Bible Articles on the Topic of Annihilation

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

Genocide or Hyperbole? Another Look at the Conquest Narrative in Joshua

The references in Joshua 10 and 11 to the extermination of the Canaanites pose a problem for believers, and not just because they are used by atheists to justify their assertion that the God of the Old Testament is a “tribal, vicious, genocidal deity” that no civilised person should respect, much less worship. There is a problem arising from the fact that in the later chapters of Joshua and the early chapters of Judges, we see clear Biblical evidence that far from being wiped off the face of the Earth, the Canaanites were in fact alive and providing considerable opposition to the Israelites. While some Biblical contradictions are the product of a tendentious reading of the text that ignores context and genre, a literal reading of Joshua 10-11 stands in marked tension with the later chapters of Joshua and Judges. This tension in the text itself, let alone the moral problem of exterminating innocent children, is one which requires attention.

Bible Basics: The Nature Of Man

The majority of human beings seem to spend little time meditating about death, or about their own nature, which is death’s fundamental cause. Such lack of self-examination leads to a lack of self-knowledge, and therefore people drift along through life, making their decisions according to the dictates of their own natural desires. There is a refusal — albeit heavily masked — to take on board the fact that life is so short that all too soon the finality of death will be upon us.

Martin Luther and William Tyndale on the State of the Dead

On December 19, 1513, in connection with the eighth session of the fifth Lateran Council, Pope Leo X issued a Bull (Apostolici regimis) declaring, “We do condemn and reprobate all who assert that the intelligent soul is mortal” (Damnamus et reprobamus omnes assertentes animam intellectivam mortalem esse.) This was directed against the growing “heresy” of those who denied the natural immortality of the soul, and avowed the conditional immortality of man. The Bull also decreed that “all who adhere to the like erroneous assertions shall be shunned and punished as heretics.” The decrees of this Council, it should be noted, were all issued in the form of Bulls or constitutions (H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils, 1937, pp. 483, 487).

The Canaanites and the Justice of God

The God of Israel is sometimes criticized as being a cruel God for instructing Israel to destroy utterly the inhabitants of Canaan as they entered the Promised Land. Superficially, this criticism may appear to be justified. The searching question is asked, Is this the manner of a loving and compassionate God? Surprisingly to many, the answer must be, Yes, it is, and the discoveries of archaeologists show us why the Canaanites had to be destroyed.

Sheol and Hell in the Old Testament

Below are all of the passages from the New International Version of the Bible where the Hebrew word “sheol” is found in the original Hebrew Bible text. The words highlighted in yellow are the English translations for “sheol,” as found in the NIV. This is an exhaustive list. It is noteworthy that the NIV never translates “sheol” as “hell.” In contrast, the King James Version translates “sheol” as “hell” in roughly half of the instances where “sheol” appears in the Hebrew text. As for the Revised Standard and New American Standard versions, they don’t even bother translating the word into English. These two versions leave “sheol” untranslated, which although better than the sometimes flawed and ambiguous renderings of the KJV, still leaves the reader uncertain as to the word’s meaning. The NIV is the only translation that renders “sheol” into English in the most accurate, understandable and consistent manner.

Five Reasons Christians Are Rejecting the Notion of Hell

More and more Christians are beginning to reject the traditional view of hell which states the unjust will experience “eternal, conscious torment”. Perhaps you’ve seen this change in the Christian landscape and grown confused as to why so many of us are experiencing shifting beliefs. While my Letting Go of Hell series goes further in-depth on many issues surrounding hell, here are 5 key reasons to help you understand why we are rejecting the notion of “eternal, conscious torment”:

Gehenna: An Emblem of Endless Punishment?

And 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 (Gehenna). (Matthew 10:28)

Sheol Enumerated: Hell in the Old Testament

Words, which are signs of ideas, were used by the inspired writers in their ordinary acceptation, as they must be by all who speak and write to be understood. In order, therefore, to have a correct view of their language, it is necessary to ascertain what sense they affixed to their words, and this we can only learn by consulting scripture usage. That men have attached ideas to some scripture terms which they were never meant to convey, will not be denied. That this is not the case with the words Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna, which we propose to examine, ought not to be taken for granted.

