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Origen

Debate: The State\Fate of the Dead

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@Jordan Henshaw Affirmative: The punishment for sin involves permanent cessation of consciousness.

 

@reformed baptist Negative: The punishment for sin is both eternal and conscious.

The debate will consists of 3 rounds.

 

Jordan you have 24 hours to make your first post.

 

No one is allow to post comments until the debate is finished.

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Greetings, ladies and gentlemen,

 

I thank my opponent for his willingness to participate in this debate, and I thank you all for considering my unusual perspective.

 

Every morning we open our bibles to read the scriptures, to sing in worship, and to understand the God of the universe. Every day we dive into the scriptures to know more, to understand more, and to clarify more. Every day we seek to know who God is.

 

Today should be no different.

 

Today, I ask you to open the scriptures with an open mind, free of any human assumptions or biases, that we may pursue with greater purity the wisdom that our God has imparted to us.

 

In this free mindset, I ask you to challenge a truth that many brothers and sisters have believed without question for the entirety of their walk with God.

 

The truth I today ask you to challenge is this: the punishment God renders to every unrighteous human - regardless of language, lifestyle, ethnic background, or even exposure to the Gospel - is the most painful form of torture known to man, lasting trillions of trillions of trillions of years.

 

At no point in this debate will I attempt to appeal to your emotions. At no point in this debate will I appeal to any fallible, human authority. Instead, I will show you that the inerrant Word of God stands in direct conflict with this truth (that I once believed myself), as described above.

 

I will show you that the bible instead teaches that immortality is a gift given only to the righteous, that it repeatedly teaches that the unrighteous will perish, will be destroyed, and will be burned up, and that the punishment for sin is clearly illustrated through the death of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

 

My admirable opponent will acknowledge that the wages of sin is indeed “death”, and that the righteous will receive eternal life, but will disagree on the meaning of this “death”. My opponent will attempt to convince you that said death is the equivalent of unending life in the death of Hell. He will try to convince you that the unrighteous will be alive and conscious, but will also be dead. He will not be able to provide a single verse that explicitly supports this concept. He also will not be able to provide a single verse that supports the concept that the human soul is inherently immortal.

 

I on the other hand believe that the lake of fire will quickly destroy the humans cast into it. I will not ask you to stretch fundamental rules of logic. I will not ask you to forsake your basic human judgment. I will not ask you to believe blindly something that does not make sense.

 

 

1. The bible specifically states more than 34 times throughout scripture that immortality is a gift that God will give to the righteous only. In Genesis, God casts Adam and Eve out of the garden specifically to protect them from the curse of immortality.

 

1 John 3:15; Mark 10:17; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18; John 3:16; John 5:39; John 6:54; John 6:68; John 10:28; John 17:2; John 17:3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:11; 1 John 5:13; 1 John 5:20; Jude 1:21; Genesis 3:22; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; John 4:14; Revelation 21:6; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:54; 1 Timothy 6:16

 

 

2. The bible expressly states that the wicked shall be destroyed, slaughtered, and burned to ashes repeatedly throughout scripture. Our example of what will happen to the wicked is Sodom, which is no longer burning, despite having been burned specifically by eternal fire.

 

Mathew 10:28; Romans 6:23; James 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 5:16; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8; Philippians 3:19; Psalm 145:20; Mathew 7:13; Psalm 68:2; John 3:16; John 10:28; Jude 1:7

 

 

3. If the punishment for sin was eternal conscious torment, Jesus must still be dead. Or else his tiny sacrifice of simply crucifixion and death must be meaningless in the face of God’s eternal anger.

 

Isaiah 53:5-6; John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:24; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 10:9; Romans 3:25; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 5:25; Leviticus 16:10; 1 John 3:16; Deuteronomy 21:22

 

 

My admirable opponent will consider a handful of verses that appear to support his viewpoint, but will fail to look at them in the context of the entire bible. I will then show you examples of similarly phrased verses written in other places in the bible to communicate completely different concepts than what my opponent’s position requires - concepts that are perfectly in line with my viewpoint.

 

Some of the passages he may quote likely will have clearly nothing to do with this debate at all, and others likely will be supportive of both views.

 

My admirable opponent will attempt to convince you that the word “death” simply means separation, but will be unable to reconcile this with verses that speak of the soul and body being destroyed in Hell. He will be unable to explain logically how a human mind and body can survive the brutal, unfathomable agony of submersion in a lake of burning sulfur for more than 10 seconds.

 

I will not ask you to use un-scriptural miracles to serve as the foundation of your view of Hell. I ask you to abandon all human assumptions - even those we have made for as long as we can remember - and to look to the bible to perceive for ourselves the most logical, scripturally consistent understanding of Hell.

 

I do not believe the unrighteous will be “annihilated”, per se, in the sense that they will cease to exist. I believe they will be burn in the lake of fire until their sin has burnt up. Then the fire will reduce them to ashes (Malachi 4:3). I do not believe that God gives each unbeliever the same punishment as another. I do not think that God would give the punishment of eternal torment to both Adolf Hitler and to a selfless, humble slave in Africa who laid down his life to save his siblings, but never once heard the name Jesus.

 

That is not my God.

 

The God I believe in, the God of the bible, is the merciful, compassionate God who protected Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life so that they would not live forever under the curse of sin. He must destroy the wicked with His wrath, of course! However it is extremely unreasonable to believe He would wish them to live forever, to hate Him forever, to curse Him forever, and to despise Him forever in the fires of Hell. The bible clearly states that he will destroy them – not that he will miraculously suspend them forever. One cannot be both dead and alive at the same time. That paradox is at the very core of the belief of eternal conscious torment.

 

 

“15which God will bring about in His own time—He who is blessed and the only Sovereign One, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him, nor can anyone see Him.” – 1 Timothy 6:15-16

 

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." - Mathew 10:28

 

"He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken." - Genesis 3:22-23

 

"'You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,' says the LORD of hosts." - Malachi 4:3

 

"It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever. 11But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it..." - Isaiah 34:10-11

 

"Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there." - Psalm 37:10

 

"In like manner, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, who indulged in sexual immorality and pursued strange flesh, are on display as an example of those who sustain the punishment of eternal fire." - Jude 1:7

 

"To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life." - Romans 2:7

 

"On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." - Revelation 22:2

 

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5And the One seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'” - Revelation 21:4

 

 

I again thank my opponent for his willingness to participate in this debate, and I thank you all for your willingness to consider my unusual perspective.

 

Thank you.

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@reformed baptist you have 24 hours to reply.

 

No one is allow to post comments until the debate is finished.

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Introduction

 

I want to begin with a word of thanks to Origen for setting all this up, and to my opponent for taking the time to debate this topic with me, and graciously allowing me to go second. Also, my thanks to all of you who take the time to read this. It is my prayer that the matters we discuss today might lead us all into a deeper understanding of God’s word and that the manner of this discussion might glorify God.

 

I am an experienced forum poster, but this is first official debate – so please bear with me as I try to get to grips with what I am doing.

 

This is a written debate so you can follow it at your own pace. I invite you to have your bibles to hand, along with a good dictionary. If you have some proficiency in the original languages of scripture you might find some of those resources helpful too. Check what both I and my opponent say from scripture for yourselves. Read the texts we use in context. Bear in mind that God is a God or order and not confusion (1 Cor 14:33) so ask yourself every time, “who is closest to the plain sense of this text?”

 

Now, my opponent is seeking to affirm the position that "The punishment for sin involves permanent cessation of consciousness." It is however my understanding that the punishment for sin is endless conscious torment. In this debate we cannot both be right – one (or both) of us must be wrong and that is up to you, the audience, to decide.

 

The position I hold to, namely that the punishment for sin is endless conscious torment is a position that is under attack today, however it important to remember that the doctrine of eternal conscious punishment has been held in common by the vast majority of Bible believing Christians and denominations throughout the history of the church. Eternal conscious punishment is stated in early creeds like the Apostles Creed and It has a rich history in the theology of the church, evidenced by the position it holds in the various reformation creeds and confessions (see for example ch 32 of the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Baptist Confession of Faith). In Paragraph 2 of that chapter the BCoF affirms this doctrine no less than three times. In contrast, whilst a handful of evangelical Christians, like Stott, have held to a form of annihilation, this view has predominantly been kept alive in cults (eg the JWs) and fringe Christian groups.

 

Now, certainly the majority can be wrong, and this isn’t a good enough reason on its own to discard my opponents view however it is sufficient reason to question critically what my opponent presents.

 

As we question his statement we see that he relies upon certain techniques to make his case:

  1. There will be attempts to limit the meaning of words in regard to their semantic range – ask yourself every time Jordan says this is what a word means – is he right? (do the same with me)
  2. I anticipate there will also be clear examples of when my opponent ignores the main thrust of an argument and focuses on a minor point. This is smoke and mirrors and an attempt to obfuscate the key issues.
  3. He may seek to suggest that terms like ‘unquenchable’ do not mean something cannot go out
  4. He will insert terms that are not found in scripture, terms like ‘burned to ashes’ that you won’t actually find in the texts he uses to support these terms and he will make assumptions that he fails to support from scripture, for example Adam and Eve were removed from the garden to protect them from the ‘curse’ of immortality.
  5. He will seek to draw comparison between OT and NT without taking into consideration the discontinuity between earthly judgements on this side of the resurrection and eternal judgements on the other side of the resurrection – eg Gen 19 and Isaiah 34
  6. There may well be attempts to use texts to suggest things that are the opposite of the express meaning of those texts.
  7. He will also contradict himself – for him death is an end, but there is an experience of the lake of fire
  8. Be aware of the scattergun approach – lots of material will be thrown out by my opponent in the knowledge that it cannot all be meaningfully addressed in this format. I simply will not be able to respond to all the texts of scripture he throws my way individually.

In my opening statement I want to begin my case by establishing 4 primary objections to the thesis, I will then consider what the Bible has to say about the fate of unbelieving sinners. Thirdly we will consider the persons experience of that torment. This is an indirect rebuttal in which I will do my best to establish my position. I will come to my more direct rebuttal in round 2.

 

Four Primary objections to the thesis that that "The punishment for sin involves permanent cessation of consciousness."

 

A) The thesis cannot be reconciled with many of the clear statements of scripture. I will seek to establish this point in more detail later. For now I direct your attention to Mark 14:21. "The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born." If, Annihilation was the end of Judas then his condition now (and for evermore) is exactly the same as it would be if he had never been born. Jesus Christ says that today Judas is wishing he was never born.

