As a young-earth creationist for some twenty years, I’ve very much appreciated astrophysicist Jason Lisle’s contributions to the creation debate. But his blogging activity of late suggests that, while extremely intelligent and well educated in scientific matters, Lisle is nevertheless weak in the areas of exegesis and critical thinking when it comes to the hell debate, and uninformed about what those he critiques really believe. Case in point: his recent articles in defense of eternal torment (a.k.a., eternal conscious punishment, or traditionalism, owing to its historical dominance among Christian thinkers).
Lisle’s take on the doctrine of hell first came to my attention in an article back in 2020 called “The Good News About Hell,” but it wasn’t until he began publishing a series of articles, in January of 2023, that I began to really take notice. As of early February, that series is already three articles long—“Denying Eternity,” “Interpreting the Bible’s teaching on the Eternal State,” and “Has the Word ‘Eternal’ Been Correctly Translated?”—and the latest of these suggests we can expect more from Lisle soon. After the second of this recent batch of articles, which he categorizes under the category “Refuting the Critics,” I contacted Lisle, inviting him to a public dialog or debate on the topic, in which he’d be able to put his case to the test. Unfortunately, he respectfully declined.
Seen by many around the globe as a trusted source of truth, Lisle and his ministry should be held to the highest standard of academic rigor and Christian integrity. They have over 14,000 and 93,000 followers on Facebook, respectively, where Lisle’s posts are engaged with by many commenters and often shared hundreds of times. Lisle clearly values careful research and robust exegesis of Scripture, and it is not unreasonable to ask that he approach this topic with the same degree of due diligence that he exercises in his areas of expertise.
I would have preferred live interaction—especially with someone of whom I’m such a big fan—but alas, I shall have to settle for refuting his “refutations” in article form. Rather than publish one article per each of Lisle’s, I’ll group what he writes into categories and respond to each category with an article of my own. I’ll make all of my articles accessible from this introductory article so it can serve as a sort of one-stop shop for those interested in how an annihilationist (or conditionalist, a believer in what’s called conditional immortality) might respond to his case if he were to interact with one live. I’ll return and update these articles if Lisle’s series continues and he offers anything meaningfully new.