Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Annihilation Refuted

  • Introduction:
          -Eternal Condemnation: souls of unbelievers are sentenced to an eternity of misery and humiliation. They are separated from God because He is holy.
          -Annihilationism: lost souls get destroyed or cease to exist after the moment of physical death. Thus, there is no conscious afterlife for these people. Only the righteous will experience immortality.
          -Defenders of the annihilation doctrine would include, but are not limited to, the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and Christadelphians.
  • Annihilationism Is A License To Sin:
          -If a person desires to continue acting in a sinful manner and dies in an unrepentant and unbelieving state, then he will have no serious concerns about any sort of future punishments. After all, a non-existent being cannot face judgment for sin by God. So there will ultimately be no punishment for any sins in this theological framework.
  • Annihilation Contradicts Biblical Teaching:
          -If annihilation is true, then why not also believe that our comfort and existence in heaven will last only for a short period of time? The word "eternal" is used to describe both "life" and "punishment" in Matthew 25:46, which puts advocates of annihilationism in a pickle. The same comments are applicable to Daniel 12:2.
          -Revelation 14:9-11 and Revelation 20:10 narrate the fate of the wicked as facing the wrath of God without reference to them being annihilated.
          -Jude said that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah suffer "eternal fire" (Jude 7) which lasts "forever" (Jude 13) as an object lesson for the ungodly. That language has very specific implications, which do not sit well with annihilationism. The people of those cities were still suffering divine judgment at the time of this epistle being written.
  • The Story Of The Rich Man And Lazarus Serves As Biblical Evidence That Souls Remain Conscious After Physical Death And That Unbelievers Do Not Cease To Exist (Luke 16:19-31):
           -Even if one does not interpret this story to be literal history, plenty of details exist to indicate conscious life after death with the moral lesson that unrighteous people will face judgement by God.
  • On The Greek Term Kolasis In Matthew 25:26:
          -"κόλασις kólasis; gen. koláseōs, fem. noun from kolázō (2849), to punish. Punishment (Matt. 25:46), torment (1 John 4:18), distinguished from timōría (5098), punishment, which in Class. Gr. has the predominating thought of the vindictive character of the punishment which satisfies the inflicter’s sense of outraged justice in defending his own honor or that of the violated law. Kólasis, on the other hand, conveys the notion of punishment for the correction and bettering of the offender. It does not always, however, have this strict meaning in the NT. In Matt. 25:46, kólasis aiṓnios (166), eternal, does not refer to temporary corrective punishment and discipline, but has rather the meaning of timōría, punishment because of the violation of the eternal law of God." (Excerpt taken from the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, edited by Spiros Zodhiates)
  • On The Greek Term Aionion:
          -Annihilationists correctly point out that the Greek word "aionion," which is translated into English as "eternal," does not always mean eternal. However, the New Testament clearly denotes the Greek term "aionion" to mean an eternal length of time. The term is used to describe the length of God's reign (Revelation 11:15) and our salvation (John 3:16). The concept of a literal, eternal conscious torment in hell is indeed a startling truth. Attempting to deny its existence is foolish to the utmost.

1 comment:

Searching for Truth said...

Very Good article Jesse.

Continuing on your point regarding logical necessity: If God is truly just, and if God is infinitely good, it would seem unjust if the punishment for sinning against an infinitely holy God were temporal (or temporary) in nature rather than infinite.

Regarding the Meaning of αἰώνιος [eternal]: its meaning in relation to perdition is made clear in Mt 25:46 where we see a clear antithetical pairing between κόλασιν αἰώνιον [eternal punishment] and ζωὴν αἰώνιον [eternal life]. The same word, letter for letter, is used in both. If the life is eternal, then of necessity so is the punishment.

Mt 25:46 (NASB) — “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [καὶ ἀπελεύσονται οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον, οἱ δὲ δίκαιοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. (NA28).].