Rethinking the doctrine of "hell"

Good to see you are still around, Bob. Given our cardiac problems, I'm surprised that either of us is still here. Hope you are doing well.
HEY!!! I turned 80 last July - so when the doctors gave me until 2004, the joke's on them. I'm still working (part time - three days a week), and still picking Bluegrass several times a month. I haven't had a heart attack in the last 8 years, so I'm still holding at 13. I trust you're hanging in there well pretty well also. The BIG issue these days is that I can't pass a rest-room, which is a bother.
Blessings on y'all -
 
HEY!!! I turned 80 last July - so when the doctors gave me until 2004, the joke's on them. I'm still working (part time - three days a week), and still picking Bluegrass several times a month. I haven't had a heart attack in the last 8 years, so I'm still holding at 13. I trust you're hanging in there well pretty well also. The BIG issue these days is that I can't pass a rest-room, which is a bother.
Blessings on y'all -

God has given you SO MUCH time to repent.
 
HEY!!! I turned 80 last July - so when the doctors gave me until 2004, the joke's on them. I'm still working (part time - three days a week), and still picking Bluegrass several times a month. I haven't had a heart attack in the last 8 years, so I'm still holding at 13. I trust you're hanging in there well pretty well also. The BIG issue these days is that I can't pass a rest-room, which is a bother.
Blessings on y'all -
I turned 80 this past June. I've had a mitral valve replacement and a mitral valve redo since I posted regularly. I don't teach SS full time now, but I fill in from time to time.
A friend of mine used to say, "Never pass up a chance to go to a rest room, and never trust gas." He was a wise man.
 
HEY!!! I turned 80 last July - so when the doctors gave me until 2004, the joke's on them. I'm still working (part time - three days a week), and still picking Bluegrass several times a month. I haven't had a heart attack in the last 8 years, so I'm still holding at 13. I trust you're hanging in there well pretty well also. The BIG issue these days is that I can't pass a rest-room, which is a bother.
Blessings on y'all -
That's pretty impressive Bob. To God be all the praise. Wonderful.
 
Why to reject the doctrine of "Hell".

The stuff below is mine, but for more information, see the website: edit link violation

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It is difficult prove something doesn't exist when somebody imagines it is true. Such a proof is a form of proving a negative, however there are means of proving a negative. To do so, you typically show something isn't there when it should be present, I.e. absence of evidence is evidence of absence. For example, if you don't feel your car keys in your pocket, you have sufficiently proven the negative of the presence of your car keys in your pocket. Some people will however insist that this is insufficient evidence, but I would wonder how they function in life.

Similarly, the doctrine of "hell" is something people imagine is taught in the bible. It isn't. Like many things, it is taught by the churches, but it isn't taught in the bible.

First, notice that "hell" is absent in Genesis 1. Genesis 1 describes a material universe. Everything in Genesis 1 is tangible. There are no netherworld regions in Genesis 1. Genesis 1 describes the sun, moon, earth, etc... as objects, putting Hebrews thousands of years ahead of everybody else and when it spread to the gentiles, it advanced them as well. Genesis 1 describes the creation, including the heavens. Yet there is no "hell" or underworld described or mentioned. This is a serious omission if the doctrine of hell is a true doctrine.

Second, notice that "hell" is absent where it should be present in Genesis 3. This is the passage where Adam is condemned. Adam and Eve are promised a fruitful womb and painful childbirth, conflict between the sexes, work, and last but not least, the condemnation: "from dust you are and to dust you will return". They are not condemned to fiery torment, they are condemned with returning to the dust. The lie of the serpent is that if you sin you will live forever, the truth is that you will die. The doctrine of hell teaches that you will live forever, it is the same lie the serpent told.

Third, notice that the condemnation is consistent through the bible. In Romans 5, Paul notes that by one man sin entered the world and death by sin. Death in the New Testament links back to death in Genesis 3. It does not link back to eternal life in fiery torment. In teaching of the salvation of man, the bible teaches that man is saved from death, not saved from eternal conscious torment.

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Regarding passages used to support such a monumental doctrine as a redefinition of death are thin. The primary passage is "the rich man and Lazarus" in Luke 16:19-31 (Link). But look closely at the passage, this is a parable by Jesus, not a description of actual events. For example:
  • Heaven isn't mentioned in the passage. It speaks of "the bosom of Abraham". This place isn't defined in scripture,
  • Likewise, "hades" or "hell" place mentioned in the passage isn't described in scripture either.
  • These people are taken bodily. The rich man looks with his eyes, he wants a drop of water from a finger placed upon his tongue. These body parts rot away in the grave, they aren't carried away by angels.
  • There is a gulf between Abraham and the rich man, yet the rich man wants Lazarus to come visit him.
  • The rich man speaks and has a conversation with Abraham. Not with angels, or whatever else. He speaks to Abraham.
  • Abraham is dead and has not received his reward (Heb. 11:8, 13, 39, 40). Abraham isn't in Abraham's bosom.

And of course, compare the introduction of the parable to the previous parable,

Luke 16:1 “There was a rich man whose
Luke 16:19 “There was a rich man who

Other than declaring it a parable, he couldn't make it any more obvious that this is a parable.

