The Images of Hell are Metaphors Pointing to a Real, but Indefinable State.
Debate Rounds (5)
The images of hell are metaphors pointing to a real, but indefinable state. 1
The debate will be about the nature of hell. That is from two main differing perspectives, namely, the metaphor view vs the literal view. Both views agree that God (Christian Faith) is not pleased with disobedience and has appointed a day to judge the peoples of the world. 2 There are also other points of agreement such as, the intermediate state (Hades/Paradise or Abraham's Bosom), the destiny of the body (the grave), the bodily resurrections of the believer and the unrighteous, and the eternal destinies (Unbeliever's final destiny: Gehenna: "Lake of Fire" and Believer's final destiny "Heaven"). 3 The sharp disagreement between the views comes down to the interpretation of the language that the authors of the Bible used when describing the nature of hell. Definitions are provided, especially on the word "hell" since some translations of the Bible use the word hell to mean: "Hades", "Gehenna", "Tartarus" and "The Grave". Hence, Bible scholars encourage Bible students and seekers alike to use at least one translation from all translations spectrum: "By using different translations the reader can acquire a fuller understanding of the meaning of the original text." 4
1. Crockett William and Gundry N. Stanley, "Four Views of Hell," p. 45
2. Crockett William and Gundry N. Stanley, "Four Views of Hell," p. 7
3. Zodhiates, Spiros, "Life after Death," p. vi
1. Gehenna: n
1. Old Testament the valley below Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed
and where idolatry was practiced (II Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 19:6) and where
later offal and refuse were slowly burned. 1
2. New Testament, Judaism a place where the wicked are punished after
death. 4 Note: Known as the second death, lake of fire. 2
2. Hades: 2. New Testament the abode or state of the dead. Note: The
intermediate state before the resurrection and final destiny. (Matthew 22:32; John 11:26; Luke 16:19-31;23:43; 2 Peter 2:9; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8)
3. Tartaros: 2. a part of Hades reserved for evildoers. 6 Note: The prison house
of fallen angels. (2 Pet. 2:4, Jude 6)
4. Truth: 1. the true or actual state of a matter: He tried to find out the truth.
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
5. Evidence: All types of information (observations, recollections, documents,
concrete objects, etc)
6. Proof: A body of evidence supporting a contention. Those facts from which a
conclusion can be drawn.
7. Inference: the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation.
1. My opponent must be a Christian within the traditional Protestant denominations
who holds the literal view of hell.
2. Any issues must be made in the comment section.
Round 1: Acceptance and Clarification
Round 2: Opening arguments
Rounds 3-5: Argumentations
Note: The Correspondence Theory of Truth
5. Oran, Daniel, Oran's Dictionary of the Law, pg. 189
6. Oran, Daniel, Oran's Dictionary of the Law, pg. 419
7. http://www.thefreedictionary.com... (From the Thesaurus)
I would like to welcome Scoundrel to DDO and thanks for accepting the debate subject at hand and welcome to our readers as well.
BACKGROUND: GRAPHIC VIEWS OF HELL
It is important to understand the historical background concerning the literary genre that has come to be known as "The Tours of Hell" that most of the literalist use in their understanding and teaching of the doctrine of hell that goes beyond what Scripture reveals about the nature of hell and resort into speculations.  The literal view of hell dominated Christian thinking from the time of Augustine (fifth century) until the Reformers (sixteenth century).  However, it can be traced all the way back to the Old Testament pseudepigrapha: Jewish texts and and New Testament apocrypha.  In the fourth century, Italian poet Dante Alighieri fueled these early speculations in his work "Divine Comedy." Not intended to be taken literally, yet as Eldon Woodcock, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Bible Woodcock, stated, "problems developed when many subsequent readers, imitative writers, and preachers forgot these descriptions were speculations and treated them rather as theological dogma."  The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many preachers and theologians such as Charles H. Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards, ignoring the warnings by Martin Luther and John Calvin, expected hell to be a literal sea of fire even including satanic/demonic participation.  20th and 21th centuries, most literalist follow "the Tour of Hell" teachings such as those by Mary K. Baxter's "Divine Revelation of Hell"  and the minority may not necessarily agree with Baxter's teachings (demonic participation, etc), yet they still hold to the fire image to be literal.
P1. The figures of speech that describe hell are contradictory if taken in a physical sense.
