Evangelical and Unashamed: Introducing Joseph Dear

Joseph Dear
Hello everybody. I think I can say, like friend and fellow-contributor Chris Date, that it is indeed a tremendous honor for me to get to contribute to this website and this overall effort. I can only hope that when all is said and done I will have served you all well, and most importantly, that I will have served God well.
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Their Worm Does Not Die: Annihilation and Mark 9:48

Phaenicia sericata larva (“maggot”)

In my recent response to Matt Chandler’s otherwise praiseworthy The Explicit Gospel, I criticized what I believe to be several mistakes Chandler makes concerning final punishment. One of them, I argued, was that in citing Jesus’ words in Mark 9:48 Chandler fails to point out that the passage Jesus quotes “explicitly says that it is corpses whose ‘worm will not die’.”1Date, C. (2012, July 15). “Explicit Mistakes: A Response to Matt Chandler.” Rethinking Hell [blog]. Retrieved 15 July 2012. http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/07/explicit-mistakes-a-response-to-matt-chandler/ I made the claim that “The idiom communicates the shame of having one’s corpse unburied, and arguably the irresistible and complete consumption of those corpses by maggots.”

Many traditionalists, however, who do point out that the hosts of Isaiah’s undying worms were corpses, nevertheless insist that the imagery supports the traditional view of hell. Whether they believe maggots will literally feed upon the bodies of the wicked for eternity—albeit living, immortal bodies—or whether they believe the idiom symbolically points toward an eternity of conscious torment, either way it is argued that the text of Isaiah, quoted by Jesus, depicts ever-consuming worms which never die. The fire that isn’t quenched will be the subject of a future post here at Rethinking Hell; in the meantime, let us take a look at the gruesome idiom that is its parallel.
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1. Date, C. (2012, July 15). “Explicit Mistakes: A Response to Matt Chandler.” Rethinking Hell [blog]. Retrieved 15 July 2012. http://www.rethinkinghell.com/2012/07/explicit-mistakes-a-response-to-matt-chandler/