Hebrew from the Old Testament, and the verse I referred to (1 Cor. 15: 26) is in the Greek New Testament.

          • K.D. says:

            Smote. A word that has several meanings, one of which is to slay.

            When we talk of death, to each of us it has a very different meaning.

            You would not know how I perceived dear unless you knew me or I told you.

            GOD could be using any version of the word in a way we do not.

            Death could be one of the mysteries of God, and he maybe the only one capable of understanding it.

          • K.D. says:

            Also smote is used to speak of the boils Job was smote with.

            Lazarus in hell said I am in torment in these flames but he was fully conscious.

            Could this be how hell will be.
            Is this the second death worms eat the flesh and never die.

          • givemhell says:

            K.D. – It disappoints me that instead of listening to two episodes of the podcast and learning basic information about our view, you would rather make uninformed arguments in the comments section of a blog post when the Rethinkinghell forum is the obvious place to post these kinds of questions because of it’s format and if you had listened to those episodes I don’t think that you would be saying these things and I wouldn’t feel obligated to respond when you could have easily gotten this information by listening to a podcast.

            As far as the worms that eat flesh and never die, you are mangling a quote that Christ took from the old testament where the prophet Isaiah imagined a valley full of dead bodies that were being burned up by fire and being eaten by worms. It’s not a picture of torment or eternal worms. Here is the quote that Jesus is referencing:

            Isaiah 66:24 “Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

            The idea of the worm not dying and the fire not being quenched doesn’t meant that the corpses will be on fire forever. It means that the bodies won’t be buried which is a shameful thing for Jews for whom burial rituals were extremely important. Jews can only be buried with Jews. If a gentile is buried there it is unclean. Jews were buried with their feet facing Jerusalem so that at the resurrection they can get up and walk straight to Jerusalem. They would anoint the dead body with spices. There were and are a lot of rules and these things are important to religious Jews.

            The idea of a corpse being unburied is a shameful thing and that is why that image appears in different ways in the old testament. It is God’s way of saying that the wicked will die a shameful death and that the righteous would remember them in scorn. While those things may not be important to you, they are important for Jews. So, for example, even today, If a Jew really despises someone for example they might say one of the worst curses you can say in Hebrew: “May his name and his memory be obliterated”.

            Here is another example from another Old Testament prophet:

            “”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.”
            Jeremiah 7:33

            There is so much more that I could say about it but these are things that have been covered a million time and that I have already said many times in the forum which would be a much better place to have these conversations.

            The thing you said about Lazarus is just as uninformed but It annoys me that I should have to respond to a second thing that would easily have been corrected if you had just listened to those podcasts that I had pointed you towards.

          • K.D. says:

            I will listen to the podcast and then come back.

            Also I got things mixed up last night as I was slightly delirious.

            And not seeing clearly.

            Give me time and please be patient with me.

            I will talk to y’all later.

          • Craig Wright says:

            Lazarus was not in hell. He was in Abraham’s bosom. The rich man was in Hades. In Rev. 20, Hades gives up its dead and is thrown into the lake of fire along with death. So, it is abolished. The incident that Jesus describes is the intermediate state. We know this because the rich man’s brothers are still alive. The scene is also described as a place where they can see each other and talk to each other across a chasm. This is not the final destination. Abraham also calls the rich man, “Son.” There is still some kind of relationship there, as the rich man also calls Abraham “Father.” I won’t go into whether or not this is a parable, but look at the points being made in the story. Why does Lazarus go to the good place? What is the criteria? At the end, the point is made that people wouldn’t believe if someone came back from the dead. Also, Abraham does not refer the rich man to Jesus, but to the OT law (Moses) and the prophets.

          • givemhell says:

            Well, I might as well elaborate. Thanks for doing that Craig but he should really go listen to those podcast episodes.

            First of all, Hades is a Greek word from the Greek pagan religion. The concept behind Hades for the Greeks was that when people died they would cross the river styx and be sorted out by their life as to which part of Hades they would go to. The really wicked people would go to Tartarus which was a pit where Zeus had banished the Titans and they would be judged and face a punishment fitting of their crime. So, one person has to roll a boulder up a hill forever and when the bolder gets to the top it always rolls back down and other person is chained to a rock and a bird plucks out his intestines which constantly grow back and this happens for all of eternity.

