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The Contender
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Annihilationism vs Eternal Torment

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/22/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,408 times Debate No: 35887
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




First round will be acceptance only. No arguments presented until second round. Burden of proof rests on me to prove the Annihilationist standpoint in second round. You must prove the Eternal Torment standpoint in the second round. NO refutations in second round. Refutations and other proofs may ensue in the last two rounds.

Only join this debate if you hold, or are considering subscribing to, the common doctrine of an Eternal Hellfire.

I hope we will both learn something. I am coming to this with an open mind, accepting the possibility Annihilationism may be the incorrect doctrine. I hope you will be humble and do the same. We are doing this to learn, not prove.

God Bless :)


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my challenge. :)

Scriptures taken from King James Version.

Annihilationism is a Christian belief that the final punishment of sinful human beings results in their total destruction (annihilation) rather than their everlasting torment.

Point 1. A soul does not burn in Hell, a body does.

Jesus taught that "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell ..." Mark 9:43 That means hands, feet, eyes, and all the other members of the physical body. This is in contrast to the modern doctrine of an Eternal Hell where the SOULS of the wicked are burned.

Point 2. The unsaved do not go to any place of punishment as soon as they die, but are reserved in the grave until the day of judgment to be punished.

Christ said, "As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:41, 42
2 Peter 2:9 "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:"
If we let the Bible mean what it says, there can be no doubt on this point. The wicked are "reserved" until when? Until the "day of judgment." To be what? "To be punished".
Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Do you give rewards before you make judgements or after? Think about it.”
Daniel 12:2 “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."

Point 3. None of the unsaved will be cast into hell-fire until after the second coming of Jesus at the end of the world. This is described as the Second Death.

Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Do you realize what this proves about the wicked? It proves they will not be cast into the lake of fire until after the resurrection takes place. It does not take place at the time of the first death as so many have been led to believe.
Revelation 20:9 “And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed ithe camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”
Did it say the fire preserved them? Absolutely not. Devoured is the complete opposite of preserve. It is the thing you and I do to a pizza.

Point 4. The location of Hell is the surface of the Earth. The earth is the lake of fire.

2 Peter 3:7 “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.“
Isaiah 34:8 “For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, And the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch,And the dust thereof into brimstone, And the land thereof shall become burning pitch.”
The prophet portrays the entire planet enveloped in the destroying fire. Even the streams and dust are transformed into an exploding combustion of pitch and brimstone.

Point 5. Hell fire is not eternal. It ends when the wicked are burned up.

There are several reasons for being so sure on this point. First of all, this earth is also declared to be the final home for the righteous. And as we have already seen the surface of the earth is Hell. Jesus said in Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."
Secondly, the wicked are never promised eternal life. Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul that sinneth, it shall die."
See also 1 John 3:15 "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him."
Matthew 10:28 "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Psalm 37:20 “But the wicked shall perish, And the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: They shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”

This one is irrefutable. Malachi 4:1 “For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
The most powerful, definitive words in human language are used to describe the destruction in hell, but people still insist that the writers do not really mean what their words express. "Destroy," "consume," "burn up," "devour," "death"-do these words have some mysterious, opposite meaning in the Bible than they have in other books?

Point 6. Annihilationists serve a just and loving God. Those who believe in a God who burns people in Hell forever for eternity for minor misdeeds serve a God of infinite cruelty.

Suppose a man died 5,000 years ago with one cherished sin in his life. His soul would go instantly into the fire to be tormented for eternity. Then picture another death; that of Adolph Hitler, who supervised the deaths of millions of people. According to the popular doctrine, his soul also would immediately enter hell to suffer eternally. But the man who was lost because of only one sin, will burn 5,000 years longer than Hitler. How could that be just? Would God deal in such a manner? It would contradict the Bible statement that each one must be punished according to his works.

Point 6. God plans for a universe free of pain and suffering, as it was in the beginning. An eternal Hell burning away into infinity just doesn't fit with that.

Revelation 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Where are the wicked at this time?
Malachi 4:3 "And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts."



The Second OEcumenical Council of Constantinople and the Emperor Justinian

Pope Vigilius ratified the Emperor Justinian's anathemas against Origen as part of Constantinople II. One of these anathemas is as follows [1]:

'If anyone says or thinks that the punishment of demons and of impious men is only temporary, and will one day have an end, and that a restoration will take place of demons and of impious men, let him be anathema.'

The Fourth OEcumenical Council of the Lateran

Lateran IV declares:

'all of whom will rise with their bodies which they now bear, that they may receive according to their works, whether these works have been good or evil, the latter everlasting punishment with the devil, and the former everlasting glory with Christ.'


John warned that Jesus would come to burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. Much further on, when the Lord tells the Parable of the Talents, the worthless servant is cast out into the outer darkness where there is 'gnashing of teeth'. If in this clear parallel to hell there are people to gnash their teeth, obviously they have not been destroyed. Further along, the Lord tells the story of the Sheep and the Goats, at the end of which the sheep go to eternal life and the goats go to eternal punishment, in the 'eternal fire' prepared for the devil and his angels. It is clear from the progression of the story and lack of reason for thinking otherwise that the eternal punishment of the goats has the same timeless quality as the eternal life of the sheep.


Jude makes brief reference to the punishment of eternal fire and a nether gloom of darkness which is forever.


In Revelation, it is written:

'And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.'

The Day

Both those for everlasting life and everlasting punishment are raised (cf. Daniel) for the Day of judgment, and those who are raised are raised immortal (cf. 1 Corinthians), and if their immortal bodies are to be cast into an unquenchable fire, they can neither be destroyed nor can their torments end, because they are forever and the fire is forever. The conclusion is eternal torment.


