Sometimes, the strongest (and most valuable) praise can come from the mouth of an opponent. I found this in an essay against “Annihilationism” which he also calls “Conditional Mortality” where he criticizes the King James bible (he specified the AV although he dislikes all the English translations) because it teaches the destruction of the wicked.
Gary Amirault wrote:
“The word “annihilation” is used in this study as meaning that the ungodly, the wicked, the “unsaved,” will be ultimately completely destroyed. The English words used in the scriptures to prove this teaching are destroy, perish, abolish, destruction, loss, etc. And words such as everlasting, eternal, and forever.
This teaching is not a new doctrine. It has been taught by some Christians throughout the history of the Christian church. It is a fact that many scriptures in English translations do teach the destruction of some people. In this study, we will consider the original Greek words translated, destroy, destruction, etc., and what these words meant at the time they were written. We will also look at the words translated everlasting, eternal, forever, world, age, damn etc. This study will not deny that “destruction” is taught in the English scriptures. We do, however, want to be certain what “destruction” meant to the original writers of the scriptures. We often read words in Bibles through our sectarian definitions”.
The thesis of his essay seems to be that we cannot trust any English version of the scriptures, so we must go back to the “original languages” which he will be glad to tell us what they really meant to say. I have not read the entire essay, but here is a sample of his reasoning below:
“First of all, we know today, that we are literally on fire. Do we not burn our food? The military has binoculars which see in the dark. They see heat. Human beings can be seen because they are giving off heat. We are slowly burning.
Does not fire make meat taste better and rid it of disease? Do you not enjoy the warmth of fire in the winter time? Do you enjoy the comforts of electricity, light, radio, computers, telephones, ovens, laser technology, etc.? Fire, when properly controlled, is very beneficial to mankind. Apart from the sun, there would be no life on this planet. Even the stars billions of miles away are helpful to man in navigation and make the dark night more enjoyable to behold.
When we come to the scriptures, it is even more abundantly clear, that “fire” is the very symbol, not of death, not of eternal torment, nor of fearful judgment, but of life itself. Fire, in the scriptures, is not a symbol of His judgments, but of His very being! It is here we find the true touchstone of which of the three teachings we have been discussing is true.”
Ironically, the proponents of Eternal Conscious Torment, even though they will not admit that the English bible teaches “the destruction of the wicked,” use the same tactics of arguing that clear words like destruction, perish, life, and death should have been translated in the opposite sense.
I am including an example of his counter arguments against “the destruction of the wicked.” When considering a direct statement such as:
(28) And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The Universalist answers:
“Speaking of God being able to destroy both body and soul, He is able to do many things, but that does not mean He will do them. He is able to blot a name out of the Lamb’s book of life. You are able to stick a dagger into your right eye, but that doesn’t mean that you ever will.”
But his answer does not seem to account for scriptures such as these (I searched the entire essay just to be thorough):
(32) Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.
(33) And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.
(19) And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
I would answer to this author who says that although God will not blot out the wicked (even though it is acknowledged that it is in his power) that according to the scriptures, God did say that he will he blot out those that sin against him from his book, and take away their part of the book of life.
I did not really intend to critique the entire essay, but I thought that it was a significant recognition that this Universalist author does admit that our English translation does teach destruction, not “unconditional immortality” and it is refreshing to hear someone else argue that the Authorized version is biased in favor of “Annihilationism.”
Author: Andrew Patrick
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But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts:
and be ready always to give an answer
to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you
with meekness and fear:
(1 Peter 3:15 KJV)