The Second Death, What is it?

(Kevin Hurst) #21

@SeanO I do find that helpful. Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate that. I will need to think through these things.

(SeanO) #22

@Kevin_Hurst Of course - I think it is always wise to be open to changing one’s opinion but to be slow to do so. That allows time to pray and study and think deeply about the issue first. It took me years to change my mind on a number of different topics like this one because I wanted to study thoroughly first and I’m glad I took that time. Christ grant you wisdom.

(Jimmy Sellers) #23

Please forgive this late post and its length It has been an interesting read and some very good points have been made.
The subject of ‘hell’ is a hot topic these days. I have been noodling on the subject for a while courtesy of @SeanO 's post from 2yrs ago about Mr. Fudge. I don’t want to re-plow the hold of the field, but I notice that in all the discussions and seed sowing that the 2nd temple view of hell was left out. If we are to understand what a Jewish audience would understand about hell we have to include the Jewish writings about hell which would be dated 200 years before and maybe 100 years after the resurrection of Jesus, Messiah. This would put them well within the early Christian understanding and writing of the NT. Here are a few excerpts to consider.

32 And the earth shall give up those who are asleep in it, and the dust those who dwell silently in it; and the chambers shall give up the souls which have been committed to them. 33 And the Most High shall be revealed upon the seat of judgment, and compassion shall pass away, and patience shall be withdrawn; 34 but only judgment shall remain, truth shall stand, and faithfulness shall grow strong. 35 And recompense shall follow, and the reward shall be manifested; righteous deeds shall awake, and unrighteous deeds shall not sleep. 36 Then the pit of torment shall appear, and opposite it shall be the place of rest; and the furnace of hell shall be disclosed, and opposite it the paradise of delight. (2 Esd 7:32–36)

10 in like manner, the sinners are set apart when they die and are buried in the earth and judgment has not been executed upon them in their lifetime, 11 upon this great pain, until the great day of judgment—and to those who curse (there will be) plague and pain forever, and the retribution of their spirits. (1 Enoch 22: 10-11)

15 For the coming world will be given to these, but the habitation of the many others will be in the fire. (Baruch 46.1)

  9 Woe unto you, sinners, because of the words of your hands!
  On account of the deeds of your wicked ones,
  in blazing flames worse than fire, it shall burn. (1 Enoch 100:9)

3 As for you, wait patiently until sin passes away, for the names of (the sinners)d shall be blotted out from the Book of Life and the books of the Holy One; their seeds shall be destroyed forever and their spirits shall perish and die; they shall cry and lament in a place that is an invisible wilderness and burn in the fire—for there exists ground there (as upon the earth).

4 I also saw there something like an invisible cloud; (and) though I could see that it was completely dark yet I could not see the flame of its fire because it was burning brightly; and there were some things like bright mountains which formed a ring (around it) and which were tossing it to and fro. (1 Enoch 108.3–4)

17 Woe to the nations that rise up against my people!
The Lord Almighty will take vengeance on them in the day of judgment;
fire and worms he will give to their flesh;
they shall weep in pain for ever. (Judith 16:17)

It should be clear that from these Jewish writing that any talk about hell would be influenced by these images. Hell is a real place of eternal torment with fire and suffering that would last forever. Jesus used this language and so did the NT writers.
Now I realize that the first response is going to be that this is not scripture and I agree but how do I reconcile this? All cultures have some type of bias baked into what and how they think about life particularly when you consider that the Pauline doctrines are built on the his 2nd temple view of eschatology re-worked around a resurrected Messiah, a Messiah who used this same language when speaking about hell. Just read the words of Jesus about ‘Gehenna’ and replace it with ‘garbage dump’, not quite as impactful.
To be fair these same extant sources also support the idea of annihilation but are in the minority.
For those who are interested here are the references.