            The authors of the New Testament use the word Hades as a place holder for the word Sheol which is just a way of talking about a hole in the ground where you put a dead body, aka a pit or a grave. Sometimes, they talk about Sheol in a poetic fashion but it is always to describe the dark, nothingness that awaits all humans when they die. They are put back into the ground and in the ground they don’t eat or drink or do anything.

            Ecclesiastes 9:10 ” Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.”

            Isaiah 38:18 “For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness.”

            Psalm 31:17 “Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call upon You; Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol.

            Isaiah 14:9-11 “”Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones. “They will all respond and say to you, ‘Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. ‘Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you And worms are your covering.’”

            See, the Old Testament teaches that men are made from the earth. That is the etymology behind the name Adam. Adamah means ground. The idea is that man is made of dirt and when they die they go back to the dirt. That is why it says that people “return” to sheol. It’s not because the bible is teaching that humans prexisted, it’s because we are made from the dirt of the earth and sheol is about dying and returning to the earth and decaying.

            Psalms 9:17
            “The wicked will return to Sheol, Even all the nations who forget God.”

            What ended up happening is that the Jews were invaded by the Greeks who were a lot like the arabs in the sense that they would share their culture with people and pretty soon every culture would look Greek. This is called Hellenization. When the Greeks did this to the Jews there were many Jews who were happy to get along to go along but there were stalwarts of the old religion that tried to stand up against the trend. In large part because of this, Judaism became a big heaping mess basically and over time Christianity picked up some of that ridiculousness, especially since the Roman Empire which inherited the Greek culture, including their religion, dominated the world and was converted to Christianity. This is why the largest Christian denomination even today after the protestant reformation are the ROMAN Catholics.

            So for example, in the Greek religion the god Hades is the god of underworld which is also called Hades. He is the brother of Zeus who is the head God over mount olympus and his foil. In Christianity, Satan becomes the god of the underworld and becomes the foil to God. Christians see Satan as the God of this world in competition with God. This worldview is called Dualism and has more in common with Greek religion than Judaism which is why it was the view of gnosticism.

            Ok, so a lot of the Jews at that time, many of whom were living outside of Israel because living under an empire, Greek or Roman, meant that it was easy to travel and live in other places, were heavily influenced by Greek religion and these things were incorporated into their writing and thinking. We see it all over the apocryphal books and it also became a part of their teaching. Now, that doesn’t mean that all people saw it the same way. Not at all. The opposite. There were a lot of different views amongst a lot of different groups and there were all kinds of factions.

            However, in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man, Jesus isn’t endorsing the view of a group called “pharisees”, he is actually making fun of it. He is turning it upside down and using it as an attack against them. He is taking a common parable from the pharisees and a ideas from their teachings and turning them around to say “hey, you guys are messed up”, you guys think that God shows His love by giving people financial reward but you guys are just money obsessed and love money more than God. There’s more to it than that but that is the central idea. So for example, the phrase “abraham’s bosom” is a phrase that you find in intertestamental writings but it only appears once in the bible, in this one spot.

            You see, the parable of Lazarus and the Rich man follows in a long line of parables about similar things. See a few verses before the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man and right after his parable of the shrewd manager (which is also about money) he explains the parable of the shrewd manager and says this:

            Luke 16:
            “8 “The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. 9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

            10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

            13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

            14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.”

            Do you get it? That is the context of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man represents a Sadducee because the saducees were giving christ a hard time and were making lots and lots of money by exploiting their religious standing “selling animals in the temple court etc.” Then he takes a Pharisaical teaching about how God rewards this pious one in life and punishes another in this life and in the world to come and he turns it upside down on his head so that he insult the pharisees and the Sadducee at the same time, teach men about what we should love in this world and also foreshadow his death and resurrection and talk about Jewish/gentile dynamics . He isn’t endorsing Pharisaical Judaism in the parable, he is making fun of it.

            Really, Craig is right though. As far as annihilationism is concerned that doesn’t even matter because the parable is taking place during what is called the intermediate state, before the resurrection of the dead and therefore has absolutely no bearing on the annihilationist view anyways since annihilationism isn’t concerned with what happens during the intermediate state.

