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All You Want to Know about Hell
The traditional view of hell in Christianity is also known as ‘Traditionalism’. The traditional view is the most common view because it is highly adopted by a majority of Christians in the recent past years or centuries. According to the traditional view, there is a belief in Christians that hell is a place of torment and suffering. From Roman Catholics to Baptists, it is the official view of denominations and churches. It is a topic of debate in recent past years whether it is metaphorical or either fire or pain is literal or referred to as the pain of being separated from God. The traditional view clearly defines that the wicked will have an eternal soul and body which will be in the flames of hell or will burn in the fire of hell forever.
The confusing results of sin are the literal death of soul and body and sin resulting in Separation from God spiritually. In the traditional view, hell has a simple definition it is a horrifying place. It is a punishment place in which all the wicked people will live forever after death. In hell, they will suffer the punishment for all the sins they did in their life. And all the Christian teachings are based on this concept. In Bible, the traditional views about hell are very clear and the majority of Christians are following this concept of hell. According to bible verses, hell is full of curses, away of darkness, and the way of eternal death with severe punishments.
In recent past years, multiple questions are raised about the hell and God of love. People asked how God of love can send His people to hell. It is a theological issue and many scholars answered this question in multiple ways. The biblical scholar Steve Gregg answered this question which is based on three different understandings and actual meanings of hell. In the book, ‘All you know about hell’ the historical three views of Bible-believing Christians are analyzed. The hell is an undeniable fact and its concept is shrouded in mystery. Multiple questions rose that hell is the place only for sinners and those sinners would ultimately suffer for what wrong they did.
The traditional view is that some people will not be saved, they will be judged once and for all. Some people after death gave eternal condemnation. In the traditional view, hell is considered the endless place and the place of conscious punishment for the sinner. The person in hell means there is no exit. The method and excess of punishment are based on the severity of the sin. The sinner’s sins are the causes of its severe punishments. The traditional view of hell is based on the eternal punishment after death.
The other view of hell is known as the conditional view. Its followers are known as conditionalist. Christianity is a religion in which the teachings of hell are famous. They have multiple beliefs about hell. From the traditional view, it is clear that everyone has to return to God, and it is essential to living a life in accordance with God’s will. One must choose God’s love so that one can live united with God. If the person will not live the life according to God’s will then God will not shower His mercy upon that person.
Bible-believing Christians have multiple views about hell. The views are changing in recent past years. The three views about hell are mainly discussed in ‘All You Want to Know about Hell’. The traditional view is followed by ancient people and the conditional view is the elimination of the traditional view. The third restorationism is about the Justice of God and the sinner.
The wicked person will live eternal life in hell with sorrow and pain. However, the conditional view is that the wicked in hell will live for a specific time period. It is also stated that the sinner will suffer a period of terrible anguish and agony to their individual sins and guilt and then be eternally destroyed. The wicked will spent the punishment duration in hell and then cease to exist. This view is different from the traditional view of hell. In the traditional view, the sinner will eternally suffer from punishment or the traditional view declares that every sinner or wicked person will live for punishment duration till the eternal loss or destruction of life.
The three most famous views of the book, ‘All you know about hell’ tell about the mystifying and terrifying place ‘of hell’. According to Christian views, a hell is a place of eternal torment, or hell is a place of suffering that brings about repentance and is intended to purge sin. Hell is a place of punishment for the soul after the death of the body and the soul after the resurrection. In hell, the multiple types of punishments and torrents are pictured. The Christianity view is that if we love God we will unite with God. But if we cannot choose God to love freely we cannot live with God. If the person is gravely against God’s teachings then surely the person is choosing hell, not God. The hell is a fact and a definite place. Christian teachings affirm that hell exists and it is an eternity.
