Conditional Immortality (a view of hell): Is this doctrine true?

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#1
What do you think about the doctrine of conditional immortality? Is it true? Why or why not?

If you are not familiar with this doctrine, or if you would like a quick review including some of the verses where some people think they see this doctrine in the Bible, you may watch this 7 minute video.



#conditional immortality #annihilationism #hell #eternal conscious torment
 

Gideon300

Well-known member
Mar 18, 2021
2,052
1,347
113
#2
What do you think about the doctrine of conditional immortality? Is it true? Why or why not?

If you are not familiar with this doctrine, or if you would like a quick review including some of the verses where some people think they see this doctrine in the Bible, you may watch this 7 minute video.



#conditional immortality #annihilationism #hell #eternal conscious torment
The error in this doctrine is that it ignores the fact that man is spirit, soul and body. The spirit is the real person, the soul is his means of expressing his inner being and choosing how to exercise his inner desires. The body is what he uses to implement those choices. Seventh Day Adventists and a few others reject the idea that man is a spirit being. I don't know how they can blanket reject the clear word of God, but they rationalise it anyway.

Our God is a consuming fire. SDA's believe that the soul is therefore annihilated. There is some justification for this, although I don't agree entirely. However, the spirit of man continues on. The spirit is where the real problem of man lies. We are all born dead in trespass and sin. Obviously death does not mean the end of existence. The first thing that happened when Adam fell is that he became self conscious. He realised his nakedness. He hid from God. So we can say that death is a separation of man from God.

1 Corinthians 5:4 sheds some light on this, along with 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Just those verses should convince people that we are primarily spirit beings, but they are two among hundreds.

I can say with the utmost confidence that there are no dead people in heaven. People think that Lord Jesus came only to stop sinners going to hell. That is wrong. Lord Jesus came that we might have abundant life, new life, which means a new spirit. That is what it means to be born again. Yes, we are forgiven. That is essential, of course. But it is not enough to please God. We were created to enjoy life, hence the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden. Adam chose knowledge apart from God instead of life. "The letter kills, the Spirit gives life" - 2 Corinthians 3:6.

The letter, which is the Law, can be considered the principle of good and evil. Trying to live by the law is useless. We have not the heart of obedience that the Law requires. Once we are born again, the Law becomes unnecessary. We have the Law of the Spirit of Life within us.
 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
6,893
5,588
113
#3
What do you think about the doctrine of conditional immortality? Is it true? Why or why not?
No, "conditional immortality doctrine" is not true. The Bible speaks of those who will endure everlasting punishment just as surely as it speaks of those who gain eternal life in Heaven.

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
2,455
2,701
113
65
#4
Hello @MarkCorbett, while I do not agree with Conditionalism (e.g. Revelation 20:10), I am certainly glad that you found us and decided to join in the discussions with us, so first off, welcome to CChat :)

I have a question for you (if you don't mind), what are the differences between Conditionalism and Annihilationism :unsure:

Thanks!

God bless you!!

~Deut

1 Thessalonians 5
23 May the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body
be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
 
Jun 9, 2021
1,893
424
83
#5
Revelation 14 explains a [Condition] of for ever and ever for those who "Accept the Mark of the Beast and Worship the Beast:"


9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,

10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#6
No, "conditional immortality doctrine" is not true. The Bible speaks of those who will endure everlasting punishment just as surely as it speaks of those who gain eternal life in Heaven.

Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Thanks for replying to my post. You quote Matthew 25:46 to show that conditional immortality is not true, yet it appears that this verse actually supports conditional immortality. According to Matthew 25:46 does everyone live forever? If not, then immortality is conditional.

Annihilation is an everlasting punishment for the simple reason that it lasts forever. In fact, there is only one punishment that lasts forever but does not require living forever: annihilation. So, taken at face value and based on the simple, normal meaning of the words in the verse, Matthew 25:46 supports the doctrine of conditional immortality.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#7
Hello @MarkCorbett, while I do not agree with Conditionalism (e.g. Revelation 20:10), I am certainly glad that you found us and decided to join in the discussions with us, so first off, welcome to CChat :)
Thanks for the welcome. I pray that God will use this group for good and bless the conversation here.


