ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.


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Is Hell eternal, and are those in hell conscious? And why Would God Punish Finite, Temporal Crimes in an Eternal Hell?

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Otangelo


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Is Hell eternal, and are those in hell conscious?

https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1442-is-hell-eternal-and-are-those-in-hell-conscious-and-why-would-god-punish-finite-temporal-crimes-in-an-eternal-hell

Daniel 12:2
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Matt. 25:46, "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

The word "eternal" in both places is "aionios" which means 1) without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be; 2) without beginning; 3) without end, never to cease, everlasting.  The word "punishment" is the word "kolasis" and it means "to punish, with the implication of resulting severe suffering 'to punish, punishment.'"


The Greek phrase aionas ton aionon, which is translated "forever and ever," occurs 18 times in the Greek New Testament.  In 17 of them, the phrase means without end, extending into infinity. 


My comment:   If one is eternal, how can the other not be? The word eternal is used in both cases, for those that inherit eternal life, in as much as for those that inherit eternal punishment. There is no distinction made, which clearly indicates that no end, that is: "aionios" means eternal in both cases.

The Dead are Conscious After Death
Cast to outer darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth
Matt. 8:12, "but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Why Would God Punish Finite, Temporal Crimes in an Eternal Hell?

The Greek phrase aionas ton aionon, which is translated "forever and ever," occurs 18 times in the Greek New Testament.  In 17 of them, the phrase means without end, extending into infinity.  In Rev. 19:3, the phrase is used to describe the destruction of the great whore of Babylon (Rev. 17:1,4) whose smoke ascends forever and ever.  It too is eternal, and it signifies the beginning of the eternal judgment that comes upon her.

"And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire," (Matt. 18:8 )

"And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power," (2 Thess. 1:9).

"Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 7).

These men are those 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," (Jude12-13).

Also worth examining is  Rev. 14:11, "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

There is a Greek word that means eternal: αιδιος (aidios). It is used in Romans 1:20 to describe God's "eternal power and deity." But it is not used in the NT to describe the punishment of humans in an afterlife. Instead, the word αιονιον (aionion) is used, which is the adjectival form of the word αιον (aion) from which we get our word eon. Unless it is referring to God, it usually means a period of limited duration. In common usage, it could mean one man’s lifetime or a few generations. 



There is a Greek word that unequivocally means retributive punishment: τιμορια (timoria). But it is not used in the NT to describe the punishment of humans in an afterlife. Instead, the word κολασιν (kolasin) is used. Originally it was used to describe pruning vines or trees to make them more fruitful. When applied to humans, it means a corrective or remedial punishment.



In Matthew 25:46, Jesus says that those who fail to show compassion on the suffering will go away to a κολασιν αιονιον (kolasin aionion). Unfortunately, most popular English translations render this as "eternal punishment." However, the literal translations (such as Young's, the Concordant, Weymouth, or the new translation from David Bentley Hart) render these words something like "an age-long chastisement" or "the discipline of that age."


Historically, the word hell has picked up too much baggage to be a meaningful translation of the state that Jesus describes as Gehenna. It's more like an age of purification, administered for the benefit of its subjects, to eventually make them fit for citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.


This is not a new doctrine. It was widely held by many leaders of the early church such as Clement and Origen of Alexandria, and by some who helped formulate the Nicene Creed, such as Gregory Nazianzen and Gregory of Nyssa. They called this teaching apokatastasis, which means “the restoration of all things.” Although they were universalist, they were considered completely orthodox by the early church.





I was interviewed recently on a large Los Angeles radio station about the existence of Hell. One caller objected to the duration of punishment in Hell. From his perspective, the idea our temporal, finite sin on earth warrants an eternal punishment of infinite torment in Hell was troubling, at the very least. The punishment does not seem to fit the crime; in fact, the disproportionate penalty makes God seem petty and vindictive, doesn’t it? Why would God torture infinitely those who have only sinned finitely? I think it’s important to define the nature of Hell and sin before our discussion of the eternal nature of punishment can have any meaning or significance. Objections related to the eternal nature of Hell result from a misunderstanding of four principles and terms:

We Fail to Understand the Meaning of Spiritual “Torment”
The Bible says those who are delivered into Hell will be tormented, and the degree to which they will suffer is described in dramatic, illustrative language. But, the scripture never describes Hell as a place where God or His angels are actively “torturing” the souls of the rebellious. “Torture” is the sadistic activity that is often perpetrated for the mere joy of it. “Torment” results from a choice on the part of the person who finds himself (or herself) suffering the consequences. One can be in constant torment over a decision made in the past, without being actively tortured by anyone.