The wicked will eternally destroy. The conditionalist eliminated or rejected the typical concept and view of soul immortality and hell. It was difficult for people to believe that for temporal sin the person will eternally suffer from the punishment of hell. The person who did any type of sin will live in hell and suffer from the fire of hell that is why the conditionalist point of view about hell changed. According to the traditionalist point of view, the person will suffer the punishment according to the sin and after that time period, the person will be eternally destroyed .
From a traditional point of view, people believe that the God of justice will eternally punish the sinner. But people raised questions that how the God of justice can do that? How the God of justice would torment the person for the temporal sins. The ancient Christ teachers and churches teach the traditional view of hell but the questions of conditionalist change the point of view. That the God of justice will not eternally punish the person, then God will decide the punishment duration for the sinner and after that person will be destroyed. The traditional view of hell was not easy for people to understand and follow.
The traditional view is much easy to understand the justice of God and the hell. The conditional view changed the concept of hell and many traditionalists started following the new concept of hell or traditionalism. The conditional view of hell is that the punishment period will be temporary and the unrepentant will be punished. The conditionalist point of view is that after the death the sinner can get the chance to reject or accept God. Its concept is that after the final resurrection, the unrepentant will cease to exist or will be destroyed and the fire is not tormenting and the fire of hell is consuming.
The third view is Restorationist or also known as restorationism. Restorationism or the Restorationist is the attitude that seems to the establishment and recovery of Christianity’s original form. The point of view is raised as the primitivism attitude. The movement starts with the Christians when they tried to return to early Christianity including the Church of God, Baptists, Anabaptists, etc. The restoration of early religious perspective was the new point of view raised in Christianity. The restorationism view of hell is that God will restore the creation. With harmony, God will not eternally punish the people.
The restorations concept declared that the love of God is much stronger than the love of a human. If the person is a sinner or wicked then he will suffer in hell but this would not be everlasting. The punishment will be temporary or remedial. The punishment will not permanent and the sinner will lead towards repentance and the wicked person or sinner will be reunited with God. The God of justice will not permanently punish the sinner. The restorationism view declared that God will ultimately repent the devil also. It is finally asserted by Gregg in his book that the devil will be ultimately saved. God loves His creation.
The four basic views about hell have been described. Trent has briefly discussed all the details of the views used in the book. All of the views about hell seem to be true. It depends on the faith of the person which the view will he choose. The basic idea that one can get from the book is that the person who will not follow the path of Jesus will have to face punishment.
Section 1: Rethinking Hell
Print Grice is the global network scholar and founder of the Rethinking Hell project. The first section consists of evangelical leaders and critics of Conditionals. It is stated in the book that evangelical leaders are the admirers of Conditionals and work mainly on this paradigm. This sort of theological belief is not proving false the other theological beliefs.
The second chapter of the section is “Introduction to Evangelical Conditionals”. The Evangelical Conditional is a famous term about humans and destiny. According to this belief, human beings are immortal and depend entirely on the grace of God. It is a familiar topic in the discussion of theology. It depicts that human beings are entirely depending on the grace of God for their existence.
The book ‘Rethinking Hell’ has helped to understand the modern concept of hell. The important truth about hell is briefly described in this book and written by Robert A. Peterson. The book starts with a foreword by David Wells. In this preface, he is questioning many beliefs which are present many years ago. It is also mentioned by the author that for about nineteen hundred years, there is a firm belief about the uniqueness of the church. It is an awkward fact that in modern times, these beliefs become so unbelievable. It is not because of new light coming from Bible but just due to coming darkness from a culture that there is uncertainty about the system of beliefs. After giving the comprehensive preface one can understand the ultimate concept of the Bible that these beliefs are still present in their original form as these were years ago.
Section 2: Influential Defences of Conditionals
In this book the article of Edward F. Fudge is given as, “The Final End of the wicked”. The theological consideration is well described in this article and also with the promotion of their ideas. It also contradicts the traditional view of theology. In this chapter, there is a growing discussion on evangelical theory. In this paper, the view of unending torment is depicted against traditionalism.