 

B) The thesis equates the biblical language ‘destruction’ and ‘perishing’ with the philosophical idea of Annihilation. When the bible speaks of destruction and perishing it is not referring to a cessation of existence, indeed the idea of putting something into complete nonexistence is beyond the semantic range of these terms. When rubber perishes it is still there. When a city is destroyed there remain ruins.

 

Furthermore, if these terms relate to a cessation of existence then why do the Bible writers continually qualify these terms with worlds like ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’ – by definition to cease to exist is permanent, to say “one eternally ceases to exist”, or “one cease to exist forever” is to use more words then you need. Why do the biblical authors qualify these terms with words like ‘eternal’ if they are saying we cease to exist?

 

C) The thesis fails to take into account how the Pharisee’s of Jesus day thought. In Luke 12:4-5 and Matt 10:28 Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees about Judgment. Josephus, the Jewish historian who lived only a few years after the Lord Jesus Christ reports that the Pharisees fully believed that the souls of the wicked went on to eternal punishment. The apocryphal writings that were produced during the days that this sect of Jews was forming bears out Josephus’ words. How would they have understood Jesus words, and if they had it so wrong why doesn’t Jesus clearly correct them?

 

D) The thesis perverts the Biblical teaching of Jesus sacrifice for sin: When Jesus vicariously and substitutionary took upon himself the punishment we deserve he was not annihilated (he did not cease to exist) hence our punishment if we die in our sin cannot be annihilation (either after a period of judgement or straight away) – rather what we see in the death of Jesus Christ is intense physical and spiritual torment that involves separation from the father, it is ‘by his stripes’ that we are healed, (Is 53:5) and not simply his death. If Jesus had to bear physical and spiritual torment as he took our punishment upon himself then it follows that our punishment involves both physical and spiritual torment.

 

Before I move on it is worth pointing out one other thing, as an infinite being, who was perfectly good, Jesus Christ could endure in a finite time what it will take us an eternity to endure.

 

I am particularly persuaded by the fourth objection to the thesis that "The punishment for sin involves permanent cessation of consciousness." And in many ways, I feel I could leave my case here with the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ – the Annihilationist has to explain why (in their opinion) what Jesus endures on the cross is so radically different to the cessation of existence that they claim we will endure upon our death.

However I will not leave it there, I still have two more points to make.

 

The bibles teaching on the fate of unrepentant sinners

 

My opponent sees the punishment for sin in a very one-dimensional way, it can be summed up in the word death. In my opponents understanding death is an end. The scriptures do not share that understanding, Adam ‘died’ the day he ate the forbidden fruit (Gen 2:17) and in Hebrews we read that after we die we face the judgement (Heb 9:27) it is clear that the bible does not see death as an end of existence. This is clear in the Old Testament as well, David speaks about going to his dead son, 2 Sam 12:23, in the same verse he says that his son ‘will not return to him’ – for David to even entertain that idea means he believed that death was not the end.

So whilst I concede that many of the pertinent texts employ the term death I do not concede that my opponents assumptions about those texts have any merit. He is relying on secular view of death that does nor marry up with the scriptural concept of death.

 

However, is ‘death’ the only term the bible uses to describe the fate of sinners?

 

Judgement

 

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, (Heb 9:27 NKJ) The writer points out that all man die, but that after they have died they face the judgement. This is both saved and unsaved.

 

Eternal punishment

 

"And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Mat 25:46 NKJ)

Notice that phrase ‘eternal punishment’ and notice that the sinners go “into” it – this language is incompatible with ceasing to exist – it demands that we understand ‘eternal punishment’ to be a condition that one exists in. This is further born out by the obvious contrast with eternal life that Jesus makes. The simple truth is that Jesus could not have made his meaning clearer than he does here – the sinner experiences the opposite of the believer – the believer has eternal life and the sinner has eternal punishment. “punishment” and “life” are two continuing states of conscious individuals. Consciousness does not cease in the one case but go on in the other. “Eternal punishment” is not the death that results from having been punished; it is the ongoing active punishment of one who continues to be sensate.

 

Away from the presence of the Lord

2 thess 1:9 reads: "These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power," (2Th 1:9 NKJ)

 

Hell

 

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mat 10:28 NKJ) again it is Jesus speaking and he doesn’t say that God merely kills, he says that God has the power to condemn to hell. He says that God ‘destroys’ in hell. Now, my opponent would have you believe that means cease to exist, but when something is destroyed it does not cease to exist, it is ruined. When my son destroyed my little girls brick tower, all the brick were still their they were scattered across the floor.

 

Under the permanent wrath of God

 

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." notice here the opposite of life is to be permanently under the wrath of God – and that requires the person to still be in existence.

 

In hell with the devil and fallen angels

 

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:15 NKJ) These words are self explanatory, in context they tell us that the lost will share the same fate as the devil and his angels.

 

All this is to say that the term ‘death’ is not the only one the bible employs to speak of the sinners end.

 

The experience of those who endure this fate

 

So, death is not the only term used to describe 'the end' of those who die in their sin, many others phrases are used in the bible that have clear meanings that do not tie up with my opponents stated opinion. Now, moving on from that we need to examine what that 'end' actually involves and two things need to be looked for:

 

i) The duration - how long does this 'end' continue for?

ii) The experience - does this 'end' involve the persons, awareness (are the sensate/ conscious)?

 

Rev 14:9-11 states: Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, "he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

 

Notice:

  1. The sinner has to drink the wine of the wrath of God – how can he do not if he has ceased to exist?
  2. Notice he is tormented – this is clearly conscious punishment.
  3. He is in the presence of the wrathful Lamb – he is experiencing God’s anger.
  4. The smoke of his torment has no end – eternal conscious punishment!

Again, the Bible cannot say that the punishment is eternal and conscious any more clearly than it does here! However this isn't the only place we can look.

 

Rev 20:10 states: The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone wherethe beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. – this is clearly conscious torment that goes on forever. The duration is emphasized, it is ‘day and night’ and ‘forever and ever’ (aiōnas tōn aiōnōn). Rev 20:15 is clear that all those people who are not saved join the devil and his angels in that fate. As one writer puts it, ‘It is incredibly difficult to think that what is being talked about is not eternal conscious torment. And it certainly seems that these descriptions should take hermeneutical precedence over against arguments that are more narrowly based on a literal understanding of lexical terms like “death” and “destruction.”’

 

However, these are not the only terms we need to consider – this end is also described as involving ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ (Luke 13:28) – if there is no conscious punishment how can the person experiencing it be wailing and gnashing their teeth?

 

Hell is a place where the fires never go out, and where the worm never dies (Mar 9:44) – what is the point of an eternal fire if it has nothing to burn? The eternal natures of these fires demand that there a supply a fuel to be burned as there was in the valley of Hinnon from which we get the Greek transliteration Gehenna (derived from the Hebrew ge hinnon)

 

Conclusion

 

I fully realise my opponent will provide counter exegesis for all that I have said, but ask yourselves as you read his counter arguments – who is dealing honestly with the text of scripture and whose explanations seem most true to the plain sense of the text provided? Or to put it negatively who seems to be explaining away the Bible rather than building their case upon it?

 

Ask yourselves - which one of us seems to be narrowing the focus of the discussion by skipping over texts of scripture that clearly contradict his hypothesis?

 

Of course, note that even if one of us manages to ‘destroy’ the others case, their argument will not cease to exist – the words they have written will remain for all to read as long as this thread stays on this forum.

 

In my opening statement it is my contention that if the biblical writers had wished to convey annihilation as the end of those who die without Christ that they could have done so unequivocally and clearly – but they did not! Rather we find the bible writers standing shoulder to shoulder and emphatically laying out an eternal conscious punishment for sin in the clearest possible terms. They could not say any more clearly than they do that the punishment unbelievers receive is eternal and conscious

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Thanks to the both of you. Round one has ended.

 

The time period has been change. Now each person has 72 hours to respond.

 

 

Round Two

 

@Jordan Henshaw you have 72 hours to respond.

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I again thank my opponent for his willingness to participate in this debate, and I thank you all for considering my unusual perspective.

 

 

As predicted, my admirable opponent has not been able to explain logically how a human mind and body can survive the brutal, unfathomable agony of submersion in a lake of burning sulfur for more than 10 seconds.

 

As predicted, he has considered a handful of passages (about 11) that appear to support his viewpoint, but will fail to look at them in the context of the entire bible.

 

As predicted, some of the passages he has quoted have clearly nothing to do with this debate at all.

 

As predicted, he has failed to produce a single verse that explicitly supports the paradoxical concept that those in Hell are both alive and dead, while as predicted, conceding that the term used in pertinent verses is indeed “death”.

 

As predicted, he has failed to provide a single verse that explicitly states that the human soul is inherently immortal.

 

 

In addition to this predicted behavior, my admirable opponent has made four key mistakes, one being a severe logical fallacy, the other three being major mischaracterizations of my clearly explained affirmative position.

 

 

The first mistake my admirable opponent has made in is appealing to a fallible, human authority.

 

 

His second mistake is in characterizing my own argument to make it mean the unrighteous will receive no conscious punishment.

 

“I believe they will be burn in the lake of fire until their sin has burnt up. Then the fire will reduce them to ashes (Malachi 4:3).”

 

 

His third mistake is in characterizing my own argument to make it mean the unrighteous will cease to exist.

 

“I do not believe the unrighteous will be ‘annihilated’, per se, in the sense that they will cease to exist. (Malachi 4:3).”

 

 

His fourth mistake is in characterizing my own argument to make it mean that immortality is a curse.

 

“The God I believe in, the God of the bible, is the merciful, compassionate God who protected Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life so that they would not live forever under the curse of sin.”

 

 

Now I will quickly address the relevant passages that he has provided:

 

Genesis 2:17 – The Hebrew word yom used here for “day” rarely in the bible refers to a 24 hour period. Adam and Eve are certainly dead.

 

Hebrews 9:27 – Are those cast into the lake of fire ever resurrected like they were after they died on earth? No. Their punishment is eternal. (Mathew 25:46)

 

Mathew 25:46 – Eternal in result, not in action. This can easily work for both arguments, especially in light of the various translations and grammar differences.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:9 – One cannot be in the process of being destroyed forever. Thus, again, eternal in result. This works for both arguments.

 

Mathew 10:28 – This is perhaps the strongest evidence in favor of my argument. Being destroyed by a lake of fire involves being reduced to ashes.

 

Revelation 20:15 – So if you throw an ant in a bowl of water and it drowns, a fish will also drown if thrown in?

