Hell: Traditionalist vs. Conditionalist Views

by Randall Watters

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INTRODUCTION

This study is designed as a comparison of two doctrinal views existing within Christian circles on the subject of life after death and eternal punishment. On one side of the issue are the conditionalists, who believe in the concept of "soul sleep" (apparently annihilation of existence that requires recreation) and temporary punishments meted out to the wicked (with eventual annihilation again), and on the other side we have the so-called "traditionalists" who believe in the continued existence of the soul after the death of the body, and that the wicked will be tormented forever in a place called Gehenna.
Though the conditionalists are clearly in the minority, they are gaining ground in theological circles today. Therefore it is important to understand fully both sides of the argument in order to make a clear evaluation of what the Bible really teaches about this subject. You will find very scholarly arguments on both sides of the controversy. Unlike dealing with cultic doctrine such as the annihilationism of the Jehovah's Witnesses, which can be easily refuted from a scholarly point of view, we are here dealing with the arguments of eminent scholars themselves, versed in the biblical languages and familiar with context and historical setting. We must become historians to an extent if we are to determine the full meaning of the scriptures, otherwise we get locked into battles over the meanings of words that end up in circular reasoning. If a passage can be disputed as to what the original language is trying to say, then we must go back in history to fill in the missing pieces. What does evidence show as to the Jews and early Christians' belief? That is a very important consideration, and can win or lose the whole argument. There are also other theological considerations, such as dispensational views and progressive revelation. Often truths are only given in very rudimentary form in the Old Testament, but much enlarged upon in the New Testament. Salvation is one of these issues. The Old Testament teaching on salvation, though having a shadow of the final picture, is but the groundwork for the teachings of Jesus and the doctrines that Paul lays out in Romans and Galatians. The book of Hebrews builds upon Old Testament types and develops antitypes that the Jews in Moses' day would probably find heretical at first glance. Also, while the Old Testament gives shadows of the nature and identity of the Messiah, such as in Isaiah 9:6, the final revelation of the true identity and nature of the Messiah, as well as the real work and nature of the Holy Spirit, was too shocking to the Pharisees and scribes to be considered merely Old Testament concepts retaught. The unenlightened Jews sought to kill Jesus for his claims to Godship (John 5:18).

Only when we take all things into consideration and lay them side-by-side are we ready to make an intelligent decision. It is important not to be influenced by our preconceived notions of what we think God should do or not do. It is our duty to determine what God has said and to accept it on faith, allowing him to reveal it to us as time goes on. Since the "traditionalist" view is in the majority, we will allow them to answer the bold claims of the conditionalists. The two works I have chosen to stand side by side are "The Fire That Consumes," by Edward W. Fudge (Conditionalist; pub. in 1982) and "Death and The Afterlife" by Robert Morey (Traditionalist; pub. in 1984). These represent the best of both sides, and are the most recent scholarly works available on this subject. Each incorporates the works of those who have gone before, and enlarges on them.  On the left hand side of each page, I will comment on and present the Conditionalist argument (which is challenging the "traditionalist" view), and on the right side I will publish the "traditionalist" comments or refutation of this view. We trust this study will prove enlightening to you, as we feel that there are excellent points made on both sides.
All page number references to Fudge's comments will be taken from "The Fire That Consumes," and all page references from Morey's comments will be taken from "Death and The Afterlife," to avoid repetition.

Fudge defines the real issue in the controversy thusly:

The real issue between traditionalists and conditionalists is nothing other than this: Does Scripture teach that the wicked will be made immortal for the purpose of suffering endless pain; or does it teach that the wicked following whatever degree and duration of pain God may justly inflict, will finally and truly die, perish and become extinct forever and ever? p. 425

The objections raised by the traditionalist to this statement would no doubt be: It is a poor choice of words to say that the wicked will be made immortal, as Adam was made to live forever without being immortal. He was given a body that was designed to function forever in its environment. Immortality is a gift only to the redeemed, and the term is applied to the resurrection body, not the soul.

Introduction

I

Also, objection would be made to Fudge's use of the terms "die" and "perish" to refer to annihilation, rather than assuming a Biblical setting.
Next, Fudge makes a good point in saying that we should not be swayed by our emotions in such a study. We should also not seek to apply fallen human reasoning in the matter, but seek the truth of the scriptures. We should then proclaim the truth, and not "water down" our findings if they prove to be hard to swallow:

We have no sympathy with those who argue against what they believe God has said or who elevate reason over revelation or who choose to walk by feeling when it goes against the direction of faith. The conclusions presented here rest on detailed exegesis of the Bible teaching prayerfully considered according to accepted rules of interpretation consistent with the highest view of Scripture. Our question finally is: What does Scripture actually teach? That is really the only question that matters. That is where the discussion of the subject should take place and all conclusions be reached. The Bible is God's Word written, and whatever it actually teaches must be the only authoritative source and measure of our faith. p. 395

And if the nature of "everlasting destruction" is to be perpetual conscious torment, if Scripture uses "fire" and "worm" to signify the most horrible pain, and if God has revealed this doctrine to scare millions into heaven, then no one who believes the Bible has any right to object. Nor should theologians try to vindicate God's justice in the matter or preachers to alleviate the pain.

Furthermore, as Constable pointed out, there is no practical value in discussing whether such pain is to be figurative or literal if the biblical language is meant to convey thoughts of everlasting conscious pain in the first place. Constable explained:

"If there be a literal fire consuming, and a literal worm gnawing, we know the exact pain produced: if the fire and the worm be figurative, they are figurative of a pain and suffering such in intensity as would be produced by the literal agents. Nothing then is really gained by rejecting the literal view...or by changing the bodily pains...into suffering and anguish of the mind. If the descriptions of Scripture are figures, they are at the same time true figures: if they are not to be understood literally, they must yet be understood as giving us the truest and best ideas possible of the real anguish and misery of hell."

"On no hypothesis can we understand hell as other than a scene where pain and anguish, mentally or bodily, or both, of the most intense and terrible nature, are endured by all who have any existence there. Hell cannot by any artful handling of words, by any skillful manipulation of phrases, be toned down into a place other than of the most fearful kind....The real question is, not whether they are literal or figurative, but whether the pains they point to and portray are pains to be endured forever; or are pains which sooner or later produce a destruction of the sentient being from which there is no recovery." #
# Henry Constable, <"Duration and Nature of Future Punishment," pp.100-101

p. 414-415

Fudge makes his point well, and most of his opponents would not argue the point with him. Hell is a most undesirable place to be, whether it be temporary or permanent.
Since neither author is writing to specifically refute the other, this is a synthesized comparison. Each will discuss certain points that the other may not address as fully. When you see a gap on the left or right side of the page in each section, it is due to one of two reasons: (1) the author did not discuss the opponent's particular point in great detail, or, (2) we are allowing one to discuss a particular subject in detail of which the opponent would not refute anyway. The subject discussed by Morey on the righthand side will not always jive perfectly with the arguments of Fudge on the lefthand side, as Morey was not specifically refuting Fudge's work. With these limitations in mind, please bear with this work. I would recommend your reading both books in their entirety to do full justice to their work. No conclusions have been drawn in this comparison--I would rather the readers draw their own. However, I believe the evidence is quite conclusive.

We will now begin this comparison with a discussion of: Greek Philosophy or Bible Doctrine?

Introduction

II

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Greek Philosophy or Bible Doctrine?

Fudge offers a challenge to traditionalists:

What traditionalist authors have never done is to take up the numerous passages in support of final extinction, then show where conditionalists have either misused the text, ignored the context, eliminated crucial information or added data not found in the Word of God itself. They have themselves, on the other hand, ignored the rich teaching of the Old Testament, falsely presumed a uniform intertestamental view, and interpreted the New Testament pictures and language on the basis of later philosophical tradition and ecclesiastical dogma rather than ordinary, accepted methods of scriptural exegesis. p. 434

If Norris is correct on this point (that the Church based its arguments on Platonic Dualism), conditionalists such as Constable and Froom stand on solid ground in charging traditional "orthodoxy" with Platonic presuppositions even if they sometimes overstate their case in terms of technicalities and philosophical niceties. If this is true, and it appears to be, it is hard to overemphasrze its importance for the doctrine of final punishment. For if one begins with a dualistic view of man and presupposes the immortality of every soul (whether inherent, created or bestowed), the only evident ultimate alternatives for the wicked are unending conscious torment or eventual restoration. Since the Scriptures so clearly eliminate the second possibility traditional orthodoxy from about the fourth century has clung tenaciously to the first. The other alternative--penal suffering culminating in total extinction--although apparently supported by both Old and New Testaments throughout and echoed on the face by the earliest church fathers was ruled out of the question during the fourth and fifth centuries on the basis of philosophical presuppositions. Whatever criticisms one might raise concerning Froom's work, the evidence all leads to the conclusion that on this fundamental point he is absolutely correct. p. 364

Fudge claims that traditionalists use an "imaginary standard Jewish view" to try and prove that the Jews of the first century believed in the existence of the soul after death and eternal torment. This is necessary for Fudge to refute, as it is a key point upon which his whole argument stands or falls:

We wish that all who share Calvin's devotion to the authority of the Scripture would let the Bible itself interpret what it says about the end of the wicked rather than interpreting it in the light of an imaginary "standard Jewish view" of the first century or a philosophical presupposition (which is explicitly denied but subconsciously held) that souls are imperishable even in the Lord God's consuming fire of the Age to Come.

Morey says:

In "The Fire That Consumes," we read that "the Conditionalist arguments have never been squarely met....This subject has not been discussed in the open by the best minds and methods of mainstream evangelical scholarship....The Conditionalist arguments...have simply been ignored." The author goes on to label the orthodox as "traditionalists" and to refer to them as such throughout his book to give the impression that the only reason why the orthodox believe in etemal punishment is because of the influence of church tradition.
When we read such an argument in "The Fire That Consumes," we immediately turned to its bibliography. No mention or reference was found of the works of such evangelical scholars as Bartlett, Boettner, Grant, A. Hodge, Hovey, Landis, Stuart, Martin, etc., all of whom wrote extensively on the subject of conditional immortality and gave a detailed refutation of it.
As a matter of fact we have consistently found that none of the annihilationists, Froom included, seem acquainted with the classic orthodox treatments of the subject. Thus, their argument at this point is based on faulty and inadequate research. It is a specimen of argumentum and ignorantiam." p. 205,206

One of the key words in this controversy centers around the word immortal, and who will be and who won't be immortal. Additionally, the word incorruption is important, and the consideration of who possesses incorruption and who won't. Just as opponents of the doctrine of the Trinity have long claimed that the doctrine is a result of Platonic philosophy, the conditionalists claim that the "traditionalists" have borrowed the concept of the soul's existence after death from the Greek concept of the immortality of the soul, even though this is denied by the other side.
Often, however, there is a failure to understand the difference between true immortality spoken of in the Bible and being given a body capable of existing forever. Conditionalists seem to build on a "straw man" view of orthodoxy in this area. Harold O.J. Brown notes:

It is important to note the difference between the early Christian conception of eternal life and the widespread Hellenistic assumption of the immortality of the soul. Although the Bible speaks, like classical paganism, of man as having a soul as well as a body, it does not see him as consisting essentially of a soul imprisoned in a fleshly body, as Platonism and much Hellenistic spirituality did. It sees him as a unity of soul and body... Those from the Hellenistic world who did not recognize man as essentially a soul-body unity, but rather as a spirit temporarily embodied in flesh, found this interpretation of Jesus unattractive,

Greek Philosophy or Bible Doctrine?

1

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Our concem in this study is not a reactionary one against the traditionalist view but an exegetical one based on what the Scriptures appear to actually teach repeatedly, consistently and as emphatically as human language is able to express. p.381

Fudge Campaigns that we need to "get our act together" and weed out "Greek philosophy" from true Biblical doctrine:

The Return to a Biblical Anthropology. Around the world in recent years, the conviction has been increasing that traditional orthodoxy needs to launch an "antipollution" effort aimed at filtering out pagan ideas of Greek philosophy which early Christian apologists took for granted and which passed largely unnoticed through the centuries to the present day. Chief among these "Grecian" remnants said to contradict Biblical teaching is the idea that man's "soul" is an entity separate from his body which can remain conscious even when the body is dead, and that it possesses (unlike the body) some quality which makes it indestructible." p. 408

and frequently diminished his full humanity, sometimes denying it altogether." (from Heresies p. 31)

Fudge attacks the Christian apologists of the second and third centuries and charges them with developing their support of the traditional view by the use of Platonic philosophy. He does not differentiate between using the way of thinking of the people of the day with their actual doctrines. One who believes in any of the major doctrines of the church today must acknowledge that you must argue your point in the language of the people you are speaking to, which includes adopting their way of reasoning. But it does NOT mean that we adopt their false religious concepts that are opposed to the word of God and that contradict it! So there is a difference between the two that Fudge fails to address. Just because a concept is not explicit in the Bible does not make it wrong or dangerous. It is not wrong to use literary or philosophical principles to explain the Biblical revelation of God. We are simply concerned about proper, logical thinking. What makes it wrong is when we, by using certain arguments, detract from or destroy the simple and clear significance of a Bible text. Harold O.J. Brown says this about the influence of Hellenistic thinking upon doctrine:

It is evident that trinitarian theology required the aid of Hellenistic concepts and categories for its development and expression, but they were the tools by means of which the implications of the New Testament were realized; they were not foreign concepts imposed upon an essentially simple message.
The adoption of the Nicene Creed in 325 and the Chalcedonian Creed in 451 stabilized the doctrines of the Trinity and Christ for over one thousand years. They made use of Hellenistic categories and thinking to do so. The important question to ask is not whether orthodox theology betrays Hellenistic influence. Nothing else was possible in the cultural climate of the time. The important question is whether this orthodoxy represents a proper and correct interpretation of New Testament Christology or whether it seriously distorts it. Heresies, p. 146. 105

Greek Philosophy or Bible Doctrine?

2

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Progressive Revelation

Though failing to really consider the subject of progressive revelation, Fudge nevertheless touches on the fact that much of what the Old Testament reveals about life after death is piecemeal. Fudge realizes that the New Testament fills in much information somewhat foreign to the Old Testament (yet which does not contradict it). This is precisely where the traditionalist is able to refute the conditionalist. Fudge says:

The earlier Scriptures foreshadow, hint, suggest, outline, prefigure, illustrate and promise. The New Testament Scriptures fill in the details, flesh out the bones, tint the coloring, fine tune the picture and complete the canonical revelation. We are still in the dark concerning life and immortality until Jesus brings them to light in the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10). It is no less true that God's wrath also is hidden until it is revealed in the gospel (Rom. 1:15-18). Someone has said that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, while the New is the Old revealed. The comparison has much merit. p. 87

In the Psalms and Proverbs we find David and Solomon using much the same language as that of Job's companions--but this time with apparent divine sanction. According to numerous Psalms, the wicked will go down to death and Sheol, their memory will perish, and they will be as if they had never existed. On the other hand, God will rescue the righteous from death and they will enjoy Him forever (Ps. 9; 21:4-10; 36:9-12; 49:8-20, 52:59, 59, 73; 92). Proverbs offers the same hope. The wicked will pass away, be overthrown, be cut off from the land, be no more, their lamp put out. The godly will endure and their house will stand, for they have an everlasting foundation (Prov. 2:21, 22; 10:25; 12:7; 24:15-20).
Someone might wish to argue that these texts all refer only to the present life. Nothing in the contexts or in the explicit language demands otherwise. If one had no information other than these passages in Job, Psalms and Proverbs, he might well suppose that the wicked will all perish in death, from which they will have no redeemer, but that God will redeem the righteous from death and they will inherit the earth forever. These poetic books do not specifically threaten a resurrection of the wicked, a final judgment after death, or any ultimate punishment beyond temporal death itself.

Yet beneath the surface and between the lines, one suspects that there is more to the story than this. For Job's problem also rises in Psalms and Proverbs. Where do we see all this happening to the wicked? They often prosper in life and the righteous die. Is that all there is to God's justice? Do the wicked escape so easily? Because of this apparent injustice, such passages as these may fairly be said to suggest a final reckoning and judgment of the wicked beyond

Morey says:

PROGRESSIVE REVELATION

The author of Hebrews stated in Hebrews 1:1,2 that God spoke to the fathers through the prophets in bits and pieces and in many different ways. The entirety of God's revelation was not given to humanity in a single instant but was dispersed in different ways to different people over several thousand years. Each new revelation was like a piece of a cosmic puzzle. Even when the last of the Old Testament prophets had all the pieces which were given to those before him, he still could not understand the total picture. It was only after the coming of Christ that the last remaining pieces were supplied and the puzzle completed.

The progressive character of revelation can also be understood in terms of a gradual unfolding of biblical truths which began quite vague, but slowly, little by little, came to be understood in absolute clarity. Revelation is thus progressive in a theological sense as well as in a historical sense. Each new revelation was like a turn of the knob on a pair of binoculars which would eventually change the initial blurred vision of the seer to the point of crystal clarity.

The implications of the progressive character of God's revelation has direct bearing on the issue of what the Bible says about death and an afterlife.

First, this means that we cannot base our understanding of death and an afterlife solely upon passages found in the Old Testament. Since the Old Testament prophets awaited the coming of the New Testament to supply them with the last pieces of the puzzle before the whole picture could be seen, we must recognize that the vision of the Old Testament prophets was intrinsically blurred and, as a result, was vague on most of the details. p. 23

Second, the priciple of progressive revelation also means that Biblical words will change in their meaning as the understanding of God's people deepens. Each new revelation meant a deeper understanding of some aspect of divine truth. Thus, we must not assume that a biblical word will have only one meaning which transcends the division between the Old and the New Testaments.