In, “The Nature of Final Destiny” different views about the Day of Judgment are presented. A view is about salvation and condemnation is because of a lack of relationship with God. It is stated that some people are excluded from the final kingdom of God and are based on strong beliefs of individuals about the Day of Judgment.
The “Judgment and Hell” represents the argument of universalism which depicts the terrible and eternal reality of hell. In the doctrine, the traditional view is presented. The doctrine states that eternal punishment is an unending conscious experience. This is the view after death and for those who rejected the Christ crease to exist. It is also stated that many concepts are not explained well by New Testament.
In the section of “The Destruction of Finally Impenitent”, Pinnock expresses the deep emotional outrage for the unsaved. There is endless torment for the unrepentant. There are some issues presented related to Christology and Soteriology. These issues have been taken up in various periods in church history. There is a variety of factors that could impact social and philosophical thoughts.
The last, “The Case of Conditional Immortality” depicts the belief that God created man only potentially immoral. The state of immorality can only be gained through the grace of God. This is the only justification for conditional immortality. In this view, the teachings of the old and New Testaments are most preferable and divinely inspired. The doctrine of conditional immortality is totally different from conditionals.
Section 3: Biblical Support for Conditionals
In the “Doom of the Last” Gospel of Matthew is discussed four times. It is stated mainly in the book that those who believe in eternal conscious existence rightly identify with hell. It gives the teachings of new testaments about hell. Those who believe strongly on the Day of Judgment are strong believers and admirers of God’s existence.
New testaments are presented in the section of “New Testament Teaching on Hell”. In the New Testament, universal salvation is excluded by scripture. For the wicked, there is an everlasting punishment. It is an unending process of suffering.
The book discusses many leading views. Peterson, in this book, reviewed all those concepts and leading views. In this way, he examined the evidence found in scripture and church history. These five concepts are life after death, Universalism, Postmortem Evangelism, Annihilationism, and Orthodoxy. On the basis of these beliefs, Peterson has formed his evidence while taking the original views of scripture and church history.
In the section “Does Revelation 14:11 Teach Eternal Torment?” the eternal torment is defined for non-believers. It is already described in the previous chapter. It is stated that it is a painful and long-lasting torment for non-believers. The belief is strictly entrenched in the doctrines of the Christian church. It is the view that defines the pillars of conservative evangelical orthodoxy. It is an essential element of evangelicals’ faithful belief. The doctrine is believed due to spiritual conviction.
The description of ‘eternal’ is given in the next section “The General trend of Bible Teaching”. The description of eternal is used for the everlasting torment. These represent the theories against ultimate restoration. The word ‘eternal’ is used as proof of the doctrine of everlasting torment. It is also stated that this suffering will be an everlasting state.
There are multiple claims about hell mentioned in the section “Claims about Hell and Wrath”. Powys depicts in this chapter the Universalist theory of salvation. It is centered around the theme that destruction depicts the fate of the unrighteous. The believers of Universalist theory face the opposition of ideas and also some serious losses against this point. It is stated by those believers that destruction must be instant but not everlasting.
Section 4: Philosophical Support for Conditionals
In the first chapter, “Is the Soul Immortal” the general description of death is given. It is given that soul and body die together and Calvin opposes this idea. Death is the intermediate state of sleep. It is the constant belief that is associated with the belief in the immortality of the human soul. It is the major belief that the soul would live alive after the death of the body. The soul also has sense and intellect even after the death of the body.
The chapter “Divine Justice” questions the concept of divine justice. It is associated with the firm belief of individuals about their creator. There is the firm belief that there is eternal torment for non-believers. Ordinary human beings are not even able to judge God’s ways. There should also be no doubt about it.
The chapter “Divine and Human Punishment in the New Testament” makes most references to the divine judgment in the New Testament. It is stated that in historical experiences, the wrath of God is upon sin. The Day of Judgment will reveal the righteous judgment of God. The New Testament of literature is given from beginning to end.