 

John 3:36 – Does it say the wrath of God abides on him forever? No. Does someone need to be alive to be hated? No. Most people today hate Hitler, despite the fact that he died a long time ago. The same is true of the Sodomites. Most people seem to still remember them as very bad people, despite them being dead for 4,000 years.

 

Revelation 14 – This is parallel to, “It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever. 11But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it…” – Isaiah 34:10. I’m pretty sure the pelican and hedgehog will tell you the land is no longer burning while they inhabit it. Some conscious torment does not equal eternal torment.

 

Revelation 20:10 – This is not talking about humans.

 

Luke 13:28 – I never said there is no conscious punishment.

 

Mark 9:44 – This is a parallel to “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” – Isaiah 66:24. This is clearly not talking about people being burned alive forever.

 

 

My admirable opponent makes the case that Jesus’ death on the cross refutes my position because the contrast between the price Jesus paid and the price the unrighteous would pay would be too great. Let’s see whether or not this makes sense:

  • The price Jesus paid: a relatively short period of intense suffering followed by death.
  • The price I believe sinners will pay: a relatively short period of intense suffering followed by death.
  • The price my opponent believes sinners will pay: an eternal period of intense suffering with no death.

What I believe is that the unrighteous are born, live a sinful life (Romans 3:23), die an earthly death (Hebrews 9:27), are resurrected on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:13), are judged according to their works (Revelation 20:13), weep and gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28), are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), quickly lose consciousness and perish once their sin has been burned up (Luke 12:48), and are reduced to ashes (Malachi 4:3).

 

 

What my opponent believes is that a sinner will somehow magically be able to stay alive in said lake of fire, will continue to do so for a trillion years, will bob up to the surface, and someone will say, “You think you’re done? You’re just getting started!” and will push the sinner back down.

 

What he believes is that a selfless child in Africa who spent his entire existence serving his family and laid down his life so that his siblings could be happy and yet never even once heard the name Jesus will receive the same punishment as Adolf Hitler – eternal conscious torture with no end. Every time. No matter who you are. They all will be brutally tortured FOREVER.

 

What he believes is that the unrighteous will perish, but will at the same time be alive, in the sense that they are consciously aware, but at the same time they are spiritually dead because they are separated from God (despite the fact they were never spiritually alive, of course), but they are still no less alive than you and I because they can still be tormented by the lake of fire, but they are still somehow dead because the bible says they will perish, but their bodies will somehow have to stay intact so that they can continue to feel the pain, despite the fact that nothing in the bible says they will have any kind of immortality, despite the fact that it actually states the exact opposite more than 34 times, and despite the fact that it repeatedly describes them being destroyed – but that doesn’t matter because the word destroy doesn’t necessarily mean kill – it can also mean to knock down a tower of blocks, so the human bodies won’t be reduced to ashes by this lake of fire because we don’t have a verse that spells out every letter for us, no – they are destroyed, but somehow remain conscious because this form of destruction is somehow different than the normal, human view of destruction in that it doesn’t actually involve physical destruction, but instead some other kind of destruction that isn’t anything like what we all know what happens to things that get burned because the bible says they will be destroyed, and that can’t possibly mean that they get reduced to ashes because there are like 2 verses that if taken out of the context of the rest of the bible seem to indicate that these people somehow can’t possibly be burned to ashes, despite having absolutely no verse to directly support the idea that they are inherently immortal and can survive a lake of fire for longer than 10 seconds.

 

 

Additional support for cessation of consciousness of the wicked:

 

Mathew 7:13; John 17:12; Acts 8:20; Romans 9:22-23; Philippians 1:28; Philippians 3:19; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 10:39; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:9; Romans 1:32; Romans 6:21; Romans 7:5; Romans 8:6; 2 Corinthians 7:10; James 1:15; James 5:20; 1 John 5:16; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 14; Revelation 21:8; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Philippians 3:19; 1 Peter 4:17; Galatians 6:8; 2 Peter 2:12; Mathew 3:12; Mathew 7:19; Mathew 13:40; John 15:6; Mathew 7:27; Mathew 13:48; Mathew 15:13; Luke 13:7; Luke 17:27; Luke 17:29; Luke 17:32; Mathew 21:41

 

 

Support for concept of conditional immortality:

 

1 John 3:15; Mark 10:17; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18; John 3:16; John 5:39; John 6:54; John 6:68; John 10:28; John 17:2; John 17:3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:11; 1 John 5:13; 1 John 5:20; Jude 1:21; Genesis 3:22; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; John 4:14; Revelation 21:6; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:54; 1 Timothy 6:16

 

 

Support for eternal conscious torment of the wicked (and Satan):

 

Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:15; Mathew 25:46

 

 

Support for the inherent immortality of man’s soul:

 

(0 results)

 

 

Support for “will perish but will remain conscious” paradox:

 

(0 results)

 

 

Support for humans being able to survive Hell:

 

(0 results)

 

 

Let’s have some examples of things that are “dead”, have been “destroyed”, and have “ended”.

 

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When something dies, it stops moving. It is no longer conscious. It can’t think anymore. It can’t feel pain anymore. It doesn’t talk anymore. It is dead. It doesn’t move. It can’t. It died. It is dead.

 

Unless it is a zombie in The Walking Dead. That’s really the only time a dead thing would still move around.

 

Anything human cast into a lake of burning sulfur will die and will cease to be conscious. Period.

 

The only way my admirable opponent can possibly explain how a human thrown into a lake of burning sulfur would survive longer than a minute is by relying on a miracle of God - a miracle that has absolutely NO basis in scripture and flies in the face of the seventy-five verses above that teach destruction/death for the wicked and immortality only for the righteous.

 

Now, my opponent nevertheless will attempt to persuade you with his small handful of verses that the unrighteous will be miraculously suspended by God for eternity.

 

 

My opponent likely will attempt to persuade you that the wages of sin is not “death”, but is instead eternal life in torment.

 

My opponent likely will attempt to persuade you that God loved the world so that whoever believes in Him would not live forever in torment, but would have eternal life.

 

My opponent likely will attempt to persuade you that the seventy-five verses above should be ignored, and that they do not have any weight in light of his three verses that seem to at first glance support his view.

 

My opponent likely will soon go back to the handful of verses he has already introduced, will argue how they fit his views, but will not acknowledge that many of them can be easily be understood to support my views as well. But he will argue these cases anyway.

 

My opponent likely will like a child born into the world wearing blue sunglasses look at his handful of verses from his blue perspective and will be unable to read them in any light other than what he is accustomed to. He will likely argue that verses like 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Mathew 25:46 can only be interpreted in favor of his perspective.

 

My opponent likely will use verses like Mathew 10:28 and Mark 14:21 to support his perspective, despite the massive logic flaws with such arguments.

 

My opponent will likely continue to believe that Jesus’ death on the cross is his strongest argument against mine.

 

My opponent will again neglect to provide explicit biblical evidence for the inherent immortality of the soul.

 

My opponent will again ask you to forget that his entire perspective is built on the paradox that the righteous will perish and be destroyed, but will at the same time be alive forever. And he will again neglect to provide explicit biblical evidence for it.

 

 

Once he is finished with his rebuttal, I will proceed to ask you, as an audience, a simple question.

 

 

Forever in the pursuit of eternal edification, I respectfully thank my opponent for his willingness to participate in this debate, and I thank you all for considering my unusual perspective.

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I want to thank for my opponent for presenting his case in a positive and respectful way. Sadly I cannot same about his rebuttal which is full of caricature and strawmen. Not only does he fail to address the points that I make, he seems to deliberately misrepresent them, as I will go on to demosntrate.

 

My job in this round is to offer a rebuttal of my opponent’s statements – and as far as I am aware there are no rules about the length of that rebuttal so I apologise at the beginning for the length of this post. My rebuttal will certainly be longer then my opponents because unlike him I cannot rely on mere assertion (mere assertion is not an argument from any authority other then the mind of the one presenting the assertion – it has no weight and no value in a discussion of this nature) and I want to be seen to trying to be honest in dealing with my opponents words - both of these things take time.

 

So, I do beg my audiences indulgence and patience as I seek to establish a solid foundation for my reasoning and again I ask you to have your bibles open - every step pf the way ask yourself, 'who seems to arguing for the plain meaning of what the bible is saying?'

 

Now, in this rebuttal I intend to address my opponents opening statements, and then go on to interact with his rebuttal and finally I will come to the key issue – the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross

  1. Response to opening statement

Space will not permit me to go through all my opponents statements line by line - instead I wish to focus on some key points

 

What is death?

 

My opponent states:

One cannot be both dead and alive at the same time

This comment reveals just how one dimensional my opponents view of death is. His view does not measure up to the clear testimony of scripture which describes people as being both ‘dead’ and ‘alive’ at the same time. In Ephesians 2:1 we read And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, here is who was ‘dead’ who has been made ‘alive’ clearly that ‘death’ to which he is referring to is a condition that person experienced while still being alive. Col 2:13 is even more clear, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses”

Scripture says one can be both dead and alive at the same time.

 

It is not my task here to establish the correct biblical understanding of ‘death’ in a rebuttal, simply to point out the error in my opponent’s statement – in my first post I argued positively and briefly that ‘death’ is not what my opponent believes it to be. I will not repeat those arguments here – however in the questions and answers, if anyone wishes to discuss this in more detail I will establish that the bible speaks of ‘death’ in three ways, physical, spiritual, and eternal (second death).

 

Who has immortality?

 

My opponent states the following:

the bible instead teaches that immortality is a gift given only to the righteous

Whilst acknowledging that the gift of ‘eternal life’ is only for the righteous, the scriptures are clear that we are all have soul that is endless. It seems that my opponent wrongly assumes that ‘immortality’ and ‘eternal life’ are synonymous terms

 

The human soul is immortal. This is clearly seen in many Scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments: Ecc 12:7; Dan 12:2-3; Matt25:46; and 1 Cor 15:12-19.

Daniel 12:2 says, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Similarly, Jesus Himself said that the wicked “will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Both the righteous and the unrighteous go into an eternity.

 

To quote one writer, “The unmistakable teaching of the Bible is that all people, whether they are saved or lost, will exist eternally, in either heaven or hell. True life or spiritual life does not cease when our fleshly bodies pass away in death. Our souls will live forever, either in the presence of God in heaven if we are saved, or in punishment in hell if we reject God’s gift of salvation. In fact, the promise of the Bible is that not only will our souls live forever, but also that our bodies will be resurrected.”