Two errors are commonly made in this regard. Some read the vagueness of the Old Testament into the New Testament and fail to appreciate the final clarity of the New Testament. They state that the meaning of Sheol in the Old Testament determines the meaning of Hades in the New Testament. Thus there is no further or deeper meaning in the New Testament. Once one discovers the meaning of the Old Testament meaning of the concept of Sheol, this is to be transported in its entirety into the New Testament with no deletions or additions. p. 23

Progressive Revelation

3

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

temporal death. But they give absolutely no information concerning such events, nor do they even explicitly require it. It is an implication drawn from the moral principles of divine government which are revealed. Six psalms in particular strongly point in this direction. p. 90,91

Third, we will expect to find that the Old Testament will be unclear and vague in its teaching on death and an afterlife. We will not expect or demand that the Old Testament will be precise in its usage of such words as "soul," "spirit," or "sheol." The clarity of the New Testament need not be eisegetically read back into the Old Testament. Neither should we read the vagueness of the Old Testament into the New Testament and declare with some modern liberal theologians, such as Jungel, that the New Testament as well as the Old Testament is vague about death. Instead, we should appreciate the distinctive vagueness of the Old Testament and the distinctive clarity of the New Testament. We should avoid leveling the distinction between the testaments. p. 24,25 >

Progressive Revelation

3b

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Key Words--"olam" and "aionion"

The definition of Biblical words is important in any study such as this, and both sides concede that words often have different shades of meaning, depending on how they are used. Scholars are not so ignorant (as the cults are) as to believe that words in the Old and New Testament such as Sheol, Hades, soul, etc. have only one possihle meaning. However, metaphorical meanings convey the same impact as a more literal rendering. Fudge says:

We grant to traditionalists the fact that words like "perish," "destroy," "die" and "corrupt" all have metaphorical usages at times. We point out, however, that figurative meanings are possible only because of primary meanings. We also remember the accepted principle of interpretation which calls for primary meanings of words in straightforward, nonallegorical prose unless there is some reason to regard the language otherwise. Scripture never indicates that it intends less by these words than their ordinary meanings would suggest when it applies them to the final state of the wicked. p. 429

Perhaps the most important key words to consider are the Hebrew olam and the Greek aionios, both used to convey the ideas of an indefinite time period as well as the concept of eternity. When the Septuagint was translated from Hebrew into Greek for the Greek speaking Jews, olam was generally translated as aionios.

Conditionalists try and deal with passages such as Rev. 20:10 by stressing that in the Old Testament the Hebrew word olam (translated in the Greek as aionios forever) sometimes did not mean "forever" in our modern-day usage, which is true. Fudge says:

Petavel points out that Scripture frequently uses aion. aionios and their Hebrew counterparts (olam in various forms) of things which have come to an end. The sprinkling of blood at the Passover was an "everlasting" ordinance (Ex. 12:24). So were the Aaronic priesthood (Ex. 29:9, 40:15, Lev. 3:17), Caleb's inheritance (Josh. 14:9), Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:12,13), the period of a slave's life (Deut. 15:17), Gehazi's leprosy (2 Kings 5:27)- and practically every other ordinance, rite or institution of the Old Testament system. These things did not last "forever" as we think of time extended without limitation. They did last beyond the vision of those who first heard them called "everlasting," and no time limit was then set at all. According to this view, held by Petavel, Froom and others, this is the meaning of aionios or "eternal" in the Bible. It speaks of unlimited time within the limits determined by the things it modifies. Yet Beecher--a critic of the orthodox doctrine of hell--denies that this is a proper definition,

Morey says:

The failure to avoid reductionistic and simplistic definitions is based on the hidden assumption that once the meaning of a word is discovered in a single passage, this same meaning must prevail in every other occurrence of the word. For example, it has become quite fashionable to restrict the meaning of the word "soul" to "physical life" because this was probably what it meant when it was used by Moses to refer to the immaterial life priciple within animals (Gen. 1:20) or within man (Gen. 2:7).

Once the annihilationists and some neo-orthodox writers demonstrated that the word "soul" in Gen. 2:7 (KIV) probably means "living beings," they then pronounce that this is the only definition of soul which is allowed. Whenever other passages are presented where the context demands another definition of the word "soul," they lay these passages aside and retreat to Gen. 2:7.

As long as they fail to understand the progressive character of revelation and the resulting deepening understanding of words and concepts, they will be stuck in Gen. 2:7. The resistance to the idea that what soul meant to Moses was probably not what it meant to David or Paul is based on their unconscious assumption that the Bible is one book written at one time. Thus as we approach the biblical term which describes the immaterial side of man, we will not attempt to develop artificial definitions based upon the absolutizing of the meaning of a word in a single passage but recognize that a contextual approach will reveal a wide range of meanings. p. 44,45

This observation highlights once again the linguistic burden under which the conditional immortalitists labor. The translators of the Septuagint did not use a term such as bios which a conditional immortalitist would have chosen. The translators used psuche, which culturally and linguistically referred to the immortal soul of man. If the authors of Scripture and the translators of the Septuagint wanted to teach that man did not have a transcendent self which survived death and that man was composed only of physical life, then they would have avoided all words which would have indicated that position. The linguistic fact that they used those words which were everywhere understood to refer to the immortal and invisible soul of man reveals that they did so because they believed in the immortality of the soul. p. 50

Morey on olam and aionios:

We must remark at this point that the annihilationists have the habit of misapplying texts. They consistently

Key Words--Olam and Aionios

4

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

noting that the Mosaic ordinances and the possession of Palestine "might have lasted to the end of the world, but did not." (Beecher, History of Opinions, p.149)

Fudge then gives a definitive study of the Greek word aionios. He then draws a conclusion based upon his definition that the traditionalist would immediately object to. Fudge says:

We have seen that the adjective aionios distinctly carries a qualitative sense. It suggests something that partakes of the transcendent realm of divine activity...Unless we coin a more appropriate word such as "aionion" or "aionic," this aspect of aionios is best represented by the word "eternal."

We have also seen that the adjective aionios has a temporal aspect, indicating something that will never end. God Himself has no limitation, including the limits of time. The Age to Come partakes of that limitlessness... This unending aspect of aionios is best represented by the word "everlasting" until someone finds a word more appropriate.

Finally, we have seen that when the word aionios modifies words which name acts or processes as distinct from persons or things, the adjective usually describe the issue or result of the action rather than the action itself. This is indisputably true in four of the six New Testament occurences. There is eternal salvation but not an eternal act of saving. There is eternal redemption but not an eternal process of redeeming. The eternal sin was committed at a point in history, but its results continue into the coming age which lasts forever. Scripture pictures eternal judgement as taking place "on a day," but its outcome will have no end. In the light of this usage, we suggest that Scripture expects the same understanding when it speaks of "eternal destruction" and "eternal punishment." Both are acts. There will be an actual destroying, an actual punishing. Both the destroying and the punishing will issue in a result. The resultant Punishment of destruction will never end. p. 49,50

Fudge continues by discussing Hebrews 9:12, which speaks of Christ having obtained "eternal redemption":

This redemption (Hebrews 9:12) is also "eternal" in the sense of everlasting. Not that the act or process of redeeming continues without end. Christ has accomplished that once for all! Our author specifically makes the point that Christ did not have to suffer "many times since the creation." Rather, "He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Heb. 9:25,26). But this once-for- all act of redeeming, which is finished, will never be repeated and can never be duplicated, issues in a redemption which will never pass away. "Eternal" speaks here again of the result of the action, not the act itself. Once the redeeming has taken place, the redemption remains. And that "eternal" result of the once-for-all action will never pass away. p. 45

put forth dozens of passages which actually pertain to the fate of the wicked in this life as if these passages were speaking of the final punishment of sinners after the resurrection. This habit confuses the issue and ignores the "this world" context of these passages.

Since olam is the key word in the Old Testament which is used to speak of the final state of the righteous and the wicked, we will limit our investigation to it.

The word olam is found 420 times in the Hebrew Bible. Brown, Driver and Briggs define it as meaning (I) antiquity, i.e., the distant past, (2) a long duration in the present, (3) indefinite unending future of everlastingness, eternity. Langenscheidt defines olam as: "time immemorial, time past, eternity, distant future, duration, everlasting time, life time; pl. ages, endless times" (p. 243). Girdlestone summarizes olam's meaning in Synonyms of the Old Testament (p. 317):

"Eternity is endlessness; and this idea is only qualified by the nature of the objects to which it is applied, or by the direct word of God. When applied to things physical, it is used in accordance with the revealed truth that the heavens and earth shall pass away, and it is limited by this truth. When applied to God, it is used in harmony with the truth that He is essentially and absolutely existent, and that as He is the Causa Causarum and without beginning, so in the very nature of things it must be held that no cause can ever put an end to His existence. When the word is applied to man's future destiny after the resurrection, we natually give it the sense of endlessness without limitation."

THE EXEGEIICAL CONSIDERATIONS

The word "everlasting" (olam) is a word which describes a contrast between things. It is a contrastive word in that whenever something is clled everlasting, we must ask, "Everlasting as contrasted to what?"

Olam is used to speak of the past, the present and the future. When speaking of the past, whenever God is said to be "from everlasting" (Ps. 90:2), this is in contrast to the present world, which had a beginning. God is thus "beginningless," or "eternal" as contrasted to this world. When "everlasting" is used of things which existed before one or more generations of man, they are called "everlasting" in the sense that they are "old" or "ancient" as contrasted to a present generation (Ezek. 36:2).

When olam is used of things which to the biblical authors were present realities which would transcend the life span of their own generation, they were called "everlasting." Thus while generations of man come and go, the mountains still remain.

They are therefore called everlasting in Hab. 3:6 (K]V). The Mosaic administration was called everlasting because it transcended generations (Ex.12:17). God is the God of Israel "forever" in the sense that He is the God of perpetual generations (Ps. 48:14). In this sense, olam simply means "perpetual throughout generations," not "eternal" in the sense of beginninglessness or endlessness. This is why the word for "generation" (dor) is also used to indicate time in Hebrew Scriptures. We can speak of abiding things as "everlasting" in contrast to the brief time span of a generation.

Key Words--Olam and Aionios

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CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Fudge also comments on the use of aionios

in Matt. 25:46, where it says that the wicked will go away into "eternal punishment", but the righteous to eternal life:

At the same time, the life and the punishment of this passage (Matt. 25:46) are never to end. They are "eternal" in the sense of everlasting But we need to note, as in the five cases above, that "punishment" is an act or process. In each case so far, and indisputably in the first four, the act or process happens in a fixed period of time but is followed by a result that lasts forever. In keeping with that scriptural usage, we suggest that the "punishment" here includes whatever penal suffering God justly issues to each person but consists primarily of the total abolition and extinction of the person forever. The punishing continues until the process is completed, and then it stops. But the punishment which results will remain forever. p.48

Olam is also used of the future. When it is used of God's future, He is described as being "to everlasting," i.e. endless as contrasted to this present world which shall have an end (Ps. 90:2). Thus in Ps. 102 the beginning and end of the world is contrasted to the endlessness or eterniy of God (vv. 12. 25-28).
In this way, the final order of things after the resurrection is called "everlasting" in contrast to the present order (Dan. 12:2). While the present order would have a definite end and will cease to exist one day, the final order of things will be "everlasting," i.e., endless. While time is an aspect of the present order, it will not be part of the final or etemal state.
The Old Testament concept of olam avoids the static Greek idea of eterniy, because the Scriptures never speak of olam as existing in and by itself. It is always used to contrast one thing to another. What is germaine for us to consider is that whenever the final order is described as "everlasting," it clearly means "endless" in contrast to the temporal nature of the present order. Since time no longer exists, whenever olam refers to the final state, it cannot mean a longer or shorter time, for time as we know it has ceased.
This understanding removes one of the arguments used by the annihilationists. They have argued that "everlasting punishment" does not mean everlasting punishment because the word "everlasting" is used of mountains in Hab. 3:6 (KJV). Therefore they argue that the punishment will only be temporary and not etemal.
What the annihilationists fail to realize is that they are ignoring the relative contexts of olam. When it is used to speak of such things as mountains, it has reference to things which exist throughout different generations in this present world. When olam is used of the final order of things, it always means endlessness in the fullest sense. The respective context for olam should not be ignored. p. 112-114

Morey on "judgment," "redemption" & "everlasting":

We fail to see how the annihilationists are correct in their attempt to make "judgment" into a verb, i.e., a word of action. It is a noun, not a verb. Yet, this is exactly how annihilationists argue. They begin their argument by defining "judgment" as "a word of action." They ridicule the idea of an eternal act or process of judging. They then state that the results of judging are eternal but not the process.
What these annihilationists fail to recognize is that the word "judgment" is in its noun form which means that an endlessly binding verdict is being described. Also, the endlessness of this verdict is part of the superiority of the new covenant.
The annihilationists also refer to Heb. 9:12, "etemal redemption." Once again they erroneously define "redemption" as a verb and not as a noun. The author of Hebrews is contrasting the defective temporal ceremonial redemption of the old covenant (9:1-10) to the perfect, permanent redemption of the new covenant (9:11-28). Whereas some of the people "redeemed" under Moses ultimately perished through unbelief (Heb. 3:16-19), those who believe in Christ remain redeemed forever. While old covenant redemption was temporal and had an end (10:1-4), new covenant redemption is endless in duration (9:12).
We must also point out that the annihilationists are in error when they put forth these and other like passages as if they were describing the final order of things after the resurrection. They attempt to connect "eternal redemption" with "eternal punishment" in order to argue that the punishment of the etemal state will be endless in result and not in process.

Key Words--Olam and Aionios

6

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Their fundamental error is the same as when they argue from "everlasting mountains" to prove that "eternal punishment" is not eternal. They have taken aion and aionios out of their respective biblical and temporal contexts and connected passages which contextually referred to different ages.

When discussing passages where aion and aionios describe the final state after the resurrection, it is illegitimate, hermeneutically speaking, to bring up passages which deal with things in this present age. p. 132,133

EXTENDED COMMENTARY BY MOREY ON AIONIOS:

The word aion is found in the Septuagint 308 times. Except for about 20 cases, where it is used to translate such words as ad, it is always used as the Greek equivalent of olam.

In the later Jewish apocalyptic literature, the contrast between the temporary present age and the endless or etemal age to come was greatly intensified. This dichotomy, dualism or contrast between the present order and the final order is summarized in Strack and Billerbeck in Kommentar Zum Neuen Testement Aus Talmud und Midrasch in Vol. IV, 799ff. For example, in Slav. Enoch we find "this aion" (66:7) is contrasted to the "endless aion" (50:2, 66:6a). While the present order will end, the final order means "endless etemity" (65:3ff). The same idea is found in Syriac Baruch and especially in 4th Ezra.
The attempt by some Universalists and annihilationists to deny that "endlessness ," or "etemity," is an essential part of the meaning of aion when it refers to the final order of things cannot stand up to close scrutiny.
To say that aion only means "pertaining to the coming age" is not enough. It has been pointed out by many scholars that when aion refers to the final order, it means "pertaining to the endless age to come." 128- 129

In Mark 3:29, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is called an "eternal sin" because it will always be eternally viewed by God as a sin, and no forgiveness is possible in this present age or in the final state to come: "It shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come." (Matt. 12:32)

Once again the annihilationists pretend that the word "sin" in Mark 3:29 is a verb. The word "sin" is actually in its noun form and is not a word of action. Christ is simply saying that God will look upon this sin as unforgivable for all time and etemity.
We must also point out that aionios is here used to speak of God's judgment which begins in this age and is carried on into the age to come without interruption, end or hope of reversal. P. 134

We must also point out that the book of Revelation as well as 2 Peter and Jude clearly depends upon Jewish apocalyptic literature from which much of their imagery, phraseology and language is derived. The plural usage of aion in "unto the ages of the ages" meant etemity of process or duration in this literature. Just the plural form itself speaks of absolute eternity of duration in such places as Eph. 2:7, "the ages to come."
When the biblical authors wished to speak of an etemity of process or duration, they used those words and phrases which in contemporary language expressed that idea. p. 135

Key Words--Olam and Aionios

7

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

In Hebraic usage, when aion or aionios were used to speak of the final order of things, they always meant an etemity of duration or endlessness. In this passage, Christ clearly equates the metaphor of "etemal fire" with "eternal or unending punishment" as the final state of Satan and his angels after the resurrection. p. 137

What is exegetically crucial is to discover what eis tous aionas ton aionon meant in every instance other than where the fate of wicked angels and men is described.
In every instance where "forever and ever" as used in some other context other than the final fate of wicked angels or men, it always, without exception, meant absolute endlessness, or eterniy.
Hermeneutically, this means that we must begin with the assumption that eis tous aionas ton aionon will mean absolute endlessness when applied to the fate of angels and men. To begin with, the assumption that it doesn't matter what these words meant in every other occurrence and to arbitrarily assert that they only meant "a long time" is exegetically and hermeneutically impossible.
Once we begin with the sound hemmeneutical principle that words should be understood in temms of how they are used elsewhere in Scripture, the fate of Satan and his angels, according to Rev. 20:10, is that they will suffer eternal, ceaseless, conscious tomment. No other honest interpretation is possible. p. 138

Key Words--Olam and Aionios

7b

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Immortality and the Soul

Fudge notes that the traditional view has its difficulties:

For orthodox writers through the centuries--from the apologists of the second and third centuries after Christ, to Augustine, to Calvin, to Reformed theologians today--have usually been careful to qualify their claim that man is immortal. His immortality, they say, means that something about him survives physical death and ensures a life beyond the grave. They emphasize that he is not immortal the same way God is. For man's immortality was a gift from his Creator- and that same Creator is at perfect liberty to require it back again! Man is immortal or "deathless," they say, in the sense that physical death will not be his final end. But that does not mean he is inherently indestructible.

