Tag Archives: annihilationism

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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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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Penal substitution and the second death

In his death on the cross and his three days in the grave, Jesus was neither endlessly tormented nor was he annihilated. This is why I have proposed that neither traditionalism nor annihilationism has an advantage in regard to its explanation of the way in which Christ’s death was a penal substitution for human sin. Jesus died in the manner of the “first death,” in his role as second Adam (1 Cor 15:45-47; cf. Rom … Continue reading

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Miles on the nature and purpose of hell

            I have been thinking about the nature of hell lately so it was interesting to come to Todd Miles’s thoughts on this subject in chapter 3 of A God of Many Understandings? Universalism Miles suggests that the number of Christians who believe in universalism is growing and that “by the end of the late twentieth century, there was perhaps no traditional doctrine that had been so widely abandoned as … Continue reading

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Another reason why “annihilationism” is a better name than “conditionalism:” evangelical universalism is a form of conditionalism

In March, I gave some reasons why “ultimate annihilationism” is a better name for that position than “conditional immortality,” although the latter is widely used by proponents of this position. As I jogged today, I was listening to a fine interview by Chris Date with Robin Parry, the author of Evangelical Universalist (under the pen name of Gregory MacDonald). Once again, I was reminded that a synergist (like Robin Parry) can only be a hopeful … Continue reading

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The double intent of the atonement and the nature of hell

An interesting discussion arose in the Facebook group of Rethinking Hell, in regard to my identification of the genuine issues involved in the choice of annihilationism or endless conscious punishment as the biblical teaching concerning hell. (I’ll not mention names, because of the informal nature of FB conversation and the closed membership of the group.) One commenter doubted that I was right to identify penal substitutionary atonement as a non-issue, because he claimed that I … Continue reading

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Hell: endless conscious punishment or final annihilation? What are and are not the issues?

The nature and purpose of hell have been items keenly discussed within the church throughout its history. The three major alternatives which arose early in Christian theology are still alive and well, both inside and outside of evangelicalism. Though many Christians wish that universalism were true, it is affirmed by only a small minority of evangelicals because it entails post mortem evangelism, and because Scripture’s testimony to the final judgment of some unrepentant sinners is … Continue reading

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