Which view of hell do you hold to?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by icthus, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. icthus

    icthus
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    The book entitled "Four Views on Hell", Edited by William Crockett, give us an interesting view of how the doctrine of "hell" is seen within the Evangelical Church. Which of these views do you see as being Biblically correct?

    1 LITERAL VIEW:

    "Many Christians still hold to a literal understanding of hell, that it is a place of eternal smoke and flames. John F. Walvoord is a strong advocate of this view"

    2. METAPHORICAL VIEW:

    "William V. Crockett defends a metaphorical view, seeing hell as a place of eternal conscious punishment but not necessarily as being a literal fire."

    3. CONDITIONAL IMMORTALITY VIEW:

    "Clark H. Pinnock articulates the view of conditional immortality, that God eventually destroys the souls of the wicked rather than punishing them endlessly."

    4. PURGATORIAL VIEW:

    "Zackary J. Hayes explains the thinking that undergirds the doctrine of Purgatory. Evangelicals will have a greater appreciation for why this doctrine developed centuries ago in the church"

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I myself am an advocate for the first view. However, I am not fully convinced that the "flames of Gehenna" are to be understood in a literal sense.
     
  2. Martin

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    LITERAL VIEW
     
  3. exscentric

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    Number one is number one so I'll vote for number one cuz I think number one is a number one choice.
     
  4. OCC

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    I think it is fire but not in the way most believe. God is a consuming fire so people in hell are tormented in God's presence. Nothing more, nothing less...as far as I know.

    I've heard before that the literal view defies laws of physics but I am not a physics expert.
     
  5. whatever

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    #2 - remembering that the reality is probably far worse than the metaphor used
     
  6. StefanM

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    2, with a qualification:

    I do not think hell MUST be literal fire, but I do think that it is possible that hell is literal fire.
     
  7. icthus

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  8. TexasSky

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    I disagree with this statement:


    "Nowhere does the Word of God indicate that the rebellious, depraved, defiant, sinful heart of men who have rejected Christ in this life will drastically change to suddenly long for fellowship with God in eternity. "

    Remember Rich man who died and the beggar who died. The Rich man begged God to let him warn his brother.

    I think they change. I just think they change too late.
     
  9. Grasshopper

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    #3 for now. I have found no evidence that the lost man has immortality outside of Christ. I also have found no satisfactory answer as to what the Tree of Life provided in Genesis.
     
  10. icthus

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    If either #3 or #4 are Biblical, then what do we make of Jesus' warning to Judas, that:

    "The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good (more advantageous) for that man if he had not been born" (Matthew 26:24)

    These words clearly show that hell, where Judas went to (Acts 1:25. Note, that hell is here called a "place", not a "state"), is a place of suffering, as the solemn words of Christ here refer.
     
  11. NateT

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    #1 or #2. My hermeneutics prof definitely took #2 approach. But he said if he got to heaven and found out it did have fire, he wouldn't be surprised -- just didn't think it HAD to have it.

    As for
    Doesn't he mean that God will eventually try to destroy the souls of the wicked? That with the best evidence He has now, that is what He will do? :D
     
  12. Nomad

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    I take the literal view. Certainly, hell is a real place. Although eventual annihilation is slightly possible, the theory is founded mostly on wishful thinking. Who among us wants to believe that our lost friends or family members will suffer forever? (I also find it hard to agree with Pinnock about anything.)
     
  13. Mercury

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    While I'm not too decided, I lean toward #3 (conditional immortality), and if not that, then probably #2 (metaphorical view). But, I haven't read any books on this topic (aside from fiction that deals with the topic, such as C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce), so my ideas are just what I've come to accept from my own Bible study. There may be good reasons for other views that I haven't come across.

    One of the main reasons I'm uncomfortable with the literal view is that it appears to be based on taking literary passages literally while reinterpreting the clearer passages. For instance, Revelation 14:10-11 and 20:10-15 describe torment in the lake of fire, but what is interesting is who all is being tormented. Revelation 20:14 says, "Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire." To me, this seems to not be literal, since I don't see how something like death can be tormented by fire. This seems to be a picture rather than a concrete, literal reality.

    The other main prooftext is the story of the rich man and Lazarus, and personally I think there's strong reasons for considering that story to be a parable. It may even be a Jewish story that was already commonly known that Jesus turned on its ear by giving it a new twist. In any case, I don't think a doctrine on hell should be formulated mainly from a symbolic vision and a possible parable.

