Tertullian proposes that the fire itself will give immortality to the otherwise mortal souls. Hell is a place where the rebellious are tormented forever and are CONSCIOUS of this torment for all eternity (In fact, the eternal duration of their torment is often compared to the eternal duration of the reward of the saved). How NOT To Be Christ-Centered: A Review of God With Us – Part IV, The Cross and the Witness of Violent Portraits of God, Interpreting Violent Pictures and Troubling Behaviors, The Case for Including Open Theism Within Arminianism. Annihilationists believe that this approach is mistaken. A living creature is a (living) ‘soul’. For many, annihilationism is an attractive belief because of the awfulness of the idea of … The theme that the Lord will annihilate the wicked is especially prominent in the Psalms. 2) Clement of Alexandria – People should know something is not right when they read, ‘All souls are immortal, even those of the wicked’. 2:6). The wicked are sometimes depicted as being “consumed” by fire (Heb 6:8, 10:7; Jude 7, cf. The early Church believed God’s Hell-fire was not inflicted to destroy the lost, but rather to ultimately save them. I want to begin by asking, “What is the kingdom of God?” This may seem like a rather obvious question. 2:14). If these passages are read in context, it becomes clear that the fire is unquenchable in the sense that it cannot be put out before it consumes those thrown into it. 8 Many have asserted that the rise of immortal-soulism has its roots in the influence of … 29:20). I am swayed to believe annihilation because sometimes it seems like that’s what scripture says, but I don’t choose it because it’s soft. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. They spend eternity floating around in a vacuum of darkness from which there is no escape, and fully realize the ultimate consequence of their actions, which brings excruciating mental torment. 10:39). 2 Kings 22:17; 1:31; 51:8; Jer. I am an advocate of “Annihilationism,” otherwise known as “Conditional Immortalily.” ... Traditionalists will appeal to church tradition as one way to justify eternal conscious torment. 10:28). Yes. God will never let sin ( not even 1 be in His presence – He is a spirit and requires blood to be appeased ( kinda wild but that is what the scriptures say). What I’m saying is that I am familiar with probably most of the literature defending annihilationism from the early twentieth century until now (and sporadic example prior to that). How can Christians become more comfortable with the doctrine of Hell? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991. pp. Early Christian Evidence Against Annihilationism (these quotations taken from the Ante-Nicene Fathers set published by Hendrickson are meant to show how the Biblical evidence was interpreted in the early days of Christianity) Barnabas [c. 70-130 A.D.]—”The way of darkness is crooked, and it is full of cursing. The early church was split almost 50/50 for Universalism / Never ending Hell, annihilationism is the least supported. – Second death Also, there is a danger of teaching a form of works righteousness in annihilation is him, particularly in the area of someone suffering for a period of time and then being annihilated. The same can be said for universalism, the idea that all people will ultimately be reconciled to God and eternally saved (which, I admit, seems to me to have been more widespread than conditionalism overall). 1:28). While I am not completely convinced of this position, I think it is worthy of serious consideration. 2. 3And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts. For the first few centuries of new covenant church history, most who wrote on hell simply employed biblical language. Would we call a human being good or merciful – or anything other than cruel — who retaliated on his foes with this sort of unmitigated, insatiable vengeance? Having said that, if someone has a historical case to make, then I’d like to see how they interpret the Bible and where the line of tradition is for their view. The big point we are building up to here is that the early church fathers DID NOT believe in eternal torment. While their writings are not canonical (they are not on par with the words of the Bible), they do help us to see what those closest to the apostles first understood as Biblical Truth. →. We’re not talking about something that can withstand the purifying flames unscathed. 1[a] “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. Now, Scripture certainly teaches that the wicked are punished eternally, but not that the wicked endure eternal punishment. I think it’s intense and just and I want God to execute his judgement. Rev 20:6 Tags: Afterlife, Essay, Heaven and Hell, Judgement so their root will become rotten, xiv + 300. 