Annihilatioinism vs. Eternal Suffering
Debate Rounds (4)
Annihilationism- The belief that apart from salvation, the final punishment of human beings results in their total destruction.
Eternal suffering- The belief that apart from salvation, the final punishment of human beings results in concious,everlasting torture.
I would prefer to argue against someone from the Christian religion.
I (Pro) will be arguing for Annihilationism, Con will be arguing for eternal suffering.
Absolutely no semantics please.
Your argument must be backed up by scripture from the Christian Bible.
Round 1 is for Acceptance only. Thank you and good luck!
I look forward to a great debate.
I would first like to thank Con for accepting this debate. Given his previous (winning) record with religious debates, I know that I have my work cut out for me. My quotes from the Bible will be from the NIV translation.
In the following excerpt, I would like to place emphasis on verses 34 and 35
Matthew 18:21-35 "The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
A few general observations from this parable
---God compares us and our sin to that of a man who owes money
---The man's debt to the King was DEFINITIVE, albeit large. His debt was not infinite, but rather a tangible number (10,000 talents)
---Our sin is compared to debt multiple times in the Bible (for example, see the Lord's Prayer, Matthew 6:12)
The reason verses 34 and 35 are so important is because they describe what will happen to us if we do not go to heaven. The point of the parable is to emphasize forgiveness, and what will happen to you if you do not forgive your brother (you will go to hell). Verses 34 and 35 present a strong case for a non-eternal hell. My case is this- The man is tortured UNTIL (emphasis on until) he should pay back all he owed. Thus, the man must pay for his sins, and be tortured a definitive amount (remember, he owed 10,000 talents, which is a lot of money, but not an infinite debt). Thus, because the man's debt is finite, then his punishment is finite. Verse 34 strongly suggests that there is an end to this man's torture.
I believe that in hell, you must pay for every sin that you have committed. After all, the point of Jesus dying on the cross was to save us from our sins. Just like Colossians 2:13-14 states "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross."
Once again, our sin is compared to a debt that we must pay. However every debt is not the same. Luke 12:47-48 puts it very plainly: "The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."
It has been established that we all owe a FINITE debt to God, and this verse suggests that that debt varies from person to person. After all, doesn't this logically make sense?
Consider this scenario- A man is born deep in the Amazon jungle. He lives and dies a normal life, without ever hearing about Jesus. Thus, according to Luke 12:47-48, he owes a smaller debt to God than someone who, for example, lives and dies in America, hearing about Jesus but never accepting him.
Thus, each man's FINITE debt varies from person to person. The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant states that each man shall be beaten UNTIL (insinuates an end to his torture) he pays back all that he owes.
Thus, we may conclude that in hell, you pay (are tortured) for every sin that you have committed. After all, our God is just, and doesn't that seem like the fair thing to do? Does it really seem fair for someone who never heard about Jesus to suffer eternally in hell? We are made in God's image and he has instilled his sense of justice in our hearts. I believe that most people will agree that eternal torment does not seem fair when not everyone has heard about Jesus (As I said earlier, Luke 12:47-48 shows that God agrees and his punishment for our sins does in fact vary from person to person).
My opponent may try to argue that people will suffer differing degrees of pain eternally (thereby insinuating different "levels" of hell, like in Dante's Inferno). But this cannot be the case, because if the torment is eternal, than the varying degree of it does not matter.
Consider these math equation --- 2 x ∞ = ∞ 9 x ∞ = ∞
(This equation demonstrates hell from the point of view of Con, someone who believes in eternal torment).
The 2 and 9 can be considered as level of sin one has committed, thereby being their "level of torment". The ∞ is the amount of time. The end product is the total amount of pain one must suffer. Thus, both people who sin a lot and little would suffer the same amount in an eternal hell.
However, we know this is not the case because of what Luke 12:47-48 tells us.
So the correct equation is this-- 2 x 100 = 200 9 x 100 = 900
This equation supports annihilationists view. Someone who has sinned little or has never heard of Christ (equation on left) will suffer less total pain than someone than someone who knows of Christ but deliberatley sins (equation on the right), as each will only suffer 100 units of time, not eternally.
This equations satisfies every single verse that I have mentioned. It satisfies the necessity for some receiving "many blows" and some receiving "few blows". It satisfies the price we must pay for our sin, as we suffer "UNTIL we have payed back all that we owe." Most importantly, it satisfies the notion that we serve a just and merciful God.
