10 Bible verses /examples commonly used to support the sinful nature – refutation

bebis2Man’s idea to add original sin to the Bible

The idea of original sin, or the sinful nature from birth, was first pushed by Augustine who was a former gnostic. Augustine is guilty of having introduced many unbiblical ideas into church, and  some of them were later also taught by both Luther and Calvin. The old church fathers before Augustine did not teach the sinful nature (see here), and most importantly the Bible does not. Below are some of the most common verses used as an attempt to prove the sinful nature.

Example 1) Romans 5:12

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man SIN entered into the world, and death by sin; and so DEATH passed upon all men, FOR that all have sinned

Comment: Sin entered the world the first time through Adam, because no one had sinned before him (him and Eve). The verse does not say that SIN passed upon all men but DEATH passed upon all men, and it also explains why this is: Because all have sinned! Not because all have inherited sins from Adam. Notice that ”all men” is a translation from the Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anthrópos, Strong’s 444) and could mean 1) men, 2) men and women, or 3) mankind, people, human beings. It may or may not include babies depending on context. Since the verse claims that we die (spiritually) because we have sinned, this verse cannot be used as support for another idea – like the idea that we die spiritually because we have inherited someone else’s sin. Dying physically is something different, and even Jesus Christ died a physical death. It is possible to say that we die physically due to Adam, because we cannot reach the tree of life due to him.

Example 2) Romans 5:18

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation — 19 so by the obedience of one shall MANY be made righteous.

Comment: The entire context is this:

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; EVEN SO by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience MANY were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall MANY be made righteous.

If ALL are automatically condemned through Adam, then ALL are automatically made righteous through Jesus. Are 100% of all ALL PEOPLE automatically righteous in Jesus? No, that would be universalism. It is not proper hermeneutics to read ”all” in two different ways in the same sentence – an ”even so” indicates a valid comparison. If ALL die in Adam, then the very same ALL are saved in Christ. If ”many” (not all) were made righteous, then ”many” (not all) were made sinners. We cannot make one absolute and the other conditional. If, however, we add conditions on both accounts (we die spiritually if we sin like Adam, and we become alive in Christ if we choose to believe in him) then we have solved all contradictions. Rom. 5 does list conditions, just like the rest of Romans and just like the rest of the Bible.

Example 3) 1 Corinthians 15:22 

1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Comment: If all people are automatically dead in Adam, then the very same ”all people” are automatically saved in Christ. But this interpretation leads to universalism, and we know this is not true. The context makes it clear that the subject is the RESURRECTION and what will happen when Jesus returns. Most importantly what will happen to those in Christ. They will die physically just like Adam (even Jesus Christ once died physically), and they will be made alive to get their judgments and rewards.

Example 4) Ephesians 2:1

Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins

Comment: What makes us dead? Sinning makes us (spiritually) dead! It is not being born (or being conceived) which makes us dead, but it is transgressing of his law:

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law

Is. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Eph. 2 does not say that we are BORN dead in trespasses and sins. How can newborn babies choose to transgress the law of God?

The solution to the problem of sin is to repent, which explains why Paul in Acts 17:30 says that God ”now commandeth all men every where to repent”.

Example 5) Ephesians 2:2-3

Eph. 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Comment: Do not get fooled by the term ”children of disobedience” or ”children of wrath” because these terms refer to those who follow Satan – as the text indicates. Likewise the term ”children of God” (or sons of God) does not necessarily refer to little toddlers, but to those who have chosen to believe and follow God. The text certainly does not claim that people are BORN as children of wrath – merely for the ”crime” of existing. It is crystal clear that those spoken about in Eph. 2:2 are adults. They:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • are disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

Example 6) 1 Corinthians 2:14

1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned

Comment: It is a bad idea to be a natural man, which is a man who lives of the world. If someone is a natural man (which is no obligation), he cannot please God. It is impossible for a person to please God if he at the same time chooses to walk in darkness.

”Natural” is a translation from ψυχικός (psuchikos, Strong’s 5591) and could also be translated ”worldly-minded” or ”sensual”. It describes the behavior of a carnal man who lives of the world. The word can be contrasted with ”spiritual” (pneumatikós, Strong’s 4152).

Example 7) Job 25:4 + Job 15:14

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be CLEAN? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Comment: The first comment is from Bildad, and the second one is from Eliphaz. They did not always provide good advice to Job. On top of this, the book of Job is replete with poetic expressions. See for instance Job 1:21 and see if you read it in a literal sense.

Example 8) Romans 3:10

Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Comment: Paul, who made the above statement that no one is righteous, called HIMSELF righteous, along with Silas and Timothy (see 1 Thess. 2:10) and he constantly requested that people should avoid obeying their flesh and be righteous. Paul also said (Acts 23:1) that he had lived ”in all good conscience before God until this day”. (NASB: ”perfectly good conscience”). Paul urged his readers to ”sin no more”! Was Paul a hypocrite or a man of God who we can trust?

Paul was in Rom. 3:10 referring to a couple of well-known psalms where we can read ”there is none righteous ….” and if we go to these psalms (Psalm 14 and Psalm 53) we can see the proper context to this phrase. There we can read about unrighteous people, called FOOLS, who do not seek God but we can also read about righteous people who DO seek God. Psalms contain poetic expressions which are mirroring the truth, so we should carefully keep this in mind.

We can read in Acts 17 that we are created precisely to seek God, even though he is not far away from any of us. We can also read verses such as:

Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart 

Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you

Below are more psalms, and it would be unwise for us to start new doctrines (which are not supported by non-poetic verses) based on such poetry. Poetic expressions can of course teach us things and be encouraging, but it is not always correct to read poetic texts in a literal sense.

