Rethinking Hell | Exploring Evangelical Conditionalism (Annihilationism) - Forum Kunena Site Syndication Sun, 24 Sep 2017 03:21:25 +0000 Kunena 1.6 Rethinking Hell | Exploring Evangelical Conditionalism (Annihilationism) - Forum en-gb Subject: Gehenna and bible translations - by: As this is my first time Just a short note of encouragement to say how much your work has helped me. My experience has I fear been that of many Christians - I never really thought through the issue of ECT. Hence the absolutely vital importance of your work encapsulated aptly in your name rethinking hell. For many years I paid lip service to the belief of ECT, partially I think to being a member of a traditional church strong on devotion and subjective experience but weak on thinking through issues like this.
The reasons for my change may be of interest to you. I have heard mentioned in your discussions the philosophical argument against ECT. I don't know if my experience can be classed as philosophical but it was when I was experiencing pain - on one occasion being scalded with hot water in the bath!   It just came to my mind the utter cruelty and uselessness of keeping someone in pain or torment for ever.  I then came across your website and this gave me the biblical data I needed to see how wrong this ECT is .  So this is the way I seek to speak to others -to look clinically at the concept of ECT - take it to its logical conclusion and then ask the questions - is this really what the Bible teaches and does this truly represent the character of God revealed in the Bible. That is why the reasons item in the explore section on this website is so important.
Thank you again for your work - let me encourage you to continue  - and the two vital areas that impress me -
first - the gracious manner in which you conduct the debate - this is so vital 
second - your love and commitment to God's word.  These two things under God's hand will surely gain a hearing.
Finally - here is my item for discussion -  one of the problems I feel that we have is that our Bible translations still have the word hell when in most cases it should read Gehenna.  Do you think this would make a big difference if our bibles in the future did have the proper word and not hell and is there any way we could work toward this - by contacting the various Bible publishers - just a thought.

God bless

Steve Cash   ( over here in England )]]>
General Discussion Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:26:01 +0000
Subject: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) - by: Kyle Niemand
Ephesians 2:1,5: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins... even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)...

Colossians 2:13: When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions...

Much of the terminal punishment argument rests on understanding terms like "kill," "destroy," and "perish" in their ordinary senses, but applied to the soul rather than the body. I've gotten the sense that in the conditionalist camp, "death" is defined as the cessation of conscious existence. There's debate between the physicalist and dualist camps over whether this happens to the body and the soul at the same time every time it happens, but that isn't the point of this post.

The point is this: In both passages, "death" seems to refer to conscious beings in a lesser state of existence (having not been forgiven of their sins or been united with Christ), and contrasted with a higher conscious state of existence (having been forgiven and "made alive" in Jesus). So these people are "alive" in the simple sense, in both body and spirit - they are conscious and able to think and feel - but they are also "dead" in a more complex way.

Does this prove the traditionalist idea that the soul's death is merely a very unpleasant kind of conscious existence?]]>
General Discussion Wed, 13 Sep 2017 03:46:18 +0000
Subject: 2 Thes 1:9 - Eternal destruction from the face - by: paulfalgout
When discussing ἀπό meaning "from" or "away from" I have heard the argument that it could be the presence of the Lord that causes the destruction itself meaning "from" might be the better interpretation, but that argument seems to stop there as simply a plausible option.

However this sounded to me like what God warned Moses about if he were to see God. So I looked at how the verses in Exodus 33 were translated into the greek. The word "presence" in the greek is πρόσωπον which also means "face" and is the same word used in the Greek translation of Exodus when God says "you cannot see my face[πρόσωπον] , for man shall not see me and live" And similarly in Thessalonians when it says "and from the glory of His power" The word "glory" in the Greek is δόξα which again is the same word used when Moses asks "Please show me your glory" and when God says, "while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand" which of course God is doing so His presence and His glory doesn't kill Moses.

I suppose this could be coincidence, but can anyone with more authority speak to this?

General Discussion Tue, 12 Sep 2017 20:02:12 +0000
Subject: Death vs annihilation in terms of punishment - by: paulfalgout
Regarding the Pettis debate there seemed to be a consistent misunderstanding when Pettis would assume the argument was that the punishment was non-existence, there by, I believe discounting the death. To help describe the difference, I thought of this story.

A man is found standing in front of a pile of ashes distraught. Upon asking why, the man replies that he witnessed what looked like a meteor strike his house. His house was immediately engulfed in flames and smoke. His wife was caught upstairs in his house unable to escape. When the fire department arrived they could do nothing to quench the fire and the man had to stand there listening to his wife cry out his name followed by her screams of pain while she was dying in agony.

