Conversely, Fernando replies that this use in Judith shows that the natural interpretation of fire in the Jewish mind was concerned with pain, not destruction.11 Stott maintains that it is reasonable to assume that although both the worm and the fire are everlasting, the consequence may still be destruction. No religion exists within a vacuum. (Revelation 20:15) This is what the Scripture calls the "second death." Finally, in his side note, the Pro seems dissatisfied that I haven’t cited Socrates directly. It is the fundamental feature of the Christian Faith. In the first death, only the body is destroyed in the graveyard. I will supplement some of this with material from other conditionalists, and then consider the responses made by a number of traditionalists. Pro raises a very important question: where in the Bible does this idea come from? This was in response to the disagreement between Christian beliefs and the biblical vacuum, where I was arguing that the very source of Christian beliefs had Greek influences. 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. retaining the same memories, thoughts, preferences, etc). In the debates, immortality is usually taken to mean the inability of the person to perish. We need to exercise caution in this whole area, as it is all too easy to import contemporary ideas of victory and justice into a situation of which we know very little. Where exactly did Jesus or God pen their own words within the Bible? Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.". However, even if we are prepared to accept the reality of an eschatological dualism, as all evangelicals are, what useful purpose does eternal suffering provide? 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. 14 S. Travis, I Believe in the Second Coming of Jesus (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988), p. 199. 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. Nevertheless, I shall continue on with this debate and attempt to refute some of the arguments posed by Con. They contend that this is what Jesus meant by “unquenchable.” 2 The varying uses of terminology are helpfully explored by Kendall S. Harmon in ‘The Case Against Conditionalism: A Response to Edward William Fudge’, in Nigel M. de S. Cameron (ed. The second concerns more theological arguments, but necessarily feeds off (and informs) the first. Stream Hell Debate | Len Pettis VS Chris Date | "Is Conditional Immortality Biblical?" While most Christian faiths believe in an immortal soul, most biblical scholars agree that specific references to this idea are absent within the bible2. This issue is connected with the third: how can the redeemed in heaven be unaffected by the existence of the wicked in hell? 5:18; 11:32; 1 Cor. 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? God is victorious in that he has wiped out all evil and resistance to his will for ever. First, this isn’t exactly what the argument is saying: the soul survives. There are several difficulties with these arguments, applying both to traditionalists and conditionalists. 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. Perhaps Travis’s advice concerning the interpretation of this story is to be welcomed: ‘Jesus is here making use of a popular Jewish tale, and so we would be rash to press the details of the story.’16. Revelation 14:10 is interpreted by Stott and others to refer to the moment of judgment, rather than to everlasting conscious torment. 6 J. Stott and D. Edwards, Essentials: A Liberal-Evangelical Dialogue (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988); Eryl Davies, An Angry God? Theology is always close to home when we have a vested interest in the subject, and this is even more the case when it comes to the doctrine of hell. Pro: Contrary to the belief of an immortal human soul (a soul that survives past the death of the body), Conditional Immortality argues that immortality can only be achieved through the judgment of the Divine: the one and only being who is truly immortal. Objections to this interpretation are numerous, and Stott himself attempts to deal with some of them, albeit briefly. Here is a clear indication of the difficulty in knowing how this text should be handled and where we should start from in its interpretation. Although justifications may be provided for this apparent problem, it seems that they must be independent of the annihilationist debate. Therefore, any consideration of this argument must look at the biblical grounds for immortality. Form of Life Argument: like other “not perceptible” things, a soul can’t admit to being the opposite of something it naturally is. In the States the attack has been focused on Clark Pinnock, who over recent years has taught conditional immortality, along with other perhaps less traditional doctrines with which some evangelicals do not agree.8 However, others (such as Stott) develop conditionalism without going this extra step, and so conditionalism must never be seen as part of a package of beliefs. 198–9. 15 Note that David Powys has proposed a new interpretation of this material, which he believes was used to attack the Pharisees’ understanding of the post-mortem state. Revisiting Biblical Reference To An Immortal Soul. 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. The work of David Powys34 has attempted to demonstrate that taking the inter-testamental material into consideration can aid our understanding of the NT texts and thus lead to an annihilationist position. 