Example 9) Psalm 51:5

Ps. 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me  

Comment: This verse is not about all people in the entire world but concerns only David and his mother. It could be understood both figuratively (the way also king David has battled with dark powers and obstacles very early on) or literally (David’s mother was indeed sinning during the conception) but either way, this verse does not say that we have all inherited Adam’s sin and have a sinful nature from birth. David starts out speaking about his own transgression (not sins inherited from another), and we can read claims from David which could not possibly be understood in a literal sense:

Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice…

Example 10) Psalm 58:3

Ps. 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES  

Comment: Naturally newborn babies cannot speak, much less speak lies. This is just a poetic expression to describe that the wicked man go astray very early on and usually continue on this path. The psalmist starts out addressing a ”congregation” and apparently they are old enough to SPEAK since they are asked if they speak righteousness. They are also old enough to JUDGE, they are able to WORK WICKEDNESS in their hearts and WEIGH the violence of their hands. Babies are unable to do any of that, and it is the WICKED who ”are estrange”. If someone goes astray, it means he must have started from a position where it was not ”astray”. In verse 10 and 11 we can read about righteous people who do NOT go astray:

10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. 11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Some people might ask: ”If we are not born with a sinful nature, why do we sin?” Well, why did Adam and Eve sin? Certainly not due to a sinful nature. They might also ask ”If we are not born with a sinful nature, why did Jesus have to die for us?”. Because we have chosen to sin – despite that we did not have to. This is what makes us guilty.

If we are born with a sinful nature (which would provide an excellent excuse for sin), why does the Bible not disclose this important piece of information anywhere? Why can we read the exact opposite story? Moreover, the idea of the sinful nature actually reduces the great deeds that Jesus Christ did for us, when we accuse him of not having to struggle with a sinful nature as the rest of us. In reality, Jesus was tempted in all things just like us and he did not get an advantage.

rom-8The Bible says that babies are innocent

While there are no Bible verses which say we are born with a sinful nature (or born depraved, which is not even a word included in the KJV Bible), the Bible does say that we are wonderfully made.

Zecharia 12:1  The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and FORMETH THE SPIRIT OF MAN WITHIN HIM. 

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet bornNEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God AS A LITTLE CHILD, he shall not enter therein.

Isaiah 7:16 For BEFORE THE CHILD SHALL KNOW TO REFUSE THE EVIL, AND CHOOSE THE GOOD, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. 

Isaiah 42:Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and SPIRIT to them that walk therein

Job. 31:14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?15 Did not HE THAT MADE ME IN THE WOMB make him? and DID NOT ONE FASHION US IN THE WOMB? 

Ps. 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.14 I will praise thee; for I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Ps,73 Thy hands have made me and FASHIONED ME: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.  

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that GOD HATH MADE MAN UPRIGHT; but THEY they have sought out many inventions.  

20 thoughts on “10 Bible verses /examples commonly used to support the sinful nature – refutation

  1. Greetings again! We agree on many things such as conditional security and flat earth. I also agree with your view on original sin. However I have a different take on your interpretation of Rom 5:18-19. In these verses we agree that Paul is drawing a parallel comparison between Adam’s transgression and Christ’s gift and in doing so you interpret these two verses as being conditional based upon belief. However I think it makes more sense to interpret these verses unconditionally. Based on your view, in v.18 all men are condemned without condition because of Adam but then Christ’s righteous act is efficacious only upon the condition of belief. Would that not make Adam’s offense greater that Christ’s gift? Since all without condition are condemned by Adam’s trespass, would not justification for all without the condition of belief also have to be applied to Christ’s act of righteousness? Verses 15, 17, 20 emphasize how much greater Christ’s gift is compared to Adam’s offence. So it would seem to me that in v.18, Christ’s righteous act would have to be without qualification or condition. It cannot be that Adam’s act brought brought judgment/condemnation to ”all” men while Christ’s act brought righteousness/justification to only ”some” men who believe. All need to be equally applied in both scenarios.

    We now turn our attention to v.19 where the focus shifts from ”all” to ”many.” The many were made sinners through Adam’s disobedience. It does not say that all were made sinners. Exceptions exist such as babies who die in infancy who cannot commit sin. Similarly, the many (who do commit sin) will be made righteous by Christ’s obedience. So in summary, the ”all” in v.18 really does mean all and the ”many” in v.19 really does mean many.

    I know you are thinking that this then leads to universalism and you would be correct. I do believe in Christian Universalism and a literal, physical Lake of Fire. If God’s stated purpose is to reconcile all to himself as written in such places as Col 1;20 and Phil 2:10-11, then how is it possible that those consigned to the Lake of Fire are tormented there forever separated from and unreconciled to God? That however is a topic for another discussion. If you post another topic on that matter, then I will be glad to discuss my reasoning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Evan and good to hear from you again!

      << Based on your view, in v.18 all men are condemned without condition because of Adam

      Maybe I'm missing your point here, or perhaps you're missing my point 🙂 Since I don't believe in original sin, I don't believe that anyone is condemned because of Adam.

      << Since all without condition are condemned by Adam’s trespass, would not justification for all without the condition of belief also have to be applied to Christ’s act of righteousness?

      It seems like neither of us believe in that first premise. Yes, IF all are automatically condemned through Adam, then all should be justified in Christ. I certainly agree with you on that. Although, I don't believe the text is saying we are condemned through Adam. I believe we are only condemned through him if we sin like him, which we all do (all who are capable of sinning). Likewise, I believe we are righteous in Christ if we believe in him. I believe Paul is telling us about the sad story of the hopelessness of humankind, and the good story of Christ and what he can do for us. All have the opportunity to be saved.

      << Verses 15, 17, 20 emphasize how much greater Christ’s gift is compared to Adam’s offence.

      Amen. We make our own blunders when we sin like Adam, but Jesus has a way out.

      << So it would seem to me that in v.18, Christ’s righteous act would have to be without qualification or condition.

      If that is so, I feel that also the damnation in Adam would be without qualification or condition, since the two sentences are parallels. But I don't believe the text is saying we are condemned in Adam. If all are indeed righteous in Christ, then original sin should be true. But I don't believe in original sin, and I don't believe Romans 5 is teaching it.

      << It cannot be that Adam’s act brought brought judgment/condemnation to “all” men while Christ’s act brought righteousness/justification to only “some” men who believe. All need to be equally applied in both scenarios.

      I totally agree and I had hoped my stance would be understood in the text 🙂 I probably was not clear enough.

      << Similarly, the many (who do commit sin) will be made righteous by Christ’s obedience. So in summary, the “all” in v.18 really does mean all and the “many” in v.19 really does mean many.

      I'm not sure I understand. If universalism is true, I don't see why it should read "many" to confuse the readers.

      << then how is it possible that those consigned to the Lake of Fire are tormented there forever separated from and unreconciled to God?

