Views on Hell

[Articles in the Multiple Views series are intended to present various views held by Christians, in an objective and unbiased manner]

Perspective  Proponent & Overview
 A) Literal View  i) Proponent

 

John F. Walvoord

 

“Jonathan Edwards pictured hell as a raging furnace of fire. He imagined the wicked being cast into liquid fire that is both material and spiritual”[17]

 

Charles Spurgeon: “… in fire exactly like that which we have on earth thy body will lie, asbestos-like, forever unconsumed, all thy veins roads for the feet of Pain to travel on, every nerve a string on which the Devil shall forever play his diabolical tune of hell’s unutterable lament.”[18]

 

E.B. Pusey: “The fire shall pierce them, penetrate them … like a molten ‘lake of fire,’ rolling, tossing, immersing, but not destroying.”[19]

 

Augustine (?)[20]

 

ii) Overview

 

“.. the orthodox view is commonly interpreted to be the belief that punishment for the wicked is everlasting and that it is punitive, not redemptive.”[1]

 

“… an important principle must be observed all throughout the Scriptures: while the term “forever” [in the Bible] may sometimes be curtailed in duration by its context, such termination is never once mentioned in either the Old or New Testament as relating to the punishment of the wicked.”[2]

 

“The most definitive term in the New Testament is gehenna, uniformly translated “hell” and referring to everlasting punishment (Matt 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6).”[3]

 

“All the references to gehenna, except James 3:6, are from the lips of Christ himself, and there is an obvious emphasis on the punishment for the wicked after death as being everlasting. The term gehenna is derived from the Valley of Hinnom, traditionally considered by the Jews the place of the final punishment of the ungodly …

Whatever its historical and geographic meaning, its usage in the New Testament is clearly a reference to the everlasting state of the wicked, and this seems to be the thought in every instance.”[4]

 

“Though not always expressly stated, the implication [of the New Testament passages mentioning gehenna] is that the punishment will have duration and be endless.”[5]

 

“Though the word gehenna is not used in Matthew 7:19, some believe that this is what Christ meant when he said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Also implied in Christ’s statement in Matthew 7:23 is the truth that part of the punishment of hell is to be separated from Christ forever: “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.’””[6]

 

“John implied [in Revelation 20:13-14] that the grave will some day give up the bodies of the wicked dead and that they will be resurrected in order to enter into the eternal punishment of the lake of fire. The fact that they are still in existence indicates that their existence was not terminated when they died physically, but they are still alive and suffering torment in hades, the intermediate state up to this point. This state is then emptied, however, and those who are in it are cast into the lake of fire, the second death; this action indicates eternal separation from God.”[7]

 

“Though the word gehenna is not used [in Revelation 20:10 and Revelation 21:7-8], the lake of fire is, and it serves as a synonym for the eternal place of torment.”[8]

 

“As Buis points out, the Greek word aionios in every instance refers to eternity.”[9]

 

Buis: “Aionios is used in the New Testament sixty-six times: fifty-one times of the happiness of the righteous, two times of the duration of God in His glory, six other times where there is no doubt as to its meaning being endless, and seven times of the punishment of the wicked.”[10]

 

“In support of the idea that aionios means “endless” is its consistent placement alongside the duration of the life of the godly in eternity. If the state of the blessed is eternal, as expressed by this word, there is no logical reason for giving limited duration to punishment.”

 

W.R. Inge: “No sound scholar can pretend that aionios means anything less than eternal.”[11]

 

“A general rule, however, can be established that unless Scripture specifically terminates a promise given “forever,” limiting it to time in contrast to eternity, we may assume that “eternity” means “everlasting,” as indicated in the character of God and in the character of salvation in Christ.”[12]

 

“… though aionios is generally used of eternal life, it is specifically coupled with punishment of the wicked in Jude 7 … This is in contrast to “eternal life” mentioned in verse 21.”[13]

 

“A most convincing evidence that eternity usually means “without beginning or end” is found in the definition of this word in Arndt and Gingrich. This word is used normally in the New Testament to mean either “without beginning or end” or at least “without end.” None of the passages uses the word in a sense other than infinity in time, but it may mean infinity in time past or infinity in time future.”[14]

 

“If the slightest sin is infinite in its significance then it also demands infinite punishment as a divine judgement. Though it is common for all Christians to wish there were some way out of the doctrine of eternal punishment because of its inexorable and unyielding revelation of divine judgement, one must rely in Christian faith on the doctrine that God is a God of infinite righteousness as well as infinite love. While on the one hand he bestows infinite grace on those who trust him, he must, on the other hand, inflict eternal punishment on those who spurn his grace.”[15]

 

“There is sufficient evidence that the fire is literal. In the case of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, the rich man in hades asked father Abraham to cool his tongue with water because, “I am in agony in this fire” (v.24). Thirst would be a natural reaction to fire, and the desire to cool his tongue would be in keeping with this description.”[16]
 

B) Metaphorical View  i) Proponent

 

William Crockett

 

John Calvin: “We may conclude from the many passages of Scripture, that it [eternal fire] is a metaphorical expression”[47]

 

Charles Hodge: “There seems no more reason for supposing that the fire spoken of in Scripture is to be a literal fire, than that the worm that never dies is literally a worm.”[48]ss

 

J.I. Packer: “… the mistake is to take such pictures as physical descriptions, when in fact they are imagery symbolizing realities … far worse than the symbols themselves.”[49]

 

Kenneth Kantzer: “The Bible makes it clear that hell is real and it’s bad.  when Jesus spoke of flames … these are most likely figurative warnings.”[50]

 

ii) Overview

 

“… the Bible does not support a literal view of a burning abyss. Hellfire and brimstone are not literal depictions of hell’s funishings, but figurative expressions warning the wicked of impending doom.”[34]

 

Martin Luther: “It is not very important whether or not one pictures hell as it is commonly portrayed and described.”[35]

 

“The words of Jesus and the apostles tell us that the final abode of the wicked will be a place of awful reckoning, but specifically what the reckoning will be, we cannot know for certain until we pass beyond this life.”[36]

 

“Unfortunately, some people confuse a high view of Scripture with taking every word of the Bible literally. They think that whatever the Bible says must  be true literally. But this neglects the symbolic use of words, or what is often called rabbinic hyperbole. Rabbis in ancient times (and this includes Jesus) often used colourful speech to bring home forcefully their points.”[37]

 

“For example, when Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children … he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26), he does not mean we must hate our parents to be proper disciples. This is a language vehicle used to convey the point that loyalty to him is supreme. We must love Jesus so much that our other loves seem like hate in comparison. The same is true with Matthew 5:29, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” We know Jesus did not intend people to take his words literally, because the context has to do with lust. Removing an eye – or even two eyes – will not help because even blind people lust. This is colourful speech by Jesus the rabbi; he means that sin is so serious that it is better to lose an eye than to perish in hell.”[38]

 

“In Jewish literature, vivid pictures of hell are given to show that God has ordained an end to wickedness. The writers do not intend their descriptions to be literal depictions of the fate of the damned, but rather warnings of coming judgement. In the Qumran texts, for example, mutually exclusive concepts like fire and darkness are used more to evoke a horrifying image than to describe a literal hell.

