Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chris Date and Phil Fernandes Debate on Hell

Here's a link to my blog Resources Arguing for the Traditionalist Understanding of Hell

Below are copies of the comments I posted on the YouTube video of the debate between Chris Date and Phil Fernandes. I argued for the traditionalist position because I lean toward that position at the moment. Because of the character limits on YouTube comments, I had to get creative in order to be able to post my complete thoughts in each post. So, sometimes I intentionally misspelled words, substituted them with signs or symbols or abbreviations, or broke grammatical conventions (etc.) to get it all in. I've done very minor editing on the comments. Note also that some of my comments are in response to other comments (like those of Chris Date himself). So, I recommend reading their responses too since I myself have learned from and been corrected by those comments. By my posting only my comments it may appear that I'm being biased, but I readily admit that some of the responses by Chris Date had some weight or directly answered my objections.

These are probably a basic questions that annihilationists have answers for. If the punishment for sin is ETERNAL death, how did Christ bear the penalty for sin since Christ isn't ETERNALLY dead? If Christ's atonement was of infinite value, then why isn't it applied to those who were annihilated? Or who were nearly annihilated (if one denies physicalism, requires dualism, and requires continuous consciousness to satisfy the Law of Identity)? It seems then that suffering is part of the punishment

Another question for annihilationists. If the "no rest" in Rev. 14:11 is not literal for the wicked, then wouldn't that mean that the "rest" for the saints in 14:13 (just two verses away) is not literal either?

If physicalism is true, and there need not be continuity of consciousness to satisfy the Law of Identity, then if God can resurrect the wicked for the punishment of hell, then why can't God resurrect them a second time after they are annihilated since 1. they paid for their sins already, and 2. the atonement of Christ is of infinite value and His righteousness can still be imputed. I'm a Calvinist who leans toward "L". I'm also one of those whom C. Date has communicated via email in the past.

For those who dont know, a major problem with Christian physicalism is it poses a problem with regard to the Law of Identity. Once a person dies, he ceases to exist completely. Any future "resurrection" would not be the revivification of the original person, but a creation of a mere copy (identical as the copy may be). It really isn't the same person. In which case, that new person shouldnt be punished because he hasnt committed his own sins. Besides, the original already Died (i.e punished).
I may eventually post that given physicalism, those who are resurrectioned are not only mere copies, but also have false memories implanted in them.
Also, if the punishment for sin is death, not including the suffering, then the wicked were already punished when they first died. Annihilation in Gehenna would be a case of Double Jeopardy. Clearly, therefore suffering is part of the punishment, since there are no degrees of death, yet there are degrees of punishment (Lk 10:12; 12:47; 20:47). BTW, I want to make clear that Chris Date is the CONSUMMATE gentleman and logical theological debater. I'm almost finished listening to the debate.

Conditionalist understndng of Rev. 20:14 makes some sense. But it also has some problems. What does it mean for annihilation (Death) to be thrown into the lake of fire? Or Hades (meaning either the grave or the abode of disembodied souls) to be cast into the lake of fire? A traditionalist could interpret it to mean, dying and the unnatural separation of body and soul (Death) along with waiting for one's final judgment (Hades) are what's cast into the lake. Maybe a more plausible interpretation.

How can "missing out on eternal life" be the greatest possible punishment, while at the same time "immortality is not the inherent state/possession of humans"? That wouldnt be enforcing punishment. Rather it's depriving one of grace which is UNOBLIGATED & unmerited (or of depriving one of strictly merited salvation assuming the heresy of Pelagius). Punishment is a matter of obliged justice (not withholding unobliged grace). Christ wasnt deprived of eternal life vicariously for us as an atonement

If only the physical death of Christ was necessary for atonement, then Jesus could have been executed instantly. But part of the vicarious nature of the atonement included the physical & SPIRITUAL *sufferings* Christ endured during the cross in addition to the final death.That's why God incarnated had to do it, not just any other innocent/sinless creature like an angel. Conditionalism may not be able to answer Anselm's specific question Cur Deus Homo ("why the God-man?").

Theopologetics said, "...the symbolism of rest in [Rev. 14:13] needn't mean the saved will not rest." While it's possible for "rest" in verse 11 to be figurative, and "rest" in v. 13 to be literal, I don't see how 13 can be figurative. Also, ItSeemsToMe that there's an intended parallel between the "rest" in 11 & 13 which the author was making. Thus, it's more likely that both are either literal or figurative. Since, 13 seems literal, therefore it's more likely that 11 is also literal.