      This is a separate issue. I recently wrote a blog article in Swedish where I explain (my rather new revelation) why I no longer believe that Bible is saying that people will be burning eternally in the hell fire. The Greek word for "eternal" must not convey something that will last for ever, which many Bible verses prove. The Bible tells us that our options are eternal life or death. Not "eternal life in bliss or "eternal life in torture". Universalism, on the other hand, is another topic. If universalism is true, then why does the Bible tell us our options are eternal life or death?

      Gilla

  2. Thank you for clarifying which has caused me to rethink my position. I agree with you on no original sin so therefore no one is condemned because of Adam. So I now interpret Rom 5:18-19 with my understanding in brackets: ”Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men [because they sinned], so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men [because they believed]. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners [because they sinned], so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous [because they believed]. This is the same as your interpretation, correct? Given this, this passage can’t be used as a support for universalism as I had previously supposed.

    Regarding universalism – the noun aion and its adjectival forms such as aionios and aionion cannot mean eternity and eternal respectively. Aion pertains to age of time which is limited in duration; not eternity which is unlimited in duration. Aionios and aionion therefore cannot mean eternal since they cannot change the meaning of the noun aion which they modify. The options are age-during life or death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Evan

      Yes, it seems like we agree on Romans 5, and at least we can see that there is no such thing as the sinful nature taught in Romans (or elsewhere). When it comes to universalism, I think it’s hard to reconcile this idea with the life/death teaching which is repeated both in the old and the new testament. Right, aion does not have to mean eternal with no end, and not even God’s eternal covenant with Israel ended up being eternal.

      Gilla

  3. Hi – yes we have agreement there. I’m not sure what you mean by life/death though. We have aionion life and death which I presume you mean spiritual death. Spiritual death means separation from God ultimately in the lake of fire. For the universalist the question is, is that separation ”eternal” or ”age-during?” By death are you referring to extinguishment as in annihilationism?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I was just thinking that the Bible often contrast eternal life with eternal death, and our choice seems to be one of the two. If one state of being will last for ever, the other one should last for ever as well. It’s not the ”dying” that will last for ever (as in being tortured for ever) but the ”death” – as in ceasing to exist. If universalism is true, then our choice would rather be eternal life directly (after the physical death) vs eternal life later on (after the physical death and after some time in the hell fire). If all humankind will in fact get eternal life (by two different roads and means), I feel that the Bible is silent about it.

      Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

      So death or life. Not life or life.

      Gilla

  4. Indeed, the wages of sin is death however I can’t think of any scripture referring to death as ”eternal.” We have aionion life which does not mean eternal life. But I don’t know of any verse which refers to eternal death. It seems the closest idea to eternal death is derived from the notion of eternal torment which was popularized by Augustine (whom I’m no fan of) who was a poor student of the Greek language,

    The most oft cited verse in an attempt to disprove universalism and the idea that eternal torment/death is ”forever” is Matt 25:46. ”And these will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life.” It is claimed that since the righteous inherit eternal life, then the same must be true for the unrighteous who will reap eternal punishment. ”Eternal” cannot take on two different meanings in both clauses. It is thought that since the Greek word aionios translated as eternal means life forever for the righteous, then the unrighteous will suffer eternal torment forever. However the context of this verse indicates otherwise as Jesus is judging between the sheep and goats prior to the institution of his Millennial Kingdom reign. The sheep therefore enter into the 1,000 year (age-during) time period while the goats depart into the fire for the same age-during 1,000 year period. Death/punishment in this verse cannot be interpreted to mean ”eternal.”

    If the vast majority of humankind permanently end up in the lake of fire then the Good News is really the bad news, all are not reconciled to God and not every knee will bow and not every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Ultimately, God accomplishes his divine will through the ages even if He has to draw/drag all men to Himself. Just my two cents. 🙂

    Gilla

    • I think we are talking about three different things here.

      1) original sin
      2) people being tortured for ever in the hell fire
      3) universalism (all will get saved and continue to live eternally)

      We both disagree on the two first issues, but it’s in the last issue where we might disagree.

      I wrote in my previous post:

      “It’s not the ”dying” that will last for ever (as in being tortured for ever) but the ”death” – as in ceasing to exist”

      If some people will never escape from the process of “dying”, they will in fact live for ever just like God’s children, with the obvious difference that God’s children will live for ever in bliss while the others will live for ever in torture. So one reason for me to not believe in the “eternal process of dying” (being tortured for ever), is because the contrary option is eternal life (living for ever). I feel that the logical conclusion is that the punishment of death must mean ceasing to exist, since it’s compared with the other choice which is continuing to live. Death vs life. Not life vs life.

      I don’t believe Matt 25:46 concerns universalism, and it’s not possible to use as proof for that people will be tortured for ever.

      <<The sheep therefore enter into the 1,000 year (age-during) time period while the goats depart into the fire for the same age-during 1,000 year period. Death/punishment in this verse cannot be interpreted to mean “eternal.”
      If the vast majority of humankind permanently end up in the lake of fire then the Good News is really the bad news, all are not reconciled to God and not every knee will bow and not every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Ultimately, God accomplishes his divine will through the ages even if He has to draw/drag all men to Himself.

      I'm not able to disprove this idea (or prove the opposite), but it's just that I see the issue of life/death spoken about quite a lot in the Bible, and the most logical conclusion for me is at least that if the gift of life is eternal (lasting for ever), so too is death eternal – as in ceasing to exist, something that is irrevocable and final. If someone ceases to exist, he cannot at the same time be tortured since being tortured requires existence.

      But maybe I'm all wrong … Will the lost in fact be temporary dead for 1000 years, and later on get eternal life? So life vs life and not life vs death? It's certainly an interesting topic.

      Gilla

  5. Före första uttåget ut ur Egypten säger YEHWEH (vår Skapares namn) åt Moses att be Hans fru dvs. YEHWEHs folk som är brud till Hans ord att fråga personer i landet, t.o.m. dom som lever avskilt från YEHWEH i deras egna hem efter rov, guld, silver och kläder. Efter detta kallar YEHWEH alla som lever avskilt från Hans ord för egyptier. Det här säger den Högste i sista versen av kapitel 3 i andra Moseboken före Han sänder Moses till Farao. I andra Moseboken kapitel 11 upprepar YEHWEH det här budet före dom lämnade Egypten och dom kom ut med ett överflöd av värdesaker. Första uttåget ut ur Egypten korrelerar med nu, det andra uttåget.

