How to Respond to "Jesus Taught ECT"

3 years 2 months ago #5222 by SarahsKnight
It really seems like the only necessary clencher to end the argument between CI and ECT, doesn't It? At least in the traditionalist debater's and all undecided listeners' eyes. It's the perfect all-purpose mic drop to shut the conditionalist up once and for all and his sappy humanistic justice-hating ways, because he's just too soft to stomach a little immortal-worm-chewing-on-ever-regenerating-flesh style torment, no? "Jesus taught hell." ("Thus, without further explanation or question necessary, if you deny eternal torment in hell, then you deny the teachings of Christ, thus you deny Christ Himself, yada yada yada.")

That's it. Enough said.

My history may not be complete and on the nose here, but, if we wanted to get technical, we actually COULD deny that Jesus taught hell, right? He warned of the fate of being destroyed in Gehenna, not hell, if we are in fact going by specific terminology here, because the original term was Gehenna, not hell, right? Now, I assume that whenever a traditionalist uses the argument that Jesus taught more about hell than heaven, that they are acknowledging that He is actually referring to Gehenna and they just believe that hell is a good enough interchangeable word with Gehenna since they believe either way that eternal conscious torment is the unbeliever's ultimate fate.

But the main point here is, the traditionalist believes that hell immediately equals eternal torment, so since, at least in the KJV bible, Jesus mentions hell (for example: "You vipers! You hypocrites! How will you escape the condemnation of hell?") in the written records of His ministry, then Scripture must be teaching ECT without question (never mind what many a verse in the rest of the NT and all throughout the OT seem to say in contrast to ECT).

So how does one who believes CI is the more Biblically accurate viewpoint on heaven and hell respond to "Jesus taught about hell (and more than He did about Heaven)"?

Because it seems that when using this specific argument as support for ECT, the traditionalist will only accept anything Jesus Himself said as an acceptable response from the conditionalist, so a verse from any other area of Scripture - regardless of what it says - will be off-limits and/or dodging the argument. So it looks like we'll have to limit ourselves to anything Jesus said in the Gospels as a counter. But other than Matthew 10:28 and John 3:38, I really don't know what I can use as either a Scriptural response or an argument from logic. Pretty much everything else Jesus says when referring to Gehenna or the fate of the unbeliever in any way seems to paint a picture that can at least align with ECT, even if He never outright says the words "eternal torment".

Any suggestions, please?

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3 years 2 months ago #5227 by kgddds

SarahsKnight wrote: So how does one who believes CI is the more Biblically accurate viewpoint on heaven and hell respond to "Jesus taught about hell (and more than He did about Heaven)"?
...Any suggestions, please?

My thoughts are that ECT is a “symptom” of the “disease” of inherent immortality. Maybe don’t argue the symptom, but try to expose the disease.

So, to the response, “Jesus taught about hell (and more than He did about Heaven)” you could just yield this point and respond, “I can accept that with whatever “hell” means, but tell me, at what point in the teachings of Jesus are you convinced of the notion of inherent immortality? I mean, you believe everyone lives forever, right?”

Or maybe some other questions along these lines:
1.) From a Biblical standpoint (or from the standpoint of what Jesus taught), what convinces you of the notion of inherent immortality over that of conditional immortality?
2.) Why are you convinced the second death is one of continued existence and not annihilation?

But, Houston, we have a problem! The notion (assumption) that everyone lives forever in some form is a great divide that requires a special definition of what it means to die and what it means to be destroyed. Stalemate arguments are certain when critical (core) components of those arguments are so vastly different.

If it would not be terribly wrong, and if he was capable for a moment to be honest and not deceptive, I’d like to ask Satan for a full explanation of what he meant behind his statement, “You will not certainly die.”

I guess the bottom line is that if someone is open to believing something other than the horrendous notion of eternal torment for being an unredeemed sinner, then the Bible does support believing something alternative to that.


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Grace is glory's seed; Glory is grace's bloom.
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3 years 1 month ago #5230 by Singalphile
Here's a little something, that could help.

Jesus had 5 distinct teachings about "Gehenna". They are all in the synoptic gospels.