@ 1:06:54 CD asks PF a good Q. A traditionalist A. would be that XP's physical body died bcause He perfectly satisfied Gods justice.Whereas, the resurrected wicked dont physically die again in hell bcause they continue to sin & add to their guilt which they cannot finally/fully pay. Also,their offense is ultimately against the infinite Dignity of God.Thats why God incarnate,who is of infinite worth,was necesary 4 atonement. Creatures of finite dignity can never fully pay 4 such infinite offenses

 At 1:19:48 PF asks CD a question about Matt.22:23ff. CD's answer makes some sense, but a TRADist answer might be better in that JC may have intentionally not answered the Sadducees' question at the level of their own argument. Christ may have been making an A fortiori argument [ kal va-chomer ], viz. "If I can prove to you an intermediate state in your accepted Canon, then the question of the possibility of resurrection is child's play." Hence, JC's statement "you KNOW [NOT]...the power of God"
Maybe I should have wrote "then the question of the possibility of resurrection is child's play [& moot]"
Re: 1:25:48, JC is clearly using equivocation 4 rhetorical effect. JC is also mixing literal w/ symbolic, physical w/ spiritual; &teaching that believing in Him @ the present time results in eternal life NOW. Similar to John11:25-26. "...Whoever believes in me, though he die [physically], yet shall he live [physically at the resurrection] , & everyone who lives [physically] & believes in me shall never die [spiritually]." Otherwise JC is contradicting Himself, or being needlessly redundant.

If part of the punishment for sin is 1. to have one's name remembered 4EVER in infamy (assuming an ANNist interpret. of Dan. 12:2) in addition to 2. eternal death [meaning continuous cessation of life], then how does Christ bear that shame & death for us eternally? Shouldnt Christ then have to have remained physically dead as well as forever remembered in contempt? That's why Jehovah's Witnesses still deny Christ's literal resurrection & used to teach that his body was dissolved.
"I explicitly said in my opening statement that the punishment Jesus bore as our substitute in our place was "suffering and death." " You're right, my mistake."Despite my having repeatedly said in the debate that we don't define death as annihilation, you put "Death" in parantheses after "annihilation." " Does that mean "cessation of life" is what's thrown into the lake? Wouldn't that then mean that they continue to live in [i.e. in the lake of fire]? I'm inputting your definition of "death" there
Chris also said that Christ both "SUFFERED and died" in our place during the Question and Answer segment of the debate (At 2:07:05 minutes). So, Chris and I would probably agree that Isa. 53 clearly teach that Jesus both died AND suffered in our place. Also, I suspect that the New Testament's use of the words "death" and "died" in reference to Christ's atonement might be a shorthand for "suffered and died" not merely "died."

Your interpretation of John 11:25-26 seems plausible. But shouldn't Jesus have phrased it like, "...and everyone who [will be living] and [was believing] in me shall never die"? Maybe the Greek makes such an indication and sides with your interpretation. I don't know Greek so I can't tell.

I wonder if anyone has every charged your position as a kind of Apollinarianism (or something analogous to it). My understanding of Christology is sorely lacking, so I myself am not making that accusation.

JCs finite punishmnt of torment IsThe equivalent OfThe eternal torment awaiting the lost by virtue of his being both DIVINE&human (divine part making it possible). 4 U 2 say the finite duration of his death WasThe equivalent OfThe eternal death awaiting executed lost doesnt seem 2 follow by parity of argument since the death was of JC's HUMAN nature, not divine. JCs human nature is like ours. There's nothing special about it 2 make it's death equivalent 2 multiple bodily deaths which last 4ever.

"Again, if Jesus' finite hours of suffering can serve as the equivalent of an eternity of suffering, the a finite time spent dead and in shame can serve as the equivalent of an eternity of such." But JC may have endured spiritual suffering with an intensity no single human could. Whereas, Jesus' body can only suffer & die in the place of one person. Shouldn't JC then need to have been incarnated & died as many times as there were people to be saved (potentially as in Arm./actually as Cal.)?

Btw, don't feel the need to answer all my questions or objections. You've clearly thought about these issues more deeply than I have. It can get tiring covering the same ground over and over again.