10 See A. Fernando, Crucial Questions About Hell (Eastbourne: Kingsway, 1991), p. 41. The idea that a soul survives death without eternal existence is a far fetched notion that isn't found in the traditional view of the soul, nor Conditional Immortality as far as I'm familiar with. Pro raises a very important question: where in the Bible does this idea come from? Conditionalists acknowledge this, yet resist the doctrine in order to preserve the biblical insistence on human freedom, judgment and division. 93ff. Conditional Immortality (which is also sometimes called annihilationism and conditionalism) is the position that only those who have trusted in Christ will be granted continued, eternal existence in the afterlife. Preston and Chris is diving into the topic of Annihilation or Conditional Immortality. 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. I will be demonstrating this point more in my defense of Christianity’s Greek influence. The first concerns the biblical texts, and how these should be interpreted. Condemnation of universalism has been widespread, and it is a doctrine which has never been accepted by evangelicals. The Pro can’t reconcile this discrepancy under his own logic, but the answer is simple. There are logical properties the soul must have in order to be called a “soul” that Conditional Immorality fails to explain, and that the traditional view accounts for. The doctrine is often, although not always, bound up with the notion of "conditional immortality", a belief that the soul is not innately immortal. I demonstrated how the Pro’s belief that Christian beliefs come solely from the Bible contradicts both contemporary theologian literature, and the reality of mainstream Christian faiths that believe in an immortal soul. It is oftensaid that this heaven will be eternal both quantitatively and qualitatively,the former r… However, universalism’s pedigree extends right back to the early church and Origen’s theory of apokatastasis, the idea that everything, perhaps even the devil, will eventually be restored to God. The last objection that Stott tackles is the declaration in Revelation 20:10 that the wicked ‘will be tormented day and night for ever and ever’. 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. The Greek influences that many modern Christian faiths draw from are important. 2. In part one, Kegan Chandler discussed the history of Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, arguing that the whole idea is post biblical. First, apply my previous argument about the scope of this debate to my defense here: just because it’s not directly stated in the Bible doesn’t automatically discount it as an idea. There is a gift we get from believing the gospel; it is called "everlasting life" (John 3:16). Do all these faiths actually believe in Conditional Immortality? (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 1993), pp. God, who alone is immortal, passes on the gift of immortality to the righteous, who will live forever in heaven or on an idyllic earth or World to Come, while the wicked will ultimately face a second death. Annihilationism, which is usually associated with conditional immortality, states that the wicked will not suffer conscious torment for ever, but that after death and judgment they will be destroyed, ceasing to exist. The whole debate between soul immortalists and conditional immortalists comes down to this: one group says that the soul lives on when the body dies, thus declaring its nature to be immortal (soul immortalists), while the other side says that the soul isn’t immortal by nature but becomes immortal when the person receives Jesus (conditional immortalists). Specifically, these translations are refering to aspects of Hell, and therefore describe the concept as opposed to simply refering to Hell as a location. From this distinction, Socrates argues that through logic, the “genuine and perfect knowledge which is higher than human” according to Clement, a soul must be immortal. Granted, common assumption doesn't make a component necessarily true, however I'm not concerned with the absolute truth of a retained identity, but that it is a component of the traditional idea of an immortal soul. 31 Travis, Christian Hope and the Future of Man, p. 135. I’ll keep things simple by going down his list of critiques. Stott’s first argument is from language. However, if annihilation is true, a gospel still remains to be taught, and it is a gospel that is just as desperately needed. 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. We have described the position of conditionalism, which attacks one of the premises of the traditional understanding of hell on the grounds that the wicked will not be given immortality and hence shall not suffer in torment for ever. Now to the Con’s position. The idea of an immortal soul found its way into Christian thought primarily from the teachings of Socrates and Plato7. Babies are a good example of this. 1:17; 6:16); he reveals it and gives it to us through the gospel.’23 Helm admits ‘that Scripture does not teach the immortality of the soul in so many words’.24 However, sufficient teaching on hell exists to make the case irrelevant. My original point was that the Bible never specifically references this idea, much like it never specifically references the exact theory that Conditional Immortality argues for. 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