Just as Christian advocates of general immortality have qualified their view by saying that God can annihilate the soul, so Christian "mortalists" have recognized that God can grant deathlessness and incorruptibility to any person He wishes. In the view of the first, the final annihilation of the wicked is possible-if God so wills. In the view of the second, the eternal preservation of the wicked is possible-if God so wishes. The crucial question does not really concern man's natural mortality or immortaliy, therefore, for both sides concede the ultimate point to the greater sovereignty of God. The issue really becomes a matter of exegesis. Since God is able to preserve or to destroy His human creature, what does Scripture indicate that He will do to those He finally expels to hell? p. 56,57

Fudge comments on the early Fathers, and seems to give the idea that Justin Martyr and Tatian were conditionalists, which is not true. They believed in the continued existence of the soul, but not in the Platonic view of the immortality of the soul. Fudge makes general statements about these early Fathers, but does not tell us who "they" are:

They freely borrowed the Platonic conception of the soul, the chief characteristic being its separability from the body. When these Christian defenders argued for the resurrection and last judgment, they often used the pagan doctrine of immortality to show that these things were not "logically absurd."
Over and over, however, the Christian writers distinguished their concept of the soul's "immortality" from that held by some contemporary Platonist philosophers. The soul is not inherently immortal, insisted the fathers. It had a beginning-from God. And though it survives the death of the body, its future existence also depends entirely on God's will. Even Origen and Augustine, who did sometimes speak of the soul's natural immortality, made this distinction clear. Others, like Justin Martyr and his pupil Tatian viewed the pagan doctrine of immortality as a challenge to the resurrection and fought against it openly. p. 67,68

Morey attacks the inconsistency of conditionalists:

It is on this point that the annihilationists are greatly inconsistent. First, they disagree among themselves as to what the patristic literature teaches. One affirms and the other denies that the literature reveals a belief in the immortality of the soul. Second, those who admit that the early fathers believed in a conscious afterlife and eternal punishment attribute such belief solely to the influence of pagan philosophy. They downgrade the importance of church history and emphasize that it is the Bible, and the Bible alone which should influence our beliefs. On the other hand, there are those who claimed that all the early church fathers believed in annihilationism and soul sleep. They stressed that the early fathers must have received their beliefs from the apostles. Thus, Leroy Froom claims, "The Apostolic Fathers were all conditionalists" (The Conditionalist Faith of our Fathers, Vol. 1, p.803). p.57

Morey establishes the view on the soul or "inner man" at the time of Christ:

ESO, ESOTHEN: INNER MAN

The New Testament authors clearly believed that man had a dual nature. They refer to the body as "the outer man" and the soul/spirit as the "inner man" in such places as Rom. 7:22 and Eph. 3:16.
The contrast is so clearly embedded in the mind of the Apostle Paul that he even described "the outer man" as decaying while the finner man" or soul was being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). The contrast between the physical life of the body which was decaying and the onward progressive life of the soul could not be clearer.
The Apostle Paul did not hesitate to speak of the body as the tabernacle or the house of clay in which man's transcendent soul indwells. In 2 Cor. 12:2-4, he could describe a person as being completely conscious while out of the body as well as when the person was in the body. The man in the passage did not cease to exist while out of his body. The man's transcendent soul or spirit could leave his body and ascend to the third heaven and be conscious in the presence of God. In 2 Cor. 5:14, the body is "an earthly tent" in which we dwell. In Phil. 1:22-24, Paul could speak of himself as an "I am" which could choose between being "in" a body or "departing" from that body to be with Christ. Paul viewed his approaching death as "the time of my departure," not extinction (2 Tim. 4:6).
The Apostle Peter spoke of himself as dwelling for awhile in his earthly tabernacle until the time came for him to lay aside his body and depart (2 Peter 1:13-15).
With both Peter and Paul there is no indication that they equated their self or soul with their body. Their "I-ness" dwells in an earthly tabernacle. Just as it would be absurd to equate someone who lived in a tent with the tent itself, there is no way to equate man's soul with the body in which it dwells.

Immortality and the Soul

8

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

This raises a most interesting point. For if man depends wholly on God for his existence day by day, and if the wicked are banished absolutely from God's presence and are deprived of any divine blessing, the question must arise how they can continue to exist for any period of time. But there is more. Not only does Scripture say throughout that life in any dimension is a gift of God; it is also a matter of record that "immortality" and "incorruption" are promised as exclusively to the righteous as are "glory" and "honor" (Rom. 2:7, 10; I Cor. 15:42-44, 50, 54). All will be raised, but some will "rise to live" while others will "rise to be condemned" (John 5:28, 29; Dan. 12:1, 2).

On this matter traditionalist writers have for the most part been strangely silent. When they have spoken, they have often applied to the wicked descriptions of the resurrected body which Paul reserves for the righteous alone. Such an indiscriminate use of terms characterizes the writings of Athenagoras, Augustine and Chrysostom, and it has been carried on by traditionalist advocates since. Calvin was aware of this problem, though he never seems to have met it head-on. Luther posed the difficult question himself but refused to give it much thought. It has often been observed that his chief concern was justification, not eschatology. Many modern authors, both Catholic and Protestant, seeing no biblical stepladder down from this tightrope, simply leap into the philosophical net of the immortaliy of the soul. p. 174

Here we simply observe that the church fathers, without important exception, stressed that man's immortality is derived, not inherent, and that the future continuance of his "immortal soul" rests entirely in the hands of God, who made him. So far as the end of the wicked is concerned, that is the important consideration. p. 69

Fudge likes to present Luther as being among the ranks of those who defended the conditionalist approach:

Luther said little about man's supposed natural immortality or about his "soul" as a separable part of his being. He wrote on many occasions of death as a "sleep." Between death and resurrection, Luther pictured the deceased as having no consciousness of anything-although this sleep was sweet and peaceful for the righteous. In the resurrection, believers would hear Christ's gentle voice calling them and arise. Their period of death would then seem only a moment, as when one falls asleep at night and "instantly" wakes to find the morning.
In keeping with this view of man-totally dependent on God for his existence day by day-Luther rejected the philosophical doctrine of the soul's innate immortality. In one vehement outburst against Roman traditions, following a public burning of his books, Luther classed the immortality of the soul among the "monstrous fables that form part of the Roman dunghill of decretals." p. 69,70

Fudge boldly states that the Bible does not teach the immortality of the soul, and that the burden of proof is on those who are assuming it teaches thusly. Fudge says:

The conditional immortalitists have never wrestled with the patently clear passages which speak of a dualism or contrast between the physical life of the body and the transcendent life of the soul or spirit. p. 63,64

The Septuagint clearly "presupposed that the psuche will be separate from the body and will spend some time in the underworld." The same is clearly seen in the apocalyptic and pseudepigraphical works. "The soul lives on after death" (Ps. Phocyledes, 105 ff.). It then returns to God (Apc. Fsr. 7:3 6:4), is received by angels (Test. A. 6:5; Test. Tobi 52), where it goes to the underworld (S. Bar. 21:23; Apc. Esr. 4:12; Saphoneas Apc. 1:1).
The Talmudic sources have already been listed in connection with nephesh. While the rabbinic literature clearly sets "the soul and the body in antithesis, however, there is no disparagement of the body." At death, the soul leaves the body (4 Esr. 7:78) and awaits its return to its resurrection body at the end of time (Bab. Sanh. 91 a b). p. 56
It is obvious that the Jews during the first century as well as during the Old Testament age believed in the survival of man's mind or soul after the death of the body because they clearly believed in "ghosts" (Luke 24:37). p.62

Josephus states that the Essenes and all Jews except the Sadducees believed in the immortality of the soul (Wars II, 154-159,163,166).
The early church historian Eusebius (E.H. VI, C37) stated that the doctrine of "soul sleep" was invented by third-century heretics. p. 51

Morey notes:

At the beginning of the Reformation, even Luther himself toyed with the idea of soul sleep as a quick and clean answer to the Catholic teaching of purgatory. But later writings reveal that he changed his mind. Statements in his commentary speak of a conscious afterlife:

"In the interim [between death and resurrection], the soul does not sleep but is awake and enjoys the vision of angels and of God, and has converse with them."
P.201

First of all, the "traditionalists" do not believe in the Platonic concept of the immortality of the soul OR that the Bible teaches it; rather the continued existence of the soul after death, as well as that the wicked are given a body that can exist forever under their new circumstances. Additionally, they believe that the Bible is full of proof of this.

The Hebrew word rephaim occurs eight times in the Old Testament, and only has one meaning. It is translated literally as "shades" or "ghosts," or "departed spirits." There is no other literal definition. Since that cannot be disputed, Fudge attempts to write off the Old Testament usage of this term as mere poetry; a false religious concept borrowed from the pagans around Israel and included as part of the inspired Word of God without any identification as to its fallacy.

Immortality and the Soul

9

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

It is not enough today to say that the Bible assumes the immortality of the soul even though it does not teach it. John W. Wenham throws down the gauntlet. That "so important a truth should not be explicitly taught is strange. The onus of proof is on those who say it is assumed." p.55

Fudge passes off as insignificant one of the major arguments for the Old Testament proof of belief in the existence of the soul after the death of the body. That is the Hebrew word rephaim, translated only as "departed spirits," "shades" or "ghosts":

Although individuals are sometimes pictured as carrying on conversations in Sheol or engaging in other such lifelike pursuits (Isa. 14:9-18), they are not whole persons but mere Shades, personified for dramatic purposes. + The state of the deceased cannot be called "life" in any meaningful sense. It is "such a pale and pitiful reflection of human existence that it has no longer any reality, and is only a metaphorical expression of nonbeing."
This is mythological language for the most part, borrowed from its pagan time and place-much like our kind of language, by the way, when we speak of the sun "rising" and "setting" or use the names January or Saturday (originally honoring pagan gods of Europe). We should not suppose, however, that the Hebrews took the language literally or used it with its original pagan meaning. In a well-reasoned article on the subject, John B. Burns shows how the Old Testament "demythologized" such language and uses it only for effect, contrast or literary purposes.

+ They are the rephaim (Job 26:5; Ps. 88:10; Prov. 2:18; 9:18; 21:16; Isa. 14:9, 26:19). "For the member of the community of Israel, the dead were beyond his interest for they had ceased to live and praise Yahweh" (Burns, "Mythology of Death", p. 339). p. 83,84

By bypassing such clear references to the afterlife or writing them off as "poetry," Fudge can make a statement like this:

Harry Buis, a responsible and respected author of the traditionalist view, begins his book practically with the warning that the Old Testament "contains little information about the eschatological future of the individual, and almost all of this is concerned with the future of the godly rather than that of the ungodly." He also cautions against the common tendency to read "back into the Old Testament concepts which were not held until much later in the history of doctrine." But, he notes, a high view of inspiration does call for us to read the Old Testament in the brighter light of the New.
Buis' verdict about the scarcity of Old Testament material does not stand alone. An article on the subject in Expository Times concludes that "even in the few Old Testament apocalyptic writings...the future state of righteous and wicked...is described only in the most general terms." A contemporary evangelical author says that Old Testament references to life after death are "few and rather obscure." The New Catholic Encyclopedia states that "the mode of survival after death is extremely confused in its inception, but gains greater clarity with the approach to NT times." Recent conservative Protestant dictionaries support this view as well. p. 77,78

He says that we should not suppose that the Hebrews actually believed it! Yet there is nothing to indicate that they should not or did not. The texts should be allowed to speak for themselves, as Fudge so often emphasizes in other areas more suited to his position.

Morey comments on the rephaim:.

Third, the condition of those in Sheol is described in the following ways:
1. At death man becomes a rephaim, i.e., a "ghost," "shade," or "disembodied spirit" according to Job 26:5; Ps. 88:10; Prov. 2:18; 9:18; 21:16; Isa. 14:9; 26:14,19. Instead of describing man as passing into nonexistence, the Old Testament states that man becomes a disembodied spirit. The usage of the word rephaim irrefutably establishes this truth. Langenscheidt's Hebrew-English Dictionary to the Old Testament (p. 324) defines rephaim as referring to the "departed spirits, shades." Brown, Driver and Briggs (p. 952) define rephaim as "shades, ghosts...name of dead in Sheol." Keil and Delitzsch define rephaim as referring to "those who are bodiless in the state after death."
From the meaning of rephaim, it is clear that when the body dies, man enters a new kind of existence and experience. He now exists as a spirit creature and experiences what angels and other disincarnate spirits experience. Just as angels are disincarnate energy beings composed only of "mind" or mental energy and are capable of supradimensional activity and such things as thought and speech without the need of a physical body, even so once man dies, he too becomes a disembodied supradimensional energy being and is capable of thought and speech without the need of a body. This is why the dead are described as "spirits" and "ghosts" throughout the Scriptures.
This concept is carried on into the New Testament in such places as Luke 24:37-39. A belief in "ghosts" necessarily entails a belief that man survives the death of the body.
2. Those in Sheol are pictured as conversing with each other and even making moral judgements on the lifestyle of new arrivals (Isa. 14:9-20; 44:23; Ezek. 32:21). They are thus conscious entities while in Sheol.

SOUL SLEEP--Morey comments:

It would be appropriate at this point to deal with the doctrine of "soulsleep," which is continually surfaced by the annihilationists in order to refute conscious torment in both the intermediate and eternal state.
Flrst, it is always argued that the mere fact that the Bible refers to death by the word "sleep" is absolute proof that there is no conscious life after death. That this is an erroneous argument is seen from the following facts
l. The word "sleep" is a metaphor describing the appearance and posture of the body. Even Froom admits that it is a metaphor.
2. The word was also used by the Greeks, Egyptians, etc., to describe their dead.

Since these surrounding cultures indisputably believed in a conscious afterlife, their use of the word "sleep" to describe their dead obviously cannot mean that they believed the dead were unconscious.

Immortality and the Soul

9b

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

SOUL SLEEP

Fudge also denies that the New Testament, especially in such passages as Matthew 10:28, teaches that the soul is separate from the body and can exist without it:

Lest one read into Matthew's account any Platonic dualism regarding man's being, we have Luke's record of the same words: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him" (Luke 12:4,5). This passage does not teach the immortality of every man's soul; it teaches rather that God can kill the soul as well as the body. Unless Jesus is making idle threats, the very warning implies that God will execute such a sentence on those who persistently rebel against His authority and resist every overture of mercy. #

# [Cullmann writes: "We hear in Jesus' saying in Matthew 10:28 that the soul can be killed. The soul is not immortal. There must be resurrection for both (body and soul); for since the Fall the whole man is "sown corruptible'" (Oscar Cullmann Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead? pp. 36-37). For similar statements see earlier chapters here on immortabty of the soul. p. 173

So far as Jesus' own teaching on final punishment, we have found it in every point agreeable to the Old Testament witness and limited in its major features to teaching found there. Rather than absorbing the fanciful details of intertestamental apocalyptlc, Jesus borrowed some of its language when useful to communication, but he expressed ideas found in the prophets and illustrated by Old Testament examples of divine judgement. so far as comparing Jesus' teaching on hell with that of his contemporaries, Strawson makes six observations, then draws five conclusions. our study confirms them all. p. 210

Thus, the mere presence of the word "sleep" in scripture as a methaphor for death cannot logically be used as an argument for soul sleep. As Jeremias stated: " The notion of soul-sleep is just as foreign to the N.T. as to Judaism; the image of sleep is introduced simply...as an euphemistic description of death.
Second, the Scriptures clearly teach that after death, man is conscious either in the bliss of heaven or the torments of Hades. Since the second death is patterned after the first death, both deaths refer to separation, not annihilation. p. 205, 206

Morey gives scriptural support

In 2 Peter 2:9, the condition of the ungodly between death and resurrection is described in virtually the same terms as Peter used in verse 4 to describe the condition of the angels in tartarus.

The ungodly are kept for the day of judgment while being consciously tormented. The punishment is not future but a present experience of the ungodly while they await their final sentence.

This has been pointed out, by such commentators as Alford, A.T. Robertson and Vincent as the only grammatical interpretation possible. The classic Lutheran commentator, R.H. Lenski, states that the ungodly are held for Judgment day while they are being punished. lTerein] markedly repeats the [Teroumenos] used in v. 4 and refers to keeping them in hell as the added participle shows: "while being punished" ("under punishment," RV.; not final; "to be punished" A.V.).

Peter is obviously drawing a parallel between the torment of angels and the torment of sinners as they await the day of judgment.

Having already mentioned the murky darkness of tartarus in 2:4, Peter in 2:17 speaks of the unrighteous as sharing in the same fate as the angels. Thus he speaks of "the darkness" which had already been mentioned in 2:4 : " These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved."

What is important for us to note is that the wicked will be cast into "the murky netherworld of deep darkness." They are pictured as dwelling in murky tartarus where their lot is torment. p. 138,139.