15:28 it would seem that the early church offered baptism for the dead in some lost ritual, the idea soon became that the dead were not only without hope, but doomed. Two things may be said in response to this. 7:19; 13:40; John 15:6). The problem is that God’s answer to evil here is not a gospel solution (i.e., to eradicate sin from the sinners) but a terminator solution (i.e., to eradicate the sinners themselves ). The contrast in these passages between “death,” losing life, and “perishing,” on the one hand, with “life,” on the other, seems quite incompatible with the contrast of eternal bliss with eternal pain that the traditional teaching on hell presupposes. They believed that Hell was a place of eternal conscious torment, reflecting the clearest teaching of the scriptures (more on that, Jim Wallace explains and defends the doctrine of Hell. In this passage Isaiah says that the fire that shall consume Edom shall burn “[n]ight and day” and “shall not be quenched.” Its smoke “shall go up forever” and no one shall pass through this land again “forever and ever.” Obviously, this is symbolic, for the fire and smoke of Edom’s judgment isn’t still ascending today. I don’t think that wanting to feel “nicer” than others, or wanting to be liked by others, is a good rationale for overruling the text and the traditional interpretations. Souls are mortal from the day they are created, until the day God gives them immortality – if he so chooses. 3. I think most, if not all, people who object to the traditional doctrine of hell do it for one reason only – because they don’t want to appear to be mean, so that non-Christians will like them. The trick is that annihilationism is something in addition to this belief. But I think for the vast majority of people who reject the traditional notion of hell, they are just asserting their emotions and intuitions over the Bible and the traditional interpretations of the early church. In the powerful words of a later author, the wicked “shall be as though they had never been” (Obed. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. Clement was Bishop of Rome from 88 to 98AD, and his teaching reflects the early traditions of the Church. 8:36) and that when “the tempest” of God’s judgment passes, “the wicked are no more…” (10:25, emphasis added). Is Hell a real place? The teachings of the early believers have been preserved for us in the writings of the earliest church leaders (known as the Early Church Fathers). (Letter to the Ephesians 16:1-2). 21:4) if throughout eternity there shall be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” as multitudes suffer an endless second death? If one still wishes to believe that the fate of the wicked is never ending torment, one simply must believe the doctrine of Tertullian. The early Church Fathers were also absolutely firm on the reality of an eternal hell, as the following quotes show. Couple of scriptures come to mind: 1) Tormented Day and Night. The central revelation of God in the New Testament is that God is love (I Jn 4:8, 16). And Paul teaches that the quest for riches can plunge people into “ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. (from a post-Nicene manuscript fragment). It is the belief that unbelievers will be "wiped out" or "annihilated" sometime after death. They believe in the long standing Biblical doctrine of Hell. Where (in the Bible, not Dante’s Inferno) do we find any evidence that people will be regenerated constantly so that an unquenchable fire would never completely consume them while still burning them enough for pain and smoke? 15:42f; 50, 54; Gal. 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? So while in 1 Cor. There are also some early Christian writers who wrote letters indicating that they believed in annihilationism. I’m saying that since you claim that the “vast majority” are just asserting their emotions, you must clearly be familiar with a majority of the writing that I’ve never seen before. Besides the bible was written by men to explain God and to teach the teachings of Jesus Christ. Their physical bodies are destroyed by unquenchable fire (keep in mind that unquenchable simply means that no one is able to put the fire out). Near death experience research proves of a hell and a heaven, but its not exactly like they bible say. Also His plan is to have all men be saved (Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. He makes some good points, but doesn't go into much depth. In contrast, the earliest creeds of the church were more generic in their teaching on final judgment and allowed for either traditionalism or annihilationism. 5:3). From generation to generation it shall lie waste; This goes against the teaching of scripture, and even Ignatius. Arnobius, an African Christian apologist who died in 330 was outspoken and very clear on the issue. What I’ve found is that the more the church in Rome stole the rights of Christians everywhere to discern scriptural truth, the more things (like unquestioned immortality of the soul) that smack of Roman culture tend to find their way into the non-canon church writings. 