Immortality is a Gift From God

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about what some people call Annihilationism. It goes by other names too – ie Conditional Immortality, and Conferred Immortality. I prefer the latter term – conferred. One thing I realized is that this view is received with MUCH confusion. This has caused me to reflect upon my own beliefs about the fate of unbelievers. I realized I was pretty ignorant about the topic and had, up until that point, handled it like I had handled other views of eschatology in the past. I refer to futurism, of course, with views of the rapture, tribulation, antichrist, etc. It wasn’t until I started studying the area for myself that I embraced Orthodox Preterism. In the same way, upon studying the arguments for the place most people call hell or the Lake of Fire, I found myself embracing the view known as Conferred Immortality.

But what the heck is it?  Conferred or “gifted” immortality is the belief that immortality is a gift from God. And the other names I mentioned above should be defined too. Conditional immortality is so named since immortality is conditioned upon faith. And Annihilationism is a label ascribed to the view because of the implications it has regarding the fate of those who die apart from faith in the gospel. Namely

– that the final punishment of the risen wicked will be the permanent end of their conscious existence.

It’s not that I don’t believe in “hell”, or the Lake of Fire.   I’ve just come to differ on what will actually happen there.  In this short article, I just want to establish that the Scriptures do plainly teach that immortality is a gift of God. Scripture nowhere ascribes immortality to the reprobate. It isn’t something inherent to humanity. The implication of course is that the Scriptures teach that the end of the wicked will not be neverending conscious torture for that would also present immortality for the wicked, even if it is immortality spent in torment. In regard to the final judgment, Scripture does not pit two qualities of life against each other. Rather it is life or death.

And there are always ad hominems abounding like, “Annihilationism? That’s a Jehovah’s Witness view,” (implying that the view must be wrong), and ignorantly ignoring other views held by JW’s that the one slinging ad hominems might not be thinking of – ie Scriptural inerrancy. Not to mention, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view differs from the Conferred Immortality view.  I still believe the gospel, and don’t believe this view alters the gospel. I don’t believe that the wicked pay for or atone for their sins in the Lake of Fire. I know this is a real hot button (pun intended) issue for folks, and I want to treat it with care. I plan to write more about it throughout the week, but will do so in tiny digestible chunks. So, if this should happen to not answer EVERY. SINGLE. QUESTION. you have, just hold tight, and maybe your question will be answered on another article. Now, for starters, let’s take a look at what Scripture says about immortality.

First of all, Scripture tells us that God is immortal. This is a no brainer, right?

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 1:17

But notice what else Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11-16

11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.  12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate,  14 that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,  15 which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
1 Timothy 6:11-16

From the plain teaching of this text, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ alone, God alone, has immortality. Humanity as inherently immortal? No. Not presented here. He alone possesses it.

What else does Scripture say? Let’s look at Romans chapter 2.

5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,

6 who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS:

7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor andimmortality, eternal life;

8 but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.
Romans 2:5-8

We observe from this text that those who seek for glory, honor and immortality are given eternal life. Paul also isn’t saying that if we have good works we get eternal life, or if we look for immortality, we will get eternal life. The book of Romans paints a very clear picture of our depravity as a fallen creature, and how blind we are to God’s truth apart from His giving us life. That aside, it is not as though immortality and eternal life are the same thing. That’s a common straw man against conferred immortality. Rather, eternal life includes immortality. By contrast, those who do not obey the truth are subjected to God’s wrath and indignation.

Notice what Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:8-11:

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 

9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 

10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 

11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.
2 Timothy 1:8-11 

From the apostle Paul’s salutation, we can plainly read that Christ abolished death, and brought both life and immortality to light through the gospel. Along these same lines, we read about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

55 “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;

57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:51-57

Notice that verse 54 says when the “perishable puts on imperishable, and the mortal put on immortality,” then the saying will come about, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For those who die apart from believing the gospel, there is no victory. Verse 57 tells us that this victory is given by God through Jesus Christ. And that to His elect people.

Lastly let’s consider the tree of life. When Adam and Eve fell, what was it that God said?

22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever “–

23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.

24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22-24

God banished Adam from the garden of Eden and guarded the tree of life so that Adam would not eat from it and “live forever.” We are introduced to this tree later in the book of Revelation. It is granted to His elect people to eat from it.

‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Revelation 2:7

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:14

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;

19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
Revelation 22:18-19

The Belgic Confession says this of the fate of the wicked,

“The evil ones will be convicted by the witness of their own consciences, and shall be made immortal– but only to be tormented in the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

But is this what the Scriptures say? Certainly not. Where does this view come from? I think as we have clearly seen, Scripture tells us that immortality is a gift of God.

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31 thoughts on “Immortality is a Gift From God”

  1. Hey Chris,

    this is a saddening post. I am praying that the Lord opens your eyes to the Truth with respect to the final end of the wicked. As far as your post goes, I would like to point out the following.

    1. “In regard to the final judgment, Scripture does not pit two qualities of life against each other. Rather it is life or death.”

    You are assuming here that life and existence are synonymous terms; they are not. Adam was neither alive nor dead in Genesis 2 prior to the Lord God breathing the breath of life into his nostrils.

    1a. Death, therefore, is also not lifelessness, for the body of Adam was completely lifeless before God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and death comes only after Adam sins (cf. Rom 5).

    1b. Consequently, if the wicked continue to exist forever, this is not equivalent to saying that they are alive forever. Likewise, if the righteous exist forever, this is not equivalent to saying that they are alive forever.

    2. “From the plain teaching of this text, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ alone, God alone, has immortality.”

    The text is speaking of the Father. Paul saw Christ, so did many others. God the Father is unseen. I don’t disagree with the fact that Christ, too, as He is Almighty possesses immortality inherently. Just making a correction.

    Regarding immortality, however, I agree. God alone possesses immortality – he alone is incapable of dying. And, true, the elect will never die nor be capable of dying. The wicked, on the other hand, are dead, dying, and will die forever. This in no way, however, signifies their extinction. Death is not synonymous with non-existence.

    3. “We observe from this text that those who seek for glory, honor and immortality are given eternal life.”

    Yes…

    In my understanding, the wicked are not immortal in the biblical sense. So I’m not sure how this affects the Scriptural teaching on Hell…

    4. “That aside, it is not as though immortality and eternal life are the same thing. That’s a common straw man against conferred immortality. Rather, eternal life includes immortality.”

    It isn’t a strawman, Chris. There are annihilationists who have believed that the two are the same thing. But since you do not equate the two, then I would like to know how you define each.

    What is eternal life?

    What is immortality?

    5. “Notice that verse 54 says when the “perishable puts on imperishable, and the mortal put on immortality,” then the saying will come about, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For those who die apart from believing the gospel, there is no victory. Verse 57 tells us that this victory is given by God through Jesus Christ. And that to His elect people.”

    This is true, but who said that the orthodox doctrine of hell implies something contrary to this?

    The wicked are dead, dying, and will be deaad and dying forever. They will not be made immortal in the biblcal sense (i.e. incapable of dying), because they are dead, it is their nature. The Belgic Confession seems to be using immortality loosely as referring the cessation of physical life.

    I wouldn’t use that terminology because it understandably causes confusion in debates such as this one. Nevertheless, there is no conflict between the Belgic Confession and the Scriptures.

    6. “God banished Adam from the garden of Eden and guarded the tree of life so that Adam would not eat from it and “live forever.” We are introduced to this tree later in the book of Revelation. It is granted to His elect people to eat from it.”

    Again, there is no conflict between the orthodox doctrine of hell and the Scriptures. Life is not equivalent to existence; death is not equivalent to non-existence. If they were, then Scripture would contradict itself when it describes the woman who “lives in pleasure [as] dead, while she lives” (1st Tim 5:6).

    Note that the woman’s conscious rebellion against God’s Law, as well as her conscious rejection of the Gospel, is described as death. If there is an analogy between her physical death, spiritual death, and the second death, then how can death refer to the annihilation of the individual?

    -h.

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    1. 1. I think the burden is on you to explain what “immortality” is spoken of in Romans 2 and 1 Cor. 15. I’m not assuming. I’m trying to exegete the passages I used throughout this article.

      1a. I agree that death entered after God breathed into Adam’s nostrils. I’m not really trying to make some major generalization about non existence, including Adam’s previous state, equals death or something. My argument is from God creating humanity and on. In that way, I’m not using the words in one wooden way. Adam wasn’t dead before he was given life, since death is the deprivation of life.

      1b. Adam was considered dead because he was on his way to death through his disobedience to God. God told him that in the day he ate of the fruit “dying he would die.” Did God want to keep the tree of life from Adam so he wouldn’t become regenerate or something?

      2. My point here is that the human is not inherently immortal if God alone possesses immortality. What does immortality mean to you? It almost sounds like you are the one equating immortality and eternal life? I definitely don’t want to put words in your mouth, but doesn’t immortality simply mean “to live forever” ?

      3. Again, what is biblical “immortality” then?

      4. Since from the verse it appears to differentiate between the two, I don’t think they are the same. I would say that immortality literally means to live forever). And eternal life would include that, as well as knowing God, and all of the graciousness that God bestows upon His elect – lavished with grace, every spiritual blessing in Jesus Christ, etc.

      5/6. “The wicked are dead, dying, and will be deaad and dying forever. They will not be made immortal in the biblcal sense (i.e. incapable of dying), because they are dead, it is their nature. The Belgic Confession seems to be using immortality loosely as referring the cessation of physical life.”

      So, the wicked will ” will not be made immortal in the biblcal sense (i.e. incapable of dying)” ? So they will be capable of dying? Why does Paul say the believers were dead in trespasses and sin? Only because they were naturally hostile to God?

