After Life for the Righteous: What? 1. 1.Kingdom of Heaven 2. 2.Heaven (Paradise) 3. 3.New Heavens, New Earth
After Life for the Unrighteous: What? 4. 4.Life before Death: Sin Wrath Judgment 5-7 Life after Death Judgment Seat Lake of Fire
Condemnation Directly: Hearing the Gospel preached and rejecting it John 12: 48 48 There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. Indirectly: Deliberately choosing evil (violating the conscience within you – image of God) - Willful backsliders fit into this category
So who gets a second chance? No one, but all get the chance to chose life or death
We have the gift (gabe) of salvation and we have the responsibility (aufgabe) to tell others.
Ezekiel 3:18–21 (NIV) 18 When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself.
20 “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before him, he will die. Since you did not warn him, he will die for his sin. The righteous things he did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. 21 But if you do warn the righteous man not to sin and he does not sin, he will surely live because he took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”
After Life for the Unrighteous: What? 8. Hell: Eternal Torment Or Annihilation?
Universalists: Unrighteous Saved in Hell Traditionalists: Unrighteous in Eternal Torment Conditionalists: Unrighteous punished and then annihilated
“God loves us. Here’s how the traditional story goes… God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part. Unless you do not respond the right way. Then God will torture you forever. In Hell.” (Bell, 2011)
“Heaven’s joy overflows as they see the wicked suffering their just desert… The just misery of hell serves its divine purpose of contributing to the happiness of the saints… True Christians should already be enjoying the thought of people in everlasting torment, as a sign that they are truly regenerate persons themselves…
Even now while the evangelical is singing the praises of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, he knows that multitudes are suffering the torments of the damned … The true Christian, aware of this, is happily, exuberantly, gladly praising the Judge of the Last Day, Jesus Christ, who has sentenced to such merited damnation millions of souls.” (Gerster Repent or Perish, 1990, 191)
‘Doctrine of the Fate of the Unrighteous’ identified 4 main areas of conviction. 1. 1.Immortality of humankind – natural or gifted 2. 2.Sovereignty v Free Will – Who decides ultimately? 3. 3.Post-mortem conversion – A possibility? 4. 4.God’s response to the refusal of divine initiatives - Justice
Traditionalists v Conditionalists 1. Immortality of the soul
Many “theologians frankly admit that the expression “immortal soul” is not in the Bible, yet they confidently declare that Scripture assumes the immortality of every soul. ‘Every man’s soul is immortal and can never be annihilated.’” (Strauss cited in Fudge, 2011, 23) 1 Timothy 6:15–16 “God, alone is immortal”.
Man …”must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” Genesis 3:22 (NIV).
Genesis 2:7 (NIV) 7 the L ORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (soul – KJV - nephesh)
Genesis 2:19 (NIV) 19 Now the L ORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, (creature – KJV - nephesh) that was its name.
“Platonists believe that all humans have an immortal element within them, normally referred to as ‘soul’ … In the New Testament, however, immortality is something that only God possesses by nature and that he then shares, as a gift of grace rather than as an innate possession, with his people.” (Wright, 2007, pp. 160-161)
1 Corinthians 15:53–54 (NIV) 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
2. Immortal Implications “God has given the wicked resurrection bodies so that they cannot die.” (Gerster, 1990, p. 140)
Traditionalists Argument Immortality – Hell forever Revelation 14 & 20 (literal interpretation) proves eternal torment All other statements and metaphors spoken by Jesus, Paul, Peter, and the other NT writers are interpreted in the light of that hypothesis.
Revelation 14:9–11 (NIV) 9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.
11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
Smoke of their torment Scripture interprets Scripture: Isaiah 34 shows that the smoke rising after Edom was destroyed was signifying the total and irreversible destruction of the place, not a continuing destroying. The same with Jude 7, illustrating the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Revelation 20:10 (NIV) 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
“The New Testament uses a variety of different pictures to describe hell: fire is one of them, destruction another, exclusion from the presence of God another. Burning in fire for eternity is the picture which got fixed in much traditional teaching about hell as though it were a literal description. The New Testament does not require us to think of hell in this way. Hell is not an eternal chamber of horrors across the way from heaven. Hell is the fate of those who reject God’s love. God’s love cannot compel them to find their fulfillment in God, but there is no other way they can find fulfillment. They exclude themselves from the Source of all being and life.” (Bauckham Hell cited in Fudge, 2011, 156-157)
3. Eternal Implications Eternal (aiōnios) “unending in time”, “forever” or “pertaining to the age to come”, “the next age”.
EternalTraditional - Everlasting Conditional Irreversible Judgment Heb 6:2 JudgingJudgment Punishment Matt 25:46 PunishingPunishment Destruction 2 Thess 1:9 DestroyingDestruction
Matthew 10:28 (NRSV) 28 Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 (NRSV) 9 These will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, separated from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
Perish/Destroy apollymi = death, destroy, ruin or destruction with the implication of disintegration, causing something to corrupt or cease to exist, destroy utterly, to destroy with the implication of removal and doing away with, to break into pieces, annihilation.
4. Second Death Implications 1 Corinthians 15:53–54 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
Isaiah 25:7–8a (NRSV) 7 And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever.
Hell is a second death. This is what the Book of Revelation says (see Rev 21:8). Just as there is an eternal life, there is an eternal death. Eternal life is a second life; eternal death is a second death. Our first death can be a passage not only to eternal life but also to eternal death. Looking at hell as a second death takes away the images of eternal suffering and torture that are so prevalent in medieval art and literature.
It defines hell more as the refusal to choose life than as a punishment for wrongdoing. In fact, the sins that the book of Revelation mentions as leading to eternal death are choices for death: murdering, worshipping obscenities, sexual immorality, lying, and so on (see Rev 21:8). When we sow death we will reap death. But when we sow life we will reap life. It is we who do the sowing! (Nouwen, A Second Death,1997, 17)
“That [first] death, ordinary death in this world, they must be prepared to suffer at the hands of the beast for their loyalty to God and in imitation of Jesus Christ … What is to be feared is not this first death, but the second, the death that all those not raised to eternal life must die The first death is the opposite only of mortal life … But the second death is the opposite of eternal life. It is what must happen when God leaves the finally unrepentant to the evil they have chosen. Without the life which only God can give they perish eternally.” (Bauckham, Judgment in the Book of Revelation, 2004, 18)
5. Justice Implications Revelation 6:9–10 (NIV) 9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. 10 They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”
“the final judgment … will be, and will be seen to be, perfectly right, utterly just, unequivocally proper, and receptive of the fullest approval of every conscience. No single human person will be dealt with in a manner that is even fractionally in diminution or in excess of what, in God’s loving and holy presence, will be seen to be just. If one may so put it, not one individual will spend one millisecond longer in hell than is their just desert.” (Milne cited in Fudge, 2011)
“The wrath of God is to unbelief the discovery of His righteousness, for God is not mocked. The wrath of God is the righteousness of God—apart from and without Christ.” (Barth 189- 190)
“For those who refuse to say ‘Thy will be done’ will have said to them ‘Thy will be done’”. C.S. Lewis
6. Summary Ezekiel 18:23 (NIV) 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign L ORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Deuteronomy 30:19–20 (NLT) 19 “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! 20 You can make this choice by loving the L ORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the L ORD, you will live long …
Ephesians 1:3–12 (NIV) 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.