16 Travis, I Believe in the Second Coming of Jesus, p. 197; see also Stott, Essentials, p. 316f. He is a he was a professor at a turn of eternity Bible college. Traditionalists respond in a number of ways. Neither is this true for Heaven. Blanchard emphasizes the personal pronoun—the smoke is of ‘their’ torment, and thus the suffering must be everlasting. The first was by John Wenham, in The Goodness Of God,5 where, in a chapter dealing with the moral difficulties of believing in hell, he presented conditionalism as a possible option. Even though the Pro never brought these critiques up the round after I made these arguments, I will address these issues nonetheless. The motive behind Fudge’s belief, which must be applauded, is that whatever he finds in Scripture, he will follow. The two main thrusts of the story are the reversal of fortunes and the irreversibility of the two states.15 Traditionalists emphasize the physical aspects to this story. Pawson and Fernando take a similar line, whereas Davies and Blanchard argue that immortality is assumed throughout Scripture (as is the Trinity, of which there are also no explicit statements). Therefore, a “conditionally immortal” soul simply can’t exist unless the Pro can show how and why our most fundamental concept of the soul (beyond whether it’s mortal or immortal) must be changed. 12 J. Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell? Recollection Argument: it’s a common assumption that if I can get into heaven, I will recall details about my past life. More importantly, if we're going to remain consistent with this logic, then lets erase the Christian faith. However, the verb can be in a middle form, and then has the connotation of perishing (e.g. If this is the case, then the soul must carry this knowledge before birth, which gives credence to the idea of a soul before life. Specifically, these translations are refering to aspects of Hell, and therefore describe the concept as opposed to simply refering to Hell as a location. No religion exists within a vacuum. I’d be happy to, if he had in fact written anything down to begin with. Thanks for a good debate. Finally, the Pro is attempting to win this argument on an over-simplified logic fallacy: either Conditional Immortality is biblical, or the Traditional View is biblical. In contrast, conditional immortality has a much shorter history, and the suspicion that this is a ‘new’ idea has caused evangelicals, whichever position they take on the debate, to be hesitant when discussing the matter. This debate either has an Elo score requirement or is to be voted on by a select panel of judges. These relationships need a constant: something that sleeps and wakes requires a body (take away the body and there is no sleeping or waking). It is my belief that traditionalists have often not listened to the arguments themselves. 107–8. Perhaps the Pro would like to offer counter evidence as to why this isn’t a component of the traditional idea of an immortal soul? Hell, in fact, is not incompatible with God’s victory—hell glorifies God’s justice, and all in hell are subject to God, even if they are rebellious. Many ancient Greeks, and many Christian faiths, viewed the soul as something separate from the body, capable of holding knowledge and using the body to experience the material world. Perhaps sin against God requires infinite punishment, because God is an infinite being. Socrates’ arguments survive on the logic I explained in round two. However, most evangelical conditionalists do believe in the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked to judgment, and distance themselves from the materialist connotations of the term ‘annihilation’. Others, convinced that this refers to the final state, then argue that physical pain must be in mind! Obviously, if the Pro wants to defend this idea through biblical references, as he did in round two, that’s his choice. It is now recognized that this word may have both a qualitative and a quantitative aspect—thus ‘the age to come’ is a possible phrase to describe the concept, and this would cohere with some annihilationist apologetic. Annihilationism (Conditional Immortality) Universalism (a minor view, but held by the likes of Origen) Universalism, as espoused today by the likes of Rob Bell, will not be discussed in this particular undertaking. Love can never be hate. If so, is that a point for Con? Thus, the conditionalist may challenge received notions of anthropology, but if Scripture teaches eternal suffering to be the case, then they have not got far in connection with the doctrine of hell. The argument is forceful: where is the love and justice in eternal (i.e. Keep in mind, I demonstrate the second point in round two through my example of the Westminster Confession, which the Pro hasn’t challenged. Most importantly, whether something is biblical or not doesn’t answer the greater challenge the Pro initially set forth for both sides. He argues that, contrary to what the various biblical scholars/theologians I’ve cited argue, Christian beliefs do come directly from the Bible. 30 See D. Carson, How Long O Lord? How can a soul be made in the image of God, be immeasurable yet knowable like all other “not perceivable” things, and yet be destructible? It is often said that this heaven will be eternal both quantitatively and qualitatively, the former referring to duration, the latter referring to the type of eternal existence. Furthermore, recognize that I never claimed that these terms all translated into "Hell". Objections to this interpretation are numerous, and Stott himself attempts to deal with some of them, albeit briefly. 42, 150f. What about the undying worm and unquenching fire of Mark 9:48? While most Christian faiths believe in an immortal soul, most biblical scholars agree that specific references to this idea are absent within the bible, So what gives? Finally, if Conditional Immortality upholds these qualities about the soul, then Socrates’ arguments for an immortal soul generates some complex questions Conditional Immortality needs to account for. Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. by The Bible Thumping Wingnut Network from desktop or your mobile device All of the biblical scholars/theologians are actually right: Christian beliefs, Even if the Pro wants to maintain this distinction between the Bible and Greek influence, let’s examine the Bible itself. The Westminster Press. Can God ever possess the opposite of being all-powerful? Cyclical Argument: Socrates argues that life and death are opposing, yet interconnected like hot-cold, asleep-awake. Take, for example, the concept of Hell. Jesus and his disciples taught again and again in terrible terms that there is an irreversible judgment and punishment of the unrepentant. The second position is more of the mainstream view within Conditional Immortality, as it says that immortality itself is “conditional” upon salvation. The first concerns the biblical texts, and how these should be interpreted. (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1993), pp. Blanchard emphasizes the use of ‘their’ worm, suggesting that the ‘worm’ refers to the sinner’s conscience.12 Fudge acknowledges this position, but argues that this cannot be so, as the imagery from Isaiah refers to a devouring worm that eats what is already dead.13. But, when they sinned, God separated them from the Tree of Life so they would eventually die. First, this isn’t exactly what the argument is saying: the soul survives. Some attempts have been made to trace the history of the doctrine.3, Conditionalism, in its various forms, received the most attention it has ever had during the debates of the nineteenth century, and this is well documented by various scholars. 68–71. Stott assumes that this passage does refer to the interim state, but that an alternative interpretation need not preclude the idea of annihilation subsequent to punishment. With John Stott we ‘plead for frank dialogue among evangelicals on the basis of Scripture’.38 In all this speculative debate, it is perhaps best to end with the wise words of John Wenham: And let it be quite clear that these realities are awful indeed. McMinn; Phillips (2001), Care for the soul: exploring the intersection of psychology & theology, pp. Psalms Interpretation. They were probably Plato's personal views that he put in the mouth of the book version of his teacher.". There are other uses of the term ‘fire’ that could be examined (for example, God as a consuming fire, the use of fire in Jude 7, and the lake of fire in Rev. Without a doubt, one of the key issues thrown up by the whole debate is that of hermeneutics. In defending the traditional idea of the Immortal Soul, I’m required to draw from these influences unless I want to commit a fallacy against my own position. Pawson, turning the argument on its head, believes that the devil and his henchmen are persons—otherwise, how could they be tormented?18 Cotterell then adds that ‘it really will not do to dismiss this statement on the grounds that this is so stated only once’.19, In conclusion to this study of the biblical material, and having attempted to reply to the objections against his position, Stott concludes that, the most natural way to understand the reality behind the imagery is that ultimately all enmity and resistance to God will be destroyed. Annihilationism is to be distinguished from the humanist belief that there is no life after death, and thus all persons cease to exist once life in this world has stopped. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. 198–9. Conditional immortality is the name given to the doctrine that states that human beings are not inherently immortal, but rather have immortality conferred upon them as part of the experience of salvation. The point is, the Pro’s belief that the Bible is the sole influence on Christian beliefs goes against what most Christian faiths currently believe in. Socrates is only arguing for things that are perceptible and not perceptible (you can either observe something or can’t). Lewis, The Problem of Pain (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1940), p. 94. There is no doctrine I would more willingly remove from Christianity than [hell], if it lay in my power … I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully: ‘All will be saved.’1. You don't go to Hell for a few years and then just die. Where exactly did Jesus or God pen their own words within the Bible? Thus, any biblical investigation into this topic requires the examination of a large amount of material. A note of caution must be inserted here—some argue from the physical pains to conclude that this must refer to the final state. The debate between conditionalists and those believing in the traditional model of hell has largely taken place on two levels. Support Preston by going to patreon.com. While most Christian faiths believe in an immortal soul, most biblical scholars agree that specific references to this idea are absent within the bible2.”. It follows, then, that these personifications cannot suffer everlasting torment, as suffering cannot be experienced by symbols. More recently, conditionalism and annihilationism have been given a wider public airing as a result of two important works. The answer: it doesn’t. But when I read those books of the Platonists I was taught by them to seek incorporeal truth, so I saw your 'invisible things, understood by the things that are made’. Thus a traditionalist will argue that inherent immortality exists due to God’s grace, and that God in principle does have the ability to annihilate; yet, because of the way he has fashioned creation, annihilation is not a possible interpretation of hell.2, Conditional immortality and universalism are often viewed as the two main challenges to traditional views about hell. Now then, the Pro seems to recognize this point, and even highlights the fact that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. It is the fundamental feature of the Christian Faith. Since the Con was challenged to strictly defend the traditional idea, I argue that this debate goes beyond the mere biblicalness of Conditional Immortality, given the requirements the Pro set forth in round one. The following is an examination of what is commonly called "conditional immortality" -- that a person's "immortality" is conditioned on receiving eternal life. 32 See Fernando, Crucial Questions About Hell, p. 69. 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