The Doctrine of Hell

A strong reason that this article was written was to provide biblical truth to motivate people to evangelism. So, why write a document about Hell?

Whenever you read the Scriptures that teach about Hell or hear someone accurately explain them, at least two things should happen: (1) if you are saved then you should have a great feeling of gratitude towards God because He rescued you from it and (2) you should be cut very deep and feel great pain for the lost, because you know that Hell is where they will spend eternity. The reality of Hell is one of the greatest motivations for evangelism.

This article doesn’t contain everything about Hell that the Bible contains. I would recommend Grudem’s or Geisler’s Systematic Theology for more information (or you can feel free to ask me questions). Much of the information here is from Grudem’s book. I will try to give some useful points that hopefully teach enough so you can understand what the Bible says about Hell and some useful responses to it.

For the purpose of this study, we will use Grudem’s definition of Hell: “Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked.” That definition contains several words that are important to understanding the biblical teachings about Hell: it is “eternal,” “conscious,” and it is “punishment.” 

The Scriptural Evidence and Teachings About Hell

There are several Scriptures that affirm all of those realities about Hell, in both the Old and New Testaments.

 “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2) “The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:49-50) At the end of the parable of the talents, the master says, “cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:30) Later when Jesus is speaking of the final judgment, He says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41), and then Jesus says of those condemned that they “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). “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.’” (Mark 9:47-48) In Luke the detailed story of the rich man and Lazarus shows conscious punishment, for the rich man dies and is in Hades, and then says, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.” (Luke 16:24) He then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his father’s house, “for I have five brothers – so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” (Luke 16:28) The book of Revelation very explicitly tells of eternal punishment:

“If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever 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.” (Revelation 14:9-11)

From these few passages we can see realities about eternal punishment. Hell is described as the “outer darkness,” a place where the “fire is not quenched,” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” where people experience “anguish in this flame,” and a place where “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.”

Our Response

Hell is complete separation from God for all eternity. God is life, light, and love. To be separated from Him in Hell means to have no life or love or the joy that comes in having a relationship with Him, and having no more opportunities to have a relationship, forever.

When we are faced with this reality, we should feel deep pain for those we know will experience eternity in Hell. And that is appropriate, because God created us with the capacity to love and Himself desires that no one should perish. We should love people made in His image just as He does, and so should pursue them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should desire that they not perish, but that they experience the full joy and fulfillment of having a relationship with their loving Creator.

We must also be careful that we do not rebel against or ignore the teachings of God’s Word about Hell. Often there is a hesitance to speak plainly about what the Bible says concerning Hell or to truly think about it and consider its reality in our personal lives. We must acknowledge that whatever God teaches in His Word is right, and there is no unrighteousness in God, and He is perfect in all of His ways. Therefore, think about Hell, and let it affect how you view the lost.

Objections and False Teachings Concerning the Doctrine of Hell

Objection 1: How Can God Be Loving and Yet Send People to Hell?

To begin with, I should note that this question is usually asked because people think that hell is unjust, which would actually make this objection more about God’s righteousness and not His love or His goodness. However, for the sake of being thorough, here is an answer.

God is patient with the human beings He created in His image, desiring that none of them should perish (2 Peter 3:9). God desires all to be saved and have an intimate relationship with Him. But God gives people the ability to choose, and some choose to not be in a relationship with God. All people are guilty of having knowledge of God but rejecting Him regardless (Romans 1:18-23). Therefore, from the inerrant Word of God’s perspective, the reality is that people have been given opportunity after opportunity to repent and worship God like they were created to do but have consistently rejected Him. God extends the offer of forgiveness daily, yet people continue to reject. In other words, the only people spending eternity in Hell are the people who are unrepentant in their sin and want nothing to do with God.

This objection grows out of theology that is centered on man, not God. It says that Hell is unloving because it starts with man and how he thinks he should be loved, not with God and His holiness. In any comparable situation where one individual is undeniably guilty before another and yet is offered time after time forgiveness and reconciliation but refuses to accept it and all the while offending their adversary even more, people would wonder why the offended person did not act sooner in dealing out justice. In relation to Hell, however, people wonder why it is so in the first place. Pride is the root cause of this objection.

Objection 2: Eternal Damnation for Temporary Sins is Overkill

Perhaps the most common objection to the Bible’s teachings on Hell is that it is considered unjust. However, putting things into their proper perspective shows that Hell is both just and necessary.

 The severity of an offense is determined in part by the worth and honor of the person being offended. Imagine, therefore, how severe an offense sin is against God. God is infinite in His holiness and in His worth, which means that sin is infinitely evil. Further, because God is eternal, sin will be offensive to Him for all eternity, and it would be unjust to punish eternal offenses with a temporary punishment. Infinitely evil and eternal transgressions deserve eternal punishment.

When we see God in His holiness, we understand why Hell is just. If we start with man and our sinfully distorted view of love and justice (as it was stated above), then we conclude that Hell is unjust.

False Teaching: Annihilationism

Annihilationism is the belief that the wicked will not experience eternal conscious punishment. For many, the biblical teachings on Hell have brought strong emotional reactions by unbelievers and believers. Some consider it cruel and outrageous. People who hold that the punishment of unbelievers is not eternal often hold to annihilationism. Annihilationism teaches that the wicked will experience God’s wrath for a time but will then be “annihilated” and cease to exist. Therefore, while the punishment is conscious, it is not believed to be eternal.

Eternal conscious punishment of unbelievers has been denied recently by some theologians and has previously been denied by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and various individuals throughout church history. However, the truth of the Bible is not compatible with annihilationism, and the teaching has been rightly condemned as false by many.

In the passages above we see that the Bible clearly speaks of the punishment of the wicked being eternal and conscious. The passages speaking of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” and having “no rest, day or night” in an “eternal fire” speak plainly. To weep, one must be conscious. To have no rest and experience torment, one must be conscious. And to say that Hell is “eternal” leaves no place for uncertainty concerning the duration of Hell.

24 thoughts on “The Doctrine of Hell

    1. Mr. Callow, I have looked at your link and what it contains, and I think you’re a person who studies thoroughly. I can appreciate that. However, the underlying assumption of your argument seems biblically flawed, as it neglects the nature of sin and, as a result, God’s holiness. It also appears that much of what is written in the link flows from your personal disagreement or distaste for what the Scriptures say, not anything in the Bible itself that definitively affirms what you say. There are also Scriptures that appear to have been taken out of context, for example, those quoted from the book of Ecclesiastes or Revelation. There are other relevant Scriptures that I don’t remember being mentioned, such as Philippians 1:23. If you did mention that verse I apologize, as I had to read the article rather quickly. In any case, there is no reason to discard the long-standing interpretation of the Bible’s doctrine of hell in favor of the view you have proposed.