The common traditionalist view of the conditionalist position on punishment would then ask, "why didn't he just say she was cremated?"]]>
General Discussion Tue, 12 Sep 2017 05:34:47 +0000
Subject: What is the big deal with Immortality? - by: Piqsid
I guess I am confused by the definition of the word “Immortality.” I admit my understanding of immortality is clouded by fantasy literature, in which immortality means that you can live forever. Your body will not get old or wear out. It seems that the definition being used in this argument is not that people “can” live forever, but that they “will” live forever.

To me the phrase “Eternal Life” means you will live forever. Whether that eternal life is gained because God will eternally sustain you, you occasionally eat from the tree of life, or because you gain an inherent nature that is immortal is irrelevant to me. The only relevant thing is that the saved will live forever in heaven. Trying to figure out how God plans to bring that about isn’t something I feel is a fruitful endeavor.

I don’t think anyone would argue that our bodies are mortal in this life. We get old, we wear out, and, even if we are free of any disease, we will die. What about our souls? The souls of those who died in the flood have been “alive” for about 4,000 years. The soul of Abel has been “alive” for about 5,500 years. How much longer can those souls last? If they are not immortal as conditionalists believe, then they should expire at some point. Whether those souls are sleeping or exist somewhere in the intermediate state, people on both sides of the argument agree that those souls will be reunited with their bodies at the resurrection, so they still do exist. Obviously both sides believe that those souls will continue to exist until Christ returns. Whether that is because the souls are immortal or it is because God is sustaining them, seems to me irrelevant.

Once they are raised there is no argument that the saved will be made immortal. Past traditionalists, when not debating with a conditionalist, have said that both the saved and the unsaved will have eternal life, one in heaven and one in hell. More recently in the debates I have heard, traditionalists tend to distance themselves from those kind of statements and do not define the existence of hell as “Eternal Life” but as a lesser type of eternal existence. Either way, their bodies and souls will not expire. Again, whether this is because the nature of their risen bodies doesn’t allow them to expire, or because God is actively sustaining them seems irrelevant to me.

Another question is, “Can God kill an immortal being?” If your definition of immortality is that you “will” live forever, then if God kills you, you are not immortal. But if the definition is that you “can” live forever, then God can kill you. In Mathew 10, people debate the meaning of “kill” when Jesus talks about God killing both body and soul. Let’s say for a moment that it does mean “ruin.” Then the question still stands, “Can God kill an immortal being?” If your answer is no, is it because God is not powerful enough, or is it because the word “Immortal” implies that someone has to live forever.

One of the arguments in favor of Eternal Conscious Torment is that because we sinned against an eternal God, we must be punished for eternity. But if we are all raised to “imperishable” bodies, bodies that will never grow old, that are impervious to disease, that could live forever, and then God sends some to heaven and annihilates the rest, that punishment would be an eternal punishment. You would be robbing them of eternal existence. If you instead kill someone who would have only survived for a few more decades anyway, the price they are really paying is only that many years.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I don’t understand why conditionalists are fighting so hard against the idea of human immortality. If God annihilates immortal beings in hell, that satisfies a lot of the issues that traditionalists have with their view of hell not being a sufficient penalty. I understand if you feel that is not what the Bible teaches, but it doesn’t seem to support one side or the other strongly. If the lost are immortal, then conditionalists simple say God is powerful enough to still kill them in hell. If the lost are not immortal, then traditionalists either say God sustains them in hell, or their existence is qualified as some other type of eternal consciousness.]]>
General Discussion Wed, 06 Sep 2017 15:07:19 +0000
Subject: Did God Kill the Fallen Angels in 2 Peter 2:4 - by: RichlyBlessed
2 Pet. 2:4 - "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;

...About angels being 'reserved' in gloom until judgment- they are certainly conscious and active.

Jude 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. false human teachers are said, in the same language to have 'gloom' of darkness 'reserved' for them forever. If same punishment, then same conscious experience of gloom forever.

After just a cursory reading of 2 Peter 2, it is not as obvious to me as it is to my friend that these unspared angels are conscious and active. After a warning to the false teachers of Peter's day, he launches into three historical examples of judgment, beginning with these fallen angels...

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment... (2 Peter 2:4 ESV)

The word translated "hell" in this passage is the Greek "Tartarus."

The two examples that follow are clearly of judgment of death/destruction: the world during the time of Noah, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Given that the angels are listed in a string of examples in which those judged are condemned to death, is it a plausible reading of 2 Peter 2:4 that the angels referenced here were likewise killed?

Any other thoughts on how I might answer my friend's objection?]]>
General Discussion Wed, 30 Aug 2017 22:38:56 +0000
Subject: New verses to discuss - by: Piqsid
Psalm 9:3-6
Oddly enough, among all the passages available, this is the passage that changed my mind or perhaps closed the door for me on the traditional view. Before I discovered this passage, I saw strong cases for both sides. On one side you had many verses that said eternal life is only given to the saved, and on the other side you had a couple passages in Revelations that said the lost suffer eternal torment. Both sides had answers to each other’s points showing how those verses could be interpreted both ways. Then in the middle you have a bunch of verses that talk about Eternal Punishment or Eternal Destruction. Both sides say these middle passages support their view. But every reference text they point out could also be interpreted the other way. I wanted a clear concise passage that is not masked in a vision or apocalyptic prophecy that shows the lost in a permanent sate of destruction that lasts forever.
This is what Psalm 9:3-6 says:
"When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence. For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever. The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished."

