Hell , death and the 2nd death?

(Jay Johnson) #61

Yes, and if I may refer back to one of my previous posts:

So, just as we must grow and mature in physical life, we also grow and mature in spiritual life. I believe this was Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 13:

“8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

Although we are physically mature, having outgrown the thinking and behavior of children, until “completeness comes” we are still in our spiritual childhood. When we are born of the Spirit, we are infants, dependent on others for nourishment. As we grow and mature, we become like the newly weaned child, which goes back to @JRM’s comment on Psalm 131. Another name for the maturation process is sanctification, and another name for the goal of sanctification is Christlikeness, when we finally fulfill our destiny as imago Dei. Since we don’t reach that point until the resurrection, my conclusion is that all of us are children, in spiritual terms. Perhaps this is why we see so many temper tantrums over theological issues? :wink:

(Ryan weatherly) #62

Indeed , I would agree , just like sibling rivalry …
The toddler can’t always do what the older children can …not everyone is at the same mile marker on their journey …
Jealousy , covetousness , etc etc …

Further not everyone has the same task set before them .

Each called according to HIS purpose , not everyone has the same gifts at the same time

(Jay Johnson) #63

Lots of good thoughts there, not to mention sermon topics. :grinning:


Try William Barclay’s interpretation of - - -

Matthew 25:46 where it is said that the rejected go away to eternal punishment, and the righteous to eternal life. The Greek word for punishment is kolasis, which was not originally an ethical word at all. It originally meant the pruning of trees to make them grow better. I think it is true to say that in all Greek secular literature kolasis is never used of anything but remedial punishment. The word for eternal isaionios. It means more than everlasting, for Plato - who may have invented the word - plainly says that a thing may be everlasting and still not be aionios. The simplest way to out it is that aionios cannot be used properly of anyone but God; it is the word uniquely, as Plato saw it, of God. Eternal punishment is then literally that kind of remedial punishment which it befits God to give and which only God can give.

Or you can read his whole argument here:


(David Sundaram) #65

The way I have made sense of the issue raised herein is by ‘seeing’ things through the ‘lens’ of ‘reincarnation.’ (I can point to a passage in The New Testament which quite clearly indicates that Jesus himself believed in the phenomenon of ‘reincarnation’ by the way, if you wish.) My understanding in summarized in the following excerpt from the writing I am now doing:

“The short version of ‘the full story’ is that, with the benefit of having both (‘successful’ and ‘unsuccessful’) kinds of experiences, souls may incrementally become aware of the ins and outs of the multivarious kinds of liabilities which stem from short-sighted self ishness and (so) in due course choose to transcend any and all self ish-‘i’dentity associated inclinations such that they eventually become completely devoted to optimizing and augmenting the Entity of Life’s Love and Joy process above and beyond their own and (so) from that point on live in a state of ‘at oneness’ or conjunction with said Ever-Ongoing Process, hence one might say ‘forever’ or ‘eternally’, thereafter. The alternative possibility in this regard, of course, being their completely (capital letter ‘F’!) ‘Failing’ to do and be so.

The latter possibility derives from the fact that, if and as a soul reacts, as all self ish-ego bound (hence ‘immature’ in incarnational terms) souls inevitably sometimes do, to the frustration(s) and disappointment(s) of personal wishes, hopes, and expectations in an unduly self ish-gratification oriented (hence) other-forsaking manner – the idea that Life presents us with a series of ‘tests’ which we may either ‘pass’ or not in this regard pertains here – and if such all too human directional liability isn’t somehow neutralized and reversed – note, if your experience is presently hellish: in retrospect, horrible-to-go-through experiences variously labeled ‘dark nights of the soul’, ‘hitting bottom’ and ‘ego-death’ will be seen to have actually having been boons in this regard! – a soul may become so mentally and emotionally ‘i’solated that its capacity and inclination to experience and express Love and Joy psychospiritually shrinks and shrivels (i.e. devolves) to the point where it becomes un loving and un joyful in relation to Life and others that are a part of It. What happens then, since the Essence of Life is Love and Joy and that is what our Entity is actually the living expression of, what ‘happens’ then of course is that such soul just ‘blinks out’, i.e. it ‘vanishes’ from the ‘field’ of Life, as a psychospiritual ‘unit’. Such a soul completely ‘loses’ the possibility of ever incarnating again as an nodal entity. There is no ‘kernel’ of Love and Joy left which can then possibly incarnate and thereby evolve and develop to the point where it consciously integrates with and thereafter coherently lives on as a vital ‘member’ of The ‘Body’ of Life.