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  2. I’m sure, Chris, that in a number of ways this was not an easy transition to make, nor an easy admission to make. Just want you to know that I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.

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  3. Chris M,

    I said you were assuming that life and existence are synonymous because you state that “Scripture does not pit two qualities of life against each other.” In order for death to be a quality of life, life has to be synonymous with existence. Scripture does speak of two states of men who will exist forever – the righteous are alive, living, and will never die, whereas the wicked are dead, dying, and will be dead and dying forever. Neither cease to exist.

    God alone is essentially/substantially incapable of dying. The righteous will also be made incapable of dying when our corruptible bodies will put on incorruption. Then Death will be swallowed up, for certain, and certainly for the elect alone – but what is death? It isn’t lifelessness, for death came into the world through one man’s sin.
    And it isn’t non-existence.

    Death is the deprivation of life. I agree. But what is life? It isn’t existence, seeing as Adam was existent prior to receiving the breath of life from God.

    Life and death are states of existent beings. An existent being can be neither dead nor alive, or dead or alive; but a non-existent being (which is a contradiction in terms) cannot be alive or dead.

    Did Adam die on the day that he ate of the fruit? Yes. He was alienated from the life of God, cut-off from the Fatherly presence of God – he became God’s enemy, revoked his sonship, and took up arms against God. He was dead, in the same way that the prodigal son was dead. The Scriptures don’t support the idea that the wicked are dead in a proleptical sense. They are literally dead.

    But more about Adam: Was he supposed to physically die on the very day he ate of the fruit? Yes. But God kills another in his place (cf. Gen 3:21). The phrase “You shall surely die,” which annihilationists want to mean “dying you shall eventually die,” occurs elsewhere in Scripture and signifies an immediate death.

    Consider: Genesis 20:7, 1st Samuel 14:44, 1st Sam 20:31-32, 1st Sam 22:16-18, 1st Kings 2:37-46.

    I agree with you that no human is inherently immortal. Immortality is the incapibility of dying. The righteous are living and cannot die; the wicked, however, are dead and will continue to die. To be immortal means to be incapable of dying. Consequently, an immortal being is a being who cannot die and who will, therefore, live forever.

    Eternal life is not the same thing. I’m not sure how you got that impression from my response…?

    There is a confusion that arises because of the lack of precision exhibited in this debate (on all sides). Nevertheless, it is logically and Scripturally necessary to differentiate between existence, life, death, immortality, and eternal life.

    Existence is not a predicate; all logical subjects exist, as “existence” is merely the copula being a logical subject and its attendant predicates.

    Life is a state belonging to an existent being. Life, according to Scripture, may be physical or spiritual. Spiritual life is
    Death is a state belonnging to an existent being.

    Immortality is the incapibility of dying. All men are currently mortal, i.e. they are capable of dying. However, only the elect will made immortal, i.e. they will never be capable of undergoing death/dying posterior to the resurrection.
    Eternal life is knowing the One true God and Jesus Chris whom He has sent, and what follows therefrom.

    -h.

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    1. Hiram:

      Chris M,

      I said you were assuming that life and existence are synonymous because you state that “Scripture does not pit two qualities of life against each other.” In order for death to be a quality of life, life has to be synonymous with existence. Scripture does speak of two states of men who will exist forever – the righteous are alive, living, and will never die, whereas the wicked are dead, dying, and will be dead and dying forever. Neither cease to exist.
      God alone is essentially/substantially incapable of dying. The righteous will also be made incapable of dying when our corruptible bodies will put on incorruption. Then Death will be swallowed up, for certain, and certainly for the elect alone – but what is death? It isn’t lifelessness, for death came into the world through one man’s sin.
      And it isn’t non-existence.
      _____________________________________
      ** How should I have stated it then? Scripture doesn’t pit two states of consciousness together? Two states of awareness? I just get the impression that you are saying that life and death always have the same meaning in Scripture. It seems that you won’t allow me to use the word “life” because it always must mean knowing God and “death” must always mean not knowing God.
      _____________________________________
      Death is the deprivation of life. I agree. But what is life? It isn’t existence, seeing as Adam was existent prior to receiving the breath of life from God.
      _____________________________________
      ** I wouldn’t say that life is existence. A stone doesn’t have life for instance, but it exists or has being. Life, not eternal life, is animate existence, although eternal life includes neverending animate existence.
      _____________________________________
      Life and death are states of existent beings. An existent being can be neither dead nor alive, or dead or alive; but a non-existent being (which is a contradiction in terms) cannot be alive or dead.
      _____________________________________
      ** This is just an overcomplication. We are talking about humans whose blood is pumping and then it stops and they die. Then they are later resurrected (brought back from the dead, so they are alive again like Lazarus), they are judged, and then thrown into the Lake of Fire like tares thrown into a fire. And tares burn away plain and simple.
      _____________________________________
      Did Adam die on the day that he ate of the fruit? Yes. He was alienated from the life of God, cut-off from the Fatherly presence of God – he became God’s enemy, revoked his sonship, and took up arms against God. He was dead, in the same way that the prodigal son was dead. The Scriptures don’t support the idea that the wicked are dead in a proleptical sense. They are literally dead.
      But more about Adam: Was he supposed to physically die on the very day he ate of the fruit? Yes. But God kills another in his place (cf. Gen 3:21). The phrase “You shall surely die,” which annihilationists want to mean “dying you shall eventually die,” occurs elsewhere in Scripture and signifies an immediate death.
      _____________________________________
      Yah I think Adam was immediately considered dead too. He was on his way to death. He sinned against God, and that has consequences. He faced the Lake of Fire unless he believed the words of God in the protoevangelion.
      ** The prodigal son is a parable though. I don’t want to sound as though nothing can be learned from a parable, but we wouldn’t grant the Arminian the idea that the sinner must look for God first and then God acts or something. Yah, the son was considered dead. In the culture he would have been considered dead. I don’t have a problem with that because I do believe that those who don’t believe the gospel are considered dead. We were once dead in trespasses and sins but are now alive in Christ. This isn’t related to the prodigal, but – If I ruined a king’s belongings, breaking it, cursed him out, letting all know that I was an enemy of his, etc. and ran away to a friend’s house – my friend might say, “Dude you’re dead meat.” And he would say this because no doubt the king would be angry and waiting for my arrival (or searching me out), but he doesn’t mean I am necessarily dead yet. It’s that my actions are worthy of death, and my death is going to happen.
      _____________________________________
      Consider: Genesis 20:7, 1st Samuel 14:44, 1st Sam 20:31-32, 1st Sam 22:16-18, 1st Kings 2:37-46.

      I agree with you that no human is inherently immortal. Immortality is the incapibility of dying. The righteous are living and cannot die; the wicked, however, are dead and will continue to die. To be immortal means to be incapable of dying. Consequently, an immortal being is a being who cannot die and who will, therefore, live forever.
      _____________________________________
      ** But you are defining life in this context as “knowing God” if I’m not mistaken, and by contrast death is not knowing God?
      _____________________________________
      Eternal life is not the same thing. I’m not sure how you got that impression from my response…?
      _____________________________________
      ** Because you said this:
      “And, true, the elect will never die nor be capable of dying. The wicked, on the other hand, are dead, dying, and will die forever.” And you are arguing for eternal conscious pain. Above you defined immortality as the incapability of dying, but the wicked are dead – that is, the wicked who will endure conscious torment. So immortality in this context is defined as “knowing God” or communing with God it seems, and not literally ongoing animate existence. But isn’t “knowing God” the way you define eternal life?
      _____________________________________
      There is a confusion that arises because of the lack of precision exhibited in this debate (on all sides). Nevertheless, it is logically and Scripturally necessary to differentiate between existence, life, death, immortality, and eternal life.

      Existence is not a predicate; all logical subjects exist, as “existence” is merely the copula being a logical subject and its attendant predicates.
      _____________________________________
      **Existence simply means being and can be shared by both animate and inanimate objects.
      _____________________________________
      Life is a state belonging to an existent being. Life, according to Scripture, may be physical or spiritual. Spiritual life is
      _____________________________________
      **Life is the “animation” of the animate being. Eternal life includes both ongoing conscious animative being and community with God – glorifying and honoring Him as Romans 2 puts it.
      _____________________________________
      Death is a state belonnging to an existent being.
      _____________________________________
      **Can a rock die? Death is the cessation of all the vital functions of an organism (as the dictionary puts it).
      _____________________________________
      Immortality is the incapibility of dying. All men are currently mortal, i.e. they are capable of dying. However, only the elect will made immortal, i.e. they will never be capable of undergoing death/dying posterior to the resurrection.
      _____________________________________
      ** Immortality is the state of neverending conscious existence. So the wicked will have the ability to feel physical pain forever, sorrow forever, and anger forever, implying that they have a conscious understanding of what is happening, yet they are “dead” because the second death denotes a separation from God in some spiritual sense? Yet, you might ask me as a follow up “How is eternal life defined in the Bible?” implying that spiritual death is the opposite of that. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but that’s what you asked Chris Date in your debate. But I think that is only more evidence of equating immortality and eternal life. I don’t think you are making the distinction you think you are.
      _____________________________________
      Eternal life is knowing the One true God and Jesus Chris whom He has sent, and what follows therefrom.
      _____________________________________
      **I want to see if I understand:
      1. Eternal life is knowing the One True God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent.
      2. Immortality is literally not going to the Lake of Fire.
      3. Death is going to to the Lake of Fire.
      Is this what you mean?

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  4. Just to clarify…

    “Death will be swallowed up, for certain, and certainly for the elect alone – but what is death? It isn’t lifelessness, for death came into the world through one man’s sin.
    And it isn’t non-existence.”

    When I say death is not lifelessness, I should have stated this explicitly, I am referring to the annihilationist’s understanding of lifelessness.

