5 More Myths About Hell: A Response to Mark Jones and Crossway

In a recent installment of Crossway’s “5 Myths” article series, Mark Jones attempts to debunk what he sees as “5 Myths about Hell.” In so doing, however, Jones misreads a host of biblical texts that support the doctrines of conditional immortality and annihilationism, mistakenly thinking they teach eternal torment. Along the way, he perpetuates five other popular myths about hell, which we at Rethinking Hell debunk below.

Myth #1: Jesus’s Story About Lazarus and the Rich Man Describes Hell

Jones begins with what he calls “Myth #1: Jesus wasn’t concerned with hell,” and here readers encounter the first of five popular myths Jones perpetuates, when he appeals to Jesus’s story about Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31) as support for the traditional view of hell as eternal torment. “Christ spoke a great deal more about judgment and hell than many might care to admit,” Jones writes. “For example, he uses a ‘parable’ in Luke 16 to describe the place called ‘Hades’ (Luke 16:23), which has a ‘great chasm’ (Luke 16:26) fixed by God to prevent crossing from hell to heaven and vice versa.” Later, when debunking what he calls “Myth #4: Hell is merely separation from God,” Jones adds, “Hell is a place, not a metaphor to describe some inner thought processes. The rich man in hell calls it a ‘place of torment’ (Luke 16:28).” So Jones expects readers to accept that Jesus’s story is an “example” of his teaching on hell, and that hell is the “place” in which his story is set.

In fact, Jesus’s story has nothing meaningful to do with hell. Hell, as David Shackelford and Ray Clendenen put it, is “Usually understood as the final abode of the unrighteous dead,” after they have been resurrected.1David G. Shackelford and E. Ray Clendenen, “Hell,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 745; emphasis added. Meanwhile, by Jones’s own admission, Jesus’s story is set in Hades (ᾅδης, hadēs), the place where the disembodied dead await resurrection unto final judgment. Jesus explicitly says as much (v. 23), and in his story, the rich man’s brothers are still alive and blissfully unaware of their impending doom (v. 28), which of course will not be possible when all the dead have been raised up out of Hades to be judged according to their deeds (Rev 20:13). Thus, as I. Howard Marshall observes, “the NIV’s hell [in v. 23] is misleading.”2I. Howard Marshall, “Luke,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, eds. D. A. Carson et al. (Leicester, UK; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity; InterVarsity, 1994), 1007; italics in original. Also misleading, then, is Jones’s use of a story set in Hades as an example of what hell will be like.

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Myth #2: Jesus Teaches that in Hell, People Will Suffer Eternal Torment

The second popular hell-myth Jones perpetuates is that, as he puts it, Jesus “speaks of hell in a number of different ways to illustrate its endless, horrifying torment,” and “there is little doubt that our Lord did not shy away from discussing a place of endless torment” (emphasis added). Of the proof-texts Jones offers, some fail as even prima facie support for his claim that Jesus warns of eternal torment; “‘hell of fire’ (Matt. 5:22),” “the ‘whole body’ being ‘thrown into hell’ (Matt. 5:29),” and “‘outer darkness’ (Matt. 25:30)” lack any hint of the duration of hell’s torments, whatsoever. Other texts Jones cites, however, do seem like support for eternal torment at first glance, but upon closer examination they prove to be better support for the final annihilation of the lost.

Unquenchable Fire and Undying Worm

Jones observes that Jesus “speaks of ‘unquenchable fire’ (Mark 9:43)… ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’ (Mark 9:48).” Later, Jones replaces the biblical phrasing—”is not quenched” and “does not die”—with language of his own invention, saying the fire “can never be quenched (Mark 9:45)” and “their worm never dies (Mark 9:48)” (emphasis added). Because we have been trained to believe in eternal torment, we often misread these texts in the way Jones does, but even a slightly closer look reveals that they don’t at all support the doctrine.

The word “quench,” in both English and the biblical Greek and Hebrew, means “to put out,” not “to die out.” The Greek word here translated “unquenchable” (ἄσβεστος, asbestos) means, “pertaining to a fire that cannot be put out.”3Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, vol. 1, Introduction and Domains, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1988), 178; emphasis added. If a fire is unquenchable, then because it cannot be extinguished, it completely consumes that which it burns. Thus, in its only other uses in the New Testament, it is said to “burn up” chaff (Matt 3:12; Luke 3:17), the word κατακαίω (katakaiō) meaning, “to destroy something by burning—’to burn something down, to burn something up, to reduce to ashes.'”4Ibid., 178.