          • K.D. says:

            My bad that’s what I meant. I was thinking of Lazarus and the rich man at the same time and wrote the wrong person

          • givemhell says:

            Well, really, it doesn’t matter for the myriad reasons that both of us detailed above. Do yourself a favor; listen to episode 4 and 7 of the rethinkinghell podcast so that you can get a basic overview of our position and then go on the forum of this website and raise objections there and I will take time out to dialogue with you.

          • K.D. says:

            I’m waiting to get the message so I can enter the forum.

            But I listened to the podcast and have some more comments.

  2. HaakAway says:

    Sad to hear of another partner for the Gospel penalizing staff for thinking for themselves and disagreeing with them on an issue not related to their mission. Rethinking’s approach of the quotes at the top of the website is simple and brilliant: Godly, Biblical thinkers reject that hell is an unending torment. I hope I can keep that same simple brilliance in influencing my circle of leaders. See you in Pasadena next summer.

  3. Reece says:

    Frustratingly there is nowhere to leave comments about Challie’s article on the AiG website (as far as I can see).

    • HaakAway says:

      I think you are right. Somehow that is consistent with the overall tone of their ministry approach. “Lord, save us from our friends!”

  4. Tly says:

    I’m amazed at the philosophical gyrations necessary to support this Biblical interpretation that God cannot be good without the conscious eternal torments of those in hell. I think the Traditionalist’s view ought to be less respectfully renamed as the Contortionist’s view.

    Presuppositions are powerful blinders.

    • Jas25 says:

      I find this especially true of the argument that punishment must be conscious or it’s no punishment at all. Having a perfect life, free from all suffering, in a perfect world for all eternity taken away isn’t punishment? We take a few years of a criminals life and give them slightly worse than standard conditions (in some cases, actually IMPROVING their standard of living) and call it punishment now…

      The other place I find many presupposing definitions far from literal is in “death” and “destruction”. Instead, these become “miserable life” as though it would be logical to call someone with a hard life “mostly dead” or someone who has life easy “more alive than most”.

      • K.D. says:


      • K.D. says:

        Please explain

        • Jason says:

          The argument that punishment must be suffered consciously is a misunderstanding of the word punishment. Punishment is a word meaning a penalty as a result of an offense.

          The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Man ought to fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). The penalty (according to the Bible, in more places than I can list here) for the action of rejecting God is destruction, death, parishing, etc…

          That penalty is a punishment not because it is worse than any concievable existance, but because it’s a forfeiting of a perfect, eternal life with Christ on a world free from all suffering, which is the only existance that can occur in the perfect world we have been promised.

          The second death is eternal (unlike the first death) as there will be no coming back from this one. Anyone who is cast into hell surrenders the life everyone hopes for (and, ironically, athiests claim is the only life a God as described in the Bible would provide even as they give it up).

          • K.D. says:

            Which is exactly why when God says eternal punishment I believe he means the “action of punishment “because a dead body cannot experience the eternal punishment the bible
            Speaks of.

            Also I the body is completely destroyed then saying eternal punishment is not true.

            And if God meant annihilation and not eternal torment then the bible is not as clear as we thought it was, because the world would have been fooled into believing something that is not true because of confusing scripture.

            Why not just say cease to exist or annihilation.

          • Jason says:

            “because a dead body cannot experience the eternal punishment the bible Speaks of.”

            Death is the punishment for sin that the Bible speaks of. The second death will never be undone. Unlike the first, it is an eternal death. Therefore eternal punishment. Obviously ONLY a dead body could experience eternal punishment when the punishment is death.

            “And if God meant annihilation and not eternal torment then the bible is not as clear as we thought it was, because the world would have been fooled into believing something that is not true because of confusing scripture.”

            We know that a majority of the world is destined for Hell and obviously have been fooled into believing something that contradicts a clear reading of scripture (Matthew 7:13-14). Plenty of whom know what the Bible says on the matter. Not that belief in this area is what determines salvation, but that it is a clear example of “the world” being fooled IN SPITE of the clarity of scripture.

            A majority of believers believed a great number of incorrect doctrine before the Bible was translated into their language because they only “knew” what it said when the few who could read Latin told them (you know, those same people who based their power structure in Rome, a heavily pagan environment that believed in the eternity of soul well before Jesus time).

