20 Scriptural Reasons to Disbelieve in the Doctrine of Hell.
Hell will be destroyed. (Rev. 20)
Hell is obviously temporary, but don’t tell that to the proponents of the doctrine of hell, which deny that destruction (to perish) is God’s ultimate punishment for the damned. Rather, many church-goers are told that the damned never perish, and go on living without end in misery.
This doctrine of unending conscious torment is propped up with scripture passages taken out of context. These passages at first glance may seem to make the annihilation of the damned look impossible, but look closely. Here are 20+ passages that people have tried (and failed) to use as refutation of the scriptural understanding of the utter destruction of the damned.
1) Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Question: How can the unsaved weep if they no longer exist?
Answer: They weep on the way to destruction.
Have you seen a kid weep and gnash his/her teeth when a parent takes away xbox privileges? Multiply that by a thousand and you will glimpse the childish agony of the spoiled brats who cannot be thankful for the existence that they were given, as they wail when existence is taken from them.
2) Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Question: How can the unsaved bow before Christ if they no longer exist?
Answer: They cannot, and neither do they need to. Those that are annihilated will surely bow down … and shortly thereafter they will be destroyed.
3) Mat. 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Question: How can the condition of the damned be worse than before they were born if he no longer exist?
Answer: Is it really better to live a life with your will set in rebellion against God than to not ever exist. Has anyone ever made a case for the benefits of a life spent scattering away from Him rather than gathering to Him?
Lets play basketball and I’ll run around with the ball while you and others attempt to play by the rules. I’ll just make a mockery of it and keep drop-kicking the ball until it is warped and laugh the whole time, injuring half the other players on the court and you tell me it is better for me to have played that way, than if I had not played at all.
4) Isaiah 33:14The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Question: How can the damned dwell with devouring fire and everlasting burnings if they no longer exist?
Answer: That passage in Isaiah used a rhetorical question. It is like saying: “Who can ride the bus without a pass?” The reader is to come to the obvious conclusion that it is impossible to ride the bus without a pass.
IOW, it is impossible to live / dwell in devouring fire. That is what Isaiah 33:14 is saying.
This question unwittingly misuses a passage in which the only comprehension of its meaning is in support of annihilation.
5) Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
Question: How can the damned be an abhorring to all flesh if they no longer exist?
Answer: This straw-man question is a complete distortion of the verse.
Observation #A – CARCASSES are never living. ALL carcasses lack life otherwise they are NOT carcasses. Hence this is a primary passage against the unbiblical doctrine of unending conscious torment.
Observation #B – no carcass has the wherewithal to sustain a worm that keeps eating it without ever turning away from it. The obvious conclusion of the passage is that not only are the wicked dead, but they are eaten away to nothing by a worm that never turns away from them
Observation #C – no carcass that is burned with an unquenchable fire can outlast the fire … rather the fire burns away the carcasses over time, since time is no object to an unquenchable fire. So not only are they dead, and eaten away to nothing with worms, but any chance that there could be anything left will be burned away by an unquenchable fire. … no unending torment.
Observation #D – Any part of mankind that sees this will surely look upon it as an abhorrence … which means that all of mankind (that remains … ie. exists) abhors the death and destruction of those that are no longer part of mankind.
6) I Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
Question: How can the enemies of Christ be under His feet if they no longer exist?
Answer: “Under His feet” does NOT imply a living state of existence. “Under His feet” is a phrase that invariably means subjection submission, and conquered …
Is a dead foe, not also a conquered foe? When we (the allied forces) put Nazi Germany under our feet were they all remaining alive?
7) Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
Question: How can the unsaved be beaten with stripes if they no longer exist?
Answer: Annihilationism (ie, the doctrine that includes John 3:16 in a literal sense – “perish”) takes into account that there will be punishment and retribution … culminating in utter destruction.
So if someone is “beaten” and later will “perish” – these are not mutually exclusive notions … one can experience both.
8) Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Question: How can the unsaved be without the city if they no longer exist?
Answer: The city represents existence itself … true existence which is the realm in which God dwells. To be apart from the City of God is to be apart / away from existence.
Annihilationism requires that God’s enemies be beyond the walls of the city, so it is no surprise to see it in scripture.
9) Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Question: How can Christ give the heathen for an inheritance if they no longer exist?
Answer: This implies a false extrapolation of the meaning “heathen” to mean those that are under God’s wrath during judgment. Rather, this is talking about the heathen nations / gentiles that God offered the nation of Israel. The plunder here is the cities and property of the gentile nations within the physical realm at that time. The souls of men belong to the Lord who can (and will) destroy not only the body but the soul of men who reject Eternal Life found only through Jesus. (Mt 10:28 )
10) Isaiah 14:2 And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.
Question: How can the believers posses the heathen, if the heathen no longer exist?
Answer: This passage is OBVIOUSLY talking about the living human gentiles that will be possessed as property. It is not talking about the eternal disposition of their souls given away by God. God has not given the destiny of human soul away to anyone ever. One wonders, is the argument that there are personal slaves traded and owned in New Jerusalem?!?!