 

Dishonest argumentation

 

My opponent wants us to believe that the bible uses the words ‘slaughtered’ and ‘burned to ashes’ – notice his use of the words ‘expressly states’ and notice who he uses them in conjunction with the biblical term ‘destroyed’

the bible expressly states that the wicked shall be destroyed, slaughtered, and burned to ashes repeatedly throughout scripture.

This is dishonest argumentation – nowhere in the bible are those two terms used.

 

It is clear my opponent assumes these terms are synonymous with the language the Bible writers use and it seems equally clear that wishes us to accept that these terms on face value. Why is he doing that? Why does he feel forced to change the language of the bible in his argumentation?

 

It it because he knows that if he simply argues the terms of scripture he case will be substantially weakened?

So, let’s look at the actual words used

 

Perish

verb

  1. 1. literary

die, especially in a violent or sudden way.

"a great part of his army perished of hunger and disease"

  1. 2. (of rubber, food, etc.) lose its normal qualities; rot or decay.

"an abandoned tyre whose rubber had perished"

 

Do either of those meanings suggest something ceases to exist, or do they both refer to a change of state

 

Destroy

destroy

 

verb

  1. end the existence of (something) by damaging or attacking it.

"the room had been destroyed by fire"

  • ruin (someone) emotionally or spiritually.

"he has been determined to destroy her"

  • defeat (someone) utterly.

"Northants have the batting to destroy anyone"

 

 

Again, even when we see the term ‘end existence’ as a definition it is clear from the examples used that this in the sense ending the existence of something in it’s current state. More importantly we must consider the underlying Greek term. The vast majority of times we come across either the word ‘destroy’ or ‘perish’ in our English Bibles (NT) it is a translation on one Greek word ἀπόλλυμι

 

ἀπόλλυμι

 

In the AV this verb is translated as ‘perish’ 33 times and ‘destroy’ 26. It is also translated ‘lose’ 22 times, ‘be lost’ 5 and lost 4. Neither of these three English meanings seem to be dominant in the semantic range of ἀπόλλυμι

Let’s consider some of the lexical entries (my apologies this part of my rebuttal does require a passing familiarity with the Greek, if that isn’t you please feel free to skip down to my next heading) :

 

Thayer ἀπόλλυμι

ἀπόλλυμι and ἀπολλύω ((ἀπολλύει John 12:25 T Tr WH), imperative ἀπόλλυε Rom. 14:15 (cf. Buttmann, 45 (39); WH's Appendix, p. 168f)); future ἀπολέσω and (1 Cor. 1:19 ἀπολῶ from a passage in the O. T., where often) ἀπολῶ (cf. Winer's Grammar, 83 (80); (Buttmann, 64 (56))); 1 aorist ἀπώλεσα; to destroy; middle, present ἀπόλλυμαι; (imperfect 3 person plural ἀπώλλυντο 1 Cor. 10:9 T Tr WH); future ἀπολοῦμαι; 2 aorist ἀπωλόμην; (2 perfect active participle ἀπολωλώς); (from Homer down); to perish. 1. to destroy i. e. to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin: Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34; 17:27,29; Jude 1:5; τήν σοφίαν render useless, cause its emptiness to be perceived, 1 Cor. 1:19 (from the Septuagint of Isa. 29:14); to kill: Matt. 2:13; 12:14; Mark 9:22; 11:18; John 10:10, etc.; contextually, to declare that one must be put to death: Matt. 27:20; metaphorically, to devote or give over to eternal misery: Matt. 10:28; James 4:12; contextually, by one's conduct to cause another to lose eternal salvation: Rom. 14:15. Middle to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed; a. of persons; (a). properly: Matt. 8:25; Luke 13:3, 5, 33; John 11:50; 2 Pet. 3:6; Jude 1:11, etc.; ἀπόλλυμαι λιμῷ, Luke 15:17; ἐν μαχαρια, Matt. 26:52; καταβαλλόμενοι, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἀπολλύμενοι, 2 Cor. 4:9. (b). tropically, to incur the loss of true or eternal life; to be delivered up to eternal misery: John 3:15 (R Lbr.), 16; 10:28; 17:12 (it must be borne in mind, that according to John's conception eternal life begins on earth, just as soon as one becomes united to Christ by faith); Rom. 2:12; 1 Cor. 8:11; 15:18; 2 Pet. 3:9. Hence, οἱ σῳζόμενοι they to whom it belongs to partake of salvation, and οἱ ἀπολλύμενοι those to whom it belongs to perish or to be consigned to eternal misery, are contrasted by Paul: 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 2:15; 4:8; 2 Thess. 2:10 (on these present participles, cf. Winer's Grammar, 342 (321); Buttmann, 206 (178)). b. of things; to be blotted out, to vanish away: ἡ εὐπρέπεια, James 1:11; the heavens, Heb. 1:11 (from Ps. 101:27 (Ps. 102:27); to perish -- "of things which on being thrown away are decomposed, as μέλος τοῦ σώματος, Matt. 5:29f; remnants of bread, John 6:12; -- or which perish in some other way, as βρῶσις, John 6:27; χρυσίον, 1 Pet. 1:7; -- or which are mined so that they can no longer subserve the use for which they were designed, as οἱ ἀσκοί: Matt. 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37. 2. to destroy i. e. to lose; a. properly: Matt. 10:42; Mark 9:41 (τόν μισθόν αὐτοῦ); Luke 15:4,8,9; 9:25; 17:33; John 12:25; 2 John 1:8, etc. b. metaphorically, Christ is said to lose anyone of his followers (whom the Father has drawn to discipleship) if such a one becomes wicked and fails of salvation: John 6:39, cf. John 18:9. Middle to be lost: θρίξ ἐκ τῆς κεφαλῆς, Luke 21:18; θρίξ ἀπό τῆς κεφαλῆς, Acts 27:34 (Rec. πεσεῖται); τά λαμπρά ἀπώλετο ἀπό σου, Rev. 18:14 (Rec. ἀπῆλθε). Used of sheep, straying from the flock: properly, Luke 15:4 (τό ἀπολωλός, in Matt. 18:12 τό πλανώμενον). Metaphorically, in accordance with the O. T. comparison of the people of Israel to a flock (Jer. 27:6 (Jer. 50:6); Ezek. 34:4,16), the Jews, neglected by their religious teachers, left to themselves and thereby in danger of losing eternal salvation, wandering about as it were without guidance, are called τά πρόβατα τά ἀπολωλότα τοῦ οἴκου Ἰσραήλ: Matt. 10:6; 15:24 (Isa. 53:6; 1 Pet. 2:25); and Christ, reclaiming them from wickedness, is likened to a shepherd and is said ζητεῖν καί σῴζειν τό ἀπολωλός: Luke 19:10; Matt. 18:11 Rec. (Compare: συναπόλλυμι.)

 

Louw-Nida

 

20.31 ἀπόλλυμιa; ἀπώλειαa, ας λυμαίνομαιb: to destroy or to cause the destruction of persons, objects, or institutions—‘to ruin, to destroy, destruction.’

ἀπόλλυμιa: οἱ ἀσκοὶ ἀπολοῦνται ‘the wineskins will be ruined’ Lk 5:37; ὁ κλέπτης οὐκ ἔρχεται εἰ μὴ ἵνα κλέψῃ καὶ θύσῃ καὶ ἀπολέσῃ ‘the thief comes only in order to steal, kill, and destroy’ Jn 10:10; φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ ‘but fear rather the one who is able to destroy soul and body in hell’ Mt 10:28.

ἀπώλειαa: σκεύη ὀργῆς κατηρτισμένα εἰς ἀπώλειαν ‘objects of his wrath destined for destruction’ Ro 9:22; εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας ‘except the one who is bound for destruction’ Jn 17:12.

λυμαίνομαιb: Σαῦλος δὲ ἐλυμαίνετο τὴν ἐκκλησίαν ‘Saul then worked for the destruction of the church’ Ac 8:3. It is also possible that λυμαίνομαι in Ac 8:3 may mean ‘to injure severely’ (see 20.24).

In a number of languages it is difficult to find a general term for ‘destruction.’ What has often happened is the extension of meaning from a more specific type of reference, for example, ‘to smash,’ to a more generic meaning of ‘to destroy,’ and whether one understands the specific or more generic meaning depends largely upon the context. Accordingly, in Ac 8:3 one may find a figurative usage of a term meaning ‘to smash’ (though understood in a more generic sense), for example, ‘Saul then worked in order to smash the church.’

 

I could present many more lexical sources who will all say the same thing ἀπόλλυμι simply does not have the primary sense that my opponent has forced upon it – his opinion is not born out, it has no support from the meanings of the words the Bible uses.

 

The fate of Sodom and Jude 1:7

 

It is my opponent’s contention that because the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah is temporal – i.e. the smoke of their destruction is not still raising today and because Jude uses that judgement to picture the eternal judgement that the eternal judgement must also be temporary?

 

Is this a sound exegetical method?

 

Are we really expected to find a point by point analogy between a temporal judgement poured out on this world, in this age and an eternal judgement that occurs in the age to come? Does that really make sense?

No, the fire the five cities suffered is a type – it pictures the fire to come. The narrative stresses the devastation of the Lord raining fire and brimstone upon the cities (Gen 19:24–28). The brimstone, salt, and wasted nature of the land function as a warning for Israel and the church elsewhere in the Scriptures (Deut 29:23; Jer 49:17–18; cf. Isa 34:9–10; Ezek 38:22; Rev 14:10–11; 19:3; 20:10)

However, let us also ground Jude’s words in the Jewish tradition of his day. Historical records show that Jewish tradition emphasized that one could still see the horrible consequences of what had occurred in the area south of the Dead Sea. “Evidence of their wickedness still remains: a continually smoking wasteland, plants bearing fruit that does not ripen” (Wis 10:7, RSV). Josephus said: “In fact, vestiges of the divine fire and faint traces of five cities are still visible. Still, too, may one see ashes reproduced in the fruits, which from their outward appearance would be thought edible, but on being plucked with the hand dissolve into smoke and ashes. So far are the legends about the land of Sodom borne out by ocular evidence” (J.W. 4.484–85). Philo made similar remarks. He said: “Even to this day there are seen in Syria monuments of the unprecedented destruction that fell upon them, in the ruins, and ashes, and sulphur, and smoke, and the dusky flame which still is sent up from the ground as of a fire smouldering beneath” (works 495-6 ). This is the tradition that Jude’s Jewish reader would be forcefully reminded of when he reads this verse – the fire doesn’t have to be perpetual, it was considered as perpetual.

 

Is the degree of punishment in hell the same for everyone?