Con, I eagerly await your response.
Here the torment will be FOREVER and EVER; that doesn't leave room for annihilation. The beast and false prophet are organizations made of human beings.
Matthew 25:46 '"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Just as life is said to be ETERNAL, so if the PUNISHMENT. Now, you cannot punish someone who DOES NOT EXIST. So the wicked will exist forever in order to experience eternal punishment, just as the righteous will always be alive to experience eternal life.
Jude 1:7 'In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.'
This says nothing about fire falling from the sky. It isn't talking about buildings, because the city is the people. The physical fire from the sky stopped burning long ago, so that isn't the fire it is talking about here. Neither is the fire symbolic, because it isn't found in a symbolic context. This passage is saying that the people of Sodom are in hellfire, and this fire is ETERNAL. The punishment never ceases, its ETERNAL PUNISHMENT.
Mark 9:43 'If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out.'
If the fire never goes out, why would it still be burning if someday no one will be there?
Now, to answer the parable of the unmerciful slave, Pro uses numbers as proof that our debt of sin is finite, and so is our punishment. But Jesus also used numbers when he said to forgive 70 times 7. (Matt 18:22) Does that mean we should only forgive a limited amount of times? No. It means we should ALWAYS forgive. To ask how many times I should forgive would be like asking how many times I should love my wife and kids. The numbers used in the parable of the unmerciful slave are even larger than 70 times 7. Therefore, if a smaller figure like 70 times 7 means we should ALWAYS forgive WITHOUT LIMIT, then the even larger number Jesus used in Matthew 18:21-35 indicates that our debt to God is incalculable! We owe God ETERNAL obedience. So the debt of our sin is eternal, and so is the punishment.
t seems to me that for any being to be God, he cannot be limited. He must be eternal in his attributes, for example eternal in power, no end to his wisdom, no end to his love, etc. But if the depth of God"s love for what is good is eternal, so that he rewards the righteous with eternal bliss in heaven, it seems logical and necessary that his hatred of evil, of sin, must also be eternal, and must be reflected in whatever punishment he inflicts on the guilty. So eternal retribution would be in harmony with divine justice, but since we are finite beings we may not comprehend just how much God hates, anymore than we comprehend just how deep he loves. When God hurts, he hurts infinitely more than we do. So sins against God deserve infinite punishment.
In the lake of fire, people are not only being tortured for sins in this life, but for sins they continue to commit after death, as they continue to hate God in their hearts for what he has done to them. The rich man in Luke 16:19-31 didn't repent, even though he was begging for mercy. And even if he did repent, he would not be doing so out of a sense of guilt for his wrong, or his love of God, but simply to avoid torture. This is no reason for mercy! Would anyone genuinely convert after being in the lake of fire? If they couldn't appreciate the love of God in this life to move them into worship, why they will see God's love in hellfire? So eternal punishment is also just because it avenges and eternity of sins.
Pro says that different degrees of punishment in hell isn't possible, but it is. Eternity in his equations is treated like a numerical value, but it isn't. Eternity isn't a numerical valuer, it isn't a quantity, its simply a state of being. One could have an eternal row of books with each book in line A a centimeter away from the other book, but in the others in line B are separated by meters. Obvious line A will have the most books, and yet both rows are eternal. Eternity isn't the number of books, its simply their state of being, namely, being included in an eternal set. So eternity isn't a number, its a circumstance. A person has suffer more pain each minute throughout eternity, than another person suffers each minute throughout eternity. What, Pro, is impossible about that? Does not Matthew 19:26 say all things are possible with God? In fact, Jesus taught here will be different degrees of punishment in hell, or gehenna (the lake of fire). He said it will be more endurable for some than for others. (Luke 10:12-14) So my position is Biblical.
But this debate isn't about what is logical to my opponent, but about what the Bible teaches. Just because eternal punishment isn't logical to him doesn't make it unbiblical, anymore than the Trinity being illogical to Jehovah's Witnesses and Christaldelphians makes it unbiblical.
I look forward to Pro's response.
I will give my rebuttals for Con's arguments in the order that Con presents them.