…And their dwelling place will be in darkness and the place of destruction; and they will not die but melt away until I remember the world and renew the earth. And then they will die and not live, and their life will be taken away from the number of all men. (Pseudo-Philo 16.3)

 18 They will see, and will have contempt for him, 
  but the Lord will laugh them to scorn. 
  After this they will become dishonored corpses, 
  and an outrage among the dead for ever; 19 because he will dash them speechless to the ground, 
  and shake them from the foundations; 
  they will be left utterly dry and barren, 
  and they will suffer anguish, 
  and the memory of them will perish. (Wis 4:18–19)

11 blasphemous tongue, blindness of eyes, hardness of hearing, stiffness of neck, hardness of heart in order to walk in all the paths of darkness and evil cunning. And the visitation
12 of all those who walk in it will be for an abundance of afflictions at the hands of all the angels of destruction, for eternal damnation by the scorching wrath of the God of revenges, for permanent terror and shame
13 without end with the humiliation of destruction by the fire of the dark regions. And all the ages of their generations (they shall spend) in bitter weeping and harsh evils in the abysses of darkness until
14 their destruction, without there being a remnant or a survivor for them. Blank (1QS Col. iv:11-14)

Then the righteous one shall arise from his sleep, and the wise one shall arise; and he shall be given unto them (the people), 11 and through him the roots of oppression shall be cut off. Sinners shall be destroyed; by the sword they shall be cut off (together with) the blasphemers in every place; and those who design oppression and commit blasphemy shall perish by the knife. ( 1 Enoch 91.10–11)
So, what does all this mean about hell? Was fear a motivator for the Jewish elect? The 1st century Christian? The 21th century Christian? I think fear is a part of what drives us to the goodness of God. But as good as God is he is not going brow beat you into the Kingdom.

I have a modified universalist view of what I call an ‘expectant God’, a God who expects each of his imago Dei to except his offer of eternal life through what he has revealed about His goodness old covenant and completed work of Jesus new covenant. I believe that we seal our fate with a rejection of God’s love, a love that we are all predisposed (by virtue of being born) to innately feel and recognize in this world. This love is for us to reject not to except. I know the Gospel says confess, believe and except but a ‘no response’ is a rejection of what every Imago Dei deep down knows, God expects us to come home, think the prodigal. For me this validates God’s free will and man’s free will it also takes the argument that God made some people for ‘hellfire’ off the table. Admittedly, when I share this with other people they generally become suspicious of me.
Again forgive my jumping in but the subject is not near settled in my mind.
I would also add that we could have this discussion about heaven too.

I hope to know more about both in the first week of May as I have tickets to see NT Wright speak on Romans 5-8 and a lecture on Rethinking Heaven and Hell and the New Creation. Lookng forward to this.

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(SeanO) #24

@Jimmy_Sellers That event with N. T. Wright sounds like a great one! We should take a field trip :slight_smile:

Regarding the views of rabbinic Judaism during this time period, here are a few points to consider:

  • Jesus always cited Scripture as the ultimate authority, so if canonical Scripture offers a valid way of understanding Gehenna, I think that should be preferred
  • rabbinic views were not unified - some were universalists, some annihilationists and some eternal torment
  • I think it could be validly argued that the views of rabbinic Judaism during this time period on Gehenna had been heavily influenced by pagan thought and by the extreme persecution / desperation the Jewish people faced. While a secular thinker would naturally assume that Jesus also taught within that same contextual stream, I do not think it wise to jump to that conclusion too quickly if we believe Jesus is God and came to fulfill the Scriptures.

Here are some quotes from “All You Want to Know About Hell” by Steve Gregg. He points out that Gehenna in the OT referred to a place corpses were buried after judgment upon a city and that the warning about Gehenna would fit naturally in the context of God’s judgment on Jerusalem in 70 AD. He also provides some sources for the variety of views on Gehenna within rabbinic Judaism.

At least twice, Jeremiah made reference to the Valley of Hinnom (or Gehenna), as the place outside the city where the corpses of those slain by the indvaders would be cast off (Jer 7:32-33; 19:6-9)

Commentators often assume without question that Jesus accepted the rabbinic convention in His use of Gehenna, rather than following the precedent found in the Old Testament. We have already noted that John borrowed Jeremiah’s imagery in warning of the impending judgment (on Jerusalem). What would be more natural than for Jesus to do the same?..In Matthew 23:33,36, Jesus specifically associated Gehenna with the crisis that would come upon Jerusalem in His hearers’ own generation. "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of Gehenna?..Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

In the Old Testament, where the majority of this imagery is found, such a “fiery” judgment almost always refers to a national judgment occurring in history (to Babylon, Assyria, Edom, Israel, etc), not to an eschatological or postmortem punishment. This is true even when the fire is said to be “unquenchable”, as is often the case (2 Kings 22:17, 2 Chronicles 34:25, Isaiah 1:31; 34:10; Jeremiah 4:4; 7:20; 17:27; 21:12, Ezekiel 20:47,48; Amos 5:6).