This'll be my last post for a while since I'm just repeating myself. If *part* of the punishment of sin is the painful knowledge in Gehenna that 1. one will eventually lose his life (cessation of life) irrevocably, as well as 2. actually losing one's life irrevocably, then it seems Jesus didn't fully endure the punishment of sin in the place of sinners since 1. Jesus knew that one day he would be resurrected after he died, and 2. he in fact was resurrected and didn't irrevocably lose his life.
Yes, I believe that Jesus the divine person died in His human nature. In *that* sense God died. I was attempting to take your position to its conclusion. Given your physicalist anthropology, when a human dies the personality (center of consciousness) also perishes. Since, Jesus didn't cease to have consciousness, on your view Jesus didn't die in the same way those in Gehenna will. Therefore it  was not a full substitute.
The TRADist view seems most likely true when (AFAIK) all Jewish theo. schools of thought (e.g. Hillel&Shammai) during and right before the time of JC which did believe in an afterlife also believed that at least some of the wicked will be tormented eternally. They used the phrases in Isa66:24 to refer to conscious torment(e.g.Judith 16:17 c.125BC).Josephus said Pharisees&Essenes believed in the immortality of the soul. Given CI, JC was a bad communicator & gave a false impression to His hearers.

[The Pharisees] also believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison...[Essenes] teach the immortality of souls..."-Josephus Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII chapter 1 section 3 [To be fair, he also noted the Sadducees didn't believe in an afterlife]

They [the Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, - but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment.- Josephus The Wars Of The Jews - Book II chapter 8 section 14. Since Paul was a former Pharisee, it's likely that he retained some of his former views as a Pharisee. He nor JC ever explicitly corrected the common view held among Jews & Pagans that (at least some) of the wicked will be tormented eternally.

CI-ists may say that taking into consideration word usage in Extra-Biblical sources violates Sola Scriptura, But serious exegetes for millennia have understood that words & phrases dont exist in a cultural vacuum. By the very nature of languages, they are culturally bound. For example, if I said, "You're FIRED!!!" [pun intended] in a certain context, people would know I was making an allusion to Donald Trump's repeated phrase in his hit TV show. The same thing with JC's allusion to Isa. 66:24.

As far as I know, all those schools that taught annihilationism for some, also believed in eternal torment for others (e.g. Hillel camp). You seem to be saying there was a group(s) that was pure ANNistic. If so, which? Though, it doesn't reallly matter, which one(s) was universalist? Shammai camp held to a form of temporary purgatory for some and eternal torment for others (AFAIK).

"Judith radically.." Many intertestamental works (e.g. Apoc.,Pseudepig.,Targums etc.) squeezed out OfThe OT concepts that were proto-Trinitarian/Christological/Pneumatological before the coming of JC. If Progressive Revelation can build on that in the area of the Godhead, why not on future punishment? JC never addressed/confronted the Pharisees directly on punishment as He did w/ the Sadducees on afterlife. JC referred to an "eternal sin" (Mk3:29).That makes most sense if the person lives 4ever.

"Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground AND DIE, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit."-Jn12;"Thou fool! that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die."-1Co15; "..[Death] does not imply even a suspension of vitality, for through the whole process of death the living germ retains its vital power unharmed. The outer coat molders away, but the principle of life is still there, vital and active."-R.Landis. Thus death is not necessarily "cessation of ALL life"

I mention Jn12:24&1Co15:36 NOT to bring up the IntermediateState, but to show that in Scripture "death" doesnt mean cessation of ALL life, otherwise JC never died since he remained a person (being the 2nd person of the Trinity). Conversely, "life" can have a qualitative sense (Deut.30:15;Ps.16:11;Mt19:17;Ro5:17;8:6 etc.). Just as one can have eternal life NOW (1Jo5:13), so unregenerate are dead NOW; "..LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD (Mt8:22//Lk9:60)" Cf. Eph2:1,5;5:14;1Tim5:6;Col2:13;Rom11:15 etc.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see DEATH"-John8:51; "...whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal LIFE. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from DEATH to life."-John5:24; "We know that we have passed out of DEATH into LIFE, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in DEATH."-1John3:14. If the same John wrote these passages along with Revelation, then that should be factored into one's overall interpretation.
I should have included John 10:28, " I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
The preponderance OfThe evidence could be interpreted in an annihilistic way, but thats only if one under values the principle of Progressive Revelation & the hermeneutical principle that the NT interprets the OT in a way that can go beyond it w/o contradicting it. While the OT may not limited how the NT should be interpreted or how the NT may interpret the OT. "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven...brings out of his treasure what is new & what is old."-Mt15:32

If the Holy Spirit wanted to avoid pagan connotations of eternal torment, why would He inspire Scripture to use culturally and theologically loaded words like Tartarus and Hades? While sheol in the OT can sometimes refer to the grave, why does it mostly seem not to? Why didn't it consistently use the Heb. word for a grave (kever)? Why would the ~70 Jewish scholar translate sheol as hades in the LXX if the pagan notion was not analogous to the Jewish understanding of the abode of the dead?