This final, because then and thereafter absolutely irremediable, ‘loss’ is what is referenced as the ‘second death’ in The Book of Revelation which, notwithstanding the fact that said book distorts the truth by conflating the personage of Jesus with The Entity of Life (a/k/a Christ), as well as by projecting all anti-Christ ‘wrongdoing’ to be the work of a singularly evil, mythological Satan (alas, ‘channeled’ visions and sayings cannot help but be ‘shaped’ and ‘colored’ by the belief-lens of the ‘channeler’!), nevertheless appropriately in my opinion puts such and related phenomena in reincarnation-referencing perspective, to wit: “I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast [the ‘beast’, of course, just being gross self ishness], neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan [i.e. the spirit of unmitigated _self_ ishness] shall be loosed out of his prison, and shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth … to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they [i.e. the unduly self ish people you see running rampant all over the globe today!] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city.” (Revelation 20:4-9)

While I’m at it, in relation to the eschatological vision presented in said Book of Revelation, let me also say that, given the horribleness of the horrors and and miserableness of the miseries such ‘deceived’ (by the ‘dictates’ of self ishness) folks spawn, it is more than understandable why many would wish and project that perpetrators in said regards will experience and suffer the most hellish kinds of torments imaginable in retribution before their souls are annihilated by way of the above referenced ‘second death’ (following their bodies’ physical one), as grotesquely fantasized, for instance, in: “And fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 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. … And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:9-15) An equally grotesque, retributional-wish fulfilling fantasy that self ish ‘sinners’ suffer the worst imaginable fate – albeit in this case, leaving the issue of what ultimately ‘happens’ to such souls schematically unresolved, one which continues to spiral downward without end! – appears in Ch.16 of The Bhagavad Gita: “Puffed up by power and inordinate conceit, swayed by lust and wrath, these wicked people hate Me Who am within them, as I am within all. Those who thus hate Me, who are cruel, the dregs of mankind, I condemn them to a continuous, miserable and godless rebirth. So reborn, they spend life after life, enveloped in delusion. And they never reach Me, … but degenerate into still lower forms of life.” Both this and the fore-referenced ‘final judgment’ scenarios are clearly negative-emotion ‘loaded’ and (so) thematically punitive. Such negativity and punitiveness don’t make sense in the context of Jesus’ vision and teaching (presented and discussed in the preceding chapter) that Love and Joy constitute Life’s programmatic Source ‘code’, to wit that ‘God’ is a beneficently-inclined ‘Father’ from which all Life springs, however.

This is not to say that the Flow of Life’s Love and Joy experience and expression doesn’t fork negatively (relatively speaking) in the case of folks who attitudes, intentions and behaviors in relation to other aspects of Life or Life Itself are value-negate-ing. Universally operative psychospiritual dyamics ensure that “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap!” (Galatians 6:7) The point I am making is that the disintegration and existential cessation of a gestalt of Love and Joy as a nodal soul is really no more than just that: an ‘i’dentity-dissipating ‘happening’ wherein and whereby the elements that constitute the pattern of personal psychospiritual being are dispersed and recombinantly recycled, such that a soul’s components get ‘dissolved’ and ‘absorbed’ into and so, albeit no longer coherently, live on ‘in’ the beingnesses of other aspects of Life in the context of the absolutely positive Being (i.e. Entity) of our Life-Matrix wherein everyone and everything in existence derives from the same Source and so partakes of the same original ‘blessing’: “Ye [are] the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45) There is no zero point in this regard, let alone something negative relative to that, in other words. Analogous to what physicists believe to be the case with physical matter-n-energy, soulful beingness can never really be ‘lost’ (albeit, as just stated, ‘i’dentity configurations can get reshuffled to the point where continuities in this regard may become unrecognizable, so thinking and speaking, as Jesus did, about the possibility of ‘losing’ one’s soul, in this case meaning the coherency of one’s psychospiritual gestalt, may nevertheless to be a functional way of considering and evaluating choices in face of the recycling dynamic which is continues to be operative in the process of ‘higher’ psychospiritual evolution, i.e. of soul-‘ascension’, as spoken of in this chapter)."