When Jesus goes on to warn that in Gehenna “their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched,” he’s quoting Isaiah 66:24, where it is explicitly “dead bodies” (פֶּ֫גֶר, peger) being consumed by worms and fire. These are not living people suffering pain. Isaiah’s “worm” (תּוֹלֵעָה, tôlēʿā(h)) is a maggot (cf. Isa 14:11), the kind that eats the decaying flesh of corpses. By saying it does not die, Isaiah means it won’t be stopped from fully consuming its meal, like the scavenging beasts and birds Jeremiah says won’t be frightened away from the corpses upon which they feed (Jer 7:33). As for the fire that won’t be quenched, this is language used to describe the fiery wrath of God which, unable to be extinguished, completely devours that which it burns (cf. Ezek 20:47-48; Jer 17:27; Amos 5:6).

Jesus’s picture, then, of unquenchable fire and undying worms, is a picture of the execution of God’s enemies and the destruction of their corpses. It’s not a picture of everlasting torment.

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Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Next, Jones quotes Jesus saying that there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in the “fiery furnace” into which the wicked are thrown (Matt 13:41-42). Of course, Jesus does not say these expressions of sadness and anger will go on forever, but Jones evidently assumes they will. Yet, the text itself indicates that the wicked won’t weep and gnash forever.

This passage is part of Jesus’s interpretation of the parable he had just told, in which the seed-sower says he will tell his reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned” (v. 30). Once again, the Greek word is κατακαίω, which means to burn up completely—exactly what one would expect to happen to weeds thrown into fire. Ten verses later, in his interpretation of the parable, Jesus says, “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age” (v. 40; emphasis added), and then he says the wicked will be thrown “into the fiery furnace,” where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 41-42). These expressions, then, of sadness and anger, will only go on until the unrighteous are burned up like weeds.

Though it helps that Jesus is interpreting his parable, in which weeds are burned up, it isn’t critical to correctly interpreting Jesus as warning of annihilation. He gets his phrase “the fiery furnace” (τὴν κάμινον τοῦ πυρός, tēn kaminon tou puros) from the book of Daniel in the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament completed in the last few centuries before Christ. Six times therein (3:6, 11, 15, 17, 20, 23; cf. vv. 25, 49, 93), the phrase refers to the fiery furnace to which Nebuchadnezzar sentences all who refuse to worship at his statue. Although God supernaturally protected his own people from the fire (v. 25), others not protected by God were killed when they merely got close to it (v. 22)!

Jesus’s picture, then, of the unrighteous weeping and gnashing while being thrown into a fiery furnace, is a picture of the execution of God’s enemies by fire. It’s not a picture of everlasting torment.

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Everlasting Punishment and Everlasting Fire

Jones goes on to quote Jesus as indicating that “hell is a place of ‘everlasting punishment’ (Matt. 25:46)” in “an ‘everlasting fire’ (Matt. 18:8).” Evidently, Jones assumes that punishment is necessarily pain of some sort and that if the fire is everlasting, so is that which it burns. Once again, however, these expressions challenge eternal torment and support conditional immortality and annihilationism.

Because Jesus says eschatological punishment will be “eternal” (Matt 25:46), using the same Greek adjective (αἰώνιος, aiōnios) with which he describes eschatological life in the same verse, we know that the punishment of the wicked will be as everlasting as the life to which the redeemed are raised. Both fates will indeed be infinite in duration. The question isn’t how long eschatological punishment will last; the question is what the nature of that punishment will be. The Greek word κόλασις (kolasis) does sometimes refer to punitive pain, such as the tortures described in the Martyrdom of Polycarp (2.4). However, it often refers to the death penalty (2 Macc 4:38; 3 Macc 1:3; Wisdom of Solomon 19:4), and as Augustine observed, the duration of capital punishment is measured in the time one is dead after being executed, not in the time it takes to die.5City of God 21.11.1.

Jesus doesn’t explicitly tell us here what kind of punishment awaits the wicked, but by this point in the narrative, Matthew has made that clear. Throughout his gospel, he has warned that the wicked will be punished with death and destruction by the fires of Gehenna (e.g., 3:12; 7:13-14; 10:28; 13:24-30, 36-43; 18:8-9). Consistent with this message, Jesus here says only the righteous will be granted eternal life, from which we can rightly infer that the everlasting punishment of the wicked will be their everlasting death.