    Det är brådskande, en del av Jesajas kapitel 8 profetia har redan uppfyllts, den talar om ett mansbarn vid namn Mahare Shalawl Koosh Baz som kommer födas och är just nu i sin mammas livmoder. Den här profetian säger att före Mahares födelse kommer YEHWEH att plundra alla som lever avskilt från Honom som inte befinner sig här där Han satt sitt namn, som Han beordrat oss att göra.

    YEHWEH min Elohiym har beordrat mig att fråga dig, så jag frågar efter allt du har, kom hit och bli en deltagare av det med mig. Hjälp oss fylla vår Skapares lagerdepå. Om jag var du skulle jag likvidera allt jag har, gjort om till pengar och komma hit. Även om du inte kommer frågar jag dig fortfarande att likvidera alla ägodelar och skicka alla pengar du har och kanske YEHWEH ger dig fördel och gör ditt lidande kort när Han häller ut sin vrede. Om du inte gör det här kommer YEHWEH att bränna upp dig med dina ägodelar, det är ändå Hans. Jag är beordrad att berätta det här för dig och att ropa ut Mahares namn så det är det jag gör.

    Mahare Shalawl Koosh Baz betyder: röva dom plötsligt och plundra dom snabbt.

    Sänd pengarna genom paypal på adressen: ”r—-

    eller via vår Skapares donera knapp ”donate” på hemsidan:
    http://www.—

    Tack.
    /Wictor

    Gilla

  6. When death is referred to in Scripture and it’s not physical, we both agree that it refers to spiritual death. So the germane question is, is spiritual death:
    1. eternal punishment
    2. ceasing to exist (annihilation)
    3. temporary punishment for the purpose of chastisement
    We both agree that option #1 is invalid. I would tend to agree with you on #2 if not for the fact the scriptures state that it is the Father’s plan to reconcile all to himself (Col 1:20) and for every knee to bow including those under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil 2:10-11) As I wrote earlier, if souls cease to exist, they remain forever unreconciled to God which would contradict these scriptures. Also since death is thrown into the lake of fire, (Rev 20:14, which presumably means the abolishment of death) how then can souls die or cease to exist if death is already abolished?

    I admit that as far as I’m aware, the idea that God will eventually save all is not explicitly taught in Scripture, however for me at least, the whole of Scripture appears to indicate that He does. And if so, have we been preaching the wrong gospel message that all who do not accept Christ in this life are forever condemned (or annihilated)? We acknowledge that God is a God of justice. We would both agree that being condemned to the lake of fire qualifies as punishment but does it meet the demands of justice? For example, a rapist could rape a woman. He claims he is innocent and is not repentant for his crime but is found guilty and sentenced to prison. We would agree that the rapist is being punished but the rape victim will have to live with the consequences of what happened for the rest of her life. Is that justice as the victim has life-long consequences through no fault of her own? Suppose yet that a child was conceived and born as a result of the rape and the mother now has the responsibility to raise the child on her own while the perpetrator does nothing but sit in jail. Is that justice? Based on this example, it can be argued that there is a difference between punishment and justice as the former does not always meet the demands of the latter. The pertinent question to consider then is how can punishment also meet the demands of justice in this case? I would submit that the answer demands that the perpetrator of the crime has to willingly agree to make amends and seek reconciliation with his victim. He needs to admit guilt, seek forgiveness and make recompense for his crime – perhaps some sort of ongoing financial obligation/support when he leaves prison and hopefully gets a job. The point is justice is only accomplished when the perpetrator participates in making amends toward the one he is guilty of offending.

    I believe this human scenario approximates the picture of how God deals with us justly for our sins against Him. There is Biblical precedent for this view of punishment/justice throughout the scriptures. For example Ex 22:1 states: ”If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” In the NT, Zacchaeus promises Jesus that he will restore fourfold those whom he has defrauded. These instances exemplify that justice demands not just the aspect of punishment but also recompense in order to make amends and fully bring about God’s justice.

    Given this scriptural evidence, we can apply this to the concept of an eternal hell. Being condemned to eternal punishment or annihilation in the lake of fire certainly constitutes as punishment but it does not bring about God’s justice because the inhabitants in the lake of fire have no opportunity to admit their guilt, seek forgiveness and seek to make recompense as it is ”already too late.” They must suffer the consequence of their sin forever. There is no chance for amends and reconciliation with God and therein lies the weakness with the retributive punishment of hell. The view of the lake of fire that is most consistent with the scriptures and the character of God is the view where the lake of fire is for the purpose of chastisement where sinners recognize their sin against God, repent and seek forgiveness from the Lamb. Of course they, like all of us cannot repay their debt against God except that they believe in the sacrificial atonement of Jesus to make recompense for their sin. Like the rapist example it requires willing participation on their part as guilty sinners before a holy God. This reconciliation model of the lake of fire requires that the sinners must endure the purifying fires of hell in order that they may seek reconciliation with the Lamb who is also present in the lake of fire (Rev 14:10) so that one day God’s ultimate goal of reconciliation is achieved. I apologize for the length of this reply.

    Gilla

    • Hey Evan

      Interesting thoughts.

      <<I would tend to agree with you on #2 if not for the fact the scriptures state that it is the Father’s plan to reconcile all to himself (Col 1:20) and for every knee to bow including those under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil 2:10-11)

      These are valid arguments, but I'm still uncertain to what degree it's possible to understand these verses as general promises for all. Let's take Col. 1:20 for example. Paul mentions some wonderful promises but ends with a condition: "IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel —" The promises in Phil 2:10-11 ends with "12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed— work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. —- 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation —-"

      <<Also since death is thrown into the lake of fire, (Rev 20:14, which presumably means the abolishment of death) how then can souls die or cease to exist if death is already abolished?

      Because there is an option that says that some beings will in fact get a punishment in hell which will last some time. Satan for sure, but also some of the angels who sided with him. According to the book of Enoch they will suffer for thousands of years (but not eternally, apart from possibly Satan). When hell is thrown in Gehenna, the sufferings will cease due to annihilation.