Shortly before the time of Christ, certain Jewish writings (1 Enoch) used the term Gehenna as a reference to the place of judgment for the wicked in the next world. The term never bore this meaning in the canonical Scriptures. Following the apocryphal writings, the rabbis began to speculate about the judgment of the damned, using Gehenna as the term for what we would call “hell”. By the time of Christ, the term commonly carried this connotation, and was probably associated with this concept in the minds of many of Jesus’ hearers.

Even so, there was no unanimity among the rabbis as to the ultimate destiny of the wicked in Gehenna. Some thought that sinners who had not led others to sin would go to Gehenna for only twelve months, as a purging experience, after which they would go to the throne of God (Babylonian Talmud RH64). Thus, "all that descend into gehenna shall come up again, with the exception of three classes of men : those who have committed adultery, or shamed their neighbors, or vilified them (B. M. 58B). Others thought that the outcome, after a time in Gehenna, would be annihilation (R.H. 17a: comp. Shab. 33b). A third view, championed by the apocryphal book of Judith, insisted that the totally wicked would burn forever in torment, though the word Gehenna is not used there (Judith xvi. 17). In other words, just like the early Christians, some Jews were annihilationists, some were universalists, and some taught eternal torment. These were all variant opinions about the judgment of Gehenna.

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(Sieglinde) #25

I appreciate the wrestling with the final death view possibly being wrong. And I agree that someone who rejects God could accept temporal suffering and final death worth it (if I understand you correctly). But I might also see someone in their pride risk rejecting God because of the threat of “eternal torment.” Neither view would prevent me from trying to persuade people to Christ. We don’t understand what we are giving up when we reject His salvation and eternity with Him.
I have a very difficult time wrapping my brain and heart around eternal torment. I have been reading the text “mercy triumphs over judgement” a lot lately. It would seem more “merciful” to let someone who doesn’t want to spend eternity with God cease to exist, but that is my human perspective.
I understand the lake of fire (like you said) and eternal torment to be for the devil and his angels however, it does read “and those who follow after him.” Maybe because some people like the devil intentially torment others and waive any chance for mercy???
I don’t know but I appreciate the topic and pray to learn more from it.
Thank you for bringing it up!

(Lakshmi Mehta) #26

@SeanO, as I read your posts about the support for Conditionalism, one question I have is, How do conditionalists explain the need for degrees of punishment before destruction? What would be the point of it if the souls are going to be destroyed anyway? Matt Slick on Carm website raises similar concerns. What are your views on the problems he brings up.

But, if the unsaved suffer according to their sins, which is according to their wickedness in breaking God’s law, then once the punishment is completed, why are they not saved and then go to heaven? After all, the law has been satisfied through their suffering. If they say that once the punishment is completed, then they are annihilated, then that means that God is unjust since they have met the requirements of the Law and yet God still punishes them for what they’ve paid for. It makes no sense.

Second, if they say that there are different degrees of conscious punishment before they are punished with eternal nonexistence, then they are saying punishment is of two types: conscious punishment and nonexistence. But if this is the case, then this particular view of conditionalism which expresses conscious torment is similar to the traditionalist view. The only real difference is duration. Then, there’s the problem of eternal nothingness being punishment - which it cannot be.

Just curious, I am still trying to learn the different views on hell. Thank you!

(SeanO) #27

@Lakshmismehta No problem. Yes, this is one of a number of areas where I would disagree with Matt Slick, though I very much appreciate his ministry because it helped me in my high school years.

I would have a number of responses to this particular objection:

  1. Salvation is not achieved through punishment. Yes, Jesus did die in our place, but that does not mean everyone is automatically saved. Salvation involves loving God with our will - it is a heart transformation. It is not just a ledger being balanced - that is far too mechanical a view. Once people are punished, if their will is still set against God (which Biblically seems to be the case), then they will cease to exist. God cannot just transport them into Heaven while they are still actively set against Him.

  2. It is not clear to me that God is in the business of tormenting people at all. I do not know what form punishment will take, but the whole idea of torment appears to me to come out of pagan religion. You are probably familiar with the levels of Hell in Hinduism. Such a concept is not clearly laid out in Scripture. Only Revelation uses imagery that approximates it, but it appears to me to be allegorical imagery.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #28

@SeanO, I understand the train of thought for the first reason you gave. So, if I understand you correctly, allegorical understanding denies degrees of punishment is what you are saying. So, there is another way of explaining the verses related to degrees of punishment. I will have to read up about that. Thanks

(SeanO) #29

@Lakshmismehta On the second point, I’m more so saying that it is uncertain to me what form punishment will take. I really just do not know. But I also do not see any precedent in Scripture for God tormenting people. That does not seem to be in keeping with His character or His behavior, even in the OT.