My opponent brings up Revelation 20:10, yet he simply has to read a one verse backwards to understand the full meaning of the passage. Revelation 20:9 "They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them." If the Beast's army is devoured, how can humans suffer for ever and ever if they are already devoured? The word "devoured" strongly represents the finality of God's punishment for unbelievers. The Greek word for used for "devour" in this passage is "katesthió". "Katesthio" means to "utterly devour, leaving nothing;ferociously consume all the way down, i.e. with a rapacious, voracious appetite–leaving only ruination, without hope of recovery (or even remains) (http://biblehub.com...). This leaves no doubt that mankind shall be destroyed by God's wrath, not tortured eternally.
Revelation 19:19-21 "Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshiped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies.
This passage goes hand in hand with Revelation 20:9, as Revelation 19 explicitly reiterates mankind's fate (death by sword of the one riding the white horse). So Con's assertion about eternal torment being found in Revelatioin 20:10 is disproven by Revelation 20:9 and Revelation 19:19-21, as they both explicitly state that the final punishment of the Beast's army (humans) is death.
Con then goes on to state that Matthew 25:46 supports eternal torment. Con mis-interprets the phrase "eternal punishment" to mean eternal torment. This verse should be interpreted to mean that God's decision is final. Once God has seperated the believers from the unbelievers, the rewards (eternal life) or consequences (death) are unchangeable.
Con's use of Jude 1:7 actually supports Annihilationism. Sodom and Gomorrah aren't still burning today, are they? The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah did suffer in the fire, however they all eventually died. The "eternal" fire burned until there was nothing left to burn, and then it went out. Jude 1:7 says that sinners will suffer the same fate as those from Sodom and Gomorrah- punishment, then death.
My opponent says, and I quote: "This says nothing about fire falling from the sky." Con says this in an attempt to qualify the text as referencing eternal hellfire. However, as I previously pointed out, Revelation 20:9 states that "fire came down from heaven and devoured them." Thus, Con is wrong when he claims that those from Sodom and Gomorrah are currently burning, as this verse is qualified by Revelation 20:9 to demonstrate the final destruction of unbelievers.
My opponent also states, and I quote "This passage is saying that the people of Sodom are in hellfire, and this fire is ETERNAL". This statement is false, as proven by 2 Peter 2:9 "if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment." Judgement day has not come, and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are NOT in hell as my opponent has falsely claimed.
My opponent tries to establish the fact that there are levels of hell. However, Luke 10:12-14 states that the servants shall be beaten with MANY or FEW blows. If their punishment was everlasting, the verse would have to say HEAVIER or LIGHTER.
I would like to remind everyone of the key point that Con has not addressed:
-The fact that Luke 10:12-14 specifically states that each servant shall be beaten UNTIL he pays back all that he owes. Con has no explanation for this key fact, as this verse specifically refers to the FINITE nature of the punishment. Also, the numerical insinuation of MANY and FEW (if torment goes on forever, how can someone be beaten with few blows?)
I shall now move on to my argument. Previously I had tried to explain myself logically, however I will now take a more scripture based approach. Here are some numerous Bible verses that talk about the destruction of sinners.
Psalm 1:6 "For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction."
Psalm 92:7 "that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever."
Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believesin him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Philippians 3:19 "Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things."
James 4:12 "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy."
Malachi 4:3 "Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty."
Psalm 37:20 "But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.
Matthew 3:12 "His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (This comparison is perfect, as it puts my opponents arguments of an "eternal fire" into Biblical perspective. The fire is "eternal", however the chaff is burned up! The unquenchable fire burns until there is nothing left to burn.)
All of the verses I have presented demonstrate very clearly the destruction God shall bring upon unbelievers. If Hell was eternal, then every single one of these verses would have to be reworded. This is overwhelming proof that unbelievers are destroyed on judgement day, not condemned to eternal torment.
Another point: "Unquenchable" and "Eternal" fires are mentioned several times in the Bible.
Jeremiah 17:27 "But if you do not obey me to keep the Sabbath day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses."
Ezekial 20:47 "Say to the southern forest: ‘Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to set fire to you, and it will consume all your trees, both green and dry. The blazing flame will not be quenched, and every face from south to north will be scorched by it."
These fires are described nearly identically as Hell, yet neither of these fires are still burning today. Though the fire may be described as being "unquenchable" and "eternal", the fire only exists burn up. Once it has accomplished it's task, it goes out.
Con, I eagerly await your response.
