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That does, indeed, seem a straw man. But may we not ask and hope that even after death there remains the possibility for the human person to choose relationship with God and thereby enter, too, onto the path, however painful, of transformation into the likeness of Christ?
Perhaps I only flaunt my ignorance, but may we not at least hope that, especially for those whose hearts seem to long for and belong to God as deeply as any of ours, death will be that revelation which will convince them to turn finally toward God in Christ? As a further thought I would point out that as Orthodox Christians we defend absolutely the gift of free will given to man. And we accept and teach that if any person chooses not to participate in communion with God in Christ he necessarily chooses separation, dehumanization and what we generally call Death.
And the longer and more deeply he chooses those things the more absolutely he determines his separation from God. In terms of engagement with unbelievers on this subject, we hardly even have to make use of the language of judgement and condemnation. God would never choose separation, but He will never, ever, force conversion or transformation. And, finally, as we speak about Love, we simply must acknowledge that we understand almost nothing.
We long for universal salvation because we love each other as human beings do. But, surely, God longs for each of His children with a Love we cannot even begin to fathom, and it is that ineffable Love which has itself allowed the agony of separation. Humanly, we reason from things like the belief that it is kinder to euthanize a suffering animal than to allow it to continue its existence; and thereby, we may arrive at a desire for annihilationism, or, at the very least, at the chatacterization of Death as non-Life or a kind of black nothingness.
But to project such beliefs about euthanasia of animals, for example on to this discussion of the body, soul and spirit of a human person is simply not allowable. When we speak about the human person who simply will not, ever, choose communion with God, we must simply acknowledge that God alone knows what is Good and what Love prescribes. If that is to allow the human person to continue to exist in separation from Himself, eternally experiencing His Love as suffering, then who are we to conclude that the God Who Is Love is not acting in Love?
To think we know what Love is or what Love requires is, ultimately, nothing more than foolish presumption. I would very much appreciate your thoughts on my first question. Covenant is mentioned quite a lot in the Scriptures and in the Fathers as they interpret the Scriptures. There is nothing wrong with what you say about how you understand the Orthodox perspective, but I think perhaps that set of images is more tuned to how these things work out for the individual person, especially perhaps in response to Protestant soteriology.
There is actually not as much in Scripture about what salvation means to the individual and rather a lot about what it means for the world. The theology of protestantism and its perspective does make it confusing for me to see certain terms and phrases in a new light. I do understand that the word covenant is used a lot and certainly a major part of scripture. But, I certainly am no expert, nor should I pretend to be. Stephen is actually pretty learned when it comes to Biblical studies.
Andrew mentioned, the Covenant is talked about continuously in Scripture in one form or another, both directly using the word, and, for example, when St. Paul is talking about the Law, he is talking about precisely the Old Covenant. Since Testament is the 17th century synonym of covenant, our Scripture is divided into two parts, the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. As I mentioned briefly in the piece, covenant implies Kingdom, because the type of covenant in the Scriptures is specifically the kind that a new king issues to his new vassals.
More importantly, by controlling narrative in this context I meant that the covenant between God and His people, either Old or New, is, as it were, the background score continuously playing as the other narratives unfold. The other historical narratives of the Old Testament, for example, are called the Deuteronomic History because the way they are written and structured assumed that the reader will have in mind the commandments of the Old Covenant, specifically the form that takes in the book of Deuteronomy.
The Holy Scriptures belong to the Church. Their language is our language. The Protestants may want to claim the Bible for their own, but I for one am not going to turn it over to them. Its written by the Church, for the Church, and has been preserved through 20 centuries within the Church. Thank you for your clarification. Since I come from a protestant background and took bible from a Lutheran school it can be difficult for me to see the nuances of language that are used in an Orthodox lens.
There are probably more similarities than differences it is the same bible , and this is what makes it difficult for me. Since much of the language and theology of Orthodoxy is different enough from a Protestant context, it has helped me understand the differences. Sorry for my confusion. With respect for the obvious amount of work you put into this article, I must admit that I found it perplexing on a number of levels.
