Category Archives: Eschatology

How the Christian doctrine of sin should lead believers in eternal conscious torment to affirmation of annihilationism

In a blog post at Jesus Creed, Jeff Cook (lecturer in philosophy at the University of Colorado and pastor of Atlas Church) has raised a very significant philosophical objection to the traditional doctrine that hell is eternal conscious torment. He demonstrates convincingly that the concept of hell as dehumanization, as affirmed by C. S. Lewis and N. T. Wright is almost indistinguishable from annihilationism. That dehumanization tends toward annihilation has already been nicely demonstrated in … Continue reading

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Our hope as “citizens of heaven”

Jesus taught us to pray that God’s kingdom would come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But, nonetheless, many Christians still think of heaven as primarily out there where God lives and think that our great hope for the future is that we will leave this crumby world and go to heaven. That was certainly the thought generated in my mind by most of what I was taught about … Continue reading

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Preston Sprinkle on the nature of hell

Preston Sprinkle has now concluded a series of 4 blog posts on the nature of eternal punishment/hell. His final post sums up his present stance: he is pausing for a time of serious consideration of the relative merits of eternal conscious torment and what he aptly calls “terminal punishment” (destruction). Links to the first 3 posts can be found at the beginning of this last one. I commend Sprinkle for his careful biblical exegesis, for … Continue reading

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How can people who do not love God be considered not to be sinning?

In an earlier blog post, I argued that sinners in hell reach a point at which they no longer sin. In the comment thread, Chris Wettstein has asked: “If, then, the reprobate will not be ‘sinning’ can they be said to be ‘loving God’ and ‘loving their neighbour’?” I started to write a response to Chris’s question in the comment thread, but it became too extensive for that venue, and so I decided it would … Continue reading

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Grace and the destruction of the wicked

The wrath of God as the way sinners naturally experience the love of the Holy God It was from the writing of Martin Luther that I first gained the insight that there is no conflict between God’s wrath and his love, because wrath is the way the wicked experience the love of the holy God. But this idea is frequently found in the thought of Christian scholars in our own time. One of my favorite … Continue reading

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How Christ’s death delivers us from fear of death (both first and second)

I think that Christ’s victory is the overarching framework within which Christ’s saving work is best viewed. (See my post, “Is there an overarching model of the atonement?”) Penal substitution was the way in which Christ delivered us from the adversary’s ability to bring a damning accusation against those who are in Christ. We were dead in our trespasses but “God made [us] alive together with [Christ],” by “cancelling “the record of the debt that … Continue reading

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My theological journey in regard to hell reposted at Jesus Creed

At his blog, Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight has reposted the account of my journey in understanding the nature of hell. Scot’s posts frequently generate an active comment thread, so I’m letting you know in case the conversation interests you.

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How will God finally punish unrepentant sinners? Part 2: A very helpful resource

In part 1 of this 2 part series, I told the story of my theological journey in pursuit of an answer to this important question. I now want to commend to you a book which I believe will make an invaluable contribution to the evangelical conversation about hell. This is not a critical review of Rethinking Hell, it is a recommendation. But as I walk you through the book’s contents, I will  comment occasionally. Why … Continue reading

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How will God finally punish unrepentant sinners? Part 1: My journey in quest of an answer.

I set out to write a blog post that grew rather large. So I have decided to split it into two posts, of which this is the first. Here I will relate the story of my long journey in quest of a biblical answer to that big question. In Part 2, I will recommend a book which I believe contributes very helpfully to the conversation about this issue which I believe needs to happen among … Continue reading

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Jesus’ death and the nature of hell

Both traditionalists and annihilationists often say that their view of hell best accords with the manner in which Jesus suffered the penalty of sin in our place. I am still not convinced, however, that either understanding of hell has a significant advantage in this regard. Traditionalists generally focus on hell as an endless experience of the righteous wrath of God. Some understand the biblical descriptions (fire, darkness, physical agony, death) more literally than others do, … Continue reading

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