The Instigator
Bible
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
GIDHIR
Con (against)
Winning
4 Points

Eternal Torment in Fiery Hell is Not Biblical

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
GIDHIR
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/16/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 876 times Debate No: 76627
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (1)

 

Bible

Pro

In Christendom, it is taught that the wicked are eternally tormented in a fiery hell. My position is that this belief is NOT Biblical. First round is acceptance only.
GIDHIR

Con

Well, as stated in the comments, I am an atheist and I accept "Bible's" challenge. I don't want to have some lengthy argument in the first round acceptance so I turn the attention over to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Bible

Pro

Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 - “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all [...] All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.”

These verses teach us that the living know they will die, but the dead do not know or feel anything at all. If the dead are not conscious of anything at all, they obviously feel no pain.

Ezekiel 18:4 - “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die."

This verse teaches us two things: souls are not immortal, they can die, and the punishment for sin is death, not eternal torment.

Job 14:13 - “[Job prayed:] Who will grant me this, that thou mayst protect me in hell, and hide me till thy wrath pass, and appoint me a time when thou wilt remember me?

Job had been suffering a lot and he just wanted to go to hell. Why? To suffer more? Of course not! Job just wanted to stop suffering in grave.

Acts 2:25-27 - David speaketh concerning him [Jesus Christ] [...] Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,* neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

Even Jesus was in hell, although he was perfect and never sinned. Why? Because hell is just grave where the dead are.

Revelation 20:13, 14 - “The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell* delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.


Bible hell is not eternal, it delivers up the dead. This means resurrection; the dead will leave grave. Notice how hell and lake of fire are mentioned as two different places. Hell, or grave, is thrown in the lake of fire, which the Bible teaches means the second death, or eternal destruction. That Hell is thrown in the lake of fire means that people won't have to die anymore.
GIDHIR

Con

Firstly this is not my belief, just what is stated in the Bible.
Now, until Jesus was sacrificed for all sins, no soul was allowed into heaven since he was the one who opened its gates, and hell merely contained all the souls of those who had died, good or bad. Since as you have stated, in the old Testiment and to the point when Jesus died, there was nothingness, a void. After Jesus, that's when all the juicy descriptions of eternal punishment begin to arise. So when Jesus descended to hell, he essentially went to all the previously deceased people and to the worthy to heaven. For what those unworthy then faced, let's just hear what Jesus himself said.

Mark 9:43
"And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, "where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.'"

To me, this quote relates to Revelations in that every crime/sin has its own punishment.

Mathew 5:22
"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, "You fool!" will be liable to the hell of fire."

Different translations say the name differently, sometimes Hell, sometimes Gehenna, but theologians agree it's the same concept. With this knowledge, Jesus is literally stating that a specific crime receives a specific punishment of fire in the place called Hell.

Also, you quoted Revelations, in which the judgement is held in hell and that death and hell are then thrown into the lake of fire. This does not mean that punishment in hell has ended, for if you read it closely in relation with other passages from Revelations, you see that yes, judgement happens and the worthy reign with Jesus in Heaven, but that the unworthy are thrown into the burning lake.

Revelation 20:1-15
"Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection."
Revelations 20:13
"And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

In both of these, the unholy are cast from God, sometimes for a thousand years or nothingness, then the burning continues.

P.S. Even if you do only suffer for a thousand years until going to heaven, what's the point of being good if the inevitable reward is infinitely good? It wouldn't matter how much pain you go through, the outcome is always going to end with you in eternal paradise. And let's say that the cycle of a thousand years repeats until you are worthy of heaven. Why would God want you to love him out of fear? What's the point of living on earth if you can do better in hell? But personally, I don't think an eternal punishment is logical either. What merciful God has an infinite punishment for a finite offense? That's where the punishment relative to the sins committed makes more sense but once again, if life didn't matter because you can try again in hell, then why not just be born in hell to begin with?
Debate Round No. 2
Bible

Pro

The Greek Scriptures of the Bible make reference to ge'en.nan tou py.ros' 12 times, and five of these times it is directly associated with fire. Translators have rendered this Greek expression as: "hell fire," "fires of hell," "fiery pit," and "fires of Gehenna." Now, let's look at some historical background.

The valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, was outside the walls of Jerusalem. In the first century, it was used as an incinerator for the trash of Jerusalem; sulfur, or brimstone, was used to assist the burning. The dead bodies of criminals undeserving of burial were thrown in the valley. Thus, Jesus spoke of the casting of one’s “whole body” into Gehenna at Matthew 5:29, 30. If the body fell in the constantly burning fire, it was consumed. If the body landed on a ledge, the putrefying flesh became infested with maggots (Mark 9:47, 48). Living humans were not thrown in Gehenna. So, it was not a place of conscious torment.

At Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, "be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." Notice that this verse does not mention torment in the fires of Gehenna. Rather, it says, "fear him that can destroy in Gehenna." Referring to the soul separately, Jesus was emphazising that God can destroy all prospects of a person's life, this person would have no hope of resurrection. So, the references to Gehenna have the same meaning to the lake of fire in Revelation 21:8: Destruction, or second death.

Conclusion

The penalty for sin, rather than eternal torment, is death (Romans 6:23). After death, one is not subject to further punishment for his sins (Romans 6:7). Furthermore, eternal torment is not compatible with God's personality (Jeremiah 7:31; 1 John 4:8).

Romans 6:23 - “The wages sin pays is death.”

Romans 6:7 - “He who has died has been acquitted from his sin.”

Jeremiah 7:31: “They [apostate Judeans] have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, in order to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart.”
(If it had never come up into God's heart, he obviously does not do such a thing in a larger scale.)

1 John 5:8 - "Whoever does not love has not come to know God, because God is love."

Thank you. Back to you, Con.


GIDHIR

Con

I never really thought about the Bible just saying that hell is death. To me, that would be a fair interpretation of scripture. However, it is about interpreting what is written. And to me, over the course of this debate, the definition of hell does seem to change. From it being a lake of burning sulfur (revelation 21:8) to "everlasting destruction(2 Thessalonians 1:9) to a "fiery furnace" (Mathew 13:50) to all the times you have mentioned where it states that heaven is eternal life and hell is death. To me, this seems to indicate that the punishment for different sinful lives is different for each person because why else have so many clear descriptions of what eternal damnation is to be? This point is influenced by my rereading of Mark 9:42-48 which I have stated in the previous round. Jesus states it is better to remove certain detrimental ligaments instead of suffering various torments. Also, if you look in the book of Enoch chapter 9, the apocryphal imagery clearly parallels that of Revelation and other New Testament descriptions. These passages have lead me to a conclusion that the authors of the Bible believed that god punished sinners in a variety of ways due to the lengths they went to describe multiple forms of suffering. And if fire or heat or burning sulfur is not included in this list of punishments then why did they describe it so clearly multiple times and then repeat the description even more?
Also, Gehena is from the Hebrew "ge hennom" for The Valley of Hennon. The Valley of Hennon was a place south of Jerusalem where an idolatrous cult sacrificed children.
Off to Round Four!
Debate Round No. 3
Bible

Pro

On the basis that the valley of Hinnom was used as a site of idolatrous worship that included child sacrifice, some believe that Gehenna was used by Jesus as a symbol of eternal torment. Since Jehovah God expressed repugnance to such practice when He said, "a thing that I had not commanded and that had not come up into my heart" (Jeremiah 7:31; 32:35) it seems unlikely that the Son of God would make that idolatrous practice the basis for the symbolic meaning of Gehenna.

In the Bible times, the most thorough means of destruction in use was fire. (Deuteronomy 13:16; Joshua 6:24) This is why Jesus often used the term “fire” to, in an illustrative way, denote the complete destruction of the wicked.






