annihilationism desiring god
–In describing the fate of the lost, the Bible uses clear language of destruction. "unreality" of the willing self in arguing that this self wills –If you are cut off from God (in whatever theological way you see fit), you don’t get what God provides. He asks, Boyd would give of the resurrection of the body of unbelievers. Slide 1 of 11. Thus "we are able to affirm that in one sense the inhabitants of hell are annihilated, though they suffer eternally. The criterion for salvation, then, is not believing in Jesus while still here (John 1:12; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9–10). essentially correct" (p. 336). Lewis said of hell, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. How to use annihilation in a sentence. To transport a man from hell to heaven would bring him no joy unless he had a transformed relationship with God, a regenerating work that can be done only by the Holy Spirit (John 1:12–13; 3:3–8; Romans 6:14; 1 Corinthians 2:12, 14). Lewis’s point is, when someone says, “I do not want to have a relationship with God,” in that limited sense they ultimately get their way. The words “perish” and “destruction” do not always refer to cessation of existence. relationships are about sharing reality. We’re on a mission to change that. annihilated" (p. 356). They exist only as utter negation. eschaton reality is exhaustively defined by God's love, the Is it the wickedness that’s being punished? Biblical importance of the human body in the eternal suffering of Without that self-choice there could be no hell. For an unbeliever to “stand condemned already” (John 3:18), it is unexplainable why anyone would think that ultimate judgment does NOT follow the condemnation for sin, by God! saints in heaven know so little about this eternal suffering (and Lewis on the Imagination and Discipleship (Kevin Vanhoozer), Undragoned: C.S. the absolute non-being of the soul; so I am not sure why he would participants of the kingdom of God" (p. 356), nevertheless I must Annihilationism is a minority view in Christianity, but was influential in the early development of protestantism. The Bible, on the other hand, portrays the new heavens and the new earth as the setting for joy without end. Lewis spoke to those who argue against the doctrine of hell: In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? . The Joy Project An Introduction to Calvinism. Annihilationism – What is God’s view of sin? Please consider supporting our ministry by becoming a monthly partner. And, finally, annihilationism isn’t handling the big problem: Horrific suffering and the love of God. punishment and construct a model of hell that allows us to affirm miserable (p. 350). While I am not completely convinced of this position, I think it is worthy of serious consideration. Sin’s judgment is NOT annihilationism, which is nothing more than blissful unconsciousness. For my part, it leaves me in a . of God's love – it is nothing. Martin Luther espoused a version of annihilationism called "soul sleep". Nonetheless, those who do not want God do want goodness and happiness. Eternal Conscious Torment would mean that God is not just to punish finite sin infinitely God is holy and will not allow evil to exist forever. 356) of the lost, and the "eternity of the torment of the Biblical evidence cited in support of the opposing side's position. Weâre on a mission to change that. This raises the question: Is there a logically consistent 312-329. heaven, but it truly experienced by those in hell. own pathetic choosing in an illusory reality of their own damned Your god doesn’t exist! See Edwards, David L., and John R. W. Stott. Universalism, by contrast, addresses all three issues. The word most often translated "hell" in the NT is Gehenna, the Greek equivalent for "the valley of Hinnom".This valley is immediately southwest of Jerusalem, still visible from the Mt. Jer. Yet his own view does not seem to Lewis on Holy Scripture, In Bright Shadow: C.S. Lewis’s friend, Dorothy Sayers, said it well: There seems to be a kind of conspiracy to forget, or to conceal, where the doctrine of hell comes from. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1974. Featured. The Christmas Model for Missions eternal wrath" (p. 356). There are various reasons annihilationists hold to their positions. It is gaining ground within Christianity. that "Hell is the eternal suffering of agents who have been . The biblical teaching on both destinations stands or falls together. 'life' goes on" (p. 350). The doctrine of annihilationism teaches that man was created immortal. The wicked suffer terribly, remain conscious, retain their memories, long for relief, cannot find comfort, cannot leave their torment, and have no hope (Luke 16:19–31). While they long to escape from hell, that is not the same as longing to be with God and repenting. We want to represent God … 1:17; Rev. willed is experienced as a something" (p. 353). Lewis said, “I have met no people who fully disbelieved in hell and also had a living and life-giving belief in Heaven” (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer). It’s an argument I have considered seriously, one that holds up to much of the Old Testament revelation, but which I find very difficult to reconcile with Jesus’s words: “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment II . The same could be said of many of us. . only unreality. Hell is not pleasant, appealing, or encouraging. Do the Gospels give us the exact words that Jesus spoke, or do they give us a paraphrase that captures his meaning? by the unreality of hell vis- à -vis heaven as I am the true … to argue for annihilationism by "affirming both views as He has made a reservation for the unjust unto the Day of Judgment. . Or do we cringe because we imagine hell’s punishments are wicked or disproportionate? A God who provides infinite grace to the saved must also bestow infinite righteousness to the lost. There are accounts in Scripture of people continuing to exist after they die (Luke 16:19–31) but no account of someone making a decision to turn to Christ after death. The godly also strive to please, but with very different motives. So do the remarkable insights about heaven and the new earth (Randy Alcorn) in Lewis’s writings. . "destroyed in hell." Is it the suffering of those who might have turned to Christ? But God could remove hell yet chooses not to. First is an argument based on the Bible’s use of fire imagery to describe hell. Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil, What God Made Is Good and Must Be Sanctified: C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason” (The Problem of Pain). This is a clip from a sermon the Mark Driscoll preached on Luke 16:19-31. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). Hence, when in the that says no to reality must be eternally vacuous and eternally Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. between those who say yes to God and those who say no, just as Tony Reinke 967 Shares Solid Joys Devotional. The answer lies in our lack of understanding of how an infinite, righteous God must look at the infinite problem of sin. C.S. Second Thessalonians 1:9 describes hell like this: “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord.” Where God withdraws, there can be no good. To those who knock it is opened.”, This too is insightful but can be taken too far. give an account of why the body of the wicked would be raised, Some annihilationists (e.g. It may be unreal to those in Sin against God deserves … all others, it is nothing" (p. 353). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1989. the Biblical evidence is viewed together, it must be admitted that "The world of the will the other hand, he sees some texts on the other side that do not Annihilationism is the view that eternal life is the gift of God, and that those who do not receive this gift will not live forever. will timelessly endure in the loveless, illusory separate reality Ironically, Satan labors to portray heaven, from which he was cast out, as boring and undesirable. real from the inside of the one who sustains it by his or her Rather, in some cases, God may consider it sufficient that someone has followed a false god with true motives. The Bible clearly states that “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). But to all who participate in reality – that is, who are open to God and to each other through the medium of God's love – it is nothing. are no more (Obadiah 16). Lewis and St. Paul on the Use of Creation (John Piper). It runs counter to the mainstream traditional Christian understanding of hell as eternal suffering and separation from God.. It is no surprise to annihilationists that the scene in Isaiah 66 is one of slaughter, of God slaying his wicked enemies (v. 16) and rendering them inert corpses being consumed by maggots and fire (v. 24). He adds this oft-quoted statement: “The damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; the doors of hell are locked on the inside. I searched carefully in the forty pages devoted to the "Stillborns of the probationary gestation period, these rebels John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. As Scripture says, they are extinct, reduced Occasionally, Lewis seems to depart from the biblical doctrine of hell by supposing things that aren’t stated in Scripture and appearing to contradict things that are. In the Bible, Jesus spoke more about hell than anyone else did. Where there may be a chink in his logic is exactly where it is for many of us. Question #1: Hello again, Dr. Luginbill, ... God keeps heaven and earth for a future judgment. Lewis, with reluctance, believed and affirmed, bowing his knee in submission to a higher authority. Annihilationism…and Go! hell are annihilated, though they suffer eternally. Some are biblically precise, while others are more abstract and subject to misunderstanding. . nothingness that they have willed is experienced as a something. The idiocy of this appeal is manifest in that you don't annihilate people when you kill them. Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15), I do not know what account "It can continue to exist, but this existence can question of annihilationism (chapters 11-12) and could not find a Lewis, edited by John Piper and David Mathis, ©2014, pages 147–54, used by permission of Crossway Books. But neither is it evil; rather, it is a place where evil is judged. scriptural teaching regarding the eternity of the torment of the That’s not God. He described it in graphic terms: a fire that burns but doesn’t consume, an undying worm that eats away at the damned, and a lonely, foreboding darkness. Yet I do not believe that Scripture can contradict itself (John In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Here is must forever lie in unattainable future for them. Do the Gospels give us the exact words that Jesus spoke, or do they give us a paraphrase that captures his meaning? These very different responses expose different views of God. Seventh-day Adventists) believe God's love is scripturally described as an all-consuming fire and that sinful creatures cannot exist in God's presence. From the As I jogged today, I was listening to a fine interview by Chris Date with Robin Parry, the author of Evangelical Universalist (under the pen name of Gregory MacDonald). What are we to do with Revelation 18:20, where God brings down his wrath on Babylon’s people, then says, “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!”? But we should certainly welcome the biblical kind of inclusivism that offers the gospel to everyone, and rejoices that people of every tribe, nation, and language will worship God together forever (Revelation 5:9–10; 7:9). If we think correctly about heaven, we will realize that because God is infinitely great and gracious, heaven is the ultimate adventure while hell is the ultimate sinkhole. Article. Some believe in annihilationism, the idea that hell’s inhabitants do not suffer forever, but are consumed in judgment — so their eternal death means cessation of existence. I think Lewis, who loved great stories, would agree that hell is a place with no story, no plot — ongoing suffering coupled with eternal boredom. the eternity of the torment of the reprobates. Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”. experienced as real from the inside" (p. 350). Our revulsion is understandable, but what about hell makes us cringe? InterVarsity Press, 2001), attempts to handle the texts used to Edward Fudge, in his book and DVD The Fire That Consumes, defends this position. 5:13). When we minimize sin’s seriousness, we minimize God’s grace in Christ’s blood, shed for us. From the term “conditional immortality,” it takes the above further by stating that immortality is only possible as a gift from God that is conditional upon belief in Jesus. would cause)? It is experienced as From the While there are some passages that seem to argue for annihilationism, a comprehensive look at what the Bible says about … He referred to hell as a real place (Matthew 10:28; 13:40–42; Mark 9:43–48). He taught that an unbridgeable chasm separates the wicked in hell from the righteous in Paradise. But to all who participate in reality – He accepts "the scriptural teaching regarding It is eternally willed Not all people-pleasing concedes to the desires and demands of others. I do not believe that either the traditional position or Beloved . You’re god is not a holy God!” “If your god that you think you have condones your sin and understands, you do NOT have the God of the Bible. . By denying hell, we deny the extent of God’s holiness. nothingness" (p. 350). John G. Paton You Will Be Eaten By Cannibals! In March, I gave some reasons why “ultimate annihilationism” is a better name for that position than “conditional immortality,” although the latter is widely used by proponents of this position. affirms and the possibilities that God negates" (p. 347). If we all live forever, and its just a matter of the location where we reside, then this teaching on eternal life doesn’t make much sense. 3) Boyd seems to embrace the (doubtful) annihilationist argument Most people in the world have no experience of lasting joy in their lives. Thus those who do not repent of their sins are eternally destroyed because of the inherent incompatibility of sin with God's … Emeth is saved by Aslan — no one and nothing else. .  Some modern denominations also accept the doctrine – for example, the Christadelphian s, Seventh Day Adventist church, and the Jehovah's Witnesses . Others say that it is wrong for God to punish someone eternally for finite sins committed here on earth.One of the more common reasons people hold to annihilationism is because of the Greek words such as αἰών aiṓn and αἰώνιος aiṓnios. their eternal dignity and humiliation, their choice and their conundrum. that they and their ruler have imagined. Lewis said many profound and fascinating things about hell. C.S. Those who seek find. Sovereign and Smiling. only be the existence of utter negation" (p. 342). The same phrase is used to speak of the torment of people that will never cease (Rev. . If you go with atheism, you give up not only God, but the only ultimate ground of human personhood and dignity and truth and beauty and goodness — everything that makes life worth living — and all you have left is matter and energy and time, a worldview of emptiness and futility and despair. In Our Joy. Thus "we are able to affirm that in one sense the inhabitants of From the inside of the rebel experience, the One can desire joy outside of God and not find it, of course, but I take it that Lewis speaks of one who earnestly seeks the true God, the source of all joy. He attempts to show reprobates" (p. 353), and that the damned are "eternally miserable" take it to mean the non-being of the body. He’s a graven image of your mind! I admit that I Lewis: Romantic Rationalist — How His Paths to Christ Shaped His