The doctrine of everlasting torture is discussed in the following five articles on the website:
There is no evidence for everlasting torture in the Bible. (Summary of the other articles)
One of the traditional doctrines of the church is that the lost will suffer everlasting torture. This article shows that this is not what the Bible teaches. Rather, the Bible consistently teaches that the lost will be destroyed (annihilated), that only God’s people will receive eternal life, and that evil will not exist in eternity.
When the sources and symbols that seem to provide evidence for everlasting torture are properly investigated, much of such evidence also becomes evidence for annihilation. This article finds no clear evidence for eternal torment in the Bible.
The doctrine of eternal torture presents God as the cruelest being that we are able to conceive; retaliating on his foes with an unmitigated, insatiable vengeance. This has caused untold numbers of people to reject the Bible and has turned the church into an image of the false god it worships. Over the centuries, the church has killed millions of God’s true people.
Annihilationism teaches that the lost will ultimately be put out of existence. (Arguments for Annihilation)
Annihilationism is the teaching that the lost will ultimately be put out of existence and not suffer everlasting torture. The current article presents the case for annihilationism. It shows that:
(a) Man, after he was created, was not immortal.
(b) When man sinned, he was condemned to death.
(c) The NT teaches pervasively that sinners will be annihilated (destroyed).
(d) Immortality is a gift of God that He will give only to those who believe in Jesus.
(e) The Bible promises that a time will come when evil does not exist anywhere in the universe.
The warning of the third angel symbolizes permanent destruction. (Revelation 14:9-11)
The third angel warns that people who accept the mark of the beast will be tormented in fire and brimstone and that the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever (Revelation 14:9-11). This article provides six reasons that this is NOT eternal torment:
1. Revelation is a book of symbols.
2. They will be tormented in the presence of the Lamb.
3. The angel’s warning alludes to the prophecy against Edom.
4. Babylon’s smoke also goes up for ever.
5. The immediate context is Christ’s return.
6. The wrath of God is finished in the seven last plagues.
Satan will be annihilated in the lake of fire– Revelation 20:10
According to Revelation 20:10, the devil, the beast and the false prophet will be tormented in the lake of fire forever and ever. This article shows that Revelation 20:10 is a symbolic description of eternal destruction:
• Revelation is a book of symbols.
• After death is thrown into the lake of fire, nobody else will die (Rev 21:4).
• Revelation defines the lake of fire as the second death; the final and irreversible death.
• The beast and the false prophet are not personal beings that can suffer everlasting torture.
• Revelation stated explicitly that the beast will be annihilated.
If impersonal or corporate entities, such as death, the beast and the false prophet, can be thrown into the lake of fire to be annihilated, then Satan will also be consumed when he is thrown into it.
The Biblical evidence for eternal torture actually supports annihilation. (Arguments for everlasting torture)
To a layperson, the evidence for eternal torture may sound convincing, but once one is informed of the meanings of the symbols, then the same evidence becomes evidence against eternal torture and for annihilation. For example, the phrase “their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” may sound convincing until you learn that it is a direct quote from the Old Testament referring to dead people. Then the same phrase becomes evidence for the irreversibility of their destruction. The same applies to concepts such as the ever-rising smoke, the eternal fire, everlasting contempt, and the unquenchable fire.
OTHER ARTICLES AND PODCASTS
For further information, see Glenn Peoples’ article, Why I am an Annihilationist (rightreason.org). That article and Glenn’s podcasts have helped me a great deal. His podcasts include the following: