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Greek Word Studies…(toward Christian Annihilation of the soul)

March 18, 2014

I have been looking at the idea of so-called Christian Annihilationism, and have given it something of an openness or possibility? But looking at many of the Greek Word Studies and Lexicon’s, the Greek words themselves, don’t appear to support such!  I will quote two which are more well-known, especially with the Evangelical Community.

First W.E. Vine, and his Expository Dictionary of N.T. Words. He says, towards Destroy, Destroyer, Destruction, Destructive. ‘1. Apollumi, a strengthened  form of “ollumi”, signifies to destroy utterly; in the Middle Voice, to perish. The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss not of being, but of well-being … i.e. lost to the shepherd, metaphorical of spiritual destitution…etc.’

And too, from E.W. Bullinger’s Critical Lexicon…English and Greek New Testament, ‘Destroy, to destroy utterly… The fundamental thought is not annihilation, but ruin, loss, (as sheep, Matt. x. 6; XV. 24, etc; Luke XV. 4, 6, lost to the fold and to the shepherd; so the lost son, Luke XV. 24,) to perish, come to an end (as bread, John vi, 27; gold, 1 Pet. 1. 7.)

These are of course short, and further work and word study should be done. But the basic essence from both of these is NOT to annihilation is plain!  It is to the loss and ruin of the soul, destroyed and ruined away from the Lord’s presence!  For all time, or eternity?  This is the issue!  It is here, that I myself must place the Text of Luke 16: 19-31, and noting verse 26! In the context, this Text from Luke, is.. as it appears from Hades, an intermediate place between decease and the doom of Gehenna, but again verse 26 seems to point to a lasting, fixed and eternal reality! I would be open to anyone seeking to exegete these verses to show any other interpretation?  And note too, the literal name “Lazarus”, the only character named in a so-called Dramatic Parable of Jesus. But is it a real “Parable”? or a quite literal and dramatic spiritual truth and lesson!

“The word (Hades) is used four times in the Gospels, and always by the Lord, Matt. 11: 23; 16: 18 ; Luke 10: 15 ; 16: 23 ; it is used with reference to the soul of Christ, Acts 2: 27, 31 ; Christ declares that He has the keys of it, Rev. 1: 18 ; in Rev. 6: 8 it is personified, with the signification of the temporary destiny of the doomed ; it is to give up those who are therein, 20: 13, and is to be cast into the lake of fire, ver. 14.” (Vine, under Hades)

Finally, the Greek word “Thanatos” used in Scripture for death should be studied also! Again Vine says: “Death is the opposite of life ; it never denotes non-existence. As spiritual life is “conscious existence in communion with God,” so spiritual death is “conscious existence in separation from God.”

Yes, this is short, and just cracks the door to some degree. And too, Geenna, (Gk.) for the Hebrew Gehenna (Ge-Hinnom) should also be studied!   As too the Greek, Tartarus, 2 Peter 2: 4.

We should try to keep it simple, and not get too technical in our Word Studies from the Old and New Testament!  And always remember that the Old and New Testaments (Covenants), are closely connected, and fulfilled ‘In Christ’! ( 2 Cor. 3 /Heb. 13: 20)

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39 Comments
  1. PS..Note, EW Bullinger has been considered one who held to the annihilation of the soul in the lost, but this does not seem true! He did believe in some form of “soul-sleep”, but not it appears a full annihilationism. I myself of course cannot follow Bullinger here!

  2. And btw, I am seeking to keep and open mind here, with of course having the more classical position at present, as I have noted. But what Jesus said himself about Gehenna must also be fully processed! (Matt. 13: 42 / Luke 12: 4-5)… Indeed I will take the fear of the Lord!

  3. Fr Robert
    Thank you for posting this. The lexicons you quote from are significant pointers to the more common position. Like you I try to keep an open mind, while less sure of the classical position.

    That said I do see some need to probe a bit. The initial use of English words like “destroy”, and assoicated elaborations are consistent with annihalation. This is a total destruction in a way which everlasting torment is most definitely not. So it begs the question of why Vine and Bullinger use such English words to trnaslate the Greek at all, and how strong is the basis for their ensuing qualification. If Destroy is a valid English equivalent, is such qualification based more on a predisposition to the classical view?