 

My opponent states:

I do not think that God would give the punishment of eternal torment to both Adolf Hitler and to a selfless, humble slave in Africa who laid down his life to save his siblings, but never once heard the name Jesus.

Some argue that there will be degrees of torment in Hell. However, I am not here to defend that view, I am here to question my opponents view of sin.

 

He presents two people to us, one who lived a moral life and one who lived an immoral life (despite my opponents claims that he will not use emotional arguments clearly, he is willing to do so). Now in an earthly sense ones ‘sins’ are worse than the others – no doubt this is convincing argument for those who share my opponents worldview (one that seems overly bound to this reality and not the spiritual one) - however we must consider the spiritual sense?

Remember both of these people are not loving the Lord their God with all their heart, all their mind, all their soul and all their strength – and if that is the greatest commandment (Luke 10:27) doesn’t it follow that the great sin is failure to obey this commandment?

  1. Response to rebuttal

You will notice in my opponent’s rebuttal there is a tremendous amount of assertion, and not a lot of evidence. There are also attempts to caricature and mock my position – but above all there is a lot that is missed!

 

I will briefly address his 4 mistakes he claims I have made:

 

The first mistake my admirable opponent has made in is appealing to a fallible, human authority.

I would be interested in knowing what he is referring to here – but sadly I cannot because my opponent does not substantiate his claims!

 

Maybe it is reference to my opening statements in which I established that eternal conscious punishment has always been the position of orthodox Christianity. Is that an argument from fallible human authority, or is it an argument for how divinely inspired scripture has been understood by the vast majority of believing people throughout the history of the church. Or maybe it is my insistence that words have recognised meanings and that we are not free to reinterpret them as we choose. In either case ask your self is my use of ‘human authority’ invalid?

 

Moving on:

His second mistake is in characterizing my own argument to make it mean the unrighteous will receive no conscious punishment.

 

“I believe they will be burn in the lake of fire until their sin has burnt up. Then the fire will reduce them to ashes (Malachi 4:3).”

 

 

His third mistake is in characterizing my own argument to make it mean the unrighteous will cease to exist.

 

“I do not believe the unrighteous will be ‘annihilated’, per se, in the sense that they will cease to exist. (Malachi 4:3).”

You will note here my opponent puts a lot of emphasis on one statement he has made, but consider his statement: He says, “I do not believe the unrighteous will be ‘annihilated’, per se” what does he mean by the term ‘per se’? Go back to his opening statement and read it again – ask yourselves what is happening to these people who are being judged in his view? Is their existence eternal or do they cease to exist after they have been burnt up? what is he actually meaning by his term 'burnt to ashes' do thes epoeple continue to exists in any sense in his view? The thesis my opponent is defending is, "The punishment for sin involves permanent cessation of consciousness." Ask yourself, if there is any existence without consciousness (in the sense in which we are discussing it in this debate)? The truth is his ‘burnt to ashes’ is the equivalent of ‘annihilation’ he just won’t admit that!

 

His fourth mistake is in characterizing my own argument to make it mean that immortality is a curse.

 

“The God I believe in, the God of the bible, is the merciful, compassionate God who protected Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life so that they would not live forever under the curse of sin.”

Again, notice that my opponent does not show where I have done this – he simply expects you to take him at his word. There is a double standard here – he calls me out for appealing to human authority, but he expects you to accept his human authority without question.

 

If you actually go back over our statements you will see that the only person in this discussion who has linked immortality to the term ‘curse’ is actually Jordan

1. The bible specifically states more than 34 times throughout scripture that immortality is a gift that God will give to the righteous only. In Genesis, God casts Adam and Eve out of the garden specifically to protect them from the curse of immortality.

 

Nowhere in my statements have I described ‘immortality’ as a curse.

 

Pejorative argumentation

Having dealt with the 'mistakes' i have made, let's move on and consider how my opponents presents my arguments and interacts with them.

 

My opponent states:

What I believe is that the unrighteous are born, live a sinful life (Romans 3:23), die an earthly death (Hebrews 9:27), are resurrected on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:13), are judged according to their works (Revelation 20:13), weep and gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28), are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), quickly lose consciousness and perish once their sin has been burned up (Luke 12:48), and are reduced to ashes (Malachi 4:3).

 

 

What my opponent believes is that a sinner will somehow magically be able to stay alive in said lake of fire, will continue to do so for a trillion years, will bob up to the surface, and someone will say, “You think you’re done? You’re just getting started!” and will push the sinner back down.

 

Notice that he goes to extreme lengths to make his arguments sound reasonable, whilst going to equal lengths to make mine sound ridiculous – this is a dishonest caricature of my argument – where have I used terms like ‘magic’ or ‘bob up to the surface’ etc - Can my opponent point you to my use of such terms - No he cannot!

 

Ask yourself this, if my opponent really believes his case is so strong why does he have to stoop to this level of argumentation – this is a recurring theme throughout the rebuttal - ridicule rather than engagement! I had hoped for better following his opening statement. My opponent has no interest in interacting with my actual statements.

 

Bad counter exegesis

 

Space and time (and your patience) do not permit me to trace the arguments for each of these statements back to source – this rebuttal is already too long. I am just going to have to deal with the statements as made in the rebuttal.

 

Genesis 2:17 – The Hebrew word yom used here for “day” rarely in the bible refers to a 24 hour period. Adam and Eve are certainly dead.

My opponent would have us believe that when God says ‘in the day you eat it’ he does not mean what he says – this is my opponents methodology all the way through, to make a lexical assertion (usually unsupported) that goes against the obvious sense of the words being used. Where is the lexical support for the assertion.

 

י֛וֹם is found some 2284 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, 1799 times out translators see fit to translate it as day, 133 times as ‘today’ - 37 times they translate ‘time’ , 18 times as ‘forever’, 10 as ‘yearly’ – “you do the math” my friends.

 

Hebrews 9:27 – Are those cast into the lake of fire ever resurrected like they were after they died on earth? No. Their punishment is eternal. (Mathew 25:46)

This is simply nonsense!

 

Mathew 25:46 – Eternal in result, not in action. This can easily work for both arguments, especially in light of the various translations and grammar differences.

Again nonsense – what sort of explanation is that! If my opponent is going to contradict the obvious sense of a sentence or phrase he needs to provide some evidence for doing so – the whole point of the argument Jesus is making is the contrast between heaven and hell – to diminish that contrast robs his argument of force!

I would ask you to just read the text what is the obvious sense of what Jesus is saying?

 

2 Thessalonians 1:9
– One cannot be in the process of being destroyed forever. Thus, again, eternal in result. This works for both arguments.

Why not?

 

Why does Paul qualify the term ‘destruction’ with the term ‘eternal’ if he is talking about a destruction that only lasts a finite (and to my opponents minds short’) period of time and is followed by nothingness?

 

Why emphasize an eternal duration for something that is temporary?

This text does not support both arguments – it clearly demolishes my opponents position – again I ask you to simply read it!

 

Mathew 10:28
– This is perhaps the strongest evidence in favor of my argument. Being destroyed by a lake of fire involves being reduced to ashes.

This side of eternity it does – but then this is the problem with my opponents’ whole line of reasoning, his worldview is locked into this reality. I would suggest that a God who can create this whole universe out of nothing will not find it hard to create a body that can be burnt without turning to ashes if he so chooses.

 

Revelation 20:15
– So if you throw an ant in a bowl of water and it drowns, a fish will also drown if thrown in?

Maybe it is just my opponents attempts to be brief here, but what does he mean?

 

John 3:36
– Does it say the wrath of God abides on him forever? No. Does someone need to be alive to be hated? No. Most people today hate Hitler, despite the fact that he died a long time ago. The same is true of the Sodomites. Most people seem to still remember them as very bad people, despite them being dead for 4,000 years.

 

The term, ‘abides’ signifies the timescales involved – to ‘abide’ is to take up permanent residence.

 

My opponent would have you believe that most people today ‘hate’ Hitler – notice firstly he has changed terms, ‘wrath’ has become ‘hate’ – why? Because my opponent needs to try and weaken my case.

However, even that attempt fails – very few people today hate the man Hitler – because very few who are alive today ever knew him – people may hate his memory, his ideology, his actions – but few hate him! However if he was to walk into a room today, that personal hatred would probably flare up!

 

Why does my opponent use a relatively recent figure from history – is it because the force of his actions can still be felt in our world? Why not choose Nero? It is because he is long gone, no one really remembers with any strong passion his actions – in a 1000 years hitler will be the same!

 

But the wrath of God abides on the lost – it is a permanent thing, and it is ‘on’ them – not on their remembrance!

 

Revelation 14
– This is parallel to, “It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever. 11But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it…” – Isaiah 34:10. I’m pretty sure the pelican and hedgehog will tell you the land is no longer burning while they inhabit it. Some conscious torment does not equal eternal torment.

So, Isaiah uses a picture of earthly devastation in which is describes a wasteland, the book of revelation picks up that picture and enlarges upon it – but we are expected to limit our understanding to the earthly picture?

When Paul refers to the rock that followed the Israelites in the wilderness as being Christ (1 Cor 10:4) do we presume that Jesus was a rock carried around by the disciples – no – we don’t deal with typology and pictures in that way, rather we see them as lesser, and the antitype as greater.

 

Revelation 20:10
– This is not talking about humans.

You will notice again my opponent’s blatant refusal to interact with what I said, let me repeat my statement to prove the point:

Rev 20:10 states: The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone wherethe beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. – this is clearly conscious torment that goes on forever. The duration is emphasized, it is ‘day and night’ and ‘forever and ever’ (aiōnas tōn aiōnōn). Rev 20:15 is clear that all those people who are not saved join the devil and his angels in that fate. As one writer puts it, ‘It is incredibly difficult to think that what is being talked about is not eternal conscious torment. And it certainly seems that these descriptions should take hermeneutical precedence over against arguments that are more narrowly based on a literal understanding of lexical terms like “death” and “destruction.”’

I never said Rev 20:10 was referring to humans! I said Rev 20:15 makes it plain that some people share the same fate that devil and his fallen angels experience. This is typical of my opponent’s rebuttal. He refuses to engage with the statements made, and seeks to discredit me with dishonest misrepresentations of my words.

 

Mark 9:44
– This is a parallel to “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.” – Isaiah 66:24. This is clearly not talking about people being burned alive forever.

You will notice here that my opponent fails to deal with the key argument I was making – this is not the only place that is apparent.