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      1. David, in writing the letter to my church I was governed by what the Bible teaches about God’s love, man’s soul and condemnation, The only biblical reference you gave me in your reply however was Philippians 1:23. … this is what you wrote and I quote: “There are other relevant Scriptures that I don’t remember being mentioned, such as Philippians 1:23.”

        Philippians 1:22, “If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,”.

        I must admit I see nothing relevant here that remotely indicates the immortality of every condemned soul. Neither do I see anything here implying the endless torment of every condemned soul either. Why then should I have mentioned Philippians 1:23 in a letter dealing primarily with evangelical doctrine on hell?
        I do however see very good biblical and moral reasons (listed in my letter) for rejecting the long-standing Roman Catholic/Calvinistic/Arminian doctrine dealing with man’s soul and condemnation. If you would care to comment on that list in detail and to start dealing with what I have written in chapter 1 first, then I would be very grateful. https://esdraelon1.wordpress.com/

        Thank you

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      2. Mr. Callow,

        In response to chapter 1:

        – I noticed that you used a capital “Spirit,” which leads me to believe that you are referencing the Holy Spirit. If this is what you intended, then this is a theological error. To begin with, there is no evidence that suggests the Holy Spirit indwelt Adam, and this is reinforced by the fact that the Holy Spirit only lived in people after the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 when the new covenant began.

        – You contend that the common understanding of Genesis 2:17 bends the definition of the word “die,” because it’s understood as referring to spiritual separation from God and not the cessation of existence. However, based on what I have read of your writings, it doesn’t seem to me that you would disagree with the idea that God is Himself life. In this case, Adam separating himself from God, Who is life, would be the clearest definition of death, regardless if any part of his being actually ceased to exist or not. To be separated from life, which is God Himself, is to be in a state of death.

        – Your understanding of the verses you quoted in Ecclesiastes have no biblical warrant. You yourself point out that many people interpret those verses being written from a human perspective. This is because that interpretation of Ecclesiastes fits within the context of the entire book. Therefore, it is a reasonable interpretation.

        – The ideas you put forth about Genesis chapter 3 seem to miss the context of the immediate passage, as well. For example, God saying that Adam would return to dust simply means that he will now die physically, which would not have happened if he had never sinned and eaten the fruit. Similarly, in 3:22-24 when God places the cherubim, it is the same point. God did not want Adam to eat of the tree of life and continue on forever physically, and so escape the penalty.

        – You also wrote of Genesis 5:5, “there is nothing here to suggest this verse is referring to Adam’s physical body only, but rather it is a clear reference to the whole corrupt person that Adam had become.” Why is there nothing to suggest that this doesn’t refer to only Adam’s physical body? It seems to suggest that rather clearly to me. I suppose it is because the verse reads “altogether?” But if you were to use a different translation it would read differently. So, we have nothing but your personal opinion about the verse suggesting that we should understand it as meaning “the whole corrupt person,” which you defined earlier in the chapter.

        I have given those points in response to your chapter 1 because you asked me to. However, I want to point out some other things that are in your writing.

        First, you have not answered how your proposed view does not minimize sin and what it deserves. You write: “I must first say that it has been suggested that I might not be taking sin seriously. I must therefore make it clear I am not playing down the corrosive and destructive nature of any sin, the evidence of just how dangerous sin is can be seen everywhere in the world including ourselves. I believe every fallen man is guilty of serious sin because all sin is serious.” However, while you take sin seriously, you do not explain how your view does not compromise the holiness of God and the infinite offense sin is to Him. You merely say that you take sin seriously.

        Second, there is an inconsistency in your way of thinking. You repeat several times that each person receives punishment “depending on what each condemned soul is guilty of.” And to an extent I may agree with you. However, your position that this “punishment” means complete cessation of existence for some isn’t compatible with what the Bible says about varying degrees of reward and punishment.

        For example, Matthew 5:19 says that some in the kingdom of heaven will be “great” and others will be “least.” However, it is clear that both categories will be in the kingdom of heaven. Why can you not see this as the case for the condemned? The idea that some condemned will be punished by complete cessation because they don’t deserve as much as other condemned people would be like saying that the “least” in the kingdom of heaven will only exist for as long as their reward or greatness warrants. The Bible offers no such picture. In other words, if there is varying degrees of reward or status within the eternal heaven, why do you find it difficult to believe that there can be varying degrees of punishment within the everlasting torment of the lake of fire?

        I am unsure if you intended for me to go through your entire writing and give point by point for all of them, though there are few others I could write about.

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      3. I would also add that the cross of Christ implies an eternal punishment for all condemned. Without Him salvation is not possible, and only through His finished work on the cross can we be delivered from our sins. Jesus suffered incomprehensible agony and even God’s turning away. The Bible is clear that Jesus paid for all sins, past, present and future. His sacrifice was for the “whole world” (1 John 2:2). Also, His sacrifice was the eternal, one-time sacrifice (Hebrews 9:14). Why the cross and all the suffering if hell is only for some? There is no point in Christ paying for all sins for all eternity for all people, if many people will simply be punished temporarily and then made to not exist anymore. To say that hell is not for each and every condemned person is a slap in the face and disregards His ultimate sacrifice as insignificant.

        I can tell that you take study seriously, but these are problems I see with what you have written.

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  1. David Friend wrote: “there is no evidence that suggests the Holy Spirit indwelt Adam, and this is reinforced by the fact that the Holy Spirit only lived in people after the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 when the new covenant began.”

    No evidence?

    David, before Adam could have been made perfect in the image and likeness of his Father he would have needed to be made with the Spirit of his Father living in him. Without this indwelling Spirit Adam could never have been made in the image and likeness of his Father.

    Love, humility and truth is the essence and character of the Holy Spirit and this Spirit rules over all creation. This Spirit not only once lived in Adam but now lives on forever in all who are glad to be governed by this Spirit. Such are the redeemed who long to see the end of all that would corrupt and offend this Spirit.

    Besides, are you contending that Moses or any of the Old Testament prophets were never blessed with the Spirit of God dwelling in them?

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    1. Mr. Callow,

      I didn’t word my statement about the Holy Spirit living in people after Acts chapter 2 quite right. What I meant is that the Holy Spirit did not indwell people in a permanent way and with the same purpose before Pentecost as He did after. Let me explain within my greater response of your original argument. I will try to write this as best I can with the limited time I have, and I hope it comes across clearly.