            The first time you read Bible verses regarding the fate of the wicked, had you already heard of eternal torment or did you arrive there on nothing but scripture? It may just be the culture I grew up in, but most Bible illiterate people I know would still give me the account of eternal torment if I asked them what the Bible said the fate of the wicked was.

            How? Easy, everyone TELLS them that’s what the Bible says. If they ever did start reading it they will likely do exactly what most of us have done, and read things like “the wages of sin is death” and reinterpret death to mean “really aweful life”.

            “Why not just say cease to exist or annihilation.”

            Torment (which is the reality of someone thrown into fire) is only mentioned for the wicked men at all in two places (a third in mention of the devil’s fate). One is followed by “this is the second death” and the other being a parable. I find this site has done a good job of understanding scripture with scripture on those verses.

            Death, parishing, destruction, and being reduced to ash is the common Biblical language regard the fate of the wicked (and there are a LOT of places with this). This is actually what blew me away a year ago when I set out to disprove Annihilationism for myself.

            2 Thessalonians 1:9 says the wicked will be away from God’s presence, which we know permeates all of existence and that He never changes. Therefore, non-existence is the logical conclusion until people start saying things like “it doesn’t mean that they’re not in his presence in the sense that he isn’t near them, it’s that they don’t experience His presence in a meaningful way” or some such.

            Anyone being told that someone will be thrown into a fire that won’t be put out and eaten by worms that won’t die would understand that it means at least the body is completely annihilated until they start reading something into it.

            The day I realized I kept redefining death, destruction, and parishing as well as claiming that when the Bible says “fire” it doesn’t mean fire the way we mean fire I realized I was likely on the wrong side of this argument.

          • K.D. says:

            I believe in the fire of hell as well, but I believe that the fire is eternal.

            But why would the fire be eternal if the people are there only for a moment and then reduced to ash?

            I believe that when scripture says eternal torment that the fires of hell and the worms that consume your flesh are possibly the torment.

            And if the body was reduced to ash how would a worm eat on it forever.

            Scripture also says that they will be tormented in the presence of the lamb.

            So they could be cast out of Gods presence, but be in the presence of the lamb who is equally God and at the same time his own person.

          • Jason says:

            Scripture never says eternal torment. It does say the smoke of thier torment goes up forever and ever (or an age and ages) same as it does for the smoke of Edom. Symbolic language for the completeness of it’s destruction (as nearly every [conscience torment believing] commentary will say about Isaiah 34:10).

            It also never say the worm will eat forever. Only that it won’t die. I.E. don’t hope to outlast it. That same part of scripture says we will look upon CORPSES.

            Their torment will be immediately after judgment so obviously Christ will be witness. They will not be out of the presence of God until they cease to exist.

            As for why the fire is eternal, I cannot say with certainty. It may be symbolic language to emphasize the completeness of destruction (though I don’t like taking something symbolically unless it’s clear). I’ve always assumed it would serve as new Jerusalem’s garbage dump just as the old “unclean fire” did for old Jerusalem.

          • Cellophane says:

            “For the Lord your God IS a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24) His presence consumes sin. That is why we have been separated from His direct presence–to protect us from sure destruction. He must conceal Himself in forms we can tolerate to come to us. When He grants us eternal life, we will thrive in His direct presence. ” ‘Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?’ He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly. . . .” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked in those eternal flames. The wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming, but the righteous will dwell in the unapproachable light. What a twist! It seems that the righteous are the ones who walk in the “flames” and enjoy the eternal burnings! Nothing else will survive it.

          • K.D. says:

            Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego where thrown into normal fire that a man started.

            That fire was not eternal fire.

            Neither was the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

            If that fire where eternal, why did the souls of those burned up not get destroyed and their spirit.

            Normal fire only affects the physical world, not the spiritual one.

          • Cellophane says:

            So you think the fire that burned Sodom and Gomorrah was not physical? The sulphur brimstone were certainly physical. The consequences are eternal. There is no separate spiritual world for humans until we are granted spiritual bodies, like Jesus, at His coming.

          • K.D. says:

            NO!!!! I believe that the fire was physical ordinary fire not hell fire, not spiritual fire.

