If the Bible is entirely harmonious, is a place of eternal torment Biblical?
2. If Pro does not give a reasonable explanation that can be backed up with the Bible of the many verses that contradict a place of eternal torment, the idea that the wicked are eternally punished in fire is not Biblical.
Pro may give his arguments that a place where the wicked are eternally tormented in fire is Biblical now, in round 1.
(Only accept if you believe God tortures people in hell. Thank you)
Very well, I will debate this topic. I have read the Bible extensively and it seems very straightforward to me that a place of eternal torment for the wicked is plainly and consistently taught. While I try to quote a few surrounding verses to provide context, I realize some just want to see the applicable parts, so I will underline the parts which are most relevant.
RELEVANT BIBLE VERSES
Isaiah 66:22-24 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Mark 9:43-48 And 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, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Revelation 14:10-11 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Revelation 20:10-15 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And 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. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
To me the teaching that the wicked, particularly those who serve the satanic antichrist's final world kingdom, will be punished in eternal hellfire for eternity, seems largely straightforward. It's seen just from a straightforward reading of the Bible with no way to get around it.
I'm sure Con will now seek to argue on the basis of verses mentioning God's mercy and forgiveness, but this will fail of course to contradict or negate those mentioning eternal hellfire and torment. Mercy and forgiveness are always conditioned upon repentance, Biblically, in other words forsaking one's evil deeds. Mercy and forgiveness are not given to those who persist in their evil actions, but rather they accumulate future punishments as they do so. And this is the age where mercy and repentance is allowed, in this life, but at the end all will be judged according to their actions, Biblically.
Isaiah 66:24 - “They will actually go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that were transgressing against me; for the very worms upon them will not die and their fire itself will not be extinguished, and they must become something repulsive to all flesh.”
Jesus Christ likely had this prophecy in mind when he encouraged his disciples to simplify their lives and put Kingdom interests first. He said: “If your eye makes you stumble, throw it away; it is finer for you to enter one-eyed into the kingdom of God than with two eyes to be pitched into Gehenna, where their maggot does not die and the fire is not put out.” (Mark 9:47, 48 [one of the verses Pro used]; Matthew 5:29, 30; 6:33).
What is this place called Gehenna? Centuries ago, the Jewish scholar David Kimhi wrote: “It is a place [...] adjoining Jerusalem, and it is a loathsome place, and they throw there unclean things and carcasses. Also there was a continual fire there to burn the unclean things and the bones of the carcasses. Hence, the judgment of the wicked ones is called parabolically Gehinnom.” If, as this Jewish scholar suggests, Gehenna was used for the disposal of refuse and carcasses of those deemed unworthy of burial, fire would be a suitable means of eliminating such refuse. What the fire did not consume, the maggots would. What a fitting picture of the final end of all of God’s enemies!
Jude 1:7 - “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
The fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah stopped burning thousands of years ago. God’s judgment, however, was against not only those cities but also their wicked inhabitants. What happened to them is a warning example. At Luke 17:29, Jesus says that they were “destroyed”; Jude 1:7 shows that the destruction was eternal.
Revelation 14:9-11 - Another angel, a third, followed them, saying in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the wild beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he will also drink of the wine of the anger of God that is poured out undiluted into the cup of His wrath, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest, those who worship the wild beast and its image and whoever receives the mark of its name.
These verses speak of speaks of some who are “tormented with fire and sulphur [...] And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever.” Does this prove eternal conscious torment in hellfire? Actually, all this passage says is that the wicked are tormented, not that they are tormented forever. The text states that it is the smoke, the evidence that the fire has done its work of destruction, that continues forever, not the fiery torment.
Revelation 20:10 - And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
These verses say that the Devil will be cast into “the lake of fire” and “tormented day and night for ever and ever.” If the Devil were to be tortured for all eternity, God would have to preserve him alive, but the Bible says that Jesus will destroy him (Hebrews 2:14). The symbolic fiery lake represents “the second death.” (Revelation 21:8). This is not the death first mentioned in the Bible, death because of Adam’s sin, death from which one may be released by a resurrection. (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). Because the Bible does not say that “the lake of fire” would release those in it, “the second death” must mean another kind of death, an irreversible one.
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.”
If the dead are conscious of nothing, they obviously feel no pain.
Ezekiel 18:4 - “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die."
Here we see two things. Souls are not immortal since 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?
In the Bible, the Hebrew and Greek words often translated “hell” actually refer to the common grave of mankind. For example, when Job suffered a painful illness, he prayed: “I wish you would hide me in my grave.” (Job 14:13, Holy Bible—Easy-to-Read Version) Job wanted to rest, not in a place of torment or alienation from God, but in the 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. Why? He was perfect and never sinned. 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.