Although I know it is a necessary thing when a priest sets out to teach the Faith, I often find it baffling when any among us set out to assert that this is what God means or intends. Do we not know that we are utterly incapable of comprehending Him? We are blessed with the Scriptures, the Fathers, Jesus in the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit, but as individuals trying to figure things out, we are, in the end, clueless about most things. We simply cannot comprehend the love of God. Attempting to do so is enough to rupture our tiny souls.
It is a joyous rupture, but it is still way beyond us. We also cannot understand the nature of God in His Being. How could He who is Being Itself delay in order for time to pass? Is He governed by the earth spinning on its axis or its revolutions around the sun? To give people time to repent — would He allow one person 95 years and another just a few seconds before dying in an accident at age 15?
I could go on and become even more tedious. We know that there is sin and that we separate ourselves from God who is our life when we commit it. We know by faith that God gave us the Way to be restored to life in Him through the Incarnation, death and Resurrection of Jesus. If we want life and not death, we know the Way, we know Who to follow and what to do.
We do not need to fear hell because we know this. We may not live it perfectly but we see that Jesus, in the Gospels, has great patience for the imperfect as He leads them to perfection. We cannot know how God has dealt with anyone else — e. We trust that a God who would empty Himself, accepting suffering and death to save us from our self-imposed death, must be loving beyond anything we can know or comprehend.
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Thus, we can only believe that He must love those we love even more than we do. How could He love them less? Hilarion of Volokolamsk has a refutation of universalism in the second volume of his Orthodox Christianity series in which he states:. The consistent and decisive proponents of this teaching were Archpriest Sergius Bulgakov and N. Lossky was more cautious, yet still spoke out in favor of this teaching.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh in particular also repeatedly defended it in his compositions… However, the opinions of individual theologians and philosophers defending the teaching of universal salvation do not grant it legitimacy. The Church condemned the concept of apokatastasis. I think most universalists of the St. Isaac strain can agree with the anathemas of the 5th council, even the most forceful one that is used to crush any version of apocatastasis. The simple and beautiful belief of St Isaac is that the impious will cease to be impious as they experience the full force of the consequences of their sin.
Jodi, I also tried to nail down an answer to that a few years ago. Eventually I concluded simply that it is not a dogma of the Church. But of course others disagree. As with so many issues that are not dogmatized it all depends on which Fathers and which Scriptures are given primacy. Well said Connie. That we pray for the reposed also confirms that we believe in the dynamic condition of those in the intermediate state of souls.
Church Fathers who teach that there can be no conversion after death, lived in a society and culture that was Orthodox Christian. Obviously there is a great difference between those who experienced the True Faith in the lifetime, and those who lived where the Gospel was not known. Marc makes an important point here. The rest of those in Hades had Christ in His fullness revealed to them.
So, there is here a great mystery. There are a few things we can say for certain. The Last Judgment will indeed be the Last Judgment, its verdict will be final. As St. At the same time, from our perspective in this world of time and space the Last Judgment has not happened yet, and so we pray for mercy for ourselves and our loved ones. In the end, we have to entrust those we love to Christ, in this world, in death, and in the world to come. We know that He will do not only what is right, but also what is merciful and loving and compassionate.
Father De Young: What then does the rainbow in Genesis 9 signify? Will God break his promise and again destroy all the living except for a chosen few? God sets down his bow, meaning He unilaterally declares peace with humanity. If you go back to Genesis 5, before most folks start reading the Flood story, when Noah is born, it is prophesied that God is going to save the world through Noah. Mankind has become horribly wicked, and declared war on God.intrex.info/modules/perry/site-de-rencontre-jeune-serieux.php
Judgment & Hell: God May Be Kinder Than You Think! Epub
They are so wicked, in fact, that their wickedness has tainted the whole Creation around them. God loves His Creation, and so he embarks to save it from humanity through Noah and His family. Only those who were in the ark came through the Flood to new life on the other side.
