Thursday, 23 September 2010

Conditional immortality - the hell which ends

I've added a new written article to my website:
Conditional immortality – the hell which ends
Historically, orthodox Bible teachers have taught with an impressive unanimity that hell is a place of unending, conscious punishment. Since the 20th century there has been a major challenge to this teaching amongst evangelicals. What do the teachers of a temporary hell say, and how should we weigh up their arguments?

1 comment:

Ned Kelly said...

Interesting article. The problem I have with Conditionalists and Universalists is that they attempt to anthropomorphise God, superseding God’s view of morality with the human view. The only understanding of God that we can have is what He tells us, and theorizing about the gaps in His revelation is hardly different to scientists trying to find a materialistic answer to the origin of existence. We simply cannot know. I cannot be 100% certain of the nature or duration of Hell, but if it is a place I don’t want to go, the exact conditions are irrelevant. The more I think about it, the more I suspect that Conditionalists and Universalists may be falling under the deception of Satan, little different to Eve in Genesis. Satan says, go ahead, do what you want, don’t take God’s word literally, the punishment won’t be too bad. Unfortunately, it may be much worse than we think, and I think it unwise to encourage people to treat the subject with anything short of absolute terror. I shudder when people minimise the offensiveness of sin to God, and agree that sin’s punishment must be everlasting because sin in the eyes of God is infinitely offensive. The theology of venial and mortal sin was one of the reasons for my leaving the Catholic Church, I simply cannot conceive of any offense against an infinite God being anything other than infinitely offensive. If the concept of venial sin is valid, Jesus would need only have died for our mortal sins, not all of them. Quite frankly, whether they are right or wrong, I think that Conditionalists and Universalists ought to seriously reflect on what damage they may be doing, and whether they are causing people to stumble. Sin is so serious that our Almighty and Infinite God saw the only solution as being to sacrifice His Son on the Cross. That’s as serious as it can get. Any attempt to minimize sin, and the consequences thereof, is in my view very unwise. I hope that anyone who has read The Shack also reads Burning Down the Shack by James De Young.