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Featured Conditional Immortality Supports Annihilationion, Refutes Eternal Conscious Torment and Universalism

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Mark Corbett, Jul 28, 2017.

  1. Der Alter

    Der Alter This is me about 1 yr. old. Supporter

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    An interesting article but there is an assumption being made.
    Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
    What God created He can certainly destroy but this verse does not say that God will destroy body and soul in hell only that He is able.
     
  2. Friend-of-Jesus

    Friend-of-Jesus Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, I misunderstood your post. I didn't read it carefully. I believe in eternal conscious torment in the flames of hell of all those who did not believe in the Son of God Jesus Christ the Lord.
     
  3. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you mind me asking why you believe in eternal conscious torment?
     
  4. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Grammatically, you are correct. Jesus states what God is capable of doing, not what He will do. However, it seems unlikely that Jesus was making an empty threat. After all, if later on people found out that God will never actually destroy body and soul, then the impact of this verse is lost.

    A friend suggested an analogy. If Jesus had said, "Fear God because He can turn you into a chicken", it probably would not have inspired much fear. I don't doubt at all that God has the ability to turn me into a chicken, I just don't believe it is the type of thing God will do. Likewise, if people believe that destroying body and soul in Hell is not the type of thing God will actually do, why would that make them fear Him?

    More importantly, there are other verses which state that destruction (using the noun, destruction, which comes from the same root as the verb, destroy, which is used in Matthew 10:28) is precisely the end for the ungodly:

    ESV Philippians 3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
     
  5. stuart lawrence

    stuart lawrence Well-Known Member

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    Paul, when speaking of his life as a pharisee said:

    For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, Sin revived and I died rom7:9

    He didn't mean he literally died did he.

    Just so, destruction does not have to mean no existence whatsoever
     
  6. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Senior Member Supporter

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    Hi Chris, I've just joined in and have only skimmed the thread, so I am posting a bit on the blind side I'm sorry to say. However, Rev 20:10 came to mind when I read the words you wrote (in bold) above.

    Revelation 20
    7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison,
    8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.
    9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.
    10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

    How do you turn, "tormented day and night forever and ever" into annihilation for the devil, the beast and the false prophet?

    Thanks!

    Yours and His,
    David
     
  7. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    David, I'm not Chris, but I hope you don't mind if I try to offer an answer. The short answer is that John's vision of a Lake of Fire, like many parts of his visions throughout Revelation involves symbols. In this case, as in several other cases, John explicitly tells us what the Lake of Fire means:

    NIV Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

    "Second death" is the literal interpretation of the symbolic vision. I explain this in much greater depth, with lots of Biblical evidence, in a separate thread, here:

    What is the 2nd Death?

    [​IMG]
     
  8. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Senior Member Supporter

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    Thanks Mark, I'll check it out.
     
  9. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Stuart, thanks for asking about this. To answer, I'll copy in an extended quote from a blog post where I share the results of my word study on destroy/destruction (apollumi/apoleia):

    One Important Word Study

    In a great symphony each note played by each instrument contributes to the whole. In the same way, each word of each verse in the Bible harmoniously reveals God’s truth to us.

    As I have studied the topic of the eternal fate of the unsaved more and more, I have seen more and more details which all support the truth that unbelievers will eventually utterly perish and be no more. Studies of some of the key words related to this topic have strengthened my confidence in this view.

    For me, the most important word study has been the study of the Greek words apollumi, a verb, and apoleia, a noun based on the same root. All words have a range of meaning depending on their context. If you wanted to choose a single English verb and noun to translate apollumi and apoleia, good choices would probably be “destroy” and “destruction”.

    Apollumi/apoleia is probably the word used most often in the New Testament to describe the fate of the unrighteous. In Matthew 10:28 it is translated “destroy” (also see Philippians 1:28, Hebrews 10:39, and James 4:12), in Matthew 21:41 it is translated “put . . . to . . . death”, in John 3:16 and other verses it is translated “perish” (see Luke 13:3, 5; Romans 2:12, and 2 Peter 3:9), and in Philippians 3:19 it is translated “destruction” (see also Matthew 7:13, Romans 9:22, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Peter 3:7, Revelation 17:11). More examples could be given.

    As one who used to believe in eternal conscious torment, and even teach it, I know the usual explanation for verses like Matthew 10:28 and John 3:16. It is pointed out that apollumi can also mean “ruin” (see Matthew 9:17) or “lost” (Luke 15:9). That’s true. But this fact fails to recognize that when speaking about people, apollumi/apoleia very consistently refers to death, usually a violent death. When speaking about inanimate objects like a wineskin or coins, it can indeed simply mean “ruined” or “lost”, but not when speaking about what happens to people, and especially not when speaking about what one person does to another person.

    There are in fact quite a few verses where apollumi is not referring to the eternal fate of people but simply to people killing, or wanting to kill, other people in this world. Here are some examples:

    Matthew 2:13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill (apollumi) him."

    Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed (apollumi).