Ultimately, however, the problem endured, because sin had also infected Noah and his family. We see that almost immediately, humanity went back to its old tricks, as the next story in Genesis is the Tower of Babel. Just as what we see in the Flood story, salvation in Jesus Christ is cosmic. In fact, I think it is these passages talking about the fact that salvation extends to the whole Creation that are most often misinterpreted in a Universalist fashion, because they are taken to be talking about individual salvation.
For St. Paul, for example, the Resurrection is a Resurrection of the whole created order, and Resurrection for St. Paul is not avoiding death, but passing through death and coming out the other side. Not just every human being, but the heavens and the earth will be die and be reborn at the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But the Scriptures are quite clear on the fact that just as the ark symbolically showed, it is only those who are in Christ who will successfully pass through death into new life in the Kingdom. But, I think it a gross misinterpretation to think that in Genesis 9 God disarms Himself completely and becomes some kind of pacifist. In fact, in Genesis , immediately preceding the covenant sign of the rainbow, God points out that there will be a reckoning for every drop of human blood shed in violence, and that that reckoning will bring the penalty of death.
So, it seems we are back to the conclusion that for the overwhelming majority of humankind, the second death has the final word. Have I made the proper logical connection here? This is where a distinction is important. I hope its small. I hope its nobody. John that you are no Christian. To hope that everyone will find salvation is to be a Christian.
To teach that as a matter of fact everyone is going to enter the Kingdom is to be a Universalist, and it is that factual assertion that I am arguing goes against the witness of Scripture. In light of your insistence of the total finality of judgment in the case of the Flood, the Exodus, etc. You contradict yourself. I think the distinction you point out is spot on. Your points confirm the hope that is at the core of the good news of the Gospel that remains very much alive in the Orthodox Church.
The Paschal joy of the Resurrection and the Harrowing of Hades, along with our prayers for the reposed, had a lot to do with my conversion 15 years ago. Being able to rely upon the guidance of Holy Tradition to more fully understand the Holy Scriptures also confirms that an assertion of universal restoration as a fact rather than a hope, does indeed go against the witness of Scripture.
The Scriptures are very clear about the two ways: The way to eternal life, and the way to eternal death. Although the Scriptures indicate that the angelic beings in heaven have received the gift of eternal life, and the devil and demons have been condemned to eternal death, it has not been revealed to us the outcome of the Last Judgment for human beings.
Intellectually, I can distinguish between dogmatically teaching universalism vs. Perhaps exegetical arguments and intellectual discussions like that in this post about Final Judgement are necessary—perhaps even theologically correct. One thing that troubles me about these sorts of arguments, which I believe may have already been pointed out in this thread though I am not saying this is true of you, Fr.
What is also troubling to me is how often this sort of reasoning about the meaning of Scripture proves to be an obstacle to my actively trusting Christ. This is the opposite of my experience of hearing or reading the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels in their own context which are not abstract conceptual arguments, but rather aimed into actual concrete situations and addressing actual human hearts. Accordingly, St.
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Paisios of Mt. We must pray for the entire world, so that not one is lost. I only ask God to have mercy on the entire world as well as on me.
Have such comments been lost, or have they ended up in spam? If several of those comments wound up in spam, would you, Fr. Andrew, only post the most recent or the shortest of them—otherwise there will be a lot of redundancy to say the least! Moderation is not instantaneous—it requires that I or one of the other moderators have seen the submitted comment and then permit it through the moderatorial queue. I had of course fallen asleep. It was after my bedtime. BTW, if you try to add the same comment multiple times, the website will assume you are a spammer.
You only need to try it once. I am not sure I understand the objections and discussion about using the perspective of a covenant community. The Church is after all a covenant community, and outside of the Church there is no salvation. We have to remember however, that the Church has a Heavenly as well as an earthly manifestation. I think it is interesting to consider that it is revealed in Daniel that the New Covenant is to be confirmed for seven years. Half of that time was AD.