Even if the three in Rev20:10 are symbolic, they can also be literal individuals with a single(preterist) or multiple(Amill.) individual fulfillment(s) since it's common for a King to represent his Kingdom, & VICE VERSA "..YOU are the head of gold.."-Dan2:38ff cf. Dan7:17;Dan8:19-22;Act9:5b etc. So, beast & prophet can be literal humans. Just as Satan represent his kingdom of darkness.What happens to his demonic kingdom (which is made up of individuals) can happen to him; viz. eternal torment.

"These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth."-Dan. 7:17. This principle is so commonly understood that even the NKJV has a footnote at this verse saying "Representing their kingdoms (compare verse 23)" Therefore, the beast & false prophet, while symbolic, can also be literal human individuals who will be tormented forever. BTW, like you I lean toward partial preterism but i'm not dogmatic.

If, rather than distancing Himself from prior&contemporary rabbinic commentary on the afterlife, JC takes up&adopts the concept of Abraham's Bosom [which implies JC accepted an intermediate state]; then it's not impossible (even probable) that JC took up&adopted the popular understanding&use of the words "worms" & "unquenched fire" [alluding to Isa66:24] to teach eternal conscious torment. Paul himself makes use of Jewish tradition (e.g. "Jannes & Jambres" 2Tim3:8; "ROCK that followed" 1Cor10:4)

Since sins committed in Hell are against greater light (knowledge), they will deserve greater punishment (in duration &/or intensity). How then can God's punishment ever catch up so as 2 annihilate? The only way seems 2 be 2 shorten the time by compensating for it by increasing the intensity. But then that would seem 2 be unjust. It would entail God increasing pain beyond whats appropriate. So, it seems the conscious torment would need 2 be eternal. The debt increases, rather than decreasing.

"Immortality" can refer to at least two definitions 1. inherent immortality, or 2. continued conscious existence. If it's true that the torments in hell are eternal, then the damned will experience contingent "immortality" (sustained by God's power), not inherent immortality. Some CI-ists (e.g. ChrisD). agree that it would not be unjust for God to torment forever. The Bible repeatedly refers to (and uses the word) "death" in a way that's contrary to the mere "cessation of life"

Is the "alive" & "dead" in Eph2:1,5;Col2:13 proleptic and metaphorical as well? If so, then it's not really the case that "our inner man is being renewed day by day" or "being changed from glory to glory". Or that we "have" eternal life now (1Jo5:11-13). Or Born Again of "incorruptible seed" (1Pet1:23), or that God's "seed remains in us" (1Jo3:9). Or are "jars of clay" with God as treasure inside making us the temples of God. Nor have been spiritually resurrected from spiritual death (Eph5;14).

"I believe..proleptically..." If this is Chris, I would suggest that maybe your physicalism is blinding you to the possibility that there is a real ontological & spiritual change that occurs in regeneration. Your view would imply that regeneration is merely a unique/special neurological change brought about by God in the brain. "The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts." (Pro20:27).Notice it doesn't say "body of man", & that "spirit" here cannot mean "breath".

Just read "Obfuscating TRADism". I think the difficulty is understandable because we can't help mixing words in their different senses/usages (i.e. theological, Biblical, ordinary/common, philosophical). Similar to how the word "freewill", or "law" or "work" is used in different senses. Pelagian/Strict merit works? Semi-Pel? Initiating/Prevenient Grace works? Sufficient Grace? Mere effort? Obedience to Scripture or only the Tanach or only Torah or only Decalogue or only Ceremonial laws?

I never denied that some Jews at or prior to Christ's time believed in annihilation. Some believed that a portion will be annihilated, and the more wicked eternally tormented. I'll have to look into the "Community Rule" to see if they ONLY believed in annihilation. But I still think the majority view (especially those with whom Christ and the NT writers would have interacted with most) would have held to some form of eternal torment (as I documented).