Greetings. Okay so, you wont like this answer, as it is scary. This is predominantly why many people reject it, as it goes against the very reason they want to believe in the first place! That is, their fear of death being nothingness…


Once a person dies, that’s it, they’re gone, nothing. Their body returns to the dust and their spirit returns to God whom gave it. Their spirit being their ‘life’, and not a ghost of the person.

It is in the grave in this state of nothingness that they await the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection, where they will be restored back to a conscious entity.

Now comes judgement. The wicked are cast into the lake of fire, and experience the Second Death, which is total annihilation. Once again, they become as nothing. Eternal punishment, NOT punishing…

The fiery descriptions of Hell are inspired by the Valley of Gehenna, a place outside Jerusalem in which trash and the bodies of criminals were cast to be burned up.

So there you go. Hell is separation from God. And God is light and life. Therefore Hell is death and darkness.

(George Brooks) #67

I’m completely in favor of a very real 2nd death… not some figurative suggestion of “separation” from God as death. That’s not death… any more than Adam died when he ate of the fruit. Heck, for someone who was supposed to die, he lived longer than anyone!

(Mitchell W McKain) #68

I don’t believe God does any such thing. But I believe in hell because I see it in the world. The evidence I see is that people not only can and do choose this but they themselves are the creator of the hell into which they drag themselves. The one thing we cannot escape is ourselves.

You are of course free to believe otherwise according to what agrees best with your experiences. Perhaps you would prefer the Jehovah Witnesses who believe in annihilationism or the universalists who believe hell is temporary and everyone is saved eventually. But I don’t find these ideas very easy to swallow. It looks to me like they create more logical problems than they solve.

The 2nd death is hell. But this is not a place people are sent to, but simply one of the two logical directions people can go because of the competing forces of creation/growth and destruction/degradation. When a spirit surrenders himself to his sins, then the result can only be greater moral degradation and a descent into evil. You could indeed say the person they were is destroyed, but this doesn’t mean nothing remains, and… they destroyed themselves frankly.

Because of what they are, I do not believe spirits can be destroyed, not by anything external to them. Spirits are not a part of any system of laws by which this could happen. They exist by their own nature alone according to their own choices. They are like a separate universe, the laws of which can either connect them to others or destroy everything within them that makes existence worthwhile.

The idea of forcing souls to live, as a some control freak dictates they must do, conflicts with a merciful loving father. A good parent has to let his children make their own choices and the best he can do is make sure the choice of eternal life remains open to them as long as possible. But I believe that after death this becomes very difficult if not impossible because once we die, our choices are the only realities left. It is like running onto a perfectly frictionless ice, where we can only keep going in the direction we had when we were alive. Thus I often say that hell is our hearts desire, while heaven is God’s desire for us. Without a lifeline to God we are lost.

With the above said, all this slowly roasting stuff sound a bit comical to me. I just don’t see that as very frightening. What is frightening, frankly, is found just by looking deeply within yourself. Will it frighten you to discover a devil in there draggin your whole world into a nightmare of abuse and depravity?

Sounds to me like someone has been teaching you this Gnostic gospel of salvation by sound doctrine. Salvation is by the grace of God, so put your faith in the living God and not in some bet that your understanding of things is the correct one. However, if you are seeking the truth for its own sake then that is very different matter, and forums like this one is a great place for seeking answers. But there are no saviors here. We are blind guides, just like everyone else.