The Bible authors opposite descriptions of hell can hardy be missed. Jude pictures hell "blackest darkness" (Jude 13), yet in verse 7 it is pictured as "eternal fire." Matthew also gives the opposite images of fire (Matthew 3:10, 12; 25:41) and darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). It is a dump (with a bottom) , yet a bottomless pit.  Other Bible verses also use the idea of fire symbolically: Psalm 78:21 (figure of the anger of God), Hebrews 12:29; Deut. 4:24; Jer. 23:29 (God's ability as a jealous God), James 3:6 (the destructive nature of the tongue), Psalm 104:4 (used to describe the glory of God's angels), 1 Cor. 3:13 (describe the purifying effect of fire upon metals). As Geisler states, "While everything in the Bible is literally true, not everything is true literally." 
P2. The resurrected bodies of the wicked are imperishable physical bodies which normal fire would not affect them. 
1 Corinthians 15 is the most extensive discourse on the resurrection in the New Testament.  The chapter itself deals with the resurrection of the saints where Paul use the seed metaphor to explain what what kind of a body the resurrection body will be. Wright states, "The distinction he is making is between a body a, "physical"body in our sense, that is animated by normal human energy (a "natural" body in other words), and the new body which will be animated by God's spirit, in other words, a "spiritual" body in the sense of a spirit-generated and spirit-animated body."  However, it is logical by inference that the resurrected body of the wicked will also be incorruptible and will never be dissolved. Cooper makes an important statement which needs to be pointed out, "....individual and environment share some commonness of nature."  That is to say, the spiritual body will be adapted to the spirit world. Because "....resurrection involve a total transformation of the body's essence and appearance into a heavenly or spiritual being."  That being the case, a normal fire would not affect them.
P3. The eternal fire was created for spirit beings such as the devil and his angels (Matthew 5:41).
Furthering the case, not only will spiritual bodies not be affected by physical fire, neither will disembodies spirits.
P4. In ancient times, teachers often used words symbolically to underscore their points (rabbinic hyperbole). 
Most of Jesus teachings was in the form of a parable. It was what a common method used by rabbis. In fact, the very word "parable" denotes "comparison or similitude." In other words, Jesus used the natural to impart spiritual insight or truth. In the Old Testament, the parable (mashal) is used as a warning as well as for an example. 
A. The meaning of the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Alfred Edersheim, one of the leading authorities of his time regarding the doctrines and practices of Judaism in the centuries preceding and during the early Christian era, made this statement, "Associated with it is "the weeping" and the gnashing of teeth. In Rabbinic thought the former was connected with sorrow, the latter almost always with anger---not generally supposed with anguish."  This is also the meaning of the expression in Ps. 112:10. Edersheim also points out that the verb is used with this idea in Acts 7:45, and in the Septuagint, Job 16:; Ps 35:16; 37:12; and in Rabbinical writings, for example, Jer. Keth 35b; Shem R 5ff. 
The Bible authors used pictures of hell that are irreconcilable if taken literally (the law of non-contradiction). If a literal meaning is absurd according to Biblical hermeneutics, than it is to be interpreted figuratively.  As Geisler puts it, "Nowhere does the Bible describe it as a "torture chamber" where people are forced against their will to be tortured. This is a caricature created by unbelievers to justify their reaction that the God who sends people to hell is cruel. This does not mean that hell is not a place of torment. Jesus said it was (Luke 16:24). But unlike torture which is inflicted from without against one's will, torment is self-inflicted. Even atheists have suggested that the door of hell is locked from the inside. We are condemned to our own freedom from God. Heaven's presence of the divine would be the
torture to one who has irretrievably rejected him. Torment is living with the consequences of our own bad choices. It is the weeping and gnashing of teeth that results from the realization that we blew it and deserve the consequences." 
2. Crockett William and Gundry N. Stanley, "Four Views of Hell," p. 46
5. Crockett William and Gundry N. Stanley, "Four Views of Hell," p. 48
10. Cooper W. Paul, "Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting," p.139
11. Wright, N.T. and Evans A. Craig "Jesus, The Final Days," p.88
12. Cooper W. Paul, "Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting," p.78
13. Cooper W. Paul, "Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting," p.789
14. Crockett William and Gundry N. Stanley, "Four Views of Hell," p.30
15. Harrison, F Everett "A Short Life Of Christ," p.102
16. Edersheim, Alfred, "The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah," p.379
17. Edersheim, Alfred, "The Life and Times of Jesus The Messiah," p.380
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Gileandos 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF, I would have loved to read this full out though.
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