    Acts 5:37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed (apollumi), and all his followers were scattered.

    If you want to see more examples, look at: Matthew 12:14, Matthew 21:41, Matthew 22:7, and Luke 13:33.

    While all this information is useful, I found (I was not the first to find this!) even more amazing information about apollumi/apoleia. You might wonder if the Greeks had a word which was used to refer to the whole person, soul and body, being completely extinguished after death? This is what we mean by “annihilationism”. It turns out they did!

    The Greeks had a Word for It!
    (Warning: This part is powerful, but a bit technical.)

    The Greek philosopher Plato was widely read throughout the Greek speaking world for centuries after he died. In one of his works, Phaedo, Plato discussed rather extensively his thoughts and opinions about what happens to human souls after death. One of the options he discussed (but did not agree with) was the possibility that a person’s soul would entirely cease to exist, which is what we mean by annihilationism. When he described this possibility he used the word apollumi:

    [from Phaedo, 70a]. They fear that when the soul leaves the body it no longer exists anywhere, and that on the day when the man dies it is destroyed (apollumi) and perishes, and when it leaves the body and departs from it, straightway it flies away and is no longer anywhere, scattering like a breath or smoke.​

    This is just one example. If you want to research this, you may also find apollumi used to mean what we mean by “annihilation” in Phaedo, 80d, 86d, 91d, 95d, and 106b.

    In Plato’s Republic he also uses apollumi to refer to annihilation of the human soul:

    “Have you never perceived,” said I, “that our soul is immortal and never perishes (apollumi)?” (Republic, 10.608d)

    Far more (way more, incredibly more) important than seeing that Plato used apollumi to mean what I am saying “second death” means, there is a clear example of the Apostle Paul using apollumi in the same way.

    Whatever apollumi means in John 3:16, we all agree that it happens after the resurrection and judgment and that it only happens to the unrighteous. But Paul discussed a terrible hypothetical situation where Jesus did not rise from the dead (he did this to show how important the resurrection is to our faith). In this terrible hypothetical situation Paul said that there would be no resurrection for anyone if Jesus did not rise. In this terrible hypothetical situation, Paul explained that even Christians would have apollumi-ed:

    ESV 1 Corinthians 15:18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished (apollumi).

    Further, Paul cannot have meant merely that the bodies of Christians were destroyed while their souls suffered for their sin, because Paul goes on to say:

    ESV 1 Corinthians 15:32b If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

    If there is any type of just judgment and punishment after death, it would not make sense to live only for pleasure in this world. So when Paul says that if Christ did not rise from the dead then dead Christians have perished (apollumi) he is saying exactly what I have been claiming “second death” means, namely the complete destruction of body and soul. The word Paul uses to describe this “annihilation” is the very same word which the New Testament authors, including Paul, most frequently used to describe the final fate of the unrighteous!

    This is truth is worth highlighting:

    [​IMG]

    The word “appolumi” and it’s noun form, “apoleia” are often used to refer to the fate of the unrighteous:

    [​IMG]

    Remember, the purpose of this admittedly somewhat technical Greek word study of apollumi has not been to convince you that the words in your English Bible have some strange, unexpected meaning, but rather to demonstrate that “perish” means “perish” and “destroy” means “destroy”.
     
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  10. Ronald

    Ronald Exhortations

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    Hell is the Lake of Fire. It is a literal and physical realm most likely an event on earth and not inside it. Hades is not Hell, it is a dungeon-like cave/cavern within the earth's core where unbelieving souls go to await their punishment.
    Destruction means just that, to put an end to. It doesn't mean a soul can be continuously destroyed forever. That would be an indestructible destruction or imperishable perishing. It's a contradiction. If you put a piece of paper in the fire, it burns and is destroyed.
    The other word we need to look at is eternity. It is an English term translated from the Greek word Aion, Aionious or Aionion. English translations use forever, ever and everlasting as well, but they should not have and eternal meaning. This same word is also used to describe an age(s), generations(s), lifetime(s), epoch or world. Therefore, ever + age(s), and everlasting + age-lasting or age-during. These words have variable meanings but should ONLY be used to describe eternity or eternal when it applies to God, His domain or our salvation. All other usages are temporal and for a fixed period of time. Now since the earth and all former things will pass away, then any part of earth, including Hades will pass away. Hades will be thrown into the Lake of Fire along with Death and be destroyed. That doesn't mean over and over again, that means an end will come. These former things will pass away. The Bible says that there will be a time when there will no longer be pain or suffering. That is a given in Heaven so I don't think this was pertaining to Heaven. I think it pertained to pain and suffering elsewhere. Besides how could an eternal torture chamber glorify the LORD? And how could we enjoy eternity while others we know are suffering unless He wiped our memories of them and then what would be the purpose of Him alone knowing they are suffering. No, His justice is perfect and sins will be judged proportionally. How could he sentence someone to eternal suffering for a mere 80 years of sinning. And some don't even live that long. We may think Hitler deserves 6 million lifetimes of suffering but eventually it should come to an end, no? Finally, no where in the Bible does His Judgment teach eternal damnation. His judgments were always temporal, sometimes a generation, sometimes 400 years and sometimes immediate destruction but they always came to an end. And guess what, if the Lake of Fire is temporal, so will Satan and his horde be as well.
    You are correct, the Lake of Fire is temporal, only God, heaven, the angels and our salvation is eternal.
     