  1. The key point

If the punishment for sin was eternal conscious torment Jesus must still be dead

 

In my mind this is where the focus of our debate should be – Jesus Christ is our substitute (1 Peter 2:21) he has born our punishment for our sakes – our punishment then (if we are of the unrighteous) is to be similar in form to his.

 

My opponent states:

If the punishment for sin was eternal conscious torment, Jesus must still be dead. Or else his tiny sacrifice of simply crucifixion and death must be meaningless in the face of God’s eternal anger.

 

Here my opponent turns logic upon it is head.

  1. He wants us to believe that judgement the unrighteous face ends in a cessation of consciousness
  2. He also wants us to believe that Jesus Christ has born the judgement of all who will believe (he has died for us)
  3. Yet the judgement that Jesus bore on the cross does not end in his cessation of consciousness

There is gaping hole in the logic here that my opponent tries to hide in his response by returning to the term ‘death’ rather then his brief period of torment, followed by being burnt to ashes! I am going to quote him in full – ask yourself where in his description of the suffering of Jesus do we see Jesus Christ being burnt to ashes?

My admirable opponent makes the case that Jesus’ death on the cross refutes my position because the contrast between the price Jesus paid and the price the unrighteous would pay would be too great. Let’s see whether or not this makes sense:

The price Jesus paid: a relatively short period of intense suffering followed by death.

The price I believe sinners will pay: a relatively short period of intense suffering followed by death.

The price my opponent believes sinners will pay: an eternal period of intense suffering with no death.

 

Compare that with what he has said is the fate of the unrightous:

What I believe is that the unrighteous are born, live a sinful life (Romans 3:23), die an earthly death (Hebrews 9:27), are resurrected on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:13), are judged according to their works (Revelation 20:13), weep and gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28), are cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15), quickly lose consciousness and perish once their sin has been burned up (Luke 12:48), and are reduced to ashes (Malachi 4:3)

 

When was Jesus ‘burnt to ashes’?

 

If Jesus Christ is our substitute, and if takes upon himself our punishment, and if annihilation/ cessation of consciousness is true he must have been burnt to ashes (anything else is a different punishment). So why wasn’t he?

My opponent would have you believe that Jesus Christ became our substitute by enduring a different punishment to the one we deserve!

Now, maybe that statement begs the question, why isn’t Jesus in eternal conscious torment of hell. Well the answer to that question is found in the infinite value of the life of Jesus (1 Pet 1:18) and complete perfection of his life – as in infinite being, who is of infinite value and goodness not only his sacrifice able to atonement for the sins of many people (and not just one person) it also means he can pay the price in full a finite amount of time. In contrast, an eternity in hell will not be long enough for us to bear the whole anger of God (Rev 14:10-11). One of the amazing things that happened upon the cross of Calvary is that an eternity of hell’s suffering was condensed into a brief period of time – and Jesus Christ was able to bear it – not just in the place of one person, but in the place of all who will believe in his name.

 

Again I apologize for the length of this rebuttal, and a I promise a shorter closing statement.

 

I look forward to my opponents conclusion in due course.

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Finally Round: Summations\Closing Remarks

 

@Jordan Henshaw you have 72 hours to post your reply.

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Posted (edited)

First of all, I would like to address a serious error I made in my first rebuttal. I claimed that my opponent mischaracterized my position on the nature of immortality, and my statement on that matter was entirely false. I re-read most of my opening statement, but stopped when I found what I was looking for – the statement I then quoted – and attacked my opponent based on that alone, instead of on my entire opening statement. This was a mistake on my part. I apologize to my opponent for attacking him on false grounds and for not investigating thoroughly the accuracy of his claims. I will in the future increase my attentiveness to detail and will look thrice before attacking the veracity of another’s claims about me.

 

Again, I thank my admirable opponent for his willingness to participate in this debate, and I thank you all for considering my usual position.

 

 

What we have here is a matter of life and death, folks. What we are here to decide is whether those cast into the fires of hell will survive or if they will cease to be conscious. To come to a clear decision on this matter we must remove all lenses of bias, presuppositions, and normality to perceive clearly that which our Creator seeks for us to comprehend.

 

Do the words of Romans 6:23 mean that the punishment for sin involves cessation of consciousness, or does it mean that the punishment for sin involves eternal suffering?

 

I have presented my side of the argument, and my opponent has presented his.

 

We have seen that it all comes down to just one word: death. Are we meant to interpret this word as a spiritual, figurative death, or are we meant to understand this word as a physical, literal death?

 

My opponent believes that the scriptures fully support the idea of a spiritual, figurative death for the wicked, and I believe that the scriptures fully support the idea of a physical, literal death for the wicked.

 

 

I have cited more than 75 passages from scripture that I believe clearly support my position. My opponent however has only cited about 20, 11 of which I have easily refuted.

 

Let’s look at the four biggest problems with his argument.

 

 

1. Sinners will live forever:

 

My opponent believes that there is a difference between immortality and eternal life. This is simply false. The specific word “immortality” isn’t used terribly often in the bible, but it is NEVER, EVER used to describe the wicked.

 

2 Timothy 1:10 – “but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

 

Romans 2:7 – “To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life.”

 

1 Corinthians 15 – “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead: What is sown is perishable; it is raised imperishable. 43It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power…Now I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable…For the perishable must be clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality… + 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (This can easily be confused for meaning that everyone will be raised to immortality, but read the entire chapter, and compare it to other texts written by the same author, look at it as chronological sequence of events, and it becomes very clear that he is talking about the righteous here. Do not take that one verse out of context and make false assumptions.)

 

1 Timothy 6:16 – “who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.”

 

1 Peter 1:23 – “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”

 

While it doesn’t explicitly state: “Immortality is the same thing as eternal life”, it is extremely clear that it always associates immortality with those who are with God ALONE, and that it NEVER associates it with the wicked. It makes no clear distinction between the two.

 

1 John 3:15; Mark 10:17; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18; John 3:16; John 5:39; John 6:54; John 6:68; John 10:28; John 17:2; John 17:3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:11; 1 John 5:13; 1 John 5:20; Jude 1:21; Genesis 3:22; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; John 4:14; Revelation 21:6; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:54; 1 Timothy 6:16

 

(Note: My admirable opponent may use John 17:3 to define the meaning of eternal life, but will ignore the context and will forget that the only people who are immortal will be in heaven, which means every person with eternal life all share similar qualities, but said qualities are not definitive of the idea of living forever itself.)

 

 

2. Stories like Sodom cannot be used to acutely understand what will happen in Revelation.

 

My admirable opponent makes the assertion that we can ignore passages of scripture that are in direct parallel with things in Revelation and make the Revelation passages mean what we want them to mean.

 

When God says that

 

“In like manner, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, who indulged in sexual immorality and pursued strange flesh, are on display as an example of those who sustain the punishment of eternal fire.” – Jude 1:7

 

- we can’t use that image to understand what eternal fire means in the end times.

 

In addition, when God says:

 

“And the smoke of their torment will rise forever and ever.” – Revelation 14:11

 

-we can’t use this:

 

“It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever. 11But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it…” – Isaiah 34:10 (speaking of Judgment Day)

 

-to understand what the verse in Revelation means because… that’s bad hermeneutics? Because my opponent thinks that because it is spoken of in Revelation, it must somehow be special. The fact that it is in Revelation means that we can throw out whatever bits and pieces we don’t like.

 

If God says that the wicked will receive the punishment of “eternal fire” on Judgment Day and also says that Sodom is an example of “eternal fire”, we can’t look at Sodom to see what will happen – no! We have to make up our own idea of what will happen that fits our worldview. Sodom’s eternal fire ended, but the eternal fire spoken of in Revelation has to be a different eternal fire because what God told us doesn’t work with our worldview, so we have to make stuff up and justify it by saying, “Oh, it’s special because it’s on the other side of eternity. (wait a second…it’s on the other side of what exactly?)”

 

 

3. Jesus’ death was an eternal death.

 

No. Sorry. Jesus did not suffer an eternal death. Jesus did not suffer an eternity of torture in one moment. That is false. That doesn’t even make sense. Frankly, that is ridiculous. There are absolutely NO verses in the bible that attest to this. I’ve never even heard this before. The lengths people will go in order to save their worldview is truly stunning.

 

Yes, Jesus is an eternal being smashed into a mortal body, but that does NOT mean that He endured an eternity of hellfire in one moment. That is false. That claim is NOT substantiated by anything.

 

 

4. Destroy, perish, die, etc. actually refers to a spiritual death.

 

Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; Acts 8:20; Romans 9:22-23; Philippians 1:28; Philippians 3:19; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 10:39; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:9; Romans 1:32; Romans 6:21; Romans 7:5; Romans 8:6; 2 Corinthians 7:10; James 1:15; James 5:20; 1 John 5:16; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 14; Revelation 21:8; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Philippians 3:19; 1 Peter 4:17; Galatians 6:8; 2 Peter 2:12; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 7:19; Matthew 13:40; John 15:6; Matthew 7:27; Matthew 13:48; Matthew 15:13; Luke 13:7; Luke 17:27; Luke 17:29; Luke 17:32; Matthew 21:41

 

Look at the passages yourselves. Determine what you think these passages mean by death. Also, consider how hard it would be for a non-believer to die spiritually if they were never spiritually alive.

 

 

In summation, I will shortly ask you a simple question.

 

But first, let me remind you of what exactly it is my opponent seems to believe.

 

ETERNAL. CONSCIOUS. TORMENT.

 

Let’s look at each of these terms individually.

 

 

 

ETERNAL:

The meaning of eternal is unending. It stretches out forever. It has no end.

 

Googol. It is a made up number that signifies a 1 followed by 100 zeros.

 

Googolplex. It is a made up number that signifies a 1 followed by 1 googol zeros.

 

The number of atoms in the universe comes nowhere near the number googolplex.

 

Let’s say the letter “t” signifies googolplex. The following number comes nowhere close to the length of eternity:

 

10tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt tttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

The approximate number of atoms in the cosmos is around 1080

 

 

CONSCIOUS:

Conscious means that a person is sentient. It means the person is able to think thoughts. It means the person is able to experience pain. It means the person is able to form ideas.

 

 

TORMENT:

The torment in Hell is quite literally the most gruesome form of torture that a person could possibly conceive. Have you ever held your finger to the flame of a cigarette lighter? Well that is yellow flame. And it is only your finger. In Hell, a person’s entire body will be submerged in blue flame. Sulfur burns much, much hotter than the gas in a cigarette lighter.

 

 

Now, what my opponent believes is that every sinner whose name is not found in the Book of Life will suffer consciously the most gruesome, painful form of torture known to man for more googolplex number of years than there are atoms in the cosmos.

