Most people are unafraid to tell me point blank that I am wrong in asserting that the Bible does not teach eternal torment in hell. However, not once has anyone endeavored to answer any of the questions I pose in my articles. Yet I can’t tell you how many times people quote to me the same 6 or 7 passages (I’m never surprised by a new proof text) used to support eternal torment which I already addressed in depth in my articles. And I repeatedly am asked to explain what they mean. Never does anyone seek to prove exactly how the passages only allow for their interpretation. I must admit, if those who believe in eternal torment in hell are correct in their view, I really need answers to questions.
For this reason I have put together a list of 50 questions that I have for those who believe in eternal torment in hell. Since conditionalists like me are expected to defend our position, I would expect nothing less from those who believe eternal torment in hell is a biblical doctrine. I have nothing but love for those brothers and sisters in Christ who believe in hell, but I do call those who are dogmatic about it to prove their assertions correct. The issue is very serious and deserves the utmost fidelity to the truth.
1) What is your definition of the word Greek word for “death” (thanatos) in Romans 6:23?
2) Does the definition you gave in reply to question 1 apply to the same Greek word used of Jesus’ death one chapter prior in Romans 5:10?
3) If the definition of death (Greek word thanatos) is different in Romans 6:23 than it is in Romans 5:10, how did Jesus die the death our sins deserved? If it is the same word, how did Jesus experience the death that is the wages of our sin if it is eternal torment in hell?
4) Insert another word in the place of “destroy” in Matthew 10:28, unless you agree that men will be utterly destroyed in hell: “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”. And provide proof that the word you substituted is consistent with the usage of the Greek word apollumi.
5) If the KJV was correct in translating Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus as “hell”, I ask that it be proven that all of those words refer solely and specifically to a place of eternal misery. And then it must be accounted for that all of the words represent hell at all times in all passages in the Bible.
6) Did the Old Testament teach or allude to a place of eternal misery? If so, please provide proof that it did. And whatever word is used to mean “a place of eternal misery” must always mean that in parallel grammatical contexts.
7) If it cannot be proven that God’s people were aware of the danger of hell before Jesus taught about it, we must conclude then that the gospel brought it to light. If that is true, in what way was the arrival of Christ “good news of great joy which will be for all the people ” (Luke 2:10) if His message also revealed that most of the world will be eternally tormented?
8) Could you give a possible explanation as to why no one in the Bible specifically warned of hell other than Jesus if all men are in danger of eternal torment?
9) Could you give a possible explanation as to why Jesus spoke specifically about hell 9 times to His disciples, yet only twice to unbelieving Jews if the unbelievers were in the most danger of it?
10) Could you give a possible explanation as to why Gentiles were never once warned specifically of the danger of hell in the entire Bible?
11) Is man immortal? If so, I want proof that God specifically gave man immortality. Otherwise it must be concluded that Jesus “alone possesses immortality” (1 Tim 6:16).
12) If all the dead are raised “imperishable” (1 Co 15:53-54), it would contradict the Bible’s teaching that the wicked will perish (2 Thess 2:10; Luke 13:3). Please provide proof that the wicked will receive imperishable bodies.
13) If our souls are always conscious, we would be awake during sleep. When people go into a state of coma, outside stimuli cannot awaken a person. Please provide proof that the soul is always conscious when we are in these states if you affirm that the soul is always conscious.
14) The Hebrew word for soul (nephesh) was used to describe animals (Gen 1:24; Lev 24:18; Job 12:10). And to speak of dead men (Num 9:6, Num 19:13, Lev 21:1). Deuteronomy 24:7 says the soul can be kidnapped. Please provide proof that the soul is always alive and is different than that of animals, and also cannot be kidnapped.
15) Ecclesiastes 3:19-21 uses the Hebrew word for spirit (rauch), and says that ours is the same as the beasts. It also says that no man can know whether our spirit ascends and the beast’s descends. If man’s spirit is what is immortal, please provide proof that animals are not also immortal; since we have the same spirit.
16) If the parable of Luke 16 was literally describing a rich man in hell (Greek word Hades used here), what will happen when hell (Hades) is thrown in the lake of fire in Revelation 20? “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14 KJV).
17) If Lazarus was in a real place called Abraham’s Bosom, could you give a possible explanation as to why is it never mentioned elsewhere in Scripture?
