The Many and Varied Problems with the Modern, Metaphorical View of Eternal Conscious Hell

One always unpleasant but ultimately necessary task that comes into play when discussing the nature of final punishment is digging into the specifics. Historically, Christian writers have not shied away from expounding on hell beyond just the basic question of whether hell is a place of eternal torment, annihilation, or temporary discipline that that leads to universal salvation. And this is the case today as much as ever, as more and more who hold the traditional view expound upon the specifics of it in a way that I argue makes it increasingly untenable (and less traditional).

Increasingly among evangelicals (though not only among evangelicals), hell is seen not as a place of eternal conscious burning, of the unsaved being tormented by fire and manifestations of God’s wrath, but as a place where the chief element of the suffering is sadness from being separated from God. The fire is seen as a metaphor. The torment is described as emotional and spiritual, not physical torture inflicted by God or his agents. An attempt is made to depart from the common pop culture trope of the eternal torture chamber.


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Episode 112: “Does the Bible Teach Eternal Conscious Torment?” Date and Quient Debate Richardson and Lauriston

A live-streamed debate between Damon Richardson of UrbanLogia Ministries and Elce Lauriston (affirmative), and Chris Date and Nick Quient of Rethinking Hell (negative) answering the question, “Does the Bible teach eternal conscious torment?” You can also watch the debate on YouTube or in the player below. Click here to download the slides presented by Chris and Nick in PDF form.


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The New Creation Millennialism Paradigm: A Radical Biblical-Eschatological Alternative to Everlasting Torment

J. Webb Mealy

I want to make a big ask at the beginning of this article. I want to ask my readers to lay aside your natural prejudice against the new and unfamiliar, and give my presentation a hearing as though you had not yet decided on an eschatological model. Jesus has a parable about the psychology that goes along with repeatedly hearing the same doctrine repeated until it seems—merely because of the repetition—to be obviously the best:

No one after drinking old wine wants the new, for they say, ‘The old is better’ ().

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39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.’”