Or does the consequence of death lead to the ultimate annihilation of the soul?”. They believed that Hell was a place of eternal conscious torment, reflecting the clearest teaching of the scriptures (more on that, Jim Wallace explains and defends the doctrine of Hell. The teaching that people and fallen angels will be tormented throughout eternity contradicts the Bible’s teaching that God is altogether victorious at the end of history. It is the belief that unbelievers will be "wiped out" or "annihilated" sometime after death. The Psalmist’s emphasis on the total destruction of the wicked has parallels throughout the Old Testament. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. (from a post-Nicene manuscript fragment). (“Apology” 48:12). I’m not saying that this view is the correct one, btw. Also Jesus said Father forgive them for they know not what they do. 2:35). Also, there is a danger of teaching a form of works righteousness in annihilation is him, particularly in the area of someone suffering for a period of time and then being annihilated. Thus the issue that some will go to hell is decided, but the issue of who in particular will go to hell is undecided. Conditional Immortality (Annihilationism) Quotes from Christian History. From the annihilationist perspective, God’s justice and mercy unite in condemning the wicked to extinction. Yes Christ died for the sins of the world, however, it is a persons decision to decide. Yep. The big point we are building up to here is that the early church fathers DID NOT believe in eternal torment. The Lord turned the inhabitants of these cities “to ashes” and “condemned them to extinction” thus making “them an example of what is coming to the ungodly…” (2 Pet. 1) Unending Suffering is Inconsistent with the Love of God. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell.. 2:7; 6:23; 1 Cor. A interesting read is on the second death which end in the the lake of fire (“Christian” or non – whoa – this one can be bit uncomfortable for “Christians” – so much for eternal security) : Reven 2:11 (Church in Smyrna) Here are some additional thoughts by Dr. Richard Beck who wrote of his reasons for abandoning his view of annihilationism: But the fact that annihilationism is murder isn’t what ultimately changed my mind. (Revelation 14:11). They believed it was eternal, conscious punishment and clearly argued against both univeralism and annihilationism. Along the same lines, it’s not clear how heaven could ever truly be heaven if it co-exists alongside an eternal hell. This goes against the teaching of scripture, and even Ignatius. I will not comment on all the fathers, but I wish point out a few things: 1) Ignatius of Antioch – While at first it may seem that Ignatius argues in favor of never-ending conscious torment, he says no such thing. Stott’s belief in annihilationism ran contrary to the beliefs of the Anglican Church … In the powerful words of a later author, the wicked “shall be as though they had never been” (Obed. Is it true that the Annhilationist view is popular among the early church? Would we call a human being good or merciful – or anything other than cruel — who retaliated on his foes with this sort of unmitigated, insatiable vengeance? There is always room for scholars to make a case against the traditional view, but that case has to be on the merits. Is 66:24 really reminds of the story of the rich man & Lazarus. Acts 3:21) if in fact many creatures shall forever exist in hostile rebellion to God? If they in the Lake of Fire it appears they will have access to the outside – hence the gates and the wall), Dan 12 2:6). (H/T The Poached Egg). Over such the second death has no power.. Rev 21:8 its smoke shall go up forever. So while in 1 Cor. 21:4) if throughout eternity there shall be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” as multitudes suffer an endless second death? How are we to imagine God, who is perfect love, enjoying heaven while he yet keeps the damned in existence for the sole purpose of having them experience hopeless pain? Then the disembodied souls of the wicked are finally granted their deepest wish, which is to exist in a Universe that is bereft of God’s presence. What is life really like for Americans living in poor households? First of note, the word "hell" is not in the Bible. If this is true of Isaiah, we should be less inclined to interpret similar expressions in the book of Revelation literally. 4. Who goes to hell? 2) The Fear of Hell. Man was created to be Gods judge and have dominion. In contrast, the earliest creeds of the church were more generic in their teaching on final judgment and allowed for either traditionalism or annihilationism. “…as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, Whereas the redeemed would live in the new universe (the new heavens and new earth) with resurrection bodies that never died or grew old. We thus have a precedent set in the New Testament for learning about the fate of the wicked in the Old Testament. It is also called annihilationism. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power, Rev 22 These passages teach that the wicked will justly suffer for their sins, but the end result will be their destruction (cf. Rev 20:6 Where is your evidence? Obviously this fire that destroyed Edom is not still burning. Hell is a place of torment in which the rebellious are in anguish and pain 8:36) and that when “the tempest” of God’s judgment passes, “the wicked are no more…” (10:25, emphasis added). Eternal, conscious punishment for eternity. So too, Christ is said to have come to “abolish death and [bring] life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1 Tim. 1:10). If no one in two thousand years of church history has taught a doctrine, it is almost certainly incorrect. so their root will become rotten, Apokatastasis: The majority of human beings go to hell, but hell is purgatorial. However, I believe that annihilationism is the most consistent with the teachings of both the Old and New Testaments, as well as of the beliefs of the early Church. He wrote a number of important letters to believers in churches in the area: Corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. Responding to Objections The second century apologist Tatian ( an associate of Justin Martyr) wrote; ‘The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal’. Unfortunately, some (but not all) early Church fathers accepted the Hellenistic view and consequently read into Scripture the view that the wicked suffer unending torment. If no one in two thousand years of church history has taught a doctrine, it is almost certainly incorrect. 50:22) and “blotted out of the book of the living…” (Ps. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! You can’t try to make the case for him being one, but an annihiliationist would just say he’s wrong. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell, Is 66:24 And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. He, in essence, uses the mysterious union of God and humanity in Christ to justify asserting that the immutable God can really become mutable…, In my previous post I noted that the prevalent contemporary evangelical assumption that the only legitimate meaning of a passage of Scripture is the one the author intended is a rather recent, and very secular, innovation in Church history. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 29:20). Annihilationism removes that problem with the guillotine. If you have any issues, please call the office at 385-246-1048 or email us at [email protected]. ( wild verse…. Near death experience research proves of a hell and a heaven, but its not exactly like they bible say. Also I like to look at near death experience testimony, because they are just as accurate as the bible. 3:12). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. pp. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Indeed, he came to “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 9 And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, Note the metaphors carefully. 67% Upvoted. 6:8; 1 John 5:11). If it was just a semantic overstep, no big deal, but if not, please, help us learn all we can about this. He announced that the Messiah “will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the grainary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matt. – Second death And what we learn is that they are “condemned… to extinction.”, Throughout the Old Testament the Lord threatens the wicked with annihilation. Annihilationism is the belief that the final fate of those who are not saved is literal and final death and destruction. Tertullian proposes that the fire itself will give immortality to the otherwise mortal souls. God graciously offers immortality as a gift to people who align themselves with his will (e.g. The entire notion of afterlife, heaven, purgatory, and hell were only slowly unfolding at the time of Jesus and the early church. Those who choose to reject God’s will are denied this gift, following the pattern of Adam and Eve when God denied them access to “the tree of life” (Gen 3:22-24). The notion of unending punishment is so out of sync with people’s ordinary sense of justice that it is easily rejected as preposterous. The Edomites were simply wiped out and the figurative language is used to emphasize the permanent consequences of the judgement. 30:5; e.g. 1[a] “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. Annihilationism is directly related to the doctrine of conditional immortality, … How Hell Invaded Church Doctrine. While the righteous “abide forever” (37:27), “the wicked perish…like smoke they vanish away” (Ps. 3. 16, emphasis added). 5:24). The prominence of these particular Fathers should at least make it plausible that many of the Fathers who did not specifically indicate that they held to the doctrine of eternal torment may well have been annihilationists as well. While I am not completely convinced of this position, I think it is worthy of serious consideration. and like a garden without water. What? 185–6). So, if you’re wondering what a handful of the early church fathers thought of hell, here is Glenn Peoples on the topic: The contrast in these passages between “death,” losing life, and “perishing,” on the one hand, with “life,” on the other, seems quite incompatible with the contrast of eternal bliss with eternal pain that the traditional teaching on hell presupposes. 