April 21, 2011
I think it’s pretty clear the Bible teaches eternal torment for the unsaved and Jesus himself is the primary advocate of the doctrine. In case anyone hasn’t happened to peruse the verses, I’ve collected the most pertinent here.
This post is designed to supplement my forthcoming argument map on the injustice of the Christian doctrine of hell. I couldn’t fit all these verses with commentary on an argument map, so here we go…
Arguably there are a few different versions of the afterlife in the Bible especially in comparison from the Old Testament to the New Testament, but we aren’t talking about contradictions here (other than the Bible says God is good and he isn’t). Everything in bold is “emphasis mine.”
“And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”
But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.”
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where ” ‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’ Everyone will be salted with fire.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
The Rich Man and Lazarus
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’
I’m sure there may very well be limited metaphors at work in these passages, but they must be limited as in god doesn’t have to go into details of the physics of it, but you get the gist. If you try to metaphoricalize it away, contextually it becomes gibberish. Sure not every verse spells it out, but do they have to? Not every connection directly relates to everlasting torment…but what other comparison would there be? Why can’t those earthly finite connections be the limited metaphors instead? That makes much more overall contextual sense.
So I needed two posts of Bible verses to spell out chunks of my next argument map. There will be several other supplemental argument maps as well, since all of these debate link up with all the other debates…