When Jesus refers to this punichment as eternal, he simply underlines, as the prophets had done, the total seriousness---the eternal seriousness---of God in pursuing his one and only purpose." Another thing, in answer to pure annihilationism it might be pointed out that the extinction of being admits of no degrees of punishment. Arndt and Gingrich, viewing the verb as a middle voice form, suggest that these “prepared themselves for destruction” (1967, 419; see also Vine 1991). Those who oppose the doctrine of eternal punishment go to the Greek language of the New Testament, focusing on the meanings of the Greek word, aiwnios, which is translated as “eternal” in most English translations of the Bible. In Jesus’ name. 25:41); indeed, their “worm dies not [i.e., the gnawing anguish continues on and on] and the fire is not quenched” (Mk. He thus does not possess a “soul” (or “spirit”) that will inhabit eternity. ChristianCourier.com. And in verse 17 of chapter 3, Peter says, “And now, brethren, I know that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But yet, that would be a strange doctrine to hold, wouldn’t it? Transcription from tape 3. Jesus said: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:46). He noted that it was an existence of “pain” where he “found trouble and sorrow” (Psa. Now, of course, if a person believes in simple annihilation, that would be hard to square with it because no distinction could be made. Not punish it. Consider the following: While it may be granted that the faithful survive the death of the body, does that premise hold true for the lost? In lesson #16 of this series we have already discussed divine justice. But lying back of universalism is the idea that God is so loving that he would not commit anyone to eternal punishment. No man can complain about the injustice of hell in the face of the cross! One of the German theologians, a man by the name of Oetinger, uttered a statement which became something of a proverb among Universalists. After all, who is the person who has spoken more of hell and hellfire than anyone else?” Well, it’s clearly the Lord Jesus Christ out of – I think I’ll, in the next message or so, will deal with this, but so my figures may not be quite accurate. Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ. It also teaches that unbelievers will bear just punishment after death, as I’ve mentioned. Rather, it is “the loss of a life of blessedness after death, future misery” (Thayer 1958, 443). I’m not in heaven. The bible teaches that those who reject God’s message of reconciliation and gift of eternal life will be cast into the lake of fire, as in complete incineration which is described as “the second death.” This is eternal damnation with no hope of resurrection. No tenet is more radical and revolutionizing, in its influence upon the Christian system. It’s used of entrance into spiritual life. In that, in our theological schools, many of our schools, many of our schools that you might think would be relatively sound are influenced by the doctrine if universalism. It teaches first of all that man is not inherently immortal. There is a fairly detailed attempt in Edward Fudge’s book called The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of Final Punishment. Now, you can see it’s an alleviating doctrine because it in effect will ask also is it like God. And of the things I have selected that we may weigh upon our spirits is what seems to me to be the single most important feature of the biblical teaching in this area, and it is t… I mentioned Origen a few moments ago. 116:3). So, when Paul says, “For as in Adam all die,” the “all,” that refers to everybody, does it not? In loving recognition for all he has done, we dedicate this site to preserving his work. People do not like to discuss or think about the eternal punishment that consists the word of … Not because he chooses or wants, but like a man who would look over life, death is a reality. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. Another thing, the spiritually dead are described in Scripture as conscious. The actual punishment will be greater than any figure of speech can portray. Each of these terms suggests consciousness. Now, of course, if you’re not a student of hermeneutics, you’re not a student of the Bible. Well, one cannot hardly answer that. 12:47-48; Heb. So, lying back of it is really a rational idea built upon certain biblical concepts, but at the expense of other biblical concepts. That would be a truth. In other words, the concept of eternal punishment was not consistent with his sense of justice. That he becomes so by faith in Christ. That is, that ultimately those that are lost will be destroyed. I always think of the story of two individuals who were getting on in years and they were professing Christians. That is, the ultimate well being of every person. In other words, in eternal death, we have spiritual death simply prolonged. On the other hand, Clark Pinnock, a well known evangelical professor of systematic theology, used to be at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was my predecessor some