    Soul sleep pending final judgement is another issue. The 7th Day Adventists clearly still go with that – according the a magazine they put through my door a few days ago. In the past my brother, while not dogmatic felt it a possibility – not sure of his current stance. Tom Wright does not seem to (see For All the Saints and Surprised by Hope).

    • @Colin: Surely the English language is not the Hebrew and Greek, but when we look closely at the biblical concepts around which the Greek here is speaking by Revelation to express, the term in English of “destruction” and “perish”, must be seen in their idea of the human loss and destruction of the human souls life and ability to see and understand God, and to dwell in His eternity in heaven. So here we must see the English words metaphorically, to the great spiritual declination before God, but not necessarily the complete extinction, as we note in the Text of Luke 16: 19-31. That how I see it at least, and from the more classic or as you say “common” position.

      Again, the word’s of Christ Himself as to “Gehenna”, Matt. 13: 42 / Luke 12: 4-5. Here again the language is a metaphor of a “rubbish-heap where the fire buried continually”, and thus a place of punishment. Is this the remnant of the soul… Still thinking and speaking, then alone and to itself? But without the presence of God forever!

      “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world (world system), and yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” (Matt. 16: 26-27, NIV) Perhaps the greatest “reward” to the lost, is they have chosen to be alone, with themselves forever! “They are clouds without rain, blown along by wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted – twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame, wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 12-13, NIV) Yes, lots of metaphoricall language here, but it surely points to a great spiritual reality!

      The common or classic view and position, of the eternality of the soul, still has great strength! I am myself, not yet ready to cast it aside! 🙂

      *And btw, I have lost it for old Tom Wright! Brilliant surely, but simply not often very exegetical. Not to mention his position on women! Yes, I am old-school and traditional here! 😉

      • Btw, I rarely use the old 1984 NIV, but here it is good!

        Again, thanks to share on this great subject! 🙂

        Again, it is good that I am in America these days, where for now at least, I can think and speak freely! The UK is losing that, i.e. the depth of the Judeo-Christian history, and the freedom to preach and believe a full-blown Biblical & Calvinist Gospel!

  4. The problems with the metaphorical view of Gehenna as a burning rubbish heap at the time of Christ are quite significant: 1) It lacks historical backing, being first stated in the second millennium, 2) It isn’t up for grabs anyway because it is already “branded” explicitly in an Old Testament prophetic motif—every one of Jesus’ hearers knew what was being invoked, and 3) therefore, the rubbish theory has been perpetuated simply for its utility to the traditional view.

    In Scripture, Gehenna is Topheth (“place of burning”) writ large; prophesied to be repurposed as the “Valley of Slaughter,” piled high with “the dead bodies of this people [as] food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, and none will frighten them away.” (Jeremiah 7:30-34). In future it shall be a byword and “the ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle” when the Lord “will bring disaster upon this place” since it had become a place of innocent blood of children burned to false gods (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron 28:3, 33:6)—no longer Gehenna but the “Valley of Slaughter” (Jer 19:2-6).

    Though it exists outside Jerusalem’s walls to the south at the base of Mount Zion, this is no local devastation, for Jeremiah says again, “And those pierced by the Lord on that day shall extend from one end of the earth to the other. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall be dung on the surface of the ground.” (Jer 25:33).

    Precisely because Gehenna is about the day of God’s vengeance when he will slaughter the wicked, Jesus taught that God would “destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” (Matthew 10:28).

    When Jesus refers to Gehenna in Mark 9:47, he identifies it as the place spoken of by Isaiah in chapter 66 (he does this by quoting from Isaiah 66:24 verbatim). And that passage gives full character the scene of final punishment: “The Lord will come in fire and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the Lord enter into judgment, and by his sword, with all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many”—but those who survive will remain forever, worshiping God, just as the “new heavens and the new earth” will remain. When the righteous of the world gather to make an offering to the Lord, “they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

    As Isaiah had earlier prophesied, the earth’s people have transgressed God’s laws, and “therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.” (Isaiah 24:5,6).