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  5. Someone wrote that Adam was existent prior to receiving the breath of life from God.
    How was Adam existent prior to receiving the breath of life from God? Where is that in Scripture? Does the mere presence of a body constitute existence? If that is the case then hello pebble, nice to meet you.

    The Bible nowhere associates “breath of life” with immortal soul.
    Ecclesiastes 12:7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
    Genesis 7:21-22 And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died.
    Genesis 1:30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, EVERYTHING THAT HAS THE BREATH OF LIFE, I have given every green plant for food.”

    —————————–
    Elsewhere in the comments it has been said that the “wicked are dead, dying, and will be dead and dying forever . . . they will not be made immortal in the biblcal sense (i.e. incapable of dying) because they are dead, it is their nature.”

    How can the dead be also dying? This is like saying the alive are coming to life. Does the argument not pit two qualities of life against each other? And does it not do so on the grounds that the concept of “pre-existence” cannot be defined as death, therefore death cannot be defined as non-existence?

    I ask WHAT THE HELL IS PRE-EXISTENCE?! AND WHERE IS SUCH A CONCEPT FOUND IN SCRIPTURE?!

    God existed before the foundation of the world because He actually existed. It cannot be said that He existed before the foundation of the word because based upon some metaphysical, mind bending, LSD-induced concept that before-existence must mean exsiting before, He therefore existed. Good grief, man! This is idiotic drivel.

    Hiram, I am not only praying that God will open your eyes to see the truth, but that the Lord will also move you to stay away from the acid., because dude, you are seriously trippin’.

    – Dave Bishop

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  6. David,

    here’s my response.

    1. “Someone wrote that Adam was existent prior to receiving the breath of life from God.”

    Moses wrote this. “The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground…”

    2. “How was Adam existent prior to receiving the breath of life from God? Where is that in Scripture? Does the mere presence of a body constitute existence? If that is the case then hello pebble, nice to meet you.”

    Pebbles exist. Everything exists.

    3. “The Bible nowhere associates “breath of life” with immortal soul.”

    Who said that it did?

    4. “Does the argument not pit two qualities of life against each other?”

    No. Death is not a quality of life. It is a state of existence.

    5. “And does it not do so on the grounds that the concept of “pre-existence” cannot be defined as death, therefore death cannot be defined as non-existence?”

    um, No.

    6. “I ask WHAT THE HELL IS PRE-EXISTENCE?! AND WHERE IS SUCH A CONCEPT FOUND IN SCRIPTURE?!”

    I don’t even know what you’re talking about here.

    7. “God existed before the foundation of the world because He actually existed.”

    David, everything exists. Unicorns, square-circles, and dry water exist. They are imaginary, but they nonetheless exist. They are, moreover, lifeless, but they exist. You are confusing existence with life.

    What does it mean for something to “actually” exist?

    8. “It cannot be said that He existed before the foundation of the word because based upon some metaphysical, mind bending, LSD-induced concept that before-existence must mean exsiting before, He therefore existed. Good grief, man! This is idiotic drivel.”

    Existence is not a predicate. Can a being HAVE non-existence? Would this not be tantamount to saying that an existent thing has the quality of not-existing?

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    1. Unicorns exist. Oh boy. Can I have one, mum?

      Hiram, the premise of your argument is thus:

      1. Adam was not alive before he existed
      2. Adam was not dead either before he existed
      3. Therefore death cannot be non-existence, because Adam was neither alive nor dead before he existed

      Adam was not anything before he existed! Unicorns may have existed, but they don’t exist now. Not existing before they existed does not mean we can’t say they don’t exist now.

      Moses did not say Adam existed before he existed. “The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground…” is the indicator of a past event. The mere presence of an object does not indicate the existence OF A PERSON! A finger left behind does not mean the person who lost his finger must now suffer dual personalities.

      Not everything exists. Unicorns and mermaids do not exist. Vishnu and the Tao do not exist. Certain thoughts exist, and thoughts about other thoughts that are said to be about Vishnu and the Tao, but Vishnu and the Tao do not exist, no matter how many appeals to ignorance we might make.

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  7. David, this is my last response to you.

    1. “Hiram, the premise of your argument is thus:

    1. Adam was not alive before he existed
    2. Adam was not dead either before he existed
    3. Therefore death cannot be non-existence, because Adam was neither alive nor dead before he existed”

    Firstly, what you’ve written is not a premise, its a bad attempt at formulating a syllogism. Secondly, I don’t say that Adam was not alive before he existed. Likewise, I do not say that Adam was not dead before he existed.

    That would be a confusion of life and existence, the two are not at all identical.

    What I am repeating is the Holy Spirit wrote:

    a. The Lord God formed the man (Adam) out of the dust of the earth.
    b. The Lord God breathed the breath of life into the man’s (Adam’s) nostrils.
    c. Death entered the world through one man’s (Adam’s) sin.

    Before receiving the breath of life from God, Adam was truly there in the garden. He existed, but he was not alive. Moreover, he was lifeless, but he was not dead.

    2. “Adam was not anything before he existed! Unicorns may have existed, but they don’t exist now. Not existing before they existed does not mean we can’t say they don’t exist now.”

    Scripture contradicts you, David. Adam was a lifeless being before he received the breath of life from God. You may not want it to be the case, but this is the case accordig to Genesis 2. Adam’s being given life is not synonymous with Adam being given existence. You are still conflating the two: Life is NOT existence.

    Adam, therefore, existed before he lived.

    If Adam (subject) became a living being (predicate), then Adam existed. It’s that simple. Existence is the copula between a logical subject and its attendant predicates.

    Existence is not a predicate. (If you have any doubts about this, read Kant’s criticism of the Ontological argument, and read Gordon H. Clark on the matter. They say the same thing that I am saying.)

    Ponder:

    “This thing has the quality of not being a thing.”

    Is that a rational proposition? That is no different than the proposition “A does not exist.” It is a self-contradictory proposition and is, therefore, false. If there is a man who is dead, that man (subject) is [note the existential verb “is”] dead (predicate).

    3. “Moses did not say Adam existed before he existed. “The Lord God formed the man out of the dust of the ground…” is the indicator of a past event.”

    Moses did not use those words, but you quote him saying that the Lord God formed “the man” out of the dust of the ground. Sure, this is a past event. That has no bearing on the fact that “the man” (i.e. Adam) “received” the breath of life from God.

    You’re wrong, David.

    4. “The mere presence of an object does not indicate the existence OF A PERSON!”

    The Scriptures refer to “the man,” Adam. They don’t call him an object. They also don’t call him a body. Instead, they call him “the man.” You are contradicting the Scriptures, buddy.

    5. “A finger left behind does not mean the person who lost his finger must now suffer dual personalities.”

    This is the best you can do? Make an irrational statement that has nothing to do with what I am saying?

    The Scriptures speak of “the man” not of “a part of the man.”

    6. “Not everything exists.”

    Let’s look at this proposition another way:

    “Some things do not exist.”

    That is the logical equivalent of your propositon. Now, let’s look at this another way:

    “Some things do not have existence.”

    Do you see the foolishness of that statement? How can predicate non-existence of a logical subject?

    7. “Unicorns and mermaids do not exist.”

    Unicorns and mermaids are imaginary beings; therefore, they exist. They “Are” something, viz. imaginary beings.

    8. “Vishnu and the Tao do not exist.”

    False, see above.

    9. “Certain thoughts exist, and thoughts about other thoughts that are said to be about Vishnu and the Tao, but Vishnu and the Tao do not exist, no matter how many appeals to ignorance we might make.”

    If you are identifying my reasoning as being an exercise in appealing to ignorance, I would submit that you do not know what an appeal to ignorance actually is.

    Looking at wikipedia, that bastion of truth, we have the following definition:

    “[An argumentum ad ignorantium] asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false, it is “generally accepted” (or vice versa).”

    I haven’t done that.

    Here’s an article where Clark discusses the word existence:

    http://trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=50

    Existence is the copula between a logical subject and its attendant predicates.

    -h.

    Like

    1. Hiram, it’s not going to bother me if that was the last time you respond to me. Quite frankly, I don’t know why you bothered to respond a second time since it seems to trouble you to do so. If you feel you can’t respond to me anymore, then by all means go do something else; it’s not going to bother me.

      I hear you telling me that the existence of unicorns on an imaginary level is evidence that the existence of Adam’s lifeless body proves that Adam the person existed before he existed. Is that right? If it is, then would this not mean that you believe imaginary and non-imaginary things share the same kind of existence?

      And my point about unicorns and mermaids not existing was not to say that unicorns and mermaids do not exist on any level at all, but rather that they do not exist as real things. They do not, in other words, share the same existence as Adam shared. They are imaginary creatures. They are not real. They exist only on an imaginary level. The imaginary existence of unicorns and mermaids proves nothing about the existence of a real Adam.

      Please, invoking Kant and Clark does nothing for me. Santa Claus did not have a son named Jesus, and the Easter Bunny did not die on a cross. Kant and Clark prove nothing to me. I agree with Nash concerning both. Their views are rife with problems. Invoking their names will only earn you a yawn.

      Your argument as I understand it, and please correct if I’m wrong (if that is, you choose to trouble yourself again), is that Adam existed on a real level prior to the moment God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and became a living being, because we say things like vampires have sharp teeth and grandma got run over by a reindeer. Your argument is that based upon this, when a person dies, though a thousand years later his body may have been reduced to dust and he is no longer a living being, he nevertheless continues to exist as a non living being.

      He continues to exist, but as a non living being?

      Okay.

      He continues to exist as an imaginary unicorn.

      Dude, it is still a loss of consciousness! What is your point?! That imaginary unicorns have a consciousness?!