GIDHIR

Con

I may be wrong but in Jeremiah 32:35 the context is that the people of Baal are sacrificing their children in Ben-hinnom to their god, Molech. But if they had been praying to Yahweh, like Abraham, the sacrifice of sons and daughters by fire would be revered as submission to the right god. Just something to think about.
Anywho, I get what your saying. Fire was used as an efficient form of utterly destroying things. So when Jesus makes reference to sacrifice by fire or a fiery demise, it is to say that the person's soul would be destroyed, not tortured. But then why in Mark 13:42 and Luke 13:28 does it say there will be crying and "gnashing of teeth" in said furnace? Why are there descriptions of pain and turture if punishment for non belief and a sinful life is merely death? Why state that there will be suffering when there will be no feeling or experience at all?
Debate Round No. 4
Bible

Pro

Bible forfeited this round.
GIDHIR

Con

GIDHIR forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Bible 1 year ago
Bible
@Jake33ss

You say I have the most unbiblical position possible? Why does the Bible then make a distinction between the living and the dead saying that the living know they will die but the dead don't know nor feel anything at all because there is no knowledge in hell where we are going? Why does it say the punishment for sin is death rather than eternal torment? Why did Job, when he was suffering, prayed to go to hell? To suffer more? Doesn't it make more sense that he wanted to stop suffering in grave? And why was Jesus in hell, although he was perfect and never sinned? Because hell is just grave where the dead are. This is what the Bible REALLY teaches.
Posted by Bible 1 year ago
Bible
The creation story, I take it literally. You are probably asking this because you do not believe the Earth was made in six days, and neither do I. Remember the Bible was not originally written in English. The word that is rendered as "day" is not always 24 hours in the Bible, and there are some examples of this. For example, all six "days" of creation are referred to as one "day," but when God proceeded to call the light "day" and the darkness "night," that was a period less than 24 hours.

I do believe that there was a global flood and in Noah's Ark. I also take the letters in the Bible literal unless figurative language is clearly being used. And the book of Revelation has a lot of figurative language. Proverbs also has illustrations like wisdom personified, which is obviously not literal since wisdom is not actually a person.
Posted by GIDHIR 1 year ago
GIDHIR
Like how the parables are not actual accounts, they are stories used to make a point clear. But what about the letters from Peter, Paul, Timothy, James, revelation, the creation story, Noah's Ark, Abraham, Isaac, the laws in Deuteronomy or and other Old Testament section on laws, the book of judges with Samson and everyone, and the life of Jesus? Is all that literal? Are the Proverbs all literal or only illustrations?
Posted by Bible 1 year ago
Bible
I am a Jehovah's Witness, yes. I take literally what is meant to be literal, which is clear when you consider the context.
Posted by GIDHIR 1 year ago
GIDHIR
Absolutely. You can even create the debate, only if the response time and round length are maximum and voting is open. Just to be clear, you are a Jehovah's Witness and you believe the Bible to be literally true?
Posted by Bible 1 year ago
Bible
I would be interested in a debate with you that the God of the Bible is good. You want to debate that? :)
Posted by GIDHIR 1 year ago
GIDHIR
You can feel free to post your 5th Round statements in the comments, mine is mostly just going to be a wrap up. Honestly, while I did enjoy this debate, I'm not really interested in the semantics or particulars of a holy book. To me, whether he'll is fiery, eternal death and a nothingness, or a place you wait until worthy of heaven, it's unhealthy and an awful accusation. What you are encouraging is the idea that some people will be treated better than others because some people didn't follow the rules of some uber powerful intergalactic spirit monster. But my point is I would rather debate the ramifications of believing in an afterlife, all good or all bad. Or any debate regarding whether religion itself, particularly Christianity is good for the world or if it is needed whatsoever. I'd like to have a debate about whether or not, granting the existence of your god, is he good? Think it over.
Posted by Bible 1 year ago
Bible
Sorry I wasn't able to write my response in time. If this is a subject that still interests yoy, we could talk more about it. I will add you as a friend. :)
Posted by GIDHIR 1 year ago
GIDHIR
I'll accept the debate, though as I have stated I am an atheist and do not believe in your faith.
Posted by Bible 1 year ago
Bible
You can accept this debate if you believe this is what the Bible teaches.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jake33ss 1 year ago
Jake33ss
BibleGIDHIRTied
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Total points awarded:34 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro has the most profoundly unbiblical position possible