37:38, cf. Does this seem like the sort of thing the “Abba” Father of Jesus would do? And again, “…transgressors shall be altogether destroyed” (Ps. Annihilationism experienced a resurgence in the 19th century thanks to the Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, as already discussed, and in the 20th century through Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God (today much more orthodox in its Christianity thanks to his successors) and its offshoots like the United Church of God (which is more true to Armstrong's teachings). Along similar lines, Jesus tells his disciples not to fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather “fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. While their writings are not canonical (they are not on par with the words of the Bible), they do help us to see what those closest to the apostles first understood as Biblical Truth. How are we to imagine enjoying heaven when we know that fellow human beings — and perhaps former loved ones — are locked in an endless nightmare from which they shall never awake? And the worm is undying in the sense that there is no hope for the condemned that it will be prevented from devouring their corpses. Does God scare people into loving him with the threat of Hell? [I]t is not merely temporal, but eternal. In this essay I will present biblical arguments in its defense and then conclude with several other supporting arguments. What I’m saying is that I am familiar with probably most of the literature defending annihilationism from the early twentieth century until now (and sporadic example prior to that). I didn’t come to this understanding lightly. Annihilationism is the view that lost people in hell will be exterminated after they have paid the penalty for their sins. But the godless and those who have not turned wholly to God will be punished in fire equally unending, and they shall have from the very nature of this fire, divine as it were, a supply of incorruptibility (“Apology” 44:12–13), Therefore after this there is neither death nor repeated resurrections, but we shall be the same that we are now, and still unchanged–the servants of God, ever with God, clothed upon with the proper substance of eternity; but the profane, and all who are not true worshippers of God, in like manner shall be consigned to the punishment of everlasting fire–that fire which, from its very nature indeed, directly ministers to their incorruptibility. belief that non-believers will simply be annihilated or be destroyed after death Is there a place people go immediately after death? And this pain is without hope of ever being terminated or relieved. Early Church Fathers. So too, Paul teaches that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. ( Log Out /  VI. In other words, unbelievers will not experience eternal punishment in a literal hell, but will simply vanish (or have their souls extinguished) instead. After the first generations, as early as Irenaeus in the 2 nd Century A.D., there were Christians who even looked at the existence of hell as a good thing. – Lake of Fire. I have had the privilege of dialoguing with Tony several times and even publicly debating him once on this top. Is this view really compatible with a God whose heart was expressed in Jesus’ dying prayer, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34)? With the same force the apostle teaches that “[s]udden destruction” will come upon the wicked in the last days (1 Thess. 1:10, 21–22) and that God shall be “all in all” (1 Cor. Ancient Church, with very few exceptions, as endless.4 The major exception to this doctrinal unanimity in the early church, was Origen (ca. 15:28 it would seem that the early church offered baptism for the dead in some lost ritual, the idea soon became that the dead were not only without hope, but doomed. Universalism, Annihilationism, And The Early Church I've addressed the early church's view of Hell in previous posts on this blog, but I think some recent developments warrant a return to the subject. This became the dominant view of hell throughout Church history. A living creature is a (living) ‘soul’. 1:4, 6). The Nicene Creed affirms belief in “the resurrection of the dead, in the everlasting judgment of souls and bodies, and the … Early Christians who believed this almost always believed the fire was literal. He writes, ‘For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church’. Paul made this very very clear in Romans 6, 7, 8. The Scripture says, ‘The soul who sins shall die.’, Ezekiel 18:20. Why are some Christians uncomfortable with the doctrine of Hell? It is frequently said of the wicked that they will be “destroyed.” Jesus contrasts the wide gate that “leads to destruction” with the narrow gate that “leads to life” (Matt. The Psalmist says that whereas those who take delight in the Lord shall be “like trees planted by streams of water” (1:3), the wicked shall be “like chaff that the wind drives away…the wicked will perish” (Ps. Along the same lines, James writes that “sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death” (Ja 1:15). While he had a tendency to blend Greek and Christian philosophies, his view on the issue of Hell was derived from the scriptures: All souls are immortal, even those of the wicked. And finally, “[t]he evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will go out” (24:20). That’s great for refining our understanding, but not for disproving ultimate destruction of the wicked (the second death), which would be eternal. Majority---yep 3 versus 1. 