The idea of an immortal soul found its way into Christian thought primarily from the teachings of Socrates and Plato7. Finally, if Conditional Immortality upholds these qualities about the soul, then Socrates’ arguments for an immortal soul generates some complex questions Conditional Immortality needs to account for. It is often said that this heaven will be eternal both quantitatively and qualitatively, the former referring to duration, the latter referring to the type of eternal existence. Support Preston. For this section I depend largely on two of Stott’s four main arguments as they are presented in a helpful summary fashion (the other two, concerning justice and universalism, come under our heading of ‘the theological case’). and 2) What is your church's position on the doctrine? 93ff. 5 J. Wenham, The Goodness of God (Leicester: IVP, 1974); the work also provides helpful warnings concerning decisions on the issue, and a brief history of how Wenham learnt of the doctrine; the chapter dealing with hell has been revised and stated less cautiously in The Enigma of Evil (Guildford: Eagle, 1993). Thus, Annihilationism is sometimes called, “Conditional Immortality.”(Only the devil and the beast are accepted as beings that deserve to suffer eternally … ), Universalism and the Doctrine of Hell, pp. But, when they sinned, God separated them from the Tree of Life so they would eventually die. Representing a global movement known as Rethinking Hell (, Chris Date specializes in the areas of Hell and Conditional Immortality, and has participated in debate with the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Albert Mohler, and been interviewed for the popular One Minute Apologist video series. Understandably, traditionalists view this as an easy way out. As I’ve demonstrated, the Bible makes no specific reference to the traditional idea of an immortal soul, and yet it’s a cornerstone belief of many Christian faiths. First, such argument inevitably leads to a diminishing of the seriousness of sin. Perhaps Travis’s advice concerning the interpretation of this story is to be welcomed: ‘Jesus is here making use of a popular Jewish tale, and so we would be rash to press the details of the story.’16. This is part three of our series on original sin. Jesus and his disciples taught again and again in terrible terms that there is an irreversible judgment and punishment of the unrepentant. He is a he was a professor at a turn of eternity Bible college. So both the language of destruction and the imagery of fire seem to point to annihilation.20. Kvanvig maintains that even if the fate of those in hell is extinction, hell remains morally problematic because the sentence of being eternally separated from God is still inflicted for a finite amount of sin. But when I read those books of the Platonists I was taught by them to seek incorporeal truth, so I saw your 'invisible things, understood by the things that are made’. "Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. What we have to see here is simple: any notion of Hell and eternal damnation isn't just from "Natural Immortality" becoming a common presupposition. God is victorious in that he has wiped out all evil and resistance to his will for ever. Finally, in his side note, the Pro seems dissatisfied that I haven’t cited Socrates directly. It's better to enter eternal life with only one hand than to go into the unquenchable fires of hell with two hands. The following is an examination of what is commonly called "conditional immortality" -- that a person's "immortality" is conditioned on receiving eternal life. Given this, Socrates argues that the soul is the constant presence for the relationship between life and death and must be separate from this relationship. 68–71. In a religious debate such as this, the argument would be “this knowledge comes from God”. These relationships need a constant: something that sleeps and wakes requires a body (take away the body and there is no sleeping or waking). In the New Testament, a few passages that directly mention the presence of Hell include1: Mark 9:43 If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. They contend that this is what Jesus meant by “unquenchable.” In the States the attack has been focused on Clark Pinnock, who over recent years has taught conditional immortality, along with other perhaps less traditional doctrines with which some evangelicals do not agree.8 However, others (such as Stott) develop conditionalism without going this extra step, and so conditionalism must never be seen as part of a package of beliefs. He maintains that much of the biblical wording points towards ultimate destruction. When adopting the received categories of that particular debate, conditional immortality is effectively rendered in anthropological terms as the affirmation of contingency for human beings. All of the biblical scholars/theologians are actually right: Christian beliefs have been influenced by sources outside of biblical scripture. Conditional immortality is the name given to the doctrinethat states that human beings are not inherently immortal, but rather haveimmortality conferred upon them as part of the experience of salvation. Upon our physical death, according to the majority of conditionalists, we enter a state of soul sleep where we are unconscious. Stott assumes that this passage does refer to the interim state, but that an alternative interpretation need not preclude the idea of annihilation subsequent to punishment. Is the true nature of repentance, and the true basis for good works, fear, or love? For instance, the rich man in the story refers to his physical body by begging Abraham to send Lazarus to dip water onto his tongue. 33 Kendall Harmon, ‘The Case Against Conditionalism’, in Nigel M. de S. Cameron (ed. The Westminster Confession defines the soul and the outcomes of accepting/rejecting Jesus Christ as this: “The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect of holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies. Again, Travis summarizes the point well: ‘Eternal torment involves an eternal cosmological dualism, which is impossible to reconcile with the conviction that ultimately God will be “all in all”.’31. Interestingly enough, we also find references to Greek translations of hell: Acts 2:27–31 'For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 19 P. Cotterell, Mission and Meaninglessness (London: SPCK, 1990), p. 73. Take, for example, the concept of Hell. 20:14). Given the common idea of an immortal soul within many forms of Christianity, and Pro framing this debate using Christian interpretations, I will use a mainstream, Christian interpretation of immortal souls. Thus, the parable contrasts life with punishment rather than equating their duration. Caution must be exercised when using the biblical texts, as in all debates. C.S. Annihilationism is directly related to the doctrine of conditional immortality, the idea that a human soul is not immortal unless it is given eternal life.Annihilationism asserts that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality. One of these challenging viewpoints is Conditional Immortality (CI), a view that says that either 1) the soul is mortal and dies with the body, or 2) the soul is conditional upon faith in Christ. All of these passages describe a place of eternal damnation, which sits quite well with the traditional idea of an immortal soul. Nevertheless, I shall continue on with this debate and attempt to refute some of the arguments posed by Con. In part one, Kegan Chandler discussed the history of Augustine’s doctrine of original sin, arguing that the whole idea is post biblical. Discussion of the matter often becomes extremely emotional, and no excuse should have to be made for this. However, it seems that these topics can all too easily distract from the biblical and theological discussion in hand. The whole debate between soul immortalists and conditional immortalists comes down to this: one group says that the soul lives on when the body dies, thus declaring its nature to be immortal (soul immortalists), while the other side says that the soul isn’t immortal by nature but becomes immortal when the person receives Jesus (conditional immortalists). Through much of history, conditionalists have been arguing against the idea of an immortal soul that is impervious to the flames of eternal torment. 37 It is a shame that Jim Packer, who usually writes at great depth and with much wisdom, gives conditionalism such a brief and summary treatment—see ‘The Problem of Eternal Punishment’, Evangel 10 (1992), 13–19. On the other hand, some may have chosen this option because of uncertainty concerning the biblical data and the assumption that annihilationism does solve the moral problems associated with hell. We simply insist that that great gift will be given to humans at the appropriate time. Man is perceptible: humans can be seen and destroyed. The same meaning has more particular reference when Jesus warns his disciples to ‘fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell’. Or does it? Evangelicals believing in annihilation wish to distance themselves from this belief, and generally accept that destruction occurs after judgment and appropriate punishment. Secondly, most traditionalists major on the glory of God. The point remains: no reset button is pressed when you get into heaven... if this button was pressed, then you'd have no recollection of the actions/reasons that got you into heaven in the first place. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. Why call it Conditional Immortality rather than Annihilation? The argument is forceful: where is the love and justice in eternal (i.e. And he co-authored erasing hell with Francis Chan A number of years ago, and at the time, they both landed on the doctrine of eternal torment. In the debates, immortality is usually taken to mean the inability of the person to perish. Preston and Chris is diving into the topic of Annihilation or Conditional Immortality. While most Christian faiths believe in an immortal soul, most biblical scholars agree that specific references to this idea are absent within the bible, The point is, the Pro’s belief that the Bible is the sole influence on Christian beliefs goes against what most Christian faiths currently believe in. Since eternal damnation implies an immortal soul is required to experience an eternity of punishment, Conditional Immortality must reject this view. The apparent illusion of justice in the act of destroying the person hides the fact that annihilation takes away any dignity the person may have. 20:10). First, this isn’t exactly what the argument is saying: the soul survives as the constant for human life, not after. 3. While most Christian faiths believe in an immortal soul, most biblical scholars agree that specific references to this idea are absent within the bible2. How can a soul be made in the image of God, be immeasurable yet knowable like all other “not perceivable” things, and yet be destructible? 7 An explanatory note must be made with reference to Stott’s position. 21 Stephen H. Travis, Christian Hope and the Future of Man (Leicester: IVP, 1980), p. 135. It concerns our future destiny, and more pointedly, the future of those whom we love. The accusation is that most theologians interpret hell in the traditional manner for two reasons: (a) because their tradition has always done so, and their tradition precedes their interpretation of Scripture; (b) because the force behind that tradition has been the false assumption that men and women are created immortal, and so those who reject Christ endure for ever, suffering the consequences of their rejection. The Pro can’t reconcile this discrepancy under his own logic, but the answer is simple. If the arguments for conditionalism (which I shall define later) appear at times to be stronger than the others, then this is not due to a hidden assumption that conditionalism is the correct interpretation, but rather to a desire that the arguments should at least be heard. There are several difficulties with these arguments, applying both to traditionalists and conditionalists. The first was by John Wenham, in The Goodness Of God,5 where, in a chapter dealing with the moral difficulties of believing in hell, he presented conditionalism as a possible option. The first concerns the biblical texts, and how these should be interpreted. Once again, there are other issues that could have been discussed. The first arises from the need to construct a rigorous and proper biblical anthropology. The answer: it doesn"t." This is a debate about whether or not Conditional Immortality is Biblical. 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