    So again, Gehenna is identified as “Topheth” transformed, “long been prepared” as a funeral pyre “with plenty of wood; The breath of the Lord, like a torrent of brimstone, sets if ablaze.” (Isaiah 30:33) The Valley of Slaughter is made full on “the day of great slaughter,” when the Lord descends in burning wrath and dense smoke, “His tongue… like a consuming fire; His breath… like an overflowing torrent which reaches to the neck, To shake the nations back and forth in a sieve… His arm descending in fierce wrath, in the flame of a consuming fire.” (v25,27,28,30).

    This is the place where dead bodies having been slain by the sword are thrown, denied an honorable burial or lamentation, scattered like dung, their blood poured out on the ground, utterly abhorred by the righteous, consumed by fire, maggots, birds, and other scavenging beasts—which shall not be “frightened away,” or quenched.

    Malachi 4:1-3 prophecies the same event: “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. …Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.”

    • @Hey Peter: Thanks to reply! Yes, I am quite aware myself of all the so-called scholarship, both past and present on this issue! And even the verses you quote from the OT, most have the element of “fire” in them. So we are again pressed back to the reality of Scripture idiom (idioma), figures of speech, etc. And when we look at Jesus statements about the doom of Gehenna, judgment and fire: Matt. 13: 30 ; 41-42 ; 49-50…”and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” So indeed we simply cannot escape the whole metaphor and metaphorical of “fire”! See, too Mark 9: 43-47, (in verse 47), it is literally, Gehenna “fire”! And again, these are the words and concepts of Jesus! But behind this or really “these” many Texts, is certainly the idea of consciousness and eternity! Which takes us back to texts like Matt. 25: 46, (Dan. 12: 2)…as Acts 24:15, “that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”

      In the end, the classic view of an eternal heaven and an eternal judgment and so-called Hell, are still on the table to my mind!

      “Sheol. – In OT the abode of the dead, the equivalent of the classical Hades. The derivation of the word is uncertain. AV translates it as the ‘grave,’ ‘hell’ or occasionally ‘pit’; RSV consistently reads ‘Sheol’ (in NT ‘Hades’).
      Though the ancient Israelites had no doctrine of a future life, they did not think of death as extinction. Like Semites generally, they believed that the dead passed into Sheol, where they continued to pursue a conscious, but pale and inactive existence.” (Dictionary Of The Bible, Edited By James Hastings, Revised Edition By Frederick Grant and H.H. Rowley, (1963 T&T Clark and Charles Scribner’s Sons). – I have this my own copy to hand. Still a great source!

      Finally, let me recommend (as Walter Kaiser does), E.W. Bullinger’s great book: Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, Explained And Illustrated, (originally published 1898 by Messrs. Eyre and Spottiswoode, in London). There is simply nothing like it today! “The ancient Greeks reduced these new and peculiar forms to science, and gave names to more than two hundred of them.” (From the Intro.) Still in print btw, mine is an old Baker Book hardback, (1999, 1104 pages)

  5. Hey Fr. Robert. Thanks so much for the interaction.

    You know, my inner monologue was saying “ok, but not so fast!”

    The mere mention of fire in those texts doesn’t automatically take us back to idiom, and then on to the more malleable device of metaphor. I find forces within me which say “beware the wooden-literal hermeneutic,” however, try as I might, I can’t see a way in which many of the passages I have in mind, both O.T. and N.T., would not have been taken by first audiences fairly literally.

    I’d be comfortable with figurative language insofar as it goes. To illustrate, to the claim “Scripture teaches everywhere that at the eschatological judgment, God will slay the wicked and burn their bodies with His eternal fire” I would say these could be figures in terms of swords and fire, but it still seems to refer us—by some means—to the act of depriving the impenitent of life and conscious existence.”

    Consider this precedent, which seems intended as literal history: “And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men…” (Num 16:35).

    Consider also Sodom and Gomorrah, which Jude 7 and 2 Peter 2 take as “an example” (literally, a specimen or instance, rather than a type, symbol or metaphor) of “undergoing a punishment of eternal fire” / “what is going to happen to the ungodly.”