The chapter, “A Kinder, Gentler Damnation” depicts the content of hell and not only the general concept of hell. It is stated that there are different forms of sin and it is due to forms of self-imposed or humanity-created hell. The concept cannot be brushed aside. It is the state of eternal and conscious torment.
The next chapter “The Future of the Totally Corrupt” depicts the soul and body as the main constituents of the human body. It is the soul that is the initiator of intentional action. The soul is also the subject of conscious experience. It is the vehicle of character and belongs to different beliefs and desires. It is the traditional concept of soul given over here.
Section 5: Historical Considerations
The chapter “The Development of Gehenna between the Old and New Testaments” depicts the steps of Gehenna tradition as for granted. The traditional concept is given in various Jewish writings. In this chapter, it is stated that the concept is regenerated. It is previously stated that the concept of Gehenna is early found in embryonic form. The concept is reconstructed with this new development in considerable detail.
The last chapter of the section “Conditionals in the Early Church” depicts the concept of ‘Conditionals’. It embraces the writing of Christians of sub apostolic age. The age is near to the age of the apostles. It is the early view presented at the start of the book. The writers of that time were listed as Clement of Rome, Hermas of Rome, Papias, and Polycarp of Smyrna.
Section 6: Conditionals and Evangelicalism
The first chapter of the section “Hell and Evangelical Unity” depicts the traditionalist and condition views of hell. The study of Derek is included which is the influential study of past and present evangelicalism. The recent doctrine about evangelical unity depicts the doctrine about the acknowledgment of conditionality views. It is the concern that is also presented by many conditionalities. These views may expand the boundaries for evangelical orthodoxy.
The chapter “Diverse Christian Beliefs about Life beyond Death” depicts the belief about personal eschatology which is the Christian belief. It is the belief in life beyond death and has to do with the “Nature of Hell”. It is the traditional belief about hell that is the everlasting torment of the wicked. Some Christians believe that hell is extinction. The controversial interpretation about hell is that it is “conditional immortality”.
The last chapter of the section and book is “Equally Orthodox Christians”. This depicts the teaching of the New Testament about hell. It is stated that hell is the place where non-believers face eternal torment for once.
Overall, the book is presenting the systematic symmetry of the doctrine of hell. There are many confined views of Americans about hell and their beliefs about going to hell. It is also important in relation to biblical teachings and concerning eternity. These beliefs of people are related to the importance of truth about hell and there are lots of concerns of people associated with this truth. Peterson also believes in hell and according to him, there would be a mean time about the final judgment.
Four Views on Hell by Preston M. Sprinkle
Deny Burk is a faithful Christian and currently working as a professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College. He is also the director of the Centre for culture and Gospels. Burk has been actively participating in biblical research. His recent research was about homosexual behavior. Burk argued that Bible forbids homosexual behavior. He believed that this behavior later calls for regret and gospel renewal. His view about hell is eternal conscious torment.
Eternal conscious torment is a concept that defines that the bad doers will eternally remain in hell and will be punished forever. The concept was widely accepted but some people also criticized the base argument that God loves his people and He cannot see them in eternal suffering. Although the concept is highly criticized, Burk still believes that the eternal conscious torment is a truth. An argument that can be presented to support Denny Burk’s view is the image of a person weeping and gnashing his teeth in hell (Matt 8:12, 25:30).
The image shows a person in hell who is weeping and gnashing his teeth due to pain and suffering. The people believe that this gnashing of teeth shows the eternity of punishment although there is no clear word of eternity in the image. Those who had rejected the existence of God or had not followed the path provided by Christ will have to suffer eternal punishment in hell due to their rejection.
The views of Burk depend on the verse of Matt 25:46. The verse states that “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”. This verse proves the view of Denny Burk about eternal conscious torment. It states that if a person does everything right in his life, he will go to heaven and will remain there eternally while if a person is not doing right in his life, he will go to hell and will remain there eternally. If the biblical scripture is studied, the view of Burk about hell seems to be true. The view can be challenged by the belief of Judaism which believes that no one will remain in hell forever. They believe that the punishment in hell will continue for not more than a year. This means that they do not believe in eternity in hell or heaven.