Philippians 1:21-23:
This is the clearest passage in the New Testament which speaks of the believer going to be with Christ in heaven after death.
This context deals with Paul's desire to depart this earthly life for a heavenly life with Christ. There is no mention or allusion to the resurrection in this passage.
The tense Paul uses in verse 21 when speaking of death "denotes not the act of dying but the consequence of dying, the state after death."
Notice Paul's use of the pronoun "I". Paul's ego, self, or soul, dwells in his body while alive, departs from it at death, and immediately after death is in the presence of Christ in heaven. As Lange put it:

Immortality and the Soul

10

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Unless Paul believed that the death which released him from the trials of this life was to introduce him at once to the presence of Christ and a state of blessedness, we see no adequate reason for the struggle between his desire to depart and be with Christ and his anxiety to labor still for the advancement of the Redeemer's Kingdom on earth. If he believed that he was to remain for an indefinite time without consciousness in the grave his zeal for men's salvation and his contempt of personal dangers and trials in the pursuit of that object, would lead him to desire to live as long as possible, on account of the importance of his ministry to mankind. On the other hand, if we suppose him to have regarded his attainment of the joys and rewards of heaven as simultaneous with his departure from this world, we have then an adequate explanation of this perplexity.

Given the context and the grammatical construction of the passage, there is no legitimate way to escape the truth that Paul desired to depart this life and to be with Christ. p. 211, 212

Hebrews 12:22-24:
In verse 22, he uses the perfect tense to indicate that the believers had been ushered into citizenship in and fellowship with the heavenly Jerusalem. The perfect tense indicates that it was at conversion that these saints were ushered into citizenship.
This grammatical observation refutes the erroneous argument of the annihilationists who state that this passage concerns a future scene after the resurrection. As F. F. Bruce has pointed out, there is no reference whatsoever to the resurrection in this passage. He goes on to say:

"No distinction in meaning can be pressed between 'spirits' here and 'souls' there....lt is plain that, for him, the souls of believers do not need to wait until the resurrection to be perfected. They are perfected already in the sense that they are with God in heavenly Jerusalem."

In this glorious picture described by the author, the earthly saints join in the worship which resounds from myriads of angets and disembodied spirits of fellow saints who have departed this life. These saints were justified through faith while on earth and are now perfected and completed in heaven.
That the author is describing the blest condition of departed saints who now worship God before the throne is so clear that we must agree with the commentators that it cannot be questioned or doubted. As Alford stated, this passage is indisputable proof that the souls of departed believers "are not sleeping, they are not unconsdous, they are not absent from us: they are perfected, lacking nothing...but waiting only for bodily perfection."
The conditionalists have never adequately dealt with the grammar and syntax of this passage, because the "spirits of justified men now perfected" who are worshiping at God's throne are obviously the conscious souls of believers during the intermediate state. The fact that they would merely wave it aside as a future event despite the grammar of the Greek text is an indication of their inability to grapple with this passage. p. 212, 213

Immortality and the Soul

11

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Sheol and the Grave

Sheol is the Hebrew word for the place of the dead. The real question is: Is there conscious activity in Sheol, and is it a place where the dead exist in some sort of shadowy, nether worldish existence? Or is Sheol simply a poetic synonym for the grave or death itself?
This is one area where the conditionalists are hardpressed to explain their way out of; as they cannot provide the excellent background research provided by the traditionalists. Out of 487 pages, Fudge only devotes 9 of them to a direct discussion of Sheol. The first 4 1/2 pages discuss life and death, and only the final 4 pages define Sheol. Here are Fudge's arguments:

Etymology and Translation. According to Gaster, the word "Sheol" does not appear in any non-Hebrew Semitic literature yet discovered, other than as a loan-word from the Hebrew. That situation is subject to sudden change, based on overnight discoveries in biblical archaeology). The etymology is uncertain. Most modern scholars seem to think it comes from a root meaing "ask" or "inquire." Older writers sometimes suggested a root meaning "to bury one's self." The idea of something hidden appears in synonyms of several languages. The German holle comes from hohle, a cavern (kin to "hole" in English). The Greek Hades literally means the "unseen" realm. The English word "hell" comes from the Anglo-Saxon helan, which meant "to cover" or "to hide."
The Old Testament uses the word Sheol 65 or 66 times. The King James translators followed their own conception of things and made it either "hell" (31 times), "the grave" (31 times) or "the pit" (three times). The American Standard Version did not try to translate but left it "Sheol." The New International Version usually translates sheol by "grave," though at least once "the realm of death" (Deut. 32:22). This supports conditionalist author, Froom, who distinguishes sheol from the material grave but suggests "gravedom" as a suitable translation. p. 82,83

(repeated from the previous section):

Although individuals are sometimes pictured as carrying on conversations in Sheol or engaging in other such lifelike pursuits (Isa. 14:9-18), they are not whole persons but mere Shades, personified for dramatic purposes.+ The state of the deceased cannot be called "life" in any meaningful sense. It is "such a pale and pitiful reflection of human existence that it has no longer any reality, and is only a metaphorical expression of non-being."
This is mythological language for the most part, borrowed from its pagan time and place-much like our kind of language, by the way, when we speak of the sun "rising" and "setting" or use the names January or Saturday (originally honoring pagan gods of Europe). We should not suppose, however, that the Hebrews took the language literally or used it with its original pagan meaning. In a well-reasoned article on the subject, John B. Burns shows how the Old Testament "demythologized" such language and uses it only for effect, contrast or literary purposes.

Morey provides an excellent & comprehensive study of Sheol:

SHEOL AND ITS INHABITANTS

Given the principle of progressive revelation, it is no surprise that the Old Testament is vague in its description of Sheol and the condition of those in it. While the Old Testament prophets stated many things about Sheol, they did not expound in any measure of depth on this subject. Another reason for this vagueness is that a conscious afterlife was so universally accepted that it was assumed by the biblical authors to be the belief of anyone who read the Scriptures. Since it was not a point of conflict, no great attention was given to it. p. 77
The Old Testament describes Sheol in the following ways:

1. Sheol is a shadowy place or a place of darkness (Job 10:21,22; Ps. 143:3). Evidently it is another dimension which is not exposed to the rays of the sun.
2. It is viewed as being "down," "beneath the earth," or in "the lower parts of the earth" (Job 11:8; Isa. 44:23; 57:9; Ezek. 26:20; Amos 9:2). These figures of speech should not be literalized into an absurd cosmology. They merely indicate that Sheol is not a part of this world but has an existence of its own in another dimension.
3. It is a place where one can reunite with his ancestors, tribe or people (Gen. 15:15; 25:8; 35:29; 37:35; 49:33; Num. 20:24,28; 31:2; Deut. 32:50; 34:5; 2 Sam. 12:23). This cannot refer to one common mass grave where everyone was buried. No such graves ever existed in recorded history. Sheol is the place where souls of all men go at death. That is why Jacob looked forward to reuniting with Joseph in Sheol. While death meant separation from the living, the Old Testament prophets clearly understood that it also meant reunion with the departed.
4. It seems that Sheol has different sections. There is the contrast between the "lowest part" and the "highest part" of Sheol (Deut. 32:22). This figurative language implies that there are divisions or distinctions within Sheol. Perhaps the Old Testament's emphatic distinction between the righteous and the wicked in this life indicates that this distinction continues on in the afterlife. Thus the wicked are said to be in the "lowest part," while the righteous are in the "higher part" of Sheol. While this is not clearly (repeated from the previous section): stated in the Old Testament, there seems to be some kind of distinction within Sheol. Later rabbinic writers clearly taught that Sheol had two sections. The righteous were in bliss in one section while the wicked were in torment in the other.
Third, the condition of those in Sheol is described in the following ways:
1. At death man becomes a rephaim, i.e., a "ghost " "shade," or "disembodied spirit" according to Job 26:5; Ps. 88:10; Prov. 2:18; 9:18; 21:16; Isa. 14:9; 26:14,19. Instead of describing man as passing into nonexistence. the Old Testament states that man becomes a disembodied spirit. The usage of the word rephaim irrefutably establishes this truth.

Sheol and the Grave

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TRADITIONALIST VIEW

+ They are the rephaim (Job 26:5; Ps. 88:10; Prov. 2:18; 9:18; 21:16, Isa. 14:9, 26:19). "For the member of the community of Israel, the dead were beyond his interest for they had ceased to live and praise Yahweh" (Burns, "Mythology of Death", p. 339). p. 83,84

Because the Old Testament defines man's life by his relationship to God, Sheol is evil. It removes man from his place on earth, where he lived and rejoiced in God's fellowship and praised Him for His goodness (Isa. 38:11, 18, 19). Yet Sheol is not beyond God's sight or reach or power (Job 26:6; Amos 9:2). Righteous men and women repeatedly express confidence that God will restore them from Sheol to enjoy life in his fellowship once more (1 Sam. 2:6 Ps. 16:9-11; 68:20). They have experienced God's joy and faithfulness already on the earth. The joy they have tasted makes them want to live with him forever; the faithfulness they have seen gives them confidence that they will. The patriarchs died in hope, according to Hebrews 11, but their hope was in the power and love of God, not in a philosophical dogma or any death-proof part of man. p. 84.

The Old Testament's concept of Sheol belongs to its larger view of man before God. This perspective, framed in light of the creation, determines the Hebrew's attitude toward both life and death-and hope beyond that. Sheol is the common fate of all mortals. It is not a place of punishment.
The wicked have no reason to expect to leave Sheol in most of the Old Testament. The righteous, however, do, for they know and trust the living God! Nothing is hid from His eyes, and no power can withstand His deliverance. His people lie down in peace, fully expecting to live again. That hope is stated explicitly a few times, but it pervades the entire Old Testament.

So far as the destiny of the wicked is concerned, Sheol is not a final word. The Old Testament does say much about the end of the wicked, however. p. 85

Langenscheidt's Hebrew-English Dictionary to the Old Testament (p. 324) defines rephaim as referring to the "departed spirits, shades." Brown, Driver and Briggs (p. 952) define rephaim as "shades, ghosts....name of dead in Sheol." Keil and Delitzsch define rephaim as referring to "those who are bodiless in the state after death."
From the meaning of rephaim, it is clear that when the body dies, man enters a new kind of existence and experience. He now exists as a spirit creature and experiences what angels and other disincarnate spirits experience. Just as angels are disincarnate energy beings composed only of "mind" or mental energy and are capable of supradimensional activity and such things as thought and speech without the need of a physical body, even so once man dies, he too becomes a disembodied supradimensional energy being and is capable of thought and speech without the need of a body. This is why the dead are described as "spirits" and "ghosts" throughout the Scriptures.
This concept is carried on into the New Testament in such places as Luke 24:37-39. A belief in "ghosts" necessarily entails a belief that man survives the death of the body.
2. Those in Sheol are pictured as conversing with each other and even making moral judgements on the lifestyle of new arrivals (Isa. 14:9-20; 44:23; Ezek. 32:21). They are thus conscious entities while in Sheol.
3. Once in Sheol, all experiences related exclusively to physical life are no longer possible. Those in Sheol do no marry and procreate children because they do not have bodies. Neither do they plan and execute business transactions. Once in Sheol, they cannot attend public worship in the temple and give sacrifices and praise. There are no bodily pleasures such as eating or drinking. Those in Sheol do not have any wisdom or knowledge about what is happening in the land of the living. They are cut off from the living. They have entered a new dimension of reality with its own kind of existence (Ps. 6:5; Eccles. 9:10, etc.).
4. God's judgement on the wicked does not cease when the wicked die in their sins. Thus some of the spirits in Sheol experience the following
a. God's anger (Deut. 32:22): According to Moses, the wicked experience the fire of YHWH's anger in the "lowest parts of Sheol." This passage would make no sense if the wicked are nonexistent and Sheol is the grave.
b. Distress (Ps. 116:3): The Hebrew word matzar refers to the distress that is felt when in the straits of a difficulty. It is found in this sense in Ps. 118:5. Also, the word chevel, which is the poetic parallel for matzar, means "cords of distress" (2 Sam. 22:6; Ps. 18:6).
c. Writhing in pain (Job 26:5): The Hebrew word chool means to twist and turn in pain like a woman giving birth.
It is obvious that nonexistence can hardly experience anger, distress or pain. Thus, there are hints in the above passages that not everyone experiences blessedness in the afterlife. Beyond these three passages, the Old Testament does not speak of torment in the intermediate state. While it speaks of the "everlasting humiliation and contempt" which awaits the wicked after the resurrection (Dan. 12:2), the Old Testament tells us very little about the intermediate suffering of the wicked in Sheol. p. 78-80.

Sheol and the Grave

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TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Sixth, while bodies are unconscious in the grave, those in Sheol are viewed as being conscious (Isa 14:4-7; 44:23; Ezek. 31:16; 32:21).
Seventh, an examination of the usages of kever and Sheol reveals that Sheol cannot mean the grave. The following twenty contrasts between kever and Sheol demonstrate this point:
1. While the kabar (to bury) is used in connection with kever it is never used in connection with Sheol. We can bury someone in a grave but we cannot bury anyone in Sheol (Gen. 23:4, 6, 9,19, 20; 49:30, 31, etc.).
2. While kever is found in its plural form "graves" (Ex. 14:11), the word Sheol is never pluralized.
3. While a grave is located at a specific site (Ex. 14:11), Sheol is never localized, because it is everywhere accessible at death no matter where the death takes place. No grave is necessary in order to go to Sheol.
4. While we can purchase or sell a grave (Gen. 23:4-20), Scripture never speaks of Sheol being purchased or sold.
5. While we can own a grave as personal property (Gen. 23:4-20), nowhere in scripture is Sheol owned by man.
6. While we can discriminate between graves and pick the "choicest site" (Gen. 23:6), nowhere in Scripture is a "choice" Sheol pitted against a "poor" Sheol.
7. While we can drop a dead body into a grave (Gen. 50:13), no one can drop anyone into Sheol.
8. While we can erect a monument over a grave (Gen. 35:20), Sheol is never spoken of as having monuments.
9. While we can, with ease, open or close a grave (2 Kings 23:16), Sheol is never opened or closed by man.
10. While we can touch a grave (Num. 19:18), no one is ever said in Scripture to touch Sheol.
11. While touching a grave brings ceremonial defilement (Num. 19:16), the Scriptures never speak of anyone being defiled by Sheol.
12. While we can enter and leave a tomb or grave (2 Kings 23:16), no one is ever said to enter and then leave Sheol.
13. While we can choose the site of our own grave (Gen. 23:4-9), Sheol is never spoken of as something we can pick and choose.
14. While we can remove or uncover the bodies or bones in a grave (2 Kings 23:16), the Scriptures never speak of man removing or uncovering anything in Sheol.
15. While we can beautify a grave with ornate carvings or pictures (Gen. 35:20), Sheol is never beautified by man.
16. While graves can be robbed or defiled (Jer. 8:1,2), Sheol is never spoken of as being robbed or defiled by man.
17. While a grave can be destroyed by man (Jer. 8:1,2), nowhere in Scripture is man said to be able to destroy Sheol.
18. While a grave can be full, Sheol is never full (Prov. 27:20).
19. While we can see a grave, Sheol is always invisible.
20. While we can visit the graves of loved ones, nowhere in Scripture is man said to visit Sheol. p. 76,77
The first step in understanding any ancient or foreign word is to check the lexicons, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc., which deal with that language. Brown, Driver and Briggs based their A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament on the work of Genesius, one of the greatest Hebrew scholars who ever lived. They define Sheol as: "The underworld... whither man descends at death" (p. 982).