      There was of course work of the Holy Spirit that Old Testament believers received and took part of. The words of the prophets were produced by the Spirit, which is affirmed in 2 Peter 1:21. And the Spirit gave people artistic ability for the construction of the Tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-5), as well as empowered great accomplishments in individuals (Judges 14:6; 15:14). Moses did indeed have the Spirit at work in Him (Numbers 11:25), as well as Joshua (Numbers 27:18), and a select few other individuals. And there are many more references I could use. So, yes, certainly the Holy Spirit was with some in the Old Testament.

      However, it appears to me that your logic is flawed (I will discuss more on the Spirit in the Old Testament shortly). You say, “before Adam could have been made perfect in the image and likeness of his Father he would have needed to be made with the Spirit of his Father living in him. Without this indwelling Spirit Adam could never have been made in the image and likeness of his Father.” But there are problems with this.

      I will start by saying that there is nothing in the text of Genesis itself that says the Holy Spirit lived in Adam. Therefore, the belief that the Spirit did live in Adam must be an attempt to deduce or infer from other Scriptures a conclusion. While I think this is not bad and even necessary in cases, there is no reason to take such statements and believe them without careful consideration.

      – To say that Adam would need to have the Holy Spirit living inside of him to be made in the image and likeness of God seriously overlooks some important facts. To begin with, all people are made in the image of God and it is clear that not all people have the Holy Spirit living inside of them. So, to simply say that Adam must have had the Holy Spirit to be in the image of God disregards the billions who have existed who never had the Holy Spirit and yet were still in the image of God.

      – It is a biblical teaching to say that life is from the Holy Spirit (Job 33:4), and all people are hand-created by God (Psalm 139:14-16). However, it simply doesn’t fit with Scripture to say that all people must have God’s Spirit to be made in God’s image. Think of the “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), that is, the fact that everyone who is not a child of God is a child of Satan. These children of wrath are still made in God’s image, though they are spiritually dead. Genesis 9:6 affirms that fallen man is still in the image of God.

      – Also, your idea that Adam was created with the Holy Spirit living inside of him isn’t compatible with the greater teaching of Scripture about the Holy Spirit and His work in those He indwells. It isn’t compatible because there is nowhere in Scripture that teaches that the Holy Spirit can indwell a person and then “die” or leave that person, which is what must have happened if the Holy Spirit indwelled Adam when the man was created. In fact, it is clear in Scripture, at least in the New Testament, that the Holy Spirit will never leave a believer, but is with them from the time of salvation onward (Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Corinthians 1:22).

      I will here return to the Spirit’s work in the Old Testament. I want to point out that that I not necessarily arguing against a particular point you made, since you only stated that Adam was created with the Holy Spirit inside of him and I have already spoken to that. Rather, I am giving a little more of the picture.

      – I must say that it is the consistent picture in Scripture that while there are instances in the Old Testament of people being empowered by the Holy Spirit, and in the case of the prophets of the Holy Spirit probably living inside of them, it is not the teaching of Scripture to say that the Holy Spirit indwelled people like He has since the new covenant began. It is certainly not taught that He indwelled every believer in the Old Testament.

      – For starters, in many places the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Old Testament, it is usually to empower an individual for a specific task and does not give the picture of His permanent indwelling of that person. In the case of the Judges, for example, at least a few of which did not seem to be genuine believers. The language is “the Spirit of the LORD rushed on him,” or something similar, depending on the translation you’re using. This is the case with king Saul as well, who clearly did not follow the Lord. In these instances, the Spirit was present to accomplish something, but is never said to live inside of them, neither is that implied.

      – Further, the fact that God promised the future indwelling of His Spirit seems to indicate that the Spirit was not actually indwelling people (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Also, Peter quotes the Old Testament book of Joel and says that the outpouring of the Spirit to all people was a future prediction that came true at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21). This says that the Holy Spirit did not indwell people until Pentecost.

      – Therefore, it is the consistent theological understanding of Scripture that while the Holy Spirit was with the prophets in the Old Testament, and while He empowered individuals in special circumstances in the Old Testament and was at work in other ways, He is not said to indwell people until the New Testament. Only in special circumstances, the prophets, would I say that the Holy Spirit actually continually lived in a person, and even then the question is debatable and I’m not completely sold on it.

      I also want to point out that you still have not answered my questions. I am unsure if this is because you were thinking about other things or not.

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      1. David Friend wrote: “I will start by saying that there is nothing in the text of Genesis itself that says the Holy Spirit lived in Adam.”

        I will explain this once more.

        Adam was made without fault in the image and likeness of his Father which would have included his Father’s Spirit of love humility and truth, the only significant thing that was missing for Adam was the knowledge of good and evil. In other words Adam was naturally lacking in wisdom owing to the fact that he was a new creation. The only difference between the Spirit that Adam had before the fall and the Spirit which the redeemed have now is the wisdom that comes from the knowledge of good and evil and where that evil is fast heading.

        The day Adam gave into Satan’s temptation and valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning, the pure and innocent Spirit of love, humility and truth that ruled in Adam was confounded and corrupted. The Spirit of truth had died in Adam and in that place stood a proud and arrogant spirit of lies and contempt for God’s love and humility. If however, you cannot agree that love, humility and truth is the essence and character of the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit died in Adam the very day Adam valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning, then I don’t see how we can agree on anything in Scripture regarding man’s soul and God’s righteous judgement.

        I could spend time pointing out the scriptural verses that have been taken out of context to support your point of view. I could also spend time showing where divinely inspired words are being used by your church to explain the opposite of their natural meanings in order to support what you have been taught to believe, which is: the omnipotent God of love, reason, foreknowledge and all creation has predestined the least offensive and least knowledgeable of the condemned, even the least intelligent and most backward of them, to writhe in endless agony and terror in the lake of fire forever for no good reason. But it would do no good pointing out these things to you if you cannot believe the Spirit of God lived and died in Adam and now lives again in redeemed man. Neither would it do any good if you cannot see that to cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of truth is never offended again, would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason (my God) as it would be alien to reason and love.

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      2. Callow,

        In your own writing that you posted a link to, you repeatedly say of texts “it could just as easily be read as saying,” and then proceed to explain your point of view. In other words, you admit, in your own extensive criticism, that those verses of Scripture simply “could” be interpreted a certain way, not that they “must” be interpreted the way you interpret them. Further, annihilation, the view you hold to in your writing, must also take divinely inspired words and use them to support your own view, out of context. For example, your interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 where, again, you admit that your view is not the only possible way to understand the verses but insist that we take your view anyway.