And the other half has yet to happen. I believe that the judgments and resurrection harvest of the Day of the Lord will extend over this three and half year period completing the confirmation of the New Covenant. At the end of this process of confirmation, all human beings and spirit beings are either in the Church or in Gehenna. Fr Stephen De Young, every representation you give of Christian universalism is quite a mischaracterization. To do so is easy enough: St Isaac would be a good place to start. Please do the research and correct your statements about universalism.
I think you may discover in doing so that the Scriptures support apocatastasis far more than the interpretation of finality you give to the judgments in the Scriptures you cite. The Universalism your describing says that after a period of , variously described as suffering, discipline, punishment, remediation or whatever other name you want to give it, after a period of that something everyone enters the Kingdom of Heaven.
Meaning that final condemnation is not eternal in duration. My entire piece is directed at the fact that final condemnation is eternal in duration, and that there is no place, Biblical, in which it says that a certain amount or period of pays the price of sin and restores one to good standing before God. Your criticism in reference to C. Of course not! No Orthodox Christin universalist would say this.
This proves the point that Cathy Thienes was making. You are still misunderstanding what Orthodox universalists believe. If my piece was intended to refute this or that view, you would have a point. My piece is an attempt to lay out positively what the Scripture teaches about the topics listed repeatedly above. If your view is something other than the view I laid out in the piece, then I am saying your view is not the one taught by Scripture.
I chose that approach for a reason. My piece represents what I believe the Bible teaches. Lots of people have lots of other views with all kinds of individual variants and variables. My argument is that all other views are wrong because they are not the view taught by the Bible. I can see your point about the type of article you wrote and that you were focusing on showing your version of what the Scriptures say of hell and judgment.
However, you do refer many times to universalism. Since I assumed Orthodox Christians were your intended audience, it seemed odd for you to be defining universalism with such a shallow, easily ridiculed slant rather than referencing a universalist vision in line with Orthodox spokesmen for it. But I see now that you are clearly not familiar with Orthodox universalists and that you did not feel like taking the time to familiarize yourself with them. Oh the difference!!! Let me point it out once again:.
For at least 40 of my Protestant years I have heard arguments such as his for unending eternal torment. Thankfully, his Scriptural interpretations are not prevalent in the Orthodox churches I have attended. Augustinian Christians, both Vaticanians and Protestants…were never capable of understanding that God loves equally both those who are going to hell and those who are going to heaven. God loves even the Devil as much as He loves the saint.
In other words hell is a form of salvation although the lowest form of it. The question at hand is not, therefore, whom God loves and saves. God loves all and God saves all. Even human doctors are morally obliged to cure all patients regardless of who and what they are. From this viewpoint hell is indeed salvation, but the lowest form of it.
One either chooses or one does not choose to be cured from the short-circuit which makes one religious. When God sees that one is ready to follow the cure which will make him selfless He guides him into the courtyard of glorification and takes him from being a child to manhood, i. In other words one either chooses cure or refuses cure. Christ is the Doctor who cures all His patients to that degree of cure they accept, even that of hell.
Universalists remind me of Calvinists very much. Both groups know that their teaching is the minority report among the Holy Fathers; instead of following the acclaimed Ecumenical Teachers in the Church, both groups cling tenaciously to the Father of their liking Sts. Andrew, I would say this is a mistaken characterization of the Trinitarian version of universalist hope with which I am familiar. This is a very deep subject.
Honestly, I find the use of hope to describe universalism disingenuous. Kallistos also teaches St. A hugely important point — and not just in a utilitarian sense but because any such sermon casts doubt on its truth value. It seems clear from the authoritative teaching of the Church that there will be an eternal condemnation and that there will be at least some beings experiencing it.
The devil and his angels, for one; all the unmerciful from Mt 25, for another. But I still want it to happen, in the same sense that God is not willing that any should perish. Any perceived injustice is irrelevant. In which case the default destiny at birth of any human being is towards union with God, while each and every day that a child grows older adds infinite risk of eternal tragedy.