Sheol and the Grave

13b

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TRADITIONALIST VIEW

They trace the origin of Sheol to either sha-al, which means the spirit world to which mediums directed their questions to the departed, or Sha-al, which refers to the hollow place in the earth where the souls of men went at death. Langenscheidt's Hebrew/English Dictionarv to the Old Testament (p.337) defines Sheol as: "netherworld, realm of the dead, Hades." The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia in volume IV, p.2761, defines Sheol as: "the unseen world, the state or abode of the dead, and is the equivalent of the Greek: Hades." Keil and Delitzsch state that "Sheol denotes the place where departed souls are gathered after death; it is an infinitive form from sha-al, to demand, the demanding, applied to the place where inexorably summons all men into its shade." +
The lexicographical evidence is so clear that the great Princeton scholar, B.B. Warfield, stated that with modern Hebrew scholars, there is no "hesitation to allow with all heartiness that Israel from the beginning of its recorded history cherished the most settled conviction of the persistence of the soul in life after death....The body is laid in the grave and the soul departs to Sheol. + +

+ Commentaries On the Old Testament, Vol.l, p. 338

+ + Selected Shorter Writings of Beniamin B. Warfield, pp. 339,345

P.72,73

AN INTERESTING CONSIDERATION:

What is important about comparitive studies is that they place biblical words in their historical context. The word Sheol should thus be understood in terms of what it meant in the Hebrew language and by its parallel in the other languages of that time. Why?
When God wanted Israel to believe something which was unique and contrary to what the surrounding cultures believed, He always clearly condemned and forbade the pagan beliefs and then stressed the uniqueness of the new concept. For example, in order to establish monotheism, God repeatedly and clearly condemned the pagan concept of polytheism and stressed monotheism.
While God clearly condemned polytheism in the Old Testament, at no time did He ever condemn belief in a conscious afterlife. At no time did God ever put forth the concept of annihilation or nonexistence as the fate of man's soul at death.
Also, when Israel had a unique and contrary belief, the pagan societies around Israel would use this belief as the grounds to persecute the Jews. Thus the Jews were persecuted for rejecting polytheism and believing in monotheism. Daniel's three friends who were thrown into a fiery furnace are an excellent example of such persecution.
Yet, where in recorded history did pagan religions or societies persecute the Jews because they denied a conscious afterlife? To think that the Jews could go against the universally held concept of a conscious afterlife and that the pagans would not seize upon this as a pretense for persecution is absurd.
Since the universality of belief in a conscious afterlife is irrefutable, and there is no evidence that Israel deviated from this belief, we must assume that the Old Testament taught a conscious afterlife in Sheol as the fate of man's soul or spirit. p. 74

Sheol and the Dead

14

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TRADITIONALIST VIEW

It is universally recognized by modern Talmudic scholars that Sheol never meant the grave or unconsciousness in rabbinic literature. Ginzburg states that in rabbinic writings one finds a consistent conviction that "there exists after this world a condition of happiness or unhappiness for an individual." Guttman adds, "The Talmud, like the Apocryphal literature, knows of a kind of intermediate state of the soul between death and resurrection; true retribution will be dispensed only after the resurrection of the body. But along with this, we also find the fate in a retribution coming immediately after death and in a life of blessedness for the soul in the beyond."
The rabbinic tradition before, during and after the time of Christ describes the soul departing the body and descending into Sheol at death. The rabbis consistently pictured both the righteous and the wicked as conscious after death. The evidence is so overwhelming that the classic Princeton theologian, Charles Hodge, stated, "That the Jews believed in a conscious life after death is beyond dispute."
The annihilationists have never discovered any evidence that the majority of Jews believed that the soul was extinguished at death. There is no conflict in the rabbinic literature over this issue. p. 74

Not once is Hades the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word for grave (kever). Not once does it mean nonexistence or unconsciousness. The times it is used for words other than Sheol, it clearly means the world of spirits. There is, therefore, no way to escape the conclusion that the translators of the Septuagint clearly understood that Hades referred to the realm of disembodied souls or spirits; and, we must also emphasize, that the translators of the Septuagint did not obtain this concept from Platonic Greek thought but from the Hebrew concept of Sheol itself. p. 82

KEY POINTS:

First, we must once again emphasize the importance of the principle of progressive revelation. While Hades was consistently used in the Greek version of the Old Testament as the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Sheol, this does not mean that Hades should be limited to the Old Testament meaning of Sheol. The New Testament picks up where the Old Testament left off by progressively developing the concept of what happens to the soul of man after death. We should expect that the fuller revelation of Christ and the apostles will clarify what was vague in the Old Testament (Heb. 1:13). p. 83

That the Epistles would further develop what happens to the soul after death and go beyond the gospel material is also expected. The apostles were conscious of the fact that their understanding was clouded during their sojourn with Christ (John 12:16). It was only after Pentecost and the final revelations given to the apostles that they could, at least, speak of death and the afterlife with clarity. It was only after the last pieces of the cosmic puzzle of revelation were given that they could see the whole picture.
Before Christ's ascension, believers as well as unbelievers were said to enter Sheol or Hades. After Christ's resurrection, the New Testament pictures believers after death as entering heaven to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23), which is far better than Hades. They are present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6-8), worshipping with the angelic hosts of heaven (Heb. 12:22,23) at the altar of God (Rev. 6:9-11). Thus believers do not now enter Hades but ascend immediately to the throne of God.

Sheol and the Grave

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TRADITIONALIST VIEW

In the New Testament, there is, therefore, a development of understanding which took place after Christ's resurrection. Before Jesus was raised from the dead, the apostles assumed that everyone went to Sheol or Hades. This Hades had two sections, one for the righteous and one for the wicked. But Christ's resurrection changed this picture. Thus Paul uses the language of transition when he speaks of Christ taking the righteous out of Hades and bringing them into heaven (Eph. 4:8,9).
That Christ went to Hades, i.e., the world beyond death, is clear from Acts 2:31. While in Hades, Peter pictures Christ as proclaiming to "the spirits now in prison" the completion of his atonement (1 Peter 3:18~22). Whereas "paradise" in the gospel account (Luke 23:43) referred to the section of Hades reserved for the righteous, by the time Paul wrote 2 Cor. 12:2-4, it was assumed that paradise had been taken out of Hades and was now placed in the third heaven.
According to the postresurrection teaching in the New Testament, the believer now goes to heaven at death to await the coming resurrection and the eternal state. But, what of the wicked? The wicked at death descend into Hades which is a place of temporary torment while the await the coming resurrection and their eternal punishment.
Flrst, it is clear that the souls of the wicked are in torment during the intermediate state in Hades. The apostle Peter stated this in language which could not be clearer: "Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgement". (2 Pet. 2:9)
First, Peter says that the wicked are "kept" unto the day of judgement. This word is in the present, active, infinitive form, which means that the wicked are being held captive continuously. If the wicked merely pass into nonexistence at death, there would be nothing left to be "kept" unto the day of judgement. Obviously, Peter is grammatically picturing the wicked as being guarded like prisoners in a jail until the day of final judgement.
Second, Peter says that the wicked are "being tormented." This word is in the present, passive, participle form and means that the wicked are continuously being tormented as an ongoing activity.
If Peter wanted to teach that the wicked receive their full punishment at death by passing into nonexistence, then he would have used the aorist tense. Instead, he uses those Greek tenses which were the only ones available to him in the Greek language to express conscious, continuous torment. The grammar of the text irrefutably establishes that the wicked are in torment while they await their final day of judgement.
When the day of judgement arrives, Hades will be emptied of its inhabitants, and the wicked will stand before God for their final sentence (Rev. 20:13-15). Thus, we conclude that Hades is the temporary intermediate state between death and the resurrection where the wicked are in conscious torment. Hades will be emptied at the resurrection, and then the wicked will be cast into "hell" (Gehenna). p. 85-87

Sheol and the Grave

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CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

Intertestamental and Pre-Nicene Literature

The greatest problem that conditionalists face when examining the intertestamental (between the Old & New Testaments) literature, is that the doctrines of the existence of the soul after death and eternal punishing are often manifest, with no "introduction" as would be required by a "new teaching." The conditionalist view is that between the Old and New Testaments, Platonic philosophy infiltrated true Bible doctrine and entirely new concepts were introduced to replace the old beliefs about the soul and punishment. Yet, strangely 1acking are any evidences of controversy in this area of belief.

The conditionalist answer to that would be that there was evidence of a difference of belief in the intertestamental writings. But since they can produce no actual apologetic or actual conflict from the historieal records, they must argue from the silence of some intertestamental writers, who may discuss the future of the righteous without mentioning the wicked. Sometimes, as in the case of Fudge's and the Adventist Froom's quoting from Tobit, where it says that the unrighteous shall cease from all the earth, they claim that that proves the writer did not believe in eternal punishing. That is indeed a poor argument.

The Adventist Froom admits the presence of the doctrine of intermediate and eternal punishment for the wicked in the rabbinic literature but sweeps it aside as "pagan" incursions. His chart on page 650 in The Conditional Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. I, lists eight books supposedly supporting annihilationism and seven books for eternal punishment in the rabbinic literature.

The books which Froom admits teaches eternal punishment are: Second Maccabees, Book of Jubilees, Wisdom of Solomon, Fourth Maccabees, Philo, and Josephus. Froom then claims that Tobit, Sirach, Sibylline Oracles, Enoch, Baruch, Second Esdras and the Dead Sea Scrolls clearly teach that the wicked pass into nonexistence after the resurrection.

Fudge appears to hold to the same list of supposed supporters of conditionalism as Froom. We will reproduce some of the statements Fudge and Froom use as "support" for their position.

Fudge quotes from:

TOBlT

All the nations which are in the whole earth, all shall turn and fear God truly, and all shall leave their idols, who err after their false error All the children of Israel that are delivered in those days, remembering God in truth, shall be gathered together and come to Jerusalem and shall dwell forever in the land of Abraham with security, and it shall be given over to them, and they that love God in truth shall rejoice, and they that do sin and unrighteousness shall cease from all the earth.Tob. 14:6-8.

Fudge's only supportive statement on Tobit is that "Conscious unending torment is nowhere in the picture." However,the subject is not the eternal fate of the wicked but, rather, the future of the earth. The lake of fire is not "on the earth "

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

The wicked will end in the terrible Pit of fire and darkness. the Scroll of the Rule (Manual of Discipline) tells of its horror in a formal curse against the " men of the lot of Belial":

Morey says:

The Adventist Froom admits the presence of the doctrine of intermediate and eternal punishment for the wicked in the rabbinic literature but sweeps it aside as "pagan" incursions. His chart on page 650 in The Conditional Faith of Our Fathers, vol 1, lists eight books for annihilationism and seven books for eternal punishment in the rabbinic literature.
The books which Froom admits teaches eternal punishment are: Second Maccabees, Book of Jubilees, Wisdom of Solomon, Fourth Maccabees, Philo, and Josephus. Froom then caims that Tobit, Sirach, Sibylline Oracles, Enoch, Baruch, Second Esdras and the Dead sea Scrolls clearly teach that the wicked pass into nonexistence after the resurrection. p. 119.

Let the passages on the left (claimed by conditionalists to teach anmhilationism speak for themselves.
Morey comments on the Sibylline Oracles, which conditionalists believe support their stand:

[Christian Sibyllines]
Copying the jewish Sibyllines, this apocryphal work appeared around A.D. 200. This work is particularly instructive because it has been called into service by the annihilationists to prove their position. they point out

Intertestamental Literature

17

CONDITIONALIST VIEW

TRADITIONALIST VIEW

The wicked will end in the terrible Pit of fire and darkness. The Scroll of the Rule (Manual of Discipline) tells of its horror in a formal curse against the "men of the lot of Belial."
"Be thou cursed in all the works of thy guilty ungodliness! May God make of thee an object of dread by the hand of the Avengers of vengeance! May he hurl extermination after thee by the hand of all the Executioners of punishment! Cursed be thou, without mercy, according to the darks of thy deeds ! Be thou damned in the night of eternal fire!" -lQS 2. 4-8.

And as for the Visitation of all who walk in this (Spirit), it consists of an abundance of blows administered by all the Angels of destruction in the everlasting Pit by the furious wrath of the God of vengeance of unending dread and shame without end, and of the disgrace of destruction by the fire of the regions of darkness. And all their time from age to age are in most sorrowful chagrin and bitterest misfortune, in calamities of darkness till they are destroyed with none of them surviving or escaping. lQS 4. 11-14.

p. 138, 139,

FIRST ENOCH

And I will transform the heaven and make it an eternal blessing and light: And I will cause Mine elect ones to dwell upon it: But the sinners and evil-doers shall not set foot thereon. ...But for the sinners there is judgement impending with Me, So that I shall destroy them from the face of the earth. -1 En. 45:4-6

p. 149

Fudge also lists the Assumption of Moses, which he calls "ambiguous" as to whether Gehenna consumes the sinner entirely or keeps him alive in torment:

For the Most High will arise, the Eternal God alone, And he will appear to punish the Gentiles... And thou shall look from on high and shalt see thy enemies in Ge(henna) And thou shalt recognize them and rejoice And thou shalt give thanks and confess thy Creator. -Asmp. M. 10:7,10.

p. 142

Fudge Claims:

The people of intertestamental Judaism were living, breathing, thinking folk who sometimes differed vigorously from each other on theological matters. this perfectly reasonable fact that has not always come across in popular writings about the period. Today scholars stress this diversity far more than in the past, and recent works correct the common misunderstanding which supposes that " Jewish belief" was uniform, consistent or even simplistic.

that the wicked "perish", "waste away", and are "utterly destroyed". Yes, a closer look reveals that the author understood words in their biblical and figurative sense of eternal ruination, rather than non-being.

"The angels "shall punish [the wicked] fearfully with flaming whips". The wicked will be thrown into Gehenna where "many torments would be laid upon them."

Burning in a mighty fire. They gnash with their teeth. All wasting away with violent and consuming thirst, and shall call death fair, and it shall flee from them. Neither death nor night shall give them rest anymore. Many an appeal, but in vain, shall they make to God who rules on high, and then will He openly turn away His face from them. No repentance will be accepted. Nothing but eternal, conscious torment awaits them because there is "no end set to the punishment. p. 161

I Epistula Apostolarum

This account of a dialogue between Christ and the apostles dates from the early part of the second century. It has been found in Coptic, Ethiopic and Latin translations. It was a strong antignostic polemic which emphasized that Christ's physical body was real and that "our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is God".
That fate of the heretical Cerinthus and Simon is described as "judgment and ... eternal perdition". Another manuscript adds "destruction" in addition to "judgment." "Destruction" clearly did not mean annihilation, because the apostles later ask:

"O Lord, is it really in store for the flesh to be judged [together] with the soul and the spirit, and will [one of these][Copt. really] rest in heaven and the other [Copt however] be punished eternally while it is [still] alive?."

After Christ answers in the affirmative, He goes on to state that there is going to be a bodily resurrection of all men. The wicked will be delivered "to eternal punishment". This punishment consists of "ruin" and "punishment of great pain" or "ruin by ... eternal punishment."
Let the reader note that the words "destruction" and "ruin" do not mean annihilation unto nonexistence. Christ goes on to state that "the lost will be lost eternally. They will be tormented alive and will be scourged in their flesh and in their soul." Another manuscript states that they shall be "eternally ruined, being punished by fire in the flesh and spirit."
The dialogue concludes with the sober warning that the "wicked will be eternally punished." p. 158,159

Morey says:

We must also point out that the book of Revelation as well as 2 Peter and Jude clearly depends upon Jewish apocalyptic literature from which much of their imagery, phraseology and language is derived. The plural usage of aion in "unto the ages of the ages" meant eternity of

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On the matter of final punishment the situation has been particularly confusing. Traditionalist authors have frequently left the impression that the apocalyptic literature is filled with references to everlasting conscious torment, that this doctrine simply carried the Old Testament teaching a proper and natural step further, and that New Testament teaching should be interpreted in agreement with this "Jewish view," which is assumed to have been both commonly and widely held. p. 133, 134

Because of this unquestionable range of opinion, which can be so thoroughly documented, we cannot presume a single attitude among Jews of the time of Christ on this subject. We cannot read Jesus' words or those of the New Testament writers with any presuppositions supposedly based on a uniform intertestamental opinion.
We must deny categorically the common assumption that Jesus' hearers all held to everlasting torment. We must not assumed that Jesus endorsed such a view simply because He nowhere explicitly denied it. We are free to examine the teaching of the New Testament at face value and to determine the meaning of its terms according to the ordinary methods of proper biblical exegesis. p. 154

Fudge makes the point that it is important to know the beliefs of the intertestamental writers so as to determine the beliefs of the Jews in Jesus' day. He says that the Talmud comes to us too late to be of value (it plainly teaches eternal punishment and the continued existence of the soul). Then he says that we have to throw out the witness of the intertestamental writers because they are at odds with one another! Yet he was unable to even demonstrate this once. Note the acceptance of the principle of progressive revelation in the latter half of the footnote, where Bernard says that the Holy Ghost had to enlarge upon the things that Jesus implied but did not directly teach. How much more so can we allow the New Testament to "flesh out" the Old, yet without contradicting it! Fudge says:

However interesting all this rabbinic lore may be, it is largely irrelevant for biblical studies because it comes so late. We are thrown back instead to the intertestamental literature to determine the popular concepts of Jesus' day, and there, too, we find contradictory opinions. At the end of our search we must come again to the fullness of Jesus' teaching--His warnings, His parables, His similes--as seen against the background of the Old Testament Scriptures and as illuminated by the post-Pentecost writings of the Spirit-filled men who later "remembered" Jesus' teaching and "understood."#

# [John 14:16-18, 25, 26; 16:8-14. "The doctrine delivered in the Gospels appears to need, and to promise, further explanations, combinations, and developments. The character of that ministry on the whole is introductory" (Thomas Dehany Bernard, The Progress of Doctrine in the New Testament, p. 74). Later Bernard writes: "Though in the teaching of Jesus all the truth might be implied, it was not all opened; therefore the Holy Ghost was to add that which had not been delivered, as well as to recall that which had been already spoken" (p. 89)].

p. 163,164

Fudge admits the emergence of new understandings regarding Gehenna and the age to come during intertestamental times, yet falls short of showing how the New Testament used the

process or duration in this literature. Just the plural form itself speaks of absolute eternity of duration in such places as Eph. 2:7, "the ages to come."
When the biblical authors wished to speak of an eternity of process or duration, they used those words and phrases which in contemporary language expressed that idea. p. 135

From an examination of the intertestamental texts used by the conditionalists to try and prove differences of belief among the writers, we see not only do they not counter the view of eternal torment but to the average reader often support it, in spite of what Froom or Fudge think. In actuality, there is no proof of any real controversy in the beliefs of the writers from the intertestamental period.

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Fudge admits the emergence of new understandings regarding Gehenna and the age to come during intertestamental times, yet falls short of showing how the New Testament used the intertestamental literature and some of its concepts as a base for its teachings, especially in the gospels and the Revelation:

Between the Testaments a tendency arose in Jewish literature to relate visions of last things to names and persons from the Old Testament. Armageddon, Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden all became stylized descriptions of things to come. So did the Valley of Hinnom-gehenna. The thought of Gehenna as a place of eschatological punishment appears in intertestamental literature shortly before 100 B.C., though the actual place is unnamed. It becomes "this accursed valley" (I En. 27:2, 3), the "station of vengeance" and "future torment" (2 Bar. 59:l0, ll), the "pit of destruction" (Pirke Aboth 5:19), the "furnace of Gehenna" and "pit of torment" (4 Esd. 7:36). p.161

Fudge admits the Talmud as teaching eternal punishment and the existence of the soul beyond death. He tries to cloud the issue by pointing out differences of opinion in the Talmud. But nowhere in the Talmud do we find the doctrine of the conditionalists espoused! Fudge cites no references:

The word hades came into biblical usage when the Septuagint translators chose it to represent the Hebrew sheol, an Old Testament concept vastly different from the pagan Greek notions just outlined. Sheol, too, received all the dead, as we have noted in another chapter, but the Old Testament has no specific division there involving either punishment or reward. Intertestamental Judaism held at least two opinions on Hades. Those who expected a partial resurrection (of the righteous only) saw Hades as everlasting (for the wicked); those who looked for a general resurrection naturally thought of it as temporary. Rabbinic opinion was so varied, and the terminology in such a state of flux, that both hades and gehenna are sometimes the abode of the dead, sometimes the place of final punishment, sometimes interchangeable, sometimes distinct. p. 205

Fudge is forced to admit the direct influence of the intertestamental writings upon the teaching of the Great Teacher himself. Would Jesus not have considered the "traditional" teaching a blasphemy against the nature of God if he were a conditionalist? Would he dare use a "pagan, false religious story" to teach his disciples the truths of God?