This is, in fact, what Jesus had already indicated by saying eschatological punishment will be inflicted by the “eternal fire” (τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον, to pur to aiōnion; v. 41). Jones ironically points to Jesus’s earlier use of the phrase (Matt 18:8-9), in which it is parallel to “the hell of fire” (τὴν γέενναν τοῦ πυρός, tēn geennan tou puros). Here “hell” is Gehenna, a shortening and transliteration of the Hebrew “Valley of the Son of Hinnom” (גֵּיא בֶן־הִנֹּם, gêʾ ḇen-hinnom), which the Old Testament warns will one day be called “the Valley of Slaughter,” where scavenging beasts and birds consume the corpses of God’s slain enemies (Jer 7:30-33). This is what “eternal fire” does: it slays God’s enemies.

Jesus’s language, then, of eternal punishment and eternal fire, is language warning the unrighteous of eschatological and everlasting death. It’s not language describing eternal torment.

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Myth #3: The Old Testament Teaches that in Hell, People Will Suffer Eternal Torment

Turning from Jesus to the Old Testament, Jones perpetuates a third myth about hell, namely, that the Old Testament teaches people will suffer eternal torment there. He writes, “the doctrine of hell is not fully developed in the Old Testament, but that does not mean it is not present. For example, in Isaiah, the godless should tremble since they are threatened with ‘the consuming fire’ and the ‘everlasting burnings’ (Isa. 33:14).” Jones goes on to quote Isaiah 66:24 as saying, “their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched,” and Daniel 12:2 as saying, “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Since Jones has been making the case that hell is a place of “endless, horrifying torment,” we can assume he thinks eternal torment is found in these words from the books of Isaiah and Daniel.

That Isaiah sets up a parallel between “consuming fire” and “everlasting burnings” (Isa 33:14) should make it obvious that the unrighteous will be consumed by the fire, not kept alive to burn in it forever. Commenting on the former phrase, Joseph Blenkinsopp writes, “the reader… asks how one can avoid the final obliterating judgment represented under the figure of a devouring fire.”6Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, Anchor Yale Bible Commentary (New Haven, CT; London, UK: Yale University Press, 2000), 441; emphasis added. The phrases Jones quotes out of context are in parallel rhetorical questions, the answer to which excludes impenitent sinners: “Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?” As John Oswalt explains, “if there is a fire in Zion (31:9), her inhabitants must be ready to dwell in that fire…. What kind of change must a human being undergo to live with God? It is not a change of essence but a change of character…. If we are to dwell with God as his guests, we must share his character.”7John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1–39, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986), 599–600. Thus, as Isaiah goes on to say, it is “He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly… [who] will dwell on the heights” (vv. 15-16); the wicked will instead die, unable to survive the consuming, everlasting fire of God—just as we saw taught in Isaiah 66:24.

As for “shame and everlasting contempt” in Daniel 12:2, only “shame” (חֶרְפָּה, ḥerpā(h)) describes the conscious experience of those awakened unto it. The word “contempt” (דֵּרָאוֹן, dērāʾôn) describes the experience of others who perceive and remember the shameful ones with abject contempt. Thus, in the only other place in the Old Testament where it’s used, it describes the “abhorrence” felt by those who “look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against” Yahweh (Isa 66:24; emphasis added). Since Daniel says it is only this contempt that will last forever, we know that the wicked will experience shame only until they are dead and have been destroyed.8דֵּרָאוֹן (“contempt”) is in the Hebrew construct state in a construct chain that ends with the absolute “eternity” (עוֹלָם, ʿōlām); woodenly, it reads “contempt of eternity.” חֶרְפָּה (“shame”) is in the absolute state and therefore is not modified by “eternal.”

It is true that the Old Testament offers an underdeveloped theology of hell, but what it offers on the final punishment of the wicked—including that which Jones quotes—is consistent with Jesus’s warnings that the wicked will be slain and destroyed in hell, not made immortal so as to live forever there.