time a few years back at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, now is teaching in Canada, he is a Canadian, very highly respected evangelical. Charles Hodge says that in the light of this fact that is an almost invincible presumption that the Bible teaches the eternal conscious punishment of the finally impenitent because it’s hard to see how if our Lord’s views were different from the Jewish views that he would not say something about so important a thing. The concept of an eternal future, which involves punishment for those who choose not to serve God, is one that strikes a note of terror in the heart. Salvation supposes a prior damnation. Though he acknowledged that some punishment was justified in the case of criminals, he opined that eternal punishment was unjust. And I want to devote some time one of these Tuesday nights probably to raise the question, “How could God have dealt with men?” And I’d like to show you, I think it can be shown very plainly, that the most gracious way to deal with us is to deal with us through representative individuals. Nihil in Latin means nothing. That in itself ought to make them think, “Well, we’re denouncing it. But if it’s not a reality and if our Lord does know all things and he knew that then he was only bluffing when he talked about eternal punishment or maybe I should put it in a question. Oh, I recommend that you read that. Daniel wrote concerning the condemned who are raised from the dust to a state of “shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. Because Jehovah is holy, he cannot simply overlook sin as if it does not exist (Hab. But we’re not discussing that because that hardly can be called a scriptural doctrine at all in the sense that usually people who hold to a doctrine like that don’t claim to be Christians. This is what he says, “Nor does the quibble avail, that the phrase, ‘everlasting destruction,’ or such–like, implies annihilation. If his denial is an error, the error prevents penitence for sin, and this prevents pardon. Recent writers have sought to ground its support in exegesis, however. 2:4). Two principal theories have been advanced in opposition to this church doctrine of eternal punishment. 89:14), evil must be punished (cf. I see a little stream, cool water flowing down through this particular place.” And she said, “Oh, John, heaven must be wonderful.” “Heaven, Elizabeth. So, the spiritually dead are described in Scripture as conscious. A study of God's major judgments (e.g., the flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah) shows that the Old Testament focuses on premature death when dealing with the fate of the ungodly, not on life after death. It consists largely of those passages that are referred to last Tuesday night, Romans chapter 5 and verse 18 where the apostle, in the great chapter in which he compares the work of Adam with the work of Christ, speaks of what Adam has done for the race and what Christ has done for his people. These Christians point to biblical references to eternal punishment, as well as eternal elements of this punishment, such as the unquenchable fire, the everlasting shame, the "worm" that never dies, and the smoke that rises forever, as consistent with the traditional doctrine of eternal, conscious torment of the non-believers or sinners in hell. Ferguson taught, among other errors, that there is no punishment for evil men after death (West 1949, 261-65). It is the following: This eternal sinning against God will involve eternal misery. And it’s also the reason why so much can be deceptive. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Will There Be Personal Recognition in Heaven? [Message] Last week we began a brief series of messages on eternal punishment. And the book is five hundred pages long. And here Paul says, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”. Howard Davies, "Judgement: The Doctrine Lost to the Modern Pulpit," Banner of Truth Magazine 364 (January 1994):13-18. Mt. But, finally, everybody is extinguished and there is no difference. But in Believers Chapel, at least, we have many, many people who are teaching here that God is not only love. N.T. How important it is that by Thy grace we come to know the triune God through Jesus Christ. 10:29; Rev. Do we not have a hermeneutical rule that if you have a word in one part of a sentence and it’s used again in the latter part of the sentence that you should give them the precisely same significance?” “Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation. Amen. The term “destruction” does not connote annihilation. But then professor Bruce, after acknowledging it’s a very worthy work, says that he doesn’t really accept the teaching that Mr. Fudge have given. That is, all animals but cats. We just simply pointed out that, so far as we can tell, it was the view of the ancient church. Well, we looked at the history of the doctrine. 