IS PUNISHMENT IN HELL TEMPORARY OR ETERNAL?
Many Christians, particularly those from the conservative wing, interpret the
biblical descriptions of Hell literally. They believe in a
literal punishment in a actual Hell. They see this as the final destination for the
vast majority of humans -- i.e. all who who are "unsaved"
at the time of their death.
According to an estimate by the Southern Baptists,
70% of American adults are in this state. Because of the larger number of Roman
Catholics in Canada, probably about 80% of
Canadians are unsaved by their definition. Perhaps 90% of people worldwide are unsaved
according to conservative Protestant criteria, and are thus believed by them to
be headed for
Hell. This very high number is caused by the relatively small percentage of
Christians in most countries outside of the Western hemisphere.
Within this conservative Protestant belief system, there are
many views about the nature of Hell. Two common views are
annihilationism and traditionalism. Both beliefs are
held by leading and respected Christian theologians, who are absolutely
convinced that theirs is the true
Biblical position and that all other beliefs are false:
||Annihilationism is the belief that the unsaved (a.k.a. the lost)
will be tortured in Hell for a limited interval, and then totally destroyed.
Afterwards, they would cease to exist in any form.
||Traditionalism is the belief that the lost will be tortured in
Hell -- not just for a year, or century, or millennium, but for all
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any mechanism for harmonizing
these conflicting beliefs. The obvious way would be to assess the will of
God through prayer. But, this appears to be impossible, at least according
to a small-scale pilot study that we have
Topics discussed in this section include:
Copyright © 2001 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2001-APR-5
Latest update: 2006-MAY-15
Author: B.A. Robinson