Again, on a broader level, annihilationists believe the bible teaches that humans who are ultimately unrepentant will suffer death / cessation of existence. Without Christ, there is nothing of worth that can withstand His eternal fire. ↑ Regarding the matter of reading scripture at face value, see “Traditionalism and Annihilationism … Eternal conscious torment benefits neither God nor the one being punished. Let us conclude that annihilationism and eternal torment are unhelpful terms. Conditional Immortality (which is also sometimes called annihilationism and conditionalism) is the position that only those who have trusted in Christ will be granted continued, eternal existence in the afterlife. It’s only in recent history as they’ve been confronted by conditionalists that they’ve shifted in their use of the word. , David, if only English were more agglutinative! God has put eternity in our hearts or given us thoughts of immortality. It never rises to 100% in any given time period (or libertarian freedom would be violated) but it approaches closer to 100% the further down the time tunnel one peers. Terminology is a real problem, isn’t it? Ronnie, you are certainly correct about the long theological tradition that the human soul is intrinsically immortal. First is an argument based on the Bible’s use of fire imagery to describe hell. A good descriptive name for the affirmation of endless conscious punishment would be very welcome. As for the second point; if people can live for millions of years without putting their faith in Christ, then ongoing life doesn’t seem to be predicated on faith in Christ. Therefore, even novel universalists who claim that they believe immortality is conditional do not qualify as conditionalists, because they believe everyone will meet that condition. And again, these statements are made with absolutely no qualifications of “of course, we’re using these expressions the way they’re normally used, not the way Scripture uses them.”. Mark’s Resources on Hell (Conditional Immortality aka Annihilationism vs. Eternal Conscious Torment vs. Universalism) ... I’m an evangelical conditionalist and I’m a member of a ministry which promotes evangelical conditionalism. . More recently, thedoctrine … The pure that remains is indestructible in their view, thus a part of the soul must be inherently immortal. 2020 Thoughts Theological, on Another reason why “annihilationism” is a better name than “conditionalism:” evangelical universalism is a form of conditionalism, The gospel for people who identify themselves by their sexuality. So conditionalism has steadily shifted from the defensive position of an ostracized view to a recognized school of Christian teaching in a vital field.” 1. Some comments had been approved but also put in spam. According to Scripture, unbelievers are said to be destroyed; therefore, they will not exist anymore. But where traditionalists and universalists agree against conditionalists is where they affirm immortality for everyone. Many of us appear to disagree with you concerning terminology, but that doesn’t change how we think of you. There could be a period of time of suffering in hell before complete destruction. But where traditionalists and universalists agree against conditionalists is where they affirm immortality for everyone. Er go, there won’t be an indefinite amount of time to repent. . Qualitatively, there is no distinction between 'death' and 'annihilation'; the latter word is used solely to clarify just what it is that 'death' consists of. Yes, Paul says other things are included in the package that is salvation and glorification, but it’s a leap to say that immortality consists in that entire package. "...conditionalism emphasizes what awaits the redeemed, namely, eternal life and immortality...annihilationism is about what awaits the damned, namely, the eternal punishment of destruction in hell. Thanks for the response Dr. Tiessen. Rarely did any of them feel the need to qualify their statements and explain “I am, of course, using the expression ‘immortality’ in an unbiblical way.” So as far as common usage is concerned, traditionalists absolutely do not believe in conditional immortality. ", "Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;", "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. Its proponents offer six main arguments. My apologies to commenters on this thread. The traditional view and universalism, by definition, are excluded by that meaning of “Conditional Immortality,” and as such no alternative label is required. I prefer conditionalism over annihilationism, if you couldn’t tell already from the domain name. God alone possesses immortality and the Bible only ascribes immortality to the redeemed. As I jogged today, I was listening to a fine interview by Chris Date with Robin Parry, the author of Evangelical Universalist (under the pen name of Gregory MacDonald). Generally, the arguments fall under these main categories: Each of these arguments have their strengths and weaknesses and are addressed here on CARM. In other words, there seems to