"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but CANNOT KILL THE SOUL. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy BOTH soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28)
Here Jesus contrasts the soul with the body, one they can kill, the other they cannot. Now, you say the souls of the wicked are not in hell, so where then are the souls of the wicked who died yesterday? Where was the soul of the rich man in Luke 16:19-31?
"When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of THOSE WHO HAD BEEN SLAIN because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been." (Rev 6:9-11)
If their souls continued to exist after they had been killed, why can"t the souls of the wicked continue to be "tormented forever and ever" after their bodies are devoured by fire?
When the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:4) ends up in hell, the people there tell him that "maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you." His physical body was decomposing with worms and maggots, while his soul in was in hell listening to those who died before him; so you can"t use the death of the body in Revelation 19:19-21 to disprove the continued life of the soul.
In Matthew 25:46 Pro claims what is "eternal" in those verses is God"s decision, but that is not what the text says. It says "eternal PUNISHMENT" and "eternal LIFE," these are the things said to be eternal, the PUNISHMENT and the LIFE. You cannot punish a person who no longer exists. Someone who is unconscious cannot experience punishment. In this verse, the duration of punishment for the wicked forms a parallel with the duration of life for the righteous: the Greek word "aionios" is used to describe BOTH the length of punishment for the wicked and the length of eternal life for the righteous. This same word is used to in 1Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 9:14, and 13:8 where we know it means FOREVER. You can"t limit the duration of punishment for the wicked without at the same time limiting the duration of eternal life for the righteous. Pro, you would be violating the parallel to give it an unlimited signification in one case, but a limited one in the other, just to uphold your own interpretation.
Because 2 Peter 2:9 says that God know how to hold the wicked for the day of judgment, Pro assumes they can"t be in hell yet but must await judgment day. But in that same context Peter says that hell is where the angels who sinned are kept until judgment day:
"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them TO HELL, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment." (2 Peter 2:4)
The judgment won"t be sending anyone back to hell, but to the lake of fire, which is a different place of torment from which there will be no resurrection. Revelation 20:14 shows the distinction when it says hell will be cast into the lake of fire. So if angels are kept in hell until the judgment, so can the souls of humans.
"And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be NO REST DAY OR NIGHT for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name." (Rev 14:11) But if they will cease to exit, they will be rest for them. This mitigates against your view.
Pro gave Luke 10:12-14 but this has no bearing on our discussion, I think he means Luke 12:47-48. But Pro has given us absolutely no evidence, not one shred, that Luke 12:47-48 was referring to the judgment. The final judgment isn"t mentioned in the immediate context of these verses, nor does it use the Greek terms associated with hell such as Hades and Gehenna. Masters under the law of Moses used to beat slaves, and Jesus was coining an illustration from this Jewish practice. (Deu 25:2) But its Pro"s burden to prove this was talking about hell; he is yet to do so. Luke 12:48 also says "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded," which is a principle that applies here and now, even when he made the statement. This isn"t a discussion about judgment day. In fact, verse 52 begins with the phrase "From now on," showing that Jesus was discussing events that were current, and that"s why he says to the crowd: "How it that you don"t know how to interpret THIS PRESENT TIME?" (Luke 12:56) Jesus then explains in verses 57-59 that his listeners should reconcile with whom they owe before it"s too late, or else they will be in prison until they pay the last penny. Nothing in this context compares this debt to our debt of sin before God. That was Pro"s application, but Jesus never gave this interpretation. In fact, I would ask Pro, since he applies this to the judgment, to explain to us (1) In the judgment, who are these adversaries and who will they be dragging before God to judge them? (2) If God is the judge, who is the officer God will hand us over to?
Luke 12:59 says that after you have paid the last penny, you will "GET OUT." But Pro says you will be destroyed. "Getting out" is a promise of freedom, not further punishment in the form of extinction.
Psalm 1:6, Psalm 92:7, Philippians 3:19, Malachi 4:3 and Psalm 37:20 all refer to the destruction of physical bodies. This doesn"t show their souls or spirits won"t continue to exist.
"The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit RETURNS to God who gave it." (Ecc 12:7)
Other passages that show the soul leaving the body are 1 Kings 17:19-22 and Genesis 35:18, where the Hebrew text speaks of the nephesh, the soul, coming into and going out of the body. (KJV)
Matthew 10:28 says that God CAN destroy the soul, not that he WILL. The same is true of James 4:12.