      Of course I invited a syllogism. A syllogism is not something absent a premise though, or perhaps you do not know what syllogism means. I stated the premises of your argument. If you mean to say my syllogism was specious, then you are quite misguided. You even restated your premises just as I presented them.
      To summarize your argument then, your entire argument hinges upon the notion that, though they will be as imaginary as an imaginary unicorn, the condemned are nevertheless immortal and shall be conscious and in eternal torment, because unicorns, though they don’t exist IN REALITY, nevertheless really exist because people tend to imagine them sporting a pointy horn

      Like

  8. Chris, here are my responses…

    1. “How should I have stated it then? Scripture doesn’t pit two states of consciousness together? Two states of awareness? I just get the impression that you are saying that life and death always have the same meaning in Scripture. It seems that you won’t allow me to use the word “life” because it always must mean knowing God and “death” must always mean not knowing God.”

    I don’t know how you should have put it. lol. Your impression, however, is wrong. Life and Death are states of an existent being. That being the case, life and death are not synonyms for existence and non-existence. I’m not going much farther than that.

    2. “I wouldn’t say that life is existence. A stone doesn’t have life for instance, but it exists or has being. Life, not eternal life, is animate existence, although eternal life includes neverending animate existence.”

    In what way, then, is God living? God has no body. Is He animated? God breathed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils after all.

    3. “This is just an overcomplication. We are talking about humans whose blood is pumping and then it stops and they die. Then they are later resurrected (brought back from the dead, so they are alive again like Lazarus), they are judged, and then thrown into the Lake of Fire like tares thrown into a fire. And tares burn away plain and simple.”

    I like the first and last sentences here:

    “This is just an oversimplication.”

    and then

    “And tares burn away plain and simple.”

    I think that this is an oversimplification wrapped in vaguery.

    But on a different note, I don’t see how you mentioning what mention inbetween the first and last sentences, however, is relevant here. I would like to know where your understanding of death (as the cessation of the pumping of blood in a human being) comes from.

    4. “Can a rock die? Death is the cessation of all the vital functions of an organism (as the dictionary puts it).”

    A rock can’t die. I understand that you’ve gotten your definition of death from the dictionary, but where is your definition in Scripture?

    I don’t see death defined as “the cessation of all the vital functions of an organism.”

    5. “Immortality is the state of neverending conscious existence.”

    No. The words that are used in Scripture do not say anything about consciousness. They signify “incorruption” and deathlessness.

    6. “So the wicked will have the ability to feel physical pain forever, sorrow forever, and anger forever, implying that they have a conscious understanding of what is happening,”

    Yes.

    7. “…yet they are “dead” because the second death denotes a separation from God in some spiritual sense?”

    They are dead because Scripture defines all men outside of Christ as spiritually dead, cut off from the Fatherly presence of God. This entails other things, however, so I’m not saying that death is uniform, but that death is essentially one thing (i.e. separation from God) that takes a variety of forms. The same is true of life.

    This is why I used the word polysemous in my debate with Chris. Words like life, death, destruction, etc are polysemous in nature. Scripture is a system.

    8. “Yet, you might ask me as a follow up “How is eternal life defined in the Bible?” implying that spiritual death is the opposite of that.”

    I would like to know this, but I wasn’t planning on asking you here.

    9. “I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but that’s what you asked Chris Date in your debate. But I think that is only more evidence of equating immortality and eternal life. I don’t think you are making the distinction you think you are.”

    I guess we’ve reached a stalemate, then?

    -h.

    Like

    1. 2. I didn’t mean to imply that a physical body is necessary for being or life. But we are talking specfically about humanity. Jesus did say that God wasn’t physical. And like you said, God is living.

      3. I didn’t say an over simplication. I said “overcomplication.” My understanding of death comes from the metaphors the Bible gives – ie tares being burned.

      4. Again, my definition comes from the metaphors we are given in the Bible – body and soul destroyed in hell, tares thrown into a fire, the wicked melting away, smashed like pottery, etc. I don’t take those literally in the sense of the wicked being fragmented like pottery by God or something. But they all have the same conclusion. And the majority of the fate of the wicked passages point to language just like this.

      8. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3

      9. I guess so. I think we could literally do this all day long.

      Like

  9. David,

    I wasn’t intending to bother you by not responding further. I am just tired of repeating myself to someone who is hardhearted and ignorant. It’s tiring.

    As for your responses…

    1. “I hear you telling me that the existence of unicorns on an imaginary level is evidence that the existence of Adam’s lifeless body proves that Adam the person existed before he existed. Is that right?”

    No. I am telling you that “existence” is not a predicate. You cannot deny that something exists without contradicting yourself. There is a way to avoid contradicting oneself but that involves equivocating on the word “existence.”

    2. “If it is, then would this not mean that you believe imaginary and non-imaginary things share the same kind of existence?”

    No.

    3. “And my point about unicorns and mermaids not existing was not to say that unicorns and mermaids do not exist on any level at all, but rather that they do not exist as real things. They do not, in other words, share the same existence as Adam shared. They are imaginary creatures. They are not real. They exist only on an imaginary level. The imaginary existence of unicorns and mermaids proves nothing about the existence of a real Adam.”

    You are missing the point, David. I agree that unicorns are not real and that Adam was real/is real. I agree that they are ontologically distinct from one another. What I am saying is: Existence is not a predicate. This is pretty basic stuff, man.

    4. “Please, invoking Kant and Clark does nothing for me.”

    I was trying to get you to see that thinkers understand that the existential verb “to be” is a copula between a subject and its attendant predicates – that’s all it is. I was not appealing to authority, but appealing to evidence outside of myself that shows that this is an elementary fact.

    5. “Santa Claus did not have a son named Jesus, and the Easter Bunny did not die on a cross.”

    This is completely irrelevant.

    6. “Kant and Clark prove nothing to me.”

    Again, I wasn’t appealing to authority. I was trying to get you to see past your traditions. Apparently, however, you are irremediably lost in them.

    7. “I agree with Nash concerning both. Their views are rife with problems. Invoking their names will only earn you a yawn.”

    Good for you. Unfortunately, this is also completely irrelevant. Clark and Kant did not deny that existence is predicate on the basis of their philosophies. THey simply thought about the absurdity of saying:

    A [this thing] does not exist [is not a thing].

    8. “Your argument as I understand it, and please correct if I’m wrong (if that is, you choose to trouble yourself again), is that Adam existed on a real level prior to the moment God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and became a living being, because we say things like vampires have sharp teeth and grandma got run over by a reindeer.”

    No. Scripture tells us that Adam, the man, was formed of the dust of the ground. He had real existence. It then tells us that he was given life by God. He really existed before he was alive. You can’t admit this because you are married to your false doctrine of annihilationism.

    9. “Your argument is that based upon this, when a person dies, though a thousand years later his body may have been reduced to dust and he is no longer a living being, he nevertheless continues to exist as a non living being.”

    Everything exists. Not everything, however, exists in the same way. Adam is, was, and will be a body and soul. The incredible Hulk is, was, and will be a comic book character. They both exist. Get it?

    10. “Dude, it is still a loss of consciousness!”

    Show me in Scripture where death entails an absolute loss of consciousness. There is not a single Scripture that says this. Your tradition is rearing its ugly head again.

    As the rest of your response is irrational, I see no point in responding to it.

    -h.

    Like

    1. I’m hardhearted and ignorant, eh? And here I thought you were going to go and do something like insult me.

      Neither Kant nor Clark argued that existence is not a predicate. They argued that existence is not a REAL predicate. You need to stop misquoting, and you need to learn the difference.

      Your argument is stupid. It is built upon the notion that because Adam was neither alive nor dead before he existed, the condemned therefore will always exist in one state or another. Neither alive nor dead before he existed, and yet somehow still existent. Neither alive nor dead after judgment, but yet somehow still existent. I say, bollocks sir! Bollocks!

      How’s that for hardhearted?

      Like

  10. Chris,

    1. “I didn’t mean to imply that a physical body is necessary for being or life. But we are talking specfically about humanity. Jesus did say that God wasn’t physical. And like you said, God is living.”

    I didn’t to imply that you did 😉 I’m just trying to understand what life is if both God and man have it, but man has a body and God is Spirit. Is the word “life” when applied to man supposed to be understood analogically? Is God analogically animated? These are serious questions, btw.

    2. “I didn’t say an over simplication. I said “overcomplication.” My understanding of death comes from the metaphors the Bible gives – ie tares being burned.”

    lol I’m sorry. My mistake. I don’t think I am overcomplicating. I am trying to be precise. Life and death are distinct from existence and non-existence. And only an existent thing can be alive or dead. Therefore, life and death are states of an existent thing.

    Concerning the tares, your example is begging the question. I am looking a clear proposition of Scripture that defines death in accordance with your view.

    “4. Again, my definition comes from the metaphors we are given in the Bible – body and soul destroyed in hell, tares thrown into a fire, the wicked melting away, smashed like pottery, etc. I don’t take those literally in the sense of the wicked being fragmented like pottery by God or something. But they all have the same conclusion. And the majority of the fate of the wicked passages point to language just like this.”

    They don’t have the same conclusion, Chris. The imagery of tares typically is set in the context of the frailty of human authority. God will quickly, swiftly, and completely uproot them from their positions of authority. This is the case in Matthew 3, as well as in Daniel 2:35. The imagery of being broken into pieces is also not one of death per se, although it could include death. Scripture interprets Scripture. What the Holy Spirit declares in Psalm 2: 9 Christ interprets in Revelation 2:26-27. The image is one of destruction, ruination, the humiliation of the wicked, the Sovereign treading of God over His enemies. But it isn’t one of death per se, even less is it a picture of annihilation.

    8. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3″

    Amen.