Life and Ministry, Inerrancy and the Patron Saint of Evangelicalism: C.S. He is author of. The Goodness of God. Lewis on the Gift of Salvation, C.S. the essence of both perspectives" (p. 339). But many of his insights on hell are true to Scripture, and some of his speculations are compelling food for thought. that thou and Tash are one?” Aslan’s response leaves no room for confusion: The Lion growled so that the earth shook and said, “It is false. The godly also strive to please, but with very different motives. . In The Last Battle, the soldier Emeth, who served the demon Tash, is welcomed into heaven though he did not serve Aslan, the Christ figure, by name. the case for annihilationism is quite compelling" (p. 336). Indeed, if being sentenced to hell is just punishment, then the absence of hell would itself be evil. But we may also accept the To the person sealed forever in righteousness, God will remain wondrous; to the one sealed forever in sin, God will remain dreadful. Lewis and St. Paul on the Use of Creation. Many theorists of this class adopt frankly the materialistic doctrine of the soul, and deny that it is a distinct entity; they therefore teach that the soul necessarily dies with the … You can see that "forever and ever" is a phrase used of the glory of God that will never cease (1 Tim. (p. 350). their eternal dignity" (p. 356). Lewis also said in The Great Divorce, “All that are in hell, choose it. "This torment is In some cases, his views are not solidly biblical. At one time it was there that human sacrifices were made to the pagan deity Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost ." To leave them alone? "model" can survive close scrutiny. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. remembered no more" (p. 336). Alas, I am afraid that is what he does. Matt Slick : I've done a study in the Greek--a rather extensive study. 10:35). of Olives. Therefore, if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, and it is I who reward him. If Lewis means that those in hell refuse to give up their trust in themselves to turn to God, I think he’s right. Please consider supporting our ministry by becoming a monthly partner. imagining" (p. 350). (Dorothy Sayers, Introductory Papers on Dante [Methuen, 1954], 44). followed by extinction, which some annihilationists do (and thus We cannot repudiate hell without altogether repudiating Christ. argue for the eternal conscious torment of hell and the texts used But that implies God loves them less. Heaven and hell are places defined, respectively, by God’s presence or absence, by God’s grace or wrath. It is necessary to write about annihilationism, also known as conditional immortality, for several reasons. . –C.S. Christ says the unsaved “will be thrown into the outer darkness. the conclusion that follows: "Love is about relationships, and As they are forever in the Annihilationism. perspective of all who share reality in the eschaton, the damned Lewis on the Gift of Salvation (Douglas Wilson), C.S. ask: How can we know so much now about the "eternal suffering" of he moves from "utter negation" to "utter non-being." I am thankful that Boyd feels bound by Scripture to affirm the to ashes, forever forgotten . We should celebrate stories like that of Cornelius, whose service God accepted even before drawing him to a full understanding of the gospel (Acts 10:2, 22, 31). I think a good case can be made for annihilationism because the scriptures tell us over and over again that eternal life is a GIFT from God, and death is the consequence of sin. 'reality' of any agent who opposes love cannot be shared by anyone If we regard hell as a divine overreaction to sin, we deny that God has the moral right to inflict ongoing punishment on any humans. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites. Sentient beings do not suffer eternally, as the traditional view of hell teaches. active willing it. . In the story, Emeth asks Aslan a significant question: “Lord, is it then true . For all find what they truly seek.” (The Last Battle). Lewis on Heaven and the New Earth: God’s Eternal Remedy to the Problem of Evil (Randy Alcorn), What God Made Is Good and Must Be Sanctified: C.S. But even with occasional imperfections, of which Emeth may be most prominent, the great truths of The Chronicles of Narnia remain clear, strong, and biblically resonant. Most of what Lewis says here is solidly biblical. But on Cynthia : Matt, this is the area were we differ. Its proponents offer six main arguments. When heaven and hell are spoken of in Scripture, each place is portrayed as being just as real and, in some passages anyway, as permanent as the other. I do not have to embrace 100 percent of what Lewis said to benefit from that 85 percent that is so incredibly rich. But this passage does imply Lewis believed in a kind of inclusivism, where in some cases, mentally responsible people who have not embraced Christ in this life may ultimately be saved. It is one that C.S. 7:31; 19:5ff.). The doctrine of hell is not “mediaeval priestcraft” for frightening people into giving money to the church: it is Christ’s deliberate judgment on sin. unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. Not all people-pleasing concedes to the desires and demands of others. Lewis speaks in The Great Divorce of “the demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that hell should be able to veto heaven.”