These quotes may help the age of accountability discussion:. When baptized infants die, they enjoy the paradise of delight, whereas those not illumined by baptism and those born to pagans go neither to paradise nor to Gehenna. Saturday before Meatfare; Matins. Synaxarion at the Sixth Ode of the Canon. And so also in those who fail to receive the Gift [Baptism], some are altogether animal or bestial, according as they are either foolish or wicked; and this, I think, has to be added to their other sins, that they have no reverence at all for this Gift, but look upon it as a mere gift— to be acquiesced in if given them, and if not given them, then to be neglected.
Others know and honour the Gift, but put it off; some through laziness, some through greediness. Others are not in a position to receive it, perhaps on account of infancy, or some perfectly involuntary circumstance through which they are prevented from receiving it, even if they wish. As then in the former case we found much difference, so too in this. They who altogether despise it are worse than they who neglect it through greed or carelessness. These are worse than they who have lost the Gift through ignorance or tyranny, for tyranny is nothing but an involuntary error.
And I think that the first will have to suffer punishment, as for all their sins, so for their contempt of baptism; and that the second will also have to suffer, but less, because it was not so much through wickedness as through folly that they wrought their failure; and that the third will be neither glorified nor punished by the righteous Judge, as unsealed and yet not wicked, but persons who have suffered rather than done wrong. For not every one who is not bad enough to be punished is good enough to be honoured; just as not every one who is not good enough to be honoured is bad enough to be punished.
Oration God is not in the slightest unmerciful because some will suffer in Hell. God desires that all should be saved, as should we, but He knows and has revealed to us that not all will. The Reformed say that Romans Ch. As I understand what I believe as an Orthodox Christian, all men are chosen for the covenant. No one can say he was excluded. Does that mean all will be saved? I cannot say. Like our fathers among the saints, I can hope for my own sake. Paul uses marriage as a metaphor for salvation. Is not marriage both covenant AND koinonia union?
They are not suffering eternal torment. Is this really the second death, or the second LIFE….. It seems God, who alone has immortality, is not said to give immortality to all, but that it is rendered only to those who seek it Rom 2. This mortal puts on immortality and death is swallowed up in victory only in the redeemed 1 Cor Christ saves and brings immortality to light through the gospel 2 Tim 1.
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Scripture repeatedly says God gives eternal life to those who believe and are baptized into Christ, and that this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Yet eternal life would be required for eternal conscious torment. No matter how you slice it…. The debate about universalism has been closed by the Holy Spirit in A.
Anathema to Origen ….. Therefore, understand this: whoever stands by these doctrines is under anathema, and commune unworthily to the Body and the Blood of the Lord. All the priests teaching these heresies should be severely reprimanded by their bishops, who ought to intervene urgently, and defrocked if they do not desist from spreading this spiritual poison to their flock. Paul says! Economy cannot be administered to the shepherds in our times, which are evil as never before. As for the laymen, I beg them to stop thinking that Christianity i. Orthodoxy is something negotiable.
Do not come to the Church to be pleased, come to the Church to please Christ. Stop the madness to impute to God the wickedness of men! Everybody will have earned his lot. To avoid that some men would end up in eternal sufferings thanks to THEIR free choices , God could only create us in bondage, slaves but what good slaves could be to the Almighty? What is better? The eternity is for the age to come, when our Lord will come again, this time in His Glory, and no evil will be allowed into His Kingdom.
Until that time, even dead people can still escape a terrifying lot, but only through the prayers of the Church and everyone of you is a member of the Church. Therefore, do not waste your time with eclectic bags of hot air and gnostic inanities, but pray unceasingly and give alms for the dead. And watch yourself against wolves in sheep clothes, who misunderstand Christianity for their feelings and emotions, their fantasies, and lead astray the little ones. Instead, covenant is a mode of describing a relationship between one person and another.
If one carefully surveys the biblical covenants from Adam to Christ, one will find that in each and every case, the relationship is that of a father to a son. The Spirit is the seal of the unity of Father and Son, so the Spirit binds every covenant together- even the marriage covenant is mapped onto this model. The husband is the head of the wife as God is the head of Christ, as St.