    Like

    1. 1. Man is living (Genesis 2:7) – “and man became a living soul; or a living man, not only capable of performing the functions of the animal life, of eating, drinking, walking, &c. but of thinking, reasoning, and discoursing as a rational creature.” – John Gill

      And God is spoken of as “living God” (Hebrews 10:31, for instance) in contrast to other gods who were lifeless, inanimate pieces of carved stone or wood. John Gill, not holding my position at all (so I don’t want to give the impression that he did), says in his commentary of Hebrews 10:31 of God as the “living” God: “and that he is ‘the living God’; in opposition to the lifeless deities of the Gentiles”

      2/4. Well, I definitely think we should be precise. And I’m glad you care about it too. I would actually agree with your point: “Therefore, life and death are states of an existent thing.” But, if someone said the dodo bird doesn’t exist anymore, would you correct them for saying this?

      Again, I think Scripture gives us the definitions via metaphors. What will happen to the wicked? They will be like tares thrown into a fire. What happens to tares thrown into a fire? They are burned up. They don’t sustain heat like a rock or metal would. Jesus said those tares, the wicked, would be thrown into a furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth – a place of sorrow and anger. The analogy is clear.

      “The image is one of destruction, ruination, the humiliation of the wicked, ” I totally agree. I think all of those things are also harmonious with my view.

      “But it isn’t one of death per se, even less is it a picture of annihilation.”

      If by annihilation you mean a dematerialization or something, then I agree. I think the judgment of God with be one of torment and pain and horror. It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. I just don’t think it will go on and on and on and on. It may go on and on for a while, but will eventually come to an end.

      Like

  11. 1. I agree with Gill, so far as I can tell, but I find it to be problematic for your previous definition. You said life is animate existence. But here you seem to be indicating that it is the functions of mind (in particular, intellection and communication) that are to be identified as life. This isn’t animate existence.

    I also think, on a side note, that life is not attributed to anything else in the creation narrative but animals and man. Hence, there would be no death prior to the fall in Adam’s eating of fruits and vegetables, for these things are seemingly not identified as living things. I’m still searching the Scriptures on this though…

    I agree with you and Gill, btw, regarding the living God and how He stands in contrast to the lifeless idols. These idols are non-functioning – they do not think or speak or act – but they are not dead. I just wrote a blog for Grassroots Apologetics about this. I show that Adam and the idols are initially the same: They exist but they are lifeless. What sets Adam apart is that he exists and lives. G.K. Beale has a great article on this….I link to it…

    2. “But, if someone said the dodo bird doesn’t exist anymore, would you correct them for saying this?”

    I hate to admit this, but I probably would. lol I’m a bit of a nuisance that way. ask my wife. hahaha

    I would, of course, understand what you meant; however, the statement would be still be contradictory. I can say that dinosaurs do not exist, but if I do I am not denying that there are the logical subjects “tyrannosaurus rex,” “brontosaurus,” “teradactyl,” etc. I am, rather, saying: There are no more living dinosaurs.

    Likewise, someone can say “Johnny does not exist” (one can say anything), but that statement would be contradictory. Would you know what I meant if I said “Johnny no longer exists”?

    I could be referring to my imaginary friend whom my other imaginary friend has killed.
    I could be referring to my flesh and blood friend whom I have disowned.
    I could be referring to my friend who died many years ago, whose body is probably completely disintergrated at this point.

    For the sake of clarity, I would say: Johnny is dead.

    “Again, I think Scripture gives us the definitions via metaphors.”

    This, to me, seems to mark a huge inconsistency. You allow for a propositional definition of eternal life, but you appeal to metaphors to define the final end of the wicked?

    “What will happen to the wicked? They will be like tares thrown into a fire. What happens to tares thrown into a fire? They are burned up. They don’t sustain heat like a rock or metal would. Jesus said those tares, the wicked, would be thrown into a furnace of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth – a place of sorrow and anger. The analogy is clear.”

    They will also be eternally imprisoned (cf. Matt 5:21-26), wander the eternal blackness forever (cf. Jude 13b), and be cast into the outer darkness. If they will simply be burned up to ashes (leaving aside the problem of consciousness and the clearly dualist anthropology of the Scriptures), then how will they be eternally imprisoned? How will they wander the eternal blackness forever?

    This is a problem for your position. The wicked are wandering stars, and blackness has been reserved for them. That is: They are wandering, and they will always be wandering. This is not annihilation.

    “I totally agree. I think all of those things are also harmonious with my view.”

    I don’t think they are. Here’s why: I think the sum and substance of the imagery is what I described. I don’t think that they are speaking of those things (i.e. humiliation, ruination, etc) are secondarily caused by something else (i.e. being burned or mutilated, etc). I think the ruination etc is primary, and that what is experienced physically is secondary. There is a difference.

    “If by annihilation you mean a dematerialization or something, then I agree. I think the judgment of God with be one of torment and pain and horror. It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. I just don’t think it will go on and on and on and on. It may go on and on for a while, but will eventually come to an end.”

    I don’t see there being a real difference, as the end result is the same: The wicked will no longer exist. Chris D repeats this over and over, but I don’t see the difference. Whether their sufffering is long or short, it ends in annihilation.

    -h.

    Like

    1. 1. I agree with Gill, so far as I can tell, but I find it to be problematic for your previous definition. You said life is animate existence. But here you seem to be indicating that it is the functions of mind (in particular, intellection and communication) that are to be identified as life. This isn’t animate existence.

      The point is that that the blood is pumping. I would agree that the functions of the mind are not the same as life since some people can be “brain dead” but still alive. Men and animals are certainly distinct. On the other hand, plants are spoken of as living in Scripture too, like trees that aren’t withered.

      I know the idols aren’t called, “dead,” but God is still called “living.” And you are right about Adam and idols initially being the same. But then God breathed into his nostrils and he had life.
      _____________________
      2. I allow for the propositional definition of eternal life because the Scriptures literally say, “This is eternal life:” whereas the Scriptures do not say, “This is eternal punishment:” in the same way. As I had pointed out in newer articles, the only thing we could draw from Matthew 25:46, for instance, is the imagery of Gehenna, which was a place where corpses were, burnings, ashes, and animals eating the corpses. It would be a stretch to say that those verses clearly teach your position.

      “They will also be eternally imprisoned (cf. Matt 5:21-26), wander the eternal blackness forever (cf. Jude 13b), and be cast into the outer darkness. If they will simply be burned up to ashes (leaving aside the problem of consciousness and the clearly dualist anthropology of the Scriptures), then how will they be eternally imprisoned? How will they wander the eternal blackness forever?”

      As far as Matthew 5 goes, I assume you are referring to this:

      “Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.”

      But I agree with Gill again here, that this isn’t to be taken allegorically. Check out what he says:

      “Agree with thine adversary quickly,…. These words are not to be understood in an allegorical sense, as if “the adversary” was the justice of God, demanding payment of debts; “the way”, this present life; “the judge”, God himself; “the officer”, the devil; “the prison”, the pit of hell; and “the uttermost farthing”, the least sin, which will never be remitted without satisfaction: but the design of them is to prevent lawsuits about debts, which may be in dispute; it being much better for debtor and creditor, especially the former, to compose such differences among themselves, than to litigate the matter in a court of judicature. By “the adversary” is meant not an enemy, one that bears hatred and ill will, but a brother that has ought against a man; a creditor, who demands and insists upon payment of what is owing to him; and for this purpose has taken methods towards bringing the debtor before a proper magistrate, in order to oblige him to payment: wherefore it is better for him to make up and agree the matter directly, as soon as possible,”

      Notice what Calvin says:

      “This part is explained by some in a metaphorical sense, that the Heavenly Judge will act toward us with the utmost rigor, so as to forgive us nothing, if we do not labor to settle those differences which we have with our neighbors. But I view it more simply, as an admonition that, even among men, it is usually advantageous for us to come to an early agreement with adversaries, because, with quarrelsome persons, their obstinacy often costs them dear. At the same time, I admit, that the comparison is justly applied to God; for he will exercise judgment without mercy (Jas 2:13) to him who is implacable to his brethren, or pursues his contentiousness to the utmost. But it is highly ridiculous in the Papists, to construct their purgatory out of a continued allegory on this passage. Nothing is more evident than that the subject of Christ’s discourse is the cultivation of friendship among men. ”

      As far as darkness or blackness goes, Job spoke of having not been born (or atleast being born DOA) as “darkness” or “blackness” (Job 3:1-5). I mean we could easily say, “How can it be darkness in a place of fire which naturally emits light?” I think the darkness is a way of describing death, unconsciousness. Jude 13 nowhere says that they are wandering stars after they die. He speaks of false teachers who are in the church who are like the false teachers before them. “These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.” You’re right, it’s not annihilation because it isn’t speaking of their final judgment. Rather, it speaks of their current state.
      _____________________

      Like

  12. 1. “I allow for the propositional definition of eternal life because the Scriptures literally say, “This is eternal life:” whereas the Scriptures do not say, “This is eternal punishment:” in the same way.”

    I think that they do, though. “This is the second death, the lake of fire” (Rev 20:14). What is the lake of fire? The second death. What is the second death? The final end of the wicked. What does it consist of? “God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger,” where the wicked “…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” (Rev 14:10-11). Likewise, see Rev 20:10.

    2. “As I had pointed out in newer articles, the only thing we could draw from Matthew 25:46, for instance, is the imagery of Gehenna, which was a place where corpses were, burnings, ashes, and animals eating the corpses. It would be a stretch to say that those verses clearly teach your position.”

    I don’t think so. Revlation describes that eternal fire as the lake of fire, the second death, and tells us what that second death consists of, viz. torment, suffering, restlessness, etc.