            The punishment is also eternal

          • K.D. says:

            Jude 1:7 is an example of what’s to come for the lost. A physical and not spiritual example.

            In other words a taste

          • Cellophane says:

            The Bible simply says “eternal fire.” Mankind is a physical/spiritual being, but not in separable parts, all of which dies when we die. There is no “soul” that live on after death. We ARE souls. We don’t HAVE souls. That is why there must be a resurrection, as Jesus also had to experience. Understanding the nature of man helps explain why hell and torment is not eternal for even the worst sinner. They are not immortal creatures.

          • K.D. says:

            Scripture seems to debate that claim.
            Could you give me the scripture that suggest that man is a soul and does not have one and what version of the bible you are reading

          • Cellophane says:

            Genesis 2:7, KJV (Compare with Ezekiel 18:4 and 1 Timothy 6:16) The “immortal soul” theology was absorbed from Greek theology into the early apostate church, which added many other strange doctrines not found in Scripture. See Paul’s warning: Acts 20:29-30.

          • K.D. says:

            21And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 22And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23

            This does not say the soul Is immortal but suggest that death is more then we thought.

          • Cellophane says:

            The soul is the living creature. It can also mean vitality or life, which is what makes a soul a living creature. This text is not so clear, but does make sense when compared with all the other related Scriptures. All Scripture must be in agreement to be truth.

          • K.D. says:

            This scripture agrees with the idea that the soul is an actual spirit separate from the body. The soul the life the breath God breathed into us.

            And what about Samuel who was called up from the grave and spoke to Saul.

            God had it recorded by man that Samuel came up. He did not have them write it was a familiar spirit.

          • Cellophane says:

            That was not Samuel. That was a demon. That is why God strictly commanded God’s people to have nothing to do with the deceptive works of darkness, the mediums and spiritists. Do you believe the father of lies to have control over the souls awaiting the resurrection? The verse says that Saul “perceived” that it was Samuel. It cannot be Samuel because elsewhere the Bible says “the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing…nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun.” Eccl. 9:5-6 “There is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Truth must all fit together to get the complete picture.

          • K.D. says:

            Also it says he perceived it was Samuel, as in he knew it was him or understood that it was him.

            And then Samuel talked to him and know where in the bible is this suggested to be a demon in disguise.

            The truth does fit together perfectly, but when twisted its hard to see how.

            The lady freaked out when Samuel, not her familiar spirit came up to talk.

            That scripture Eccl. 9:5-6 seems to be a reference to the body that can no longer in death affect the world.

            Just like in genesis when it says from dust you came to dust you shall return… Is a reference to the body and only the body.

          • Cellophane says:

            She did not say it was Samuel. That was Saul’s statement of perception. Remember, God created man as a soul, not something that HAS a soul. As a revelation of truth, all later Scriptures must fit into the understanding of earlier texts of Scripture. Later texts cannot redefine earlier ones. They may bring more light–but they will never change the truth written. Dust you ARE. That’ ALL you are. It is the breath of life that keeps you ticking–until the breath goes out. God “alone has immortality.”

          • Cellophane says:

            But it must fit with all the other Scriptures, and therefore must mean his soul was returned to life.

          • Cellophane says:

            It does not say a taste. It say they suffered eternal fire. There is no spiritual apart from the physical. Man is both and is completely dead when dead or the soul that sins simply does not die like God says he does.

          • K.D. says:

            Matthew 17:1-3

            Moses and Elijah, dead and separated from their body appeared during Jesus transfiguration and talked with Him.

          • Cellophane says:

            Several are in heaven, but not separated from their bodies, but in the new spiritual body like Jesus after His resurrection. Moses was apparently taken to heaven after his burial on Mt. Nebo. (Jude 1:9) Elijah was translated (received his new spiritual body) and taken up by angels. Enoch was translated. (Gen.5:24) At the death of Jesus many bodies of the the saints came forth from their graves to testify of Jesus. (Matthew 27:51-53) These all are currently in heaven as first fruits of the harvest to come. They are real. Like you and I will be at the resurrection of the just! That’s a lot nicer than floating away as some spirit, now isn’t it? God didn’t make a mistake when He made bodies. Though we brought death by sin, those justified by Christ will be given a new start–even better, spiritual bodies, like the one Jesus will have for eternity. (Yes He gave up a lot to save us!)