        The biggest problem with your view, that I see, is the fact that it is motivated by an understanding of what is moral and immoral, just and unjust, based on your own, flawed human understanding. You disagree strongly with the traditional doctrine of hell simply because, in your own mind, there is an apparent injustice in all condemned spending eternity there. Your understanding of the Scriptures that you laid out in your writing is again not the only way to interpret them, as you yourself admitted several times. Further, there are doctrinal errors in your writing, for you say at one point that Christ did not die for those who will only be temporarily punished. You cannot possibly reconcile this with verses like 1 John 2:2.

        I also could go on, point by point, and explain different points of view that would lend support for an eternal, conscious punishment for all unbelievers. For example, I could talk about your very serious misunderstanding of Romans chapter 1, which is probably the most horribly misunderstood text on your part. However, I will simply say here that without definitive biblical support (because even you say it could understood differently), and the largest factor being your own feelings about hell and what is just, then pretty much your entire argument collapses into a highly nuanced personal opinion.

        I must say this last piece carefully, since I don’t know your personal situation in life and I can’y make definitive judgments about your heart like only God can. But you said in your writing that because of this issue, you would no longer regularly meet with your church. If you haven’t found a church where you are comfortable meeting regularly, then you are being disobedient to the commands of Scripture (Hebrews 10:24-25). God desires us to regularly meet with other believers for our good. And I certainly hope that you are not trying to so extensively argue that so many for so long have been wrong about the doctrine of hell while ignoring a clear and simple matter such as regular meetings with a local church.

        I would encourage you, very strongly, to buy a copy of Norman Geisler’s Systematic Theology. He talks extensively about heaven, hell, annihilation, and God’s justice. I think you may find his work interesting.

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      3. David Friend wrote: “Further, there are doctrinal errors in your writing, for you say at one point that Christ did not die for those who will only be temporarily punished. You cannot possibly reconcile this with verses like 1 John 2:2.

        What are you talking about? Where did I say that Christ did not die for those who will only be temporarily punished?

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      4. In part 9, “I have seen it argued,” in the section about Hebrews 9:27 is the writing that caught my attention. In it you write, saying that Jesus “paid the price for our sin but this payment couldn’t possibly be a punishment of everlasting torment because the punishment He took was a suffering that ultimately led to His death, and death is not a punishment of everlasting torment. If then Christ did not take the punishment of everlasting torment, i.e. the punishment that most evangelicals claim He saved us from, then neither did He pay the ransom in full that would have been needed to save us.”

        This seems to be in error. In order for anyone to spend eternity with God, then the infinite offense of their sins must be dealt with. What is infinitely offensive demands infinite payment, and so the sacrifice of Christ must have been infinite. You write, “if endless torment was the penalty for sin then Jesus Christ would need to be in torment right now and for the rest of eternity in order to pay the debt we owe. But He is not in torment now neither does He need to be because endless torment is reserved only for those most evil and demonic souls who are beyond hope… and Jesus Christ never gave His life for such as these.”

        This misses the point. To begin with, Jesus Christ gave His life for all, even the people who spend eternity in the lake of fire. Whether or not they believe in Him and the salvation He achieved is actually applied to them or not doesn’t matter in this sense. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). John 3:16, probably the most famous verse in the entire Bible, also says that Jesus died the whole world (even those will spend eternity in hell). There is no limit to the number of people Christ died for, the only limit is the number of people who will actually receive Him and have salvation applied to them.

        Therefore, your argument saying “if endless torment was the penalty for sin then Jesus Christ would need to be in torment right now and for the rest of eternity in order to pay the debt we owe,” misses the point. The cross of Christ satisfied God’s wrath for all sins of all people, which is hundreds, maybe thousands of sins each day by each individual. Each sin is a terrible offense to God. Jesus made it clear that every last individual person owes a debt to God that is impossible for them to pay (Matthew 18:21-35). In other words, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross was an infinite and eternal sacrifice, one that paid for the sins of every person for all eternity. So, everyone, including the lost who will spend eternity in conscious torment, have their sins paid for. Only an infinite sacrifice can satisfy the wrath of God that is justly poured out on infinitely offensive sins.

        I simply don’t see how anyone can reconcile believing that there is anyone Christ did not die for when there is explicit biblical evidence to the contrary saying that He died for all. If that’s the case, then it easily becomes by human standards that we begin to see judge as being deserving of salvation or not.

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      5. David Friend wrote: “In order for anyone to spend eternity with God, then the infinite offense of their sins must be dealt with. What is infinitely offensive demands infinite payment”

        You still can’t see it can you? Listen, death (a cessation of life) is the punishment for sin. An everlasting cessation of life therefore will be an everlasting punishment for those least offensive of the condemned. Everlasting torment on the other hand will be the everlasting punishment for those most evil of the condemned.

        David Friend wrote: “Jesus Christ gave His life for all, even the people who spend eternity in the lake of fire. Whether or not they believe in Him and the salvation He achieved is actually applied to them or not doesn’t matter in this sense. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). John 3:16, probably the most famous verse in the entire Bible, also says that Jesus died the whole world (even those will spend eternity in hell). There is no limit to the number of people Christ died for, the only limit is the number of people who will actually receive Him and have salvation applied to them.
        Therefore, your argument saying “if endless torment was the penalty for sin then Jesus Christ would need to be in torment right now and for the rest of eternity in order to pay the debt we owe,” misses the point. The cross of Christ satisfied God’s wrath for all sins of all people”

        I disagree, the cross of Christ can not possibly satisfy God’s wrath against any who do not repent, the idea is ridiculous. Such an idea comes from Calvinistic philosophy.

        David Friend wrote: “which is hundreds, maybe thousands of sins each day by each individual. Each sin is a terrible offense to God. Jesus made it clear that every last individual person owes a debt to God that is impossible for them to pay (Matthew 18:21-35). In other words, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross was an infinite and eternal sacrifice, one that paid for the sins of every person for all eternity. So, everyone, including the lost who will spend eternity in conscious torment, have their sins paid for. Only an infinite sacrifice can satisfy the wrath of God that is justly poured out on infinitely offensive sins.
        I simply don’t see how anyone can reconcile believing that there is anyone Christ did not die for” when there is explicit biblical evidence to the contrary saying that He died for all. If that’s the case, then it easily becomes by human standards that we begin to see judge as being deserving of salvation or not.”