 

He believes that even the person who never once heard the name Jesus will suffer that eternal penalty along with the person who heard the name Jesus every day.

 

Luke 12:47 - "That servant who knows his master’s will but does not get ready or follow his instructions will be beaten with many blows."

 

Psalm 145:9 - "The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made."

 

Luke 6:36 - "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

 

2 Samuel 24:14 - "David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”

 

 

What we have found is that there is OVERWHELMING biblical evidence that declares that the INSANE idea that a loving God would torture people forever is simply not true at all.

 

I have used well over SEVENTY-FIVE passages from all over the Bible that paint a very clear picture of what God’s plan is:

 

Ever since the garden of Eden, God has made it clear that He does NOT intend to torture people forever, and instead PROTECTED Adam and Eve from living forever under the curse of immortality. Then he went on to DESTROY Sodom and Gomorrah with eternal fire. Centuries later, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that God would one day destroy the wicked and that the righteous would go out to look upon their carcasses, and that the memory of them would be despised forever. Also, the prophet Malachi prophesied that the righteous would tread on the ashes of the wicked. Then, we see what the punishment for sin is when Jesus takes it upon himself and suffers the penalty of a relatively short period of intense suffering followed by death. Then, the writers of the New Testament write extensively on the concept of the gift of eternal life – a gift given only to the righteous. They write of how the righteous will specifically be raised from the dead and how the righteous will put on immortality. Then. In Revelation, the wicked are judged according to their works, weep and gnash their teeth, are cast into the lake of fire, and will perish once justice has been rendered. Once this has been accomplished, Revelation prophesies that God will create a new heaven and a new earth and will make all things new. The former will pass and there will be no more sadness or tears. Then, those in Heaven will be given the right to eat of the tree of life, which will allow them to live forever.

 

It’s all there in black and white. You can’t deny it. You have to look at the entire bible. You have to look at it as one big picture. You have to open it up and read it.

 

What the church has done is it has taken verses like:

 

“some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

“For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched,”

“And these will go away into eternal punishment,”

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction”

“And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever,”

 

and has built an entire theology off of it, completely denying the fact that these verses can EASILY be interpreted from the opposite perspective.

 

Don’t you see that these verses don’t mean eternal conscious torment? Don’t you see that God is referencing what Isaiah said about a battlefield? Don’t you see that the smoke rising up is a symbol that Isaiah used and doesn’t mean there will be eternal smoke? Can’t you see that eternal punishment means eternal punishment and not eternal conscious torment? Can’t you see that Romans 6:23 is saying that the wages of sin is the second death in the lake of fire? Can’t you see that God didn’t want Adam and Eve to live forever once under the curse of sin? Can’t you see that eternal life is a gift for the righteous only? Can’t you see that getting cast into a lake of fire involves turning to ashes? Can’t you see that you can’t be eternally in the process of destruction? Can’t you see that you don’t have to be alive to be in everlasting contempt? Can’t you see that God is going to make everything new? Can’t you see that God plans to destroy the wicked? Can’t you see that God never said he will burn people forever?

 

I once assumed that God planned to torture people forever, just like my opponent. I believed that for as long as I could remember. It was a well-known fact. It was undisputed. Of course Hell is where people burn forever. How could it be anything different? That’s the only Hell I knew.

 

But then someone asked me a question. And through seeking the answer to that one simple question, I realized that everything I thought I knew about Hell was wrong. I looked at John 3:16. I looked at Romans 6:23. It clearly said that the wicked would perish and die. It did not say that they would live forever in torment. That’s just not what it says. Then I looked at Genesis and at the tree of life. I saw that God very clearly did NOT want anyone to live forever once under the curse of sin, but instead had taken direct action to prevent that from happening. Then I looked at the passages that were parallel to “the worm that dieth not” and “the smoke of their torment rose forever” and “eternal fire”, I saw that it was all just a colossal mistake.

 

No! It doesn’t mean the smoke will still be rising a billion years later! It’s poetic imagery from Isaiah! No! Eternal fire doesn’t mean fire that would never go out! How could I have read the words “unquenchable fire” without ever thinking about what the word “quench” means in relation to fire? That whole time I for some reason thought the fire was just really thirsty!

 

Then I started reading the bible in a new light and everything made so much more sense. Instead of Romans 6:23 saying the wages of sin is eternal conscious torment, it finally said that the wages of sin is death. I realized that God wasn’t lying when he said that he would destroy the wicked. I realized that he wasn’t just fooling around when he said that the gift of God is eternal life.

 

 

Brothers and sisters, where in the Bible does it say that God wants to punish Eve with trillions of years of brutal torture for disobeying Him once?

 

Where does it say, “The wicked will burn forever”?

Where does it say, “The wages of sin is eternal torment”?

Where does it say, “The wicked shall live forever in Hell?

Where does it say, “The soul of every man shall live forever”?

Where does it say, “The wicked will never end”?

 

 

Where does it say, “The wicked shall perish”?

Where does it say, “The wages of sin is death”?

Where does it say, “The righteous will live forever”?

Where does it say, “The soul can be destroyed in hell”?

Where does it say, “The wicked shall be ended”?

 

 

Hell does not torment people forever.

 

 

The wicked will not live forever. That is false.

The wicked shall perish. That is why it is called the second death.

Jesus did not pay the price of eternal hellfire, but instead, the price of death.

 

1 John 3:15; Mark 10:17; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:18; John 3:16; John 5:39; John 6:54; John 6:68; John 10:28; John 17:2; John 17:3; Acts 13:48; Romans 2:7; Romans 5:21; Romans 6:23; 1 Timothy 6:19; Titus 1:2; Titus 3:7; 1 John 1:2; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 5:11; 1 John 5:13; 1 John 5:20; Jude 1:21; Genesis 3:22; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; John 4:14; Revelation 21:6; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Corinthians 15:54; 1 Timothy 6:16

 

Matthew 7:13; John 17:12; Acts 8:20; Romans 9:22-23; Philippians 1:28; Philippians 3:19; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 10:39; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:9; Romans 1:32; Romans 6:21; Romans 7:5; Romans 8:6; 2 Corinthians 7:10; James 1:15; James 5:20; 1 John 5:16; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 14; Revelation 21:8; 2 Corinthians 11:15; Philippians 3:19; 1 Peter 4:17; Galatians 6:8; 2 Peter 2:12; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 7:19; Matthew 13:40; John 15:6; Matthew 7:27; Matthew 13:48; Matthew 15:13; Luke 13:7; Luke 17:27; Luke 17:29; Luke 17:32; Matthew 21:41

 

Isaiah 53:5-6; John 10:11; 1 Peter 2:24; Mark 10:45; Hebrews 10:9; Romans 3:25; 1 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 5:25; Leviticus 16:10; 1 John 3:16; Deuteronomy 21:22

 

Genesis 3:22 – “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’"

 

Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God.”

 

Revelation 22:2 – “down the middle of the main street of the city. On either side of the river stood a tree of life, producing twelve kinds of fruit and yielding a fresh crop for each month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

 

Revelation 22:14 – “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

 

Matthew 13:24-30; 37-43 – “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’

 

36 “Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.’

 

37 “He answered and said to them: ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!’”

 

Luke 12:47 – “That servant who knows his master’s will but does not get ready or follow his instructions will be beaten with many blows. 48But the one who unknowingly does things worthy of punishment will be beaten with few blows.”

 

Ezekiel 28:13-19 – “You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Every precious stone was your covering:

The ruby, the topaz and the diamond;

The beryl, the onyx and the jasper;

The lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald;

And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets,

Was in you.

On the day that you were created

They were prepared.

 

14“You were the anointed cherub who covers,

And I placed you there.

You were on the holy mountain of God;

You walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

 

15“You were blameless in your ways

From the day you were created

Until unrighteousness was found in you.

 

16“By the abundance of your trade

You were internally filled with violence,

And you sinned;

Therefore I have cast you as profane

From the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub,

From the midst of the stones of fire.

 

17“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;

You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I cast you to the ground;

I put you before kings,

That they may see you.

 

18“By the multitude of your iniquities,

In the unrighteousness of your trade

You profaned your sanctuaries.

Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you;

It has consumed you,

And I have turned you to ashes on the earth

In the eyes of all who see you.

 

19“All who know you among the peoples

Are appalled at you;

You have become terrified

And you will cease to be forever.”’”

 

 

1 Timothy 6:16 – “He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light.”

 

Psalm 145:20 – “The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.”

 

Philippians 3:19 – “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.”

 

Malachi 4:3 – “And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the Lord of hosts.”

 

Matthew 10:28 - "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

 

Isaiah 34:10-11 - "It will not be quenched night or day; Its smoke will go up forever. From generation to generation it will be desolate; None will pass through it forever and ever. 11But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it..."

 

Romans 2:7 – "To those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life."

 

Revelation 21:4 – "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5And the One seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'”

 

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”

 

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life.”

 

Revelation 21:8 – “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers,and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden…”

 

Genesis 3:22 – “Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’"

 

Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God.”

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

 

You can continue to warp the entire bible to fit the view of eternal conscious torment, or you can choose to remove all presuppositions, take off your blue glasses, and look at the OVERWHELMING evidence and see that our God is a just God who has compassion, has no desire to keep sinners around for eternity, and wishes to make them morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably DEAD .

 

 

And this is our example of what Hell will accomplish (notice the lack of fire, ghosts, and screaming):

 

1306263551_exhibitb.png.ac7888004a732e5d959fef18b48c6d75.png

 

I do most positively do believe that the unrighteous will truly be not only merely dead, but really most sincerely dead.

 

:RpS_thumbsup:

:RpS_thumbsup:

:RpS_thumbsup:

:RpS_thumbsup:

 

 

helltruth.com

rethinkinghell.com

 

I ask you to open the scriptures with an open mind, free of any human assumptions or biases, that we may pursue with greater purity the wisdom that our God has imparted to us.

 

Thank you all for your time.

Edited by Jordan Henshaw
It deleted my outro!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I don't know how one scores debates - maybe technically I have lost, or maybe I have won. I don't know, and truth be told it isn't up to me to decide. The truth is I haven't gone to this effort to win a debate, but to state the biblical truth as the people of God have always understood it. Now, I promised a shorter conclusion and here it is!

 

Ask yourselves some simple questions my friends:

 

1) How well do Jordan's arguments fit with the obvious sense of the texts he has used?