    3. Regarding Gill and Calvin, I think they are both misreading the Scripture. In Calvin’s case, I understand his beef with the papists and their twisting of Matt 5:21-26 to suit their own ends. As far as Gill goes, I am not sure why he would understand the text this way when there is a parallel passage given in Matthew 18:15-35 which shows that the way that Gill says this text should not be interpreted is the way that it should be interpreted. lol

    Matthew Henry seems to see a temporal application of the text as well, but regarding the eternal matters with which it deals he writes:

    “Note, [1.] The great God is an Adversary to all sinners, Antidikos—a law-adversary; he has a controversy with them, an action against them. [2.] It is our concern to agree with him, to acquaint ourselves with him, that we may be at peace, Job xxii. 21; 2 Cor. v. 20. [3.] It is our wisdom to do this quickly, while we are in the way. While we are alive, we are in the way; after death, it will be too late to do it; therefore give not sleep to thine eyes till it be done. [4.] They who continue in a state of enmity to God, are continually exposed to the arrests of his justice, and the most dreadful instances of his wrath. Christ is the Judge, to whom impenitent sinners will be delivered; for all judgment is committed to the Son; he that was rejected as a Saviour, cannot be escaped as a Judge, Rev. vi. 16, 17. It is a fearful thing to be thus turned over to the Lord Jesus, when the Lamb shall become the Lion. Angels are the officers to whom Christ will deliver them (ch. xiii. 41, 42); devils are so too, having the power of death as executioners to all unbelievers, Heb. ii. 14. Hell is the prison, into which those will be cast that continue in a state of enmity to God, 2 Pet. ii. 4. [5.] Damned sinners must remain in it to eternity; they shall not depart till they have paid the uttermost farthing, and that will not be to the utmost ages of eternity: divine justice will be for ever in the satisfying, but never satisfied.” (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc5.Matt.vi.html)

    J.P. Holding, arguing against the use of this text by annihilationists, explains that “…In such cases [of debtor’s prison], barring intervention, the person never pays the last penny, because they can’t get out of prison to make money to pay the debt. If this happened a relative would have to get you out by selling their own land, which is where any analogy to eternity breaks down; only a broker acting for a patron (i.e., Jesus) could pay such a debt.” (http://www.tektonics.org/af/annix.html)

    I see no exegetical foundation for interpreting Matthew 5:21-26 as being merely earthly legal advice.

    4. “As far as darkness or blackness goes, Job spoke of having not been born (or atleast being born DOA) as “darkness” or “blackness” (Job 3:1-5).”

    What exegetical grounds do you have for appealing to Job? Are not the contexts vastly different here?

    5. “I mean we could easily say, “How can it be darkness in a place of fire which naturally emits light?” I think the darkness is a way of describing death, unconsciousness.”

    Scripture does not identify death as unconsciousness. The dead are nowhere described in Scripture as lacking consciousness.

    6. “Jude 13 nowhere says that they are wandering stars after they die. He speaks of false teachers who are in the church who are like the false teachers before them. “These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you 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.” You’re right, it’s not annihilation because it isn’t speaking of their final judgment. Rather, it speaks of their current state.”

    Jude doesn’t explicitly say “these guys are and will forever will be wandering stars [etc].” However, does he need to when the context is as clear as it is? Stars are in the sky, wandering through endless black space. This is the picture he is painting: The false teachers are currently wandering in blackness (i.e. spiritual death and darkness and ignorance and enmity to God) and this is what has been reserved for them forever.

    There is an image of the false teacher describing him in the present, and describing the continuation of his actions/experiences into the future.

    clouds without water -> carried along
    trees without fruit -> uprooted
    wild waves of the sea -> casting up their own shame like foam
    wandering stars – > for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever

    Your interpretation doesn’t fit the text, Chris.

    -h.

    Like

    1. 1&2. I agree there. But you also are putting a lot of weight on the book of Revelation, which is a hyperbolic book filled with imagery. The beast and false prophet are also named in 20:10 as being tormented day and night, but they don’t even represent people. They represent impersonal entities, one a government and the other a false religion that supports that government. Revelation 20:10 isn’t the only place that speaks of the end of this beast. Daniel 7 does too, where we read that the beast is destroyed, Daniel 2 tells us that this beast was the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue and was smashed to bits. The feet of course represent the dominion of Rome. Hades and death are impersonal too and are also thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 18 also tells us that the harlot is tormented and her smoke goes up for ever and ever. But Revelation also says she represents a city that will be destroyed.

      4 & 5. I use Job as an example because he uses that type of language to describe being dead. I’m not saying that Jude is quoting Job or something, just that this is a way of describing death or unconsciousness.

      “Scripture does not identify death as unconsciousness. The dead are nowhere described in Scripture as lacking consciousness.”

      Scripture may not say, “The dead are rendered unconscious,” but I think the Scriptures implicitly teach this.

      6. Jude 13 says, “They ARE” – speaking of people who are currently threatening the church.

      Like

  13. 1. “I agree there. But you also are putting a lot of weight on the book of Revelation, which is a hyperbolic book filled with imagery.”

    I’m pointing to clear propositions defining the final end of the wicked. These propositions are clear and unambiguous, unlike the imagery of the Old Testament which is to be understood in a typological sense.

    I don’t know if you see the inconsistency here in the annihilationist hermeneutic. You receive the poetic-prophetic statements as propositions that are clear about the final end of the wicked (although in many cases they are not about the final end of the wicked, cf. Pss 1, 2, 68, etc), and here in the NT where you have a clear propositional revelation concerning the final end of the wicked, you chalk it up to the book being one that is largely symbolical?

    This makes the Scriptures incomprehensible, dude. How do I know how to interpret the Scriptures if the clear passages do not interpret less clear passages?

    2. “The beast and false prophet are also named in 20:10 as being tormented day and night, but they don’t even represent people. They represent impersonal entities, one a government and the other a false religion that supports that government. Revelation 20:10 isn’t the only place that speaks of the end of this beast. Daniel 7 does too, where we read that the beast is destroyed, Daniel 2 tells us that this beast was the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue and was smashed to bits. The feet of course represent the dominion of Rome. Hades and death are impersonal too and are also thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 18 also tells us that the harlot is tormented and her smoke goes up for ever and ever. But Revelation also says she represents a city that will be destroyed.”

    Governments, false religions, and cities are not impersonal. Without individuals ,there are no institutions. Without individuals, there is no sin. While it is true that the harlot is not an individual person, you are missing the point that John is making: the city will be no more because God will judge the individuals who comprise that city and sin in the ways listed. God will bring judgment upon the men who comprise the city and its sinful activities. Likewise, the false prophet and the government.

    You’re also neglecting to take into account the principle of federal headship found throughout Scripture. Obadiah speaks about God’s judgment upon “Edom” and addresses an entire nation as an individual (i.e. Edom). Is God punishing Edom more for the sins of the Edomites against the Israelites? No. God is judging the collective body of rebels in Edom, and He sees them as one person (so to speak).

    Saying that these entities are “impersonal” is an unscriptural assertion.

    3. “I use Job as an example because he uses that type of language to describe being dead. I’m not saying that Jude is quoting Job or something, just that this is a way of describing death or unconsciousness.”cursing,” and the absence of “joy” (cf. 3:1-10).

    Job 3, actually, is Job cursing the day that he was born. He identifies the blackness with “gloom” and “terror” (cf. Job 3:4-5). Job says that he wants the day to be cursed because “…it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hide trouble from my eyes” (Job 3:10).

    So this passage is in no way referring to unconsciousness. The passage is referring to the “day” on which Job was born.

    Now, ironically, the text actually supports my view. For blackness is not unconsciousness but “gloom” and “terror” and “absence of joy” (cf. Job 3:1-10).

    This text does not support your view. It actually stands in opposition to it.

    4. “Scripture may not say, “The dead are rendered unconscious,” but I think the Scriptures implicitly teach this.”

    THere is not a single place where this is implied.

    5. “Jude 13 says, “They ARE” – speaking of people who are currently threatening the church.”

    Yes, I agreed with that. But the Holy Spirit is also describing their fate. A wandering star IS wandering in blackness now, and the Spirit says that there is an eternal blackness that awaits them. This isn’t referring to their loss of consciousness.

    -h.

    Like

    1. 1. “I’m pointing to clear propositions defining the final end of the wicked. These propositions are clear and unambiguous, unlike the imagery of the Old Testament which is to be understood in a typological sense.”

      The Old Testament is comprised of various forms of literary genre. One of those genres is prophetic, and should be understood symbolically and hyperbolically. This is what the book of Revelation is like. In one chapter the mountains flee and two chapters later they do it again. Are those “clear propositions”? Rome is spoken of as a beast that is tormented forever and ever. Clear proposition? The harlot is tormented and her smoke goes up forever and ever. But she represents a city. And that is a clear proposition that should be distinct from Old Testament language?

      I don’t think a wicked person being likened to a dream that disappears when you wake up, or a wicked person being smashed like pottery is a literal statement. It should be taken literally in context. It’s symbolic. The thing is, I walk away saying it means they will be no more, and you walk away saying ongoing pain. A dream that vanishes = ongoing pain? Is it continuously painful for you to stop dreaming? I guess if the dream is good it could be. The book of Revelation presents the two clearest teachings you have. And it’s out of a book filled with images of beasts. I chalk it up to a book that is symbolic because that’s what it is.

      2. One problem there. People who took the mark of the beast are also said to face God’s judgment. So who comprises the beast? Those people? Other people? The heads of the beast represent 7 mountains, and seven kings (Rev. 17:9-10). Those seven emperors went from Julius to Galba. Julius was emperor in 49 BC. Galba was emperor for 6 months in 68-69 AD. That’s the beast – not the individuals that comprised Rome. It is a kingdom like the other kingdoms destroyed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by the rock not cut by human hands – the sword of Christ’s mouth in Revelation. The kingdom of Christ was established at that time. That’s the point. No one else with authority. All authority was Christ’s.

