Monday, July 18, 2016

Permanent Elimination or Everlasting Torment?

Permanent death or everlasting torture? What does the weight of scripture demonstrate is God's viewpoint on what is just?

Even with the first human pair, God was very plain what would happen if they disobeyed.
Gen.2:16,17 Yes, death, returning to the dust from which they were taken, was the plainly stated penalty for disobedience.

Just prior to Moses' death, as part of a motivating discourse, he said the following at Deut.30:15-19 Life and Death as “rewards” for obedience and disobedience were contrasted. No mention of eternal torment in a fiery hell.

Ps.37:9-11 The scripture says that evil men will be “done away with.” Not tortured for all eternity.

Ezekiel 18:4 Once again, death is the punishment, not torment.

Romans 6:23 Indicates that death is the wage of sin, not eternal torment.

Both the apostles Peter and Paul mention destruction (2 Thes.1:9; 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:7,9), not eternal torment, as punishment from God.

But now what of the “proof” scriptures advanced by those believing in hellfire?
Rev.21:7-8 This is one of two major scriptures that those advancing the idea of hellfire quote. Notice the last few words, “this means the second death.” At Rev.20:14,15 we read what else ends up in the lake of fire (aka “the second death”): “death and the Grave were hurled into the lake of fire.” Since both death and the grave are not objects that can be tormented, a reasoning person would need to ask himself, “What could the second death possibly be?” Revelation 21:4 answers that question: “He [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” So far from the lake of fire picturing eternal torment, it pictures eternal elimination.

Another term found in scripture is Gehenna. Rather than reinvent the wheel, here is an article that covers that subject.

There are probably a few other scriptures those advancing the idea of hellfire will quote, but the  above seem to be the major players in their line of (wrong) reasoning. Why am I so bold in outrightly calling it wrong? Because it defames the Creator as a person whose justice can only be satisfied by eternally torturing people, when God’s own Word the Bible makes it quite plain he is not that sort of person at all. (See also this article.)

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