Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Annihilation Refuted

  • Introduction:
          -Eternal Torment: the souls of dead unbelievers or unrepentant sinners suffer eternal punishment in literal flames.
          -Annihilationism: souls of dead unbelievers and/or unrepentant sinners get destroyed immediately (instead of eternal damnation in flames).
          -Defenders of the "Annihilation" doctrine would include the Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Christadelphians, and others.   
  • Logically Necessary:
          -If God will grant eternal salvation to people who love and place their trust in Him, then He would also grant eternal condemnation to people who willingly act contrary to His will. The Lord reveals no partiality and will thus judge everybody equally according to his or her own deeds (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Why not believe that our comfort or existence in heaven will also last only for a short period of time, as well?
  • A License To Sin:
          -If a person desires to continue acting in an evil manner, then he or she will have no worries about any sort of future punishments. After all, a non-existent being cannot feel any pain. So there will ultimately be no punishment for any sins in this erroneous theological framework.
  • Flat Contradiction To Biblical Teaching:
          -The Bible emphatically teaches that the wicked will endure everlasting punishment in hell (Mark 9:43-48; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9; Revelation 14:11; 20:10).
  • The Parable Of The Rich Man And Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31):
         -Luke 16:19-31 is the most comprehensive passage in Scripture discussing what happens in the afterlife, what it is like, and why people end up where they are after death. The context describes hell as being a state of everlasting punishment. The interpretation of the verses listed previously is totally consistent with the picture presented in Luke 16:19-31 and thus delivers an irrefutable blow to annihilationism!
        -This teaching must have been an actual occurrence because Abraham was a real literal Old Testament character. So it is not actually a "parable."
        -Even if Jesus Christ intended His words recorded in Luke 16:19-31 to be a metaphorical parable, the text would still clearly teach that unrepented sin will permanently sever us from the presence of God.
  • The Greek "Aionion":
         -Annihilationists correctly point out that the Greek word "aionion", which is translated into English as "eternal", does not always mean eternal. The word generally means an age or period of time. However, the New Testament clearly denotes the Greek term "aionion" to mean an eternal length of time. The term is also 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 the literal flames of hell is indeed a startling truth. Attempting to deny its existence is only futile.

13 comments:

  1. 1 Cor 11:19. Yes we should always be ready to combat heresy, right Jesse. Just because people find the idea of eternal punishment unsavory, it doesn't do them any good to disbelieve what the bible tells us.

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  2. Hi Jesse, I'll reply here to your two articles, as you asked:

    1) I agree that God gives eternal damnation to the wicked, but not that this eternal damnation consists in an eternal torment. The eternal condemnation of which the Bible speaks is nothing more than eternal death (as opposed to eternal life). The opposition is not between eternal life in heaven and eternal life in hell, but between "life" and "absence of life" (for all eternity).

    2) First, it is necessary to clarify that I do not advocate a direct annihilationism, but an annihilationism after a period of time of punishment proportional to the sins of each one. The proportionality of punishments is much more logical and just than their eternity, so a father does not hit the undisciplined son "forever", but for the time that corresponds to his crime. The unsaved already have sufficient reasons not to live in sin, such as to avoid this proportionate punishment, to avoid eternal and irreversible death, and especially to seek eternal life with God in heaven (which must be the goal of every Christian, and not merely "escape from hell"). And I am convinced that if anyone is in Christ solely out of fear of an eternal torment, it is because he did not find Christ in fact. Whoever is in Christ is with him because he loves him and wants to live with him forever.

    3) These texts cited there I explain in separate articles on each of them, see for example:

    http://www.lucasbanzoli.com/2019/01/qual-e-o--de-fago-de-fogo-do.html

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2013/08/o-que-e-bo-which-no-morre.html

    http://devendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2012/12/o-inferno-e-o-fogo-eterno.html

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2013/08/mateus-2546-fala-de-um-tormento-eterno.html

    4) The parable of the rich and Lazarus does not serve as proof of the immortality of the soul more than the parable of the talking trees of 2 Kings 14: 9 proves what trees speak. When it comes to parables, the personification of inanimate beings is common, in an unreal setting, in order to teach a greater spiritual truth. I wrote about it here:

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2013/07/estudy-completo-e-aprofundado-sobre.html

    5) I understand that the "aionion" is eternal even though the Greek word has multiple meanings. But what is eternal is death, not torment.

    6) [About the other article] We do not believe in "soul sleep", but soul death. In this article I show you 70 biblical texts in Hebrew and Greek that show the death of the soul (texts usually omitted in the Portuguese translations, and presumably also in the English versions):

    http://heresiascatolicas.blogspot.com/2013/04/a-morte-da-alma-imortal-parte-2.html

    7) The text does not say that "Stephen went to heaven," says only that he "fell asleep" (Acts 7:60).

    8) On the "absent of the body and present with the Lord":

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2013/08/partir-e-esta-com-cristo.html

    9) On the thief of the cross:

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2013/07/estudo-completo-sobre-lucas-2343-hoje.html

    10) On the souls under the altar:

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2012/12/as-almas-de-altar.html

    11) Elijah and Enoch did not die, so they are not disembodied souls in heaven.

    12) On Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration:

    http://www.lucasbanzoli.com/2019/03/moises-ressuscitou-o-monte-da.html

    13) On the "God of the living, not of the dead":

    http://desvendandoalenda.blogspot.com/2012/12/deus-de-vivos-e-de-mortos.html

    14) Jesus said in John 11:25 that "though he were dead, YET SHALL HE LIVE" (in the future, that is, in the resurrection), not that "though he dies, he lives" (as though he were alive in the present). The next verse says that whoever believes in him will not ETERNALLY die, that is, he refers to eternal death (what the Bible calls "second death"), not to the present death, through which all pass.