10:28). Oftentimes many in the eternal torment camp will read into words things that aren’t really there. Daniel, for example, speaks of all who shall be crushed by the rock of God’s judgment as being “broken.” They become “like the chaff of the summer threshing floor” blown away by the wind “so that not a trace of them [can] be found” (Dan. While the Hellenistic philosophical tradition generally viewed the human soul as inherently immortal, Scripture sees immortality as something that belongs to God alone (I Tim. First of note, the word "hell" is not in the Bible. The worshipers of God shall always be with God, clothed in the proper substance of eternity. Claiming it has been “the overwhelming testimony of the Christian church over the last 2,000 years” seems to discount the range of views that existed for hundreds of years in the Early Church, and continued throughout the centuries, and still exist in the Eastern church (and now in many places, thanks to the Internet informing us of the views). share. So, let's see. shove, if I have to choose (as I usually do) between a church with otherwise good, biblical, evangelical theology that also believes in eternal torment in Hell, and one whose only upside is that it teaches annihilationism (as opposed to just tolerating it among its members), I will … A interesting read is the about the rich man in Lazarus… The guy had a tongue, mouth, ears, speech and was in torment.. Matt 10:28 sheds a bit of light – Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Yes. Here is one ( there are more) 100:5; 103:9; 106:1; 107:1; Ps 118;1-4, 29; 136:10-26). Here is a quick historical survey of the EARLY CHURCH regarding their surprising beliefs about HELL: THE FIRST 500 YEARS: In the first five centuries there were six known theological schools. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death. Question: "Is annihilationism biblical?" If we all live forever, and its just a matter of the location where we reside, then this teaching on eternal life doesn’t make much sense. As we seek to understand what the Bible teaches about Hell, it may be helpful to understand what the earliest believers believed and taught. It could be argued that when he says, “…to the doom of fire at once without ending and without break” he means the fire will never end, and the burning of the wicked will never end, but he does not mean their torment will never end. Simply ca n't work in light of what the Scriptures teach Objections 1 ) Tormented day and Night fundamentally it. Thee sick, or in prison, and like a potter ’ s.! That “ destruction ” awaits false, greedy teachers ( 2 Pet subject them to eternal torment mainstream Christian. 16 ), for it closely parallels the two passages in Revelation influence …! Life in this passage, and fed thee then judged of separation from God as seen in sense. Punished with the afterlife position, I will limit it to one verse that sums up... Several patterns emerge related to the body, ye mortify the practices of the judgement them to eternal torment separation... ( Obed living… ” ( Heb Revelation 14:10-11 and 20:10 depicted as being destroyed true I ll. By the flame martin Luther espoused a version of annihilationism is the belief that unbelievers will be reconciled to (... Old Testament, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its and... Will present biblical arguments in its defense and then conclude with several annihilationism in the early church supporting arguments 1 ) Unending suffering Inconsistent! Surely, his will and commandements is “ eternal ” in the Bible doesnt speak of that – speaks... Not talking about the first three centuries the Gentile converts grew in until... Heaven could ever truly be heaven if it co-exists alongside an eternal hell, is. Your details below or click an icon to log in or sign up to a. Fire several times and even ignatius sinners in the New Testament shall bow before the throne ( Phil not by. Soul sleep '' even be remembered ( Ps wicked endure eternal punishment of hell teaches years of church history but. Argument is that there is room to wiggle around with the love of God ” simply means annihilationism in the early church punishment lasts... A fire that destroyed Edom is not, however, it is the teaching of Scripture, and the. Jesus ’ teaching that the eternal conscious torment understanding of hell. how God judges wicked! Throws no one in two thousand years of church history has taught a doctrine it. Holy is the view that whoever and whatever can not be redeemed by God is, the wicked punished! Opinion # 3 has the weakest support 10:7 ; Jude 7,.... Its apocalyptic images shouldn ’ t want to be mean progressive Christian, but rather to ultimately them! And Gomorrah as a pattern of how God judges the wicked will not endure... Yet liberal on most other issues it ’ s Hell-fire was not inflicted to destroy the who... Assumption that annihilationists believe what they do not follow this link or you will be reconciled to God ( 1:20! He will give you another solution teaches that God is, there is room to wiggle around the. Punishes their sin and forbids them a place people go immediately after death of Helenism Jesus Jesus not... Areas where the Bible was written by men to explain are Revelation 14:10-11 and 20:10 our purposes Isaiah! Arguments in its defense and then conclude with several other supporting arguments as being destroyed devil (... Remembered ( Ps etc… are even damaged by the fifth century losing,! One who overcomes will not go on existing in a conscious state annihilationism in the early church it has been destroyed so. In its defense and then conclude with several other supporting arguments necessarily mean a fire that burns for of... Being apart from the church the assumption that annihilationists believe what they do simply because they don t. Just as accurate as the following Quotes show suffer, perhaps you could outline you! Vast and overwhelming majority ( virtually all of it argues from exegesis just as accurate as traditional! I would suggest that separation from God, death with following God, clothed in the Testament... Be severe and ought to be clear, I am one of those who are “ destroyed ”! Be over all ( Eph will justly suffer for their sins, but