    In Jeremiah 25, for example, Jeremiah is to go to all the nations and prophesy to them regarding what will happen. God is “calling down a sword on all who live on the earth” and will himself come down in tumult bringing “judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword.”

    Since I think the controlling genre is prophecy, which of course does not exclude figure and metaphor, I am hesitant to move too quickly away from straightforward foretelling and forth-telling.

    I think that every new testament text on final punishment, is discernibly connected to data from the old testament. I therefore approach the whole issue by asking myself in each case whether the new testament merely appeals to existing scripture without modification, appeals and extends with extra detail, or instead modifies it in a way which alters the meaning it would otherwise have retained (as in metaphor).

    Anyway, do you have any further thoughts on the overall hermeneutical approach?

    If you haven’t had the chance to read Edward Fudge’s “The Fire That Consumes” (3rd edition is essential), then it comes highly recommended for its comprehensive treatment of the data.

    • @Peter: Thanks again, the subject is of course always “hermeneutical”! But too part of God’s progressive Revelation! Of which of course begins & ends in the Revelation and Person & Work of “Christ Jesus”! And as St. Paul writes: “Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us, in whom we trust that He will still deliver us.” (2 Cor. 1: 9-10) The Gospel of the Grace of God is always positive to us who believe, and have been changed and regenerated by God Himself! “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.” (2 Cor. 1: 20)

      But with this too comes the great judgment and separation of God, the place or state where the dead and damned continue to exist and suffer everlasting separation and punishment from God! (Luke 16: 26 / Jude 12-13… the Apostates depraved and doomed, Jude 1:4 …verse 7, “suffering the punishment of eternal fire.” And here we must note too the connection with “the devil.” (Verse 9).

      Yes, I am going with the so-called Biblical and classic traditional view on Hell and eternal loss and punishment from God, for the non-elect! Yes, I am neo-Calvinist! 😉 Most surely a horrible decree! (As John Calvin called it – decretum quidem horribile fateor). (See, his Inst. III. 24) I am an historic churchman, as the Reformers! 🙂

      *And yes, I have read Fudge.

  6. The claim that /apollumi/ (destroy) does not connote the same thing as “destroy” does in English is, of course, TRUE; but it’s simply wishful thinking that it therefore connotes something closer to “ruination” or “lostness” in the sense that traditionalists since Augustine have claimed. No traditionalist including and since Augustine has actually made an argument for that; it’s simply assumed. The few who have tried have admitted that the best support for the claim is not Biblical or linguistic, but philosophical — a fine position to adopt in the absence of contention, but a very poor polemical argument.

    The first problem with this argument is that it’s not really an attack against the actual position of annihilationism/conditionalism; in spite of the commonness of the name ‘annihilationist’ we don’t actually believe that annihilation is a punishment. Death is a punishment (death by fire); annihilation is what happens _after_ death if God wants to clear the space occupied by the corpses. We do tend to claim that the Bible teaches this (Mal 4:1-3), but more as a reward to the righteous than a disgrace to the wicked.

    The second problem is the fact is that apollumi’s primary meaning is destruction in the sense that causes a thing to be beyond retrieval. Even its secondary meaning of “lost” implies a thoroughness of lostness that is closely allied to its primary meaning. But when used in the active sense, its meaning of “lost” is entirely untenable; to actively /apollumi/ something is to _destroy_ it, and for one person to /apollumi/ another is to kill them. This is its consistent use throughout the Bible; a simple look at Strong’s will reveal this unambiguously. Herod was not seeking to ruin Jesus; he was trying to kill him.

    If you look at an broad and unbiased lexicon of the Greek language, such as the LSJ at Perseus (direct link below), you’ll see that although a “theological” meaning is permitted (but I would contend only on the authority of biased authority), the normal usage of the word does not include this special meaning.

    http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3Da)po%2Fllumi

    • @W’m: Yes, we all have our presuppositions! My intent is always after the authority and revelation of God’s Word! Funny how the pagan Plato, with too Aristotle, and finally to Plotinus (all who so clearly affected Augustine, as too later Aquinas), have had such an effect on the West! Note the effect too on Samuel Coleridge (1722-1834). “Intellect” was so profound for the Greeks and Romans! And life was not considered life without a grand self examination!