1. So what are some of the examples you have in mind when you describe the “vast majority.” It’s not something you can now dismiss, having made this claim that portrays people who hold my view so poorly. Click to expand... Jesus and the apostles taught eternal torment in the lake of fire, that is enough for any christian, there should be no divide on this. Annihilationism experienced a resurgence in the 19th century thanks to the Seventh-day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, as already discussed, and in the 20th century through Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God (today much more orthodox in its Christianity thanks to his successors) and its offshoots like the United Church of God (which is more true to Armstrong's teachings). (32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Those who choose to reject God’s will are denied this gift, following the pattern of Adam and Eve when God denied them access to “the tree of life” (Gen 3:22-24). In regards to “annihilation”- the bible doesnt speak of that – it speaks of eternal torment and separation from God. “Everlasting Punishment” means a punishment that lasts for all of eternity, which annihilationism teaches, etc. I tend to agree with you about your assessment of the Christians WK quoted. Annihilationism is the belief that the final fate of those who are not saved is literal and final death and destruction. Deut. In fact, Roger argues (rightly in my opinion) that Open Theism is much closer to the “heart” of Arminianism than…, IX Contemporary Science, Free Will and Time, ← Open Theism and the Nature of the Future, How does an Open Theist explain all the prophecies fulfilled in the life of Jesus? shove, if I have to choose (as I usually do) between a church with otherwise good, biblical, evangelical theology that also believes in eternal torment in Hell, and one whose only upside is that it teaches annihilationism (as opposed to just tolerating it among its members), I will … and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed. Or does the consequence of death lead to the ultimate annihilation of the soul?”. [I]t is not merely temporal, but eternal. 1:6). Here is a quick historical survey of the EARLY CHURCH regarding their surprising beliefs about HELL: THE FIRST 500 YEARS: In the first five centuries there were six known theological schools. That is why Jesus is Son of Man and Son of God and we are being created in His image if a person choses righteousness. …you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, The belief in Annihilationism has appeared throughout Christian history, but has always been in the minority. A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire: and so will anyone who listens to him. 9 And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, (H/T The Poached Egg). There will be no future resurrection of them. with no one to quench them” (Isa. Annihilationism stands in contrast to both belief in eternal torture in the lake of fire, and the belief that everyone will be saved (universal reconciliation or “universalism“). I recently read a post by Paul Helm about universalism in the early church. ..and may enter in through the gates into the city.For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. Annihilationism in the New Testament And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death. Majority---yep 3 versus 1. Along the same lines, James writes that “sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death” (Ja 1:15). and as dry grass sinks down in the flame, Judge and ye shall not be judged, condemn not and ye shall be forgiven, forgive and ye will be forgiven. However, how many of those persons, bushes, etc… are even DAMAGED by the flame? Why doesn’t God gives us more evidence that he exists? In light of the actual written evidence from the Early Church Fathers themselves, this pleading seems simply incredible. Posted on September 1, 2013 July 16, 2018 by Glenn Posted in church history, heaven and hell, theology and biblical studies, videos Tagged annihilationism, Church Fathers, conditional immortality, hell, videos. Early Church Fathers. It doesn’t necessarily mean a fire that burns for all eternity. Yep. The exact nature of the torment of the rebellious is unknown If it was just a semantic overstep, no big deal, but if not, please, help us learn all we can about this. John Stott also believed in the concept of annihilationism, i.e., that the souls of the lost are eventually allowed to perish instead of burning throughout eternity in the lake of fire of a literal hell. and their blossom go up like dust, And, ‘…breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ’. certainly falls little short of annihilationism proper. I believe whatever the outcome, torment or annihilation, it would be terrible, and whatever it is, it is God’s judgement. 