Annihilationism – The Lazy Heretic Podcast Episode 03

Botticellismapofdantesinferno

Show Notes

Apologies for the echo in the background of this episode! This episode we tackle the question of Annihilationism. The idea that people cease to exist once they die. Goes back a fair way, to the early church.

Definition

The belief that the final fate of those who are not saved is literal final death and destruction – they cease to exist. Their soul is away from God, He is no longer holding them in existence, and therefore they cease to be.

Arguments for/logic & understanding

Starting from a different point of view – there is no life in the soul apart from the body.
There are different streams:
*Some hold that you die, are judged, end up in a purgatory, or a hell, with some punishment, and then cease to exist at the resurrection of the dead, and the second coming of Jesus. A half-hearted view on hell – punishment is not eternal, but it is still there.
*You die, and cease to exist.
*Soul sleep, then you are resurrected, face judgement, and then you die.

Conditional Immortality – our soul is not innately immortal. An idea that goes back to the early church.

Psalm 1:6
But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Psalm 92:7
Shall be destroyed forever

Matthew 10:26ff
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Kill vs destroy
apollymi – Destroy.
ἀπόλλυμι apóllymi, ap-ol’-loo-mee; from G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively:—destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

apokteinō – Kill
ἀποκτείνω apokteínō, ap-ok-ti’-no; from G575 and κτείνω kteínō (to slay); to kill outright; figuratively, to destroy:—put to death, kill, slay.

Is immortality part of the gift that is bestowed on us in Christ? Does the bible say that everyone has an eternal soul?

More substantial argument for this than for universalism. These verses are more direct, and less ambiguous than those used by universalists.

Is something that is being burned, but not consumed, for all eternity – is it being destroyed?

In some ways, anything that is NOT Eternal Conscious Torment, they cross over.

There is potentially a more biblical foundation for this view…

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Death is the end of life, not an eternal existence…

2 Thessalonians 1:9
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

There is not much in the Old Testament as to what happens when you die – just the realm of the dead.

Does the Bible teach that the soul is immortal? Does it not rather teach that the souls that sins will die? Do not the most frequently used terms, ‘death’, ‘destruction’, ‘perishing’ and the metaphor of the fire which consumes vegetable matter, suggest an end? (The description of Gehenna is based on the garbage dump in the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem, where the slow fires ceaselessly burnt and the worms steadily consumed the rotting rubbish.) Does not the Bible rather teach that man is mortal, and that sin is a self-destructive force whose final wages are the complete destruction of body and soul? Is not immortality part of the gift of eternal life bestowed on those who come to partake of the divine nature through union with Christ? Is not the universalist’s insistence on the eternity of all souls a move in the direction of pantheism, and the traditionalist’s insistence on the eternity of sinning souls a move in the direction of dualism?

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3 thoughts on “Annihilationism – The Lazy Heretic Podcast Episode 03

Add yours

  1. Good discussion. I look forward to your discussion of traditionaisim (ECT).
    I think the biblical data is extremely strong for condtionalism.
    As a sort of backwards complement, one of the strengths for conditionalism is how weak the biblical argument for traditionalism is. If one does away the assumption that the soul is immortal there isn’t much for traditionalism to stand on.

    Like

  2. Thanks for the feedback. In researching this episode it was interesting to see how many different early theologians held a view of conditional immortality.

    Like

    1. Although I haven’t read it John Roller makes the claim “that almost all of the Church Fathers who wrote before AD 200 were Conditionalists”. His detailed thesis is freely available on his website. From what I understand the early church fathers often used the language of scripture so were prone to speak of the fate of the lost as death, destruction, perishing, etc.

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