  7. You mentioned that an exegesis of Luke 16 is due from conditionalists. Fair enough!

    My first response is that it’s not as strong of a need as you might suspect; unless a conditionalist believes in painless and instant death (which I don’t; I think it’s a violent death with degrees of suffering) there’s nothing unusual seen in Luke 16. But setting that aside, and also setting aside the fact that Luke 16 is clearly staged in /hades/ rather than /gehenna/ and clearly not happening after the final judgment (and therefore isn’t applicable to final punishment):

    The main reason I don’t think it’s permissible to read this as an accounting of the details of the punishment of the dead is that Jesus finishes the story with a comment (by Abraham) about how useless it would be to tell someone frightening details of the afterlife if they were ignoring the Law and the Prophets. If the common interpretation of the story were correct, Christ should have stopped the quotation before Abraham began interpreting his answer, and perhaps just added some commentary Himself if He wanted to make the additional point that the listening Pharisees should obey the Law.

    Within this very passage is sufficient information to inform the reader that a literal reading misses the point, because a literal reading of the explicit moral of this passage tells you that the Law and Prophets are prior to the literal details given in this passage. And before this passage is an explanation of why Christ told the story: “because they loved money.”

    Now, I do think there’s some literal meaning to the details in the story. I don’t think that hades is a place where conscious people converse, suffer, or sit mutely (like Lazarus does); that goes against too much extremely clear teaching from the Old Testament. I think that this story, although placed in hades and situated while his brothers are alive, is describing the suffering of a damned person in the final judgment as he knowingly approaches his certain death. He has no hope of survival, and is asking for the tiniest remedy from suffering — a remedy that would surely only give him a few seconds of relief. If his conscious future were to stretch out forever, that remedy is worthless; but if he’s aware that he’s dying without hope of survival, those few seconds of relief might be with him until death (as the relief of getting a drink was for Christ).

    • Yikes — my last paragraph wasn’t proofread well, and had a critical omission. The last half should have been clearly marked as speculation. It’s not actually supported in this text; it’s just a possible reading-between-the-lines, and is meant not to be more likely than the traditionalist reading, but to show that the traditionalist reading isn’t any more explanatory.

      • Yes, them “presuppositions”! 😉 Obviously Luke 16: 19-31 is not just a piece on “Hades” alone of itself, but presses us into eternal issues, as verse 26, this verse is a hammer blow toward eternal issues… “And besides all this…!

  8. Btw, it’s 2017, and I am still seeking an open mind here, but still “tend” toward eternal judgment to some degree? Though I surely respect Hughes book: The True Image.

    • petergrice permalink

      Conditional Immortality has had a strong undercurrent in anglicanism since the 19th C (and is in fact official doctrine in the CofE). Hughes, Stott, Wenham, Green…

      Here is William Temple:

      “The mediaeval scheme is entirely intelligible in its broad outlines. Universal immortality is assumed; for those who are beyond pardon there is Hell; for those who are pardonable, Purgatory; for those whose pardon is accomplished, Paradise. And alongside of these, for the unawakened soul there is Limbo.

      . . . There is a very strong case for thinking out the whole subject again in as complete independence as possible alike of mediaeval and of Protestant traditions.

      . . . It is in the Phaedrus that Plato first reaches the clear conception of the soul as characterised essentially by self-motion, and argues from this its indestructibility. But not each individual soul is completely self-moved, and the argument, supposing it to be valid, as I think it is, only establishes the indestructibility of the spiritual principle in the universe, not the immortality of each individual soul. Plato seems to have accepted that result, for in the Timaeus he declares that only God is immortal in His own right, and that He of His bounty bestows on individual souls an immortality which is not theirs by nature.

      That this is the prevailing doctrine of the New Testament seems to me beyond question as soon as we approach its books free from the Hellenistic assumption that each soul is inherently immortal in virtue of its nature as soul . . . its prevailing doctrine, as I think, is that God alone is immortal, being in His own Nature eternal; and that He offers immortality to men not universally but conditionally.

      . . . [It] settles nothing [to] make, with some followers of “psychical research”, the entirely unwarrantable assumption that the survival of physical death is the same thing as immortality.

      . . . Are there not, however, many passages which speak of the endless torment of the lost? No; as far as my knowledge goes there is none at all. There are sayings which speak of being cast into undying fire. But if we do not approach these with the presupposition that what is thus cast in is indestructible, we shall get the impression, not that it will burn for ever, but that it will be destroyed . . . And after all, annihilation is an everlasting punishment though it is not unending torment.”

      —Archbishop William Temple, The Gifford Lectures, 1934

      Luther himself railed against the immortal soul doctrine.

      • @Peter: I am myself surely NO 19th or 20th century general Anglican! I tend to some form of Neo-Calvinism on soteriology, which I hope is much more “biblicist”? And I am generally an old school type “Evangelical”. And old Luther had his feet of clay for sure! His views on the Jews was simply awful!

        But thanks to share!

        *Btw, I really love the reading of the bare Text itself, with chapters like 2 Peter 2 and Jude 1:4 through 13! Yes lots of metaphor, but absolute truth none the less! The saved and the unsaved, always in the hands of a Sovereign God! The Lord knows them that are His! (See the whole Text of 2 Tim. 2:19)

        PS.. Btw too Peter, I have read loads of Plato myself! I do love Western Philosophy too. But, of course I will always take the bare Revelation of God’s Word first and foremost! Though old Paul was always a Greco-Roman Jew, and I am surely a Pauline Christian!

  9. The final belief or absolute here is of course with GOD and In Christ! For the most part I believe myself that this is a so-called modern question, and pressed thus! And myself I believe William Temple’s statement: “And after all, annihilation is an everlasting punishment though it is not unending torment.” Is just a play on words to my mind. Btw, how are we to take Jude’s words… “to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever” ? Forever forgotten and annihilated? Logic does not seem to add up here! But, of course God can transcend His own logic. We will just have to wait and see! 🙂 In the mean time lets not forget the fear and righteousness of God, surely a lost piece in today’s culture!

  10. @Peter, I don’t see any further dialogue here myself, your presuppositions are evident and conditional, mine are more classic, though Neo-Calvinist, and I think exegetical. So we must agree to disagree! But thanks somewhat to stop by. ~ Fr.R.

    • Btw, we surely must learn to respect and understand the use and force of words and especially metaphor in the Holy Scripture! Again, see E.W. Bullinger’s fine book: Figures of Speech Used in the Bible.

      • And btw too, someone who holds to the conditional view (annihilation), would ya like to take a shot at the exegesis of Luke 16: 26? I have simply NOT seen an honest one yet from the conditional position? (Actually, the whole of Lk 16: 19-26!)

        *I dd NOT think I would get any “conditionalist” takers on Luke 16: 19-26! Verse 26 is the conclusion of the whole section.

        And btw, the NT usage of “Hades” always appears to refer to the place of the wicked prior to the final judgment in Hell. And the imagery Jesus used paralleled the common rabbinical idea that Sheol had two parts, one for the souls of the righteous and the other for the souls of the wicked, separated by an impassable gulf, verse 26! Oh to read and believe God’s Word.. Such is godly belief and wisdom!

        ~ I know of no better note on Luke 16: 19-31, than the Old Scofield Bible, page 1098: “Hades before the ascension of Christ. The passages in which the word occurs make it clear that hades was formerly in two divisions, the abodes respectively of the saved and the lost. The former was called “paradise” and “Abraham’s bosom.” Both designations were Talmudic, but adopted by Christ in Lk. 16:. 22; 23. 43. The blessed dead were with Abraham, they were conscious and were “comforted” (Lk. 16: 25). The believing malefactor was to be, that day, with Christ in “paradise”. The lost were separated from the saved by a “great gulf fixed (Lk. 16: 26). The representative man of the lost who are now in hades is the rich man of Lk. 16.19-31. He was alive, conscious, in full exercise of his faculties, memory, etc., and in torment.”

        The great question remains for the “conditional” people, just where does GOD (definitively) say HE is going to “annihilate” any persons existence and creation? Especially after Judgment!

  11. petergrice permalink

    By “I didn’t see any further dialogue here myself,” I must take you to mean that you have decided not to publish my submitted comment, which was good-natured and only interacting with prompts in your comment to me (such as, “Btw, how are we to take Jude’s words”?)

    *Peter: First, my wife has been in the hospital with a bout of her COPD, home tomorrow I hope? And second, YOU did not really address my Jude quote? If metaphors loose their meaning and force, then we might as well give-up reading the Holy Scripture to my mind! So I don’t really see the need for any further so-called “dialogue”. Again, we must agree to disagree here! No hard feelings, just much different presuppositions. 🙂

    • Btw, the nice thing about a personal blog, is that you (the one blogging) get to somewhat control the dialogue! And, from my point.. the challenge and question is to you “Peter” to take a shot at Luke 16: 19-26? It’s sort of like a debate (and I had debate in school), the moderator somewhat calls the questions or issues! So here it is, take it or leave it? 🙂

      • I just saw both of your comments here in the email timestamped 8 this morning (for him in Australia, midnight). No need to post this reply, of course, unless you want.

      • @William: Yes, thanks. I am not sure who is from Australia and who is not? And I did not fully moderate “Peter”, who I have felt does not want to really “dialogue” on this subject, but just press some form of his own idea of Annihilationism, but without seeing the proper use of metaphor, at least by definition. And I don’t have the time to argue the subject of proper hermeneutics here. If I missed something? Then I am sorry, but this is MY blog! And the whole of Scripture of course turns on proper heremeneutics! (And NOT just some aspect of Greek Word studies. One of the reasons I quoted E.W. Bullinger, was to show he was NOT a “conditionalist”, nor taught Annihilation)

  12. Btw just a point to be fair, but when Peter used the plural in his idea of Annihilationism, he was speaking for some kind of collective group of his own, or of is part of, and this is NOT the place for some idea of sectarian view! I have myself noted that there are many different kinds of sectarian churches that fall in here, and I have no desire to move in that direction. I am myself something of a “catholic” and universal and even creedal Christian, though surely Protestant, Reformational and Reformed!

    • Btw too William, are you also an Aussie? I guess Peter is an Aussie? I have no clue about Peter’s ecclesiology? As I remember you are a Reformed Baptist?

      • No, I’m a Californian, and yes, I do know that Peter’s in Australia. I don’t know what he’d say his ecclesiology is — Evangelical, of course, but beyond that I can’t say.

        I am Reformed Baptist, yes — of the “New Covenant Theology” branch.

      • I live in California also, i.e. the So Cal. Btw, saying one is an “Evangelical” is almost useless today, i.e. what kind of Evangelical is the question! And note today how ignorant so many so-called “Evangelical’s” are of the true Creedal History of the Church!

    • I’m confused. What does “sectarian” mean to you? To me it means (quoting Wikipedia) a form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group.

      Is it possible that you merely picked the wrong word? I’m trying to see this charitably, because the word you chose seems not justified by anything Peter said.

      • No, I use the word “sectarian” in the loss of the sense of catholic and general, Biblical, Creedal Christianity, and surely the loss of eternal judgment, is NOT creedal! As The Apostles Creed… “He will come again to judge the living and the dead.” Indeed any doctrine of Annihilationism is very new historically in the Visible and Church Catholic!

      • Note, I am myself a conservative classic, somewhat creedal Anglican Churchman, which surely includes the Reformation and being Reformed!

      • I recognize and respect your disagreement on interpretation, and don’t want to bring up an argument that isn’t appropriate for your page — but you’re simply not correct about what we believe, and I cannot simply let you attribute beliefs to me that I do not hold. None of what you say is true about me or Peter. I’m confused if you and I are even talking about the same thing when we say “conditionalism”.

        Peter and I affirm the entire Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds. We don’t even mean them differently than Anglicans do (in fact, conditionalism is more accepted in the Anglican church, at least in England, than it is among Baptist churches in general). I affirm the entire Athanasian Creed as well, although you would certainly disagree with my interpretation of one phrase in it (“will perish eternally”, which I take literally and you take metaphorically) and would understand the consequences of another phrase differently (“enter eternal fire”), although we mean the same thing by the phrase itself.

        Christian conditionalists (“annihilationist” is sometimes used as a synonym), St Irenaeus and on, affirm the second Appearing, universal resurrection, and judgment of all men, just and unjust, to an eternal fate of life or death. Among modern conditionalists only Jehovah’s Witnesses deny that future collective judgment of all men, and that denial is only one of the many things that makes them outside of Christianity. (For an example on the other side, hyperpreterists deny the future appearing and judgment, and overwhelmingly affirm eternal torment.)

      • @William: First, I appreciate your candor and desire here, but I would disagree about who and what many Christians groups and certain people say and believe on this subject. Sadly in my opinion, there is much ignorance here, both biblically and theologically. Before he died I got to meet Rev. Hughes, and I have read his book: The True Image, The Origin And Destiny Of Man In Christ. Which btw, did NOT fully exegete biblically the whole idea of Annihilationism! And again sadly today’s version of this question is just poorly done in my opinion. And again too the issue is also hermeneutics, and history.. of course within the aspect of Biblical Theology. The subject for example of biblical metaphors, and the depth of the figures of speech used in the Bible is most important and even paramount! And here indeed is part of the great weakness in today’s version of conditionalism and so-called Annihilationism. And as I have written, it is just another modern, and now postmodern attack on the Word of God, and as too the doctrine of God Himself! My two-cents anyway, but I am generally an Infralapsarian Calvinist, with some Neo-Calvinist ideas.

        Again, Luke 16: 19-26, etc. is a hammer blow to this whole doctrine and idea! The Holy Scripture and Revelation is One Whole Piece in Itself, but always In God In Christ!

        *Btw I am on eschatology, fully Historic Premillennial, Post-Trib. and something of both a Progressive Dispensationalist, and a Zionist type Christian. But, always also something of an historic Churchman!

      • Btw, who really is the depth of “what we believe” on this subject? It appears you and Peter don’t even know each other’s ecclesiology? (i.e. place of Christian Fellowship and History)

  13. I will say just this last statement, and then close off this long and old blog piece:

    Sadly, in this blog, I have NOT heard much real biblical exegesis, I put this piece up for some aspect of biblical dialogue and thinking, and I got some Greek Word Studies, which btw without exegetical context was sorely lacking! And did NOT seek to exegete much myself, looking and waiting for some biblical interpretation from others? Which did not come really, just dogmatic suppositions! But NOT a word about Texts from our Lord like Matthew 13: 36-43 (really many of the great Parables of Matt. 13), and many other verses, etc. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matt. 13: 49) The spiritual and perhaps even the physical-human (body-soul-spirit) depth here surely appears profound! And myself, I will NOT pronounce any absolute annihilationism here!

    *I will leave the comments up for just a bit, then close this off.

    ~ Fr. Robert

    • And btw, let’s not forget that Scripture tells us that there will be.. “certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (St. Paul, Acts 24: 15) Where in Scripture does God raise the dead for judgment, only then to forever annihilate the body-soul-spirit? Again, just my thinking! (As too the logic of Plato I might add!) And again see, Luke 16:19-26, etc. And note too, already for the lost the agony of hell and the unquenchable flame have begun! (Verse 24-26)

      • One last thought before I close this blog subject, but the real essence of a persons separation from God, will surely be the lose of God Himself forever! His love, providence and abiding presence forever, known but for the redeemed. And the lost also choose their place and path forever, but not knowing God’s mercy they surely harden their hearts and choose “themselves” over God! Which is the real essence of Original Sin. An eternity without God, alone to one’s self! Surely, this will be Hell and damnation itself! And I myself believe this is surely a Biblical Doctrine… “without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” (Jude 12-13) Such metaphorical language does not suggest annihilation or cessation to my mind! To God be the Glory! (Fr. R.)

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