Monday, July 31, 2006

A Case Against Eternal Torment

I am always interested in resources that back up my assertion that God is not in the Eternal Torture business.  Recently, Andy Pohlman, who has been reading my blog, sent an excellent paper for me to take a look at.  I am honored because he asked my opinion about the paper.  After reading it, I asked him for permission to post it here.

Andy says the paper is for:

  • All of those who have always questioned if an eternal punishment in Hell is really true, but have reluctantly accepted it because they have been told that there is no evidence that can dispute this potential reality

  • All of those who have wrestled with reconciling a loving God with the message that He will torment His enemies for all of eternity upon their death

  • All of those who have been haunted by a fear of spending an eternity in the depths of Hell that many Christians profess is the final destination for the majority of mankind

  • All of those who have lost loved ones who died in unbelief and have struggled with the Christian message that their loved ones are now suffering for an eternity in Hell

  • All of those from throughout history that have attempted to shine a bright light on the dark doctrine of Hell by exposing the many weaknesses with the evidence for this doctrine

  • All of those who have become convinced that the doctrine of everlasting torment in Hell is a reality, and have closed themselves off from looking at the vast amount of evidence that disputes the Godliness of this theory 

  • Lastly, this paper is for all of those who have the courage and eagerness to search for the truth, regardless of where it leads

If you fall into any of those categories and still wrestle with the idea of ECT, I highly recommend this paper.  If you know someone in one of those categories, share this with her.

It's rather long, as a paper goes (about 44 pages).  But, it's shorter than a book.  It's titled "The Case Against Eternal Punishment in Hell".  If you've read Talbott, Klassen and others, you'll find many of the arguments familiar. But, that is absolutely to be expected.  What I was surprised to find was some new perspectives and very good ones at that.  The other thing that's really great about this paper is that people who don't really want to commit to reading an entire book on the subject can get through it in a relatively short period of time.

The paper is well thought out and takes the reader through the Biblical and historical reasons not to believe in ECT.  It also points out the fruits (or lack thereof) of this belief.  But, I think it's strongest case is in the "Objective Truth" category.  Andy, then goes on to answer common arguments used to support the belief in Eternal Torment.

The paper does not try to be exhaustive (or it'd be a book).  It doesn't address annihilation or even temporary Hell (which many Universalists believe in).  But, it's the best short paper I've seen on the subject.  It's well worth a read.  Thanks Andy for giving me permission to share it with my readers.

The Case Against Eternal Punishment In Hell

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