The writers speak about “the shadowy place of everlasting fire” (1QS 2:8) and describe hell as “the fire of the dark regions” (1QS 4:13). The same is true with 1 Enoch, which talks about “darkness … and burning flame” (103:7) and “blazing flames worse than fire” (100:9). Similarly, 2 Enoch 10:2 pictures hell as “black fire.”

The Testament of Abraham 12-13 uses fire to picture the Last Judgement. There the archangel Purouel (whose name means fire) “tests the works of men through fire” (13:11). The fire that burns up the works of individuals in both the Testament of Abraham 13:12 and 1 Corinthians 3:15 is not a literal fire, but a symbol of something far greater.”[39]

 

“Fire is often nonliteral in Jewish writings; they use colourful language to make a point. Even the Torah was said to have been written with “black fire on white fire” (Jerusalem Talmud, Sekalim 6:1, 49d), and the tree of life was described as gold looking in “the form of fire” (2 Enoch 8:4). There are mountains of fire (Pseudo-Philo 18:3), rivers of fire (1 Enoch 17:5), thrones of fire (Apoc. Abram. 18:3), lashes of fire (T. Abram. 12:1) – even angels and demons of fire (2 Bar. 24:6; T. of Sol. 1:10).”[40]

 

“In the Scriptures God is said to be a “consuming fire” (Deut. 4:24), who has throne “flaming with fire” that has a “river of fire” issuing from beneath the throne (Dan. 7:9-10). Sometimes the images of fire approximate our understanding of material fire on earth. God speaks out of fire that does not consume a desert bush (Ex. 3:1-6) and carries a prophet to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). In the New Testament, John says of the exalted Christ, “his eyes were like blazing fire” (Rev. 1:14). Fire is also used figuratively for discord (Luke 12:49), judgement (1 Cor. 3:15), sexual desire (1 Cor. 7:9), and unruly words (James 3:5-6).”[41]

 

“C.H. Dodd suggests that Paul “shared with many of his contemporaries the belief that … the material universe would be transfigured into a substance consisting of pure light or glory, thus returning to its original perfection as created by God.””[42]

 

“In the New Testament the final destination of the wicked is pictured as a place of blazing sulphur, where the burning smoke ascends forever. This would have been an effective image because sulphur fires were part of life for those who lived in the Jerusalem of Bible times. Southwest of the city was the Valley of Hinnom, an area that had a long history of desecration. The steep gorge was once used to burn children in sacrifice to the Ammonite god of Molech (2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:31; 32:35).”[43]

 

“How could hell be a literal fire when it is also described as darkness (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30; 2 Peter 2:17; Jude 14)? Those who raise this question have a good point … The point is that when it comes to God’s wrath at the end of time, Jewish writers are not concerned with seeming conflicts; they can describe punishment in many ways because they have no clear scheme as to what form it will take. For example, they often talk of hell as a place where the bodies of the wicked burn eternally, even though at the same time they are said to be rotting away with worms and maggots (Judith 16:17; Sirach 7:17; cf. Isa. 66:24). The author of 2 Enoch 10:2 even links “black fire” with “cold ice” in the place of eternal torment. What these writers are trying to do is paint the most awful picture of hell they can, no matter how incompatible the images might be. Yet of this they are certain: God will forever punish those who walk in the paths of wickedness.”[44]

 

“The wicked are said to weep and gnash their teeth (Matt. 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28), their worm never dies (Mark 9:48), and they are beaten with many blows (Luke 12:47). No one thinks hell will involve actual beatings or is a place where the maggots of the dead achieve immortality. Equally, no one thinks that the gnashing of teeth is anything other than an image of hell’s grim reality.”[45]

 

“The eternal fire was created for spirit beings such as the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). How then will people with spirit bodies (and disembodied spirits such as demons) be affected by a physical fire? Physical fire works on physical bodies with physical nerve endings, not on spirit beings.”[46]

 

C) Purgatorial View  i) Proponent

 

Zachary J. Hayes

 

Origen (?)

 

Clement of Alexandria (?)

 

Jerry Walls

 

ii) Overview

 

“This word [i.e. purgatory] is commonly understood to refer to the state, place, or condition in the next world between heaven and hell, a state of purifying suffering for those who have died and are still in need of such purification. This purifying condition comes to an end for the individual when that person’s guilt has been expiated. But as an eschatological “place”, purgatory is understood to continue in existence until the last judgement.”[69]

 

“To understand the inner logic of the concept of purification after death, we need to think of a number of interrelated points.

 

First, it is helpful to recall that symbolism about purgation does not begin with Roman Catholicism, nor with Christianity, nor even with the Bible. In fact, such symbolism is widespread in religious history. It is symbolism that reflects a sense of distance between human creatures and God. There is distance, first, because all creatures are limited and finite, while God is infinite.

 

Second, there is distance because human creatures are sinners. Not only are human beings “less than God,” they are also “guilty before God.” Now, if the concern of the religious journey is to move to ever greater closeness and intimacy with God in a relationship of love, one must ask how the distance between God and creature might be bridged.”[70]

 

“The idea of a purifying fire was present in extrabiblical and in biblical tradition long before the Christian/Catholic concept of purgatory used it in its own way. When such symbolism is used in a Christian context, it expresses the conviction that something happens in the encounter between God and the human creature that makes the creature more “capable” of receiving the gift of divine presence within itself.”[71]

 

“If, from this side of death, we seem to be flawed lovers, and if the condition called heaven involves the perfection of love, how can we possibly bridge that distance?”[72]

 

“… he [i.e. Augustine] speaks frequently about the cleansing suffering that awaits those who die without being adequately purified in this life. Augustine was much concerned with the moral significance of human life and with the moral continuity between this life and the next. Because of this continuity, he could envision a process of cleansing on both sides of death. He argues that it is better to be cleansed in this life than the next, for the cleansing process in the next life will be far more severe than anything experienced in this life.”[73]

 

“The idea of a process of purification and not only in this life but in the next as well seemed to Cyprian a welcome way out of an otherwise uncomfortable dilemma [i.e. good people who had failed the test of heroic martyrdom in the time of persecution]. We could argue that, with Cyprian, the central insight of what eventually became the doctrine of purgatory was formulated already by the middle of the third century.”[74]

 

