Such is their perishing, the permanent end to the conscious existence of the whole person."2. . Unlike many non-evangelical universalists, who might even be non-Christian, evangelical universalists are not unitive pluralists, who believe that everyone gets to “heaven” (which has different names in different religions), by different religious paths. What’s more, as has already been noted several times, a change in terminology isn’t really necessary to begin with. But, among many who hold to conditionalism, there is a distinction. We totally respect you and your openness and willingness to research and dialogue. 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. On that scheme, everyone is under a death sentence and their permanent death is both imminent and guaranteed save for faith in Christ. 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. God alone possesses immortality and the Bible only ascribes immortality to the redeemed. I marked them as “not spam,” only to discover that there were then duplicates, which David Midkiff took to be his fault, but I think it was mine. 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. Conditionalism and Universalism agree that all evil will one day be gone. “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. 2. It’s only in recent history as they’ve been confronted by conditionalists that they’ve shifted in their use of the word. At most this is true only if the synergist is also an open theist. A quick word on “conditionalism” vs “annihilationism” On this blog I will be using the terms synonymously to refer to the view that the impenitent will one day be completely destroyed. I am Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary, Canada. 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. The pure that remains is indestructible in their view, thus a part of the soul must be inherently immortal. 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. Similarly, conditional immortality has always maintained that not everyone *will* receive immortality. The advocates of Annihilationism are usually known as Annihilationists or Conditionalists. 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. Evangelical annihilationists believe that immortality is conditioned on saving 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. I would also ask that if, on learning that someone is a conditionalst, you then press further to find out whether or not they are a universalist. Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. Many of us appear to disagree with you concerning terminology, but that doesn’t change how we think of you. Terminology is a real problem, isn’t it? 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. MATT SLICK LIVE RADIOCall in with your questions at 877-207-22763-4pm PST; 4-5pm MST; 6-7pm ESTWatch on FacebookPast Shows Radio PodcastRadio Show SurveySubscribe to CARM Radio, CARM wishlistWant to help CARM in a different way? Like evangelical annihilationists, evangelical universalists believe that only those who believe live forever. 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. CARM's position is that conditional immortality is not biblical. Once again, I was reminded that a synergist (like Robin Parry) can only be a hopeful universalist; only a monergist (like Thomas Talbott) can be convinced that God will eventually achieve the salvation of all human beings, though many of God’s elect will only come to saving faith in hell, the final effect of which is thus purgatorial. Conditionalism is the state that awaits the redeemed; they are to receive immortality on the condition of their faith in Christ. We begin with conditionalism, which is sometimes referred to as annihilationism. I recently subscribed to a new spam interceptor and I am still figuring out what it is doing. While annihilationism places emphasis on the active destruction of a person, conditionalism places emphasis on a person's dependence upon God for life; the extinction of the person is thus a passive consequence of separation from God, much like natural death is a consequence of prolonged separation from food, water, and air. . The trick is getting it to imply perpetuity. Generally, the arguments fall under these main categories: Each of these arguments have their strengths and weaknesses and are addressed here on CARM. First is an argument based on the Bible’s use of fire imagery to describe hell. Er go, there won’t be an indefinite amount of time to repent. Thanks, Ronnie. No, immortality is part of that package, and it will not be granted to the lost, and so they will die. 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. Its a very persuasive interpretation of scripture I think and I can understand why annhilationists are so confident of their stance. Thanks for the response Dr. Tiessen. Some comments had been approved but also put in spam. It states that after the final judgment, all unsaved human beings, all fallen angels and Satan himself will be totally destroyed so as to not exist, or that their consciousness will be extinguished rather than suffer everlasting torment in hell. Upon our physical death, according to the majority of conditionalists, we enter a state of soul sleep where we are unconscious. Let us conclude that annihilationism and eternal torment are unhelpful terms. The wicked will experience eternal, conscious torment due to their sin against God and their rejection of Jesus. You say a synergist (a believer in libertarian free will) can only be a hopeful universalist. So it was you I was talking to when I suggested that Peterson was unwise in his choice of terms. It’s *additionally* that immortality will only be given to those who express faith in Christ, and that only some will do so. I agree with Ronnie and would add that blurring the lines between the three is quite a stretch. 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. 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. . 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. Annihilationism is the belief that the unsaved (a.k.a. What I came to see, while listening to Parry and Date, though this was not in either of their minds, is that all 3 of these alternative evangelical understandings of the nature of hell believe in conditional immortality, i.e. Then sometime in the future, the person is resurrected, reunited with his physical body, and is then judged. For instance Chris had quoted Robert Peterson but I can’t find that comment now, so it was obviously not the same as one for which I took it to be a duplicate. It is punishment with sanctifying effect in the end. I don’t believe that anything I wrote hinges on whether or not Christians have or had a Platonic view of indestructible souls. Thus, both positions are forms of “conditional immortality.”. This is a claim rejected by traditionalism and universalism. For my part, I've used, perhaps improperly, the word "conditionalism" to describe C.S. For humans, immortality is God's conditional gift, bestowed at the resurrection but only to the redeemed. "Conditionalism" according to readers properly names the view known as "conditional mortality," an idea often associated with annihilationism. 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. 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. Conditionalism and Universalism agree that all evil will one day be gone. Except the risen lost won’t be made immortal. If you have any issues, please call the office at 385-246-1048 or email us at info@carm.org. . 