          • K.D. says:

            Or, Moses was one of those who came up as one of the first arise and Michael had to go and find his body so he could have his body and later ascend.

            But during the transfiguration, he was not yet resurrected, and so appeared as a spirit.

            Floating around like a ghost sounds to cool, but that’s just how I feel, so I will agree to disagree with you on that.

            And I don’t believe he made a mistake when creating us either.

          • Cellophane says:

            The Bible nowhere says “eternal torment.” It does not say the worm will eat on it forever. It says the worm will not die, but will succeed in total consumption of all that is not burned. Why is the fire eternal? Our God “who alone has immortality” is a consuming fire. Sodom and Gomorrah suffered “the vengeance of eternal fire.” They are not still burning–but are forever destroyed. Only something that is by nature immortal could suffer eternally. Neither man nor angel automatically has that attribute. It is granted on condition.

          • K.D. says:

            Again though, what is the nature of death.

            If death is a separation between God and us then when one is separated from God he is dead.
            The nature of death is separation from the Father who through Christ we get to and are considered alive.K

          • Cellophane says:

            Yes, even in death we are considered alive because of the promise of the Resurrection. God does not consider us separated from Him, but asleep in Him. (1 Thes. 4) (An unconscious state that is like a split second to us.) We live by faith now and in death. But eternal life is actually granted us at His second coming. 1 Corinthians 15:51+

          • Cellophane says:

            Just because a fire is eternal does not mean humans are eternal. There is nothing immortal about man that would not be soon turned to ashes in an eternal fire. What the fire doesn’t get the worms will. No escape. They will be tormented in the presence of the Lamb, but nowhere does it way the torment is eternal. The destruction is complete. That is why Jesus gave the choice in John 3:16 of either eternal life, or perish. Perish. A person who has perished has no consciousness but it annihilated completely. That is certainly a horrible punishment for one who could have lived eternally.

          • Cellophane says:

            But He does. “The wages of sin is death.” “The soul that sins shall die.” There is no separate entity in a person that lives on eternally. Man is mortal. God alone has immortality.

          • K.D. says:

            What about the spirit of man that in death returns to God.
            Seems forever not immortal to me

          • Cellophane says:

            Ecclesiastes 12:7 The spirit is the breath, or life. for the word says what we are in Genesis 3:19. We are dust and to dust we shall return. The soul that is saved is considered by Jesus to be only asleep until the Resurrection. Jesus chose to call it sleep (John 11), although Jesus and Mary knew Lazarus was ‘dead’ until the Resurrection. What a day that will be at the last trump when Jesus comes: 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; 2 Thessalonians 4:15-18. That is our comfort–not that some invisible “soul” is now floating around celebrating in heaven though separated from family and friends.

          • K.D. says:

            Mathew 17:1-3
            Moses and Elijah, dead and separated from their body appeared during Jesus transfiguration and talked with Him.

    • K.D. says:

      Hello sir

      I (without meaning to be rude) have heard nothing but assumptions and guessing for the conditionalist point of view. I have found no scripture to support it and many to support the traditional view on hell of eternal torment. Could you help me understand how you are breaking down the scripture to see annihilation.

      Please and thank you

      • Singalphile says:

        Hi K.D., It would be too hard to list all scriptural support and arguments, I think. (My list of relevant Scripture is over 100 pages long!) Please check out the forum here if you’d like to discuss this. We’d all love to exchange thoughts and scriptures with you. It’s so rare to get the chance! (I held the traditional view for most of my life.) I hope we see you there!

      • givemhell says:

        K.D. aside from checking out the forum you should also consider listening to episodes 4 and 7 (if I remember correctly) of this podcast which present a positive case and rebut the position of eternal conscious torment. The case for conditionalism is extensive and this probably is not a good place for it. We are happy to answer any objections for you in the forum and also give you positive arguments as well if you don’t find enough of them in the podcast that I recommended to you.

      • Glenn Peoples says:

        “I (without meaning to be rude) have heard nothing but assumptions and guessing for the conditionalist point of view.”

        Then I must say (without meaning to be rude) that you simply haven’t listened.