“Purgatory, as Roman Catholic theology envisions it, it involves a process of purification after death for those who need it. It is a process in which the concern of the living for the dead, expressed through prayers and charitable works, may have a beneficial effect on the healing of the dead.”[75]

 

“In his brilliant study of the history, Jacques Le Goff argues that it was first in the late twelfth century that the clear reference to purgatory as a place is found in Christian literature. If this argument is correct, it means that even though many intimations of a purifying process may be found in the early centuries of Christian history, the tendency to think of purgatory as a particular place on the eschatological map was a product of the Middle Ages. And even when purgatory was associated with a special place, it is interesting that this place was not necessarily “extra-terrestrial” but could be thought of as somewhere on this planet.”[76]

 

“In summary, the notion of purgatory is intimately related to the conviction that our eternal destiny is irrevocably decided at the moment of our death and that, ultimately, our eternal destiny can be only heaven or hell. But not everyone seems “bad enough” to be consigned to an eternal hell. And most do not seem “good enough: to be candidates for heaven. Therefore, something has to happen “in between.” But this cannot mean a coming back to life and getting another chance since our destiny is decided at the moment of our death. Therefore, some sort of cleansing process is postulated between death and the entrance into heaven.”[77]

 

“… purgatory means “suffering to the end what one has left behind on earth – in the certainty of being accepted, yet having to hear the burden of the withdrawn presence of the Beloved. This is not unlike the view presented by Dante in his Divine Comedy: the souls in purgatory are those of people who were basically animated by the love of God, but whose lives at other levels were marred by blemishes.”[78]

 

“He [i.e. Origen] argued that at the end of history, the unity of creation would be restored under the rule of God. To him this seemed to be the simple requirement of the goodness of God. In the end, all the enemies of Christ would be overcome, not by being annihilated but by being won over by the divine love. This meant that those who had not made the grade during their first life would return until they had succeeded. Thus the purgative process postulated by Origen is oriented to a theology of universal salvation. In the end, Origen says, there is only “heaven.” Even what Christians have called “hell” is seen as a temporary situation that is superseded by a total restoration of all reality to its God-intended form.”[79]

 

“Other early Eastern Christian writers envisioned a form of process after death. In the early third century, for example, Clement of Alexandria taught that souls would endure some sort of remedial “fire,” a fire that was understood in a metaphorical sense. The whole vision of Clement was cast in the framework of an understanding of Christian life that saw grace as an increasing God-likeness in the just …

 

Clement envisioned a growing God-likeness, beginning in this life and continuing in the next, until the soul had reached that state of maturity appropriate to its place in the heavenly mansions.”[80]

 

“The texts of Scripture have a long and complex history, and the divine message of revelation is found not in a specific verbal formulation but in a cluster of religious insights that have their own distinctive history …

 

So while the Scriptures remain the privileged and irreplaceable literary point of contact with the basic experiences that lie at the foundation of historic Christianity, there is no specific literary or verbal formula that may simply be identified with the revealed message of God.

 

From here, the step to tradition becomes clear. In Roman Catholic thought, Christians never deal solely with the text of Scripture. There is also a history of acceptance and interpretation of that text, for no text is self-interpreting.”[81]

 

“… tradition is not a second source of doctrine next to and independent of the Bible. Rather, it is the living communication of biblical revelation in ever-changing circumstances and in new and different communities and cultures. Just as the texts of Scripture give witness to the divine revelation, so also does the reality of tradition give witness to the same revelation, but in circumstances unknown to the authors of Scripture.”[82]

 

“If we are looking for clear and unambiguous statements of the doctrine [of purgatory in the Bible], we will look in vain. But our reflections on the matter of tradition and development might suggest a reformulation of the question. We might better ask if anything in Scripture initiated the development that eventually led to the doctrine of purgatory. Or, what is it in the biblical material that generates this form of Christian tradition?”[83]

 

“Beyond this [2 Maccabees 12:41-46], there is no other Old Testament text that stands out clearly in the development of Christian purgatorial doctrine.”[84]

 

“One could ask what meaning this text [i.e. Matthew 12:31-32] could have if it were not possible that some sins could be forgiven in the next world. This, in fact, seems to be the understanding of Augustine and of Gregory the Great. Likewise, it is the understanding of various medieval popes and councils. This text, therefore, has been seen to provide at least some biblical warrant for the concept of purgatory.”[85]

 

“If we take the “Day” [in 1 Corinthians 3:15] to refer to the final judgement, then the text seems to speak of a “fire” after the particular judgement that is involved in individual death. Though it is not necessary to interpret this text to mean the fire of purgatory, it was common among the Latin Fathers to understand this fire as a reference to some sort of transient, purificatory punishment prior to the final salvation. Examples of this interpretation can be found in Augustine and Caear of Arles.”[86]

 

“In conclusion, we might say that for Christians of earlier generations, it was not difficult to find some basis in Scripture for the doctrine of purgatory, even though each particular text might be subjected to different interpretations. For contemporary readers of the Bible, the actual texts of the Scriptures offer less clear evidence of purgatory than does the history of patristic exegesis.”[87]

 

“If Roman Catholic theologians find the evidence of Scripture ambiguous, what follows after that is unavoidably a matter of tradition and the development of church doctrine. And a genuine form of purgatorial understanding was developed rather early in the patristic church.”[88]

 

“The official teaching on purgatory is found in solemn statements made by solemn assemblies of bishops and theologians recognised at least by Romans Catholics as ecumenical councils. In response to the Eastern Church, the Second Council of Lyons (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) addressed the issue. The Council of Trent (1563) did the same in response to the Protestant Reformation.”[89]

 

“The councillar teaching on purgatory is very concise. The Council of Lyons stated that those who die in charity and are truly sorry for their sins, but before they have made complete satisfaction for their wrongdoings, will be purged after death by “cathartic punishments.”[90]

 

“The Council of Trent, like that of Lyons, is brief. Trent reduces its teaching on purgatory to two points. First, purgation exists for some between death and the general resurrection, and second, the souls undergoing such purgation can be aided by the prayers and good works of the faithful and especially by the sacrifice of the Mass.”[91]

 

“… the concept of purgatory does not stand alone as a theological idea. Rather, it is part of a larger scenario that reflects the Roman Catholic understanding of how God deals with us and how we are to respond to God in the context of grace and eschatological fulfilment.”[92]
 

 D) Conditional View  i) Proponent

 

Clark H. Pinnock

 

John Wenham

 

John Stott: “I do not dogmatise about the position to which I have come. I hold it tentatively. But I do plead for frank dialogue among evangelicals on the basis of scripture. I also believe that the ultimate annihilation of the wicked should at least be accepted as a legitimate, biblically founded alternative to their eternal conscious torment.”[122]

 

Phillip E. Hughes

 

G. Selwyn: “There is little in the NT to suggest a state of everlasting punishment, but much to indicate an ultimate destruction or dissolution of those who cannot enter into life: conditional immortality seems to be the doctrine most consonant with the teaching of Scripture.”[123]

 

ii) Overview

 

“Hell is not the beginning of a new immortal life in torment but the end of a life of rebellion. Hell is, as C.S. Lewis said, the “outer rim where being fades away into nonentity.””[104]

 

“There is no single Jewish view of hell. Many sources present the destruction of the wicked (e.g., Wisd. Sol. 4:18-19; 5:14-15), while others speak of everlasting conscious torment (e.g., 1 Enoch 27:1-3). There is a similar diversity in the early Christian sources. The Apostles’ Creed affirms that Jesus will return to judge the living and the dead at the end of history, though it does not spell out the exact nature of that judgement. One can find the idea of everlasting torment (in Tertullian), annihilation (in the Didache), and universalism (in Origen).