Pro"s use of verses that say "destroy" don"t prove his case either because the Greek word for destroy doesn"t mean the extinction of being. "Apollumi"signifies "to destroy utterly"" "to perish." The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being. This is clear from its use, as, e.g., of the marring of wine skins, Luke 5:37; of lost sheep, i.e., lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destruction, Luke 15:4, 6, etc.; the lost son, 15:24"of the loss of well-being in the case of the unsaved hereafter, Matt. 10:28; Luke 13:3, 5; John 3:16" (W. E. Vine"s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p.164) So the same Greek word for "destroy" is applied to people who are just lost, but still in existence, and to wine skins that still exist but are ruined. People in hell are ruined, they can"t serve the purpose for which they were made. But they still exist.
As for Romans 6:23, just as Christians already have eternal life, showing it has nothing to do with the physical body but is a spiritual state of being (1 John 5:13; John 6:47, 54), so too unbelievers are in a state of death because of their sin (Eph 2:1, 5). People can pass from death to life, by accepting Jesus. (Col 2:13; John 5:24) So Romans 6:23 has nothing to do with annihilation, but the spiritual death that comes by sin, and the life that comes from faith.
Matthew 3:12 says "BURNING [continuous tense] up the chaff." This doesn"t say the burning of the chaff will stop.
Jeremiah 17:27 and Ezekiel 20:47 don"t describe those earthly fires as being "eternal," so this isn"t a parallel to most of the verses I used, especially Revelation 20:10.
Before I begin my final argument I would like to give my thanks to Con for accepting this debate, it has been a lot of fun!
As before, I shall begin with rebuttals and then transition to my own argument.
My opponent mentions the term in Revelation 20:9 "forever and ever" as support for eternal torment. However, what my opponent does not realize is that the Bible uses the term "forever and ever" multiple times in reference to events that are not eternal.
Jonah 2:6 "To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit." But we all know that Jonah was not in the belly of the whale forever.
Isaiah 34:9-10 "Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur; her land will become blazing pitch! It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again." The description of Edom is almost identical to the description of Hell! But Edom is not still burning today, is it? No. Edom is rather a representation of what will happen to unbelievers.
My opponent then tries to claim that one cannot be punished if they are dead. But what he fails to realize is that in Matthew 25:46, the word used is "punishment" which is a NOUN. The punishment (separation from God) lasts eternal. There is no way back into Heaven after judgement day. After all, what is the opposite of life? Death. John 3:16 also compares eternal life and eternal punishment.
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believesin him shall not perish but have eternal life." This comparison can be paralleled to Matthew 25:46, as it indicates that "eternal punishment" means to "perish".
My opponents claim from 2 Peter 2 is misguided, as he assumes that evil angels are in Hell, which is not the case. One only has to read the context of the verse to understand it's true meaning.
2 Peter 4 and 9 "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment...if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment." This excerpt is meant to show the grace of God, saying that if he did not cast the evil angels into Hell immediately, he will surely rescue the Holy from their trials. Also, notice the blatant proof that the unrighteous are NOT currently in hell. Thus my opponent's claim of evil angels in Hell right now is baseless.
My opponent mentions Revelation 14:11 about the "smoke rising forever and ever" and "there will be no rest day or night". The "smoke rising forever and ever" is shown to be figurative, as my comparison earlier with the term "forever and ever" being used in figurative terms elsewhere in the Bible (Jonah 2, Isaiah 34). What my opponent fails to realize is the CONTEXT of the verse. Lets read the whole passage:
Revelation 14:9-13 "A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.”
This whole passage occurs before Judgement Day! After all, Godly people can still "die in the Lord" (Rev. 14:13). If this passage refers to torment in hell, then wouldn't all of the righteous be in Heaven already? How can the righteous keep on dying if Judgement day has already occurred? Thus, taken into context, Revelation 14 is not valid proof for eternal torment.
My opponent says, and I quote: "Psalm 1:6, Psalm 92:7, Philippians 3:19, Malachi 4:3 and Psalm 37:20 all refer to the destruction of physical bodies. This doesn"t show their souls or spirits won"t continue to exist."
Please notice his lack of proof.