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Paul says. One more thing, with respect to the issue of the relationship between kingdom and covenant. Covenant always includes the idea of kingdom. Covenants are always mediated by kings. God cuts the covenant with Abraham after he receives bread and wine from a king.
The Davidic covenant is royal. The reorganization of Israel after the exile comes with Zerubbabel as crown prince. And the new covenant is mediated by Jesus Christ, king of kings. The Eucharist is a feast which the king celebrates surrounded by His princes and princesses. It is a little like saying that marriage is not central to a text that is about husband and wife just because it is not explictly referenced more than once or twice.
Interesting debate. The gentleman giving the explanation did a good job of describing the normal Protestant version of the situation. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. The Testimony of Scripture When it comes to addressing the witness of Holy Scripture regarding this view, a certain dance begins. Judgment Outside of the Covenant First, how does God, in the Scriptures, describe and enact the condemnation of the wicked outside of His covenant? Peter says: Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
Judgment Within the Covenant Community This, then, brings us to the people of God, and how they encounter His judgment. As Hebrews teaches: For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. What, Then, is Hell? Facebook Reddit Twitter Email. Related Articles. Salvation for everyone!
August 28, Who's not a Christian? June 19, Tributes to Priest-Scholar Fr. Matthew Baker Pour In. The Pastoral Malpractice of Preaching Universalism. Muddying the waters only makes them appear deep. This particular presentation against universalism seems weak to me. Did you read the text? In the General Menaion , general services for the Lord Jesus Christ call for Old Testament readings from Deuteronomy, which read: And He declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform … The Lord God made a covenant with you in Horeb, not with your fathers alone did the Lord make His covenant, but with you also.
Also in the General Menaion , the Stichera of services in honor of the Forerunner John call him: [M]ediator of both the ancient and the new covenant … And in his Heirmos, Ode 4: Utterly wrecked with the temptations of the deceitful one, do thou as the mediator of the old and the new covenant, wholly renew me hymning thee, O precursor. If you take a passage such as Ephesians 10 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth— in Him.
And how can you have the Gospel without the Kingdom? To follow up on this point, Fr. Andrew, Met. Zizioulas notes: We have already underlined, at the beginning of this study, the fact that the Lord clearly links the Last Supper with the Kingdom of God, according to the account given us by the Gospels. Pushing the restart button: I do not want to say that the Old destroys the New — poor choice of words.
God give us grace. Of course this has to be done in freedom. Where did I say otherwise? Not hard for me. YMMV, though.
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Forgive me, you are right about Arius. I meant Apollinaris. Also, do you have a source for Fr. Louth being a universalist? Well: Moreover, with these we anathematize the fables of Origen … in accordance with the decision of the Fifth Council held at Constantinople. Karen, St. Big difference. Nathaniel, Are you referring to Ezekiel ? Ephrem the Syrian also addresses the topic: The children of light dwell on the heights of Paradise, and beyond the Abyss they espy the rich man; he too, as he raises his eyes, beholds Lazarus, and calls out to Abraham to have pity on him.
John Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the ruler of this world be cast out; and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. You mean the fourteenth of the fifteen anathemas that took place before the 5th e. Photios on the universalism of St. Gregory of Nyssa: Read a book which has the name of St. Matthew 25 Revelation Modern English Version MEV 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet were. Marc wrote: It is very important to remember that the eternal fire of the Last Judgment is prepared for Satan and the demons, not human beings see Matthew We actually do have some other post s in the works regarding later patristic issues, etc.
See my comment to Marc above for just four quick examples of how the Church sees it. May the Lord have mercy on me, the first among sinners. Father, With respect for the obvious amount of work you put into this article, I must admit that I found it perplexing on a number of levels. Is there really anything more to say than this? Can the wrath be eternal but not the living state of the wicked? As with your last question, Jean-Paul, I can only give an answer as to what the Bible teaches on the topic about which you express concern. You seem to think that an idea of spiritual death necessarily entails disappearance, which would lead us to embrace annihilationism if true.