 

The diversity was not to last, however. The view of hell as everlasting physical and mental torture came to dominate orthodox thinking early on.”[105]

 

“The Old Testament gives us a clear picture of the end of the wicked in terms of destruction and supplies the basic imagery of divine judgement for the New Testament to use …

 

While it is true that the point of reference for these warnings [in Psalm 37 and Malachi 4:1-2] in the Old Testament is this-worldly, this basic imagery overwhelmingly denotes destruction and perishing and sets the tone for the New Testament doctrine.”[106]

 

“Our Lord spoke plainly of God’s judgement as the annihilation of the wicked when he warned about God’s ability to destroy body and soul in hell (Matt. 10:28). He was echoing the terms that John the Baptist had used when he pictured the wicked as dry wood about to be thrown into the fire and chaff about to be burned (Matt. 3:10, 12). Jesus warned that the wicked would be cast into hell (Matt. 5:30), like garbage thrown into gehenna–an allusion to the valley outside Jerusalem where sacrifices were once offered to Moloch (2 Kings 16:3; 21:6) and where garbage may have smoldered and burned in Jesus’ day. The wicked would be burned up just like weeds thrown into the fire (Matt. 13:30, 42, 49-50).”[107]

 

“The apostle Paul creates the same impression when he wrote of the everlasting destruction that would come upon unrepentant sinners (2 Thess. 1:9). He warned that the wicked would reap corruption (Gal. 6:8) and stated that God would destroy the wicked (1 Cor. 3:17; Phil. 1:28); he spoke of their fate as a death that they deserved to die (Rom. 1:32), the wages of their sins (6:23). Concerning the wicked, the apostle stated plainly and concisely: “Their destiny is destruction” (Phil. 3:19). In all these verses, Paul made it clear that hell would mean termination.”[108]

 

“It is no different in any other New Testament book. Peter spoke of the “destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7) and of false teachers who denied the Lord, thus bringing upon themselves “swift destruction” (2:1, 3). He said that they would be like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that were burned to ashes (2:6), and that they would perish like the ancient world perished in the great Flood (3:6-7). The author of Hebrews likewise referred to the wicked who shrank back and would be destroyed (Heb. 10:39). Jude pointed to Sodom as an analogy to God’s final judgement, being the city that underwent “the punishment of eternal fire” (Jude 7). Similarly, the apocalypse of John speaks both of a lake of fire that will consume the wicked and of the second death (Rev. 20:14-15).”[109]

 

“The Bible does not teach the natural immortality of the soul; it points instead to the resurrection of the body as God’s gift to believers. God alone has immortality (1 Tim 6:16) but graciously grants embodied life to his people (1 Cor. 15:21, 50-54; 2 Tim. 1:10). God gives us life and God takes it away. There is nothing in the nature of the human soul that requires it to live forever. The Bible teaches conditionalism: God created humans mortal with a capacity for life everlasting, but it is not their inherent possession. Immortality is a gift God offers us in the gospel, not an inalienable possession. The soul is not an immortal substance that has to be placed somewhere if it rejects God. If a person does reject God finally, there is nothing in biblical anthropology to contradict what Jesus plainly taught – God will destroy the wicked, body and soul, in hell.”[110]

 

“Presumably the traditional view of the nature of hell was originally constructed in the following way: People mixed up their belief in the divine judgement after death (which is scriptural) with their belief in the immortality of the soul (which is unscriptural) and concluded (incorrectly) that the nature of hell must be everlasting conscious torment The logic would be impeccable if only the second premise were not false.”[111]

 

“According to Christian theology the nature of God is revealed in Jesus Christ and shown to be boundlessly merciful. God loves the whole world. His heart is to invite sinners to a festive meal (Matt. 8:11). He is a forgiving and loving Father toward them (Luke 15:11-32), not a cruel and sadistic torturer as the traditional view of hell would suggest.”[112]

 

“Our moral intuition agrees with this. There is a powerful moral revulsion against the traditional doctrine of the nature of hell. Everlasting torture is intolerable from a moral point of view because it pictures God acting like a bloodthirsty monster who maintains an everlasting Auschwitz for his enemies whom he does not even allow to die.”[113]

 

“Sending the wicked to everlasting torment would be to treat persons worse than they could deserve.

 

Consider it on the basis of an Old Testament standard of justice, the standard of strict equivalence: An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Exod. 21:24). Did the sinner visit upon God everlasting torment? Did he cause God or his neighbors everlasting pain and loss?”[114]

 

“What purpose of God would be served by the unending torture of the wicked except those of vengeance and vindictiveness? Such a fate for the wicked would spell endless and totally unredemptive suffering. Here would be a punishment just for its own sake. Surely God does not act like that. Even the plagues of Egypt were intended to be redemptive for those who would respond to the warning.”[115]

 

“The New Testament says that God is going to be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28) and that God is going to be making “everything new” (Rev. 21:5), but the new creation turns out flawed from day one. John Stott does not think it adds up right, asking: “How can God in any meaningful sense be called ‘everything to everybody’ while an unspecified number of people still continue in rebellion against him and under his judgement?”

