Conditional Immortality—An Acceptable View?

What does Conditional Immortality affirm and deny?

As a Christian doctrinal position, conditional immortality affirms that immortality—living forever and never dying—is a gift from God given only to the saved (1 Tim 6:16; Rom 2:7; 2 Tim 1:10; 1 Cor 15:54; John 6:50-51; John 11:25-26; Luke 20:36).

It also tacitly rejects universal immortality, the view that all people either are or will be immortal. Since this is a tenet of both eternal torment and universal salvation, conditionalism necessarily denies those two positions.1Conditionalism therefore also rejects universal salvation’s stipulation of a universally-met condition for immortality.

Conditional immortality, or conditionalism, is expressed in terms of a reward of “eternal life” for the saved, and an “eternal punishment” for the finally unsaved (Matt 25:46). The punishment is an “eternal judgment” of death instead of life, since the wages of sin is death (Heb 6:2; Rom 6:23). This requires an “eternal destruction” of “body and soul” (2 Thess 1:9 cf. Matt 10:28).

Although the biblical label for that event is “the second death,” it can also be called annihilation (conditionalism and annihilationism may be used interchangeably). Whereas the concept of death indicates the forfeit of life but doesn’t specify duration, annihilation speaks of a death that is a permanent loss of life, and destruction of the whole person. Since God is the source and sustainer of life (Acts 17:25; Heb 1:3; Rev 2:7 cf. Gen 3:22), this kind of demise may be considered a consequence of eternal separation or severance from God.

Continue reading “Conditional Immortality—An Acceptable View?”

1. Conditionalism therefore also rejects universal salvation’s stipulation of a universally-met condition for immortality.

"Hell Triangle"—Christian Views of Final Punishment

Rethinking Hell’s classic “Hell Triangle” chart has been revised and updated, and made available in a variety of formats, for printing and including in blogs and presentations.

          

 

You may freely use the images below under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives license. This means that you can use the diagram in any way, so long as appropriate attribution is included, and so long as you don’t change the image or use it to make your own version. Continue reading “"Hell Triangle"—Christian Views of Final Punishment”

Featured Content: The Second Council of Constantinople Canard


A fairly common claim against evangelical conditionalism is that the Second Council of Constantinople of 553 A.D. condemned annihilationism as heresy.
This is meant to score big points in the church history argument against conditionalism (a method that is itself wrought with problems). In this case, the conditionalist has a much easier task than having to explain the shortcomings of the church history argument as a whole. When you actually read the text of the council, you find that this claim about our view being condemned in it isn’t even true in the first place.

Friend and guest contributor Ronnie has a bit to say about that in today’s featured content: “Conditionalism and the Second Council of Constantinople.”
 

Did Jesus preach hell more than heaven?

Before Rethinking Hell was forged—which is now more than two years ago—our own Dr. Glenn Peoples had already been writing and speaking on this topic for a number of years. With surprising frequency these days, one hears from those who credit Glenn with having been instrumental in their journey toward conditionalism. As a matter of fact, this includes a number of others on our team.
One of the many perks for those attending the Rethinking Hell 2014 Conference will be the opportunity to meet and hear from Glenn in person. If you were thinking of joining us in Houston on July 11-12 but haven’t yet secured your registration, don’t leave it too late!
Continue reading “Did Jesus preach hell more than heaven?”

Featured Content: Chris Date Interviews Larry Dixon on Hell

Back in 2011, when Rethinking Hell was just a verb, our own Chris Date, on his Theopologetics podcast, conducted a respectful but very hard-hitting interview with Dr. Larry Dixon on the subject of hell. Dr. Dixon is professor of systematic theology at Columbia International University, and the author of The Other Side of the Good News.
My own editorial comments: It was a pretty huge deal! Dr. Dixon and his written defense of traditionalism are well-respected and oft-quoted in the debate on hell, and Chris while irenic and fair proved to be quite a challenge to Dr. Dixon’s arguments for the traditional doctrine. Not bad for someone who was still early in the process of rethinking hell at the time! I recommend that traditionalists and conditionalists alike listen to the interview, and we would love to know what you think of this exchange.
“Episode 62: The Other Side,” Theopologetics
, hosted by Chris Date, October 20, 2011, http://www.theopologetics.com/2011/10/20/episode-62-the-other-side/ (accessed May 27, 2013).
“Episode 63: Lake of Fire,” Theopologetics
, hosted by Chris Date, October 21, 2011, http://www.theopologetics.com/2011/10/21/episode-63-lake-of-fire/ (accessed May 27, 2013).