Psalm 92:7 "that though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever." My opponent uses the term "forever" as proof for eternal torment, yet when I use verses with the term "forever," he simply deems them as only applicable to the physical body. My opponent is using a double standard, ladies and gentlemen.
Malachi 4:3 "Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty." Clearly insinuates Judgement day, but con does not think so.
My opponent also say, and I quote "Matthew 10:28 says that God CAN destroy the soul, not that he WILL. The same is true of James 4:12."
Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
James 4:12 "There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy."
Those verses also say that God "can" save. So con only is able to accept one half of the verse? Con is claiming that God will only fulfill one half of these verses? Why would God threaten to destroy, but instead torment eternally, which is much more cruel?
The pattern here is that Con is simply interpreting every passage I present. However I would like to point out that someone who has never read the Bible before would read Matthew 10:28 and James 4:12 and automatically assume that God destroys the soul in Hell. Why would God try to complicate the Bible by including so many verses that must be interpreted to fit the notion of eternal Hell?
I believe that I have provided significant Biblical evidence proving the termination of existence for unbelievers. Now let us dive deeper into the character of God, and what torturing Billions and Billions of people would mean.
Con believes that this man should be tormented eternally, and I do not. If this man is tormented eternally, then what makes God better than Hitler? Hitler captured and imprisoned Jews, gypsies, and outcasts who were not of the ethnic Aryan blood. He tortured them, ripped families apart, and killed millions of innocent people. Eternal torment means that God would torture, forever and ever, every single human who does not believe in him. Is it really someone's fault that they have never heard about God? No. Thus, God would be torturing Billions of people who never had a choice. Then what would make God better than Hitler? We know that God is omniscient (Psalm 147:5, 1 John 3:19-20). So this insinuates that God purposefully creates people who he knows will never get the chance to hear about him. And then they die, and he tortures them forever. That is not a God that I want to serve, and I am comforted by the fact that I serve a loving, merciful God (Ephesians 2:4-5, 1 John 4:7-8, Psalm 86:15)
I leave you with this quote from Clark Pinnock: "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... I suppose one might be afraid of [a God like that], but could we love and respect him?... Antony Flew [an influential atheistic philosopher] was right to object that if Christians really believe that God created people with the full intention of torturing some of them in hell forever, they might as well give up the effort to defend Christianity."
We serve a Loving God. God Bless!
Pro tried to find a parallel use of "forever and ever" in other verses which didn"t really mean "eternity." He came up with Jonah 2:6 and Isaiah 34:9-10. None of these verses parallel Revelation 20:10. These verses say "forever," but none of them put emphasis on the time saying "forever AND EVER," the word "and EVER" being added for emphasis to show that eternity is in view. As for Isaiah 34;9-10, this says "From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again." If people still pass through Edom after this destruction occurs, then God"s prophecy has failed and he is found a liar. We could not know what we do know from archaeological excavations if no one passed through that land. http://www.google.com... Therefore, people are still passing through that land, and the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. When it is fulfilled, it will remain barren forever and its smoke will ascend forever, just as God said. Isaiah prophesied there ill be a place in the New World where fire will burn forever as a reminder. (Isa 66:24)
I asked my opponent, assuming that John really meant to teach the torment would last for eternity, how else could he have said it, except how he did say it, "tormented forever and ever"? (Rev 20:10) Pro gave no answer. Why then, deny that he means what he says, when there is nothing else he would have said if he meant all eternity?