3:24-26; Heb. And they are these, first of all, the doctrine of universalism. After some communication with brother Smith on this matter (see the printed Christian Courier, October, 1992), it is my devout prayer that our friend will study himself out of this position eventually, though I must say that, at this time, I have no indication of any inclination in this direction (see Jackson 1998, 18-19). Historically, the major Christian denominations have taught that those who die outside of Christ will suffer eternal punishment in hell. Access date: December 21, 2020. https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/95-the-doctrine-of-eternal-punishment. They lose whatever existence they had. The ultimate fate of the wicked will be like an “eternal fire” (Mt. In order, to know the parameters of what will happen at the time of death if not redeemed by the blood of the Savior. Punishment that goes on forever! Once more: "All souls are incorruptible, but the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies; but the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment." 10-11). It is naught but human emotionalism that obscures the issue for some. So, you can see that a person who is a believer in conditional immortality and a number of really professing Christians of some significance have held to this view. Universally, men are elected and shall be saved. Biblical Analysis of Claimed Support Texts for Eternal Torture . Given the arrogant disposition of mankind in general, the idea of eternal punishment has met with considerable resistance, even though it is plainly taught in the Scriptures. Now, generally speaking until recently there’s been no detailed attempt. And if the eternal punishment of individuals is something of which they do not know anything, have no concept of it happening, do not experience it, how can it be called eternal punishment? Now, in Acts chapter 3 and verse 21 when Peter is preaching after the healing of the lame man, I’m sure you remember that in preaching in the city of Jerusalem he told them that if the nation responded to the message and turned to the Lord even after the death and resurrection of our Lord and even after the coming of the Holy Spirit, even after in a sense this age is on its way from the day of Pentecost on, there was opportunity for Israel to reverse things by faith in the risen Christ. There are people who think that it’s not fair that what Adam did should affect us, little realizing, of course, that the way we share in the blessings of life is because of what Christ has done for us. So, you can see that there is no earnestness, no zeal in the proclamation of the gospel, no sense of the lost condition of men, no sense of the fact that they may slip off into an eternity of separation from God at any moment and consequently the preaching of the gospel suffers from it. Throughout all of the ages of eternity, all are extinct. I think thirteen times Gehenna or hellfire is mentioned in the New Testament and twelve of those occurrences are from the mouth of our Lord. While there are some passages that seem to argue for annihilationism, a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about the destiny of the wicked reveals the fact that punishment in hell is eternal. And if you read the New Testament, you, of course, would have to acknowledge that Jesus Christ made no effort to distinguish his view from theirs. Shedd, one of the finest of the Christian theologians, has some very strong words to say about eternal punishment and the denial of it in various forms. In fact, it is a parallel passage. Well, does not that teach universalism? Russell charged that no person “who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment” (1957, 17). 2:2). But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. And the Lord Jesus who speaks so much about hell did not say anything to indicate that he did not accept their views. Further, the evidence is mounting that there is a weakening posture on this theme within the church. That’s not a bad thing to say, incidentally.” You shouldn’t necessarily give up your orthodox faith because someone has posed a problem you cannot at the moment answer. In other words, it’s a well known fact that the Jews believed in eternal conscious punishment of the finally impenitent. Did not, for example, God say in the Garden of Eden, “Adam and Eve and the day you eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden in that day you will surely die.” Well, they ate. And after all, if you should die lost and you should have a second chance, would not everybody respond? If his denial is the truth, he needs no salvation. Many religious leaders today either deny this or aren’t sure. If this consisted in reducing the sinner forever to nothing, it would be instant destruction, not everlasting destruction. All rights reserved. Mt 25:46 "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." For example, he says in the 25th verse speaking to the nation, “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in Thee shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. The resurrection had not transpired. But, nevertheless, it’s rather striking that he has. Very much I guess like Harry Houdini has tried to do now for about fifty years and has been unsuccessful in doing it. Over against this emotional reaction