      1 Enoch 21:1. And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. 2. And I saw there something horrible: I saw neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. 3. And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. 4. Then I said: ‘For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?’ 5. Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: ‘Enoch, why dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? 6. These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.’ 7. And from thence I went to another place, which was still more horrible than the former, and I saw a horrible thing: a great fire there which burnt and blazed, and the place was cleft as far as the abyss, being full of great descending columns of fire: neither its extent or magnitude could I see, nor could I conjecture. 8. Then I said: ‘How fearful is the place and how terrible to look upon!’ 9. Then Uriel answered me, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: ‘Enoch, why hast thou such fear and affright?’ And I answered: ‘Because of this fearful place, and because of the spectacle of the pain.’ 10. And he said unto me: ‘This place is the prison of the angels, and here they will be imprisoned for ever.’

      << Is that justice as the victim has life-long consequences through no fault of her own?

      Life is not fair (and fortunately it's brief in comparison with eternity). There are people who are suffering all their lives due to diseases, depression, forced to see loved ones suffer, etc. Although, I do believe "books will be opened" and people will be judged according to their works.

      Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

      << The point is justice is only accomplished when the perpetrator participates in making amends toward the one he is guilty of offending.

      Sounds fair enough.

      <<I believe this human scenario approximates the picture of how God deals with us justly for our sins against Him. There is Biblical precedent for this view of punishment/justice throughout the scriptures. For example Ex 22:1 states: “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” In the NT, Zacchaeus promises Jesus that he will restore fourfold those whom he has defrauded. These instances exemplify that justice demands not just the aspect of punishment but also recompense in order to make amends and fully bring about God’s justice.

      Good example.

      <<They must suffer the consequence of their sin forever.

      Well, they would cease to exist. Is it also possible to compare with those who are never born? Like if a woman decides to have 2 children and not 3. This would mean that the third person would never even exist, just like those who used to live and will eventually cease to exist.

      << The view of the lake of fire that is most consistent with the scriptures and the character of God is the view where the lake of fire is for the purpose of chastisement where sinners recognize their sin against God, repent and seek forgiveness from the Lamb.

      If that is the reason for the fire, why can we read:

      John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

      Matt. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

      Matt. 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
      35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

      << Like the rapist example it requires willing participation on their part as guilty sinners before a holy God. This reconciliation model of the lake of fire requires that the sinners must endure the purifying fires of hell in order that they may seek reconciliation with the Lamb who is also present in the lake of fire (Rev 14:10) so that one day God’s ultimate goal of reconciliation is achieved.

      I can't prove you wrong (or right). What would be the greatest punishment? Enduring a long time in the fire, and later on be reconciled with God and saved, OR being burned up fast in the fire and cease to exist? Both options are of course horrible, and the followers of God are therefore fortunate to not having to go through the second death.

      I can't get rid of the thought that Death (not the verb "dying") should be equally permanent as Life is. The gift is eternal life, but is the other alternative really "temporary death"?

      Gilla

  7. Thanks for your reply as it also causes me to think deeper. Let’s start with your last paragraph which appears to be your main objection. We see several references in Scripture to the phrase ”eternal life” however I’m not aware of any existence of the phrase ”eternal death.” We know that life is eternal or aionion, to be more precise, but we cannot assume that death is eternal because there is no such term as eternal death in Scripture as the two words are never linked together – as far as I know. Moreover, if life is not eternal (forever) but instead aionion (age-during) and pertaining to the age(s), then one cannot draw the assumption that death is eternal or forever. Since life is aionion or pertaining to the age, would it not be reasonable to conclude that death also pertains to the age and is not permanent/forever?

    Ultimately there is the second death which refers to the lake of fire mentioned in Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6 & 14, and Rev. 21:8. In these 4 verses, the second death is also not described as being eternal or permanent.They describe that believers who keep the faith, persevere and overcome will take part in the first resurrection and will not be hurt by the second death. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire where they experience the second death. Believers who overcome have already died the second death – death to sin. Therefore, the second death cannot touch them because Rom 6:7 states that ”for he who has died is freed from sin.” Believers who have died and crucified their own flesh have obtained a better resurrection and the second death has no power over them. In essence if we die to ourselves in this life, thus experiencing death in this life, we are not subject to the second death. Those unbelievers and believers who do not die to themselves in this life (first death) are then subject to the second death where they will have to die to themselves in the lake of fire. God gives us a choice – either to die in this life/age or die in the next life/age. I hope this sheds some light on death and what it means to die. Due to space and time constraints, I will try to address you other objections in another reply. Thank you!

    Gilla

  8. Sorry – my previous post did not format all of my reply for some reason. Hopefully this one does.
    Does ”all” in Col 1:20 refer to all in general or only all who specifically believe? You have rightly pointed out that in the verses following this verse, Paul is addressing believers specifically. However if we look at the verses preceding this verse the context reads: ”He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” If we consistently exegete this passage, Paul makes it very clear what the scope of all things includes everything that was created: All things in heaven – All things on earth – All things visible – All thrones – All dominions – All rulers – All authorities. Thus I believe Paul’s scope includes all in general, in which of course believers who continue in the faith are a part of.

    You wrote: Because there is an option that says that some beings will in fact get a punishment in hell which will last some time. Satan for sure, but also some of the angels who sided with him. According to the book of Enoch they will suffer for thousands of years (but not eternally, apart from possibly Satan). When hell is thrown in Gehenna, the sufferings will cease due to annihilation.

    In Rev 20:13-15 we find that the dead are judged according to their works (v.13). Then Death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire (v.14). And those names not in Book of life are also thrown into the fire (v.15). It seems to me that Death precedes those souls that are thrown into the LOF or at the very least, they are all thrown into the LOF around the same time. If this is so, then death is abolished at that time so wouldn’t the human souls in the LOF cease to exist immediately since you say the their ”sufferings will cease due to annihilation?” In other words, since Death and human souls enter the LOF around same time, their souls would also cease to exist at that time. If that’s the case then no one would experience any torment in the LOF since they would be immediately annihilated. Perhaps I’m not understanding you correctly.

    You wrote: Life is not fair (and fortunately it’s brief in comparison with eternity).

    My point to which you replied is contrasting the difference between punishment and reconciliation as the former does not always meet the requirements of the latter. The ”victim” in my example is God (though God is never victim) who is the one we all sin against. My point was punishment in the LOF forever or annihilation does not bring about reconciliation with God which is His stated purpose for all things

    You wrote: Well, they would cease to exist. Is it also possible to compare with those who are never born? Like if a woman decides to have 2 children and not 3. This would mean that the third person would never even exist, just like those who used to live and will eventually cease to exist.