And the problem with CI-ists is that they write almost as if Christ & the writers of the NT were completely ignorant/oblivious to Jewish rabbinic tradition,commentary&phraseology. Yet JC adopts/accomodates the notion of "Abraham's Bosom", Paul cites Jewish oral/written tradition & Peter/Jude cites Jewish apocrypha/pseudepigraphal books. By that time there was a long history of referring to eternal torment by the reference/allusion to "worms" & "unquenched fire" per Isa.66:24.

But the point of analogy is that in both cultures (i.e. most Jews, & most of their neighboring pagans like the Egyptians/Greeks/Romans et al.) believed in 1. an afterlife, 2. a conscious intermediate state, 3. conscious punishment for the wicked, 4. some (in both cultures) even believed that this conscious punishment was eternal. That's why the inspired authors accepted the LXX accomodation of the pagan words "Hades"/"Tartarus"

Notice too that the development of the specialized use of the word "Gehenna" didn't occur in the OT, but during the intertestamental period with all their connotations.

"...because JC didn't use extrabiblical language used by rabbis who believed in eternal torment." You're missing the forest for the trees. Since He DID use the extrabiblical notion of "Abraham's Bosom". Given your view, Jesus was giving mixed signals. He should have distanced Himself from those extrabiblical notions and never cited them at all. Given your view, Jesus violated His own teaching in Matt.15:3,9 at worst, or was a poor/bad communicator at best.

"Because death, not torment, is the punishment for sin." But Chris, you yourself said that punishment includes both the death AND the suffering. "Death can pay for all sins committed up to and including the moment one's last breath is drawn." Then there's no need for degrees of punishment, either in varying duration &/or intensity of suffering. But most knowledgeable Conditionalists affirm degrees of punishment.

Traditionalists, of course, would say you're the one who begging the question. Your view reduces union with Christ (and all that it implies in Reformation theology) to a figure of speech. "That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH, and that which is born of the Spirit IS sPIRIT."- John 3:6

I don't mean to commit the ad hominem fallacy of "guilt by association", but it was the Armstrongites (of whom I used to be) who believed that we're spiritually "conceived" now, but only Born Again at the resurrection. This is contrary to Scripture's clear statement that we're Born Again now. "...who were BORN, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."(Joh3:6); We're "new creations"(2Cor.5:17); We are "joined" and "ONE SPIRIT with [the Lord]" 1Cor.6:17.
I didn't mean to imply that you believe we're spiritually "conceived" now as Armstrongism teaches, or that we're born again at the resurrection. Only that it seems your view doesn't do full justice to Scripture's teaching on regeneration in This Age prior to the resurrection.
We can do that, but it's not necessary since I've pretty much used up my arsenal of arguments. I didn't mean to hog the comments, but this is an important topic (though not essential to salvation). I'll end my YouTube comments here. Again, you're the consummate gentleman in theological debate. Thanks for the input. I admit you've corrected me a number of time in this discussion.

I do mean to end my comments But I just can't let this go without a response. "They refer to the *intermediate* state." Not all the surrounding pagans believed in a resurrection of the body. So, it wasn't an "intermediate" state. Also, many of the surrounding pagan cultures believed that the torments were eternal. Jude 1:6 refers to "EVERLASTING Chains"."But", you may say, "it's UNTO the last Judgment." But why then use "eternal" there? So, if demons might be inprisoned eternally, why not men?

Chris, you do an AMAZING job InThe grammatical part OfThe "historical-grammatical method of interpretation". But I think weaker OnThe historical part. The question is not merely what does Scripture MEAN(at present), but also what it MEANT(in the past) to the original hearers & readers. Thats why Im not fully convinced of CI. Thats also why I've pressed U on this issue OfThe cultural context because I admit that the preponderance OfThe grammatical evidence is on your side. bye & blessings 2U.

More of my comments will continue to be posted ABOVE which won't be posted on YouTube because I don't want to hog the comments section there.


*Acts 23:8 says, "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all."

Paul, being a former Pharisees would naturally have retained some of his former beliefs. That may have included an intermediate state and eternal conscious torment for the wicked. Josephus states in his book Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII chapter 1 section 3 the following:

...They [the Pharisees] also believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again; on account of which doctrines they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people; and whatsoever they do about Divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction; insomuch that the cities give great attestations to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives and their discourses also.
4. But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this: That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent: but this doctrine is received but by a few, yet by those still of the greatest dignity. But they are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them.
5. The doctrine of the Essens is this: That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for...

