Monday, June 10, 2013

What The Hell Am I Saved From? What I Believe About Hell & Why (Pt 4)

In the first post I listed the main arguments of annihilationism as this:

1) The biblical references for the ‘destruction’ of the wicked,
2) The inconsistency of an eternal hell with the love of God,
3) The injustice or unfairness of the disparity between sins committed in this life and the punishment of eternal torment, and
4) That allowing evil to continue in hell would mess with the perfection of the universe God will create after the Judgment Day. (Order taken from Wayne Grudem)

In this post I hope to offer a rebuttal to these arguments. Mind you this debate has been going on for years and I do not expect to change their minds in this one post, in fact I fully expect more arguments will come to show. (Some good resource to read are: Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology page 1146 about Hell, J.I. Packer Knowing God chapter on The Wrath of God, James Boice The Foundations of the Christian Faith chapter on The Wrath of God, Jonathan Edwards sermons Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners, Of Eternal Punishment and many others.) Many of my arguments here are taken from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.

First the biblical references for the ‘destruction’ of the wicked. References like Phil. 3:19; I Thess 5:3; II Thess 1:9; II Peter 3:7. “In response it must be said that the passages of destruction do not necessarily imply the cessation of existence.” (Hold on to your hats this part is a little detailed and I’m no Greek scholar.)

In Phil. 3:19 and II Peter 3:7, “‘destruction’ is apoleia which is the same as in Matt 26:8 to speak of ‘waste’ of the ointment. Now the ointment did not cease to be, to exist; it was very evident on Jesus’ head. But was ‘destroyed’ in the sense it no longer was able to be used on someone else or sold.” This destruction is the type seen in these verses, not imply annihilation but the simplicity of unable to be redeemed. Those who are in hell are unredeemable; they did not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and are bearing the just eternal punishment of their sins.

In I Thess 5:3 and II Thess 1:9, “’destruction’ is olethros, used also in I Cor 5:5 of delivering a man to Satan (putting him out of the church) for destruction of the flesh – but his flesh did not certainly cease to be when he was put out of the church…” So destruction is once again not seen as ceasing to exist it is seen as being done away with in a permanent since.

Verses about the eternality of hell:

I would highly recommend you look these verses up, especially the ones in Revelation, which say things like “forever and ever.” All the verses are linked for your viewing ease.


Chris Date said...

I must say I'm bummed you didn't wait until we'd chatted. You've missed an opportunity to respond to the real argument, and chosen instead to respond to a weaker, straw version of it.

Dave S said...

Chris, Why is it that you have encouraged Sam not to post this material saying that it is "incomplete" and yet you do not respond directly to the material just continue to say how it is a "weaker, straw version of it". You said previously said he should e-mail you so you could explain to Sam what he was missing "but not turn it into a debate". To me it sounds like you want to debate this issue but do not want to respond publicly I was just curious why because I am curious of what you say he is missing.

Chris Date said...


I am in private communications with Sam. That's why. I am happy to respond publicly, but as I said, I don't want to turn it into a debate; rather, I want to help Sam better understand the true nature of the debate, which I suspect will be easier over private email as we develop a bit of a friendship.

If Sam would prefer, I'm happy to respond here publicly, explaining why it is an incomplete, straw version of the argument from the biblical language of destruction.