We Fail to Understand the Insignificance of Sin’s “Duration”
If someone embezzles $5.00 a week from their employer’s cash register they will have stolen $260.00 over the course of a year. If they’re caught at the end of this time, they would still only be guilty of a misdemeanor in the State of California (based on the total amount of loss). Although the crime took a year to commit, the perpetrator wouldn’t spend much (if any) time in jail. On the other hand, a murder can take place in the blink of an eye and the resulting punishment will be life in prison (or perhaps the death penalty). The duration of the crime clearly has little or nothing to do with the duration of the penalty.

We Fail to Understand the Magnitude of God’s “Authority”
If your sister catches you lying about your income last year, you might lose her respect. If the Internal Revenue Service IRS catches you lying about your income last year, the resulting punishment will be far more painful. What’s the difference here? It certainly isn’t the crime. Instead, we recognize the more authoritative the source of the code, rule or law, the greater the punishment for those who are in violation. If God is the Highest Authority, we should expect that violations of His “laws” would result in significant punishment(s).

We Fail to Understand the Depth of Our “Sin”
Finally, it’s important to remember the nature of the crime that eventually leads one to Hell. It’s not the fact you kicked your dog in 1992. It’s not the fact you had evil thoughts about your teacher in 1983. The crime that earns us a place in Hell is our rejection of the true, living, eternal God. The rejection of God’s forgiveness is not finite. People who reject Jesus have rejected Him completely. They have rejected Him as an ultimate, final mortal decision. God has the right (and obligation) to judge them with an appropriate punishment. To argue that God’s punishment does not fit our crime is to underestimate our crime.

The Bible describes Hell as a place where those who have rejected God will suffer the torment of their decision. It’s an appropriate punishment given the magnitude of God’s ultimate authority and the mortal opportunities for each of us to choose otherwise in this life.



Steve Gregg All You Want To Know Abt Hell: Three Christian Views of God?s Final Solution to the Problem of Sin (All You Want to Know about)  November 2013
THEORIES CONCERNING THE MEANING OF AIONIOS 
The most common meaning given for this adjective, according to many lexicons, is “eternal.” However, if we equate the word “eternal,” as we commonly do, with the idea of “endlessness,” then this English word seems inadequate to address every case of its occurrence. The ancient translators of the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, regularly used aion and aionios to translate olam, a Hebrew word that is also often translated “eternal” or “forever.” Yet, Hebrew scholars do not necessarily associate olam with “endlessness,” but merely with the quality of “having no end in sight.” Olam is said to speak of that which extends beyond the horizon of sight, or the vanishing point. That which is described as olam is not necessarily everlasting, but its end cannot be seen from here. Strong’s Concordance, in agreement with other authorities,23 defines olam as follows: “Olam [5769]: From 5956; prop. concealed, i.e., the vanishing point; gen. time out of mind (past or fut.), i.e. (practically) eternity … or lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual. Many times olam is used simply to denote a lengthy period, whose end is undesignated and out of view. For example, in Isaiah 34:10, the period of olam is parallel to the phrase “generation to generation,” and in Isaiah 60:15, olamic gladness is parallel to “a joy of many generations.”24 So, do the Greek words carry the same meaning as olam? R. Laird Harris, Gleason J. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke think so:

George Milligan and James Hope Moulton said that aionios “depicts that of which the horizon is not in view, whether the horizon be at an infinite distance … or whether it lies no farther than the span of a Caesar’s life.” This is essentially identical to the meaning of the Hebrew olam, and obviously does not require that the thing, of which the end is beyond our vision, must necessarily go on into endless eternity. It might, but it needn’t. Addressing the use of aionios in Revelation 20:10, where Satan, the beast, and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire, Gregory Beale, who defends the traditional view of hell, wrote: “Strictly speaking, even the expression ‘they will be tormented forever and ever’ is figurative, since the phrase eis tous aionas ton aionon literally can be rendered ‘unto the ages of the ages.’ At the least, the figurative point of the phrase connotes a very long time. The context of the passage and of the book must determine whether this is a long but limited time or an unending period.” Authorities also note that in “later poetry and prose [aionios] is also used in the sense of ‘lifelong’ or ‘enduring,’ in accordance with the basic meaning of [aion].” Douglas Jacoby said: “Few are so bold as to claim that the Greek adjective aionios always suggests ‘infinity in time’—such thinking has been rejected by most modern exegetes.” 