      • Cellophane says:

        Genesis 2:16-17 shows that life depended on the condition of their obedience. Every time you hear God use the little word “if” concerning life and death, you know there is a condition stipulated. Jesus supported that in saying: “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”–Matthew 19:17 What is the opposite of life? Death. It is a conditional choice. We decide the outcome by our choice to cooperate with God in our lives, or not. Salvation is conditional: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”–John 3:16 So what is the condition for life? Belief in Jesus.

        • K.D. says:

          I’m curious, what then is the state of death and of being dead.

          The blood of Abel cried out to God after Abel was killed by Cain.

          Because I believe in the second death, but what is death if not simply separation from life who is God who is love.

          • Cellophane says:

            Death is the same as not being created in the first place. Life goes back to God, and the dust returns to dust. That is definitely separation. Abel’s blood crying out is a personification of blood to make a point about the injustice done to Abel. Of course blood doesn’t speak literally.

          • K.D. says:

            Or God literally heard the blood talk, because he is God and he can do that.
            God also says he heard the blood crying out so ill take him seriously, and if that statement where true then what is death.

            If God can talk to blood after death, why not ash?

            Isn’t death just being held from the father.

            Because we are not kept from the son, God does not withhold his son from us.

          • Cellophane says:

            Talking blood is a figure of speech. You can take God seriously–but He used terminology understood by anyone to convey His thought. When you begin to think blood really talks, it is time to relax and take a nap. Why do you have such a hard time with the word death? Have you ever seen a dead dog? A dead rabbit? What happens after their death? Have you ever seen one sort of living in some way? And the word “perish” in John 3:16 means just that. Perish means just what God says plainly to us. He would not deceive us. That has never been an accepted figure of speech, so it is literal.

          • K.D. says:

            So your saying lets think logically even God can’t talk to blood it has no vocal cords.
            Do you understand the term all power, can do anything, nothing’s beyond him.
            And scientist know the body talks to itself and us, blood carries the hormonal voice of the brain.

          • K.D. says:

            Death is not a hard concept for me at all, I researched it and prayed and came to my own conclusions on the subject of death.

            I’ve taken my nap and woke back up already, care to join me in this crazy world full of angels demons and a God that can turn rocks into a specific persons bloodline

          • Cellophane says:

            All the prayer and research in the world will get us no understanding of truth unless we are willing to submit to the plain meaning of Scripture. Human imagination can carry us places that God really has no use for. “God says. . .but I think. . . .” is devastating to the discovery of Truth.

          • K.D. says:

            I am submitting to the truth and I see when God says eternal punishment, he is serious about it.

            The consequence is not eternal, the punishment is.

          • Cellophane says:

            The consequence of death is the punishment–definitely eternal.
            Fill in the blank: “The wages of sin is ________.”
            “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not ___________ but have everlasting life.”

            But you say the wages of sin is “eternal torment” not death or perishing.
            You also say that whoever does NOT believe will have “everlasting life” (in torment.)

            ‘Nuff said.

          • K.D. says:

            SIR,that’s what you said I said. I believe that death is life without God, so eternal punishment is not everlasting life because God is not there.

            The consequence of sin is eternal and so is the punishment.

            The punishment is eternal because the consequence of our actions is ultimately going to be eternal separation from God the father but not Jesus Christ as is showed in revelation.

          • Cellophane says:

            There is no life without God. Death is dissolution into the dust from which we were made. Over and out. Poof!

          • K.D. says:

            I think you may be mistaken. The very first thing you should do is pray to God for understanding and that you would see and understand what he is trying to show you. Then you submit to the truth as God reveals it.

            I believe that God heard the blood talk, just as he said he did in the scripture.
            Should we take him seriously, why not?
            He has the power to do it, why not believe he did it.
            This is God where talking about.

          • Cellophane says:

            Yes, when we pray in humility, God reveals truth to us, and prevents us from falling into common errors of misreading figurative language for literal. Blood has no vocal chords. Man is a physical being with capacity for spiritual communication and thought. The message in the text concerns the evidence of guilt in the murder of Abel.

  5. Brian says:

    Its my first look at what others believe concerning this subject but for years I have struggled to believe that God would subject the lost to eternal conscious torment and here listed are random thoughts that have influenced my belief.