It can be argued that Jesus did not call it a parable, however only 11 of his 26+ parables in Luke are actually called parables. What the story in Luke 16 is actually about is in verses 14-15 Jesus attacks the Pharisees and materialism, and this materialism is why they killed him. He tells a parable specifically directed to the Pharisees, and for them to understand. Examine the characters and the story:
  • a Rich Man (High Priest Caiphas)
  • his Father (Annas) (High priest when Jesus was a child)
  • the sons of the Father (Eleazar, Jonathan, Theophilus, Matthias, Ananus) (also high priests)
  • who all were wealthy
  • were well studied in Moses and the Prophets.
  • And his promise to these men was that though one would rise from the dead, they would not repent.
The prediction of the parable actually happened. Lazarus rose from the dead and they all the more wanted to kill him (John 12:9-11) rather than repent. Jesus rose from the dead and they did not repent.

This parable was given to the Pharisees, not to somebody who has never heard of the God of Israel and his son. This parable isn't for the unknowing, this parable is for those well steeped in the bible. If this is a teaching for all mankind and the lost who have never heard of Jesus Christ, it is very much in the wrong place. It should have been in Genesis.

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In conclusion, the doctrine of "hell" is Pagan claptrap and should be discarded as a doctrine. The wages of sin is death (not eternal conscious torment), and the gift of God is eternal life.

God's gift is not eternal life in heaven as opposed to hell, God's gift is eternal life (period).
The Bible from Genesis to Revelation is conclusive about the fate of the unsaved being destroyed, as if reduced to ashes, perishing, or put to death. Just to name a handful of examples among dozens other examples: John 3:16, James 4:12, Ezekiel 18:20, Psalm 37:20, Matthew 10:28, 2 Peter 2:6, Revelation 20:14,15.

Language about immortal worms that do not die, eternal flames, smoke rising forever don't conclude it's the person who is in eternal conscious torment (ECT) especially when the Bible doesn't plainly say that. That means the mainstream doctrine of ECT in hell is based on tradition, projection, interpretation, and bias.

Revelation 20:10 is often cited as a proof for ECT, but if it's literal then it only applies to three specific persons: the devil, beast, and false prophet. However, this verse may not be literal for a number of reasons because forever doesn't always mean literally forever in the Bible. See Isaiah 34:9,10 where Edom isn't literally burning forever up until the present day for one example. Jude 1:7 is another example where Sodom and Gomorrah aren't burning in eternal fire in the present day. This is called apocalyptic language and it's intended to be dramatic.

One may argue that the soul of a man is immortal, but there's no such verse in the Bible that says that. God alone is immortal (1 Tim. 6:16) and gives immortality to those whom He pleases. That means immortality is conditional.

Jesus taught in Matthew 10:28 to fear God because He is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The fact that Jesus said to fear God under the pretense of being destroyed would indicate God is going to do this to the unsaved otherwise there would be nothing to fear about it. Thus, the alternative to eternal life in the age to come is being destroyed both body and soul; it's death like Jesus taught in John 3:16.

Conditional immortality is the only Biblically viable doctrine regarding the fate of the unsaved.
 
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Language about immortal worms that do not die, eternal flames, smoke rising forever don't conclude it's the person who is in eternal conscious torment (ECT) especially when the Bible doesn't plainly say that.

Revelation 14:11
And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”
 
Revelation 14:11
And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

Day and night are singular there so it would be reasonable to say that being destroyed in hell may not be instant or painless. I would say it takes one day and one night then.
 
The object of forever is the smoke, not the people. The verse you quoted proves that day and night is singular so there would be one day and one night of no rest.

"Day and night" means constantly... all the time..

You hell deniers are the most delusional of all..
 
"Day and night" means constantly... all the time..

You hell deniers are the most delusional of all..

Consider Isaiah 34 where the ancient kingdom of Edom is not on fire night or day with smoke rising forever in the present day. This means it isn't literally forever. It's called apocalyptic language my friend.

Isaiah 34
9Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,
her dust into burning sulfur;
her land will become blazing pitch!
10It will not be quenched night or day;
its smoke will rise forever.

From generation to generation it will lie desolate;
no one will ever pass through it again.
 
Consider Isaiah 34 where the ancient kingdom of Edom is not on fire night or day with smoke rising forever in the present day. This means it isn't literally forever. It's called apocalyptic language my friend.

Isaiah 34
9Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,
her dust into burning sulfur;
her land will become blazing pitch!
10It will not be quenched night or day;
its smoke will rise forever.

From generation to generation it will lie desolate;
no one will ever pass through it again.

Their torment will last forever they will never have rest night and day.. wow Hell must be real.
 
Your quote isn't found anywhere in the Bible, just so the readers are clear, but you're free to believe as you wish.

Saying the smoke of their torment rises forever MEANS their torment lasts forever. The focus is not SMOKE, it's the fate of the wicked like you.
 
And I guess you never saw this verse before huh..

Revelation 20:10
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
 
Saying the smoke of their torment rises forever MEANS their torment lasts forever. The focus is not SMOKE, it's the fate of the wicked like you.
As I just showed you in Isaiah 34, the ancient kingdom of Edom doesn't exist in burning fire with smoke that rises forever in the present day. It's called apocalyptic language. Additionally, smoke can exist after something has been destroyed in fire.
 
And I guess you never saw this verse before huh..

Revelation 20:10
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

It says it applies to only three persons. They are the devil, beast, and false prophet not all of the unsaved. I addressed this in post #147.

Also, Isaiah 34:9,10 may apply here because the ancient kingdom of Edom wasn't on fire day and night for ever and ever.
 
It says it applies to only three persons: the devil, beast, and false prophet not all of the unsaved.

Oh.. so three persons only will be sent to Hell.. the rest will be tormented one day and night (24 hours exactly) and then they will be annihilated (and allowed to rest forever).
 
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