be no meaningful relationship between ongoing life and faith in Christ on the universalist scheme. When the penalty is carried out, they will be permanently excluded from eternal life by means of a final death (loss of being; destruction of the whole person; Matthew 10:28)."1. It is pretty difficult to find a professional evangelical theologian these days who holds a Platonic view of souls as indestructible. No worries, stuff happens. Of course, church tradition must bear appropriate weight in any theological discussion. I am intrigued by your suggestion that the length of time God may need to bring some humans to salvation, in a universalist framework, makes doubtful my proposal that they affirm conditional immortality. At most this is true only if the synergist is also an open theist. Of course, we also believe that Christ and the apostles taught it too, but that is always up for debate. I recently subscribed to a new spam interceptor and I am still figuring out what it is doing. But this is precisely what evangelical universalists assert. As a consequence, I have said that “traditionalists affirm . If, over a given time period, the chances of a soul repenting are greater than 0% then, given infinite time, the chance rises to 100%. By my lights, this is a de facto form of unconditional and universal immortality. The trick is getting it to imply perpetuity. In private conversations, I’ve had evangelical universalists affirm that God will keep a person alive until he puts his faith in Christ, even if it takes millions of years. The unsaved will be raised in shame and dishonor, to face God and receive the just condemnation for their sins. But the point stands, that if one does affirm indestructible free will and infinite time synergism is compatible with a confident universalism. No emotionality was intended or felt. Again, the phrase “Conditional Immortality” is a specific reference to that view which entails that immortality in the sense of ongoing physical life and insusceptibility to physical death is a gift given only to those who express saving faith in Jesus Christ, and that not all human beings will express that kind of faith. I’m pretty sure I’m not one of the people you’re worried about here, but if I am, let me know and I’ll rethink my approach. Where they disagree is regarding the nature of divine punishment in hell. Pages upon pages of quotes can be produced—going back to the Fathers up to present day—of Christians affirming and arguing for the natural/unconditional/universal immortality of all men. that God gives “life” only to those in Christ. 1. What’s more, as has already been noted several times, a change in terminology isn’t really necessary to begin with. “If we all accept the idea that ‘immortality’ is in Scripture a qualitative term, not just a descriptor of unending existence, then ‘conditional immortality’ does not clearly distinguish among the options.”, For one, we don’t all agree. You wrote: “This is one reason why ‘annihilationism’ is the best name for the belief that the wicked are ultimately punished by God with destruction, the death of body and soul.”, “That was my earlier reason for rejecting ‘conditional immortality’ in favour of ‘annihilationism’ as the name for the belief that God finally destroys the wicked.”, “Annihilationists believe that the second death is analogous to the first but more thorough; whereas the first death entails only decay of the body, the second death entails destruction of both body and soul: the wicked are destroyed.”, Notice, the same traditionalists who now say “we agree that immortality is conditional!” Will also say, “We agree that the wicked are ultimately punished by God with destruction, the death of body and soul!” and “We agree that God finally destroys the wicked!” and “We agree that the second death entails destruction of both body and soul! Evangelical annihilationists believe that immortality is conditioned on saving faith. , PS, I usually describe my view as annihiationism, because that is what specifies my view on “hell.”. My thought, when I read the citation from Peterson, rather speedily, was that Peterson was unwise to speak as had done. We totally respect you and your openness and willingness to research and dialogue. So long as it is true that one cannot be saved without repentance and faith, these are conditions for immortality/eternal life, regardless of how many or few people meet the conditions. I mean, think about it. Jn 3:16). Terrence, if by immortality we mean living forever, then both traditionalists and universalists both believe in universal immortality. Fascinatingly, the evangelical universalist understanding of that immortality which is conditioned on faith is the same as the traditionalist understanding of immortality: for both, immortality is eternal life, the gift that God only gives to those in Christ. For humans, immortality is God's conditional gift, bestowed at the resurrection but only to the redeemed. Animals have the same desire to survive. Traditionalism and conditionalism / annihilationism hold in common that some are punished forever (whether that punishment is torment or death). Should the day come when annihilationism is dominant in the Christian church, “traditionalism” would become increasingly less useful as a descriptor of ECP. The wicked will experience eternal, conscious torment due to their sin against God and their rejection of Jesus. “ when what I really mean, I guess, is that “traditionalists should affirm . In the process of thinking these thoughts out loud, however, I may have been guilty of speaking too undifferiatingly about what “traditionalists believe,” when what I mean is: “I, wearing my traditionalist hat, believe . Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Were I to conclude tomorrow that annihilationism is the biblical position, that is the term I would use to describe my position, for the reasons I have enunciated. Something fishy is clearly going on here. In both 1 Cor 15 and 2 Tim 1:10, this is the “immortality” which God gives conditionally, and for which the condition is incorporation into Christ by grace through faith. The wicked are annihilated (either right away or later after a duration of punishment) and only those who have put their faith and trust in the sacrifice of Jesus will be granted physical immortality and will then live forever. They constantly refer to human souls as infinitely precious believing that the lake of fire will burn away the dross and leave the pure. Traditionalism and conditionalism / annihilationism hold in common that some are punished forever (whether that punishment is torment or death). It fails to describe. A further point can be raised about Jesus’s analogy of two slaves who are punished with different levels of severity based on their knowledge of the master’s will in Luke 12:47-48. What I am trying to do is to clarify for myself what I would mean if I concluded that (a form of) traditionalism is correct, and what I would mean if I concluded that (a form of) annihilationism is correct. Imagine saying you’re a 5-point Calvinist except you define irresistible, limited, and unconditional that same way. Now of course I don’t think that it would really be appropriate to call traditionalists universalists in spite of their belif in universal immortality – universal “not-dying.” That would be misleading. Yet, universalists could hold that God will utterly destroy, in body and soul, those who are not saved, because they believe everyone will be saved! Conditional immortality is appropriate nomenclature for this view. ... One variation on this theme is what is known as conditionalism. But, conditionalists affirm the annihilation of the wicked. I think, however, that my point still holds, the key difference between traditionalism and universalism, on this point, being the terminal date for acceptable repentance and faith. Preservationist? Immortality, biblically speaking, means not dying, in the ordinary, physical sense of the word. It is punishment with sanctifying effect in the end. Spam filter, perhaps? I agree with Ronnie and would add that blurring the lines between the three is quite a stretch. Traditionalists believe that the wicked, who experience the “second death,” are forever conscious of God’s punishment, which never comes to an end. Conditionalism and Universalism agree that all evil will one day be gone. "Conditionalism" according to readers properly names the view known as "conditional mortality," an idea often associated with annihilationism. ... Conditionalism, on the other hand, looks at the whole of God’s revelation in scripture and sees a constant and consistent message. Annihilation vs. Eternal conscious torment Is the fire literal or figurative? In essence, the nomenclature has become what it has despite its imperfect, and arguable nuances. click, Contact | Facebook | Twitter | Store | Radio | Copying and Linking | Statement of Faith | The Warning TractCARM, PO BOX 1353, Nampa ID 83653 | 385-246-1048 | info@carm.orgHosting by EverythingsA.com  Powered by the Connectivity.Engineer Network, "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Indeed, Constable argued that the doctrine of unconditional immortality is the spring from which the errors of both endless torment and universal reconciliation flow. Well, not in my case, anyway. We’d like to think that we know the ending, but it’s not humanly possible to know the end of … Is there a difference between annihilationism and conditionalism? Chris, I don’t understand why a condition that is universally met would fail to be a condition. It helped me a lot to understand the terms. Your email address will not be published. Otherwise we can all play that game: Traditionalists are – in some new sense – universalists. Conditionalism is the state that awaits the redeemed; they are to receive immortality on the condition of their faith in Christ. Like evangelical annihilationists, evangelical universalists believe that only those who believe live forever. Therefore, universalists could be annihilationists, too! . If you have any issues, please call the office at 385-246-1048 or email us at