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Myth #4: New Testament Authors Teach that in Hell, People Will Suffer Eternal Torment

Having misread Jesus and the Old Testament, Jones turns to New Testament authors and perpetuates the myth that they teach eternal torment. “Sodom and Gomorrah,” he writes, “were punished for their sins by ‘undergoing a punishment of eternal fire’ (Jude 7). False teachers have a place reserved in hell where the ‘gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever’ (Jude 13). In Revelation 14:11 the suffering of the wicked is described: ‘And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night…’ (see also Revelation 19:3, Revelation 20:10, ‘forever and ever’).” He adds, “in Revelation 22:14-15 we see that the existence of the righteous in heaven is coterminous with the existence of the wicked ‘outside’ heaven (i.e., in hell).” By now it should come as no surprise that Jones misreads these texts as support for eternal torment, when they teach no such thing.

Eternal Fire and Darkness Forever

Jude (v. 7) says Sodom and Gomorrah underwent “a punishment of eternal fire,” but this challenges Jones’s perspective; it doesn’t support it. All other biblical references to the fiery punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah are references to their destruction in history by fire from heaven (Gen 19:23-29; cf. Gen 13:10; Deut 29:23; Isa 1:9; 13:19; Jer 49:18; 50:40; Lam 4:6; Amos 4:11; Zeph 2:9; Matt 11:23; Luke 17:29; Rom 9:29; 2 Pet 2:6). The same is true in contemporaneous extra-biblical literature.9Wisdom of Solomon 10:6-8; Sir 16:8-12; 3 Macc 2:5-8; 2 Esdras 2:8; Testament of Asher 7:1; Testament of Benjamin 9:1; Jubilees 16:5-6; 20:5-6; 36:9-10. This is the tradition of which Jude wants to “remind” readers (v. 5), who could not be reminded of any protracted torment of Sodom and Gomorrah’s former denizens, for neither the Bible nor extra-biblical literature refer to it. In his parallel to Jude, Peter writes of God, “by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction, making them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly” (2 Pet 2:6). So, eternal fire slays and the wicked and reduces them to ash; it doesn’t keep them alive forever. And both Jude and Peter agree: the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah by eternal fire is an example of what awaits the wicked.

Jude goes on to use metaphor in calling false teachers “wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever” (v. 13), but darkness reserved forever likely points toward future destruction, not eternal torment. The English word “planet” derives from the Greek adjective “wandering” here (πλανήτης, planētēs), and “wandering stars” were the planets, whose movements in the night sky seemed unpredictable, in contrast to the seemingly fixed stars.10Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 467-8. Whereas the stars could guide travelers, the planets were unreliable; whereas the righteous are destined to shine brightly forever like stars, false teachers are destined to vanish into darkness forever, like planets never seen again. As Richard Bauckham explains, “Unlike the true Christian teachers who are to shine like the stars in heaven (Dan 12:3), the misleading light of the false teachers will be extinguished in darkness for ever.”11Richard J. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1983), 90; emphasis added.

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Eternal Torment in The Book of Revelation

The book of Revelation records an apocalyptic vision John experienced while in exile on the island of Patmos, and such visions foretell the future by means of perplexing symbols that often require divinely aided interpretation (e.g., Gen 40-41; Dan 2; 4; 7; Rev 17:9-10). Revelation 14:9-11 contains at least three such symbols, all of which reappear later in John’s vision, when the harlot “Mystery Babylon” (a) is made to drink God’s wrath (16:19; 18:6), and (b) is tormented in fire (18:7, 9-10, 15-17), from which (c) smoke rises forever and ever (19:3). It doesn’t matter what we think these symbols mean; an angel authoritatively interprets them for John, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more” (18:21). The symbols in Revelation 14:9-11 therefore converge to communicate absolute destruction, not life forever in pain, the ever-rising smoke recalling that which was said would rise forever from the ruins of Edom (Isa 34:10) and which rose from the rubble of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:28).