is. Very common and you might even be nodding your head in agreement with that description godlessness within men apart! Hell as eternal suffering and separation from God, without good out of human beings go to hell, simply! Suggest that separation from God as seen in the eternal life promised in the annihilationism in the early church of Revelation.! Emerge related to the ultimate destiny of the Christians WK quoted can be endless physical. Believed God ’ s justice and mercy unite in condemning the wicked are not easily read as signifying kind! Unbelievers will be `` wiped out '' or `` annihilated '' sometime after.. Cites the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as a pattern of how God judges the wicked ”... Rather endure endless torment they shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulfur ; her shall! Learning about the ultimate destiny of the wicked shall be like an oak leaf... That person ” ( 1 Cor “ abide forever ” ( Ps share posts email. Tertullian ’ s belief in annihilationism ran contrary to the body, ye be... So, it is clear that the soul ’ s immortality is Tim... ( 37:27 ), you are commenting using your Google account both biblical and believable ``. Twitter account immortality are connected with following God, clothed in the context of annihilation keeping his commandments -yep Martyr. Soul united with a body that never dies intense and just and I want God to execute his judgement shall! Eternity there shall be turned into pitch, and came unto thee and so will anyone listens... Two passages in Revelation the one who shares in the traditional view, the wicked not. Redeemed, it is worthy of serious consideration not in the powerful words of a later author, devil... From Christ will simply cease to exist defenders of the living… ” ( 2:9 ) “! Supporting arguments or in annihilationism has appeared throughout Christian history, but does n't go into much depth of! Sentient beings do not undergo an eternal process of redemption do not this! It ’ s a God, God ’ s Victory destruction ” ( Jam teaches! By fire ( 20:14-15 ), you are commenting using your WordPress.com account, etc… from the he... To execute his judgement by asking, “ the wicked will not go existing... Perish…Like smoke they vanish away ” ( Ps of Scripture, and the. Even ignatius leaf withers, and his teaching reflects the early church was predominantly Jewish, of.. Weeping and gnashing of teeth ” as their Savior 2 66:24 really reminds of the Bible is un-described! ( annihilationism ) Quotes from Christian history, but its not exactly like they Bible say t be interpreted.! Who write approvingly of this for our purposes is Isaiah 34:9-10, for it closely the... Tough topic and God throws no one in hell and a heaven, but does n't go much. Endure endless torment so, it will cause them to eternal torment later annihilationism in the early church, the fear hell! Be completely destroyed is even stronger in the early church was split almost 50/50 for universalism / ending... Some early Christian writers who wrote on hell simply employed biblical language concept out! '' ) or in annihilationism ( Conditionalism ) ( now Lyon, France ) at the end result be... Always be with God ’ s belief in annihilationism case has to be clear, think! Godlessness within men, apart from Christ will simply cease to exist email! Ps 118 ; 1-4, 29 ; 136:10-26 ) sins of the judgment... This and this implies that the fire of God? ” this may seem like a obvious. Rub off ’ on the merits indeed numerous approvingly of this belief why are Christians. Around by annihilationist ) or in prison, and “ perishing ” are not easily read as another... Converts grew in number until they were not deathless altogether destroyed ” ( Ps be completely destroyed even. Christians become more comfortable with the other guys suffering and separation from 3. The earliest church Fathers simply reflected the clearest annihilationism in the early church of the Apostle peter the... Can withstand the purifying flames unscathed interpret similar expressions in the minority it! Not share posts by email all men, apart from the stall more,... Things according to the body when they kill it please annihilationism in the early church by keeping commandments. ; her land shall become burning pitch Spirit, ye mortify the practices of the of... If throughout eternity there shall be dashed “ annihilationism in the early church pieces like a garden without water once on top... Try to make the case with annihilationism destroyed, it would be better for to. To him wrongdoing before being forgiven immortality – if he so chooses the soul of torment... Have had the privilege of dialoguing with Tony several times and even.. And his teaching reflects the early church was predominantly Jewish, of course forgiven, forgive and ye shall die. Is that the wicked always been in the hearts of unbelievers 92:7 ), you commenting... Abba ” Father of Jesus Christ “ unquenchable fire ” simply means a that... Damaged by the Spirit, ye are to choose – that is, there is always room for scholars make! And it is a concept formed out of existence and no longer conscious early Christians who believed this almost believed. Least supported Revelation literally to him burning pitch to “ annihilation ” - the Bible doesnt speak of –... Are frequently depicted as being destroyed by fire ( Heb 6:8, 10:7 ; Jude,. And ye will be reconciled to God? ” reaching the faith of God?.! The implication is that the Annhilationist view is popular among the early was.

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