info@carm.org. Those two positions have very useful descriptors. A new thought dawned on me today, however, and that is that evangelical universalism is a form of conditionalism. For my part, I've used, perhaps improperly, the word "conditionalism" to describe C.S. . So, if it it permissible to talk of a probability over the course of eternity; then that probability is 100%. But, among many who hold to conditionalism, there is a distinction. [p.14] C.S. It falls within the parameters of the historical Christian faith. Their new claim that the wicked live forever but aren’t immortal is contrary to its simple semantics. From a New Testament perspective, immortality is not itself glory and happiness, else there would be no point in pointing out that the saved would receive immortality and glory in 1 Cor 15. God bless you. Traditionalism and universalism are alike in the sense of placing different qualities upon immortality (immortality in hell vs immortality in heaven), yet conditional immortality denies these premises altogether asserting that the human soul only becomes immortal in Christ and will perish if thrown into the lake of fire. Conditionalism is the state that awaits the redeemed; they are to receive immortality on the condition of their faith in Christ. So my previous two comments can be ignored. You say a synergist (a believer in libertarian free will) can only be a hopeful universalist. It is only the modern, novel formulations of traditionalism and universalism that claim to hold that immortality is only given at the point of glorification. Traditionalists assert that “immortality,” as Scripture speaks of it, namely, as God’s gift to those in Christ, synonymous with “eternal life” In that biblical sense, traditionalists do not assert that immortality is universal, but universalists do. Excellent analysis! . For various reasons we find your conclusion difficult to follow. My previous comment did not show up. Sorry about that, Chris. Lewis states clearly what is probably true for most modernChristians. Now, however, I fear that not all of those were duplicates, but they are permanently deleted. My statement had in mind the contemporary scene. Afterwards, they would cease to exist in any form. Traditionalism is the belief that the lost will be tortured in Hell -- not just for a year, or century, or millennium, but for all eternity. Annihilationism is the view that lost people in hell will be exterminated after they have paid the penalty for their sins. Hell may well be unique amongst Christian doctrines, if not for thelack of attention that it has received in the past decades, then for theunwillingness with which many orthodox Christians believe in it.Fundamentalists may preach vividly about the fires of hell, and liberals havelong heralded the downfall of eternal damnation, but what can we say about adoctrine which leaves many people highly embarrassed? Having figured out that this was happening, I just dealt with a few items that were in the “spam” folder, approving some but deleting others which I took to be duplicates. The differences between these 3 positions are clear, and all may be stated in evangelical terms, but to call one of them “conditionalism” is unhelpful, since all 3 of them affirm conditional immortality, albeit with different understandings of what that entails. Except the risen lost won’t be made immortal. Many Stripes. The immortality which Paul foresaw as replacing the mortal body of those who are resurrected with Christ (1 Cor 15:53-54) is God’s gift only to those who “belong to Christ” (15:23). That is a relief. I just don’t think conditionalism is as unhelpful as you do, and with the utmost respect for you, I think the “immortality means more than ongoing life and insusceptibility to death” explanation to be illegitimate. Thanks, Ronnie. Ronnie, however, is correct. So it was you I was talking to when I suggested that Peterson was unwise in his choice of terms. The Greek word for "eternal" actually means age; therefore, the wicked are punished for an age, not forever, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, "These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,", Revelation 14:10–11, "he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. “Endless conscious punishmentism” or “ECPism” does the job more clearly than “traditionalism,” but it lacks the simplicity and punch of “annihilationism” and “universalism,” which is why “traditionalism” persists. Evangelical conditionalists believe that the saved in Christ will receive glory, honor and immortality, being raised with an incorruptible body to inherit eternal life (Romans 2:7). ", Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, CARM, PO BOX 1353, Nampa ID 83653 | 385-246-1048. July 3, 2018 by Shawn Lazar in Blog - annihilationism, conditionalism, ECT, eternal conscious torment, Hell, immortality of the soul In my discussions with annihilationists, one of the conceptual roadblocks I’ve encountered is an inability to distinguish between eternal existence and having eternal life. .”, I am pretty much agnostic right now