  11. stuart lawrence

    stuart lawrence Well-Known Member

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    I'm afraid I don't read long posts, but what I did read, I failed to see you address the point made
     
  12. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The point is that when speaking about what is done to people, the Bible very consistently uses the words translated destroy/destruction to mean what we mean by annihilation. There are many examples and much evidence, but without reading the long post, you won't see this evidence yourself.
     
  13. stuart lawrence

    stuart lawrence Well-Known Member

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    The literal words of the Bible contain a spiritual message. The literal wording is not always what you hang your belief on, but rather the message those words contain.
    As previously mentioned, Paul, when speaking of his life as a pharisee, when the law came to him, said: he died. He did not mean he literally died did he.
    Just so, when the word destruction is used, it does not automatically follow destruction means end of existence
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  14. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Words can be used metaphorically and symbolically. This is true. But whether or not they are being used that way is determined in the context. What in the context of Matthew 10:28 leads you to believe that "destroy" is used with a non-literal meaning? And what meaning do you think it has?
     
  15. stuart lawrence

    stuart lawrence Well-Known Member

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    Well I'm not getting into a scripture quoting contest with you, I told you this subject doesn't inspire me enough for that. I have defended the fact if you spend eternity in hell that does not prove God is a callous, heartless God, and I did point out words do not always have literal meanings.
    However as you quoted matt10:28 I will simply respond to that one.
    Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
    You are spiritually destroyed. It is not living in the sense we understand living to be. Just an existence leading nowhere, for God's presence does not exist in hell
     
  16. St_Worm2

    St_Worm2 Senior Member Supporter

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    Hi Mark, you have quite the detailed OP over on your other thread as well, so I'll head over there later to discuss your idea of what the 2nd Death really is.

    I had some other things that came to mind that I'd like to discuss first, so here goes.

    Matthew 11
    20 Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.
    21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
    22 Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
    23 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.
    24 Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.
    If the outcome following the Judgement is the same (annihilation) for all who are reprobate, what meaning could these words of the Lord's possibly have, words which are clearly meant to not only concern us, but to frighten us as well? In what way will the Judgment be "more tolerable" for some than for others (if the sentence imposed by God at the Judgment is virtually the same for everyone)?

    The Lord tells us that our works in this life, whether good and bad, will be judged, and that punishments (in Hell) or rewards (in Heaven) will be meted out accordingly. Concerning the former, how will justice ever be served if both Ghandi and Hitler, for instance (assuming that neither man is a Christian), receive the exact same punishment :scratch:

    Thanks!

    Yours and His,
    David

     
  17. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You don't want to read long posts, and it sounds like you don't want to discuss much Scripture, and you yourself say you are not interested in this topic. So why do you keep commenting? Do you expect to leave a short comment and for the rest of us to just take your word for it?
     
  18. stuart lawrence

    stuart lawrence Well-Known Member

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    As I said. I would defend against any insinuation God is callous and cruel if people end up existing in hell. And it is correct to point out not all literal words in scripture should be taken literally.
    But actually, I am enjoying reading the posts others are contributing to this subject. It's nice to simply be an onlooker at times!
    BTW
    A Jewish Christian minister once noted
    The Quran is written to be read according to the literal wording to understand the message.
    The Bible is not written that way.

    Or that was the gist of what he was saying
     
  19. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    note: only part of David's comment is quoted.

    David, you ask good questions, and provide good Scriptural support for the questions you ask.

    Annihilationism leaves room for varying degrees of punishment. This is because we believe the lost will eventually be annihilated. Either before they are completely destroyed, or perhaps during the process of being destroyed, I believe that they will indeed suffer consciously. And this suffering can vary depending on factors such as their sins and how much exposure they had to God's truth. I definitely believe that punishment will be proportional in some ways to the sins committed.

    Jesus said:

    Luke 12: 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.
    47 "The servant who knows the master's will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.
    48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

    Notice two truths:
    1. Not everyone gets the same amount of blows.
    2. Some only get a few blows.

    How can point two be true if all the unsaved are tormented forever? Granted, eternal conscious torment can allow for degrees of punishment. But even the mildest "eternal conscious torment" could not be accurately described as a "few blows".

    I believe the "few blows" refers to the conscious part of the suffering before annihilation. In this passage, Jesus does not tell us all that will happen, but what He does say seems to be able to be more easily harmonized with annihilationism than with eternal torment, at least imo.
     
  20. Mark Corbett

    Mark Corbett Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm won't be available for comment much for the rest of the evening. I may have time to respond to a few comments in a couple of hours, but I'm not sure. May God continue to bless and guide this conversation.
     
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