    The devil and fallen angels have been in the very presence of God and beheld his majesty whereas man has not seen God and is not capable of full comprehension of his attributes and in a sense is very limited in his understanding so it follows that his guilt is less than that of the fallen angels just as a retarded person is not held total responsible by a court.

    Should the lost remain in the lake of fire for eternity along with the devil and his angels then they can gloat over the lost souls that they have in a sense stolen from God (who created them to have fellowship with him for eternity). It does not seem reasonable to me that God would allow this to happen.

    As clearly stated in revelation after the judgement by Christ, hell (and its contents) are cast into the lake of fire THAT WAS CREATED FOR SATAN AND THE FALLEN ANGELS and this is the SECOND DEATH. So my belief is that the soul now dies (unsaved men) and they cease to exist and that God meant exactly what he said about the reason for the creation of the lake of fire. Also we are given eternal life through Christ and if we do not receive him as saviour then we do not have eternal life and no life implies no consciousness.

    I cannot prove this and admit that I could be wrong but the belief in eternal torment for weak men who cannot comprehend the majesty of God just seems so wrong in so many ways and praise God that our salvation does not depend on our correct understanding of all scripture. So I am comforted by this belief and know that if I have got it wrong, God has saved me and I am still his child and will no doubt understand all these things when we are resurrected and are like our saviour.

    • K.D. says:

      The tree of life gave us full knowledge of good and evil.
      The tree re-presented a choice God had to give us.
      When we ate of the tree we committed the same sin Satan did as we where trying to be as God was.
      Next thing you know had we a taste of the tree of knowledge we would demand to be worshiped.
      Our sin was just as bad as Satan’s was, and every day we choose our own path over God’s we recommit that sin. If Satan earned hell then so did we.
      So the devil did not steal us from God he merely gave us the option to choose ourselves over God.

      • Jason says:

        Actually, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are not the same. The tree of life is what refreshed man before they were to die. That’s why God cut them off from it when they sinned (Genesis 3:22).

        I agree with you though. Satan wasn’t God’s rival. He is ours. He tempted Adam and Adam gave in. Since then he has continued to tempt each of us.

      • Cellophane says:

        The devil and his angels will also perish in the lake of fire, however long that might take. He, no less than we, lost his right to eternal life. ALL life is conditional–it is always our choice: life or death. That is an eternal choice. God wants peace, not retribution.

        • K.D. says:

          But God also desires justice.

          And if justice is eternal punishment as the scriptures say, then so be it.

          Even if one were reduced to ash, what would stop God from hearing it.

          God listened to Abel’s blood cry out to him even though Abel was dead.

          God speaks to the winds the earth and the rain and it obeys him.

          Wouldn’t it be truly amazing if God meant he literally heard Abel’s blood calling to him.

          This is also not beyond what God is capable of since he can do all things.

        • K.D. says:

          God also desires justice.

          Annihilation is retribution.

          Your getting exactly what you deserve.

          I just believe what we deserve is eternal torment.

    • Cellophane says:

      Satan also will be turned to ashes in that eternal fire. Please go to for a full understanding. Click on the initial short video clip on hell. Very enlightening and relieving to understand this truth as it keeps God a God of love for all eternity.

      • K.D. says:

        A friend of mine has already showed me this site, and I’ve checked out their information.

        I believe God is love but I also believe he is justice as well.

        Sin demands punishment and this is the eternal torment mentioned in scripture as eternal punishment.

        And if God can hear the voice of blood, and if this world obeys his voice and commands, does it seem crazy that God could also hear the voice of a person reduced to ashes.

        What would keep God from hearing the ashes.

        • Cellophane says:

          God considers man in death as if sleeping. He will raise all at their respective resurrections. The blood can still “cry out” which means the person is still in need of justice for his death. But after the second death, which follows the judgment, there is nothing left to cry out. God says they will be no more ever again, as though they had not been. This destruction of the wicked is God’s “strange act” for He hates to lose even one of His children. He is LOVE.

  6. Givemhell says:

    This is a cease and desist notice. Stop thinking immediately! Any free-thought will be punished with immediate shunning.

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"Should Christians rethink Hell?" on Unbelievable?