Most conditionalists do believe in some form of punishment for the wicked prior to annihilation - at least the ones to which I have been exposed.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #30

Thanks Sean, the way I see it is that hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. And anyone who resists submission to God and desires to be their own god are buying into the same disposition Satan has and tempted Adam with. So in a sense the destruction is a result of teaming with the evil one. When Abraham asks will you destroy the righteous with the wicked ?, God says he would have saved them if they were a few righteous. The fact is none are. So,it’s not the character of God but because of the character of man that torment results. That’s just my understanding.

(Jimmy Sellers) #31

I would agree with you. For me this is no different that the prodigal. I’ll take mine now Dad. :slightly_frowning_face:
The other thing that bothers me is that this view is not much different that what an atheist might say.

(SeanO) #32

@Lakshmismehta I can understand that perspective. One thing to consider is that in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah though, God destroyed them - He did not torment them.

(SeanO) #33

@Jimmy_Sellers Personally I believe it is very different than what an atheist would say in many ways - the existence of God, the reality that we all must face judgment, the chance of eternal life, the reality that we have a soul… In fact the only thing it has in common with what an atheist would say is that, at some point after death, they cease to exist - but even then it is not right away - not right when they go into the grave. So in fact it is fundamentally different, but superficially similar, as Ravi would say :slight_smile:

(Jimmy Sellers) #34

When the lights are out the lights are out. Makes no difference to a dead man.:grinning:
By the way I am planning on replying to our last round of emails.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #35

Yes, something to think about there about Sodom and Gomorrah. I just don’t see the point of resurrection of the wicked before judgement, punishment then and then annihilation. One purpose for punishment after resurrection would be a second chance to repent in hell. I don’t think there is scriptural support for that. The Holy Spirit who brings us to repentance is absent in hell.

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(Kevin Hurst) #36

Hi @SeanO I have been thinking through these things some more. I was trying to work through some of your argument. I believe as you said too, that the idea of the soul being eternal is a lynch pin to the whole idea of a physical eternal separation/torment. So that is what I am looking at right now.
One the main arguments you give against it, if I am understanding you correctly, is that the Christians basically just borrowed their view from ancient pagan philosophy of an eternal soul. We cannot use pagan philosophy to come to our understanding of what the Bible says. I agree. But just because it was in pagan philosophy, does that mean it is completely wrong?

In your argument against the account of Lazarus and the rich man you use the argument that because of ancient literature we can be almost sure that this is not a true account.

There is a rule of philosophy that I think could also apply here if I am not mistaken. Just because two things have one thing in common does not mean that they have everything in common.

Also do we use ancient thinking when it suits our thinking but reject it when it does not?
I may be missing something here too. So just was looking for some clarification.=)

You had mentioned - If Hell is eternal and we do not think God tortures people and we do not think the human soul can be destroyed - what then becomes of the wicked? Lewis basically argues they become their sin, which is an interesting perspective. Were you agreeing with Lewis here or disagreeing with his perspective?
The idea that God tortures people is an interesting perspective. I believe like I stated before the lake of fire is a literal place that God created for the devil and his angels. Matthew 25 talks about this. It is called a place of everlasting punishment(Matthew 25:46). Maybe in response to @sig As I see it there are really only two kingdoms, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. There is no other option. You are going to be a part of one or the other. There is no middle ground. I believe a person with pride is going to reject God no matter what. Just my thought. When we reject the love and mercy that God has extended to us. And he gives chance after chance to us in his great mercy but we still reject it, we have then accepted the devil and his kingdom as I see it. The dwelling place of all those that reject God and essentially accepting the devil’s side is the same place is the lake of fire. We are not saved by works of mercy towards others. We are saved by accepting the mercy that God extended towards all men through Christ and then giving mercy to others out of the mercy we have been shown ourselves.
The idea of “torturing” as so called I think we would see in different passages of the NT. The story of the unforgiving servant. Matthew 18:34. The king is representing the Father if I am not mistaken and he turns the man over to the torturers. The story of Lazarus and the Rich man. Which I know we disagree on but I believe the language is very descriptive of a man that is in “torture”. And also Revelation 20:10 talks of the beast and the false prophet being tormented for ever and ever in a lake of fire. That sounds to me like it is eternally going on. Where Revelation 20:15 says that those that are not written in the book of life with also be cast. Now who or what they represent we can debate that. But whomever it is or whatever it is is going to be facing some kind of torment for eternity. I think when we go into figurative speech it makes things very speculative. I believe there is some figurative speech in Revelation, but it often is figurative of something that is literal.
Unfortunately God is made out to be some kind of sadistic monster, but, just again, this hell had not been originally created for people but for the devil and his angels. Obviously God knew that man would sin; the result of free will, which God gave us so that true love could exist, but because God foreknew that, before the foundation of the world was laid, the plan for man’s redemption was set in place. That is love and grace to me.