    Hugs!

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  3. Interested people can view my article on soul sleep over here:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-refutation-of-soul-sleep.html

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  4. I address points one and two in this article:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/04/is-conscious-eternal-torment-reasonable.html

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  5. The Lord Jesus Christ had the scribes and Pharisees in mind when He spoke concerning Lazarus and the rich man. Nonetheless, conscious life after death can be deduced from an unbiased reading of Luke 16:19-31.

    It flows naturally from the text, although the "tongue" and the "eyes" of the rich man are obviously metaphorical due to the figures being souls. Recognizing that certain aspects of this event are not to be understood literally does not negate the aforementioned points.

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  6. I think that the sixth article you wanted me to read is based on a misunderstanding of the Hebrew word used in various places. While it can mean "soul," it can also refer to the throat, the neck, breath, life, people, a living being, or a deceased person (meaning physically dead, not implying complete nonexistence).

    To take all of these examples and only read "soul" apart from the context is irresponsible and ignores how the Hebrew and Greek languages work.

    The biblical references that you mentioned in your sixth link speak of God's judgement. A lot of them can easily be understood as referring to eternal punishment. A number of your "proof-texts" refer to just that, physical death.

    In addition, to be "cut of" is a technical Hebrew expression meaning that one is exiled or excommunicated from society (or even executed). See Genesis 17:14 and Leviticus 17:4. This article is relevant here:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/04/evangelicals-and-annihilation-of-hell.html

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  7. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 shows believers entering into the direct presence of God upon death without any mention whatsoever of losing consciousness ("...while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord...We are confident...to be away from the body and at home with the Lord").

    I agree that Paul speaks about the hope of the resurrection in this chapter, but he is talking about something slightly different in verses six through eight because he mentions away from the body. He speaks of being with Christ as an immediate reality upon death.

    Paul also says that to die is to gain (Philippians 1:20-24). Why would that be if he is just going to cease being conscious after death?

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  8. Notice how Stephen's soul went directly home to be with the Lord (Acts 7:59). "Fell asleep" is a reference to him dying from being stoned.

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  9. The issue of the placement of the comma in Luke 23:43 is addressed in this article:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/05/should-translators-place-comma-before.html

    Helpful notes on the ascension can be found here:

    https://rationalchristiandiscernment.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-ascension-of-jesus-christ.html

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  10. Despite protestations to the contrary, Matthew 17:1-9 does support conscious life after death. The fact remains that Jesus Christ was speaking to Moses who had already been long dead (Deuteronomy 34:5-7). The NET Bible provides some backdrop concerning the transfiguration:

    "sn In 1st century Judaism and in the NT, it was believed that the righteous would be given new, glorified bodies in order to enter heaven (cf. 1 Cor 15:42-49; 2 Cor 5:1-10). This transformation meant that the righteous will share the glory of God. The account of Jesus’ transfiguration here recalls the way Moses shared the Lord’s glory after his visit to the mountain in Exod 34:28-35. So the disciples saw Jesus transfigured, and they were getting a private preview of the great glory that Jesus would have following his exaltation."

    How could Peter, James, and John see Moses and Elijah? One potential suggestion is that the two appeared with Christ in a way that the three could recognize. The argument takes into account the notion of the disciples correctly identifying Moses and Elijah apart from never seeing them previously.

    Also, the Scripture is not clear on whether or not we are able to see human souls. Luke 16:19-31 seems to indicate that human souls remain conscious after death and are recognizable to each other. Scripture does not give us every detail in such matters. We do need to remember that there are hidden things which God, in His unsearchable wisdom, has chosen not to make known to mankind (Deuteronomy 29:29). We cannot be overly dogmatic in such matters. You attempt to humiliate your critics with straw man assertions such as these:

    "Nevertheless, immortalists prefer to defend the thesis that Jesus underwent a Spiritist session of communication with the dead, passing over the divine prescriptions in this respect, randomly choosing two random characters without representing anything greater, one of them being a spirit without a body who needed a tent to spend the night."

    Necromancy is trying to speak with the dead using illegitimate means. The key to its condemnation is the witchcraft involved in order to obtain blessings or predictions. However, even speaking to souls that have perished is not sinful if God has brought someone. The point of the transfiguration was to show the preeminence of Christ, not His reliance on power from people who have died. Jesus Christ was actually speaking with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration in His glory.

    Furthermore, biblical prohibitions against contacting the dead presuppose conscious life after death. Why try contacting dead people if their souls are not consciously existing?

    The kingdom of God was formally instated during the earthly ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, but will not be brought to its full expression and completion until His second coming.

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  11. As for the Greek word Kolasis and Matthew 25:46, this excerpt from a New Testament word study dictionary, edited by Dr. Spiros (originally cited by Matt slick), is relevant here:

    "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."

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  12. Concerning the souls under the alter, your article is eisegesis designed to support false doctrine. Revelation has both literal and figurative language. Figurative uses "like," "as," "as if," etc. when John is using figurative language. There are literary devices in Revelation. When no figurative is meant, he does not use those terms. The souls are alive, period.

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  13. Concerning your article on Matthew 22:32, you conflate two ideas: resurrection and being a spiritual being with the Lord now. Yes, the first does not prove the second, but Christ discussed both. God is the God of the living means exactly that -- all are living immortally, either separated from God or with him eternally. All your sophistry aside, you know what the text says but deny what is being said so you can practice eisegesis to support the mistaken notion of soul sleep.

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