As for Matthew 25:46, Pro argues the opposite of life is death, and interprets that death as non-existence. But John 3:36 says "Whoever believes in the Son HAS eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son WILL NOT SEE life, for God"s wrath REMAINS on them." This shows, as I"ve pointed out to him before, that eternal life is something the righteous ALREADY HAVE RIGHT NOW. This means the wicked DO NOT HAVE LIFE, THEY ARE ALREADY DEAD. So while being dead, they are conscious. This implies strongly that as the saved will continue to be conscious to enjoy eternal life on judgment day, there is no reason for the wicked to become unconscious or non-existent to experience eternal death, because they are already experiencing this death right now, just as the righteous are experiencing eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13)
Another proof Pro"s equation of "death" with non-existence is the fact that the lake of fire is defined as being the second DEATH. (Rev 21:8) How can someone who does not exist be TORMENTED? Revelation 20:10 shows those who experience this second death, the lake of fire, will be TORMENTED forever and ever. Pro stretches the imagination to claim that someone who doesn"t even exist, who feels nothing, can in any sense be TORMENTED. What could TORMENT mean except a conscious experience? So if the punishment in Matthew 25:46 will last forever, and this punishment is the second death, they will actually be TORMENTED forever, for all who are not saved will be in the lake of fire. (Rev 21:8)
Pro takes the expression "IF God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell," to mean that God DID spare them and has not yet sent them to hell, but the context refutes him for it also says, "IF he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood;" does that mean that he DID spare that world and has not yet brought the flood? (2 Pet 2:5) More IF statements were his burning Sodom and rescuing Lot (2 Pet 2:6-7), all thing God DID DO. Verse 9 says "if this IS SO," so God did all the things mentioned in the context, including the fact that he "DID NOT SPARE angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment." (vs. 4) Its IN HELL, in these gloomy dungeons, that these particular angels who sinned in Noah"s day (not all the evil angels), are held. So this refutes his claim that wicked men can"t also be held in hell till the day of judgment. I also asked him where the rich man was in Luke 16:19-31 and he did not answer. Why? Because it plainly says in verse 23, "IN HELL, where he was in TORMENT."
The angel speaking in Revelation 14:9-13 says the wicked will be tormented in the lake of fire, but HE DOESN"T SAY WHEN this will occur. Pro imagines it will happen at the same time the righteous are still dying, but the angel doesn"t say so. Neither did he answer my original argument but sidestepped it. I argued that this verse says "THERE WILL BE NO REST DAY OR NIGHT for those who worship the beast," but if they will one day cease to exist, then there will be rest for them from their suffering and the angel is in error. So whom will you believe, Pro, or the angel?
While Pro avoids my arguments, he accuses me of double standards in my use of the term "forever" at Psalm 92:7, but I never said their bodies will always cease to exist. There will be a resurrection of the physical body in which both body, united with soul, will be cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:13-15; Matt 10:28) But while these bodies will be destroyed, I showed from Vine"s Expository Dictionary examples from the Bible"s use of the Greek word for "destroy" (appollumi) that they won"t cease to exist for that isn"t what the word means. They will be damaged, unable to fulfill their purpose, loose their well-being, not their being, just like the lost son, lost sheep and the wineskins. (Luke 5:37; 15:4, 6, 24) This argument also applies to Matthew 10:28. Notice Pro still never told us WHERE the souls of the wicked who died yesterday, the souls this verse says men CANNOT KILL, are. Where are they if not in hell? Is Pro teaching purgatory? Are they roaming the earth? Guess we"ll never find out since he made his final post. How convenient.
Pro claimed it wouldn"t be fair to torture people for eternity just because they never heard about Jesus, but thinks it would be fair to kill them for never hearing about Jesus. The fact is that if them not hearing the gospel makes it wrong to punish them, them both eternal torment and annihilation become unjustified, so this argument goes against BOTH our positions. This debate isn"t about what seems fair to Pro, but about what the Bible teaches. Some don"t think its fair that an innocent man had to die to save us, but its in the Bible. Pro ends with an emotional argument, comparing hell to Hitler"s regime, but we have good evidence that God many times commanded his people to do things that by our modern standards seem cruel, such as "put to death"women, children and infants." (1 Sam 15:3) Would you obey that Pro? Does it seem merciful and loving to you? The global flood in Noah"s day killed more people than Hitler, so why doubt the existence of hell? Genesis 6:7, 13, 23 says that God already outdid Hitler in genocide; should I include the women and children when he rained fire on Sodom? God is infinite in all his attributes, not just his love, but also his anger, and hatred of sin. You have no issues with getting infinite life that you don"t deserve, but argue against infinite punishment? I"m out of space, thanks for a great debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by WLCJWC 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: A great debate from both contestants! Conduct, spelling, and grammar were superb for both. Both used the Bible for their source, so it's tied there as well. I believe Con made the better arguments from the Bible. There were two of Con's arguments from Scripture that Pro side-stepped. Con made the point well: If God's mercy keeps us from eternal Hell, wouldn't His justice keep us from eternal bliss? Christ's atonement may be Infinite, but our belief as finite creatures can only be finite as well. So, if God rewards finite faith forever, certainly He can punish those who die in their finite sins eternally, "For My ways are not Thine."
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