    The more prosaic descriptions of the destiny of the wicked often seems to point to eventual destruction. John 3:16 presents two options: to gain everlasting life or to perish. While I do think the wicked will be raised to face judgement, I don't think they will also be given everlasting life to spend in a different location. Matthew 10:28 says, "And 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." Other similar verses include 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Peter 2:12, and 2 Peter 3:9.

    There's also interesting examples used of what the eternal punishment is like. Jude 1:7 says that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah serves as an example of the punishment of eternal fire. The only way to add eternal torment to that is to say that the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah are now being tormented eternally by fire. But, that requires reading a presumption of eternal torment into the text regardless of what it states, and it also negates the historical example of what happened to the cities, which is what Jude refers to. Mark 9:43-48 speaks of a place where flames and worms are eternal, but it does not say that those thrown into this place will live forever. In fact, by checking the reference Mark quotes in Isaiah 66:24, we see that it is talking about dead bodies being consumed by worm and flame in a garbage dump, and not about torment of living souls.

    This view also allows a more literal interpretation of the passages that talk about hell being more bearable for some, and of some being beaten with more blows than others. There may be a form of torment (varying from person to person), but the end of it is destruction. To me, that seems more likely that a Dante-esque hell broken into sections with different settings on the thermostat.

    Finally, this view seems consistent with the idea that hell is separation from God. According to 2 Thessalonians 1:9: "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might..." While people can be separated from God today, ultimate separation must result in ceasing to exist, because God is the eternal I AM. Because God is and God is omnipresent, to be totally separated from God is to not be. Because of this, that wonderful prophecy from 1 Corinthians 15:28 can some day be fulfilled: "When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all." God may be all in all because in eternity nothing will exist that is in rebellion to God.

    About the only verse that gives me second thoughts about the eventual destruction of the wicked is Matthew 25:26: "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." But even here, destruction is a punishment with eternal consequences: due to this punishment, the wicked will not exist for all of eternity.
     
  14. Charles Meadows

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    I'd say 1 - but I guess 2 is possible. Hell is real and is, well - hell! Whether or not there is fire it will be a place of eternal torment for those who reject Christ.
     
  15. Athanasian Creed

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    Definitely literal -

    Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

    As for Billy Graham, i believe he will go down as the greatest compromiser of Biblical Christianity ever - he is a disgrace to the glorious legacy of Anabaptist/Baptist history in defense of Christ's true Gospel - many of whom did not hesitate to give their lives, suffering horrific deaths as a result - DON'T EVER FORGET !!!


    Ray [​IMG]
     
  16. av1611jim

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    #1 definitely.

    If heaven is eternal "bliss" for the saved, then hell is eternal torment for the damned.

    Rev. 20:15
    Nothing figurative here.
    By the time of this judgement, the beast and the false prophet will have been there for 1000 years.
    Here we see both Satan and humans in the Lake of FIRE.

    How is it that we find it so disagreeable that God would torment the rebels of the universe for eternity, yet have no problem with His giving redeemed rebels the glories of heaven for eternity?

    Our ways are not His ways.

    In HIS service;
    Jim
     
  17. jdcanady

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    #2: The bible does indicate hell is a literal place. I see the description of hell as an anology, and that it will be far worse than fire that doesn't quench or worms that don't die.

    The rich man from Luke 16:19+ does not seem to be longing for God in his heart. He simply wants relief from his suffering. He doesn't cry out to God. It doesn't appear that he can see God, because he calls to Abraham.

    If no one longs for God in this life without the Holy Spirit quickening him, I don't see them longing for God in the next. Every knee will bow, but their hearts will be as black as ever. They will still be rebellious and enemies of God.
     
  18. LadyEagle

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    #1 - LITERAL.
     
  19. exscentric

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    The rich man from Luke 16:19+ does not seem to be longing for God in his heart. He simply wants relief from his suffering. He doesn't cry out to God. It doesn't appear that he can see God, because he calls to Abraham.

    If no one longs for God in this life without the Holy Spirit quickening him, I don't see them longing for God in the next. Every knee will bow, but their hearts will be as black as ever. They will still be rebellious and enemies of God.
    --------
    One of the problems with your regeneration first theology ;)

    The fact that he wanted his living brothers to avoid this place and the answer was related to moses and prophets, might indicate he knew of the spiritual not just the physical.

    For those that speak of fire, if you want to do some study, one of the words relating to this subject relates to a burning chemical that when burning is nearly invisible. Sulphur maybe???? Long long ago in the ages of yore I heard or studied this??
     
  20. jdcanady

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    How is this a problem for regeneration first theology?
     

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