Here we see the Bible hell is not eternal since it delivers up the dead. What does that mean? Resurrection. The dead will leave grave. And notice how hell and lake of fire are mentioned as two different places? Hell (grave) is thrown in the lake of fire which the Bible teaches means the second death, or eternal destruction. Hell is thrown in the lake of fire meaning people won't have to die anymore.
Pro has not given a single Bible verse that proves the wicked are tortured eternally with fire in hell.
1. If Pro does not give a single Bible verse that proves a place of eternal torture, the idea that the wicked are eternally punished in fire is not Biblical.
2. If Pro does not give a reasonable explanation that can be backed up with the Bible of the many verses that contradict a place of eternal torture, the idea that the wicked are eternally punished in fire is not Biblical.
Thank you. I eagerly await Pro's response.
Con finishes by arguing that I have not given a single passage which proves a place of eternal torture where the wicked are eternally punished in fire, yet I already gave 5 specific passages that expressly indicate just that. However, I'll address Con's specific objections to the passages.
Isaiah 66:22-24 and Mark 9:43-48
I'm not really certain what the exact objection being made by Con to these verses is, frankly. Con states "What the fire did not consume, the maggots would. What a fitting picture of the final end of all of God’s enemies!" If Con agrees that consuming fire is a fitting picture of the end of God's enemies, then does that mean Con recognizes eternal punishment by fire is a fitting destruction for the enemies of God?
Perhaps Con is objecting to the torture itself being eternal, and arguing that the tortures themselves (fire and maggots) are eternal but that those being tortured are not tortured eternally? Isaiah 66:24 after all very specifically states that the fire will not be quenched (stopped) and the worms/maggots will not die. Mark 9:43-48 repeats this phrase no less than 3 different times, driving home the concept of eternal punishments.
Something which also bears pointing out concerning the phrase "their worm dieth not" is that it may well actually be referring not to actual maggots but the spirits of people. After all, referring to people, including oneself, as a "worm" was an Old Testament phrase for those in shameful position. See for example Job 25:6, Psalms 22:6, Isaiah 41:14, and Micah 7:17. If so it would actually be a direct reference to the evil living eternally in torture.
Con argues that although Sodom and Gomorrah are "are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" that this was an event in the distant past. However, the inference to me is referencing the eternal fire which tortures those after this life, not a temporary city-wide destruction. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed physically in this life, and are kept in a place of torment in the next life as an example to the rest of God's creation of what the reward for unmitigated evil will be.
The passage clearly states concerning those who follow the Beast/Antichrist that they will be "tormented with fire and sulfur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest..."
Again, Con tries to avoid the implications of eternal torture by suggesting that it's just the smoke which is eternal, not the torture itself. But smoke does not exist without a source, a fire that provides it. Does it really make sense for the evil to suffer a temporary torture but for the smoke of it to just hang around in the air eternally? No, the clear implication is that the torture itself will be neverending, and produce smoke that is likewise eternal.
This passage really should be the definite evidence that eternal torture will apply to the devil and the Beast/Antichrist, as it specifically states "they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Con correctly acknowledges that there is a difference between the first and second deaths mentioned in the chapter, but this after claiming "If the Devil were to be tortured for all eternity, God would have to preserve him alive, but the Bible says that Jesus will destroy him (Hebrews 2:14)."
It should be pointed out first of all that Hebrews 2:14 simply says Jesus will destroy the devil, not how or when this will occur. It could easily be referring to the Revelation 20 passage in question, where the devil and Beast/Antichrist are thrown into the Lake of Fire to suffer eternal torment.
Furthermore there are actually two deaths and two resurrections. The first death is in this life specifically. Job speaks of this, saying "And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." (Job 19:26) It is a physical death, and will be followed by a first resurrection of those murdered by the Beast/Antichrist, and those resurrected will live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years in what is known as the Milennial Reign. (Revelation 20:4-6)
The second resurrection is that mentioned in Revelation 20:12-13. The three locations where the dead are now being held, the sea, death, and hell will all give up the dead in them to be judged at a final judgment according to their individual deeds. Then will occur what is known as the second death, where those not written in the Book of Life will be cast into an eternal Lake of Fire to suffer the eternal torment prophesied earlier. (Revelation 20:12-15) This second death is an eternal one.
Jesus even speaks to how fearsome this eternal second death is, saying "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." (Matthew 10:28)
Con argues that the dead are not conscious of anything, but to me the passage seems to refer to awareness of events in this life. This is seen from 9:6 also, which states "Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun." To summarize 9:5-10 one could say that the message is that one should use their time in this life wisely because once dead there is no longer any impact or part in what goes on in this life.
However, Solomon the writer of Ecclesiastes speaks from a natural perspective for most of the book, but acknowledges at the end a final Judgment, stating:
Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
However, the dead are CLEARLY said to feel pain throughout the Bible. Con wants to interpret the phrase "dead are conscious of nothing" to mean that the dead don't feel pain, but that is entirely inconsistent with these and other passages.