Fudge even concedes that the story of the rich man and Lazarus may teach something of punishment after death, though perhaps just a temporary state. This concession would demand, obviously, that the soul exists after the death of the body; a conclusion that Fudge is not willing to accept. He then says that because Jesus does not give more details, we cannot draw any conclusions about the end of the wicked. Perhaps not of their final end if we want to be technical, but we can certainly understand that Jesus implied an interim

Morey comments on Luke 16:19- 31:

Many orthodox writers treat Luke 16 as a literal account. They deny that it is a parable on the grounds that (1) the beggar must have been a real historical character because his name was given; (2) Abraham was a real historical character, and (3) in parables names are not given. Thus many orthodox writers demand that the story of the rich man and Lazarus be viewed as a literal account.
Other writers usually treat Luke 16:19-31 as a parable and end up denying that it teaches anything about death or the afterlife. They usually give interpretations which are quite wild and farfetched.
The basic problem is both sides assume that if Christ's story is a parable, it is meaningless, and if it is not, it must be a literal account. They both fail to recognize that Christ's teaching was rabbinic in methodology and that rabbinic parables often revolved around real historical characters.
The rabbinic literature before, during and after the time of Christ is filled with parables which built imaginative stories around real historical characters. There are multiple examples in the Talmud and Midrash of parables in which Abraham had dialogues with people such as Nimrod, with whom he could never have spoken literally. Everyone understood that these parables and dialogues did not literally take place. It was understood that the rabbis used imaginative stories and dialogues as a teaching method. It was understood by all that these dialogues never took place.
Therefore, it does not bother us in the least to say that Christ used a rabbinic story and dialogue in Luke 16:19-31 which was not "true" or "real" in the sense of being literal. It is obvious that Lazarus did not literally sit in Abraham's literal bosom. The rich man did not have literal lips which literal water could quench.
What is important for us to grasp is that Christ used the mental images conjured up by this rabbinic parable to teach that, in the hereafter, the wicked experience torment and the righteous bliss. This is clear from the rabbinic sources from which he drew this parable.
Since the dialogue between the rich man and Abraham was a teaching tool used by the rabbis before Christ, it is obvious that Christ was not trying to teach that we will talk with the wicked in the hereafter. He was merely using the dialogue method to get across the concept that there is no escape from torment, no second chance, and we must believe the Scriptures in this life unto salvation. p. 84,85

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state of punishment for the souls of the wicked before the judgement day! Let's examine Luke 16:19-31. Fudge says:

Luke 16:19: This, then, is Jesus' stated message. These are the points, raised already in His context, which he illustrates by the parable. The two-fold circumstances after death are a vehicle for the story, and they involve language familiar to Jesus' hearers- language drawn, not from the divine revelation of the Old Testament, but from intertestamental and first-century folklore. Even if that language teaches something of punishment after death, it occurs before the final judgement while others are still living on the earth, even before the gospel becomes a reality and men turn from Moses and the prophets to hear Jesus. There is no clear exegetical basis in Luke 16 for any conclusions concerning the end of the wicked. p. 207-208

TESTIMONY OF THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

In reviewing the writings of the early church Fathers, which are full of references to the existence of departed spirits awaiting a resurrection, as well as clear teachings on eternal punishing, conditionalists have to play word games to try and nullify some of the statements of the Fathers. Let the texts speak for themselves, we say, but Fudge tries to turn them around or cast doubt on the obvious meaning:

When Justin says the wicked will be "endowed with sensation" or that "sensation remains" for the wicked after death, traditionalists understand him to mean that the wicked will forever be conscious of pain and that the "eternal fire" will torment them always.
In chapter 28 Justin is speaking of Satan as he writes: "That he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold." Justin's most "traditionalist" statement appears in chapter 52 of his First Apology. There he describes the second coming of Christ and the events that will then take place.

"He shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His angelic host, when also He shall raise the bodies of all men who have lived, and shall clothe those of the worthy with immortality, and shall send those of the wicked, endued with wicked sensibility, into everlasting fire with the wicked devils... And in what kind of sensation and punishment the wicked are to be hear from what was said in like manner with reference to this it is as follows: "Their worm shall not rest, and their fire shall not be quenched;" and then shall they repent. when it profits them not."

This quotation, traditionalists insist, unquestionably aligns Justin Martyr on their side of this debate. p. 323

Fudge is forced to admit that Polycarp, who was supposed to have been a disciple of the apostle John himself, held the "traditionalist" view. What greater proof does he need? He says:

Polycarp talks of "perpetual torment of eternal fire," which, if "torment" means conscious torment, supports the traditionalist

EARLY FATHERS--Morey quotes from:

First Apology of Justin

"Plato similarly said that Rhadamonthus and Minos would punish the wicked who came before them. We say that this is what will happen, but at the hands of Christ--and to the same bodies reunited with their souls, and destined for eternal punishment, not for a five hundred-year period only, as he said."
"Everyone goes to eternal punishment or salvation in accordance with the character of his actions. If all men knew this, nobody would choose vice even for a little time, knowing that he was on the way to eternal punishment by fire; every man would follow the self-restrained and orderly path of virtue, so as to receive the good things that come from God and avoid his punishments."
"For the prophets foretold two comings of Christ....The second...he will raise the bodies of all men who have ever lived...[and] send those of the wicked, eternally conscious, into eternal fire with the evil demons....The wicked will be punished, still conscious....Their worms shall not rest, and their fire shall not be extinguished. And then they will repent when it will no longer do them any good" (v. 52).

Clement's Second Letter

"Yes, if we do the will of Christ, we shall find rest, but if not, nothing will save us from eternal punishment, if we fail to heed his commands" (6:6,7).
"For the Lord said, I am coming to gather together all people, clans and tongues. This refers to the day of his appearing, when he will come to redeem us, each according to his deeds. And unbelievers will see his glory...and their worms will not die and their fire will not be quenched, and they will be a spectacle to all flesh. He refers to that day of judgment when men will see those who were ungodly among us and who perverted the commands of Jesus Christ...being punished with dreadful torments and undying fire" (17:4-7).

In the above passages, the wicked face future torment by undying fire according to Clement. There is no way to reduce Clement's statement to Universalism or annihilationism. p. 165

We repeat two of Morey's statements:

It is on this point that the annihilationists are greatly inconsistent. First, they disagree among themselves as to what the patristic litenture teaches. One affirms and the other denies that the literature reveals a belief in the immortality of the soul. Second, those who admit that the early fathers believed in a conscious afterlife and etemal punishment attribute such belief solely to the influence of pagan philosophy. They downgrade the importance of church history and emphasize that it is the Bible, and the Bible alone, which should influence our beliefs. On the other hand, there are those who claimed that all the early church fathers believed in annihilationism and soul sleep. They stressed that the early fathers must have received their beliefs from the apostles. Thus, Leroy Froom claims, "The Apostolic Fathers were all conditionalists" (The Conditionalist Faith of our Fathers, Vol. 1, p.803).

The annihilationists are guilty of circular reasoning when they arbitrarily assume that if an author describes the fate of the wicked as "being cast into fire," this automatically means the wicked

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A lady named Biblias warns against the "torments of eternal Gehenna" but does not say whether the torments continue forever or end with the sinner's extinction.
Pusey cites other who speak of "a death unto perpetual ill," "real and perpetual torments," "eternal torments," "eternal death and unuttenble torments without end," "eternal burnings," "real punishment and greater perpetual torments." These expressions all seem to require everlasting conscious punishment.
Still later martyrs clearly express the traditional view. There we find such expressions as "sustain deathless punishment" or "weeping and gnashing of teeth for ever and ever." These statements, which appear at first to be biblical, prove on close investigation not only to lack scriptural precedent but to add to the scriptural language words which contradict its biblical usage. p. 329

Then Fudge attempts to say that the martyrs who were contemporaries of the above, who used the statements "eternal death," "eternal fire" and "eternal punishment" must have meant them in the opposite light. Yet again, we find no actual controversies among these writings, as would be expected if there were sharp differences in opinion. Fudge says:

Mixed among these statements, Pusey also quotes martyrs who speak of "eternal death," "outer darkness and unextinguishable fire," "destroying for eternity," "eternal fire which can destroy body and soul," "the punishment of eternal death," God, who "slayest the soul for ever and ever," "destruction and eternal fire," "that eternal fire which burneth body and soul together," those who are "to be rooted out for ever by the true God," "perpetual destruction," "perpetual death," "perpetual punishment," God, who has "power to cast both thee and thy tyrant into Gehenna," "death and everlasting destruction." These all seem to express the conditionalist viewpoint and describe final, irreversible, eternal death in hell.
Should we interpret "perpetual torment" in light of "perpetual death"-or the other way around? Or is there another solution? Might it not be the case, and the best explanation of Pusey's citations from the martyrs, that there was already a marked difference of opinion concerning the precise destiny of the wicked by the time of these deaths and that each person simply expresses his or her own particular understanding? We know from the literature of the period that such a difference existed. Why may not the martyrs reflect the same differences in details? p. 329,330


pass into nonexistence. Instead of arriving at the text with preconceived definitions, we should try to see how an author uses his terms and if he explains himself in another passage. Even though an author may use such words as "destroy" or "perish," this does not mean that he taught annihilationism. The author may simply be using biblical phrases and words which do not exegetically in Scripture imply annihilationism. p. 57

It is proper, at this point, to reproduce a few statements of the early church Fathers about the soul and eternal punishment, so that you may judge for yourselves:

...and we say that the same thing will be done, but at the hand of Christ, and upon the wicked in the same bodies united again to their spirits which are now to undergo everlasting punishment; and not only, as Plato said, for a period of a thousand years. And if any one say that this is incredible or impossible, this error of ours is one which concems ourselves only, and no other person, so long as you cannot convict us of doing any harm. -The First Apololgy of Justin, Chap. VIII

And hell is a place where those are to be punished who have lived wickedly, and who do not believe that those things which God has taught us by Christ will come to pass. The First Apology of Justin, Chap. XIX

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...while we affimm that the souls of the wicked, being endowed with sensation even after death, are punished, and that those of the good being delivered from punishment spend a blessed existence, we shall seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers. -The First Apology of Justin, Chap. XX

For among us the prince of the wicked spirits is called the serpent, and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And that he would be sent into the fire with his host, and the men who follow him, and would be punished for an endless duration, Christ foretold. -The First Apology of Justin, Chap. XXVIII

Nor can the devils persuade men that there will be no conflagration for the punishment of the wicked; as they were unable to effect that Christ should be hidden after He came....But if they believe that there is nothing after death, but declare that those who die pass into insensibility, then they become our benefactors when they set us free from sufferings and necessities of this life, and prove themselves to be wicked, and inhuman, and bigoted. For they kill us with no intention of delivering us, but cut us off that we may be deprived of life and pleasure. -The First Apology of Justin, Chap. LVII

...the unjust and intemperate shall be punished in eternal fire. -The Second Apology of Justin For The Christians Addressed to the Roman Senate, Chap. I

...assuring him that there shall be punishment in eternal fire inflicted upon those who do not live temperately and conformably to right reason. -The Second Apology of Justin for the Christians Addressed to the Roman Senate. Chap. II

And they, having been shut up in eternal fire, shall suffer their just punishment and penalty. For if they are even now overthrown by men through the name of Jesus Christ, this is an intimation of the punishment in eternal fire which is to be inflicted on themselves and those who serve them. For thus did both all the prophets foretell, and our own teacher Jesus teach. -The Second Apology of Justin for the Christians Addressed to the Roman Senate, Chap. VIII

And that no one may say what is said by those who are deemed philosophers, that our assertions that the wicked are punished in eternal fire are big words and bugbears, and that we wish men to live virtuously through fear, and not because such a life is good and pleasant; I will briefly reply to this, that if this be not so, God does not exist; or, if He exists, He cares not for men, and neither virtue nor vice is anything, and as we said before, lawgivers unjustly punish those who transgress good commandments. -The Second Apology of Justin for the Christians Addressed to the Roman Senate, Chap. IX

"Trypho," says he, "I am called; and I am a Hebrew of the circumcision,....They affirm that the same things shall always happen; and, further, that I and you shall again live in like manner, having become neither better men nor worse. But there are some others, who, having supposed the soul to be immortal and immaterial, believe that though they have committed evil they will not suffer punishment (for that which is immaterial is insensible), and that the soul, in consequence of its immortality, needs nothing from God." -Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho, A Jew, Chap. I

...when some are sent to be punished unceasingly into judgment and condemnation of fire; but others shall exist in freedom from suffering, from corruption, and from grief, and in immortality." -Dialogue of Justin, Philosopher and Martyr with Trypho, A Jew, Chap. XLV

Here Plato seems to me to have learnt from the prophets not only the doctrine of the judgment, but also of the resurrection, which the Greeks refuse to believe. For his saying that the soul is judged along with the body, proves nothing more clearly than that he believed the doctrine of the resurrection. Since how could Ardiaeus and the rest have undergone such punishment in Hades, had they left on earth the body, with its head, hands, feet and skin? For certainly they will never say that the soul has a head and hands, and feet and skin. But Plato, having fallen in with the testimonies of the prophets in Egypt, and having accepted what they teach concerning the resurrection of the body, teaches that the soul is judged in company with the body. -Justin's Hortatory Address To The Greeks, Chap. XXVII

And if those who corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavor to corrupt the Church of Christ, for which the Lord Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, endured the cross, and submitted to death! Whosoever, "being waxen fat," and "become gross," sets at nought his doctrine, shall go into hell. In like manner, every one that has received from God the power of distinguishing, and yet follows an unskillful shepherd, and receives a false opinion for the truth, shall be punished. -Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians, ch. XVI

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How do the conditionalists deal with the testimony of the early Fathers? They claim that their words could be interpreted either way. Fudge says:

E.B. Pusey, the Anglican High-Churchman whose What is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment? defended unending torment against the attacks of his contemporary ecclesiastic, F.W. Farrar, claims the apostolic fathers in support of the traditional doctrine. Yet a careful look at Pusey's evidence shows few statements if any which could not have been as easily made by the staunchest conditionalist. His quotations from Ignatius concern "unquenchable fire" or "eternal fire which is never extinguished," but these terms could simply mean an irresistible fire of the Age to Come which cannot be put out until it has totally destroyed. He quotes Barnabas, 2 Clement and the Pastor of Hermas concerning "grievous torments in unquenchable fire," or "punishment," or "falling into the fire and burning," but these statements all may be reconciled with annihilation so long as it is preceded by a period of conscious suffering. He even appeals to such expressions as "death," "eternal death," "condemned to death," "utterly perish" and "die for ever"statements which but for the most delicate handling and careful interpreting seem to prove the exact opposite of the point he wishes to make. p. 315

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Eternal Punishment

The key argument used by conditionalists with regard to eternal punishment is the word punishment itself. An eternal punishing is denied, as it is viewed as a one-time act with eternal Consequences. Fudge says:

At the same time, the life and the punishment of this passage (Matt. 25:46) are never to end. They are "eternal" in the sense of everlasting. But we need to note, as in the five cases above, that "punishment" is an act or process. In each case so far, and indisputably in the first four, the act or process happens in a fixed period of time but is followed by a result that lasts forever. In keeping with that scriptural usage, we suggest that the "punishment" here includes whatever penal suffering God justly issues to each person but consists primarily of the total abolition and extinction of the person forever. The punishing continues until the process is completed, and then it stops. But the punishment which results will remain forever. p.48

...Jesus teaches an end-time judgement which divides men into two categories and sentences them to corresponding but opposite dooms. In this apocalyptic picture the wicked are banished into pre-existent, eschatological fire prepared for the satanic angels. There they will eventually be destroyed forever, both body and soul, as the divine penalty for sin. Other passages imply a period of conscious pain involving body and soul, but the "eternal punishment" itself is the capital execution, the everlasting loss of the eternal life of joy and blessing in company with God and the redeemed. Jude but repeats the Master's thought here when he gives Sodom and Gomorrah as the prototype of those "who suffer the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 7), as does Peter in saying that God "made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly" by "burning them to ashes" (2 Peter 2:6). p. 202

Fudge discusses Revelation 14:9-11:

The victims in Revelation 14:9-11 suffer in the presence of the angels and the Lamb. Mounce refers to some intertestamental passages in which the righteous watch the wicked's torment with some delight, but he notes that in Revelation "there is no suggestion that the suffering of the damned takes place in the presence of martyred believers who now rejoice to see their oppressors burning in hell." The Old Testament often speaks of the righteous beholding the evidence of the wicked's destruction, but it does not have them gloating over their actual pain either. God sees the whole process, however, and here the angels do as well. Actual torment is meted out according to the mixture of God's cup. Then, as the next image points out, it is forever memorialized in the smoke which remains.