 

What kind of reconciliation and redemption is it if heaven and hell coexist forever, if evil, suffering, and death all continue to have reality?”[116]

 

“Here [i.e. Isaiah 66:24] the dead bodies of God’s enemies are being eaten by maggots and burned up. The fire and the worm in this figure are destroying the dead bodies, not tormenting conscious persons. By calling the fire unquenchable, the Bible is saying that the fire is not quenched until the job is finished.”[117]

 

“In this text [i.e. Matt. 25:46], Jesus does not define the nature either of eternal life or of eternal death. He says there will be two destinies and leaves it there. This perspective gives us the freedom to interpret the saying about hell either as everlasting conscious torment (eternal punishment) or as irreversible destruction (eternal punishment). The text allows for both interpretation because it only teaches the finality of the judgement, not its precise nature.”[118]

 

“[In Luke 16:23-24] … unless there is a lot of room in the patriarch’s lap, the detail seems to be imagery rather than a literal description of what the future life will actually be like. In addition, the story refers to hades (the intermediate state between death and resurrection), not to gehenna (the final end of the wicked), and is not strictly relevant to our subject.”[119]

 

“Regarding Revelation 14:11, we observe that, while the smoke goes up forever, the text does not say the wicked are tormented forever. It says that they have no relief from their suffering as long as the suffering lasts, but it does not say how long it lasts. As such it could fit hell as annihilation or the traditional view. Before oblivion, there may be a period of suffering, but not unendingly.”[120]

 

“I take John’s primary point throughout Revelation to be that everything that has rebelled against God will be overcome and come to an end. G. B. Caird catches the point: “John believed that, if at the end there should be any who remained impervious to the grace and love of God, they would be thrown, with Death and Hades, into the lake of fire which is the second death, i.e., extinction and total oblivion.””[121]

 

Perspective Scriptures cited in its favour*
 A) Literal View Isaiah 33:14-15

Isaiah 66:24

Matthew 25:41

Luke 16:19-31

2 Thessalonians 1:9

Hebrews 6:3

Jude 7

Revelation 14:10-11

Revelation 20:14

B) Metaphorical View Deut. 4:24

Dan. 7:9-10

Ex. 3:1-6

2 Kings 2:11

Rev. 1:14

Luke 12:49

1 Cor. 3:15

1 Cor. 7:9

James 3:5-6

Jude 7 cf. Jude 13

C) Purgatorial View Matthew 12:31-32

1 Corinthians 3:11-15

 D) Conditional View Psalm 37

Isaiah 66:24

Malachi 4:1-2

Matthew 3:10-12

Matthew 10:28

Romans 6:23

1 Corinthians 3:17;

Phil. 1:28

2 Peter 2-3

Jude 7

Revelation 20:14-15

*[Note: The authors actually cite a lot more verses but I selected the ones which I believe the authors used in favour of their position]

 

Perspective  Evaluation
 A) Literal View i) By William V. Crockett

 

“… the biblical writers do not intend their words to be taken literally. Jude calls hell the “blackest darkness” (Jude 13) when only moments earlier in verse 7 he pictures it as an “eternal fire.” The same is true for Matthew, who often uses the opposite image of fire (Matt. 3:10, 12; 25:41) and darkness (8:12; 22:13; 25:30) when describing hell. If we extend this to the broad sweep of New Testament theology, we can hardly miss the incongruent image of blackest darkness in Jude and Revelation’s vast “lake of fire” (Rev, 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8).”[21]

 

“… physical fire works on physical bodies with physical nerve endings, not on spirit beings. We see in Matthew 25:41 that the eternal fire was created for spirit beings like the devil and his angels. The fire must in some sense be a spiritual fire, which is another way of acknowledging it to be a metaphor for God’s punishment of the wicked.”[22]

 

“… New Testament descriptions of heaven and hell are symbolic pictures, not itemized accounts of eschatological furniture. The writers use the most powerful symbols available in the first century to communicate their meaning.”[23]

 

“… in ancient times teachers often used words symbolically to underscore their points (rabbinic hyperbole, as we now call it). To be a disciple you must “hate” your father and mother (Luke 14:26), “gouge out” an offending eye (Matt. 5:29), let the dead “bury their own dead” (Luke 9:60). Such colourful language was understood by all to be hyperbole, picturesque speech to bring home the urgency of the situation. The same is true with the images of hell recorded in the New Testament. Their purpose is not to give the reader a detailed, literal picture of torment, but a symbolic one.”[24]

 

“… the pictures we have of hell outside the Bible in Jewish literature are vivid and mostly symbolic. The object was to paint the most awful picture possible, no matter how incompatible the images. Writers warn of “black fire” (2 Enoch 10:2), “blazing flames worse than fire” (1 Enoch 100:9), and a place where the wicked burn eternally, even though at the same time their bodies rot with maggots (Judith 16:17; Sirach 7:17). Their picturesque descriptions are not meant to be literal reports of the doings of the damned, but warnings of coming judgement.”[25]

 

“If we really think about it, a literal view of hell is not much different from the graphic views of Dante or the apocryphal writings of early Christians. Of course, no one today believes in a hell of sakes and boiling blood, but how is it different to say that sinners will roast in eternal fire? As Celsus, the second century critic of Christianity, put it, God becomes the cosmic cook.”[26]

 
ii) By Zachary J. Hayes
 

“That Walvoord’s own presentation is not free of non-exegetical assumptions is clear, among other instances, in the treatment of the language of time and eternity. Students of contemporary biblical studies are aware of the discussions of the language of time and eternity in O. Cullmann (Christ and Time, rev. ed. [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1964]) and others. One does not have to agree with one side or the other to realize that this language might be somewhat more complex than is reflected in the common concept of eternity as unending time.

 

Nor is there a convincing reason to persuade one that such an understanding of eternity is the proper biblical meaning of the term in every instance. It is not, therefore, a pure, positive equivalent to “everlasting duration.” There is good reason, I think, to see such a statement as a theological interpretation reflecting a particular philosophical preference.”[27]

 

iii) By Clark H. Pinnock

 

“Agreeing with his [i.e. John F. Walvoord’s] observation [that few preachers today say much in their sermons about the literal, everlasting, conscious punishment of impenitent sinners], I would offer a different explanation of this fact from his.

 

Their reticence is not so much due to a lack of integrity in proclaiming the truth as to not having the stomach for preaching a doctrine that amounts to sadism raised to new levels of finesse. Something inside tells them, perhaps on an instinctual level, that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is not the kind of deity who tortures people (even the worse of sinners) in this way.”[28]

 

“… although adamant about taking biblical language literally and willing to rest his entire case on this approach to interpretation, I do not see much evidence of him taking the Bible literally. After all, symbols of perishing and dying predominate Scripture when the subject of the destiny of the wicked is discussed, as my section shows.”[29]

 

“… further in regards to literalism, Walvoord must know … that not all Scriptures lend themselves to literal interpretation. For example, there are figures of speech, poetic passages, and apocalyptic visions. I think we have to recognize that eschatological assertions in the Bible represent, for the most part, forms of nonliteral speech and are not best understood as literal but analogical descriptions of the future.”[30]

 

“… he [i.e. John F. Walvoord] tries to explain the justice of everlasting torment by saying that even a small sin against Almighty God would be infinite in significance and deserving of infinite punishment. What kind of rationale is this? What kind of God is this? Is he and unjust judge? Is it not plain that sins committed in time and space cannot deserve limitless divine retribution?”[31]