Luke 16:22-24 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Isaiah 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Con argues that mention of a soul dying here indicates souls are not immortal. However, just as there is life eternal Biblically, even so there is death eternally.
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
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.
Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Jude 1:7 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Job 14:13 and Acts 2:25-27
I have to admit, Con does know the Bible very well, better than most people I've met. When the Old Testament speaks of Hell the Hebrew word translated as Hell is often "sheol" and can simply mean the place of darkness and death where the dead go, as addressed in the book of Job.
Where I disagree with Con is their conclusion that there is no suffering involved. As seen from Luke 16:22-24 which I previously quoted, sheol is divided into two sections with a great gulf or chasm in between. One where the dead go in general, including the righteous Abraham and Lazarus, and one where the evil go to be tormented, for example the merciless rich man. While one half of it is free from torment, the other half is not.
With all due respect to Con, they are picking and choosing here by omitting the crucial verse 15, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Con only mentions part of the passage here, the part that suits their claim of an afterlife without torment.
Yes, Hell and the Lake of Fire are different places. Hell currently exists but will deliver up the dead for a final resurrection, the second resurrection, as previously addressed. Hell will then be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Those who had been in Hell will then undergo a Final Judgment along with all others in creation. However, what Con tries to ignore by omitting verse 15 is that after this Final Judgment, those not written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
I say this immense respect for Con's knowledge of the Bible. But I do not think they are quoting the passage in context by omitting the key verse 15 which completely damages their argument.
I have strongly established that the Bible does indicate eternal torment. Revelation 20:10, Matthew 25:46, and 2 Thessalonians 1:7 all explicitly mention eternal punishment for the wicked.
Isaiah 66:22-24 and Mark 9:43-48
My objection to these verses is that they do not suggest eternal torture. Gehenna was used to dispose of the dead carcasses of those who were unworthy of burial. Jesus knew that the very thought of burning people alive is repugnant to his heavenly Father, Jehovah. Referring to the use made of Gehenna in the days of the prophet Jeremiah, God said: “They 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.” (Jeremiah 7:31). The idea of torment for the dead conflicts with God’s loving personality as well as with the Bible’s clear teaching that the dead are “conscious of nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10). Jesus used the term “Gehenna” to symbolize the utter destruction resulting from God’s adverse judgment. Hence, “Gehenna” has a meaning similar to that of “the lake of fire,” mentioned in the book of Revelation. Both symbolize eternal destruction from which no resurrection is possible. (Luke 12:4, 5; Revelation 20:14, 15).
It is true that "worm" was an Old Testament phrase for those in shameful position. However, Isaiah 66:24 says "the very worms upon them". What does the context suggest? Those thrown in Gehenna are not the ones being describes as "worms", although they are. The verse is talking about the worms upon them, the worms subsisting on the decaying bodies near the fire. That the worms will not die and that the fire will not be extinguished is symbolic for eternal destruction from which no resurrection is possible, not eternal torture.
My objection to this verse is that the fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah stopped burning thousands of years ago. But the effect of that fire has been lasting; the cities have not been rebuilt. This verse does not suggest that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah were kept in a place of torment after their physical destruction.
My objection to this verse is that all this passage says is that the wicked are tormented. Is the fire literal? It may be. Maybe those who "worship the wild beast and its image and [...] receive the mark of its name" will be destroyed with fire, and maybe the fire will continue forever, but not the torment. The text states that it is the smoke, the evidence that the fire has done its work of destruction, that continues forever, not the torment.
My objection to this verse is that If the Devil were to be tortured for all eternity, God would have to preserve him alive, but everlasting life is a gift from God, not a punishment (Romans 6:23). Also, the Bible says that Jesus will destroy Satan (Hebrews 2:14).
Con says, "It should be pointed out first of all that Hebrews 2:14 simply says Jesus will destroy the devil, not how or when this will occur." Let's see two definitions of the word "destroy":
(Definitions from: http://dictionary.reference.com...)
How or when this will occur is irrelevant. If Jesus will destroy (put an end to, extinguish, kill, or slay) the Devil, his torture will not be eternal. So, what does it mean that he is tormented "day and night forever and ever" if he will not be tortured for all eternity? The context of the Bible indicates that the torment of the Devil is everlasting restraint or destruction.
Now, is the lake of fire a literal "lake"? The following are cast into the lake of fire:
The Bible says that the lake of fire “means the second death.” (Revelation 20:14; 21:8) The first kind of death mentioned in the Bible resulted from Adam’s sin. This death can be reversed by resurrection and will eventually be eliminated by God. (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22, 26).
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It appears I've won. :)
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