(Austin) #69

I haven’t taken the time to look through all of the responses but I’d highly suggest looking into the work of rethinking hell (rethinkinghell.com).


The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

I’m aware of the biblical arguments for annihilationism. But how would it account for a statement like this by Jesus in reference to Judas?

(Mitchell W McKain) #71

Liking has nothing to do with. Scary? Not really. That is more of comedy than a horror story to me.

I reject it because it is silly, the same reason I reject YEC and a lot of other childishly literal interpretations of the Bible. But not like it??? If somebody really wants to play out the comedy, I will not complain - just laugh my head off.

Why should anyone be afraid of nothing? At best this is just irrational but at worst it is a kind of narcissism.

Sounds like a nice dream to me. Good luck with that.

No. That is unsupportable. The spirit is not life. Life isn’t some non-physical stuff or thing added to matter. Such medieval alchemy fantasies are nothing but nonsense which make no more sense than a flat earth held up by a giant called Atlas or sitting on the back of three elephants and a turtle. Life is a self-organizing process which alters itself in response to environmental changes – called adaptation and learning. The spirit if it exists is therefore something entirely different, including when you go by the Bible.

All the rest of that is excessively literal treatment of texts which are clearly highly metaphorical in character. It is easier to take Walt Disney animations more seriously than that stuff. But if you do take it seriously, then why would you worship the sadistic creature named god in that story?

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #72

Very easily.

Annihilationism does not argue that the wicked do not suffer. It argues that their suffering is not eternal, because evil is not co-eternal with good, because a “consuming” fire actually consumes (eats up completely, leaving no trace), because of any number of other philosophical, theological and scriptural reasons.

So, at the resurrection, Judas will be resurrected. He will suffer horribly, and then he will cease to exist. The end.

(Randy) #73

That just doesn’t sound like a corrective punishment to me. Maybe it was a transient sensation of wishing one had never been born. I don’t know.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #74

Oh, I agree; I wasn’t even saying it would be “punishment” or “corrective.” I just said he would suffer.

I am fond of the idea promoted by some (Orthodox, most notably) that hellfire is merely the way that many will experience the love of God, who Himself is a “consuming fire.” There have certainly been times in my life where I resisted God’s love and He continued to show me love in ways that felt quite excruciating at the time, rather like Eustace losing his dragon’s scales in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I don’t think this reading of Judas’s suffering is excluded from such a passage.

(Mitchell W McKain) #75

I like both of these ideas by the Orthodox and C. S. Lewis also. But these are ideas of rather limited scope rather than addressing the big picture questions of annihilationism and eternal hell. The first idea of God’s love as a consuming fire simply explains that people can react differently to God’s love and that while some will be drawn by it, other will be repelled by it. The story of Eustace is one of redemption and it suggests salvation is founded upon embracing the corrective pain rather than fleeing it.

(Randy) #76

Ditto for that; good insight. Thanks. I resist grace as well.
I have felt that God has as much compassion for Judas as for me and that I am at base no less able to sin (actually much more than this sin). I struggle with these passages but do believe God is pursuing us all with the love you describe. I too like Lewis’ descriptions. Thanks.

(Randy) #77

Penetrating. Kicking against the pricks?

(Laura) #78

Interesting. Do you know whether this view is still annihilationism, or does it involve some kind of universal reconciliation?

(Mitchell W McKain) #79

There is a difference between corrective and controlling as well as between embracing and submitting. Clearly I am not a fan of this metaphor you are alluding to. I don’t think God is controlling and I don’t think cowardice is a virtue God is seeking to reward.

(Richard Wright) #80

Hi Ryan,

Even though I never was bothered by the idea of an eternal punishment and was firmly convinced that that was the fate of unbelievers, within the last year I completely changed my mind on the subject. My firm conviction now is that hell, though an eternally lasting place, is only eternal for the devil and his helpers, and that unbelievers undergo a short punishment (whatever that is) before they cease to exist. This 15-page paper by Douglas Jacoby got me most of the way there, and other papers and podcasts on his site got me the rest of the way.