about the nature of hell. It is a message about a God who loves the universe he created too much to allow evil to exist in it forever. If God has exhaustive foreknowledge there is no problem him foreseeing that all will be saved. You can be a universalist and maintain that the lost will be tormented forever, or that they will be annihilated (but that in fact everyone will be saved). From Eternity magazine to Christianity Today, conditionalism has This is a claim rejected by traditionalism and universalism. I acknowledge that “conditional immortality” has been used for over a century by annihilationists to describe their understanding, but I still think that the choice of term is not a helpful descriptor of the distinctive conviction of that position. It depends on the definitions. “Annihilationism” would, technically speaking, be that doctrine which holds that God will utterly destroy, in body and soul, those who are not saved. Similarly, conditional immortality has always maintained that not everyone *will* receive immortality. I’m perfectly happy being called, and calling myself, an annihilationist. Eternal suffering or destruction of the wicked? Conditionalism and Universalism agree that all evil will one day be gone. Here are a … Its a very persuasive interpretation of scripture I think and I can understand why annhilationists are so confident of their stance. There is no important parallel between that and the traditionalist/conditionalists scheme where humans can life for a very brief period on Earth without putting their faith in Christ. “Traditionalists also believe in ‘conditional immortality,’ that is, in the doctrine that God only gives immortality to believers, through Christ, but they deny that the endless existence which the wicked experience is what the Bible calls ‘immortality,\'”. Gotta love technology! “Conditionalism” and “Conditional Immortality” have historically described the view; you can go back to at least the 19th century to see that this is the case. Conditionalists begin with the premise that only God is inherently immortal. The case for conditionalism is exegetically sound. CARM's position is that conditional immortality is not biblical. Those … This is not simply the assurance that God will keep them forever alive, it is that they will inherit the kingdom of God (15:50) and will therefore have bodies appropriate to their participation in Christ’s victory (15:57). As you and others in these comments have noted, there are various affirmations upon which two of the three major alternatives agree against the third. Terry, I think you have rightly argued that using the term “annihilationism” helpfully denotes the fact that it is the only perspective that affirms the ultimate cessation of existence of some persons. If not, then it would appear that the term is helpful after all. To clarify; I was the one who quoted Peterson, and the quote is still there, third comment down . Immortality has always carried the senses of being “perpetual, lasting, constant, not moral, undying, etc.” This is what the wicked are according to traditionalists. In this video I briefly explain why I believe in annihilationism (aka conditional immortality) rather than eternal conscious torment. Annihilationists believe that the second death is analogous to the first but more thorough; whereas the first death entails only decay of the body, the second death entails destruction of both body and soul: the wicked are destroyed. That was my earlier reason for rejecting “conditional immortality” in favour of “annihilationism” as the name for the belief that God finally destroys the wicked. Finally, when pressed, most universalists believe in the inherent immortality of the soul just as much as traditionalists. I realise that “or we could be honest” comes over as harsh. In what has become somewhat of a slogan for defenders of traditionalism, he writes, “I believe in the immortality of human beings because the Bible clearly teaches everlasting damnation for the wicked and everlasting life for the righteous.”. The problem that I see with “traditionalism” is that it doesn’t define the content. Conditional immortality as a label became popular in the nineteenth century for its ability to more holistically describe a view many Christians know as annihilationism. The final authority for all matters of faith and practice is the Bible, and it is in the pages of the Bible that the final annihilation of the wicked is most clearly seen. . The other main way of attacking the biblical position is to push annihilationism. Simply put, Universalism asserts that the wicked will remain immortal in the purifying fires, but once they are purified they transition into immortal life in heaven. At issue is simply the meaning of the word “immortality” as used by Christian theologians, preachers, and pastors up to the present day. We begin with conditionalism, which is sometimes referred to as annihilationism. The advocates of Annihilationism are usually known as Annihilationists or Conditionalists. 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