The Fire That Consumes:

A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment

The definitive study of Hell and Conditional Immortality, now in its third edition with responses to critics, fully updated, revised and expanded!

About the Book

Evangelical Christians affirm together that a dreadful destiny awaits those who reject God’s grace throughout life. According to the traditional view, that destiny will involve unending conscious torment in hell. However, believers are increasingly questioning that understanding, as both unbiblical and inconsistent with the character of God revealed in the Scriptures and in the man Jesus Christ. This internationally acclaimed book—now fully updated, revised, and expanded—carefully examines the complete teaching of Scripture on the subject of final punishment. It concludes that hell is a place of total annihilation, everlasting destruction, although the destructive process encompasses conscious torment of whatever sort, intensity, and duration God might require in each individual case.


Foreword to Third Edition-Richard Bauckham
Foreword to First Edition-F. F. Bruce
Foreword to Second Edition—John W. Wenham

1. Rethinking Hell: Apostasy or New Reformation?
2. Back to the Bible: The Protestant Principle
3. Souls: Immortal or Otherwise
4. Aiōnios: Duration, Quality, or Both?
5. Sheol/Hades: Gravedom?
6. Divine Justice: When?
7. Divine Justice: Historical Examples
8. Divine Justice: Messiah and the End
9. Diversity: Apocrypha and Dead Sea Scrolls
10. Diversity: Pseudepigrapha
11. Jesus: Fire (Gehenna)
12. Jesus: Fire (Gehenna Not Named)
13. Jesus: Fire (Parable of the Sheep and the Goats)
14. Jesus: Fire (Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus)
15. Jesus: Non-fire Images
16. Golgotha: Judgment Revealed (1)
17. Golgotha: Judgment Revealed (2)
18. Thessalonians
19. Galatians and Corinthians
20. Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians
21. Hebrews, James, Acts
22. 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, Jude
23. Revelation
24. Apostolic Fathers and Their Successors
25. The Apologists: A Fire That Torments
26. Apokatastasis: A Fire That Purifies
27. Arnobius to Augustine
28. Augustine's Case for Unending Torment
29. Middle Ages to Reformation
30. John Calvin: Psychopannychia
31. An Old Tradition Questioned
32. Roots of the Current Recovery
33. The Evangelical Recovery Continues
34. A Kinder and Gentler Traditionalism
35. Refreshing the Memory
36. Afterword

Index of Authors
Index of Scriptures and Other Ancient Documents


“I commend this book warmly. It is likely to remain a standard work to which everyone engaged with this issue will constantly return.”

— Richard Bauckham, Emeritus Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Saint Andrews, Scotland

“The Fire That Consumes has long been recognized as one of the most thorough and compelling statements available of the view that the destiny of the unsaved will be final destruction rather than eternal torment. In this new edition, Edward Fudge provides extended engagement with traditionalist critics and an overview of developments in the last thirty years ensuring that it will remain a definitive work on the issue for years to come.”

— John R. Franke, Theologian in Residence, First Presbyterian Church of Allentown

About the Author

Edward William Fudge is a much-loved and celebrated Christian theologian and licensed attorney, living in Houston, Texas. In 2012, Edward's struggle with biblical truth and controversy was made into a feature film, Hell and Mr. Fudge. Today, his publication, gracEmail, regularly encourages thousands of believers around the world. He has ministered with churches of many denominations in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. He is the author of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, The Fire That Consumes, The Divine Rescue, Two Views of Hell, The Sound of His Voice, Hell: A Final Word, and other books. Edward and his wife Sara Faye have been married for over 45 years and have two children and five grandchildren.

Visit Edward Fudge's website:


The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment



A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge

In 2014 Christians from around the world gathered at the inaugural Rethinking Hell conference, to celebrate Edward Fudge’s life and work and to discuss the nature of hell. Out of that conference comes this diverse collection of essays exploring the topics of hell and immortality, for which Fudge has been widely known through his magnum opus, The Fire That Consumes.