    They will cease to exist but remain unreconciled to God which in my opinion goes against His stated purpose.

    You wrote: If that is the reason for the fire, why can we read:
    John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

    If the branches (believers) do not abide in Him in this life, then they are cast into the fire. I believe ”fire” refers to the lake of fire as only the overcomers are promised that they will not be hurt by the Second Death. If we do not rid ourselves of the dross in this life, then we will have to be refined in the fires of the next life/age.

    Matt. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    The tares are burned in the fire; i.e., lake of fire where they are ultimately reconciled to God.

    Matt. 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
    35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’

    Believers are required to follow the Lord’s commands including forgiving others as the scripture states that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us. The sin of unforgiveness, if not repented of leads to spiritual death which is the lake of fire. The question is – is ”delivered him to the tormentors” a permanent state of existence or temporary? In v.34 it states ”till he should pay back” which indicates that recompense is involved. Eternal torment and annihilation do not allow for recompense and forgiveness. Only universalism allows for the opportunity for recompense and forgiveness.

    You wrote: I can’t prove you wrong (or right). What would be the greatest punishment? Enduring a long time in the fire, and later on be reconciled with God and saved, OR being burned up fast in the fire and cease to exist? Both options are of course horrible, and the followers of God are therefore fortunate to not having to go through the second death.

    This is a complicated subject made more difficult because of mistranslated words and our own biases instilled when we were first taught the Word of God. I think even just spending a minute in the LOF would be horrible. Ceasing to exist would definitely be less painful but in the end, wouldn’t the pain endured for however long be made worthwhile once the sinner is ultimately reconciled to God? I’m not a woman but maybe like childbirth when the pain endured is worth the cost of giving birth to one’s own child.One ”forgets” the pain when one is united and bonds with one’s newborn child. So it is with us when we are reunited and restored to relationship with our Father.

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan and sorry for late answer

      I still can’t prove you wrong or right 🙂

      It’s true that we can only read about ”eternal life” in the Bible and not about ”eternal death” , however, a few arguments could still be made that spiritual death leads to eternal death. It doesn’t really say that death is NOT eternal, and as I’ve said death is often contrasted with LIFE, and even eternal life. This makes the reader assume that death is just as final as the upcoming LIFE for the Christians. If all will eventually be saved, then shouldn’t this be expressed more clearly, and shouldn’t the authors avoid contrasting death with life the way they do? Since the choice is often presented as life or death, why would we assume that we should rather interpret this as LIFE or LIFE (temporary life and eternal life)? If a branch is thrown in the fire and burned up, the reader assumes the branch disappears. Why assume that this ”ceasing to exist” will not last forever after all, but that the branch will spring to life again?

      I’m not sure I understood what you mean with ”age-during” and what the difference is with eternal life.

      << In these 4 verses, the second death is also not described as being eternal or permanent. —

      These verses also don't say the opposite – that the second death is NOT permanent.

      << Believers who overcome have already died the second death – death to sin.

      Not sure I follow you here. I thought believers would only have to endure the first death, and that they will later be resurrected to eternal life – which would be the reason why they will escape the second death.

      <<Those unbelievers and believers who do not die to themselves in this life (first death) are then subject to the second death where they will have to die to themselves in the lake of fire.

      Unbelievers and believers alike? Hmm

      << all things were created through him and for him

      Yes, but a clay product is also created by its maker (the potter), and the maker can choose to throw away useless clay on the scrap heap. I feel this verse is too weak to support the idea that also unbelievers will be saved (but useful for other teachings in relation to other subjects). If all things were created by him (and they are), these things must give an account unto him.

      << It seems to me that Death precedes those souls that are thrown into the LOF or at the very least, they are all thrown into the LOF around the same time.

      Yes, Hades will be thrown in Gehenna. Some believe that the torment will be in Hades, but get a final end when Hades is thrown in Gehenna.

      << My point was punishment in the LOF forever or annihilation does not bring about reconciliation with God which is His stated purpose for all things

      Right, but the question is if we can take that verse to mean that all will be saved, and not just that all will have to give an account for him and get a proper judgment.

      <<They will cease to exist but remain unreconciled to God which in my opinion goes against His stated purpose.

      Must also children who don't even exist (the mother decides to not have any more children) be reconciled with God?

      <<The question is – is "delivered him to the tormentors" a permanent state of existence or temporary? In v.34 it states "till he should pay back" which indicates that recompense is involved.

      One can also assume, that if he is thrown into prison, he will never be able to pay back what he is guilty. We can of course repent for our sins as long as we live on earth, but one day it will be too late. Then we can no longer do something about our guilt which must be used against us.

      <<I think even just spending a minute in the LOF would be horrible.

      Yes!

      Gilla

  9. ”Since the choice is often presented as life or death, why would we assume that we should rather interpret this as LIFE or LIFE (temporary life and eternal life)? If a branch is thrown in the fire and burned up, the reader assumes the branch disappears. Why assume that this ”ceasing to exist” will not last forever after all, but that the branch will spring to life again?”
    I think because everyone has to die first – either die to our flesh in this life or die to our flesh in the LOF. When we die to self we obtain life. We abide in the vine in this life or have to abide in the vine in the LOF. It is natural to assume that the branch is burned up and ceases to exist. However, my main objection to this possibility is that it would not match with God’s stated purpose in reconciling all to himself. If the branches cease to exist then they remain unreconciled to God and God’s will is forever thwarted. Secondly, are the branches burned up and cease to exist or are the branches burned for the purpose of refining in the refiner’s fire? I suppose the answer to that question goes back to the purpose of the LOF. Retributive justice or restorative justice? Does God really mean what he says when he declares that he will one day restore all to himself?
    ————————
    ”I’m not sure I understood what you mean with ”age-during” and what the difference is with eternal life.”
    Age-during life refers the to age in which we have abiding life with God. God works out his will and plan for humankind through the ages of time until he ultimately accomplishes his perfect will. We have age-during life right now as long as we are abiding in Christ in this present church age. We encounter cognitive dissonance as we have been trained to think that we have ”eternal” life instead of life pertaining to this age. Elsewhere in Scripture we see evidence of age-during life pertaining to other ages of time for example at the sheep-goat judgment in Matt 25:46: ”And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.'” (YLT) This particular verse is often misinterpreted to mean eternal punishment and eternal life however the context indicates that age-during is the proper translation as the sheep-goat judgment refers to age-during life in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth and correspondingly age-during punishment in the LOF for the same 1,000 year period. This leads me to ponder what then does eternal life mean for the believer? We are falsely led to believe that we are saved and we will spend life with God forever in heaven however we know that is simply not true because our ultimate residence is with God in the New Jerusalem on earth and not in heaven. My current thinking is that the term eternal life is really age-during life pertaining to those victorious believers who have persevered in this life and will co-reign with Christ age-during in the Millennial Kingdom according to Rev 20:4. So although we have age-during life as long as we abide in Christ during this present church age, I believe that the privilege of reining with Christ is the prize that Paul often referred to for himself and for believers overall. We die to ourselves and fight the good fight and finish the race in order that we may reign and have age-during life with Christ during his 1,000 year rule.
    ————————
    ”Believers who overcome have already died the second death – death to sin.