11) Eze. 22:21 Yea, I will gather you, and blow upon you in the fire of my wrath, and ye shall be melted in the midst thereof. 22 As silver is melted in the midst of the furnace, so shall ye be melted in the midst thereof; and ye shall know that I the LORD have poured out my fury upon you.
Question: How can the damned know that the Lord poured our His wrath on them if they no longer exist?
Answer: The Lord poured out wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah. Both cities were turned to ashes. WHO in their right mind would make a case that the people who dwelled therein do not know that the Lord poured out His fury on them. I assure you that is an accurate figure of speech.
While we are on the subject … the Bible makes Sodom and Gomorrah as examples of eternal judgment and notice that nobody was endlessly tormented in either city … rather they were all destroyed without languishing in agony.
and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;
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.
12) Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Question: How can the damned be in torments if they no longer exist? How can the damned converse with The Father if they no longer exist?
Answer: The passage in Luke 16 is a parable.
Just a parable, not a thesis on the afterlife, but an illustration that is useful instruction in this life on how to live.
You missed the point if you think the parable was Jesus’ trick to contradict what He said elsewhere about destruction of the soul … and perishing without His life.
HERE is a video explaining the parable.
13) Revelation 14:11 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.
Question: How can the torment of the damned yield smoke if they no longer exist?
Answer: The wrong question is asked.
Here is the right question:
How can they yield smoke if they are living?
Living tissue gives off water vapor and steam when burned.
Dead tissue gives off smoke.
14) Luke 13:26-28 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
Question: How can someone who no longer exists see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and themselves thrust out?
Answer: The ruse in this question is the omission of the next verse where the damned are actually sentenced by being excluded from eternal life.
In other words, this is the conversation that the Lord has with the damned before their damnation begins … and the punishment is exclusion from eternal life … ie. to not go on living for ever and ever.
15) Matthew 25:44-45 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
Question: How can the damned converse with The Son if they no longer exist?
Answer: They talk during judgment, then they shut up when they experience second death. Of course, they are dead by then so …
All you need to do is read the next verse.
16) Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
Rev. 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.
Question: How can the damned have the same fate of being tormented day and night for ever and ever as the devil and his angels if the damned no longer exist?
Answer: Forever and ever comes to a conclusion at the second death. Forever and ever is not “eternity” … Rather, it just means “for the ever” … or as long as time exists. After the “last day,” time is no more, and forever and ever is also no more.
Just as there was a first day (before which was nothing except the the Great I AM) there will be a last day (after which there will be nothing except the Lord God and those who are ONE with Him.) Thus, we must be born a second time unto eternal life, or perish with the rest of creation when “heaven and earth disappear.”
The realm of existence called “New Jerusalem” has neither day nor night. They don’t exist. So how can someone still be tormented “day and night” at this point?
17) Matt. 5:26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Question: What are the unsaved not to come out from if they no longer exist?
Answer: This is another one, like before that is a parable about how to live in this life. It is not a thesis on what the afterlife is like.
Besides it says in very explicit language that there is “by no means” any “coming out from.”
18) Revelation 14:11 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.
Question: If the non-elect were annihilated, why does God say they will have no rest?
Answer: Eternity is denied the damned. They may get day and night, but not Eternity … and alot of good that will do them on the LAST day.
When we enter the eternal state, we do not enter a place that has day or night.
Rev. 21:25 “… In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; “
19) Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Question: Why does God command us to fear Him (and not man) IF all that God will do is ultimately cause cessation of life (which is all that man can do anyway)?
Answer: Matthew’s version of this teaching contains information that is missing in the question. Specifically, Matthew includes what God will ultimately do that is far more than any man can do …
Matt 10:28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
20) Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Question: why are the unsaved to fear being cast into hell, if hell is no more than just a cessation of life? Aren’t there those who voluntarily cause their own life to cease? And don’t they wish that that is all that will come of it, and nothing more?
Answer: Aside from the answer given for 19 above … The drive to keep one’s self alive is one of the strongest drives that each of us have. Avoiding second death is a strong motivation … strong enough, in fact, that those who choose against Eternal life through Christ Jesus the Lord, will have done so whether they go off to cessation of life or life of perpetual torment. However, they do not go off to perpetual torment, as scripture reveals. They go off to destruction.
Matt 7:13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.”
Here are some bonus reasons
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
… And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell.
… And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’
Question: Why would it be better to live in this life without a hand, foot, or eye (conscious pain) than to have one’s existence cease (unconscious of any pain)?
Answer: Aside from the questioner making “the avoidance of pain” being the apparent goal to life, there are important parallels that the Lord’s teaching makes worthy of pointing out.
When you gouge out your eye it is dead and useless for vision … the thrown off part of your body does not continue to live. Same when you cut off your arm. The arm ceases to feel anything and will not languish in agony. It is cut off and no longer a part of the living.
Jesus uses this as a comparison to the second death … which likewise is not a continuance of living nor a continuance of sensing pain, but a complete cessation of being alert and alive.
The scripture could only be a support for the doctrine of unending conscious torment if instead of how Jesus taught, He said something like rub your eye till it bleeds and swells shut if it offends you, and put burning needles in the skin of your hand if it offends you. But that is not what He taught, is it?… He doesn’t say to torment your body parts, but instead to cut them off and remove them from ever feeling anything good or bad ever again.