RISING SMOKE. By now we are seeing that the figures often overlap and that a number of Old Testament passages which mention one also mention others. Just as Sodom presents the figure of burning sulfur, so it contributed the imagery of rising smoke. When Abraham went out the next morning to look on the scene, all he saw was "dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace" (Gen. 19:28). Nothing else remained. All was silent.

Morey: (repeat)

We fail to see how the annihilationists are correct in their attempt to make "judgment" into a verb, i.e., a word of action. It is a noun, not a verb. Yet, this is exactly how annihilationists argue. They begin their argument by defining "judgment" as "a word of action." They ridicule the idea of an eternal act or process of judging. They then state that the results of judging are eternal but not the process.
What these annihilationists fail to recognize is that the word "judgment" is in its noun form which means that an endlessly binding verdict is being described. Also, the endlessness of this verdict is part of the superiority of the new covenant.
The annihilationists also refer to Heb. 9:12, "eternal redemption." Once again they erroneously define "redemption" as a verb and not as a noun. The author of Hebrews is contrasting the defective temporal ceremonial redemption of the old covenant (9:1-10) to the perfect, permanent redemp tion of the new covenant (9:11-28). Whereas some of the people "redeemed" under Moses ultimately perished through unbelief (Heb. 3:16-l9), those who believe in Christ remain redeemed forever. While old covenant redemption was temporal and had an end (10:14), new covenant redemption is endless in duration (9:12).

We must also point out that the annihilationists are in error when they put forth these and other like passages as if they were describing the final order of things after the resurrection. They attempt to connect "eternal redemption" with "eternal punishment" in order to argue that the punishment of the eternal state will be endless in result and not in process.
Their fundamental error is the same as when they argue from "everlasting mountains" to prove that "eternal punishment" is not eternal. They have taken aion and aionios out of their respective biblical and temporal contexts and connected passages which contextually referred to different ages.
When discussing passages where aion and aionios describe the final state after the resurrection, it is illegitimate, hermeneutically speaking, to bring up passages which deal with things in this present age. p. 132,133

Morey on Rev. ch. 14:

Revelation 14:10,11

First, the word "torment," as we have already seen, clearly refers to painful torture. There is no way to make basanizw mean annihilation. No conditional immortalist even tries to do this, because the meaning of this Greek word is too obvious.
In verse l0, the ungodly "will be tormented with fire and brimstone [sulfuric fire]." This is clearly the terminology for eternal torment used in Jewish apocalyptic literature. And we emphasize that "sulfuric fire" in this text does not annihilate the wicked but torments them. This reveals at once the falsity of the annihilationists' argument that "fire and brimstone" always refer to burning something into nonexistence.

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The blanket of smoke spoke more eloquently than words of an annihilated city and an ungodly population who would never be seen on earth again.

Conditionalist writers can point out that the same word translated "torment" here is applied elsewhere (in verb form) to the tossing of an inanimate boat. Traditionalists can respond that it also describes the rich man's conscious suffering in fire in Jesus' Story of the Six Brothers (Luke 16:23, 28) or the excruciating pain of a scorpion's sting (Rev. 9:5). We fully agree with Mounce that what the angel "has proclaimed so vividly must not be undermined by euphemistic redefinition." One refrains from doing that by letting the Scripture interpret itself, which is all we are asking here.
Perhaps John's later vision of the fall of Babylon best focuses on the real point at issue (Rev. 18). A voice from heaven calls on God to balance the wicked city's glory and luxury with equal measure of "torture" and grief (v. 7). This is our same word, and it clearly calls for conscious suffering. But when God answers this prayer with plagues of death, mourning and famine, He then destroys the city with a consuming fire (v. 8). Merchants and kings bewail the "torment" they see, but all they behold is the rising smoke of a destruction now completed (vv. 10,18). The scene reminds us of Abraham looking out over the site of what had been Sodom, seeing nothing now but rising smoke. The conscious torment is past; the reality of its destruction continues; the smoke is its silent but powerful witness (cf. Rev. 19:3).
No Rest Day or Night. We may describe an action or event several ways with reference to time. We might talk of a kind of time. Paul worked and prayed "night and day" (1 Thess. 2:9; 3:10), but he did neither nonstop. Sometimes he prayed at nighttime, sometimes at daytime the same may be said for his working. The Greek expresses this kind-of-time by the genitive case form. Or we might speak of a point of time. Peter would deny Jesus in a particular night (Mark 14:30). The Greek expresses point-of-time by the locative case. Or one might speak of a duration of time. Jesus spoke of the seed which sprouts and grows "night and day" (Mark 4:27). All day the seed is growing; all night it is growing too. The Greek expresses this duration-of-time by the accusative case.
John here writes that these wicked people have no rest "day or night" in the genitive case, speaking of kind-of-time. They are not guaranteed rest during the day and there is no certain hope that relief will come at night. This does not say within itself that the suffering lasts all day and all night (although that may be true), but that in neither case are they immune to it. John uses the same genitival "day and night" to describe the living creatures praising (Rev. 4:8), the martyrs serving (Rev. 7:15), Satan accusing (Rev. 12:10), and the unholy trinity being tormented (Rev. 20:10). In each case the thought is the same: the action described is not by nature a daytime action, nor is it a nighttime action. It happens either and both. Guillebaud is therefore correct when he writes that these words "certainly say that there will be no break or intermission in the suffering of the followers of the Beast, while it continues; but in themselves they do not say that it will continue for ever." The first three figures in the passage all either indicate or are agreeable to the idea that the suffering finally ends in total extinction and desolation.

Second, the wicked "will be tormented by sulfuric fire in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." This scene echoes passages in the apocalyptic literature, such as Enoch 27:2, 3; 48:9, etc. Joseph Meyer points out:

"They suffer this their pain before the eyes of
the holy angels, and of the Lamb...on this account,
to render it the more bitter"

Third, having described the nature and context of the punishment inflicted upon the wicked, John now speaks of its duration. The words and phrases he uses are so strong and emphatic that such commentators as A.T. Robertson, Alford, Lenski, Lange, Hendriksen, Swete, Hengstenberg, etc., point out that eternal torment is the only grammatical interpretation possible.
Since the metaphor of sulfuric fire is used to express the idea of eternal torment, in verse ll, John uses the metaphor of eternally arising smoke to build the mental image of the eternal process of torment. He uses the same metaphor in 19:3, where the "smoke," i.e., torment, goes on "forever and ever."
Since the torment is "forever and ever" and the metaphor of fire is used to symbolize it, then the smoke from this fire is said to ascend "forever and ever." The eternity of the literal torment is symbolized by the metaphor of eternally ascending smoke in 14:11 and 19:3.
The annihilationists try to view the fire and smoke as literal. As soon as the fire and smoke consumes the wicked, the smoke ceases. Thus they ignore the fact that the fire and smoke in 14:11 and 19:3 are merely metaphors for eternal punishment. The metaphors of fire and smoke are both called "eternal" because the punishment which they symbolize is etemal in duration. It would make no grammatical sense whatsoever to use such metaphors if the punishment is not endless in duration.
Also, their assumption that the fire and the smoke are literal leads them to ridicule the idea of eternal fire and smoke as if the orthodox position required such literalization. But these are clearly figures of speech which symbolize the reality of conscious torment.
John uses two phrases to describe the duration of the torment.
First, he says that it will endure "forever and ever." Lenski strongly points out that the phrase "for the eons of the eons" clearly means eternal torment.

"The strongest expression for our 'forever' is eis tous aionan ton aionon, 'for the eons of eons;' many eons, each of vast duration, are multiplied by many more, which we imitate by 'forever and ever.' Human language is able to use only temporal terms to express what is altogether beyond time and timeless. The Greek takes its greatest terms for time, the eon, pluralizes this, and then multiplies it by its own plural, even using articles which make these eons the definite ones."

Since the phrase "forever and ever" elsewhere always means absolute eternity, there is no honest way to escape this meaning in Rev. 14:11 and l9:3.

By every rule of hermeneutics and exegesis, the only legitimate interpretation of Rev. 14:10, II is the one that clearly sees eternal, conscious torment awaiting the wicked. p.142-144

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as a storm of burning sulfur. That figure, too, takes us back to Sodom. There and elsewhere it results in a silent wasteland devoid of inhabitant. Scripture uses the third figure of rising smoke a number of times as well, where it indicates a continuing reminder of God's just judgement. Those so destroyed have no guarantee of relief, whether daytime or nighttime, so long as their suffering lasts.
Not all commentators understand this passage as even referring to the final end of the wicked. If it does, its figures must still be interpreted in the light of the Old Testament. To be sure, the New Testament may add its own new light or meaning, but such redefinition ought to be clearly justified by the text itself. It is not sufficient to take the figures out of their biblical context and explain them in the light of later dogmatic developments. p. 298-301

Regarding eternal punishment, Fudge makes the following statements ahout Luke 16:19-31:

LUKE 16:19-31
Once, as ksus taught on stewardship and covetousness, the Pharisees sneered at his word. Jesus replied with an assortment of remarks, culminating in this parable. A close comparison of the parable to its immediate context reveals so many parallels that one marvels at the intricate connection. Yet many advocates of eternal conscious torment write as though the story had no context at all, as if its primary point is one found nowhere in the context. Buis says, for example, "This parable so clearly teaches the orthodox doctrine of eternal punishment that the opponents of the doctrine are hard pressed to know what to do with it."
The plot of the parable, the reversal of earthly fortunes after death, was familiar in popular Palestinian stories of Jesus' time. Hugo Gressmann cites a Greek parallel from a first-century Egyptian papyrus, and he says there are at least seven versions of the story in Jewish literature. One of the most famous involved a poor student of the Law and a rich publican named Bar Ma'jan. There are differences between these stories and Jesus', of course, and therein lies the Lord's uniqueness. But the basic plot was well-known folklore.
Froom cites a discourse of Josephus concerning Hades which paints almost precisely the same picture found in Luke. He concludes that "Jesus was clearly using a then-common tradition of the Jews to press home a moral lesson in a related field. Although the Whiston edition of Josephus offers a lengthy defense of the treatise's authenticity on internal and external grounds, most scholars today regard it as spurious, as conditionalists Edward White and Henry Constable both note.
Traditionalists generally begin their interpretation of the parable with the word "Hades," which they ordinarily regard as the place of punishment entered by the lost at death, to be changed at the last judgement only in intensity and permanence. The understanding became prominent in the High Middle Ages (as we will outline in a later chapter), and it was mediated into Protestantism largely through the influence of John Calvin (see earlier chapters on immortality and the fathers). It puts some stress on the pagan Greek background of "Hades" but fails to appreciate sufficiently the biblical usage of the term in either Old and New Testament. p. 205-204

Morey says regarding Luke 16:19:

The rabbinic literature before, during and after the time of Christ is filled with parables which built imaginative stories around real historical characters. There are multiple examples in the Talmud and Midrash of parables in which Abraham had dialogues with people such as Nimrod, with whom he could never have spoken literally. Everyone understood that these parables and dialogues did not literally take place. It was understood that the rabbis used imaginative stories and dialogues as a teaching method. It was understood by all that these dialogues never took place.
Therefore, it does not bother us in the least to say that Christ used a rabbinic story and dialogue in Luke 16:19-31 which was not "true" or "real" in the sense of being literal. It is obvious that Lazarus did not literally sit in Abraham's literal bosom. The rich man did not have literal lips which literal water could quench.
What is important for us to grasp is that Christ used the mental images conjured up by this rabbinic parable to teach that, in the hereafter, the wicked experience torment and the righteous bliss. This is clear from the rabbinic sources from which he drew this parable.
Since the dialogue between the rich man and Abraham was a teaching tool used by the rabbis before Christ, it is obvious that Christ was not trying to teach that we will talk with the wicked in the hereafter. He was merely using the dialogue method to get across the concept that there is no escape from torment, no second chance, and we must believe the Scriptures in this life unto salvation. p. 84,85

Morey offers a study on critical words:

For the most part, the authors of the Apocrypha simply utilized biblical terms such as "perish" or "destroy" when they described the fate of the wicked. Since these words do not mean annihilation in Scripture, the rather simplistic approach of Froom, Fudge and others who put forth passages which speak of the wicked "perishing" as absolute proof that this literature teaches conditionalism cannot be viewed as having any merit whatsoever. Also, the annihilationists put forth passages which describe the death of the wicked in this life as if these passages describe the final judgment. In this way the annihilationists assemble a multitude of texts which in reality are either taken out of context or based on the false assumption that such words as "perish" automatically and necessarily always mean annihilation. p. 119- 120

For example, in the Old Testament, the word ahvad is the word which is usually translated as "destroy." In Num. 21:29, the people of Chemosh were "undone" ("destroyed" in NIV). In the context, the meaning of ahvad is that the people were conquered and sold into slavery. They were not annihilated but enslaved. In 1 Sa. 9:3, 20, Saul's asses were ahvad, i.e., lost. These asses were not annihilated, but lost. In Psalms 31:12, an ahvadvessel is merely broken, not annihilated. In Hab. 1:15, the word Gah rar means to catch something in a net, not to annihilate it. Dah chah in Isa. 53:10 is translated, " It pleased the Lord to bruise him.".

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Luke 16:19:
Context. The parable's interpretation must include its context. And nothing in the context remotely suggests the final state of the wicked, though Jesus does clearly intend to teach several other lessons. p. 206

Luke 16:19:
This, then, is Jesus' stated message. These are the points, raised already in His context, which he illustrates by the parable. The two-fold circumstances after death are a vehicle for the story, and they involve language familiar to Jesus' hearers- language drawn, not from the divine revelation of the Old Testament, but from intertestamental and first-century folklore. Even if that language teaches something of punishment after death, it occurs before the final judgement while others are still living on the earth, even before the gospel becomes a reality and men turn from Moses and the prophets to hear Jesus. There is no clear exegetical basis in Luke 16 for any conclusions concerning the end of the wicked. p. 207-208

Fudge speaks about the words "perish," "destroy" & "consume":

We grant to traditionalists the fact that words like "perish," "destroy," "die" and "corrupt" all have metaphorical usages at times. We point out however, that figurative meanings are possible only because of primary meanings. We also remember the accepted principle of interpretation which calls for primary meanings of words in straightforward, nonallegorical prose unless there is some reason to regard the language otherwise. Scripture never indicates that it intends less by these words than their ordinary meanings would suggest when it applies them to the final state of the wicked. p. 429

Conditionalists interpret the fathers and the Bible quite literally, taking both at what seems to be face value. Traditionalists believe that both Scripture and these early authors use words in a figurative and secondary way, so that "perish," "die" and "destroy" actually signify endless conscious suffering rather than extinction or annihilation. D. 361

In light of the way Jesus and Peter use this event to describe the earth's final destruction by fire, we need to consider these things carefully and with much thought. God could have inspired hundreds of pages of philosophical discussion about the exact meaning of "destroy" and "perish" and whether they signified "annihilation" or merely "making inactive." Instead, He points back to what He has already done once, and He warns that it is an example of what the wicked may expect again. We will not press the point beyond that, but surely we can say no less. p. 99

Here it refers to Christ's sufferings, not to nonexistence. In Hosea 4:6, God's people are "destroyed" for lack of knowledge. In the context, this cannot mean that they were nonexistent. The same can be pointed out in the case of hoom (Ps. 55:2) and ghah ram (Josh. 6:8; Mic. 4:13).

In the Greek, apollumi is used to describe ruined wineskins, lost sheep, and spoiled food (Matt. 9:17; 15:24; John 6:27). Apolia in Mark 14:4 refers to wasted perfume. Diapthero refers to moth-eaten cloth in Luke 12:33 katheiresis to the pulling down of a fortress (2 Cor. 10:4) kataluo refers to lodging for the night (Luke 9:12) kataryco to a fig tree which "encumbered the ground" (Luke 13:7); luo refers to putting off one's shoes (Acts 7:33); portheo refers to persecuting the church in Gal. 1:13; phthiro refers to defiling the temple of God in 1 Cor. 3:17.
The assumption that the words "destroy" and "destruction" automatically mean annihilation is not good English, much less good Hebrew or Greek. We can think of someone being "destroyed" or "wiped out" in an emotional sense without implying that the person has ceased to exist.
2. "Perish" or "perished." In various forms the word "perish" appears 152 times in the KJV.
In the Old Testament, there are 11 Hebrew words which are translated as "perish." The main word ahvad is the same word which is frequently translated as "destroy." We have already seen that it is erroneous to assume that ahvad means annihilation. Sha mad is found in Jer. 48:42 where Moab is said to be destroyed in the sense of the people being enslaved, not annihilated. Shah rhath is used of ruined girdles and vessels in Jer. 13:7; 18:4; kah rath is used of cutting a covenant or cutting timber to build the temple in Gen. 15:18; 1 Kings 5:6; eah vag. nah phal, and gah var are used to describe a miserable emotional state (Ps. 42:7; 55:4, 88:15,16).
In the New Testament, there are ten different Greek words which are translated "perish." Some of these words such as apollumi were also translated as destroy and do not mean annihilation. Apothneesko is used in John 12:24 to describe the grain of wheat which when planted "dies" and then sprouts. Obviously, it cannot mean annihilation. Aphanrzo refers to things which moths and rust can "corrupt" (Matt. 6:19,20). Kataphthiro is used to describe "corrupt" minds in 2 Tim. 3:8 (KJV).
Even in English we speak of fruit as "perishable" in the sense that it can spoil. Burned out light bulbs have "perished." In neither case is annihilation intended.
3. "Consume" or "consumed." Forms of these words appear in the KJV 162 times. In the Old Testament, 20 different Hebrew words are translated as "consume." The usual word, ah chal is also used in Ps. 78:45 where the psalmist says that the flies "devoured" or consumed the Egyptians. The psalmist surely means that the flies tormented them, not annihilated them. Jeremiah used another word, bah lah, in Lam. 3:4, saying that his flesh and skin were "made old," or consumed, i.e., he was consumed with grief, not annihilated. Kah lah is used in Ezek. 13:13 where hailstones "consumed" a wall, i.e., knocked it down, not annihilated it. Dah gach is the normal word for putting out a fire. When we "put out a candle," we do not annihilate the candle.