As far as the soul being eternal I believe it started right back at the beginning when God breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul. That is what gave man an eternal soul that would last forever. We did not always exist like God, but we will always exist from now on because God has imparted into us an attribute of himself of eternality. We have God’s life within us if you will, which is eternal. This also points to what happens in the second birth in John 20:22 with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In a sense perhaps you could say the second death is the opposite of what happens in the second birth. Still working on that thought but it is something that is spiritual but works out in the physical realm.
This breath of life also gives each person eternal worth. It is a part of what makes us created in the image of God. Does an unbeliever not have eternal worth because they really don’t have eternal life? Just a little more than an animal? Still working on that thought.=)

If the eternality of the human soul is established I think the questions of the differing passages throughout the Bible for me make more sense.
I Corinthians 15:32 Paul quotes from a passage from Isaiah 22:13, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. It is in the context of lets live it up because there is no tomorrow. We are just going to cease to exist, be destroyed. I realize you believe in a final judgment and some form of punishment so this may not completely apply but it sounds similar to me to the view of annihilation. If I am an sinner and am told if I do not repent I am going to cease to exist after some kind of punishment, in my mind it would almost seem worth it to me. I was actually told this by a young man. I realize that there is so much more that comes with accepting Christ but an unregenerate heart does not already care about a relationship with Christ. They are looking at what way they can live for themselves.

My case is still that I believe we are giving people a hope that we cannot ultimately prove until after death, which will then be too late. I would rather be wrong on eternal physical separation, than to tell them that if they reject God they will eventually cease to exist. I also think that a plain reading of the Bible does support this view in my opinion. We as a Christian have been given the hope that the suffering that we may experience here on earth is going to end. We are to take hope because it will end and we will be forever with our Lord. Is that same hope given to the unveliever? Not that I can find in the Bible.

This is a part of my argument so that you can critique it and give me your feed back. I want to be sure as well what I believe.

I believe, like you said, that we need to keep the main thing the main thing and we may not ever really change each other’s minds; but I also believe that our view of the secondary things of the Bible are going to effect the way we live out our Christian lives. Ideas have consequences. That is why these things do matter, in my opinion. I believe all of God’s attributes need to be kept in perfect balance. None of His attributes are greater than the other as I can tell. Maybe I am wrong on that.
We need justice and mercy kept in perfect balance. I believe that the eternal physical being in the presence of God and the eternal physical separation from God will keep these two in perfect balance. Around the 1960s people were looking for freedom and the church gave in through the idea that God is all about love, grace, and mercy. But it was a kind of grace that Dietrich Bonoeffer called “cheap grace”. Not the kind of grace that I see Christ calling us to, which actually set the bar even higher than the OT. It did away with the justice and wrath of God too much. We have lost a sense of the terribleness of sin and the eternal consequences of rejecting this God of love and mercy. We are now having to have some very difficult conversations in Christendom on divorce and remarriage, abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism. What I believe is the consequence of the idea that God is all about love. It took a number of years for the consequences to work themselves through the system, but this is my view on what happened.
These are just some thoughts I have been thinking on. I give these to you so that you can critique them and give me a rebuttal as you see fit. This pursuit for coherence in life and balance is so very needed I think. That is what I love about the brotherhood. We need each other to keep ourselves balanced.

(SeanO) #37

@Kevin_Hurst I think I am failing to convey the nature of symbolism in Revelation, so I would commend additional reading (starter link at bottom). I responded to a few of your points below, but I agree this is indeed a secondary issue. However, I also agree it is important because it can impact our walk with God and our approach towards people. Lewis, I believe, said his statements in the ‘Great Divorce’ were not meant to be taken as theology, so I was more so simply saying that the ideas in the book were interesting.