I apologize for the brevity of my arguments, but I was slightly rushed this round and hopefully will be able to present a better argument next round.

Debate Round No. 2


"I apologize for the brevity of my arguments, but I was slightly rushed this round and hopefully will be able to present a better argument next round."

No worries buddy. :)


1. The Second OEcumenical Council of Constantinople and the Emperor Justinian

I place the word of God higher than the word of any man. Man is fallible, God, and thus the Bible, are infallible. That is just the statement of a man with a lot of worldly power. Obviously you, as a Catholic, would see a Pope as infallible in the same way I would see the words of the prophetess Ellen White as infallible. However, would you believe something just because I quoted her? The infallibility of our conflicting "prophets" is place for another debate, this one is about hellfire. I would request that in this debate we only use the Bible.

2. The Fourth OEcumenical Council of the Lateran

See above. :)

3. Unquenchable fire and "gnashing of teeth."

I believe the passage in relation to unquenchable fire you are referencing here is Matthew 3:10-12
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I whose shoes l am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Please notice that “fire” is mentioned in all three verses. In verse 10, the reference is unmistakably to the punishment of the wicked in the fires of destruction. In verse 12 there is even less question: the fire refers to the “unquenchable” fire of hell. Then what about verse 11, the verse in between? It certainly would not switch the line of thought. Christ is pictured as One who will reward the righteous with the mighty power of the Spirit, and punish the wicked with the consuming fire described in the verses before and after. Both the Old and New Testaments speak of God as a “consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24; Hebrews 12:29).

Just as convincing also is the fact that all three of the verses clearly portray two classes—the good and the bad, the saved and the lost. In verse 10 it's the good tree and the bad, with the bad being “cast into the fire.” In verse 12 it is the wheat and the chaff, and the chaff “will burn up.” (Make sure you consider context when referencing.)The verse in between—verse 11—describes the two groups as those who are baptized with the Holy Ghost and those who are baptized with fire. Sin will either be burned out now by the Holy Spirit or burned up then by His consuming presence. Malachi 3:2, 3. Those who refuse to be purified from sin now will be burned up, with the sin, in the unquenchable fire.

In regards to the "gnashing of teeth" aspect, how do you know that the doomed are not wailing and gnashing their teeth as they are being consumed by the fire? I will come to the sheep and the goats parable lower.

4."In Revelation, it is written:

'And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.'"

The words translated “for ever” do not necessarily mean “without end.” In fact, the Bible uses this term 56 times (look up "ever" in concordance) in connection with things which have already ended. These terms, in the New Testament, come from the Greek word"aion". "Aion" means "an unspecified time until the end." Thus, "ion" could have an end, but we don't know when it is. See Matthew 13:39 where it reads, " the end (aion) of the world." Now how could "aion" always mean endless when here it is clearly used in the context of something that has an ending.

In the non-Geek aspect, the term "for ever" is clearly defined in Psalm 48:14: “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”
The desolation of Edom was to continue “for ever and ever.” Isaiah 34:10. Christ is called “a priest for ever” in Hebrews 5:6; yet after sin is blotted out, Christ's work as a priest will end. In other words, it is the consequences that last forever, not the punishment.

According to these definitions of the term “for ever,” the wicked will suffer as long as they continue to live in the fire. Then, as the Bible states, “The wicked ... shall be destroyed for ever.” Psalm 92:7, Malachi 4:1-3.

Point 5. The Day

Referenced texts were 1 Corinthians 15:53, "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."and Daniel 12:2 "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."
Yes. And once again we must consider what everlasting contempt means. It could mean they feel contempt whilst they burn for eternity, or they are held in contempt by all the other holy beings in the universe after sin is eradicated. This verse can be used to prove both sides of the argument, and is thus rendered useless...



ExsurgeDomine forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


For the audience:
ExsurgeDomine posted on my profile. "Very sorry about that, I overestimated how busy I was. I'll concede the whole thing, and I apologize for wasting your time."
Been there bro. I am a bit disapointed, but what can you do. :(


Yes, I concede, and I apologize again for wasting everyone's time.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by gordonjames 5 years ago
I have been wrestling with this question for many years now.

Good points.

If someone wants to debate this I now tend to the Annihilationist position, but I see some problems with it.

The bigger problem is that we don't know as much about the future as we like to think we do.
Posted by GOP 5 years ago
Wow, ExsurgeDomine forfeited...Ooohh...
Posted by GOP 5 years ago
Annihilationism sure is appealing to unbelievers, since they would be escaping the reality of hellfire. Surely, this would be appealing to all those Hindus trying to reach Moksha.
Posted by secret_strategem 5 years ago
I forgot to list my sources last round. Here they are:

King James Version Bible
Answers to Objections, Francis D. Nichol
Answers to Difficult Bible Texts, Joe Crews
Hellfire: A Twisted Truth Untangled, Joe Crews <- Google it and you get a free read. :)
Posted by secret_strategem 5 years ago
Juan_Pablo, if you are talking about Universalism I wont be able to debate you. I would like to debate someone who believes in an eternal hellfire that lasts for sinners forever. (the flames don't have to be literal)
Posted by Juan_Pablo 5 years ago
Well, I want to accept the Con position but I do admit my position is very unorthodox. It isn't even a literal interpretation of "Hell", which would probably upset much of the audience.
Posted by chrisdate 5 years ago
We at are looking forward to this.
Posted by gordonjames 5 years ago
I am interested to see your arguments.
I hope you get a great debate going.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by GOP 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: ExsurgeDomine conceded.