Hello @MarkCorbett,
I have a question for you (if you don't mind), what are the differences between Conditionalism and Annihilationism :unsure:
In practice, the words conditionalism and annihilationism are often used interchangeably. In a sense, conditional immortality is a broader doctrine than includes the doctrine of annihilation for the ungodly within it. Conditional immortality states that people will only live forever if we are saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus. Those who do not live forever, do not live forever anywhere, not even in hell. Instead, they perish (John 3:16) and are turned to ashes (2 Peter 2:6).
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#8
Revelation 14 explains a [Condition] of for ever and ever for those who "Accept the Mark of the Beast and Worship the Beast:"
First, a technical note: "for ever and ever" is not a condition.

I can see how people take Revelation 14:11 to teach eternal torment, but this requires assuming that a verse in John's highly symbolic visions in Revelation is to be taken literally which many other verses throughout the Bible are not. In the video in the opening post there are quite a few verses that support conditional immortality.

As far as Revelation 14:11, I believe it is using a hyperbolic image. This fits the context because another hyperbolic image of God's judgment is found at the end of the same chapter. This topic is a bit complex (as interpreting Revelation often is). I have explained it in more detail in this blog post:

What is the Second Death? (Part 4: Blood)
 

PennEd

Senior Member
Apr 22, 2013
10,517
6,849
113
#9
First, a technical note: "for ever and ever" is not a condition.

I can see how people take Revelation 14:11 to teach eternal torment, but this requires assuming that a verse in John's highly symbolic visions in Revelation is to be taken literally which many other verses throughout the Bible are not. In the video in the opening post there are quite a few verses that support conditional immortality.

As far as Revelation 14:11, I believe it is using a hyperbolic image. This fits the context because another hyperbolic image of God's judgment is found at the end of the same chapter. This topic is a bit complex (as interpreting Revelation often is). I have explained it in more detail in this blog post:

What is the Second Death? (Part 4: Blood)
This doctrine has a lot more problems than Rev. 14.
Jesus Himself says there is going to be different degrees of punishment several times in Scripture. Here’s a few:


Matthew 23:14
King James Version



14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the GREATER DAMNATION.


Matthew 11:24
New King James Version



24 But I say to you that it shall be MORE TOLERABLE for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”

How is annhilationism going to be more tolerable for some?
 

JaumeJ

Senior Member
Jul 2, 2011
19,455
5,264
113
#10
Condition may be used with more than one definition, and it does seem to fit in the posst using it prior to you commentary on its usage.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#11
How is annhilationism going to be more tolerable for some?
Great question!
I'm promoting an evangelical version of annihilationism (aka conditional immortality).
We believe that the unrighteous will be resurrected and stand before God to face judgment. The process of judgment itself will be terrible and terrifying and will be more so for some than for others. Also, while all the unrighteous will eventually perish, there is nothing in the doctrine of annihilationism that says the process will be quick or painless. Just as different forms of the death penalty given by humans can involve vastly different amounts of suffering while perishing, the same may be true at final judgment. Lethal injection and crucifixion are both death penalties, but the processes involve very different amounts of suffering. So annihilationism allows for different degrees of punishment.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#12
SDA's believe that the soul is therefore annihilated.
SDA's do believe in a form of annihilationism, but I am not SDA or associated with them at all. Nor am in associated at all with JWs. Muslims believe in eternal torment, but when someone mentions eternal torment, I don't assume that there is a connection to Islam. There are a growing number of theologically conservative evangelicals like myself who believe that the Bible teaches conditional immortality. There's actually a lot of biblical evidence to support this.
 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
6,893
5,588
113
#13
According to Matthew 25:46 does everyone live forever?
Yes.
Although I must say that everlasting punishment would be better described as everlasting dying. I know it's a hard pill for you to swallow, Mark, but life is to short to waste time daydreaming about the way you would personally like things to be.

one punishment that lasts forever but does not require living forever: annihilation.
This is what we call twisting and squirming against a truth that seems to cause you much discomfort. Everlasting punishment means everlasting punishment. All of your frustrated grasping at straws will not change the simple truth of God's written Word. We are not free to follow our own customized false doctrines.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#14
My question: "According to Matthew 25:46 does everyone live forever?"

Your answer:

Yes.
Although I must say that everlasting punishment would be better described as everlasting dying.
Here is Matthew 25:46:

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

So, you are maintaining that this verse teaches that everyone lives forever?
 

Runningman

Well-known member
Mar 4, 2020
3,551
2,238
113
#15
What do you think about the doctrine of conditional immortality? Is it true? Why or why not?