 

“… he [i.e. John F. Walvoord] claims that belief in hell as literal fire provides us with a spur to evangelism. This just confirms my suspicion that people hold to this teaching about hell for pragmatic and not biblical reasons – hell is the ultimate big stick to threaten people with.”[32]

 

R.H. Savage: “If the doctrine of eternal punishment was clearly and unmistakably taught in every leaf of the Bible, and on every leaf of all the Bibles of all the world, I could not believe a word of it. I should appeal from these misconceptions of even the seers and the great men to the infinite and eternal Good, who is only God, and who only on such terms could be worshipped.”[33]

B) Metaphorical View i) By John F. Walvoord
 

The Metaphorical View Raises Questions about the Accuracy and Inerrancy of Scripture. The metaphorical view, as presented here, assumes that the scriptural revelation concerning hell cannot be interpreted literally. The concept of eternal hellfire is too abhorrent and, for many, too contrary to a revelation of a God of love. If, as a matter of fact, hell is not described accurately in Scripture, does this not raise the question whether it is possible that the Holy Spirit was influenced in inspiring the Scriptures by the views of its human authors?”[51]

 

The Metaphorical View Requires a Nonliteral Interpretation of Prophecy.”[52]

 

“Those who accept a literal view of hell do so largely because they accept a literal view of prophecy. In my own studies I have published an exposition of every prophecy of the Bible. In this exercise I discovered that half the prophecies have already been fulfilled very literally. In fact, it is difficult to find a single prophecy that was fulfilled in other than a literal fashion. Would not this historical fact require the interpretation of the future as being fulfilled literally?”[53]

 

“The question of how a loving God can require eternal punishment of the wicked must be seen in the light of his historic judgements upon sin.”[54]

 

The Metaphorical View Lacks Proper Exegesis that Includes All the Pertinent Facts Relating to this Doctrine. I find it singular that this very carefully drawn chapter does practically nothing with the doctrine of sin and its infinite character in relation to the infinite righteousness of God.”[55]

 

“Mention is made of apparent suffering in hades now, but there is no recognition of the fat that some in hades have been there for thousands of years and, apparently, for that period have been suffering and will continue to suffer up to the time they are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20).”[56]

 

“If the view be adopted that hellfire is not literal, what is the nature of punishment in hell? The most prominent descriptions of both hell and the lake of fire (including gehenna) is the characterization that it is fire. If, for the sake of argument, fire is considered symbolically, of what is it a symbol? The rich man in hades is said to be in “agony” (NIV), in “torment” (NASB0, or in “torments” (KJV). This described hades as it exists today. According to Revelation 20:10, the devil, the beast, and the false prophet will be “tormented day and night for ever and ever” (NIV, NASB, KJV). This describes the future lake of fire. Not much is gained by taking the fire of hell as symbolic, thus softening the punishment of either hades or the lake of fire.”[57]

 

“There is not a single passage in the Bible that ever states that the punishments of hell are temporary or will be terminated. Obviously, when it refers to destruction, it refers to destruction of the body and the resulting judgement of God that occurs at death.”[58]

 
ii) By Zachary J. Hayes
 

“When pushed, I might even be tempted to argue that this approach to the text [i.e. the metaphorical view] might qualify as the most literal approach. If by literal we mean to take the text for what it really is, would this not mean that we read a poem as a poem, a fable as a fable, a piece of historical narrative as history, etc? Specifically, would it not mean that we read metaphors literally for what they are when we read them precisely as metaphors and not as actual descriptions of fact?”[59]

 

“Whatever we might say about this [i.e. the metaphorical view], it is important in dealing with any text to distinguish between the medium and the message. It is certainly possible to be honestly and deeply concerned about the integrity of the biblical message and still be convinced that, at many crucial moments, the language of Scripture is highly symbolic and metaphorical. In fact, this may be the most appropriate way of expressing that sense of desperate loss which lies at the core of the idea of hell without in any way describing such a condition in specifics.”[60]

 

iii) By Clark H. Pinnock

 

“When I read Crockett, I feel that I am in the presence of one who understands the problems of the traditional view the way I do, and in ways Walvoord does not. I agree with him [i.e. Crockett] that one cannot preach what the tradition has said about literal hellfire, because it is such a morally and judicially intolerable notion (and one not even necessary according to exegetical considerations.”[61]

 

“The fact that Augustine and Edwards could have cauterized their consciences into believing it [i.e. a literal hellfire] should make no difference at all to us. After all, both men believed in double predestination as well. One simply has to admit that tradition contains a number of obnoxious things that need changing; so let us be bold to change them. The credibility of the Christian message is at stake – for as Crockett says, people are not likely to worship a cosmic cook as God.”[62]

 

“I also appreciate Crockett’s scholarship and his tone of fairness on many issues. For example, he refuses to reject my position on hell as annihilation on the grounds that a group like Adventists teach the same thing, and he rejects the idea that it is wrong because it is different from what Augustine taught. Many defenders of hell in the tradition stoop to such desperate tactics, and Crockett will have nothing to do with them.”[63]

 

“Naturally I agree with Crockett about literalism being part of the problem. Hellfire is a metaphor or analogy for something on another level. There is (I think) a commendable shift here from thinking of punishment extrinsically (like a physical blow) to thinking of it intrinsically (as morally appropriate to the act). Just as the rewards of heaven should not be viewed as cash payments but rather fulfilment of the love we have for God, so the pains of hell do not extrinsically torture sinners but are an appropriate response to the choices they have made against God.”[64]

 

“It seems to me that Crockett leaves us in the dark about the nature of his nonliteral hell. Unlike Jean Paul Satre or C.S. Lewis, he offers us no analogies of hell as they understand it. He mentions that Calvin said it would be better to take hellfire metaphorically than literally, but what exactly does “better” mean in this context? I would say that Satre’s nonliteral version of hell is better because, although mentally tough going, there are no flames licking up one’s leg. A hell like that, though grim enough and no picnic, would be “better” because it would be less sadistic. Is that what Crockett has in mind?”[65]

 

“… Crockett twice quotes Billy Graham as musing whether hellfire might not refer to a burning in our hearts for God, and one remembers that C.S. Lewis could compare being in hell to living in a dingy, grey city. Such a hell may resemble living in Chernobyl but is hardly the equivalent to gehenna. Walvoord and I judge such proposals as sheer speculations that cannot be considered serious interpretations of the hell that Jesus spoke about. If fire is the biblical image, something terrible must be meant by it, even if it be a metaphor.”[66]

 