 Josephus also states in his book The Wars Of The Jews - Book II chapter 8 section 14
 ...They [the Pharisees] say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good men only are removed into other bodies, - but that the souls of bad men are subject to eternal punishment. But the Sadducees are those that compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say, that to act what is good, or what is evil, is at men's own choice, and that the one or the other belongs so to every one, that they may act as they please. They [the Sadducees] also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades. Moreover, the Pharisees are friendly to one another, and are for the exercise of concord, and regard for the public; but the behavior of the Sadducees one towards another is in some degree wild, and their conversation with those that are of their own party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them. And this is what I had to say concerning the philosophic sects among the Jews.
In footnote 682 of the translator(s) it states:

 ...However, what Josephus says in the name of the Pharisees, that only the souls of good men go out of one body into another, although all souls be immortal, and still the souls of the bad are liable to eternal punishment; as also what he says afterwards, Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 1. sect. 3, that the soul's vigor is immortal, and that under the earth they receive rewards or punishments according as their lives have been virtuous or vicious in the present world; that to the bad is allotted an eternal prison, but that the good are permitted to live again in this world; are nearly agreeable to the doctrines of Christianity. Only Josephus's rejection of the return of the wicked into other bodies, or into this world, which he grants to the good, looks somewhat like a contradiction to St. Paul's account of the doctrine of the Jews, that they "themselves allowed that there should be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust," Acts 24:15. Yet because Josephus's account is that of the Pharisees, and St. Patti's that of the Jews in general, and of himself the contradiction is not very certain.

 *As has been argued by other traditionalists, the idea that human souls will eternally continue to exist after death (regardless of whether it's based on a view of anthropology that believes in the inherit immortality of the soul [which I personally deny]) was nearly a universal belief among Israel's pagan neighbors during Biblical times. Often God would correct the Israelites on the erroneous beliefs that their pagan neighbors held. But interestingly, God didn't correct the Israelites on the following views:

1.  the concept of an immaterial aspect to human nature that continues to consciously exist after death and separate from the body.
2. a final eternal conscious punishment of the wicked.
3. a "place" or dimension in which the souls of the disembodied dead reside. In the Jewish understanding that "place" was Sheol.
4. While God forbade necromancy, He never stated that it was impossible to contact the dead (even if it actually was impossible) BECAUSE the dead have ceased to exist or ceased to have life and consciousness. God could have easily told the Israelites that the dead are no longer conscious because they are no longer alive. There's plenty of evidence from the Old Testament that some or many of the Jews (including faithful Jews) believed in the continued conscious existence of the righteous and wicked dead.
5. Nor did Jesus correct the disciples in their belief in ghosts in Matt. 14:26/Mark 6:49 or at Luke 24:37, 39. That's not to say that Jesus necessarily believed and taught that the disembodied spirits of the dead wander around on earth (though apologist Steve Hays doesn't exclude that possibility). The point is that Jesus didn't correct the disciples of the common and more general belief that humans have spirits/souls which remain conscious after death.
6. Jesus nor his Apostles corrected the common pagan belief that there is a conscious and endless afterlife. Many of these pagan cultures also believed in eternal conscious punishment/punishing as well.