    Not sure I follow you here. I thought believers would only have to endure the first death, and that they will later be resurrected to eternal life – which would be the reason why they will escape the second death.”
    I should have worded it to prevent confusion as in – believers who overcome are dead to sin and therefore do not have to experience the second death which is the lake of fire.
    ————————
    ”Those unbelievers and believers who do not die to themselves in this life (first death) are then subject to the second death where they will have to die to themselves in the lake of fire.

    Unbelievers and believers alike? Hmm”
    You and I agree that there is no such thing as eternal security and that believers must continue to believe and obey God, thus our security in Christ is conditional. Therefore those believers who fall away because of their departure from the faith and/or disobedience end up in the LOF. Believers can either choose to die to themselves in this life or have to die to themselves in the LOF.
    ————————
    ”Yes, but a clay product is also created by its maker (the potter), and the maker can choose to throw away useless clay on the scrap heap. I feel this verse is too weak to support the idea that also unbelievers will be saved (but useful for other teachings in relation to other subjects). If all things were created by him (and they are), these things must give an account unto him.”
    Yes all must give an account but the germane question is does the account terminate at the end of our lives in this age or does God in his mercy give grace and allow us to give an account to him in the next age? God works out his plan through the ages.
    ————————
    ”Yes, Hades will be thrown in Gehenna. Some believe that the torment will be in Hades, but get a final end when Hades is thrown in Gehenna.”
    But if death is also thrown into the LOF around the same time, wouldn’t those in the LOF not experience death or cease to exist because death has already ceased to exist?
    ————————
    ”Right, but the question is if we can take that verse to mean that all will be saved, and not just that all will have to give an account for him and get a proper judgment.”
    I’m sure you will agree that at conversion when a person is genuinely saved, he/she is judged to have been reconciled to God – at least at that point in time. I presume you would say that he/she has been properly judged and is now reconciled to God. If so, would you not then say that in order to be reconciled to God, one has to be saved? If God’s purpose is to reconcile ALL to to himself don’t ALL persons have to eventually end up being saved?
    ————————
    Must also children who don’t even exist (the mother decides to not have any more children) be reconciled with God?
    If I understand you correctly, children who never existed do not need to be reconciled to God. While that is true, the same cannot be said for persons who were actually born into this world and never repented of their sins, thus remaining reconciled to God. Unrepentant sinners remain unreconciled to God which goes against his stated purpose of reconciling all to himself.
    ————————
    ”One can also assume, that if he is thrown into prison, he will never be able to pay back what he is guilty. We can of course repent for our sins as long as we live on earth, but one day it will be too late. Then we can no longer do something about our guilt which must be used against us.”
    Actually, the verse does not state or assume that he will never be able to pay back what he is guilty of. It states ”until” he pays back — ”In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” The word ”until” indicates a condition that must be met in order for the result to be established. I don’t think this verse indicates that it is too late for the condition of payment to be met, otherwise why stipulate such a condition in the first place?

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan

      Sorry again for my delay.

      << We abide in the vine in this life or have to abide in the vine in the LOF.

      I'm not able to find this promise though, that those in the lake of fire will be restored to life.

      <<However, my main objection to this possibility is that it would not match with God's stated purpose in reconciling all to himself.

      Well, if we use Col 1:20 as a filter (and narrow the meaning), then maybe we will get that result, but when reading even more in that chapter and also o elsewhere about reconciliation, it's possible to come to another conclusion. 1 Cor. 5:20 for example, makes it sound like we must make sure to reconcile with God, and even if reconciliation is offered the whole world (Jesus died for the whole world), there seems to be a condition for this reconciliation. Sometimes it's spelled out, and sometimes it isn't (but doesn't make contrary claims).

      <<If the branches cease to exist then they remain unreconciled to God

      Yes, and I'm not able to see why this is unbiblical, based on what I wrote above. You write about God's purpose possibly being thwarted, but if we read John 1, we can see that his purpose was that all men would believe (v. 7).Well, all men did not end up believing in him, and the pharisees made this very clear. So was God's purpose thwarted? Not if we include the rest of the information. The condition: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name".

      <<Secondly, are the branches burned up and cease to exist or are the branches burned for the purpose of refining in the refiner's fire?

      We already know about those branches that bear little fruit. He purges them tha they may bring forth more fruit. The branches with NO fruit, however, are thrown in the fire. Things thrown in the fire burn up.

      <<Does God really mean what he says when he declares that he will one day restore all to himself?

      If you're referring to Colossians, it doesn't say "restore", but maybe you have other verses in mind.

      << and correspondingly age-during punishment in the LOF for the same 1,000 year period.

      I really don't know how long the time of suffering will be, but at least one of us believe the suffering will last for ever 🙂

      << our ultimate residence is with God in the New Jerusalem on earth and not in heaven

      Right, and it's also possible to spend eternal life in different segments. Like first 1000 years in one realm, and later on in another realm.

      << Therefore those believers who fall away because of their departure from the faith and/or disobedience end up in the LOF.

      Right.

      <<But if death is also thrown into the LOF around the same time, wouldn't those in the LOF not experience death or cease to exist because death has already ceased to exist?