  • I still think fear of punishment is not going to produce true religion - care for the orphan and the widow and the outcast. Fear is fundamentally selfish - it is all about me - saving my own back end. Love, on the other hand, is selfless - it gives sacrificially to the other. I just cannot see religion motivated by fear producing the fruit of the Spirit. I think it is gazing upon Christ - not the fear of Hell - that motivates true religion. Of course, that is not to say the fear of Hell might not lead you to the cross of Jesus. I understand that perspective.
  • the idea that Hell balances out Heaven is more something out of eastern philosophy than the Bible. It reminds me of the idea of Yin and Yang. God’s justice and mercy do not balance each other out the way that two weights balance each other out on a scale. God is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful. But we must remember that without justice, mercy is meaningless. How can God be merciful if we do not deserve punishment in the first place?
  • your argument for the soul being eternal, as I understand it, is circular. Yes, God breathed life into us and yes God is eternal. But that does not automatically make our soul eternal. You would need to defend why God’s breathe of life implies immortality.
  • Matthew 25:41 references ‘eternal fire’ - it does not talk about torment. That idea is brought in from Revelation.

One thing to remember about apocalyptic literature is that it’s highly symbolic, and part of the reason for that symbolism is to evoke emotion about the message. When you read apocalyptic literature, pay special attention to the symbolism and the emotions it’s intended to evoke.

When you first approach a piece of apocalyptic writing, try to focus on the emotions that its images evoke. In Daniel 7, for example, Daniel sees a great sea, and from the sea emerge four terrifying creatures. Before you ever try to figure out what the creatures might represent, try to place yourself in Daniel’s shoes and imagine the horror of what he’s seen, because that’s a large part of what the literature was trying to accomplish.

Another purpose of the literature was to encourage people who were oppressed. This literature was written to an audience that was suffering as a way to give them hope that their enemies would be conquered at some point, and both victory and better days were ahead for them.

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(Kevin Hurst) #38

Thank you Sean for your reply.
The idea about fear is the one you gave. That is what I was trying to argue for. Fear leads us to the Cross. There is a judgment coming. I don’t want anyone to have to face that. I want them to experience the love and acceptance that can be found through a relationship with our Lord. 1 John 4:17,18 Herein is our love made perfect that we made be bold in the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment or punishmnent. He that fears is not made perfect in love. We need to move a person from that fear which is real to perfect love. That relationship with Christ. Then we don’t live in fear anymore but obey Him out of love.

I don’t see heaven and hell being some kind of balancing act. Or justice and mercy being a balancing act. I see that they are both attributes of God. God is perfect. As I see it we cannot hold one of these attributes higher than the other. Hell would point to the perfect justice of God and heaven would point to His perfect mercy. These two things came together at the Cross and put us in a place where if we accept God’s perfect mercy we do not need to experience His perfect justice. There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus and walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.

As far as the eternality of the soul I would take the next words that are given that man became a living soul. That is where I would get that.

I think the verse I had posted was Matthew 25:46 and these shall go into everlasting punishment but the righteous into life eternal. KJV
This is my view at this time. For me it brings the most coherence to my life and my reading of the Bible. I know it is not an easy thing to think about. I rest in the fact that God is the ultimate judge of all these things. He will do that which is right. No body will be able to argue with Him in the end.
My commission and I know that you feel it as well is to tell the good news and make disciples of all men. So even if we disagree on this I just want to bless you in your work of the kingdom. It has been a good debate. And I will keep thinking on the things you said!=)

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(SeanO) #39

@Kevin_Hurst May the Lord richly bless you in all that you do brother :slight_smile: Fun times!

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(Stephen Wuest) #40

I believe that this is getting to the dual spiritual/physical composition of a human being. I think that the first death involves the dying of the physical body. But the second death involves the eternal separation from God of both our spirit, and our resurrected physical body (which will not physically die).

The spirit of a human being is eternal, so we cannot describe it as ceasing to exist (in the same way as we consider death of the physical body as the body ceasing to live).

I think that often we only think of our current physical bodies, as being able to “die.” But the Bible presents a really terrible picture of our eternal spirit, and our eternal resurrected physical body, as being (possibly) separated from God forever, and in punishment forever. This is the second death.