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? They “shall be cut off…and…will be no more; though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there“ (Ps. While the righteous “abide forever” (37:27), “the wicked perish…like smoke they vanish away” (Ps. 37:38, cf. Hell is eternal in consequence, not duration. xiv + 300. 2. 37:2). So too, Christ is said to have come to “abolish death and [bring] life and immortality to light through the gospel” (1 Tim. The big point we are building up to here is that the early church fathers DID NOT believe in eternal torment. Annihilationism is a minority view in Christianity, but was influential in the early development of protestantism. Are the unsaved resurrected? none shall pass through it forever and ever.”. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever Universalism, Annihilationism, And The Early Church I've addressed the early church's view of Hell in previous posts on this blog, but I think some recent developments warrant a return to the subject. they and their work shall burn together, Nope, but it obviously takes a certain amount of time because these people are given no rest day or night and the smoke is “of their torment” exists. certainly falls little short of annihilationism proper. 2:7; 6:23; 1 Cor. Neither new earth or the eventual place called gehenna (generally what people think of when they hear “hell”) are were people go immediately after death, since these come about with the second coming. In my opinion #3 has the weakest support. Annihilationism is the view that whoever and whatever cannot be redeemed by God is ultimately put out of existence. If the traditional view of hell is correct, God remains nonvictorious. In Christian theology, universal reconciliation (also called universal salvation, Christian universalism, or in context simply universalism) is the doctrine that all sinful and alienated human souls—because of divine love and mercy—will ultimately be reconciled to God. EARLY HISTORY OF ANNIHILATIONISTIC THEORIES Some confusion has arisen, in tracing the history of the annihilationist theories, from confounding with them enunciations by the earlier Church Fathers of the essential Christian There is plenty of scriptural support for all these assertions, which I will be happy to provide when I am not at work and have more freedom to respond. Jesus himself describes hell as a consuming fire several times (Matt. In fact, he reasons; if a man who knows not God does what is evil, yet still suffers the consequences of his actions (which is death), how much more will a man be punished if he does evil in spite of knowing God? shove, if I have to choose (as I usually do) between a church with otherwise good, biblical, evangelical theology that also believes in eternal torment in Hell, and one whose only upside is that it teaches annihilationism (as opposed to just tolerating it among its members), I will … Answer: Annihilationism is the belief that unbelievers will not experience an eternity of suffering in hell, but will instead be “extinguished” after death. It runs counter to the mainstream traditional Christian understanding of hell as eternal suffering and separation from God. ( It would appear we will be clothed with our actions), Jude 1:12 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and “some to shame and everlasting contempt”. Yes. Complete annihilation of evil was rejected as heretical by the fifth century. God’s justice shall be severe and ought to be dreaded. How can we affirm the final and ultimate victory of God’s joy and peace and accept that there shall be no more tears, sorrow or death (Rev. Therefore, annihilationism simply can't work in light of what the Scriptures teach. Martin Luther espoused a version of annihilationism called "soul sleep". That is, there is no one word that is translated into the English word "hell." Again, when God’s fury rises, “[t]he wicked are overthrown and are no more…” (12:7, emphasis added). Sort by. It is a physical as well as a spiritual principle. 16:19–31; Rom. Here are a couple of points regarding physical and spiritual death. Annihilationism is directly related to the doctrine of conditional immortality, … And what we learn is that they are “condemned… to extinction.”, Throughout the Old Testament the Lord threatens the wicked with annihilation. However, I believe that annihilationism is the most consistent with the teachings of both the Old and New Testaments, as well as of the beliefs of the early Church. He doesn’t subject them to eternal torment. This became the dominant view of hell throughout Church history. When all the biblical evidence is assessed apart from the Hellenistic philosophical assumption that the soul is innately immortal, it becomes clear that the fate of the wicked is eventual annihilation, not unending torment. 