John Stackhouse is also a professor of Religious studies at Crandall University. He is also Dean of the Faculty of Development at that university. He has been awarded multiple awards for his research work. His views about hell and eternity drew much attention because of the different nature of his points. Stackhouse has been active in religious research.
Stackhouse presented the concept of hell as a place where no one will live eternally. According to him, the repentant sinners will be forgiven after decided punishment while the unrepentant sinners will not be forgiven and will cease to exist in the afterworld. As these sinners have refused the teachings of Jesus, they will have to atone for their sins on their own after which they will die. He thinks that the human beings who will go to hell will repay their sins. After the complete atonement, they will cease to exist in the world.
Stackhouse argued that the word eternal does not mean that anyone will remain in hell or paradise for eternity. Rather he discussed that Christ is the only Eternal One in the world. He has atoned for the sins of all human beings in the world. The word eternity means that the Christians will be reunited with Christ because He is the only Eternal One in the whole world. The Matt 76 verse states that God has not made anyone immortal. This means that immortality is not even supported by Bible. The view of Stackhouse is based on the verse Matt 10:28 which states that. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” This means that God is the only one who touches the soul of human beings. The people of the world can only affect the bodies, not their souls. The religious views of Hinduism about hell are very much different from this view. They believe that the bad doers will be reborn in a bad conditions while the good people will reborn in good conditions.
Robin Parry is a Ph.D. in Old Testament theology from the University of Gloucestershire UK. He is currently serving as a commissioning editor in Wipf and Stock Publishers. His research about religious matters has been praised by many people. His basic idea about Christianity is Universalism which is widely supported in the world. He has presented the idea of universal reconciliation which states that all human beings will be reconciled to God in the end. By human beings, he meant to say all human beings, whether religious or sinful.
Parry believed that all sinful and non-repentant people will be forgiven due to the love and mercy of God for His creations. His view is based on Romans 5:18 which states that “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.” This means that the reconciliation of all human beings will be made due to the good deeds of Christ. Universalism has been widely spread throughout the world and many people believe that they will consequently go to heaven whatever they do in their life. This is wrong.
Sprinkle has discussed that universalism does exist in the world but not for all sinful and non-repentant people. If it does exist, then there remains no reason to do well or follow the path of Jesus in life. Universal reconciliation exists but it will be only for those people who will be repentant for their deeds. Those who do not even regret their deeds have no right to go to heaven. The concept has been supported by Sprinkle in the book but with the verse’ “Not all the roads lead to heaven”. The Zoroastrianism religion believes that everyone will eventually leave hell. They will be punished first for their deeds then they will be sent to heaven. It means that Zoroastrianism is against the belief of Robin Parry.
Jerry Walls is a religious researcher and currently serving as a professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University. Jerry also believes in eternal conscious torment but his views are much different from those of Burk. The difference between the views of Burk and Walls is that Burk thought that there will be eternal punishment or eternal joy for all the people while Walls believed that there will a type of purgatory in which the purification or sanctification of the people will be necessary before the decision of hell or heaven.
Jerry Walls has a view that there will be a proper type of sanctification before anyone entering in heaven. The concept was also widely believed because of the fact that heaven is a pure and holy place and everyone should be first purified before entering heaven. This purification procedure will also include the people who are repentant and are ashamed of what they have been doing in their life.
The view is based on verse 1Cor: 3:10-15 which states that “If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved–even though only as one escaping through the flames.” It means that the sins and wrong deeds of the people will be buried and they will be purified before entering heaven. The author also stated that after sanctification, the people will eternally remain in heaven. The belief of Greek is against the view of Jerry Walls in which they believe that the bad doers will eternally remain in hell (Hades). They will always remain in the punishment.
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