“Crockett says several things that lead one to conclude that he thinks that the punishment in his nonliteral hell will be the equivalent of or worse than punishment in literal fire. For example, he cites J. I. Packer as saying that the biblical images symbolize realities “far worse” than the literal references would suggest. And Crockett himself adds somewhere else that the fire, though nonliteral, is “a symbol of something far greater.” Why then does he come down so hard on Walvoord for being sadistic? Why does he leave the impression that a nonliteral view like his would make it possible to preach about hell again? It seems to me that he has painted himself into the same corner.”[67]

 

“According to Crockett’s view too, God will still torture people everlastingly, at least as intensively as (maybe more intensively than) the traditional view envisages. Let the reader ask: Has Crockett really solved anything?”[68]

C) Purgatorial View i) By John F. Walvoord

 

Purgatory Is Based upon the Allegorical School of Interpretation at Alexandria. Hayes quotes with approbation the church father Orgien, whom some biblical scholars, both Protestant and Roman Catholic, view as heretical. Origen and other church fathers like him maintained that the entire Bible should be interpreted allegorically; such a hermeneutical method defeats not only eschatology but all other major areas of theology as well.”[93]

 

Purgatory Depends Upon Aprocryphal Writings. As the discussion makes clear, the major passage in support of purgatory is found in 2 Maccabees 12:41-46, an apocryphal writing accepted by the Roman Catholic Church but not by Protestant theologians. This is their major proof text and is a tacit admission that the Bible itself does not have a clear teaching on this subject.”[94]

 

The Doctrine of Purgatory Depends upon “Revelation” Given to the Roman Church in the Middle Ages. In appealing to the authority of the church, especially as it existed in the Middle Ages, Hayes’s treatment obviously departs from a credible basis for belief among many Protestants. Not only does it teach postbiblical revelation but, in a sense, claims that such additional revelation was given in harmony with Roman Catholic doctrine; this is not the Protestant point of view. Again, this is a confession that the Bible itself does not teach purgatory.”[95]

 

Biblical References Do Not Teach the Doctrine of Purgatory

 

References to 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 have no indication that the judgement is remedial; the bad works declared to be burned up relate to rewards, not to one’s eternal salvation. The use of the statement that the blasphemy of the Spirit cannot be forgiven (Matt. 12:30) does not give grounds for belief that it can be forgiven in the next world. Matthew 12:32 plainly states, “Anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.” This is hardly a ground for a purgatorial judgement that provides retribution.”[96]

 

The Doctrine of Purgatory Requires an Inaccurate Definition of Grace

 

The question is whether grace is sufficient to save a Christian “who is far from perfect,” as the chapter mentions. Obviously, if perfection is required, nobody is saved. But does retribution in hell provide that perfection?”[97]

 
ii) By William V. Crockett
 

“Hayes never discusses whether this purgative cleansing is instantaneous or takes place over a period of time.”[98]

 

“The concept of solidarity in Paul’s letters may perhaps be extended to include the idea of believers in the community helping each other and praying for one another, but this has nothing to do with purgatory or with the prayers of saints influencing the fate of the dead.”[99]

 

“… in solidarity with Christ, believers already have forgiveness of sins (Rom. 8:31-39; Col. 1:14). As Paul said: “If righteousness could be gained through the law [through our good deeds], Christ died for nothing” (Gal. 2:21). To suggest, as Hayes does, that most believers are not ready for heaven, smacks of the kind of works theology Paul so strongly opposed. Such grace might not seem deserved, but it nevertheless is the possession of those justified in Christ (Rom. 5).”[100]

 

iii) By Clark H. Pinnock

 

“It is not clear what Hayes thinks about the nature of hell, though. I know he believes in the fact of hell, but I cannot tell what he thinks about its nature.”[101]

 

“Belief in purgatory is an ancient tradition just as everlasting conscious punishment is, so I do not see how it can be ruled out of consideration by evangelicals. Perhaps it has even more credibility as a tradition. Ironically, I rather think that it actually does.”[102]

 

“I would defend  a doctrine of purgatory in this way, It is obvious that Christian character is not perfectly transformed at death. Therefore, it is reasonable to hope that there might be a perfecting process after death. Without discounting the decisiveness of decisions made in this earthly life, a doctrine of purgatory would allow for continued growth in the same direction …

 

Evangelicals would not think of purgatory as a place of punishment or atonement because of our view of the work of Christ, but we can think of it as an opportunity for maturation and growth.”[103]

 

 D) Conditional View i) By John F. Walvoord

 

Conditional Immortality Challenges the Doctrine of Scriptural Inerrancy … As in the metaphorical view, the common assumption that the Bible bends to the wrong conceptions of punishment that existed in the first century and implies that the Holy Spirit was not sovereign in guiding the Scripture and that the writers were not kept from error. The teaching of Christ on the subject of hell is also labeled as a misrepresentation.”[124]

 

The Conditional View of Immortality Interprets Prophecy in a Nonliteral Sense

Such a view of prophecy, however, is contradicted by the fact that fifty percent of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled, and fulfilled with meticulous accuracy, thus supporting the concept that prophecy was intended to be interpreted literally. It is contradictory for the same theologians who accept the literalness of the second coming of Christ, as embodied in the creeds of the church, to move to a nonliteral view of the events preceding it and of those following it.”[125]

 

The Conditional View of Immortality of the Wicked Interprets Passages on Destruction of the Wicked Inaccurately and Ignores Passages which Contradict Their Conclusions Regarding Life After Death

The Bible is very plain that the wicked continue living after physical death–as stated, for instance, in Hebrews 9:27-28: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sanctified once to take away the sins of many people.” The judgement is after death, not at death, which implies existence after the body dies.”[126]

 

The Conditional Immortality of the Wicked Ignores Scriptural Evidence of the Continued Sufferings of the Wicked in the Lake of Fire …

The beast and the false prophet were thrown into the lake of fire at the beginning of that period (Rev. 19:20); now, a thousand years later, if the millennial kingdom be admitted, they are still in the lake of fire, and they along with the devil, “will be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Rev. 20:10). If the Scripture wanted to reveal the unending torment of the wicked, how else could it be stated? Passing these passages by as if they do not exist and offering inadequate evidence that the wicked are destroyed at death undermine the whole concept of the conditional view of the immortality of the wicked and make it an untenable position by anyone who accepts the truth of prophecy in Scripture.”[127]

 

The Conditional View of the Immortality of the Wicked Ignores the Word “Eternal.” Opponents of the view  of eternal hell characteristically fail to take note of the word aionios in the Greek New Testament, which Greek lexicons with no theological bias define as meaning “eternal.” Noted scholars can be quoted that there is no argument on this point. If verbal inspiration extends to the words of Scripture, and if the Scriptures declare that hell is eternal, how can a person upholding conditional immortality of the wicked ignore these facts?”[128]

 

ii) By William Crockett

 