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Even in English we speak of people being consumed with "grief, greed or lust," yet we do not mean that the person has ceased to exist.
We have demonstrated that the annihilationists are in error when they arbitrarily assume and then assert that such words as "perish" necessarily mean annihilation. Once this point is granted, one is no longer impressed by such works as Froom where hundreds of quotes from biblical and extra-biblical literature are given to prove conditionalism simply upon the erroneous assumption that the mere presence of such words in the text means that the authors believed in annihilationism. p. 108-111

A PROGRESSIVE REVEALING OF ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

That the Epistles would further develop what happens to the soul after death and go beyond the gospel material is also expected. The apostles were conscious of the fact that their understanding was clouded during their sojourn with Christ (John 12:16). It was only after Pentecost and the final revelations given to the apostles that they could, at least, speak of death and the afterlife with clarity. lt was only after the last pieces of the cosmic puzzle of revelation were given that they could see the whole picture.
Before Christ's ascension, believers as well as unbelievers were said to enter Sheol or Hades. After Christ's resurrection, the New Testament pictures believers after death as entering heaven to be with Christ (Phil. 1:23) which is far better than Hades. They are present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:68), worshipping with the angelic hosts of heaven (Heb.12:22,23) at the altar of God (Rev. 6:9-11). Thus believers do not now enter Hades but ascend immediately to the throne of God.
In the New Testament, there is, therefore, a development of understanding which took place after Christ's resurrection. Before Jesus was raised from the dead, the apostles assumed that everyone went to Sheol or Hades. This Hades had two sections, one for the righteous and one for the wicked. But Christ's resurrection changed this picture. Thus Paul uses the language of transition when he speaks of Christ taking the righteous out of Hades and bringing them into heaven (Eph. 4:8,9).
That Christ went to Hades, i.e., the world beyond death, is clear from Acts 2:31. While in Hades, Peter pictures Christ as proclaiming to "the spirits now in prison" the completion of his atonement (1 Peter 3:18-22). Whereas "paradise" in the gospel account (Luke 23:43) referred to the section of Hades reserved for the righteous, by the time Paul wrote 2 Cor. 12:24, it was assumed that paradise had been taken out of Hades and was now placed in the third heaven.
According to the post-resurrection teaching in the New Testament, the believer now goes to heaven at death to await the coming resurrection and the eternal state. But, what of the wicked? The wicked at death descend into Hades which is a place of temporary torment while they await the coming resurrection and their eternal punishment.
First, it is clear that the souls of the wicked are in torment during the intermediate state in Hades. The apostle Peter stated this in language which could not be clearer "Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgement. (2 Pet. 2:9)
First, Peter says that the wicked are "kept" unto the day of judgement. This word is in the present, active, infinitive form, which means that the wicked are being held captive continuously. If the wicked merely pass into nonexistence at death, there would be nothing left to be "kept" unto the day of judgement.

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Obviously, Peter is grammatically picturing the wicked as being guarded like prisoners in a jail until the day of final judgement.
Second, Peter says that the wicked are "being tormented." This word is in the present, passive, participle form and means that the wicked are continuously being tormented as an ongoing activity.
If Peter wanted to teach that the wicked receive their full punishment at death by passing into nonexistence, then he would have used the aorist tense. Instead, he uses those Greek tenses which were the only ones available to him in the Greek language to express conscious, continuous torment. The grammar of the text irrefutably establishes that the wicked are in torment while they await their final day of judgement.
When the day of judgement arrives, Hades will be emptied of its inhabitants, and the wicked will stand before God for their final sentence (Rev. 20:1315). Thus, we conclude that Hades is the temporary intermediate state between death and the resurrection where the wicked are in conscious torment. Hades will be emptied at the resurrection, and then the wicked will be cast into "hell" (Gehenna). p. 85-87

One need only look around himself to see all the pain and suffering which results from man's sin and God's punishment of this sin. To pretend that such suffering does not exist or that it is not ultimately related to man's sin and God's judgment is impossible. And we must hasten to add that any objection based on a supposed conflict between the character of God and eternal suffering is doomed to failure, because there is no conflict between God's character and suffering in this present life. As a matter of fact, the Scriptures indicate that God begins the process of punishing sinners with sufferings in this life, and He continues to punish them in the intermediate state (2 Pet. 2:9) and warns of eternal punishment in the final state (Matt. 25:46). p. 111,112

(repeat)
In 2 Peter 2:9, the condition of the ungodly between death and resurrection is described in virtually the same terms as Peter used in verse 4 to describe the condition of the angels in tartarus.
The ungodly are kept for the day of judgment while being consciously tormented. The punishment is not future but a present experience of the ungodly while they await their final sentence.
This has been pointed out, by such commentators as Alford, A.T. Robertson, and Vincent, as the only grammatical interpretation possible. The classic Lutheran commentator, R.H. Lenski, states that the ungodly are held for Judgment day while they are being punished. [Tereinl markedly repeats the [Teroumenos] used in v. 4 and refers to keeping them in hell as the added participle shows: "while being punished" ("under punishment," RV.; not final; "to be punished" A.V.).

Peter is obviously drawing a parallel between the torment of angels and the torment of sinners as they await the day of judgment.

Having already mentioned the murky darkness of tartarus in 2:4, Peter in 2:17 speaks of the unrighteous as sharing in the same fate as the angels. Thus he speaks of "the darkness" which had already been mentioned in 2:4.

"These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom black darkness has been reserved."

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What is important for us to note is that the wicked will be cast into "the murky netherworld of deep darkness." They are pictured as dwelling in murky tartarus where their lot is torment. p. 138,139

The question naturally arises as to why Jude and Peter both discuss the intermediate and future punishment of angels. The angels are introduced as an illustration of why and how the ungodly will be punished. Thus Jude speaks of the condemnation of false prophets in verse 4 and then illustrates their fate by referring to examples of divine judgment such as the generation of Moses that perished in the wilderness (v. 5), the punishment of angels (v. 6), Sodom and Gomorrah (w. 7, 8), and Cain and Balaam (v. ll).
It is in this sense that the sulfuric fire which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them is a type or sign of the future fiery punishment which awaits the wicked. Since the future punishment had been described as torment by "eternal fire" in Jewish apocalyptic literature, Jude speaks of "eternal fire."
The annihilationists have traditionally stated that this text says that these cities were destroyed by "the punishment of eternal fire" in order to prove (sic) that aion only means "unending in result and not in process." Since the fire which destroyed these cities is now extinguished, it cannot literally be "eternal fire." Thus, the annihilationists with glee have always pointed to this passage that "eternal fire" need not be eternal.
The problem with their interpretation is that the Greek text does not say the cities suffered "the punishment of etemal fire." Lenski comments:

These cities lie before [the eyes] as a deigma, "indication or sign"..., that points like a finger to "eternal fire." The participle states how they lie before men's eyes to this day, namely "in undergoing justice" (dike). Our versions and others combine in the wrong way. The Cities of the Plain are not "suffering the punishment of eternal fire." What lies before us at the Dead Sea is "a sign of eternal fire." Fire and brimstone made the place what it is, a sign, indeed, of the eternal fire of hell, a warning for all time. So writes Jude.

The Greek in verse 7 literally says, "a sign of fire eternal." Lenski's comment is thus confirmed by the Greek grammar of the text itsel. The annihilationists are grammatically incorrect when they make "eternal fire" modify diken (punishment) instead of deigma (sign).
Beck translates verse 7 as:

Just like Sodom and Gomorrah and the towns around them, who for sexual sins and unnatural vice have suffered punishment and lie before us as a warning of everlasting fire.
Weymouth and Moffatt also view "eternal fire" as modifying deigma and not diken: "an example of eternal fire" (Weymouth); "a warning of the everlasting fire" (Moffatt).

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This passage emphasizes the absolute necessity of a grammatical exegesis of Scripture in the original text. The annihilationists depend solely upon the authorized version, and because of this they are led astray in a proper interpretation of this passage. p. 140,141

Matthew 8:11,12

The phrase "the outer darkness" was a rabbinic expression which referred to Gehenna where the wicked would be "weeping and gnashing their teeth" because of their pain and torment. The definite article is used to refer to "the outer darkness" i.e., Gehenna.
Notice that the rabbinic phrase "weeping and gnashing of teeth" cannot be interpreted in any other way than to say that the lost will suffer excruciating pain and torment. This passage cannot be reduced to annihilation p. 151,152

The most basic faulty assumption made by Froom and other annihilationists is that "eternal life" means "eternal physical existence or immortality." Thus whenever Froom found a text where a church father said that the saints would receive "eternal life" at the resurrection, Froom placed that father on the side of the conditionalists.
As we have already demonstrated, "eternal life" refers to the eternal well-being which the saints receive at regeneration and fully experience in the eternal state. Since "ill-being" is the opposite of "well-being" and not non-being", the opposite of "eternal well-being or life" is "eternal ill-being or misery."

In this light, Froom's massive work must be deemed historically unreliable as well as exegetically erroneous. p. 164

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Gehenna

Gehenna is a word that does not appear in the Old Testament, and can only have been borrowed from the intertestamental period, wherein the Valley of Hinnom became symbolic of a greater terror to come. Fudge admits:

Between the Testaments a tendency arose in Jewish literature to relate visions of last things to names and persons from the Old Testament. Armageddon, Jerusalem and the Garden of Eden all became stylized descriptions of things to come. So did the Valley of Hinnom-gehenna. The thought of Gehenna as a place of eschatological punishment appears in intertestamental literature shortly before 100 B.C., though the actual place is unnamed. It becomes "this accursed valley" (l En. 27:2, 3), the "station of vengeance" and "future torment" (2 Bar. 59:10, ll), the "pit of destruction" (Pirke Aboth 5:19), the "furnace of Gehenna" and "pit of torment" (4 Esd. 7:36). p. 161

-Matthew 5:22
This is the Savior's first specific reference to Gehenna, by now a technical term in Jewish sources for the fiery pit in which the godless will meet their final doom. "Entrance into hell indicates spiritual ruin in the starkest terms," writes William L. Lane. The word would mean nothing to Gentiles-it appears only once in the New Testament outside the Gospels, and that is in the very "Jewish" book of James. It does not appear in pagan Greek literature or even the Septuagint, nor does Josephus mention it any where. But to Jesus' hearers gehenna had a long history, and it was all bad. p. 159,160

Fudge also admits that the rabbis had defined Gehenna. Though differing on certain aspects of Gehenna, they were consistent in teaching (1) the continued existence of the soul after death, and (2) eternal punishment; at least for some:

The Babylonian Talmud had the worst Jewish sinners sentenced to Gehenna for 12 months. Then "their bodies are destroyed, their souls are burned, and the wind strews the ashes under the feet of the pious." All who enter Gehenna come out, with three exceptions: those who committed adultery or shamed their neighbors or vilified them. In the end, God would take the sun from its case, and it would heal the pious and punish the sinners. There would be no Gehenna in the future world. #
Some rabbis were sympathetic; others were harsh. One can find quotes of torment by snow, smoke, thirst and rebellious animals. Others speak of the righteous observing the torments of the damned, "tossing in their pain like the pieces of boiling meat in a cauldron." Still others, more benevolent, said light flooded even Gehenna each Sabbath, and the wicked, too, had a day of rest.
On the duration of the punishment, the rabbis contradicted each other. Some believed that the pain would continue forever with or without Gehenna, while others ended punishment with the last judgement. Whether this last view allowed a future life for the wicked or looked for their total annihilation cannot be determined conclusively.

# "Ge-hinnom," The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 5, cols. 581-583

p. 163

Morey talks about Gehenna: CHRIST AND GEHENNA

To think that Christ was ignorant of what Gehenna meant to the common people of His day or to assume that He was mistaken in using the rabbinic descriptions of Gehenna is to do great injustice to Him who was the greatest teacher who ever lived. Indeed, the mere fact that Christ utilized the rabbinic language connected with Gehenna, such as "unquenchable fire" and "never- dying worms," demonstrates beyond all doubt to any reasonable person that he deliberately used the word Gehenna to impress upon his hearers that eternal punishment awaits the wicked after the resurrection. No other conclusion is possible.
The teaching of Christ concerning Gehenna is as follows:
First, Gehenna is the place of judgement (Matt. 23:33). He even used the rabbinic expression, "the judgement of Gehenna" (Bab. Tal. ER126).
Second, Gehenna is always placed at the end of the world after the resurrection (Matt. 5:22; 23:33). This was expounded by John in Rev. 20:1-15. This was also the rabbinic position (Mid. Gen. 159).
Third, Gehenna is the place where the body as well as the soul is punished (Matt. 5:22; 10:28; Mark 9:43-48). The rabbis saw that the resurrection of the wicked was necessary in order for them to receive their full punishment in the body (Mid. Gen. 159; 211n4).
Fourth, Gehenna was the place of conscious torment. When Christ used the phrases "unquenchable fire" and "never-dying worms" (Mark 9:47,48, author's paraphrase), He was utilizing biblical (Isa 66:24), apocryphal (Judith XVI:17), and talmudic (Mid. Gen. 214) images which all meant conscious suffering.
The annihilationists have a counter argument at this point. They point out that, literally speaking, while the worms and the fire in a city dump may destroy a dead carcass, it cannot be said that the dead carcass feels any torment. Therefore, they conclude that Christ's language must be interpreted to mean that the wicked will be annihilated, not tormented.
The problem with this interpretation is that it fails to take into account that when Christ spoke of Gehenna in such terms as "worms and fire," He was clearly using rabbinic phraseology. Thus, it is more crucial to discover how these words were understood in rabbinic literature than by pointing to modern city dumps. The intertestamental literature is clear that the Jews believed that the departed could feel what was happening to their dead body. Indeed, when the worms start gnawing on the body, "the worms are as painful to the dead as a needle in the flesh of the living" (Bab. Tal. Shah. 777,778).
Since the "gnawing worms" clearly meant conscious torment in rabbinic thought, the annihilationist's argument is invalid due to their ignorance of the meaning of such rabbinic terminology. That Judith XVI:17 also teaches conscious torment is clear.
Fifth, the wicked are cast into Gehenna and will remain there for all eternity (Matt. 5:29,30). In Gehenna, the wicked are "destroyed" (Matt. 10:28). That the word "destroyed" (apollumi) does not mean "to annihilate" or "to pass into nonexistence" is clear from the rabbinic meaning of the word, the lexicographical significance of the word, and the way the word is used in the New Testament.
Thaver's Greek-English Lexicon defines apollumi as "to be delivered up to eternal misery" (p.36). Since Thayer himself was a Unitarian who did not believe in eternal punishment, his definition could only be the result of his knowledge of the meaning of his Greek word. There is no lexicographiall evidence for the annihilationist's position that apollumi means "to annihilate" or "to pass into nonexistence." p. 89, 90

Gehenna

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Further comments on the nature of eternal punishment: (added 4/14/05)

...the concept of eternal punishment was an important ingredient in Jewish apocalyptic thinking.  The usual scenario is that on Judgment Day, God or his divine agent would arrive to judge the world and to convict all flesh of the deeds they have done (cf. 1 Enoch 1:9, Jude 14-15). The dead would be resurrected, and all of humanity would be judged and divided into two groups: those rewarded eternally for their piety and good deeds and those punished eternally for their wickedness.  In a number of sources, the blessed are rewarded with the delights of Paradise (which had been preserved in heaven, or specifically third heaven) while the wicked are sent to the tortures of Gehenna.  Paradise is thought to be restored as New Jerusalem, and like the original Jerusalem, Gehenna lies outside its walls (cf. 2 Enoch, which places both Paradise and Gehenna in third heaven).  Such a scenario is hinted at late OT sources such as Daniel and Isaiah 66, in apocalyptic works like 1 Enoch, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra, and in the NT especially in Matthew, Jude, and Revelation.  There are many variations on this idea, such as the concept of a world conflagration that precedes the final judgment (cf. Sibylline Oracles, 2 Peter, Apocalypse of Peter; compare 4 Ezra which expects that the world will return to its primeval state), or that the dead are already separated in their intermediate state (cf. 1 Enoch, Luke).  The concept of the resurrection was very much bound up with this apocalyptic thinking; historically, the hope of a future resurrection was very important to martyred Jews who would not compromise the Law during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (cf. 2 Maccabees), and the hope was that they would be rewarded for their sacrifice and that their oppressors would pay for what they had done.  Anyway, some streams of early Christianity (especially for those who hoped for a future bodily resurrection and those influenced by 1 Enoch such as Jude or the author of Revelation) certainly believed in concept of eternal punishment, while other streams of early Christianity did not emphasize the notion of divine judgment and punishment.

By the way, Luke 16 is not about the eternal punishment that follows Judgment Day, it seems to describe the intermediate state of the dead during the present age.

 

Actually Russell did not invent the rejection of hell and immortality of the soul ; he directly borrowed that from 19th-century adventism.

Edit: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/1enoch.html (only the translation by Laurence works from this site).

from Narkissos and Leolaia at: http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/6/88821/1.ashx

 

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