Hell: What Is It and Where Is It?

The popular theory [believed by most Christians] is that God created this earth for man to inherit in this life only; and that since His intention was to separate the good from the bad when their supposed immortal souls would, by death, forsake their bodies, two places must necessarily be provided. The place for the eternal abode of the good is supposed to be heaven, and that for the wicked is what has been called hell. [In the Bible] we have an account of the creation of the heaven and the earth, but not a word is said about the creation of that place people popularly call hell. Heaven is evidently the place where God dwells; and the earth was created as a place for man to dwell in. It is said, “For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens: God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18).

7 Fallacies About Hell

Like a lot of people who promote the doctrine of hell as a place of eternal suffering, J. D. Greear insists, in “7 Truths About Hell” on the Gospel Coalition site, that he would happily erase the belief from Christian teaching if he could, but he can’t because it’s in the Bible, so we have to live with it. Besides, it is his view that we can’t fully understand God and his world unless we come to terms with the doctrine. To that end he sets out “seven truths” that he thinks should frame our discussion of the topic.

Will the Traditional Christian Belief of Eternal Hell Be Minority View Soon?

Belief in eternal punishment in a literal hell is declining among Christians in America...

Church of England Panel: Remove Brimstone from Idea of Hell

LONDON — A Church of England commission [on doctrine] has rejected the idea of hell as a place of fire, pitchforks and screams of unending agony, describing it instead as annihilation for all who reject the love of God.

Wipeout

“Remember what Amalek did to you… that he met you on the way and he struck those of you who were lagging behind… when you were faint and exhausted…” (Deuteronomy 25:17–18).

Passing of Heaven and Hell

For many centuries, it has been very widely believed that at death man passed either to everlasting bliss in heaven or to everlasting torment in hell. Of recent years, observers of religious opinion have noticed an increasingly general tendency to abandon these beliefs, particularly the less pleasant of the two. In this article it is intended to treat firstly of the establishment and maintenance of these doctrines of heaven and hell which are in process of passing away; secondly to consider what has supplanted them; thirdly (and this will be the most important part), an attempt will be made to discover the reasons for their passing; finally a very brief” enunciation will be given of the Truth of God, which never passes away.

Cast into Hell: Gehenna in Luke’s Gospel

It feels misleading to have a title like “Gehenna in Luke’s Gospel,” which gives the impression that I’m going to look at all the instances where Luke uses the word γέεννα (gehenna). Strictly speaking this is true, but Luke only uses the word once. When he does, he paints a grim but illuminating picture of final judgement in which God ends the life of the lost forever and then does away with them completely.

History Of Hell: Hell Before Augustine

Imagine if somebody said, “No Christian leaders taught the doctrine of eternal torment prior to Augustine.”

A Brief History of Conditional Immortality and Answers to Critics

The men who led the church after the apostles died. They are called the Early Church Fathers. Some of them overlapped the apostles and, of course, learned their theology from them and from their writings, which were later collected into one volume under the title “The New Testament”.

Conditional Immortality: What It Means and Why It's the Best Label

Alas! The hell debate has a terminology problem. First, traditionalism is nondescript and sometimes considered pejorative. It’s also not quite accurate: there were several traditions in early Christendom, with eternal torment dominating in the Western church from around the fourth century. Next, universalism can refer to the inclusivist outlook on world religions, which evangelical universalists typically deny in favor of an eternal opportunity to respond to the gospel. Finally, conditionalism (short for Conditional Immortality) is sometimes reduced to a view about the mechanics of human mortality/immortality instead of pertaining to ultimate destinies in the context of eschatology.