      3. Job is wishing he was a stillbirth, and that doesn’t represent death?

      4. I think I’ve been making a case for it.
      5. “A wandering star IS wandering in blackness now, and the Spirit says that there is an eternal blackness that awaits them.”

      Actually it just says they ARE (now) wandering stars and blackness IS (later) reserved for them forever.

      Like

  14. 1. “The Old Testament is comprised of various forms of literary genre. One of those genres is prophetic, and should be understood symbolically and hyperbolically. This is what the book of Revelation is like. In one chapter the mountains flee and two chapters later they do it again.”

    Yes, there are many literary genres in Scripture. Yes, Revelation is symbolic in many ways. But this is what I am saying: Revelation defines the final end of the wicked in a very clear proposition.

    2. “Are those “clear propositions”? Rome is spoken of as a beast that is tormented forever and ever. Clear proposition? The harlot is tormented and her smoke goes up forever and ever. But she represents a city. And that is a clear proposition that should be distinct from Old Testament language?”

    The distinction is this: The psalms are poetic-prophetic and typological (all of the Old Testament falls under the broad category of typology, actually). There is a difference in how we are to understand the texts. The psalms that are typically adduced in favor of the annihlationist position don’t clearly identify the fate of the wicked as being “annihilation.” Revelation, however, which is dealing when it is dealing with the subject actually does. It defines the final end of the wicked.

    3. “I don’t think a wicked person being likened to a dream that disappears when you wake up, or a wicked person being smashed like pottery is a literal statement. It should be taken literally in context. It’s symbolic.”

    I do take it in context.

    4. “The thing is, I walk away saying it means they will be no more, and you walk away saying ongoing pain.”

    I don’t say that at all. I believe that the wicked will be no more, but that Psalm is not speaking of their annihilation. Read the psalm in context:

    “Fret not yourself because of evildoers” (v.1)
    “the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace” (v.11)
    “For the Lord loves justice;
    he will not forsake his saints.
    They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
    The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon it forever” (vv.28-29)

    That’s not annihilationism, that’s the righteous inheriting the earth. The wicked will be no more does not mean they will cease to exist; it means they will be forever excluded from the place prepared for the elect from the foundations of the world.

    Annihilationists rip that statement out of context because it seems to support their error, but it doesn’t. When read in context Psalm 37 lends absolutely no support to the annihilationist error.

    5. “A dream that vanishes = ongoing pain? Is it continuously painful for you to stop dreaming? I guess if the dream is good it could be. ”

    You’ve attributed something to me that I don’t believe. And you are mocking your strawman here, dude.

    6. “The book of Revelation presents the two clearest teachings you have. And it’s out of a book filled with images of beasts. I chalk it up to a book that is symbolic because that’s what it is.”

    Not the book of Revelation in general, a number of very clear propositions regarding what awaits Christ’s enemies.The examples that you use, and that others use, to support annihilationism from the psalms and the prophets don’t fly. Why?

    In the first place, the OT is to be understood in a historical-grammatical-redemptive manner. If it isn’t, then Christ’s words regarding the OT as ALL speaking of His person and work would be false (e.g. Song of Solomon & Esther do not seem to yield prophetic content about Christ when understood solely by the grammatical-historical method of interpreting teh Scriptures).

    In the second place, there are passages that don’t even address the final end of the wicked that are used by annihilationists in an attempt to find a justification for their error. For instance, Fudge’s opening paragraph in his paper “The Final End of the Wicked” claims that Psalm 2:9 is about the final end of the wicked, but the New Testament says that it is fulfilled in Christ’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension. He also quotes Psalm 68, but that Psalm is fulfilled in Christ as well according to Ephesians 4.

    The imagery you use doesn’t support your view. They don’t clearly identify the final end of the wicked as annihilation.

    7.”One problem there. People who took the mark of the beast are also said to face God’s judgment. So who comprises the beast? Those people? Other people? The heads of the beast represent 7 mountains, and seven kings (Rev. 17:9-10). Those seven emperors went from Julius to Galba. Julius was emperor in 49 BC. Galba was emperor for 6 months in 68-69 AD. That’s the beast – not the individuals that comprised Rome. It is a kingdom like the other kingdoms destroyed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream by the rock not cut by human hands – the sword of Christ’s mouth in Revelation. The kingdom of Christ was established at that time. That’s the point. No one else with authority. All authority was Christ’s.”

    Where’s the problem? You’ve just shown that Scripture does not identify cities, governments, and religions as being impersonal. These data contradict your interpretation.

    8. “Job is wishing he was a stillbirth, and that doesn’t represent death?”

    Job does wish that he was never born, but you are misreading the text. This is what Job says:

    “Let the day perish on which I was born,
    and the night that said,
    ‘A man is conceived.’
    Let that day be darkness!
    May God above not seek it,
    nor light shine upon it.
    Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
    Let clouds dwell upon it;
    let the blackness of the day terrify it.
    That night—let thick darkness seize it!
    Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
    let it not come into the number of the months.
    Behold, let that night be barren;
    let no joyful cry enter it.
    Let those curse it who curse the day,
    who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
    Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
    let it hope for light, but have none,
    nor see the eyelids of the morning,
    because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,
    nor hide trouble from my eyes.”

    He is “cursing the day he was born” according to v.1. This text does not support your view either.

    9. You haven’t.

    10. “Actually it just says they ARE (now) wandering stars and blackness IS (later) reserved for them forever.”

    Really? What color is the space that wandering wander in?

    They are in blackness now, as wandering stars; there is an eternal blackness that is later reserved for them.

    They ARE wandering stars, that is their identity.

    Where does the passage indicate that the imagery suddenly shifts to signify unconsciousness?

    That’s eisgesis, bro.

    I don’t want to harass you, so let me know if you don’t want to continue talking about this subject.
    -h.

    Like

    1. 1 & 2. So how do you decide what is clear proposition and what is symbolic in the book of Revelation? Are the horsemen literal? Is the millennium a literal 1000 years? We aren’t told any different. John interprets certain imagery for us like the Harlot, Beasts, etc. But no explanation is given for the 1000 years just as no explicit explanation is given for Rev 20:10. Using your method, should we assume that both are clear propositions?
      ___________________

      4. The Psalm (73, not 37) is Asaph’s prayer about why wicked men are prospering. He then realizes that God has them on a slippery path. This is actually a verse I use against the common grace position.
      Starting in verse 17:

      17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
      Then I perceived their end.

      18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
      You cast them down to destruction.

      19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
      They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!

      20 Like a dream when one awakes,
      O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their form.

      >> That’s God destroying His enemies. They are “cast to destruction,” “destroyed in a moment,” “utterly swept away.”
      ___________________

      6. Psalm 2 definitely includes the end of the wicked. It’s not the central teaching of the text, but it’s there. You don’t have to assent to Conferred Immortality to see that:

      >> Look at Barnes’ Notes:

      “This is easily broken, and especially with a rod of iron, and the idea here is that he would crush and subdue his enemies as easily as this could be done. No image could more happily express the ease with which he would subdue his foes; and this accords with all the representations of the New Testament – that with infinite case – with a word – Christ can subdue his enemies, and consign them to ruin. Compare Matthew 25:41, Matthew 25:46; Luke 19:27. The sense here is, simply, that the Messiah would be absolute; that he would have power to quell all rebellion against God, and to punish all those that rise up against him; and that on those who are incorrigibly rebellious he would exercise that power, and take effectual means to subdue them.”

      >> Gill’s commentary:

      “thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel; which is very easily done with a bar of iron; and, when it is done, the pieces can never be put together again: so that by the metaphor is signified the easy and irreparable ruin of the wicked”

      >> Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

      “a potter’s vessel-when shivered cannot be mended, which will describe utter destruction.”

      >> John Calvin:

      “But the prediction is more fully verified in Christ, who, neither by sword nor spear, but by the breath of his mouth, smites the ungodly even to their utter destruction.”

      * And Psalm 68:2 is the same way.

      “2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away;
      As wax melts before the fire,
      So let the wicked perish before God.”

      John Gill:

      “As smoke is driven away, so drive them away,…. This both describes the character of wicked men, Christ’s enemies; as their darkness and ignorance, their will worship and superstition, and their detestableness to God, Revelation 9:2; and the manner of their destruction; which is as easily brought about as smoke is driven by the wind, and is as irretrievable, like smoke that vanisheth into air (o); see Psalm 37:20; as wax melteth before fire; whereby its consistency, form, and strength, are lost. Respect may be had, both in this and the foregoing metaphor, to the fire of, divine wrath, and the smoke of eternal torments; since it follows: so let the wicked perish at the presence of God; the appearance of Christ, either in his awful dispensation against the Jews, or in the last judgment; when the wicked shall not be able to stand before his face, but shall call to the rocks and mountains to hide them from him; and when they shall be bid to depart from him, and shall be punished with everlasting destruction in soul and body, from the presence of the Lord, and the glory of his power.”

      Barnes Notes:

      “That is, those who rise up against him; his enemies. It will be as easy for God to destroy wicked men as it is for fire to melt down wax.”

      It is speaking of judgment. It seems that your argument is, “Since it isn’t the central teaching of the chapter, then Annihilationists are twisting the Scriptures.”
      ___________________

      7. “Where’s the problem? You’ve just shown that Scripture does not identify cities, governments, and religions as being impersonal. These data contradict your interpretation.”