1. It is better for a part of you to perish (or to lose a part of you) than for the whole of you to be cast into Gehenna. Matt 5:29-30, Matt 18:8-9, Mark 9:43-48

2. Don't just fear those who can kill the body, but fear God who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna. Matt 10:28, Luke 12:4-5

3. The type of person who calls his brother a fool will deserve Gehenna. Matt 5:22-30

4. The Pharisees and hypocrites made converts who were "twice as much a son of Gehenna" as they were. Matt 23:15

5. Those "serpents" and "brood of vipers" would surely not escape the sentence of Gehenna. Matt 23:33

Within that first saying (in Matthew and Mark), he refers to Gehenna as the place where "the eternal fire" or "the unquenchable fire" is (Matt and Mark), where "the worm of them does not die and the fire is not quenched" (in Mark, quoting Isaiah 66), and where the body and soul can be destroyed by God (in Matt and, less clearly, Luke).

In the rest of the NT, only James mentions Gehenna, and it's somewhat obscure (Jms 3:6).

Jesus said other things that could refer to what we call hell (though much of it is debatable).

Jesus also said many things about rewards and salvation and eternal life. It would take a good deal of time to try to count out how many times Jesus talked about "hell" and "heaven". In any case, the statement that "Jesus taught about hell (and more than He did about Heaven)" proves nothing, so I don't really see the point in that.

Jesus never plainly speaks of eternal conscious torment, nor does any other NT writer. That's why there is disagreement about that. Of course, anyone can paint a picture that will at least align with ECT. So if that's all that someone wants to do, then that's what they'll do, same as anyone else with any other view.

"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.
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2 years 10 months ago - 2 years 10 months ago #5337 by D. Barry
This is a section from my website which covers some more proof that Jesus (nor Paul) did not teach ETC. Notice the use of John 6.51....
Yet, immortality through Jesus (Yeshua) alone is what the Jewish Apostle Paul preached:

* (He/Jesus), has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Timothy 1:9b-10)

Paul clearly links immortality to the gospel. Paul did not believe the Greek philosophy of his day which taught the immortality of all souls.

Before the Messiah, Jesus, came, no one had a chance at immortality because of sin. If they did, then Paul's statement would make no sense. Why would immortality come through the gospel if all had it from birth? The gospel would not have brought about immortality - since all had it. But look how Paul frames in immortality uniquely and only with believers...

* To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)

Notice Paul uses the word "seek" when speaking of immortality. None of these attributes he lists here are inherent to mankind. If they were, then the word "seek" would clearly be out of place. Again, Paul did not believe the Greek philosophers who taught the immortality of all souls, neither did Yeshua (Jesus)...

* I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. (John 6:51)

Again, why would Jesus Himself make this plain offer to "LIVE FOREVER" if everyone lived forever?

It is important to note that in Hebrew, the word for 'soul' (nehphesh) is never used in conjunction with the word "everlasting" in Tenach (The Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament).
Last edit: 2 years 10 months ago by D. Barry.
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2 years 10 months ago #5340 by John Haak
Yes, go right to all the references to Gehenna as you did. The only two descriptive phrases related to it both are "destroy".

The root of this objection that "Jesus talked about Hell more than Heaven" seems based on the most common misconception: that to believe CI is to deny Hell exists.

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2 years 10 months ago #5344 by SarahsKnight
Thanks for the responses, guys. Unfortunately, despite all of the verses that clearly state the fate of the lost as destruction/perish/consumed/etc., I doubt it will convince anyone. They just seem to to think that no matter what the Bible actually says - even Jesus Himself in a few cases - the teaching that the soul is immortal and hell is eternal torment is just a given. It's what you are taught all your life, it's ingrained in the mind, almost inseparable, and so all the language that seems to say otherwise just MUST mean eternal torment somehow. And if you bring up all the times in the OT that God speaks of punishment and retribution where not ONCE does He say anything about what will happen after death to the disobedient Israelites OR the nations He had them destroy because of their false gods and abominable practices like sacrifice children in fire that He hated so much, ET'ers just waive it off and say that we are trying to make an argument for CI from silence, or that the nature of death and God's sense of justice of ultimate punishment just has "progressive revelation" in the Bible (apparently God's enemies roasting alive forever just didn't ever need to be mentioned for the first 80% of the Bible; nope, not until the New Testament, and even then the greater number of pro-CI verses opposed to a few that at least fit with ECT just do not matter to them).
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