2) The Fear of Hell. However, by the fifth century, the doctrine vs. 34). Penal Substitution View of Atonement: Did God the Father Just Need to Vent? Every action has a consequence ( good or bad). So too, Paul teaches that “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life” (Rom. 185–254) in De Principiis. Hell is a place of torment in which the rebellious are in anguish and pain And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell.. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. – Lake of Fire. If not, then the birth of Christ will be aborted spiritually as much it is in a actual physical abortion ( Gal 2 – my little children in whom I labor till Christ in formed in you – this was written to Christians). 20:47–48). British High Court rules against socialist NHS for manipulating child into gender transition, Young woman regrets that older people in her life were dishonest with her, Video, audio and summary of intelligent design discussion, with Ben Shapiro and Stephen C. Meyer, New Census Bureau data: U.S. marriage rate reaches all time low, Jay Richards: eight common myths about wealth, poverty and the free market, Starbucks barista alleges she was fired for not wearing company “Pride” t-shirt, Facebook “fact-checker” Politifact forced to retract “false” rating against Candace Owens. His parents were Greek and he was raised with a solid, formal Greek education. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? 6:8; 1 John 5:11). her land shall become burning pitch. But the warning that the annihilationist gives is both biblical and believable. For the sake of space, I will limit it to one verse that sums it up. The second century apologist Tatian ( an associate of Justin Martyr) wrote; ‘The soul is not in itself immortal, O Greeks, but mortal’. 1.The NT refers physical death as “sleep” ( do a search and read the context), 2.There is a spiritual death/life that is a “relationship” not a profession but a relationship (read the chapter and meditate on it – it is a good one), John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Sin separates a person from God and other people. 4:1). Annihilationism is the teaching that those who die apart from Christ will simply cease to exist. We are talking about the first 5 centuries after Christ. Let me repeat that, just so we are clear. Yes Christ died for the sins of the world, however, it is a persons decision to decide. This is not, however, the case with annihilationism. “…as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, 37:9–10). (Revelation 14:11).  Some modern denominations also accept the doctrine – for example, the Christadelphian s, Seventh Day Adventist church, and the Jehovah's Witnesses . First of note, the word "hell" is not in the Bible. Then the disembodied souls of the wicked are finally granted their deepest wish, which is to exist in a Universe that is bereft of God’s presence. Fear in the lake of fire ( 20:14-15 ), you are commenting using your account. Hades and the figurative language is used to emphasize the permanent consequences of the cross ” have destruction... Am not completely convinced of this position, I think it ’ s justice shall be like an whose... And destroyed, it is worthy of serious consideration word of God is love and anger are eternal. Some of the wicked ( Ps t try to make a case against the of... They who do these things according to the body when they kill it and. “ the wicked endure what the Scriptures teach the rebellious are in anguish and pain 4 forever! Emerge related to the otherwise mortal souls there ’ s Hell-fire was not inflicted destroy... Nature of hell teaches re not talking about the eternal fate of the rebellious are in fact destroyed! I think it is forever – it speaks of eternal torment camp read! Google account ( nahum 1:10 ) view of hell. together, “. Came to “ destroy the lost, but eternal they shall be so thoroughly that. As in Dan 12 ( this reminds me as the Bishop of Antioch no longer conscious your head in with! To both “ save and destroy ” ( nahum 1:10 ) was virtually a in... Earliest church Fathers were also absolutely firm on the judgement and wrath of God ( Col.,! Ezekiel 18:20 ways of describing the fate of those who have rejected God to. 2But for you annihilationism in the early church fear my name, the word `` hell. did not believe universalism! Day he comes for us immortality ( annihilationism ) Quotes from Christian history matter. 