Are there degrees of hell?

Even among those who believe in conditional immortality, some say the New Testament teaches that there will be degrees of suffering in hell throughout eternity. In the traditional vision of hell as a torture chamber of fire and sulphur, you could think of some people being roasted at 500 degrees Celsius, while others are merely blistering […]

What is our soul ?

Souls are on the way out. Not just in our culture or in science, where some Christians may suspect “naturalism” as the culprit, but souls are on the way out of our Bibles. This is because of the ways in which our translations are getting better at conveying what was originally intended. Related posts: soul […]

Cast into Hell: Gehenna in Luke’s Gospel

It feels misleading to have a title like “Gehenna in Luke’s Gospel,” which gives the impression that I’m going to look at all the instances where Luke uses the word γέεννα (gehenna). Strictly speaking this is true, but Luke only uses the word once. When he does, he paints a grim but illuminating picture of […]

Classical theology and conditional immortality

In Christian discussions about human nature and destiny, conditional immortality is still regarded by some people as a view without a home in historic Christian thought. They might expect us to appeal to emotion or to our sense of fairness and love, but they might not expect us to provide a robust biblical case, and […]

Hell is an apologetics concern

This is a talk that I had the pleasure of giving to Reasonable Faith in Los Angeles in July 2014. I’m grateful to my host Chris Sandoval, and especially to the generous folks at the Conditional Immortality Association here in New Zealand who got me there. In short. The traditional doctrine of hell is a real concern […]

Destroyed from God’s Presence

St Paul’s description of the judgement of God in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 is another biblical reason to give up the traditional view of divine judgement and the eternal torments of hell. Back in 2007 my article “Fallacies in the Annihilationism Debate” was published in JETS (The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society). To be honest, […]

Is the Resurrection Necessary?

According to the New Testament, it’s the resurrection or nothing. There is no other way to have any existence after death. This means, among other things, that there is no conscious soul able to survive without a body. Every Christian who takes a stance on the mind-body issue is going to have to live with […]

Anything but the blood of Jesus: How (some) traditionalists downplay the death of Christ

“What can take away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!” Robert Lowry How does a traditional view of hell as eternal torment undermine the value of the death of Jesus? One of the biblical reasons to accept conditional immortality is that Jesus stood in for sinners, taking upon himself their fate, dying the […]

Did Paul Have an Out of Body Experience?

Did Paul talk about leaving his body and going to the third heaven? Although I’m familiar with the view that the Apostle Paul is relating an “out-of-body experience” at the outset of 2 Corinthians 12, I’m pretty sure that he is not. That’s partly because I don’t think that Scripture teaches that we are immaterial […]

Can these bones live? The resurrection of the body

Is it really clear that the first Christians believed in the empty tomb of Jesus and in the resurrection of our bodies, leaving all the graves empty? When we view history through Christian eyes, the resurrection of Jesus is the turning point. Without it, St Paul assured his readers, we are wasting our time with […]