Later in his visionary experience, John sees the devil, the beast, and the false prophet thrown alive into a lake of fire, where he says they will be tormented forever. Again, this imagery is authoritatively interpreted for readers: both John (20:14) and God himself (21:8) interpret the lake of fire as symbolizing “the second death.”12In God’s words, “which [ὅ, ho] is the second death,” the relative pronoun, which is the subject, refers back to “the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.” So, the lake of fire (symbol) is the second death (meaning). This is how vision-interpreters ordinarily issue their interpretations (e.g., Gen 40:12, 18; 41:26-27; Dan 2:38; 4:20-22; Rev 5:8; 17:9-10). This means “the second death” must have been recognizable or familiar to John and his original readers. Indeed it was: the phrase appears a number of times in the Aramaic translations and paraphrases of the Hebrew Old Testament, known as the Targums, where it refers to a future event at which the risen wicked literally die a second time—and forever.13For example, the Hebrew of Jeremiah 51:39 may seem to exclude the wicked from resurrection, saying they will “sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,” but the Targum adds eschatological language which postpones this final punishment of not waking until after the “second death,” thereby allowing for eschatological resurrection after the first death. Accordingly, John also sees conscious entities representing death and Hades thrown into the lake of fire (20:14; cf. 6:8), symbolizing the final destruction of death. As God says a few verses later, “death shall be no more” (21:4), echoing Paul who writes, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26). The lake of fire thus symbolizes the destruction of every reality whose corresponding symbols John sees thrown into the lake of fire.

Assuming Jones is right about Revelation 22:14-15, then, its alleged depiction of “the existence of the righteous in heaven [being] coterminous with the existence of the wicked ‘outside’ heaven (i.e., in hell)” is not proof that hell will, in reality, be place of eternal torment. We have already seen that the images of eternal torment in Revelation 14:9-11 and 20:10-15 symbolize final destruction. Any portrayal of the wicked continuing to exist in the lake of fire would be a continuation of such images. Nevertheless, Jones is mistaken. John’s words in Revelation 22:14-15 follow after the conclusion of his apocalyptic vision, which ended earlier in the chapter (cf. vv. 6-8). At this point, in the conclusion to his letter, John is inviting readers now to “wash their robes” and be granted access to the heavenly Jerusalem, the gates of which are closed now to everyone who refuses to do so.

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Myth #5: In the Doctrine of Eternal Torment, People in Hell Will Merely “Exist”

Finally, Jones perpetuates a fifth myth about the hell he believes in: that in the traditional view of hell as eternal torment, the unsaved will merely exist in hell, and not live embodied there. He writes of “the existence of the wicked ‘outside’ heaven (i.e., in hell)” (emphasis added). He says “hell is an endless (suffering) existence” (emphasis added). Although Jones does once refer to “life in hell” for the damned (emphasis added), he quotes theologians who speak of the “punishment of men’s souls in hell,” and of “the ‘wretched soul in hell'” (emphasis added), which for many readers will reinforce the myth that people’s souls go disembodied to hell when they die and remain there, disembodied, forever. This obfuscates the reality of the tradition, which is virtually unanimous in teaching that the resurrected lost will be made immortal and live embodied in hell forever.

The second-century traditionalist Tatian says that the lost will rise and “receive… the painful with immortality.”14Tatian, “Address to the Greeks,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria, eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. J. E. Ryland (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), 71. The Reformer John Gill likewise writes that the lost “shall rise to life, to an immortal life, so as never to die more.”15John Gill, An Exposition of The New Testament, vol. 1 (London, UK: Mathews and Leigh, 1809), 804. The Belgic Confession affirms that the risen lost, “being immortal, shall be tormented.”16“The Belgic Confession,” Article 37, in The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 3, The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, ed. Philip Schaff (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1882), 435. The revivalist John Wesley says that after the resurrection, “neither the righteous nor the wicked were to die any more.”17John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament (New York, NY: J. Soule and T. Mason, 1818), 758. According to Charles Spurgeon, the “Prince of Preachers,” the risen lost will “live for ever in torment.”18Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Gems (New York, NY; Boston, MA; Richmond, VA: Sheldon and Company; Gould and Lincoln; T. J. Starke, 1859), 49. Though many modern laypeople have bought the myth that the disembodied souls of the wicked will exist forever in hell, contemporary leaders uphold the tradition, including John MacArthur, Greg Koukl, Christopher Morgan, Wayne Grudem, Gary Habermas, and J. P. Moreland (to name a few).19John MacArthur, “The Answer to Life’s Greatest Question, Part 1,” Grace to You, August 24, 2003 (accessed July 10, 2020), https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-141/the-answer-to-lifes-greatest-question-part-1; Greg Koukl (host), “Christopher Morgan on Hell and Inclusivism,” Stand to Reason [radio], June 5, 2011 (accessed July 10, 2020), http://www.strcast2.org/podcast/weekly/060511.mp3; Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, UK; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity; Zondervan, 2004), 657; Gary Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Immortality: The Other Side of Death (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992), 173.