“To annihilationists it seems ludicrous to say that God will remove nature, yet still have sinners languishing in hell. But the Jewish writers of late antiquity do not follow this line of reasoning … Put bluntly, harmony comes when evil is removed – notwithstanding the method. To them, the wicked are hostile elements, instrusions that mar the landscape of God’s renovation. When judgement finally comes, the wicked are cast aside, and that is all that matters.”[129]

 

“An examination of the background literature surrounding the Bible is of limited help because Jewish writings contain texts that support both annihilationism and eternal torment.”[130]

 

“Everything we know has a beginning and an end, and the thought of punishment that never ends not only frightens but mystifies us. We try to imagine an eternity where sinners have no hope, where time is meaningless, and where there is no end to existence, and we wonder how God could perpetuate the live of lost souls as they wander endlessly in the nether gloom. And so we make up new theology–or at least that is what I think Pinnock and his kind are doing.”[131]

 

“Convinced that the doctrine of eternal hell is savage beyond belief, Pinnock ignores the contexts and historical settings of the New Testament, opting (as I said in my chapter) for possible interpretations rather than the more probable. What Pinnock needs to grapple with, but does not, is the historical setting in which Jesus’ statements about hell are found. Pinnock overlooks the significant fact that the Pharisees were the largest and most popular Jewish sect in first-century Palestine, and they taught that the soul suffered eternal conscious punishment. So when Jesus talked about the destruction of the wicked in hell and referred to their weeping and suffering, the Pharisaic crowds would have understood him to mean endless suffering, unless he specified that the punishment was annihilation (which of course he never did).”[132]

 

“Adding to Pinnock’s problem is the consistent testimony of Christians in the first half of the second century. Eternal suffering, not annihilationism, is what they taught. (Pinnock’s suggestion that annihilation might be found in the Didache [ca. A.D. 125] has no merit; not once does the document talk about this doctrine.) What Pinnock needs to explain, and again does not, is why the generations immediately after the New Testament period were silent about annihilation. Consistently they wrote about the wicked suffering in eternal hell. Is it not reasonable to suppose that they were teaching what their fathers and grandfathers taught?”[133]

 

iii) By Zachary J. Hayes

 

[1] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.12

[2] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.18

[3] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.19

[4] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.20

[5] Ibid.

[6] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.20-21

[7] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.23

[8] Ibid.

[9] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.23-24

[10] Buis, Doctrine of Eternal Punishment (1957), p.49

[11] W.R. Inge, What is Hell (1930), p.6

[12] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.25

[13] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.26

[14] Ibid.

[15] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.27

[16] John F. Walvoord, “The Literal View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.28

[17] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.48

[18] Charles H. Spurgeon, as noted by Fred Carl Kuehner, “Heaven of Hell?” in Fundamentals of the Faith, ed. Carl F. H. Henry (1975), p.239

[19] An early sermon by E.B. Pusey, quoted in Geoffrey Rowell, Hell and the Victorians: A Study of the Nineteenth-Century Theological Controversies Concerning Eternal Punishment and the Future Life (1974), p.108

[20] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.139: “Augustine taught us to view hell as a condition of endless conscious torment in his body and soul. In his The City of God (Book 21), he defends this view and argues at length against all objections to this notion.”

[21] William Crockett, “Response to John F. Walvoord” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.30

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] William Crockett, “Response to John F. Walvoord” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.31

[26] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.50

[27] Zachary J. Hayes, “Response to John F. Walvoord” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.34

[28] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to John F. Walvoord” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.38

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid.

[32] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to John F. Walvoord” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.39

[33] R. H. Savage, Life After Death, quoted by A.H. Strong in Scriptural Theologies (1907), p.1035

[34] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.44

[35] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works: Lectures on the Minor Prophets, II, Jonah, Habakkuk (1974), 19:75

[36] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.45

[37] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.50-51

[38] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.51

[39] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.52-53

[40] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.53

[41] Ibid.

[42] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.57

[43] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.57-58

[44] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.59

[45] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.60

[46] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.61

[47] John Calvin, Commentary on a Harmony of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, trans. William Pringle (1949), pp.200-201

[48] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (1876), 3:868

[49] J.I. Packer, “The Problem of Eternal Punishment,” Crux 26 (Sept 1990), p.25

[50] Kenneth Kantzer, quoted in “Revisiting the Abyss,” U.S. News & World Report (March 25, 1991), p.63

[51] John F. Walvoord, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.77-78

[52] John F. Walvoord, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.78

[53] John F. Walvoord, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.79

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] John F. Walvoord, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.80

[57] Ibid.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Zachary J. Hayes, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.83

[60] Ibid.

[61] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.85

[62] Ibid.

[63] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.84-85

[64] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.86

[65] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.87

[66] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to John F. Walvoord” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.37

[67] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.87-88

[68] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to William V. Crockett” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.88

[69] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.93

[70] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.95-96

[71] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.96

[72] Ibid.

[73] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.96-97

[74] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.97

[75] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.98

[76] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.98-99

[77] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.99

[78] Ibid.

[79] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.100

[80] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.100-101

[81] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.102-103

[82] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.103

[83] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.104

[84] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.105

[85] Ibid.

[86] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.106

[87] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.106-107

[88] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.108

[89] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.111

[90] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.113

[91] Ibid.

[92] Zachary J. Hayes, “The Purgatorial View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.113-114

[93] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.119

[94] Ibid.

[95] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.119-120

[96] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.120

[97] Ibid.

[98] William V. Crockett, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.123

[99] William V. Crockett, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.125

[100] Ibid.

[101] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.128

[102] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.129

[103] Clark H. Pinnock, “Response to Zachary J. Hayes” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.130

[104] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.137

[105] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.138

[106] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.145

[107] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.146

[108] Ibid.

[109] Ibid.

[110] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.148

[111] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.148-149

[112] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.149

[113] Ibid.

[114] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.152

[115] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.153

[116] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.154

[117] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.155-156

[118] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.156

[119] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.156-157

[120] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.157

[121] Clark H. Pinnock, “The Conditional View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), pp.157-158

[122] John Stott, Evangelical Essentials: A Liberal-evangelical Dialogue (1988), pp.319-320

[123] Edward G. Selwyn, The First Epistle of St. Peter (1961), p.358

[124] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Clark H. Pinnock” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.167

[125] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Clark H. Pinnock” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.168

[126] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Clark H. Pinnock” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.169

[127] Ibid.

[128] John F. Walvoord, “Response to Clark H. Pinnock” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.170

[129] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.63

[130] William Crockett, “The Metaphorical View” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.64

[131] William Crockett, “Response to Clark H. Pinnock” in Four Views on Hell. Ed. William Crockett (1996), p.172

[132] Ibid.

[133] Ibid.

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