        Christ died for all in order that all who can be saved will be saved.
        The point you keep missing or ignoring is that there is all the difference between the sins that “fall short of the glory on God” and the vilest of sins committed by the most evil minds. For example, those who are well aware of the love that can often be seen in little children who believe in Jesus and seek only pleasure and ecstasy in violating, torturing and destroying such children: (“whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea”) Implication: Such hateful and demonic minds are beyond redemption. Taking pleasure knowingly offending what is good in such a vile way as to cause such children to writhe in agony makes those depraved and demonic souls tantamount to committing “the unforgivable sin”: “Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come” and Jesus Christ did not suffer and die for that which was unforgivable or unsavable.

        Getting back to the original reasons for this discussion.
        I am sorry but your Calvinistic indoctrination and philosophizing has led you to believe the God of perfect love and all knowledge has predestined the least offensive and least knowledgeable of the condemned, even the least intelligent and most backward of them, to writhe in endless agony and terror in the lake of fire forever.

        I am also sorry that you still appear unable to acknowledge that love, humility and truth is the essence and character of the Holy Spirit.
        Like I said earlier, If you cannot agree that love, humility and truth is the essence and character of the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit died in Adam the very day Adam valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning, then I don’t see how we can agree on anything in Scripture regarding man’s soul and God’s righteous judgement.

        The following website makes a very interesting read concerning John Calvin. I have included it to show there are quite a number of reasons to believe Calvin’s understanding of God and Scripture should not always be trusted. https://atheologyintension.com/2015/04/27/john-calvin-heresy-hunter-with-an-axe-to-grind/

        To cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of truth is never offended again, would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason as it would be alien to reason and love. …and I am sorry but you still appear unable to agree with that.

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      6. Callow,
        I will try to respond to the points I see in your comment, though I feel the end of this is close.

        A point saying that I am “unable to acknowledge that love, humility and truth is the essence and character of the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit died in Adam the very day Adam valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning.” I will spend the longest on this one since it seems to be the one most closely held by you.

        To begin with, I believe that the Holy Spirit is fully God like the other Persons in the Trinity, so He has the attributes of God: omniscience, omnipresence, and so on. I agree that He is characterized by truth, because He is called the “Spirit of truth” (John 16:13). I agree that He is characterized by love, because God is love (1 John 4:8; 16). I agree on these points.

        However, about the part where you say “this Spirit died in Adam the very day Adam valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning,” I have a problem. I mentioned it in an earlier comment that it seems at odds with Scripture to say that the Holy Spirit “died” in Adam. If the Holy Spirit lived in Adam, there is no reason to think that anything Adam could have done would cause Him to leave, or “die.” Especially since the clearest teachings of Scripture on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit tell us that He will never leave those in whom He lives (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Romans 8:8).

        Additionally, as I also mentioned in an earlier comment concerning your interpretation of the Genesis text, “the belief that the Spirit did live in Adam must be an attempt to deduce or infer from other Scriptures a conclusion.” Again, there is nothing in the text itself that says Adam had the Spirit living inside of him. As a result, it must be your reasoning from the Scriptures that this is the case. However, your reasoning (and my own reasoning), have little value when it comes to biblical truth. I don’t want reasoning, I want what the Scriptures teach (though I agree there are certain matters we must try our best to arrive at a reasonable conclusion based on what we know). Again, there is no biblical evidence saying the Holy Spirit lived in Adam.

        Further, you say of this issue in an earlier comment, “The only difference between the Spirit that Adam had before the fall and the Spirit which the redeemed have now is the wisdom that comes from the knowledge of good and evil and where that evil is fast heading.” Can you verify this with Scripture (not your own reasoning)???

        Concerning your statement, “If you cannot agree that love, humility and truth is the essence and character of the Holy Spirit and that this Spirit died in Adam the very day Adam valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning, then I don’t see how we can agree on anything in Scripture regarding man’s soul and God’s righteous judgement.” I am unsure of how you connect God’s judgment with this one text in Genesis so heavily.

        Again, I could go point-by-point, using detailed arguments, as you could do. But we can agree on this: we don’t agree on this point.

        A point saying that Christ died only for all who “can be” saved
        In the paragraph I’m referring to, you appear to equate Jesus’s words, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” I am unsure if you were actually saying this is as bad as the unforgivable sin, or if you were simply trying to make something of a comparison. If you were actually saying that this quote is as bad and as unforgivable as the unforgivable sin, then it seems you are mistaken. The singular unforgivable sin which you quoted is the only unforgivable sin. There is no other sin anyone could possibly commit that God is not willing to forgive. Only those who commit that unforgiveable sin are “beyond redemption.” Further, I would note that Jesus says whoever commits the unforgivable sin “will not be forgiven,” He did not say that they “cannot” be forgiven. Finally, the Scriptures I quoted clearly say that Christ died for the “whole world.” Everyone can be saved, up until the point that they commit the unforgivable sin.

        A point saying that I have been indoctrinated with Calvinistic ideas
        It may or may not be relevant for you to know this, but it was a while before I was introduced to Calvin’s after becoming a believer (which was about 6 years ago). I find it unhelpful to say, “I’m a Calvinist,” just as I find it unhelpful for a person to say, “I’m an Arminian,” or “I belong to such and such denomination.” It is rather a wiser decision to examine the Scriptures closely and arrive at a conclusion that is not influenced by a “side,” but by the Bible. Besides, “Calvinistic” ideas didn’t originate with Calvin, he was simply the influential figure in the way of thinking that was already present. In any case, many of the ideas I tell were what I believed well before I read or heard about Calvinism. Though there are obviously some theological systems that are more in line with Scripture than others, and those should be trusted.

        A point saying that the sacrifice of Christ cannot possibly satisfy God’s wrath for everyone
        To be honest, I find this rather insulting and misguided. To say that there is anything Christ cannot do seems to ignore the immensity of His sacrifice. You yourself have made the point that you highly regard God’s love and mercy. You appear to limit God’s mercy, grace and love by saying there is anyone Christ did not die for. I am a flawed human and cannot fully understand everything, but your point here simply seems unreasonable and offensive. And connected to the point above, there is no sin except one that God is not willing to forgive, so why say that Christ did not satisfy God’s wrath for each and every other sin?

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      7. David Friend wrote: “However, about the part where you say “this Spirit died in Adam the very day Adam valued his own desire to know good and evil above his Father’s warning,” I have a problem. I mentioned it in an earlier comment that it seems at odds with Scripture to say that the Holy Spirit “died” in Adam. If the Holy Spirit lived in Adam, there is no reason to think that anything Adam could have done would cause Him to leave, or “die.” Especially since the clearest teachings of Scripture on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit tell us that He will never leave those in whom He lives (Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Romans 8:8).”