      Not sure exactly when Hades will be thrown in the lake of fire, but it's possible that Hades is a place where the dead souls are still alive, and that they will cease to do so when thrown in the lake of fire. Thus, the Bible is still correct about both the gnashing of teeth (which will last more than seconds), and that our choice is life or death (and not life or life).

      << If so, would you not then say that in order to be reconciled to God, one has to be saved? If God's purpose is to reconcile ALL to to himself don't ALL persons have to eventually end up being saved?

      The question is still if the wordings about "reconcile all to himself" must be interpreted the way you do. 🙂 This seems to be the key issue here.

      I've made blog post where I collected the most interesting Bible verses referring to eternal life or death. See my latest blog post. Although, the post is not about reconciliation, and what the Bible lists as conditions for reconciliation. I should of course have studied this subject as well.

      Gilla

  10. No need for apology. I don’t know how you manage to maintain a blog as it would require too much time and effort for me to do such a thing.

    ++I’m not able to find this promise though, that those in the lake of fire will be restored to life.
    I believe you are correct as there are no clear promises as far as I know. However there is this:
    The phrase ”kings of the earth” appears 7 times in Rev 6:15; 17:2,18; 18:3,9; 19:19; 21:24. In all but the last citation the kings of the earth are portrayed in Revelation as aligned with Mystery Babylon and are the sworn enemies of God. Yet, in 21:24 we find that the ”kings of the earth” will one day bring their splendor into the New Jerusalem. One must therefore ask how or why are the kings of the earth who are consistently and without exception portrayed in Revelation as evil and unrepentant, allowed into the New Jerusalem where ”nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (21:27). To me it appears that even the kings of the earth after having spent some unknown time (aionion) in the lake of fire will one day repent and be allowed to enter into the New Jerusalem after having to wash their robes in the LOF which is situated outside the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:14-15). If the LOF is outside of the New Jerusalem, why are the gates of the city never shut? (Rev 21:25) I don’t think the saints who are inside the city go outside where the LOF is. Is it possible though that its gates are left open so that those in the LOF can one day enter into it? I am engaging in speculation but one is left to wonder why. Rev 22:14 refers to those who are ”washing their robes” Blessed are those who wash (plynontes | πλύνοντες | pres act ptcp nom pl masc) their robes, so they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. Plynontes is a present tense participle so the action of washing one’s robe is an ongoing act as in ”washing.” Could it be possible that those in the LOF outside the city (v.15) are washing their robes so that they are made clean and enter the city? (Rev 21:26-27) What other alternative explanation makes sense?

    ++1 Cor. 5:20 for example, makes it sound like we must make sure to reconcile with God, and even if reconciliation is offered the whole world (Jesus died for the whole world), there seems to be a condition for this reconciliation. Sometimes it’s spelled out, and sometimes it isn’t (but doesn’t make contrary claims).
    Not sure I understand. The condition is meeting all of the requirements of the gospel message. Either believe, repent and obey in this age or believe, repent and obey in the next age. The parameters of what it means to have faith in Christ and reconciliation with God don’t change.

    ++You write about God’s purpose possibly being thwarted, but if we read John 1, we can see that his purpose was that all men would believe (v. 7).Well, all men did not end up believing in him, and the pharisees made this very clear. So was God’s purpose thwarted? Not if we include the rest of the information. The condition: ”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.
    Indeed all men did not believe in him but that does not in itself preclude the possibility that God will one day reconcile all men to himself as all will eventually believe. 1 Tim 4:10 states: ”To this end we labor and strive, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” Does this verse say that only some (especially) believe or will all believe since Jesus is the Savior of all men? Does ”especially” negate ”all?” The apostle Paul employs a similar construction in Gal 6:10 ”Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (NKJV). Is Paul saying that we are only to do good to the ”household of faith” or is he saying we are to do good to ”all,” but especially the ”household of faith?” Obviously, we are to do good to both groups. In like manner, Jesus is the Savior of all mankind and Savior of those who know they are saved. He is the Savior of both groups. The Greek word in both passages is the same Greek word, malista, which means ”most of all.” So then, we are to do good to all, most of all to the household of faith, and Jesus is the Savior of all, most of all to those who already believed.

    ++We already know about those branches that bear little fruit. He purges them tha they may bring forth more fruit. The branches with NO fruit, however, are thrown in the fire. Things thrown in the fire burn up.
    Yes things in fire burn up but the germane question is do they (branches/souls) cease to exist or do they get purged of sin thus continuing to exist? Are they punished with annihilation or purified and reconciled to God?

    ++I really don’t know how long the time of suffering will be, but at least one of us believe the suffering will last for ever 🙂
    The context itself determines how long the time of suffering will be. The sheep/goat judgment is not the great white throne judgment. The sheep/goats are those who are still alive on the earth at the time of Jesus’ return while the dead still await their judgment after the 1,000 years are completed. The sheep enter aionios life during the 1,000 year period on earth and correspondingly the goats enter the lake of fire for aionios punishment during the same 1,000 year period. Their suffering therefore cannot be construed as meaning ”forever.”

    ++Right, and it’s also possible to spend eternal life in different segments. Like first 1000 years in one realm, and later on in another realm.
    Agreed. That is why I believe aionios life pertains to the age that is dictated by the context of the verse(s).

    ++Thus, the Bible is still correct about both the gnashing of teeth (which will last more than seconds), and that our choice is life or death (and not life or life).
    Yes our choice is life or death. If we choose to sin, the consequence is spiritual death. However, again the question is whether spiritual death lasts ”forever” or just for an age of time? If aionios life does not mean eternal (I think we agree on that) then how can death/punishment be eternal?

    ++The question is still if the wordings about ”reconcile all to himself” must be interpreted the way you do. 🙂 This seems to be the key issue here.
    Agreed, and it is a multifaceted issue which makes things more difficult. The devil is in the details. However if I look at the big picture then I should also consider this:
    Calvinism = God is able to save all + He desires not to save all = all are not saved.
    Arminianism = God is not able to save all + He desires to save all = all are not saved.
    Universalism = God is able to save all + He desires to save all = all are saved.
    The Good News is only the good news if all are (eventually) saved. Under Calvinism and Arminianism the Good News is in reality, the bad news as the great majority of humanity is condemned forever. God is more than able to accomplish what he desires

    Gilla

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