To me this is very clear. No imagery. No apocalyptic language. Wicked perish. They are ruined. They have come to an end. And it is forever and ever; everlasting. You cannot read this passage and get eternal suffering. It is impossible. All you can do is say that David was writing about Philistines or some other temporal enemy. But that doesn’t work either. The enemy is brought into the presence of God. God is sitting on his throne in judgement. The punishment is eternal. This is clearly referring to final judgment.

Isaiah 33:10-14
10 "Now I will arise," says the LORD, "now I will lift myself up; now I will be exalted.
11 You conceive chaff; you give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you.
12 And the peoples will be as if burned to lime, like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire."
13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: "Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?"

I have no idea why I haven’t heard this passage brought up before. There is an ongoing debate on the interpretation of the term Unquenchable/Eternal Fire. The traditionalists say that it goes on forever and therefore anything thrown into it goes on forever, while the conditionalists say that it also speaks of the quality of the fire: it consumes completely. To me these arguments have often seemed circular since both sides continually reference the same texts that they both continually interpret differently. Because of Jude, I’ve agreed with the conditionalists. That verse definitely emphasizes the quality of the fire above its duration. But you still need to jump around between verses. I wanted one place that says it clearly. I feel Isaiah 33:10-14 does this. As I understand Hebrew poetry, the verses are set up to constantly repeat themselves, saying the exact same thing in a different way. (As I just did)
Verse 10
"Now I will arise," says the LORD,
"now I will lift myself up;
now I will be exalted.”
This verse actually repeats itself three times.
Verse 11
“You conceive chaff;
you give birth to stubble;”
Once again saying the exact same thing. Also, Isaiah speaks of chaff, which Jesus references and stubble which is referenced in Malachi 4:1.
Verse 12
“And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.”
Again, parallel lines saying the same thing.
Verse 13
“Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.”
Here the lines are counter to each other, but I can’t imagine a Biblical scholar not agreeing that they are saying the same thing, namely that everyone (near and far) will acknowledge God’s power.
Verse 14
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
"Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?"
Again the first two lines say the exact same thing. Does that mean the last two lines are also saying the same thing? Are “everlasting burnings” the same thing as “consuming fire”? In the debate over terms like Eternal Punishment and Eternal Destruction, conditionalists are quick to say that it doesn’t say “Eternal PunishING” or “Eternal DestroyING.” Punishment and Destruction are nouns and can be easily interpreted as the result of the action. But “everlasting burning” is definitely an ongoing process. Why don’t traditionalists jump at this passage? Because it says that “everlasting burning” is the same thing as “consuming fire,” which in verse 12 says will burn people down to lime. So not only does this passage give the clearest evidence that eternal or unquenchable fire is a consuming fire, but it also adds the phrase “Who among us can dwell” in such fire? Traditionalists would have you believe that the lost can dwell for eternity in such fire. Isaiah disagrees.

Ezekiel 18
In my Bible, the header of this entire chapter is “The Soul Who Sins Shall Die.” Verse 4 says “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.” The whole chapter basically says if you live a righteous life, you will live, if you live a sinful life you will die. Since everyone dies in this life, I don’t think it is talking about this life. In this life sinners also live and righteous also die. It only makes sense if he is talking about final judgement. Verse 30 says “Therefore I will judge you.” This is pretty clear that God will judge the wicked and he will kill their souls. I don’t feel that Jesus was quoting this passage in Mathew 10:28. I don’t see any study Bibles that link the two. But it is basically saying the same thing.

Ezekiel 27:36, 28:18-19
Ezekiel 27 talks about the judgement on the city of Tyre, while chapter 28 talks about the judgement against the Prince of Tyre. Ezekiel 27:36 says “…you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.” Ezekiel 28:18-19 says “By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought fire out from your midst; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.” These passages add a phrase that I don’t find elsewhere “shall be no more forever.” Ezekiel 26:21 says “I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more.” This verse lacks the “forever.” These verses combine everything conditionalists believe. You have a consuming fire. You have the wicked reduced to ashes. You have the wicked being appalled by others as they are being destroyed. And you have them coming to an end and ceasing to exist forever. How would a traditionalist explain these passages?]]>
General Discussion Wed, 30 Aug 2017 13:55:12 +0000
Subject: Universalism/Universal Reconciliation - by: MusicLover123 Universalism Mon, 28 Aug 2017 23:27:18 +0000