18) If the parable of Luke 16 was given to teach literal truths about the afterlife, is it not arbitrary to decide that he is not literally in Hades, but literally in torment? Should not all of the parable be literal if any of it is?
19) If the word Gehenna used by Jesus and translated as hell originally referred to a place of eternal torment, it did not come from Scripture, since the Old Testament did not teach it. Please show exactly how the word came to mean a place of eternal torment and that this meaning was divinely sanctioned.
20) If the book of Revelation reveals that hell is a place of eternal torment, it must be explained how it could have had any effect on words spoken 30 to 60 years prior. Revelation was the last book of the Bible written.
21) If the lake of fire is hell, why did the Bible not call it hell or vice versa?
22) In Revelation 20:14 Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. Do they exist in torment or are they destroyed and cease to exist?
23) If Death and Hades will not exist in eternal torment in the lake of fire, can you definitively say that men will?
24) Can you provide a verse that explicitly says that men will be tormented in the lake of fire?
25) Please provide a passage in the Bible that uses the phrase “eternal torment” if you say I must believe in it.
26) How does the “second death” have anything to do with the first if it is eternal torment?
27) All flames produce light. So if Jesus was not using figurative language to express sorrow and anger on judgment day, but making literal statements, please explain how the place of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” can be both a “furnace of fire” and “outer darkness” at the same time? (Matt 22:13; Matt 13:50).
28) If “eternal punishment” in Matthew 25:46 is referring to an eternal process of punishment in hell, is “eternal judgment” in Heb 6:2 referring to an eternal process of judging at the Great White Throne?
29) Is “eternal destruction” in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 referring to an eternal process of destroying something?
30) If “eternal judgment” and “eternal destruction” cannot be proved to be eternity-long processes, why must eternal punishment necessarily refer to an eternity-long process and not a one time act with eternal effect?
32) Are there any examples of God tormenting men by fire and not destroying them?
33) If destruction means anything other than destruction, should the types and examples of the destruction of men and nations throughout all ages have no influence on how we are to interpret the word?
34) Does God have a way of measuring our sins that submits to mathematical fairness, in order to determine proportional punishment in hell?
35) If God does not have a mathematically fair way of measuring our sins, how can we assume the punishment will be fair by any standard of justice known to man?
36) If God does have a way of measuring our sins that submits to mathematical fairness, eternal punishment defies this logic. Any punishment multiplied by infinity would eventually exceed finite wrongs. Since man only commits a finite amount of wrongs in life, how can he be punished infinitely and it be mathematically fair?
37) If the sin of rejecting Christ requires infinite punishment, how can you suggest that some sin less than others and incur a lesser degree of punishment?
38) If punishment must be infinite in duration, can you say with certainty that it does not require infinite intensity?
39) Proverbs 11:1 says that God delights in a “just weight”, and Jeremiah 17:10 says that He will repay everyone according to the results of their deeds. Can this be true if God does not use a mathematically fair measure to determine punishment?
40) If misery in hell must be equal in duration to joy in Heaven, is this not using the mathematical concept of symmetry to argue for eternal torment?
41) If God is supposedly obligated to the mathematical concept of symmetry, would He not be equally obligated to mathematical laws of fairness?
42) If we believe God will abide by the laws of time when He says punishment will be “eternal”, should we not also believe He will abide by the laws of mathematical fairness when He says He will judge the peoples with equity? (Psalm 98:9).
43) If no one got around to sharing the gospel with you, would you have been more worthy of hell than if you heard and received the message?
44) How can God say His “mercies are over all His works” (Ps 145:9) if He eternally torments the majority of mankind; many of whom because they were not fortunate enough to hear the gospel?
45) Is God at the mercy of men to share His gospel and save mankind from His own wrath which results in eternal torment in hell?
46) If there is an age of accountability as some suggest, is the youth who passes it by one day less fortunate because God did not take his life prior to that time?
47) How is the picture of an undying worm eating a corpse or an unquenchable fire burning one as seen in Isaiah 66:24 a picture of eternal torment (mental or otherwise)?
48) If hell is merely eternal separation from God, how can He “destroy both body and soul” with separation anxiety (Matt 10:28)?
49) Ezekial 18:23 says that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. How can it be justified that God would go infinitely beyond the laws of mathematical fairness to torment men eternally unless He takes pleasure in it?
50) Can you prove that the word for destruction (apollumi) is a synonym for torment?