        Hebrews 6:4-6 also tells us… For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. .…

        I know that I have already said, “I will explain this once more”, but I think it needs to be explained a little more.
        The reason why truly redeemed souls will not fall away is because the difference between the Spirit that Adam once had before the fall and the Spirit which the redeemed have now is that they have been blessed with the wisdom that comes through the knowledge of good and evil. Hence they are made aware of their old corrupt and offensive nature and where it is fast heading. As a man becomes more enlightened concerning good and evil, so the Holy Spirit will continue fulfilling His mission in him. But this mission can never be fulfilled in a man who does not through faith, value the Holy Spirit as his God above all other spirits, influences and forces; and man cannot value the Holy Spirit above all others if he refuses to love and value the greatest attributes of the Holy Spirit (love humility and truth) above all others also. If or when a man does in truth love and value the Holy Spirit as his God above all others, then and only then will he be truly glad to see all of his old corrupt self dead.

        The vilest of evil souls can never be forgiven because they have only hatred for the revealed love and truth revealed by Jesus Christ, and such as these now live only to corrupt torture and destroy all what they see and know is good. Only God’s love can save them but they can never be saved by a love which they know and hate.

        Before we can have a clear understanding of Scripture we must first have a clear knowledge and understanding of the Spirit we claim to worship, and John Calvin’s understanding of the Spirit he claimed to worship clearly left a lot to be desired. https://atheologyintension.com/2015/04/27/john-calvin-heresy-hunter-with-an-axe-to-grind/

        To cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of truth is never offended again, would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason as it would be alien to reason and love, and I am sorry if you still cannot see.

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      8. Mr. Callow,

        You wrote, “The reason why truly redeemed souls will not fall away is because the difference between the Spirit that Adam once had before the fall and the Spirit which the redeemed have now is that they have been blessed with the wisdom that comes through the knowledge of good and evil. Hence they are made aware of their old corrupt and offensive nature and where it is fast heading. As a man becomes more enlightened concerning good and evil, so the Holy Spirit will continue fulfilling His mission in him. But this mission can never be fulfilled in a man who does not through faith, value the Holy Spirit as his God above all other spirits, influences and forces; and man cannot value the Holy Spirit above all others if he refuses to love and value the greatest attributes of the Holy Spirit (love humility and truth) above all others also. If or when a man does in truth love and value the Holy Spirit as his God above all others, then and only then will he be truly glad to see all of his old corrupt self dead.”

        Your explanation says that it was the failure to love what you call the “greatest attributes” of the Holy Spirit that led to the Spirit “dying” in Adam. The problem is that, no matter how carefully thought about, the end result would still be that a man has the ability to cause the Holy Spirit to leave or stay by their actions and love for (or failure to love) Him. In such a case, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is conditioned upon a person, not on God, in Whose power it actually lies. While you could probably argue that this could only potentially be the case with Adam and not believers during the New Covenant, it still doesn’t sit right.

        For example, you say that it is the wisdom of knowledge of good and evil that is the main difference between the Spirit then and the Spirit now. However, biblically it appears that the main difference is that the Holy Spirit is promised to believers now, when He wasn’t in the Old Testament (Ephesians 1:13-14). In any case, it doesn’t seem good that any human should have the ability to be able to cause the Holy Spirit to live in him based on his own actions and love instead of the promises and power of God, which will never fail. Perhaps I am not making sense here, but I hope enough of my point gets across.

        Second, your understanding of “love and reason” seems too easily to lend itself to a human perspective on those attributes. What do you define as love? What do you define as reason? Does this reason in any way conflict with the truth of the Bible, which often is in tension with human reason? And it is all too easy for sinful man to have a terribly distorted idea of what true love is.

        Third and finally, you call love, humility and truth the “greatest attributes” of the Holy Spirit. Why should these attributes be considered greater than all of His other attributes? God is a God of mercy. Should we consider His mercy to be of lesser value than His love or truth? God is a God of wrath. Should we consider His wrath to be of lesser value than His love or truth? God is holy, and if any attribute could be said to be the greatest (which there is some debate on this issue), I would maybe argue that it is His holiness. Or perhaps it is better to not try and reason which of His attributes are the greatest at all. However, I greatly question whether or not calling love the greatest attribute is not simply an emotional (and therefore unreliable) understanding of God.

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  2. David Friend wrote: “Your explanation says that it was the failure to love what you call the “greatest attributes” of the Holy Spirit that led to the Spirit “dying” in Adam.”

    No, what I have been trying to explain to you all along was that Adam was not given the knowledge of good and evil, and it was through the temptation of Satan that caused Adam to greatly desire that knowledge and the wisdom that would come from that knowledge. As soon as Adam gave in to that temptation he was immediately corrupted into valuing himself above his Father’s warning, and in so doing he valued his own will above his Father. Thus his pure God given Spirit of love, humility and truth was confounded and corrupted into a spirit of pride, rebellion and lies. The Spirit of truth had died in Adam and Satan’s spirit of lies now ruled in him instead, just as it rules in all minds that are still governed by their pride and self first desires.

    D. F. wrote > “The problem is that, no matter how carefully thought about, the end result would still be that a man has the ability to cause the Holy Spirit to leave or stay by their actions and love for (or failure to love) Him. In such a case, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is conditioned upon a person, not on God, in Whose power it actually lies. While you could probably argue that this could only potentially be the case with Adam and not believers during the New Covenant, it still doesn’t sit right.
    For example, you say that it is the wisdom of knowledge of good and evil that is the main difference between the Spirit then and the Spirit now. However, biblically it appears that the main difference is that the Holy Spirit is promised to believers now, when He wasn’t in the Old Testament (Ephesians 1:13-14). In any case, it doesn’t seem good that any human should have the ability to be able to cause the Holy Spirit to live in him based on his own actions and love instead of the promises and power of God, which will never fail. Perhaps I am not making sense here, but I hope enough of my point gets across.”.

    You are not making much sense here at all I’m afraid.

    D. F. wrote > “Second, your understanding of “love and reason” seems too easily to lend itself to a human perspective on those attributes. What do you define as love?”

    There are many definitions for love, so let me explain a little more, the love I am talking about means nothing without freely caring, sharing and giving, and the greatest love of all can be seen in the self sacrificing love revealed in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Only when we in truth value His love above all other influences, forces and doctrines shall we find no reason to deceive and offend anyone, including ourselves. Such love is the only proven conveyor of truth.

