I LEAN TOWARDS Annihilationism but Eternal Conscious Torment is also possible.
I used to be a very strong Eternal Conscious Torment preacher and I saw Annihilationism as a false teaching. Until i decided to give it an honest chance and study it deeply (using the “sola scriptura” model).
Now I THINK that “Annihilationism” has a bigger chance of being the biblical truth. I can be wrong so please don’t take this as a dogma.
Source: Lucas Cranach the Elder. “The Garden of Eden”
“Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
– Genesis 2:17 (KJV, emphasis mine)
“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
– 1 John 3:8 (KJV)
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
– Romans 3:23 (KJV)
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
– Romans 6:23 (KJV, emphasis mine)
The consequence of sin is death, so in that because we all choose to sin, we are slave to the devil/death, because we all, inevitablty, deserve to die. But as the second parts of the verses indicate, the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal life for all those who trust on Him! I believe that this thought matches best the interpretation of death by the earliest church father, as contrasted to the resurrection made possible through Christ.
“The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal. Yet it is possible for it not to die.”
– Tatian: Address to the Greeks, chapter 13 (emphasis mine)
Pictures: copyright crosstheology. You are allowed to copy this scheme, if you add my name and a hyperlink to this website are included. You are not allowed to adjust this scheme.
“For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”
– Galatians 6:8 (KJV, emphasis mine)
“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath.”
– Romans 2:4-8 (KJV, links added, emphasis added)
“Evangelist: ‘These philosophers know nothing, then, about these things; for they cannot tell what a soul is.’
Justin Martyr: ‘It does not appear so.’ (…)
Evangelist: ‘…But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die; for that were truly a piece of good fortune to the evil. What then? The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse, waiting for the time of judgment. Thus some which have appeared worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished.’”
– Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter 5 (emphasis mine)
“He thus speaks respecting the salvation of man:
He asked life of You, and You gave him length of days for ever and ever; indicating that it is the Father of all who imparts continuance for ever and ever on those who are saved. For life does not arise from us, nor from our own nature; but it is bestowed according to the grace of God. And therefore he who shall preserve the life bestowed upon him, and give thanks to Him who imparted it, shall receive also length of days for ever and ever. But he who shall reject it, and prove himself ungrateful to his Maker, inasmuch as he has been created, and has not recognised Him who bestowed [the gift upon him], deprives himself of [the privilege of] continuance for ever and ever. And, for this reason, the Lord declared to those who showed themselves ungrateful towards Him:
If you have not beenfaithful in that which is little, who will give you that which is great? indicating that those who, in this brief temporal life, have shown themselves ungrateful to Him who bestowed it, shall justly not receive from Him length of days for ever and ever.”
– Irenaeus, Against heresies, Book II, chapter 34:3b (emphasis mine)
“The knowledge of the commandments of the Lord is the doctrine of life: and they that do things that please him shall receive the fruit of the tree of immortality.”
– Joshua Ben Sirach 19:19 (not in the Bible but such texts shows that the Jews, living in the second century, in Egypt, believed the soul to be mortal)
There where two trees in Paradise (Genesis 2:9). If Adam and Eve had accepted God’s gifts (= faith, John 3:16), than they would have lived forever, by eating of the tree of life (= deed, John 3:36, James 2:24). But by eating of the other tree (= unbelief and rebellion, John 3:36), they where both sent away. They where sent away from immortality. Because of God’s goodness and grace, they became mortal (Last part based on “Irenaeus: Against Heresies, Book III, 23:6“). Otherwise they had to keep on living in a fallen world in which satan “rules this world as a god” (paraphrase of 2 Corinthians 4:4). Then they would have experienced an eternal torment.
Believer, be encouraged, for Christ said:
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
– Revelation 2:7 (KJV, emphasis mine)
“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live”
– Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV, emphasis mine)
Then we will be able to say to the fullest:
“And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him”
– Hebrews 5:9 (KJV)
You can check out http://www.jewishnotgreek.com for a detailed explanation of Bible verses seeming to indicate Eternal Conscious Torment. I do not agree with every explanation they give to Bible verses or they give philosophically (as I believe that the torment for unbelievers will be as long as this life, with different degrees but I do not know this, only God knows.
However the case, it will not be fun in the Lake of Fire!
This brother of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, does an interesting and easy to grasp lecture on this topic: (I am not a part of their denomination and I do not believe in soul sleep.)
This is not that the torment in the lake of fire will only be 24 hours.
But it indicates that it won’t probably be eternal!
“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.”
– Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:28 (KJV)