That it is a mistake to assume aionios must only refer to endlessness is seen in the variety of its occurrences. For example, in the Septuagint, Isaiah 32:14–15 predicts that Judah will become desolate, forsaken, and deserted “forever” (Gr. aionios) … but this is only to continue “until the Spirit is poured upon [them]”! In other words, the “eternal” desolation only lasts until it ends with the outpouring of the Spirit. It is aionios, to be sure, but it is neither permanent nor endless. F. F. Bruce concurs with the concept of an “indeterminate” or “indefinite” (but not necessarily “endless”) duration as the meaning of olam, aion, and aionios: “these in themselves express indefinite duration, but the context or the inherent sense may make the indefiniteness more explicit.” Among scholars, at least four possible explanations have been advocated for the usage of aion and aionios, when applied to the ultimate punishment of sinners:

Even allowing for the definition “eternal,” of course, biblical scholars are aware that the writers of Scripture used hyperbole (exaggeration for the sake of emphasis) a great deal—perhaps as much as we moderns do. This means that, even if the Greek words’ primary meanings were best rendered as “forever” or “eternal,” they might sometimes be used non-literally, as when we say, “He and I have been friends forever!” or “It’s been an eternity since I saw you!” The editors of Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament wrote: “In Isa. 42:14, the word is used hyperbolically meaning ‘for a long time.’ …”31 2. The thing described lasts for an age, or a long time (long-enduring). 

Among the early church fathers, some believed in eternal torment, some in annihilation, and some in universal reconciliation —but all of them were comfortable in speaking of “eternal [aionios] punishment.” This suggests that those closest to New Testament times, for many of whom New Testament Greek was their native tongue, understood the word aionios to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate any of their positions. What this means for us is that it is irresponsible to try to settle the controversy over hell’s duration and its purpose by the mere citation of verses containing the words “eternal” and “forever.” Those who knew the Greek better than we do did not consider the question settled by such appeals. Francis Chan, while defending the traditional doctrine of hell, admitted the ambiguity of the word aionios: “The debate about hell’s duration is much more complex than I first assumed. While I lean heavily on the side that says it is everlasting, I am not ready to claim that with complete certainty.”42

https://3lib.net/book/17753403/77b7ca



Last edited by Otangelo on Tue 25 Oct 2022 - 22:30; edited 1 time in total

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Otangelo


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Matthew 3:12: "Christ will BURN UP the chaff with unquenchable fire"
Philippians 3:19: "Whose END is DESTRUCTION"
Romans 9:22: "vessels of wrath fitted to DESTRUCTION"
John 3:16: "should not PERISH but have EVERLASTING LIFE"
Psalm 37:20: "The wicked shall PERISH... they shall into smoke consume away"
Malachi 4:1: "the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP"
Hebrews 10:27: "fiery indignation which shall DEVOUR the adversaries"
Matthew 7:13: "broad is the way, that leadeth to DESTRUCTION"
Matthew 10:28: "able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell"
Matthew 13:40: As therefore the tares are gathered and BURNED in the fire; SO SHALL IT BE in the end of this world.
Luke 17:29, 30:But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and DESTROYED them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
James 5:20: "he which converteth the sinner... shall save a soul from DEATH"
2 Peter 2:12: "made to be taken and DESTROYED... shall UTTERLY PERISH"
2 Peter 3:7: "reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and PERDITION of ungodly men"
2 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 "who shall be punished with everlasting DESTRUCTION... When he comes"
2 Peter 3:9" "not willing that any should PERISH, but that all should come to repentance."
Revelation 20:14; 21:8: "the lake of fire... is the second DEATH"
Malachi 4:3
And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
Judges 16:16:His SOUL was vexed unto DEATH
Job 7:15: my SOUL chooseth strangling, and DEATH rather than my life
Job 33:22: his SOUL draweth near unto the GRAVE, and his life to the DESTROYERS
Psalm 33:19: To deliver their SOUL from DEATH, and to keep them alive in famine
Psalm 56:13: Thou hast delivered my SOUL from DEATH: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
Psalm 78:50: He spared not their SOUL from DEATH, but gave their life over to the pestilence
Psalm 89:48: What man is he that liveth, and shall not see DEATH? shall he deliver his SOUL from the hand of the GRAVE?
Psalm 116:8: Thou hast delivered my SOUL from DEATH
Isaiah 53:12: He hath poured out his SOUL unto DEATH
Ezekiel 13:19 : To SLAY the SOULS that should not DIE, and to save the SOULS alive that should not live
Ezekiel 18:4, 20: The SOUL that sinneth, it shall DIE
Matthew 10:28: Fear him who is able to DESTROY both SOUL and body in hell
Matthew 26:38: Then saith he unto them, My SOUL is exceeding sorrowful, even unto DEATH
Acts 3:23: Every SOUL, which will not hear that prophet, shall be DESTROYED
James 5:20: He which converteth the sinner… shall save a SOUL from DEATH
Revelation 16:3: The second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every LIVING SOUL DIED in the sea
Perish: to die, come to an end. The opposite of "everlasting life" in John 3:16
Everlasting destruction: Destruction that ever lasts. It is destruction, not destroying, a noun, not a verb.
Second death: the final death of those not found written in the book of life