    D. F. wrote > “What do you define as reason?”

    To think or argue in a logical manner.
    To form conclusions, judgments, or inferences from facts or premises.

    D. F. wrote > “Does this reason in any way conflict with the truth of the Bible, which often is in tension with human reason?”

    Generally speaking, conclusions reached through the process of human reasoning are based on many things, sometimes good sometimes bad, some conclusions are based on the truth and some are based on wishful thinking and lies.

    D. F. wrote > “And it is all too easy for sinful man to have a terribly distorted idea of what true love is.”

    Yes, Without God’s revealed Spirit of truth guiding man then his reasoning will inevitably fail.

    D. F. wrote > “Third and finally, you call love, humility and truth the “greatest attributes” of the Holy Spirit. Why should these attributes be considered greater than all of His other attributes?”

    look carefully and see.

    D. F. wrote > “God is a God of mercy.”

    God is a God of mercy because He is the God of love. All of God’s reasoning and creation comes through His love.

    D. F. wrote > “Should we consider His mercy to be of lesser value than His love or truth?”

    Without God’s love there would be no mercy and no proven conveyor of truth.

    D. F. wrote > “God is a God of wrath. Should we consider His wrath to be of lesser value than His love or truth?”

    God is the God of righteous justice because His love is what governs His justice; and belittling or knowingly offending God’s self sacrificing love is a sure way of kindling His wrath.

    D. F. wrote > “God is holy, and if any attribute could be said to be the greatest (which there is some debate on this issue), I would maybe argue that it is His holiness. Or perhaps it is better to not try and reason which of His attributes are the greatest at all. However, I greatly question whether or not calling love the greatest attribute is not simply an emotional (and therefore unreliable) understanding of God.”

    I greatly question anyone who has swallowed the teaching of John Calvin on his understanding of righteous justice. https://atheologyintension.com/2015/04/27/john-calvin-heresy-hunter-with-an-axe-to-grind/

    To cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of love and truth is never offended again, would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason as it would be alien to reason and love.

    Can you see now?

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    1. Callow,

      I have some things I would like to say in response to your latest comment.

      First, in response to the link you have posted about John Calvin. To be honest, it is of little concern to me how John Calvin was as a man, whether good or bad. I do not look to him for authority. He is simply a man, one who had good ideas about things and maybe bad ideas about others. I will check the facts detailed in the link you posted, but whatever the final outcome, his personal actions have no relevance to me here. Again, it is of little concern.

      Second, and far more important, is the main contention I’ve had with your line of reasoning from the beginning. You argue that eternal, conscious punishment for all the condemned (including what you call the least knowledgable and least offensive of them) is unfair, saying that it is “an act of unnecessary and unjustified extreme cruelty to say the least.” However, this argument wrongly assumes that we know the extent of the evil done and the offense made against God when people sin against God. It seems beyond the ability of any man to suggest to God what would be an appropriate punishment for sin.

      Further, does the short time period punishment seen by you (and other annihilationists) actually pay the debt that each person owes to God? If it does not, then God’s justice has not been satisfied and the unbeliever’s existence should not cease. I know that you have argued that eternal cessation of existence is eternal punishment, and you would maybe bring that up here. But that argument has flaws.

      To say that cessation of existence for all eternity is an eternal punishment makes no sense, since something that does not exist cannot be said to be under punishment. In fact, you cannot say anything at all about a person or a thing that does not exist. In other words, the idea that cessation of existence after time in hell has sufficiently dealt with the unbeliever’s sin is “eternal punishment” is a logical inconsistency. In such a case, the unbeliever would only be punished for as long as they existed to experience the punishment. It is impossible to say that a being who does not even exist is “punished.” Punishment, by definition, is the infliction of a penalty or sanction on someone who has committed an offense. By analogy, your argument would be like saying that a convicted murderer still has a life sentence applied to him even after he’s dead and in the ground. The punishment can only continue on for as long as there is a person on whom a penalty can be inflicted.

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      1. Whether you like it or not, death is a punishment and everlasting death will serve as an everlasting punishment for those least knowledgeable and least offensive of the condemned.

        The Spirit of perfect love is not a spirit of sadism, like the Roman Catholic Church, Islam, John Calvin and a large part of the Evangelical Church including yourself, would have us believe.

        To cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of love and truth is never offended again, would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason as it would be alien to reason and love.

        See you soon

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      2. To begin with, to believe that I and many others believe God to be cruel beyond imagination for saying that all the condemned will spend eternity in hell misses a massive point: we don’t like the idea of anyone spending eternity in hell. The very nature of hell is terrible and we desire that nobody should go there. In other words, we would not “have you believe” that God is cruel, but rather we would, ultimately, leave God’s justice to God and trust that whatever He does, whether we like it or not and whether we understand it or not, is perfectly just. Even if that means all the condemned spending eternity in hell.

        Second, you say, “Whether you like it or not, death is a punishment and everlasting death will serve as an everlasting punishment for those least knowledgeable and least offensive of the condemned.” As I have said in an earlier reply to you, there is no definitive evidence you have offered to cause me to believe this. Of the many Bible verses you wrote about, you at best demonstrated that they “could” be interpreted as saying that the least knowledgeable of the condemned will only spend a certain amount of time in hell, not that they “should” or “must” be interpreted that way. And if one allows the whole biblical teaching on the subject to carry them to a conclusion, eternity in hell for all the condemned is what results. Further, there are theological errors present in your writing, such as saying that angels have the Holy Spirit (in chapter 4), or saying that some, “through no fault of their own,” will experience conscious torment in hell (in chapter 8). While admittedly not enough on their own to discredit everything, these beliefs do cast doubt, and they cause one to wonder how you get your ideas. That is also the case with interpretation of Genesis. As I have said before, there is nothing in the text itself that says what you say, and therefore you must be assuming something.

        It really seems like your whole motivation for your writing is the fact that you have a strong emotional response to hell. We all do, and it is appropriate. You often say, “to cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of love and truth is never offended again, would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason as it would be alien to reason and love.” However, just because you cannot reason that eternity in hell for all the condemned is just and you believe it to be unthinkable, does not make it so.

        You say, “Whether you like it or not, death is a punishment and everlasting death will serve as an everlasting punishment for those least knowledgeable and least offensive of the condemned.” This is a rather confident and blatant assertion that you’re making. I believe in an eternal, conscious torment for all the condemned, because it seems to have the heavier weight of Scripture supporting it. As to what the full penalty of sin should be and the measure of offense it is to God must rest ultimately with God Himself. It is arrogant to assume we know ourselves.