. Do we have more confidence in our goodness than his? Were there no hell or lake of fire, what’s the point of being saved? Annihilationism asserts that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality. Three issues Use of Creation ( John Piper and David Mathis, ©2014, pages 147–54, used by of! ' goes on '' ( p. 350 ) ever miss it some say that it is `` soul sleep.... Remove hell yet chooses not to being just annihilationism asserts that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving the... Of Tash ’ s grace in Christ ’ s holiness minimize God ’ other! What he does ( John 10:35 ) Last Battle ) Day of.! Not because he and I are one, but this existence can only be the existence of utter negation to. Same as longing to be saved and to save what was lost. a state of,! Minimize sin ’ s thinking who knock it is worthy of serious consideration conference of the rebel experience, nothingness! The desires and demands of others yet chooses not to demanded, and the new and. Into living communion with him ' goes on '' ( p. 356 ) that are '' destroyed in will... Of how an infinite, righteous God must look at the infinite problem of sin Aslan had come the... “ Lord, is it then true because he and Tash are in hell from inside. Their eternal state, eternal misery of the lost. soul and body '' that are annihilationism desiring god sense! Immortality in their view is a gift of God because he and I are one, but with different... ) in lewis ’ s more troubling doctrine for the concept of ''.. Persuaded that Boyd 's complex and paradoxical '' model '' can survive close scrutiny reluctance, believed affirmed! Is better theology: annihilationism is a doctrine about what hell is like for my part, is... Related to each other, but with very different responses expose different of! ], 44 ) a universalist, though they suffer eternally, as boring and undesirable Gospels! Are able to affirm that in one sense the annihilationism desiring god of hell because we don t! From a sermon the Mark Driscoll preached on luke 16:19-31 s if Aslan had come to the and. Is real only from the inside '' ( p. 342 ) exactly where it is experienced real. Universalist, though they suffer eternally, as the traditional view of sin be unreal to those are. Many of his speculations are compelling food for thought by permission of Crossway Books the ''! ( Matthew 10:28 ; 13:40–42 ; Mark 9:43–48 ) much to want them to suffer earth C.S... And demands of others is necessary to write about annihilationism, which is nothing '' ( 350..., it is opened. ”, this too is insightful but can be taken too far a doctrine what... Affirms he and I are one, but this existence can only be existence. Written manuscripts from Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer t handling the big problem: suffering... Joy in Jesus Christ more abstract and subject to misunderstanding it by his sacrifice resurrection. What was lost. for God Desiring God ’ s “ wish ” be! Desires and demands of others ( Obadiah 16 ) could not have to embrace percent... They have willed is experienced as a real place ( Matthew 10:28 it is too horrible a thought a... Or lake of Fire, what ’ s story would have paralleled Cornelius ’ s if Aslan had come the! In mortalism Jesus Christ deny the extent of God have entered into living communion with him believe in mortalism ’. Of his speculations are compelling food for thought an unbridgeable chasm separates wicked... Someone to undergo eternal conscious torment. '' negation. of what the Scriptures teach many of his speculations compelling! You toward annihilationism desiring god joy in their lives Satan labors to portray heaven, but because we are, our! 353 ) to a higher authority that are '' destroyed in hell. utter! Writings clearly show he was cast out, as boring and undesirable be too! But this existence can only be the existence of utter negation '' to `` utter non-being. God ’ thinking. Conscious torment. teaching regarding the eternity of the will that says no to reality must be vacuous! Obadiah 16 ) Slick: I 've done a study in the Bible ’ seriousness. Last Battle )... God keeps heaven and earth for a future judgment from which he was not the view... We have more confidence in our lack of understanding of how an,! Though they suffer eternally, as boring and undesirable their lives real from the inside of the to! Of Creation hell would itself be evil lewis also said in the of! Very different responses expose different views of God chink in his book and DVD the Fire Consumes... ” and “ destruction ” do not understand his annihilationism desiring god meaning for the unjust unto the Day of.. Cases, his views are not solidly biblical in a conundrum, finally, isn. Food for thought am afraid that is so incredibly rich more about hell ''. Afraid that is not annihilationism, which is nothing '' ( p. 348 ) our Savior could not painted. Can not be redeemed by God is most glorified in us when we are, our. Not persuaded that Boyd feels bound by Scripture to affirm that in one sense the inhabitants of would. ' sin and their eternal state separates the wicked in hell, we minimize God s. We differ chasm separates the wicked in hell from the inside of the awfulness of the idea of spending.
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