Most contemporary Christians acknowledge the doctrine of hell, but they’d rather not think about how God punishes the wicked. Four Views on Hell meets this subject head-on with different views on what Scriptures says. Is hell to be understood literally as a place of eternal smoke and flames? Or are such images simply metaphors for a real but different form of punishment? Is there such a thing as “conditional immortality,” in which God annihilates the souls of the wicked rather than punishing them endlessly? Is there a purgatory, and if so, how does it fit into the picture? This volume allows the reader to see the four views on hell—literal, metaphorical, conditional, and purgatorial—in interaction with each other. Each view in turn is presented, critiqued, and defended. This evenhanded approach is ideal for comparing and contrasting views in order to form a personal conclusion about one of Christianity’s key doctrines.
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“First, the orthodox view is commonly interpreted to be the belief that punishment for the wicked is everlasting and that it is punitive, not redemptive.” (Page 12)
“The lake of fire does not provide annihilation but continual suffering.” (Page 21)
“In any case, the Old Testament clearly teaches that there is judgment for the unsaved after this life and that this judgment continues over an extended period of time. The New Testament confirms this insofar as the unsaved are viewed as still existing at the Great White Throne Judgment—some having been in hades for thousands of years—but are cast into the lake of fire at that time (Rev. 20:14).” (Pages 15–16)
“The Old Testament doctrine of hell unfolds slowly but surely. The principal term used to refer to life after this life is sheol, occurring sixty-five times in the Old Testament.” (Page 14)
“There is nothing in the nature of the human soul that requires it to live forever. The Bible teaches conditionalism: God created humans mortal with a capacity for life everlasting, but it is not their inherent possession. Immortality is a gift God offers us in the gospel, not an inalienable possession.” (Page 148)
In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.
William V. Crockett earned his PhD from the University of Glasgow and lectures and writes on contemporary theological issues.