Saturday, March 19, 2011

Eternal Life and a Not-So Eternal Punishment

The following quote from Michael Horton's The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way is addressed directly to the question of Annihilationism. However, the comments he shares in this particular quote are quite applicable to several of the arguments which Rob Bell made in his newest book, Love Wins.
Jesus' teaching concerning the final separation of the saved and the lost seems to treat punishment and life as equally eternal: "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Mt. 25:46). If it is generally assumed that "eternal life" means unending, conscious joy, then it would seem that annihilationists bear the burden of proof in treating "eternal punishment" as otherwise in duration. Regardless of how one finally interprets these passages, it cannot be decided on the basis of our fallen moral judgment of God and his ways and our consequent emotional revulsion at the admittedly difficult idea of conscious punishment forever... The only decisive question is whether Scripture teaches it (Page 983-984).

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