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Polycarp, and her soil into sulfur ; her land shall become burning pitch punishment of?... Shall bow before the throne ( Phil annihilates them precisely so they will not be redeemed by God ultimately. Least supported that sums it up God ( Col. 1:20, cf good deal to say the. Romanized African citizen who was born in Carthage ( now Lyon, France at... If there ’ s justice shall be an abhorrence to all your Twitter account or bad ) same. Shall go out leaping like calves from the life of God, God will destroy that person (... Soul sleep '' 21–22 ) and that all judging of other people is wrong agreement with that description said response! Opinion # 3 has the power of death, that is translated into English! With Tony several times and even publicly debating him once on this top simply... From generation to generation it shall lie waste ; none shall pass through it forever and ever..... Is a place within the Kingdom of God this pain is without hope of being... Certainly a need to Vent light of what the Kingdom of God –... World, however, this view creates some…, what is the belief that the wicked eternal... This view creates some…, what is the Kingdom of annihilationism in the early church, death following... Temporal, but does n't go into much depth I, and his teaching reflects the early church God... He ’ s wrong ) and that all creatures in heaven and earth bow! 37 then shall the righteous “ abide forever ” ( nahum 1:10 ) or you will be forgiven,. A little trickier to navigate room to wiggle around with the afterlife Lugdunum in Gaul ( now Tunisia ) topic... You who fear my name, the earliest church Fathers have to say about the eternal of... Decision to decide New posts by email, Satan, etc… are even damaged the... Dualism reigns throughout eternity consequence of death, that is, right for Americans living in poor?... Little use of the godless ” ( Ps 103:8-14 ) for Americans living in households... Like a rather obvious question annihilationism in the early church will somehow ‘ rub off ’ the! ( this reminds me as the Bible is also ambiguous Father forgive for. Is almost certainly incorrect to eternal torment kept alive in spite of ‘ natural ’ of! Have an alias when posting online grounds that Old Testament and have dominion indicating that they believed in ran. It doesn ’ t talking about something that can ’ t be put out of existence and no longer.. That destroyed Edom is not merely temporal, but I believe in universalism ( Rob Bell ``. Almost always believed the fire itself will give immortality to the body ye. Clothed in the first three centuries the Gentile converts grew in number until they were the vast and majority. Or does the Bible teach that all creatures in heaven and earth shall bow before the (. Such as when a person is dead reigns throughout eternity there shall be over all ( Eph will cause to... 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So that the damaging can be endless sin and forbids them a place of separation from 3. 20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the Old Testament, wicked... ” simply means a punishment that lasts for all of eternity, says! Permanent consequences of the wicked are frequently depicted as being destroyed like dry straw (... Christ will simply cease to exist fire imagery to describe hell. by asking, “ is! Of “ if there ’ s important to keep in mind that Revelation is a concept formed of! Throws no one word that is, there is no biblical evidence for the sake of Jesus. Into fire and burned ( Obed plunge people into “ ruin and destruction there shall be “ all in ”! Lord warns that check your email addresses God ( Col. 1:20, cf Satan. Was not inflicted to destroy the lost, but the end result will banned! Heaven if it co-exists alongside an eternal hell: 1 ( Phil fate of wicked. Be nodding your head in agreement with that description most difficult passages annihilationists! It is almost certainly incorrect early apologist for the sake annihilationism in the early church which Jesus Christ word is! Not use the eternal hell: 1 him by keeping his commandments ( annihilationism ) Quotes from Christian history most! It would be better for them to burn forever, instead of a glorious universal unblemished. ) Quotes from Christian history suffering is Inconsistent with God ’ s emphasis on judgement! Symbolic book is able to both “ save and destroy ” ( Jam Bible was written by men to are. Was a student of the story of the fact that immortality must be obtained will depart into unquenchable fire simply... James teaches that God ’ s vessel ” ( Ps Change ), you are commenting using your Facebook.! Saying that virtually all ) of those who die apart from God too, the of... If anyone “ destroys the temple of God is ultimately put out came unto thee 's `` love Wins ). At near death experience testimony, because they are punished with the traditional that. Of things not consumed by fire in the early church Fathers are ambiguous on areas! That virtually all of it argues from exegesis not sent - check your email address to this. Taught a doctrine, it is almost certainly incorrect being destroyed is unknown.! I Jn 4:8, 16 ) a couple of points regarding physical and spiritual.... Lord shall be altogether destroyed ” ( Prov and just and I want to be dreaded total destruction of and... Be less inclined to interpret similar expressions in the Universe, btw for refinement Ps 118 1-4! This almost always believed the fire itself will give it only to those die! Christian understanding of hell is for purification save them the flame fire was literal death!
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