If you are not familiar with this doctrine, or if you would like a quick review including some of the verses where some people think they see this doctrine in the Bible, you may watch this 7 minute video.



#conditional immortality #annihilationism #hell #eternal conscious torment
In my opinion, it isn't exactly crystal clear to me. There are a lot of verses that say a lot about hell, punishment, torment, etc. I can't find anything that just says something like "In hell, you live forever and are punished without the possibility of it ending."

Instead, there are just a lot of verses that dance around the issue and are worded in ways that leave more questions than answers.

Let's look at some in the KJV:


Revelation 21:8
8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Second death? That sounds like it is describing the permanent cessation of all life-sustaining functions. That doesn't sound eternal to me.

Matthew 25:24
46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


The term "everlasting punishment" is not congruent with "life eternal." Notice the careful wording here, it doesn't say that those that go to "everlasting punishment" will live forever.

Matthew 10:28
28And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So the body and soul are able to be destroyed in hell? That sounds like annihilation to me.

Revelation 14:11
11And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Again, notice the careful wording here. What is the "smoke of their torment?" Because it sounds like the smoke rises forever, not the torment itself.

I'm teachable on this topic, but I believe the Bible means exactly what it says. Hell is either conscious eternal torment or it isn't. Got a verse that removes all doubt? Thanks.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#16
I'm teachable on this topic, but I believe the Bible means exactly what it says. Hell is either conscious eternal torment or it isn't. Got a verse that removes all doubt? Thanks.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment (I'm only quoting the last portion of it - but the whole comment is well written). I don't think we should expect a single verse by itself to completely settle an issue that is discussed in multiple verses, and I don't sense that you expect that either. At the same time, a cumulative study can be made that once complete can give us a high degree of confidence that some of the verses that seem most clearly to teach conditional immortality are indeed teaching that. One such verse is John 3:16:

ESV John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Here we are taught that only some people, namely those who believe in Jesus, will have eternal life. The simplest interpretation is that other people, unbelievers, will not live forever. And of course you cannot torment someone forever if they don't live forever.

Further, in John 3:16 we are told what the fate of the unsaved is: "perish"

In English, "perish" certainly is a far better fit for annihilationism than it is for eternal torment. This truth is greatly reinforced if we do a detailed word study of the Greek word translated "perish," which is apollumi. We find that apollumi was actually used by Greek authors to refer specifically to what we mean by annihilation. I present this evidence in a detailed word study of apollumi in this video (if you don't want to watch the whole video, there is a clickable outline in the description):

 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
6,893
5,588
113
#17
So, you are maintaining that this verse teaches that everyone lives forever?
Yes I am.

In one place or the other.

In peace or in torment.

Everlasting means everlasting. Forever means forever.

I can repeat this ten times if you think it would be helpful.:):coffee:
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#18
Yes I am.

In one place or the other.

In peace or in torment.

Everlasting means everlasting. Forever means forever.

I can repeat this ten times if you think it would be helpful.:):coffee:
So you believe that everyone lives forever in one place or the other. But does the Bible very speak of people living forever in hell? Does the Bible ever say that the unsaved (or all people) will live forever? Even once? Instead doesn't the Bible present a contrast between the saved and unsaved in terms of life and death, perishing and eternal life?:

ESV Romans 6:21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Does it bother you that your view of hell, eternal torment, leads you to speak of unsaved people living forever when that is the opposite of the way the Bible speaks?
 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
6,893
5,588
113
#19
doesn't the Bible present a contrast between the saved and unsaved in terms of life and death, perishing and eternal life?:
Sure does, and for very good reason. Torment is the extreme opposite of peace and joy. I suspect the reason that some people pretend not to understand this is that they choose personal comfort over truth. I cannot force you to desire truth, so I will release you and let you go your own chosen way now. All I can do is warn you, and I have.

Revelation
20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet [are], and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
 
Jun 7, 2021
24
1
3
#20
Your comment raises several issues, so I plan to reply in several comments. First, you write:
Sure does, and for very good reason. Torment is the extreme opposite of peace and joy.
Yes, torment is the opposite of peace and joy. But you were responding to my comment where I asked about a different (and more common) contrast in the Bible: namely between life and death. The Bible consistently presents the fate of humans in life vs. death terms (including eternal life vs. perishing). Your reply simply fails to address this basic biblical pattern.