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Welcome to Rethinking Hell!
Our position in the Evangelical debate on Hell is that of Conditional Immortality, which holds that believers will receive the reward of immortality, while others will finally be destroyed (annihilated).

Having examined the underwhelming biblical case for eternal torment over evangelical conditionalism based on degrees of punishment in Part 1, a number of philosophical questions about God’s justice remain. In Light of Eternity, Few Christians See Final Punishment As Truly Proportional The traditionalist case is that final punishment is really only just if a worse sinner has a worse fate than a less wicked sinner, and that worse fate continues to be worse throughout eternity. Annihilation, of course, does not meet that standard. However, this standard is not nearly as strong as it may sound at first. It is not a biblical view, so it does not have the firm, objective basis of scripture. Beyond that, eternal torment, within the framework of a Christian worldview, must concede more to the annihilationist view than many traditionalists realize. The effects of eternity and the concept of infinity take a lot of the force out of the traditionalist case here.

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Statement on Evangelical Conditionalism

Recent Podcasts

Episode 137: The Apocalyptic Paul, with Nick Quient

Former Rethinking Hell contributor Nick Quient joins Chris Date to discuss Nick’s recent book, The Perfection of Our Faithful Wills: Paul’s Apocalyptic Vision of Entire Sanctification, and how the apocalyptic theology of the apostle Paul supports conditional immortality and challenges the doctrines of eternal torment and universalism.

Episode 136: Conditionalism Stands to Reason (Part 5)

Rethinking Hell contributors William Tanksley and Darren Clark join Chris Date to critique Greg Koukl and Tim Barnett’s article series at Stand to Reason called “Hell Interrupted.” This episode contains the fifth and final part of their discussion; listen to episodes 132 through 135 for the first four parts.

Episode 135: Conditionalism Stands to Reason (Part 4)

Rethinking Hell contributors William Tanksley and Darren Clark join Chris Date to critique Greg Koukl and Tim Barnett’s article series at Stand to Reason called “Hell Interrupted.” This episode contains part 4 of their discussion; the next episode will contain the final installment of the series.

Recent Articles

Joseph Dear

Evangelical Conditionalism and Degrees of Punishment In Hell – Part 2

Having examined the underwhelming biblical case for eternal torment over evangelical conditionalism based on degrees of punishment in Part 1, a number of philosophical questions about God’s justice remain. In Light of Eternity, Few Christians See Final Punishment As Truly Proportional The traditionalist case is that final punishment is really only just if a worse sinner has a worse fate than a less wicked sinner, and that worse fate continues to be worse throughout eternity. Annihilation, of course, does not meet that standard. However, this standard is not nearly as strong as it may sound at first. It is not a biblical view, so it does not have the firm, objective basis of scripture. Beyond that, eternal torment, within the framework of a Christian worldview, must concede more to the annihilationist view than many traditionalists realize. The effects of eternity and the concept of infinity take a lot of the force out of the traditionalist case here.

Joseph Dear

Evangelical Conditionalism and Degrees of Punishment In Hell – Part 1

A common argument against evangelical conditionalism, part biblical and part philosophical, is that the Bible and basic justice teach that not all sinners will be punished with the exact same severity. 1Harry Buis, The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957), 39. 2Robert Morey, Death and the Afterlife, (Bethany House, 1984), 154. 3John Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell, eds. Stanley N. Gundry and William Crockett (Zondervan, 1996), 21. From both the biblical and philosophical standpoints, I will say that the argument for eternal torment and against annihilationism, based on degrees of punishment, would have a lot more weight if: Evangelical conditionalism entailed that all the wicked were instantly annihilated at death without any conscious awareness of anything leading up to their final end, and: The traditional view did not, for the most part, entail the belief that even a single sin of any sort warrants infinite punishment and infinite pain and suffering. 4Regarding the view that a single sin only warrants finite punishment but the damned sin continually in hell, Part 2. 5 Portions adapted from Joseph Dear. The Bible Teaches Annihilationism (n.d.), Section XXIV, found at 3-Ring Binder, n.d., https://www.3ringbinder.org/uploads/1/9/1/0/1910989/the_bible_teaches_annihilationism__1st_edition_pdf_version__final.pdf (accessed on April 24, 2020). 1. ↑ Harry Buis, The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment (Grand

Joseph Dear

Do Annihilationists Believe that People Cease to Exist? (It Depends – and That’s Okay)

Does annihilationism mean that people cease to exist? The fact is, there are often two different meanings of existence and the ceasing thereof at play when this question arises. For that reason, it is important that we define our terms and not equivocate. The First Definition The first idea involves a sort of brute, cosmic obliteration that destroys even the atoms a person was made of. Annihilationism does not necessarily deny this sort of ceasing to exist per se, but at the very least, this sense of complete annihilation is not necessary for evangelical conditionalism or annihilationism to be true.




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