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Otangelo


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The Bible clearly says that the wicked will be thrown in the lake of fire, and this will be the second death. Since when is death a synonym for eternal life?
What does THE BIBLE say? Does the wrath of god torment or consume? There are 19 judgment fire metaphors in Scripture in which the items in the fire are consumed, zero in which they are tormented.
Matthew 3:12: "Christ will BURN UP the chaff with unquenchable fire"
Philippians 3:19: "Whose END is DESTRUCTION"
Romans 9:22: "vessels of wrath fitted to DESTRUCTION"
John 3:16: "should not PERISH but have EVERLASTING LIFE"
Psalm 37:20: "The wicked shall PERISH... they shall into smoke consume away"
Malachi 4:1: "the day that cometh shall BURN THEM UP"
Hebrews 10:27: "fiery indignation which shall DEVOUR the adversaries"
Matthew 7:13: "broad is the way, that leadeth to DESTRUCTION"
Matthew 10:28: "able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell"
Matthew 13:40: As therefore the tares are gathered and BURNED in the fire; SO SHALL IT BE in the end of this world.
Luke 17:29, 30:But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and DESTROYED them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
James 5:20: "he which converteth the sinner... shall save a soul from DEATH"
2 Peter 2:12: "made to be taken and DESTROYED... shall UTTERLY PERISH"
2 Peter 3:7: "reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and PERDITION of ungodly men"
2 Thessalonians 1:9, 10 "who shall be punished with everlasting DESTRUCTION... When he comes"
2 Peter 3:9" "not willing that any should PERISH, but that all should come to repentance."
Revelation 20:14; 21:8: "the lake of fire... is the second DEATH"
Malachi 4:3
And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
Judges 16:16:His SOUL was vexed unto DEATH
Job 7:15: my SOUL chooseth strangling, and DEATH rather than my life
Job 33:22: his SOUL draweth near unto the GRAVE, and his life to the DESTROYERS
Psalm 33:19: To deliver their SOUL from DEATH, and to keep them alive in famine
Psalm 56:13: Thou hast delivered my SOUL from DEATH: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?
Psalm 78:50: He spared not their SOUL from DEATH, but gave their life over to the pestilence
Psalm 89:48: What man is he that liveth, and shall not see DEATH? shall he deliver his SOUL from the hand of the GRAVE?
Psalm 116:8: Thou hast delivered my SOUL from DEATH
Isaiah 53:12: He hath poured out his SOUL unto DEATH
Ezekiel 13:19 : To SLAY the SOULS that should not DIE, and to save the SOULS alive that should not live
Ezekiel 18:4, 20: The SOUL that sinneth, it shall DIE
Matthew 10:28: Fear him who is able to DESTROY both SOUL and body in hell
Matthew 26:38: Then saith he unto them, My SOUL is exceeding sorrowful, even unto DEATH
Acts 3:23: Every SOUL, which will not hear that prophet, shall be DESTROYED
James 5:20: He which converteth the sinner… shall save a SOUL from DEATH
Revelation 16:3: The second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every LIVING SOUL DIED in the sea

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