Why I Am An Annihilationist

I am an annihilationist. That means I think the Bible teaches annihilationism. Annihilationism is the view that eternal life is the gift of God, and that those who do not receive this gift will not live forever. Stated more negatively, annihilationists deny the more popular Christian claim that the Bible teaches the traditional doctrine of eternal torment in hell, and we affirm instead that the Bible teaches that the lost will one day die forever. It is important to realize then that annihilationism is not simply a denial that the Bible teaches eternal punishment. Rather, it is a particular view of what that punishment will consist of.

Facts Christians Should Know About The Bible’s “Canaanite Genocide"

[In Deuteronomy 20:17], God commanded the ancient Israelites to “utterly destroy” the Canaanites, among other peoples. And the disappearance of the the latter group from history suggested some truth to the story.

Hell, Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna and Paradise

There is much confusion and misunderstanding over the word “hell.” This audio lecture provides an introduction to the meaning of hell and several related key words pertaining to the afterlife and future judgment.

A Final Word With Edward Fudge

Edward Fudge, author of The Fire That Consumes, joins RethinkingHell.com contributor Chris Date in a two-part interview to discuss his story, the recent movie that tells it, and his latest and final book on the topic of final punishment, Hell: A Final Word.

The Goodness of God with John Stackhouse

Dr. John Stackhouse, Jr., Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology and Culture at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada, joins RethinkingHell.com contributor Chris Date to discuss his switch from traditionalism (the view that the wicked will be tormented forever) to that of conditionalism (the view that the second death is a literal cessation of consciousness and life). Along the way, Dr. Stackhouse talks about his lecture, “Hell and the Goodness of God.” and whether the challenge to the traditional view of hell is part of a reformation that is going on within Christianity today.

The Case for Annihilationism

Listen to Dr. Glenn Peoples make a positive case for annihilationism.

Erasing Hell with Preston Sprinkle

Dr. Preston Sprinkle, co-author of Erasing Hell with Francis Chan, discusses why, having leaned toward the traditional view of hell when the book was published, now finds himself leaning toward conditionalism. Although now leaning toward conditionalism (the view that the second death is a literal cessation of consciousness and life), a few passages still give him pause—which are discussed and considered in this 2-part dialog with Rethinking Hell’s contributor, Chris Date.

Erasing Hell with Preston Sprinkle

Dr. Preston Sprinkle, co-author of Erasing Hell with Francis Chan, discusses why, having leaned toward the traditional view of hell when the book was published, now finds himself leaning toward conditionalism. Although now leaning toward conditionalism (the view that the second death is a literal cessation of consciousness and life), a few passages still give him pause—which are discussed and considered in this 2-part dialog with Rethinking Hell’s contributor, Chris Date.

Traditional Objections to Conditional Immortality Answered

An evangelical Christian attempts to persuade his fellow evangelicals to rethink the traditional view of hell. In this Rethinking Hell podcast, Chris Date looks at the most frequently cited Bible passages traditionalists use to support their view, and answers the most commonly held traditional objections to conditional immortality and the final annihilation of the unsaved. Chris also shines a spotlight on some of the extra-Biblical arguments that traditionalists put forward, revealing how little traditionalists have to stand on.

The Worms of Hell: A Dispensational Challenge

Part 2 of a discussion between Rethinking Hell’s host Chris Date and guest Dr. Robert Taylor, author of Rescue From Death: John 3:16 Salvation. Their discussion addressed differences among conditionalists (those who believe in conditional immortality) and why consistent Dispensationalists must believe in the annihilation of the unsaved. In the following audio portion, Dr. Taylor looks specifically looks at why Isaiah 66:24 needs to be taken literally and historically and not divorced from its context.

The Traditionalist Fallacies of Suffering in Matthew’s Everlasting Punishment

Part 2 of a discussion between Rethinking Hell’s host Chris Date and guest Dr. Robert Taylor, author of Rescue From Death: John 3:16 Salvation. Their discussion looked at the topic of conditional immortality, and in the following audio portion, Dr. Taylor looked specifically at the “eternal punishment” described in Matthew 25:46. He notes that:

Annihilationism

Annihilationism (also known as extinctionism or destructionism) is a Christian belief that at the Last Judgment those not receiving salvation are destined for total destruction, not everlasting torment.