 

2) How well do Jordan's narrow lexical senses of words used in scripture match up to their actual semantic domain?

i - has he adequately understood the biblical concept of death?

ii - does he understand the terms 'perish' and 'destroy'?

iii - can he justify the insertion of terms like 'slaughter' and 'burned to ashes'?

 

3) Has he explained meaningfully why the authors qualify their phrases with the word 'eternal'?

 

4) Has he explained why Judas is today wishing he had never been born (and will continue to do so for all eternity)

 

5) What is the most reliable evidence to base your arguments on - recognized lexical resources, and properly cited historic resources, or Youtube?

 

6) I do not know what skills my opponent has with the original languages, i don't know what sort of library he has available to him - but ask yourselves if he has really done the proper research to support his position credibly?

 

And foremost of all ask yourselves - 7) how does Jordan's view measure up when it comes the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross? Has my opponent being able to establish why Jesus did not endure the punishment that he says we will endure, whilst maintaining that Jesus has born our punishment - if my opponent has not achieved that basic task then his whole argument collapses like a pack of cards. In fact, has my opponent had any meaningful answer to this point, and many of the others I have made?

 

So, if Jesus wasn't burnt to ashes - we won't be either! And my closing statement is as simple as that all I have left to say is thank you all for sticking with this debate and I want to thank for my opponent for taking the time to present his case. I also wish to extend my special thanks to Origen for taking the time to moderate this discussion.

 

I'm sure Origin will through it open for discussion soon and I would encourage people to ask questions as it will give us the opportunity to explore some of these points further.

 

 

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I'm sure Origin will through it open for discussion soon and I would encourage people to ask questions as it will give us the opportunity to explore some of these points further.

 

I believe the debate is now open to anyone that wishes to comment. That is, without an official statement.

 

I don't know how one scores debates - maybe technically I have lost, or maybe I have won. I don't know, and truth be told it isn't up to me to decide.

 

I think the affirmative position has the burden of proof. In essence, having gone against the long held orthodox view of the church, the burden rests on the affirmative's shoulders.

 

In my opinion, Jordan has not done that. Suggesting that we should have open minds was not enough and I find it rather poorly conveying that showing bias or prejudice for long held orthodox creeds and councils is wrong. While they are secondary to Scripture, they are a source of authority.

 

My only real comment is to you Reformed Baptist, you initially "inferred" from the Apostle's creed, but I think the Athanasian creed actually addresses annihilationism, "43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire."

 

Of course your opponent, Jordan is going to want to change the meaning of life everlasting, which he would then need demonstrate the intent of the authors not only of Scripture but by long held and credible councils.

 

In short, I appreciate both of your civil engagement in this debate but believe it should of been condensed down into far shorter points (3 to 5). And personally, it hasn't changed my view on these matters. Anniahilationism is heretical. And I expect to see the same behavior and tactics from those that previously peddled heretical teaching. They reject the early creeds and confessions which holds a body from swaying during cultural shifts. The long held creeds and confessions are the first thing to go in order to uproot any given congregation from Scriptural orthodoxy. I firmly side with the early creeds and the Westminster Confession of Faith, which I believe properly conveys Scriptural truth "as understood" by a member of the body of Christ.

 

God bless,

William

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In my opinion, Jordan has not done that. Suggesting that we should have open minds was not enough.

How could I have done that though?

 

I mean I cited almost 100 passages in direct support.

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How could I have done that though?

 

I mean I cited almost 100 passages in direct support.

 

No?

 

I think you went into great depth blurring the lines between the physical and spiritual realms.

 

Having said that, I am not saying anything more because I do not think that you'll change your position as having ignored previous creeds and councils.

 

However, I am curious about your Presbyterian church, and whether they know about your doctrine? Do you not belong to a Presbyterian body that vows to uphold the WCF? And be held accountable in both life and doctrine?

 

In short, do they know about your doctrine and your attempts to spread it?

 

God bless,

William

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My only real comment is to you Reformed Baptist, you initially "inferred" from the Apostle's creed, but I think the Athanasian creed actually addresses annihilationism, "43. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting and they that have done evil into everlasting fire."

 

of course - why didn't I think of that :D

 

In short, I appreciate both of your civil engagement in this debate but believe it should of been condensed down into far shorter points (3 to 5).

 

thanks for the feedback - I think I tried to respond to just about everything in Jordan's statements in my rebuttal and maybe that was a tactical error (verbosity is a fault of mine)

 

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Has my opponent being able to establish why Jesus did not endure the punishment that he says we will endure

He did!!!!!!!!!!

 

OK, so died by being crucified. And sinners will die by being burned alive.

 

It's DEATH both ways.

 

Who cares if it's by crucifixion or by fire?

 

What's important is that it is brief suffering followed by death instead of eternal suffering with no death.

 

Has he explained why Judas is today wishing he had never been born (and will continue to do so for all eternity)

What?????????

 

Who said that Judas is wishing he was never born right now???????????????

 

"The Son of Man will go just as it is written about Him, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” - Jesus

 

Where does it say Judas will be wishing he was never born while being tormented for eternity in Hell?

 

I don't think I even addressed this in the debate because I don't even understand how it's a remotely logical argument.

 

 

What is the most reliable evidence to base your arguments on - recognized lexical resources, and properly cited historic resources, or Youtube?

Scripture.

 

Notice I used dozens and dozens of passages.

 

can he justify the insertion of terms like 'slaughter' and 'burned to ashes'?

You must not have read through my list of additional passages in support for this.

 

Has he explained meaningfully why the authors qualify their phrases with the word 'eternal'?

Because it's eternal. Will never end. Bye bye. If I burn a matchstick, it has been inflicted eternal destruction. That matchstick will cease to be a matchstick for eternity. Bye bye matchstick.

 

So, if Jesus wasn't burnt to ashes - we won't be either!

Two men are sentenced to the death penalty (we still do that in the US sometimes.) The judge says that the first will be given death by electrocution and that the second will be given death by lethal injection. The first man is electrocuted. Then it is the second man's turn. He realizes that what happened to the first man did not involve lethal injection. He is relieved and proclaims, "I'm not going to die today! If the first man sentenced to death wasn't given a lethal injection, neither will I!" And the second man was given the shot.

 

Did the second man die?

 

The first man is Jesus. He was sentenced with execution by crucifixion.

 

The second man is the sinner. He was sentenced with execution by fire.

 

Does the fact that Jesus wasn't executed by fire mean that the sinner can't be executed by fire?

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I think you went into great depth blurring the lines between the physical and spiritual realms.

 

Having said that, I am not saying anything more because I do not think that you'll change your position as having ignored previous creeds and councils.

 

However, I am curious about your Presbyterian church, and whether they know about your doctrine? Do you not belong to a Presbyterian body that vows to uphold the WCF? And be held accountable in both life and doctrine?

 

In short, do they know about your doctrine and your attempts to spread it?

 

God bless,

William

Why did God protect Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life?

 

If the church is so famous for getting massive things wrong (Protestant Reformation, Spanish Inquisition, Pharisees etc...), why on earth should I trust it for getting a smaller thing right, especially when it is about something as insane sounding as a loving God who tortures people for eternity? Why should I trust the church?

 

I instead trust the BIBLE:

 

The bible says that God protected Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life.

The bible says that the wicked shall perish.

The bible says those who seek after immortality will be given eternal life.

The bible says that the wicked shall become ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous.

The bible says that Sodom is an example of what will happen to the wicked.

The bible says that Jesus had compassion and forgiveness for those who crucified him.

The bible says that the lake of fire is the second death.

The bible says that the righteous will be given the right to eat of the tree of life that they may live forever.

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Why did God protect Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life?

If the church is so famous for getting massive things wrong (Protestant Reformation, Spanish Inquisition, Pharisees etc...), why on earth should I trust it for getting a smaller thing right, especially when it is about something as insane sounding as a loving God who tortures people for eternity? Why should I trust the church?

I instead trust the BIBLE:

The bible says that God protected Adam and Eve from the Tree of Life.

The bible says that the wicked shall perish.

The bible says those who seek after immortality will be given eternal life.

The bible says that the wicked shall become ashes under the soles of the feet of the righteous.

The bible says that Sodom is an example of what will happen to the wicked.

The bible says that Jesus had compassion and forgiveness for those who crucified him.

The bible says that the lake of fire is the second death.

The bible says that the righteous will be given the right to eat of the tree of life that they may live forever.

 

This is the kind of perspective I expect from heretics. Am I supposed to accept your emotional appeal and/or put weight on your confessional which you just conveyed?

 

And I can't help but notice that my questions concerning your church status were ignored in two different threads.

 

Your membership status here has been revoked. I suggest you approach your church elders too. That is, if you actually belong to a Reformed/Presbyterian church which holds its members accountable in not only life but doctrine.

 

God bless,

William

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Does the fact that Jesus wasn't executed by fire mean that the sinner can't be executed by fire?

 

I thought the debate was over?

 

You believe our end (as God's judgement is to be 'burned to ashes' - yet Jesus Christ never suffered that fate!

 

It isn't a question of the method of death, it is the fact that Jesus stood in our place and bore the punishment we deserve, yet you want to make his and our punishment materially different in that he was never 'burnt to ashes' and his conscious did not eternally cease (ie he was not annihilated) - but I suppose from your point of view as 'eternal' can mean one thing in one phrase, and something entirely different in the next you are at least consistent in your inconsistency!

 

My friend, the debate is over - it's time for others to speak.

 

Maybe join in some other threads and chat about some other topics for a while?

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I mean I cited almost 100 passages in direct support.
Simply citing passages proves nothing. Every cult cite passages they believe support their views.

 

This was one of the main problems with your points. You assumed what you must prove. Passages have to be exegeted in context. Words do not always have the same connotation in every context. Context determines meaning.

 

And by the way this thread is now open for comments.

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This is the kind of perspective I expect from heretics. Am I supposed to accept your emotional appeal and/or put weight on your confessional which you just conveyed?

 

And I can't help but notice that my questions concerning your church status were ignored in two different threads.

 

Your membership status here has been revoked. I suggest you approach your church elders too. That is, if you actually belong to a Reformed/Presbyterian church which holds its members accountable in not only life but doctrine.

 

God bless,

William

Wow. Banned from a christian forum for putting the Word of God above the beliefs of men.

 

Just wow.

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Wow. Banned from a christian forum for putting the Word of God above the beliefs of men.

 

Just wow.

 

Figures you'd see it only in that way. And it doesn't surprise me that you result to trolling now. Heretics can never leave it alone. They must acquire more people to side with them.

 

We can sit here and ban each of your accounts all day long. Read our rules, only one account per person.

 

William

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