is the sobering testimony of the Bible. Now, later on Peter will make this plain in this message that what he’s talking about is the fulfillment of the messianic promises given to Abraham. First of all, therefore, we turn in our study to think about the biblical testimony to its reality. I read these words for you. Well, an individual might reply to this. And they made a little pact between themselves that after the first one of them should die that they would arrange to have a meeting, a kind of a séance in which they would try to make contact with each other. I’m an angus bull on a hill in Montana.” [Laughter] Dennis didn’t get it, so I have to tell it again. But 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 22 says much the same thing as Romans 5. In other words, one would get the impression he’s embracing conditional immortality. Jude 13: "for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever" "outer Darkness" Lk 13:27: Hell is … 5:8-9). Ignoring the truth changes no reality. This could not have been said if human beings were entirely mortal. Now, we’ve already introduced this subject. So, here it is thought that what Peter is saying is that Jesus Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. 7. Does it not seem strange that Christ would speak of the “danger” of hell (Mt. And I know you’re happy about that. It was a proclamation of the victory of the cross, most likely. He said, “Corporeity (or that having to do with the body), corporeity is the end of the ways of God.” Everything ultimately is related to life in the body. We propose to deal with our present theme under the following divisions. And so when the moment came she said, very still, very quiet, “John.” There was no answer. At any rate, animals do have a form of existence, even cats. The second point of the Scripture teaching we now take up. To these misguided folks, “hell” is only “a place of rest in hope” (Ibid., 68). Well, of course, we give them praise for trying to find in Scripture their doctrine. I see beautiful green grass, just luscious, luscious grass. If the apostles didn’t denounce it and if the Lord didn’t denounce it, it may be true.”. In the first place, the Jews did not accept conditional immortality. Professor Pinnock has embraced a number of other things that would cause some scholars not to be surprised at his embracing this. It’s a treatment of a number of the texts that have been thought to teach eternal punishment. Consciousness belongs to suffering. We get philosophical terms like nihilism. This is quite an extensive work by a Christian man. He is not measured by us. He will only do that which is right (Gen. 18:25). That is, that when an individual dies he just does not exist anymore. But immortality is something that is conveyed as a gift to those who have believed in Christ. That it’s a gift of God. You don’t have to worry too much about it because I’ve yet to run across a Universalist who had much of a knowledge of the Bible. And we are grateful too for the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the new. About the concept of "eternal," he suggests, "It is punishment that fully accomplishes God's purpose in punishing; no other punishment will follow or be needed. And some people who have read Mr. Fudge’s book are very much persuaded by it. Another doctrine different from universalism, but one that alleviates endless conscious punishment is conditional immortality. Conscious existence, conscious life in a body resurrected and suited for everlasting punishment. In addition there is the awareness of being under the wrath of God and of enduring the curse of a righteous sentence because of one’s sins that were consciously and voluntarily committed (Powell 1988, 953). And universalism is one of the ways by which eternal punishment is denied. Another text that is often used by Universalists who like to appeal to the Bible – by the way, very few Universalists like to appeal to the Bible. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. 9:22). Book digitized by Google from the library of Harvard University and uploaded to the Internet Archive by user tpb. If it is so wrong how can it possibly be that Jesus and the apostles did not show some of the same zeal that they’re showing in denouncing the orthodox doctrine. 1:9). And so, the time came and she prepared everything nicely. Dr. S. Lewis Johnson continues his discussion of eternal punishment, expounding Christ's own words regarding the afterlife. Companion to this, of course, is the belief that there is no eternal punishment for those who reject God. And this is the second in the series. In the Book we turn to the Third Gospel, to the Gospel of Luke, to chapter 16, and we begin reading at … I’m going to read them again because I think they’re very important. We pray. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being scared into heaven. Conditional immortality does not teach that a person is annihilated immediately after he dies, but is rather only annihilated at the last judgement which will occur at the end of time. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. And then since the reformation there have been some well known opponents of eternal punishment: Schleiermacher, one of the most famous of the German theologians, and then Müller, also a German theologian, and Emil Brunner, a Swiss 20th century neo-orthodox theologian. That was the title of the article. They don’t eat quiche, they don’t like cats. Similarly, Jonah characterized his tormenting hours in the great fish’s belly as like being in “Sheol.” He observed that it was an environment of “affliction” (Jon. She pulled down the shades in a room that was dark. "The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment." Another thing, according to this theory, animals are punished too because they die and they incur an everlasting loss. Let us pursue this study under several categories. All shall have spiritual life. And so universalism is the salvation of all, the restoration of all, all shall have ultimately salvation in a way that will please God. Men don’t love cats. So, the words that our Lord uses have to be adjusted to that.” In other words, the punishment is temporal. Paul describes the fate of the lost as suffering “the punishment of eternal destruction” ( 2 Thess. Divinely instituted penalty of endless suffering, including banishment from God's blessed presence. He spoke of it as restitution or restoration. Notice, it’s in Adam, everybody dies. Some allege that the idea of man possessing a “soul” (or “spirit”) that survives the body in a conscious state, is a relic of paganism. One will be judged according to his knowledge, ability, and opportunity. ISSN: 1559-2235. The Doctrine of Judgment, Hell, and Eternal Punishment. Rom. So, conditional immortality. Not torture it. And they died. 25:46). One of the major doctrines of this apostate faction was the belief that unbelievers will remain eternally dead. [Laughter] Did you read in this morning’s paper about cats? The Old Testament. The fact that human beings were made in the very image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27) should suggest, to those who contemplate issues seriously, that we are more than mere temporal creatures passing through time toward oblivion. But that ultimately at the final judgement after he has suffered in measure to his sin, he will be annihilated made extinct, exist no longer. Some people believe, and usually these are cultic Christian groups, that when a person dies, if he’s not a believer in Christ, he’s annihilated at that moment. So judgment is a reality, and we’re speaking of that doctrine of eternal punishment tonight. Annihilation is a term that comes from the Latin noun nihil. Some have said, “It means simply to be resurrected and what Paul is teaching is universal resurrection. The Scriptures teach that punishment will be proportionate to the degree of one’s guilt (cf. And I’d like for the remainder of our few moments to say just a few words about it. That’s what they ought to do. The answer to that question, as far as Scripture is concerned, is a simple answer. No error, consequently, is more fatal than that of Universalism. Even in hell the judgment will be fair. But so you must pay a little more attention to verse 22, “For as in Adam all die. And, of course, in other places in the Epistle to the Romans over and over again Paul makes it plain that the reception of it is through faith, a faith given by God, but nevertheless through the instrumentality of faith. Now, the evidence contrary to conditional immortality is rather significant. The doctrine of "eternal punishment" declares that all who do not believe on Jesus Christ while in their mortal bodies spend eternity in an inescapable, unending hell. But anyway, John died first and so Elizabeth made arrangements to have contact with him. He might say, “Well, he can have degrees of punishment until he is extinguished. The fact that human beings were made in the very image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27) should suggest, to those who contemplate issues seriously, that we are more than mere temporal creatures passing through time toward oblivion. She also brought in some other things that she thought might enable her to make contact with him. Origen, the Alexandrian church father, was the first to openly teach it. That’s the issue. [Laughter] That’s sub-apostolic teaching. The two main contemporary challenges to the doctrine of eternal punishment in hell are universalism, the belief that all will be saved, and annihilationism, the belief that those condemned to hell will be destroyed rather than eternally suffering. God is loving (1 Jn. The death is called eternal. It wasn’t the preaching of the gospel at all. But, Capital B, universalism. So, if we are to say that the love of God is such that we cannot think of the fires of hell as really expressive of the character of God, it’s not simply a slur on preachers who preach hellfire and damnation. But if, for example, when a person or thing dies you cannot speak of the animal suffering afterwards if the substance of punishment is in the result. Larry Dixon, The Other Side of the Good News. 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