If we are using a definition created by you or me, it might be possible for us to say spiritual death means disappearance, but when teaching what the Bible says on a topic as I am doing in the above article we must ascertain the meaning of the word or concept as it is used in Scripture. First, the Bible repeatedly indicates that the human soul is immortal or indestructible. Spiritual death in this life does not mean the soul disappears.
The Bible clearly teaches a resurrection of both the saved and unsaved, though these face differing destinies in which they will exist throughout eternity. In your first comment, you essentially argued that the Bible does not teach what you would like it to. In this second comment, you have asserted that it does not mean what you think it should mean. Were my article one about what Jean-Paul says about hell, the meaning you prefer would, indeed, be pertinent.
Since, however, my article is about what the Bible teaches, the meaning clearly conveyed in Scripture is the one that pertains to what I have written. I do acknowledge that many people do not believe what the Bible says but I have neither the inclination nor the space to write about what each individual thinks about the topic of hell — and have limited myself here to a description of the clear communication from God on this topic in His objective, propositional revelation — a revelation that I believe even if some do not like what it says or if they think it should mean something other than the clear intent it conveys.
I would, however, be pleased to entertain any comments or questions that directly relate to what the Old Testament says about hell and will moderate comments or questions as to how they specifically relate to this. If there is a place for the dead soul to be tormented forever, why then does the text say the spirit returns to God and the flesh returns to dust?
You pick isolated texts and ignore the larger context of Scriptural teaching, which clearly and repeatedly teaches a physical resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous dead this is not just a spiritual matter. Perhaps you did not read my response to a similar comment above:. I am sorry you dislike what Jesus said. The overall teaching of the Bible is that people face retribution in hell for their disobedience in this life.
The only way to avoid that fate is to have faith in Christ as savior. Souls are sent to heaven based on faith through which they are justified and sanctified and are sent to hell based on deeds. Column: David Kowalski. Does the Old Testament teach the concept of hell? Apologetics Index: Research resources on religious movements, cults, sects, world religions and related issues.
Related Posts. April 30, Column: David Kowalski , Hell. This article is related to: David Kowalski , Hell. David Kowalski December 7, David Kowalski March 19, Reuben Hotzenplotz April 5, The place outside Jerusalem where unburied criminals were burned  with more details given in  as follows: The Jews so abhorred the place after these horrible sacrifices had been abolished by king Josiah 2 Kings , that they cast into it not only all manner of refuse, but even the dead bodies of animals and of unburied criminals who had been executed.
David Kowalski April 10, Jean-Paul Gerard April 15, Isn't there enough room in Heaven? Surely God can come up with a better way. The Watchtower Society's Resurrection scenario gets messy if you start asking too many questions. One can debate the biblical interpretations, but reason alone makes the doctrine sound a little far fetched.
Like so many other religious beliefs, you either reject it as unreasonable or you trust that an all-powerful deity can somehow work it all out in the end. We wonder how anyone could justify an eternity of torment for just a lifetime of sin. Jehovah's Witnesses have also asked this question and their answer is to reduce God's punishment of the wicked from eternal hellfire to just killing them outright.
Once he decides you aren't willing to obey him absolutely, he just kills you again and that's how you stay. Problem solved. Does this make God seem kinder or more loving? Jehovah's Witnesses claim that God must kill those who won't abide by his rules because they'll only make life difficult for the faithful in paradise, but isn't that a double standard? If Witnesses are willing to believe that God can work out all the problems mentioned in the previous section, surely they believe that God is powerful enough to rehabilitate the wicked too?
Why not move them to another world where he could handle them separately from the rest? If an all-powerful God truly exists, then he could do this effortlessly. Theirs won't even try. The Jehovah's Witnesses' God may not be as cruel as the one envisioned by some Christians, but he likes to play favorites. His best children go to Heaven, his good children live forever as perfect human beings in paradise so long as they obey him , and his most difficult children are simply cast aside so he doesn't have to bother with them anymore. Is this really an improvement?