        With no conclusive, definitive, Scriptural evidence, and even weaker philosophical grounds, your main argument collapses into nothing more than a personal, strong emotional response to hell. Your feelings and emotional responses don’t matter, just as my feelings and emotional responses don’t matter, just as any other person’s feelings and emotional responses don’t matter.

        Eternal, conscious torment for all the condemned does not make God any less loving, any less just, or any less perfect. If anything, the fact that all people are deserving of hell makes His pursuit of us and salvation even more loving and gracious and amazing.

        I have tried to say all of this lovingly. Though you will continue to disagree, I at least hope you read it well. I end with this.

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      3. Those who through no fault of their own were born to die corrupted never knowing the God of truth or never rightly understanding the good they kept offending, would never have been able to understand just how dangerous or offensive they really were. There will also be various cases where those who from their birth were deceived and seduced, threatened or beaten into continually ignoring and offending the good they never experienced or rightly understood. All then who are born to live and die this way and then face the judgement cannot be justly held responsible for being offensive to what they never understood or believed existed. Although remaining an offence to God and creation, to condemn such as these to be tortured forever would be like condemning dangerous and hopeless wild animals to suffer in the same way: It would do no good and would forever be seen as an act of unnecessary and unjustified extreme cruelty to say the least.

        To predestine such poor souls as these to suffer in that way would not be the work of the loving God of all creation but rather it is the craving of the sadistic mind of Satan himself.

        At this moment in time we are free to believe what we want to believe and need to believe, and by what we want and by what we ultimately need we shall be saved or condemned.

        Freedom is the freedom to choose your understanding of God’s love, mercy and justice or mine.

        I hope you read this carefully also https://esdraelon1.wordpress.com/.

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      4. You say, “Those who through no fault of their own were born to die corrupted never knowing the God of truth or never rightly understanding the good they kept offending, would never have been able to understand just how dangerous or offensive they really were. There will also be various cases where those who from their birth were deceived and seduced, threatened or beaten into continually ignoring and offending the good they never experienced or rightly understood.” I understand the perspective, but there is still something wrong.

        First of all, while a case can be made for the salvation of mentally undeveloped people or for infants who were not physically able to place their faith in Christ, there is no excuse for any other human being. Regardless of where they were born or into what circumstance, they are responsible for what they believe, and their failure to believe in the one true God. Even with the “various cases where those who from birth were deceived and seduced” are fully responsible. If they are deceived, then they bought into the deception. If they are seduced, they allowed themselves to be seduced into believing a lie. In either case, the fault still ultimately lies with them, not anyone else or their circumstances. The Bible does not allow any person to attribute their failure or current state to circumstances. The issue is not that some people have no way of fully knowing God and so cannot be justly condemned. The issue is that all people everywhere have received some kind of knowledge of God and, because humanity is so depraved, sinfully rejected that knowledge and chose to do things their own way. There is no such thing as a person being innocent because of ignorance. Neither is there such a thing as someone believing something without having chosen to believe it themselves. Therefore, the condemnation is just.

        You also say, “To predestine such poor souls as these to suffer in that way would not be the work of the loving God of all creation but rather it is the craving of the sadistic mind of Satan himself.” The Bible is clear that all people everywhere are inside of the sovereign providence of God. Where they’re born, the families they’re born into, the culture they are surrounded with, and everything else in their lives is under the providence of God. The Bible is clear on this. The Bible is equally clear that, while God is in control of all things, the failures and wrong beliefs of humans are their fault alone. In Scripture, sin is always the fault of the sinner, never God. There are two truths: people make “free” choices and God providentially directs all things. Biblically, the solution is to say that neither truth should be given up in favor of the other. They’re both true. People should admit that they are finite and cannot understand completely how they work together. Perhaps that was off topic. But in any case, there are no “poor souls such as these” whose condemnation would be unjust.

        You also said, “Freedom is the freedom to choose your understanding of God’s love, mercy and justice or mine.” People are not free to choose an understanding of God’s love and mercy and justice. God’s love, mercy and justice are objective realities that are true and unchanging regardless of what anyone believes about them. The point is that there is objective truth, God and all that He is, which a person can choose to align Himself with or reject and distance themselves from. There is no choosing an understanding of objective truth, because it is true and the same whatever a person believes about it.

        Lastly, yes, I have read your writing in the link you posted. I simply disagree with you. And I see little point in trying to argue fine details, since the larger perspective on the issue is so different between us.

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  3. D. F. wrote > “People are not free to choose an understanding of God’s love and mercy and justice.”

    That my friend is precisely where you are wrong. If a man believes in the Bible and discovers different understandings to your understanding of how Scripture speaks of God’s love, mercy and justice, then that man is free to choose whatever understanding he happens to believe is the truth. Which is what I have done.

    D. F. wrote > “God’s love, mercy and justice are objective realities that are true and unchanging regardless of what anyone believes about them.”

    That is true, but that doesn’t prove what you understand regarding man’s soul and God’s justice is the correct understanding. Just because you, your church and the work of John Calvin say it is the truth doesn’t prove anything.

    D. F. wrote > “The point is that there is objective truth, God and all that He is, which a person can choose to align Himself with or reject and distance themselves from.”

    That is also true, but that still doesn’t prove that your understanding of God’s love, mercy and justice is the right understanding.

    D. F. wrote > “There is no choosing an understanding of objective truth, because it is true and the same whatever a person believes about it.”

    You believe you have the true understanding, I believe I have the true understanding for the reasons I have already given and which you now appear unwilling to discuss. https://esdraelon1.wordpress.com/ Freedom is the freedom to choose.

    D. F. wrote > “Lastly, yes, I have read your writing in the link you posted. I simply disagree with you.” And I see little point in trying to argue fine details, since the larger perspective on the issue is so different between us.”

    So be it, it is your free choice to disagree, just as it is my free choice to believe in this: To cause or allow any suffering beyond what is necessary to ensure the Spirit of love and truth is never offended again would be as offensive to the Father of love and reason as it would be alien to reason and love.
    There is no good reason, biblical or moral, to believe the least knowledgeable and least offensive of the condemned will be kept alive forever writhing in endless agony and despair in a fire of terror and torment.

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    1. I am only unwilling to discuss it much further because I think it is unlikely that any real progress will be made by doing so. I have no problem with argument that may bring about a deeper understanding or more correct understanding. But we have gone back and forth for some time now.

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