By contrast, the Bible insists that life and immortality will be granted only to the redeemed, while the resurrected lost will instead die in hell. “For God so loved the world,” Jesus (or John) says, “that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). He says, “I give [my sheep] eternal life, and they will never perish” (10:28). Paul likewise writes, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23), for it is “those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality” to whom God “will give eternal life” (2:7), by which Paul indicates that immortality must be sought and is therefore not a guarantee. It is the saved whose earthly, perishable, mortal bodies will be transformed and made imperishable and immortal, so they can inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 15:50-53). The biblical message is clear and consistent: life for God’s people, but death for everyone else.

It’s no surprise, then, that some contemporary traditionalists like Jones perpetuate this fifth myth—intentionally or otherwise. The Bible simply does not support the traditional traditional view, in which the unsaved will be resurrected and made bodily immortal so as to live embodied in hell forever. Of course, neither does it support this fifth myth, for Jesus indicates that God will “destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). Instead, and notwithstanding the dominance of the tradition, the Bible calls us to submit to its teaching that the damned will be killed and destroyed in hell, never to live or experience anything ever again.

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1. David G. Shackelford and E. Ray Clendenen, “Hell,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, eds. Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 745; emphasis added.
2. I. Howard Marshall, “Luke,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, eds. D. A. Carson et al. (Leicester, UK; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity; InterVarsity, 1994), 1007; italics in original.
3. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, vol. 1, Introduction and Domains, 2nd ed. (New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1988), 178; emphasis added.
4. Ibid., 178.
5. City of God 21.11.1.
6. Joseph Blenkinsopp, Isaiah 1–39: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, Anchor Yale Bible Commentary (New Haven, CT; London, UK: Yale University Press, 2000), 441; emphasis added.
7. John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1–39, New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986), 599–600.
8. דֵּרָאוֹן (“contempt”) is in the Hebrew construct state in a construct chain that ends with the absolute “eternity” (עוֹלָם, ʿōlām); woodenly, it reads “contempt of eternity.” חֶרְפָּה (“shame”) is in the absolute state and therefore is not modified by “eternal.”
9. Wisdom of Solomon 10:6-8; Sir 16:8-12; 3 Macc 2:5-8; 2 Esdras 2:8; Testament of Asher 7:1; Testament of Benjamin 9:1; Jubilees 16:5-6; 20:5-6; 36:9-10.
10. Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 467-8.
11. Richard J. Bauckham, Jude, 2 Peter, Word Biblical Commentary (Dallas, TX: Word Books, 1983), 90; emphasis added.
12. In God’s words, “which [ὅ, ho] is the second death,” the relative pronoun, which is the subject, refers back to “the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.” So, the lake of fire (symbol) is the second death (meaning). This is how vision-interpreters ordinarily issue their interpretations (e.g., Gen 40:12, 18; 41:26-27; Dan 2:38; 4:20-22; Rev 5:8; 17:9-10).
13. For example, the Hebrew of Jeremiah 51:39 may seem to exclude the wicked from resurrection, saying they will “sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake,” but the Targum adds eschatological language which postpones this final punishment of not waking until after the “second death,” thereby allowing for eschatological resurrection after the first death.
14. Tatian, “Address to the Greeks,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2, Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria, eds. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. J. E. Ryland (Buffalo, NY: The Christian Literature Company, 1885), 71.
15. John Gill, An Exposition of The New Testament, vol. 1 (London, UK: Mathews and Leigh, 1809), 804.
16. “The Belgic Confession,” Article 37, in The Creeds of Christendom, vol. 3, The Evangelical Protestant Creeds, ed. Philip Schaff (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1882), 435.
17. John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament (New York, NY: J. Soule and T. Mason, 1818), 758.
18. Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Gems (New York, NY; Boston, MA; Richmond, VA: Sheldon and Company; Gould and Lincoln; T. J. Starke, 1859), 49.
19. John MacArthur, “The Answer to Life’s Greatest Question, Part 1,” Grace to You, August 24, 2003 (accessed July 10, 2020), https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-141/the-answer-to-lifes-greatest-question-part-1; Greg Koukl (host), “Christopher Morgan on Hell and Inclusivism,” Stand to Reason [radio], June 5, 2011 (accessed July 10, 2020), http://www.strcast2.org/podcast/weekly/060511.mp3; Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, UK; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity; Zondervan, 2004), 657; Gary Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Immortality: The Other Side of Death (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1992), 173.
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