*Above, I quoted Josephus regarding the views of the afterlife by the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes. Here's a link to Alfred Edersheim's appendix, "On Eternal Punishment, According to the Rabbies and the New Testament." Admittedly, Edersheim's statements and views do not reflect the current state of scholarly literature on the subject since he published his book 1883. But it's likely that his general conclusions remain true.  According to Edersheim, all Jewish theological schools both right before and at the time of Christ that believed in an afterlife also believed that at least some of the wicked will endure eternal conscious torment as punishment for their sins. So, for example, while some schools believed in the annihilation of some sinners, and others believed in a kind of purgatory where the wicked will be resurrected to a blessed life after a period of punishment in Gehenna, all schools also believed that some of the wicked will be punished and tormented forever. The obvious exception are those Jewish schools that denied an afterlife at all. I'm only aware of the Sadducees as one such group. From the quotes of Josephus I gave above, it's clear that the Pharisees in general believed in eternal conscious punishment for (at least some) sinners. When it comes to the Essenes, I could only find the above quote where Josephus says they believed in the immortality of the soul. Unless, the Essenes believed in some form of universalism, then that would mean that they too believed in the eternal conscious punishment of (at least some, if not all) the impious. In light of all this, we should read the statement of Jesus in the Gospels along with the statements of the other writers of the New Testament with these things in might. If we do, I think it's reasonable to conclude that it's likely that Jesus and the rest of the New Testament teaches eternal conscious punishing. Since, Jesus never went out of his way to refute eternal conscious tormenting punishment. That's despite the fact that many of his statements could be interpreted in an annihilationist way. But those statements need to be interpreted in light of the other passages that suggest Jesus taught eternal conscious punishment ALONG WITH the fact that virtually all Jewish theological sects and schools of thought believed in some form of eternal conscious torment in Gehenna. It also must not be forgotten that St. Paul was a former Pharisee and so probably held onto some of his former beliefs as a Pharisee. This probably included the belief in the "immortality of the soul" (as Josephus put it) and eternal conscious torment in Gehenna (even if may have denied that the souls of humans are inherently immortal). When the Lord Jesus made multiple allusions to Isa. 66:24 and its reference to  "worms" and "unquenched fire" he would have known that rabbis then living and those before he was incarnated were using the phrases to refer to conscious torment in Gehenna. Therefore, he was either being a very poor communicator in giving the false impression that he accepted the common notion that Isa. 66:24 refers to conscious torment, or he really did accept it as accurate. As one example, here's one quotation from the book of Judith which was probably written between 150-100 B.C. 

Woe to the nations that rise up against my people!
The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgment;
he will send fire and worms into their flesh;
they shall weep in pain forever. (Judith 16:17 NRSV) [RSV; NAB; KJV; DRA 16:20-21]

*Annihilationists assert that the reference to "darkness" in Jude 1:13 should be interpreted in light of Job's desire for his day of birth to be dark (Job chapter 3). Meaning, Job wished he was stillborn and so not alive or conscious. However, a closer interpretive point of reference is just seven verses earlier (verse 6). Jude 1:6 refers to the "darkness" that angels in prison consciously endure. Therefore, why couldn't Jude 1:13 be referring to a similar darkness as verse 6? If so, then Jude 1:13 seems to be teaching that the human damned will exist and be conscious forever enduring some kind of "darkness" (whether literal or metaphorical) eternally. Notice that both verses talk about 1. "darkness" and describe something that's 2. "forever"/"eternal". Just as the "rest" in Rev. 14:13 and the "no rest" in Rev. 14:11 (just two verses away) probably should be *contrasted*, so Jude 1:6 and Jude 1:13 should be *compared*.

Jude 1:13
"...for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever." (ESV)
" whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever." (KJV)
"...for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." (NKJV)
"...for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever." (NASB)

Jude 1:6
"...he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day---" (ESV)
"...he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." (KJV)
"...He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;" (NKJV)
"...He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day," (NASB)

Additionally, not only is the darkness forever, but so are the "chains." These chains are probably metaphorical, representing inescapable confinement (i.e. a limitation of activity, experience and influence). But these chains are nevertheless "eternal/everlasting." Thus suggesting these angels will not be annihilated but will continue to exist consciously forever. If these angels can be punished consciously forever (v. 6) , then why not sinful impenitent human beings (v. 13)? Even 2nd Peter seems to make the connection. Just compare 2 Peter 2:4 with 2:9b (just five verses away). If Gehenna is prepared for the devil and his angels, and angels don't have bodies (Matt. 25:41), then its fire, whatever it is, can afflict spirits (at the very least) as well as physical bodies. If dualism with regard to human nature is correct, then it only makes sense for humans to be able to be cast into Gehenna which was originally prepared for spiritual beings (viz. fallen angels).

*On page 124 of Death and the Afterlife Morey says that Froom admits that 2 Enoch teaches eternal torment. Implying that Froom denied it in 1 Enoch. Morey himself (on THAT page, 124) falls short of claiming 1 Enoch clearly teaches eternal torment. However, my quick scanning of 1 Enoch suggests it does teach it. But, I'm not certain. Nor is it clear that Jude is quoting 1 Enoch rather than an oral tradition from the book or an oral tradition that existed parallel to the book from some earlier source. Or from an oral tradition that antedates the book.