      The problem is that you define the beast by its inhabitants. Earlier you had said that cities and governments are made up of people. But Revelation separates the two. There is the beast, and those who took its mark. The beast has 7 heads which are described as hills, and then as emperors ranging from 49 or so years before the incarnation of Christ to 30 or so years after His earthly ministry. In other words, the heads are hills, representing Rome. And the heads are also dead guys who are said to be currently living in the book of Revelation, and guys who weren’t dead – as heads of the beast. And the point is clear, the Beast represents an opposing authority. Not an individual. Sure, there were men in power in Rome. Rome went on long after 70 AD. But their authority was destroyed, even when they thought they had authority and exercised it among the earth. All authority is Christ’s.
      ___________________

      8 & 10. You know, I see your point here about Job, and I accept it. But, it still doesn’t mean that “darkness forever” in Jude 13 = ongoing pain. That’s a HUGE stretch.

      * “They are in blackness now, as wandering stars; there is an eternal blackness that is later reserved for them… They ARE wandering stars, that is their identity.”

      I think you are taking this to a place it was never intended. It’s imagery of what these guys are currently like. Wandering stars are stars you obviously can’t rely on regarding navigation. A mariner couldn’t determine his position by them. This is what they are presently like – people you can not rely on. Then Jude says (like Peter) that darkness is reserved for them forever. I’m not eisegeting here. It seems obvious that Jude is using stars and blackness together, and I think he is. But so what? How does this make your point? Are you saying they will continue wandering in the darkness later? Isn’ that akin to saying, they are misleading people now, and will continue to mislead people in ongoing torment? I don’t think that’s what Jude’s point is.

      I don’t mind talking about it, but I think after a while we are just going to start repeating ourselves, if we haven’t already.

      Like

  15. 1 & 2. So how do you decide what is clear proposition and what is symbolic in the book of Revelation? Are the horsemen literal? Is the millennium a literal 1000 years? We aren’t told any different. John interprets certain imagery for us like the Harlot, Beasts, etc. But no explanation is given for the 1000 years just as no explicit explanation is given for Rev 20:10. Using your method, should we assume that both are clear propositions?
    ___________________
    4. “The Psalm (73, not 37) is Asaph’s prayer about why wicked men are prospering. He then realizes that God has them on a slippery path…That’s God destroying His enemies. They are “cast to destruction,” “destroyed in a moment,” “utterly swept away.”

    My mistake. However, the context is still the righteous inheriting the earth. The wicked will be cast out of the earth, removed from it, they have no inheritance in it. This is not annihilation. I agree with you that the text is teaching that they will be destroyed in a moment and utterly swept away, but the context of the Psalm doesn’t support the idea that this is equivalent to teaching that they will be annihilated.

    At the height of their pride and arrogance, God will smite them. At the pinnacle of their glory, the Lord of Glory will ruin them, destroy them. This, again, is not annihilation.
    ___________________
    6. “Psalm 2 definitely includes the end of the wicked. It’s not the central teaching of the text, but it’s there.”
    I don’t rule a final eschatalogical interpretation. What my point is this: It is not about the annihilation of God’s enemies. What is central is not the eschaton, but the enthronement of Christ and His omnipotent reign as He gathers His elect to Himself – the book of Acts makes this clear.

    A secondary inference is that Christ will continue to ruin His enemies as He reigns from His throne, but there is not the slightest hint of annihilationism is the psalm. The interpretation of dashing the wicked to pieces, moreover, is given to us by Christ in Revelation 2:26-27. No annihilationism there either.

    “And Psalm 68:2 is the same way…It is speaking of judgment. It seems that your argument is, “Since it isn’t the central teaching of the chapter, then Annihilationists are twisting the Scriptures.”

    Ephesians 4:8-16:

    Therefore it says,
    “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
    and he gave gifts to men.”
    (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

    Psalm 68 is fulfilled in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. He put His enemies to open shame on the cross (cf. Col 2:15), He likewise destroyed the one who had the power over death (cf. Heb 2:14-15). This psalm is not about the final judgment, at least not according to Paul.

    Now, could we draw secondary inferences from this text? Sure. However, the text doe not allow for an annihilationist-ic interpretation. Why? Because Christ has already driven His enemies away like smoke, they have already melted like wax, etc. They obviously have not been annihilated. The text doesn’t support your view.
    The twisting of the Scriptures done by annihilationists consists in this: Ignoring the context of these passages and focusing in on key words that seem to support their doctrine. The NT interprets the OT for us; I’d rather not read a meaning into the text, when the Holy Spirit has already exposited that text for me.
    _____________
    7. “The problem is that you define the beast by its inhabitants. Earlier you had said that cities and governments are made up of people. But Revelation separates the two. There is the beast, and those who took its mark. The beast has 7 heads which are described as hills, and then as emperors ranging from 49 or so years before the incarnation of Christ to 30 or so years after His earthly ministry. In other words, the heads are hills, representing Rome. And the heads are also dead guys who are said to be currently living in the book of Revelation, and guys who weren’t dead – as heads of the beast. And the point is clear, the Beast represents an opposing authority. Not an individual. Sure, there were men in power in Rome. Rome went on long after 70 AD. But their authority was destroyed, even when they thought they had authority and exercised it among the earth. All authority is Christ’s.”

    Really?

    “Earlier you had said that cities and governments are made up of people. But Revelation separates the two.”

    “In other words, the heads are hills, representing Rome. And the heads are also dead guys who are said to be currently living in the book of Revelation, and guys who weren’t dead – as heads of the beast.”

    I’m confused, are these “guys” not people/humans who comprise the beast (in addition to the hills)?

    The point is clear: An opposing authority in Scripture is always personal. It is unscriptural to assert that a government, religion, or any other institution is “impersonal.”
    ___________________
    8 & 10. “You know, I see your point here about Job, and I accept it.”

    Cool 🙂

    “But, it still doesn’t mean that “darkness forever” in Jude 13 = ongoing pain. That’s a HUGE stretch.”

    I don’t know precisely what the darkness forever entails, but it is obviously something to be dreaded.

    “I think you are taking this to a place it was never intended. It’s imagery of what these guys are currently like. Wandering stars are stars you obviously can’t rely on regarding navigation. A mariner couldn’t determine his position by them. This is what they are presently like – people you can not rely on. Then Jude says (like Peter) that darkness is reserved for them forever. I’m not eisegeting here. It seems obvious that Jude is using stars and blackness together, and I think he is. But so what? How does this make your point? Are you saying they will continue wandering in the darkness later? Isn’ that akin to saying, they are misleading people now, and will continue to mislead people in ongoing torment? I don’t think that’s what Jude’s point is. “

    From the text, I don’t gather that their being “wanderng stars” means that they are “misleading people.” They are surely misleading people, but that isn’t why they are called wandering stars. The context of Jude makes it clear that their wandering has to do with their hardhearted rebellion and self-deception, and yes that will continue forever.

    They are waterless clouds that are “swept along” (v.12a), “fruitless trees” that are completely unable to produce fruit and, consequently, uprooted from any place in God’s kingdom (v.12b), wild waves of the sea casting up their own shame (v.13). None of these images conveys the sense you attribute to the imagery of wandering stars for whom the gloom of utter blackness is reserved.

    This text stands in opposition to your doctrine.
    -h.

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    1. That’s really weird. I responded yesterday to your last comment, and it’s gone… I’ll try again.

      6. “The twisting of the Scriptures done by annihilationists consists in this: Ignoring the context of these passages and focusing in on key words that seem to support their doctrine. The NT interprets the OT for us; I’d rather not read a meaning into the text, when the Holy Spirit has already exposited that text for me.”
      I haven’t read every single Annihiliationist out there, but I can speak for myself. I don’t ignore the context. That doesn’t change the fact that the passage includes the fate of the wicked.
      _____________

      7. I’m confused, are these “guys” not people/humans who comprise the beast (in addition to the hills)?

      Let me clarify then. If John gave you this letter today, and said “the Beast has 51 heads,” intending for the beast to represent America – presidents George Washington to Barack Obama. It’s the same. The focus isn’t on the heads. The heads are just identifying what the beast is.
      ___________________

      8 & 10. “From the text, I don’t gather that their being “wanderng stars” means that they are “misleading people.” They are surely misleading people, but that isn’t why they are called wandering stars. The context of Jude makes it clear that their wandering has to do with their hardhearted rebellion and self-deception, and yes that will continue forever.”

      The reason I say they are misleading people is because Jude, like Peter, is speaking of false teachers. And false teachers mislead people with their false teaching.

      “They are waterless clouds that are “swept along” (v.12a), “fruitless trees” that are completely unable to produce fruit and, consequently, uprooted from any place in God’s kingdom (v.12b), wild waves of the sea casting up their own shame (v.13). None of these images conveys the sense you attribute to the imagery of wandering stars for whom the gloom of utter blackness is reserved.”

      I wasn’t trying to create a novel interpretation. I actually drew this from commentaries. Granted, it’s not everyone’s interpretations. But, for example,

      Barnes’ Notes:

      “The sense seems to be, that the aid which we derive from the stars, as in navigation, is in the fact that they are regular in their places and movements, and thus the mariner can determine his position. If they had no regular places and movements, they would be useless to the seaman. So with false religious teachers. No dependence can be placed on them.”

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  16. This is getting a little time consuming, so I will leave with a link to my article discussing the fact that life and existence are not synonymous terms. I originally didn’t have any relevant citations from annihilationists, but since I’ve heard over and over that annihilationists do not see life and existence as synonymous terms (a point which David Bishop has proven to be false), I’ve revised my article and included references from Glenn Peoples, Clark Pinnock, and Edward Fudge that prove that these men equated life with existence and death with nonexistence.

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.grassrootsapologetics.org/2012/05/are-life-and-existence-synonymous.html

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    1. Yah, agreed, it is getting time consuming. I’ll check out the article. Thanks, man 🙂

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