  1. I enjoyed our exchange on YouTube in which you said I do a great job with the grammatical part of the historical-grammatical method, but am lacking on the historical side, claiming (as you do in this post) that Jesus' language would have been understood by his contemporaries as referring to final judgment in the form of eternal torment. I want to encourage you to purchase a copy of Dr. Kim Papaioannou's recent book, "The Geography of Hell in the Teaching of Jesus
    Gehena, Hades, the Abyss, the Outer Darkness Where There Is Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth." You can find it here: Perhaps his work fills the gap you think we annihilationists have left unfilled.

  2. I enjoyed it too. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll definitely search for it in three theological libraries nearby. BTW, because it heavily touched on the intermediate state, I didn't cite or quote Morey's comments on 2 Pet. 2:9 on YouTube. I agree that the intermediate state and dualism are different topics. However, I do think they are intimately related. For example, here's Morey's comments on 2 Pet. 2:9:

    In 2 Pet. 2:9, the condition of the ungodly between death and resurrection is described in virtually the same terms as Peter used in verse 4 to describe the condition of the angels in tartarus. The ungodly are kept for the day of judgment while being consciously tormented. The punishment is not future but a present experience of the ungodly while they await their final sentence. This has been pointed out, by such commentators as Alford, A. T. Robertson, and Vincent, as the only grammatical interpretation possible. The classic Lutheran commentator, R. H. Lenski, states that the ungodly are held for Judgment day while they are being punished. [Terein] markedly repeats the [Teroumenos] used in v. 4 and refers to keeping them in hell as the added participle shows: "while being punished" ("under punishment," R.V.; not final; "to be punished" A.V.). Peter is obviously drawing a parallel between the torment of angels and the torment of sinners as they await the day of judgment.......Having already mentioned the murky darkness of tartarus in 2:4, Peter in 2:17 speaks of the unrighteous as sharing in the same fate as the angels. Thus he speaks of "the darkness" which had already been mentioned in 2:4. "These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved." [[2 Pet. 2:17]] The KJV has aion, "forever," in the text, but the textual grounds for that reading is weak and it was probably inserted from Jude 13. What is important for us to note is that the wicked will be cast into "the murky netherworld of deep darkness." They are pictured as dwelling in murky tartarus where their lot is torment. - Death and the Afterlife by Robert Morey pages 138-139 [bold added by me; original italics removed]

    Compare that with my comments above in this blog regarding Jude 1:13 [LINK HERE

  3. The claim that this is the only possible legitimate interpretation of 2 Peter 2:9 is foolish, as the author of the book I linked you to soundly demonstrates.

    1. I don't claim it's the only possible interpretation. There are many passages in Scripture that in my opinion could go either way in defense of traditionalism or annihilationism. That's why I take an abductive approach to this issue rather than a deductive or mere inductive one. Meaning, I'm trying to reason to that hypothesis/theory that has the greatest explanatory power and scope (i.e. method of Inference to the the Best Explanation approach). Two examples are Matt. 25:46 and Dan. 12:2. For myself, both of those passages slightly lean toward traditionalism.

    2. BTW, I think we do the same thing regarding the Trinity. For example, there are passages that, by themselves might be used to support Modalism, Arianism, some other form of Subordinationism etc. However, the doctrine of the Trinity makes most sense in that it can best account for all the Scriptural evidence/testimony/teaching.

    3. I know you didn't claim it's the only possible interpretation. I was referring to the quote from Morey, who says Robertson and Vincent have said that.

      Matthew 25:46 and Daniel 12:2 do not lean toward traditionalism. They lean toward conditionalism. Both say only the risen saved will live forever, suggesting on the surface (but not necessarily proving beyond doubt) that the risen lost will not live forever. And make no mistake: the traditional view IS that the risen lost will live forever, as I prove here: What's more, the "eternal punishment" of which Jesus speaks is by means of "eternal fire" (v. 41), a phrase whose two other uses are strong support for conditionalism--at least going only by the Bible. Sure, we also need to look at the historical evidence, as the author of the book I linked to above does. As for Daniel 12:2, shame and contempt in Scripture are all about how people are perceived and remembered by others, not how the shameful and contemptible feel. The word translated "contempt" appears elsewhere only in Isaiah 66:24, where it is corpses which are compatible to the saved. So no, I'm sorry, but biblically speaking, these verses lean toward conditionalism, not toward traditionalism.