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. I would like to find a one-word equivalent of “everlasting conscious punishment”, but I haven’t found it yet. Those … 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. Of course, we also believe that Christ and the apostles taught it too, but that is always up for debate. But this is precisely what evangelical universalists assert. My thought, when I read the citation from Peterson, rather speedily, was that Peterson was unwise to speak as had done. Should the day come when annihilationism is dominant in the Christian church, “traditionalism” would become increasingly less useful as a descriptor of ECP. “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. By my lights, this is a de facto form of unconditional and universal immortality. Conditionalists begin with the premise that only God is inherently immortal, despite what Socrates and Plato might have said about immortal souls. Someone is playing fast and loose with the terminology and it’s not the conditionalists. I mean, think about it. Eternal life is associated only with the redeemed. This too is endless punishment, but it is not endless life. In essence, the nomenclature has become what it has despite its imperfect, and arguable nuances. I think if we’re going to truly be consistent with focusing on the mode of punishment then we should call the three branches: tormentalism, annihilationism, and purificationism. .”, I am pretty much agnostic right now about the nature of hell. 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. Required fields are marked *, 141,963 Spambots Blocked by Simple Comments, © But again, I am perfectly happy with the label annihilationism. God“has made everything beautiful in its time. Where conditionalism defines human immortality as conditional upon a right relationship with God, annihilationism is defined as a direct punishment of death from God. Locating N. T. Wright’s eschatology on the spectrum of views concerning hell. Of course, traditionalists have always affirmed (quite frankly and explicitly) that all human beings are immortal in the *normal* sense of the word. Upon reading the post again, I see that your conclusion hinges upon the premise that all 3 positions believe “immortality” is conditioned upon God giving it to a person through saving faith expressed in Jesus Christ. But, conditionalists affirm the annihilation of the wicked. We’d like to think that we know the ending, but it’s not humanly possible to know the end of … Conditionalists begin with the premise that only God is inherently immortal. A good descriptive name for the affirmation of endless conscious punishment would be very welcome. From Eternity magazine to Christianity Today, conditionalism has It’s simple and biblical. Immortalist? 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. 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. My previous comment did not show up. Gotta love technology! I realise that “or we could be honest” comes over as harsh. But what that means is that a person will keep living even if he doesn’t put his faith in Christ. I prefer conditionalism over annihilationism, if you couldn’t tell … Continue reading → Who wrote/writes the script for the drama, ”The History of the World”? The unsaved will be raised in shame and dishonor, to face God and receive the just condemnation for their sins. But where traditionalists and universalists agree against conditionalists is where they affirm immortality for everyone. We are finite creatures, but by nature, we desire to live on…and on. "...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. One quick thought about the term “annihilationism” in general: If that is to considered an appropriate term for our viewpoint, then “tormentalism” should be just as appropriate for traditionalism since the underlying focus is on the mode of punishment. My apologies to commenters on this thread. We are told that fire consumes what is … One of the key points of the doctrine of “conditional immortality” is that it is incongruous to assert that the wicked live forever (as traditionalists believe), because that would be a form of immortality, and Scripture only ascribes immortality to those who are given eternal life on account of Christ’s atoning death and through faith. As far as I know – correct me if you know otherwise – conditional immortality has been used to refer to a view distinct from traditionalism and universalism, maintaining that immortality will come to some and not all – not in the sense in which conditionalists use that term. Chris, I don’t understand why a condition that is universally met would fail to be a condition. Perhaps traditionalism is just a form of universalism, since immortality is universal. Ronnie, you are certainly correct about the long theological tradition that the human soul is intrinsically immortal. ANNIHILATIONISM PROPER. 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%. Immortality has always carried the senses of being “perpetual, lasting, constant, not moral, undying, etc.” This is what the wicked are according to traditionalists. It is a message about a God who loves the universe he created too much to allow evil to exist in it forever. I admit that I was not fully aware of the extent of the emotional commitment of annihilationists who have commented here to “conditional immortality” as the descriptor of their position. 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. 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. , PS, I usually describe my view as annihiationism, because that is what specifies my view on “hell.”. Yes, it doesn’t describe bare, ongoing existence, but it does (IMO) describe ongoing physical life and insusceptibility to physical death. Torment already implies consciousness. Immortality, biblically speaking, means not dying, in the ordinary, physical sense of the word. I’m perfectly happy being called, and calling myself, an annihilationist. 1. In conditionalism, there is a logical problem with the soul ceasing to exist then being resurrected Problems with anthropological physicalism/materialism Different conditionalists/annihilationists have different views concerning the soul Conditionalism and the anthropological monism, physicalism problem Imagine saying you’re a 5-point Calvinist except you define irresistible, limited, and unconditional that same way. ", Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry, CARM, PO BOX 1353, Nampa ID 83653 | 385-246-1048. ... Conditionalism, on the other hand, looks at the whole of God’s revelation in scripture and sees a constant and consistent message. “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. One more (!). "Conditionalism is the view that life or existence is the Creator’s provisional gift to all, which will ultimately either be granted forever on the basis of righteousness (by grace, through faith), or revoked forever on the basis of unrighteousness. So my previous two comments can be ignored. Many thanks to Jerry Shepherd for his previous essay, which defended Eternal Conscious Torment.We continue on with our dialogue on the duration of hell with this initial essay by Chris Date, who defends "Conditionalism," otherwise known as "Annihilationism.". 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). Annihilationism is the condition of nonexistence that awaits the damned. 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.”. 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. Traditionalism and conditionalism / annihilationism hold in common that some are punished forever (whether that punishment is torment or death). Its proponents offer six main arguments. More recently, thedoctrine … Annihilationism is directly related to the doctrine of conditional immortality, … Already, however, in speaking of extinction we are passing beyond the limits of “conditionalism” pure and simple and entering the region of annihilationism proper. But even if one were to grant (which I don’t) that these modern, novel formulations do believe immortality is not received until glorification, “conditional immortality” would still be a helpful term, because (a) it’s what the position has historically gone by, and (b) it’s the position that immortality *in the sense of ongoing physical life* is given only to the saved, and that not all will be saved. And I’m really not trying to be facetious when I say that. INTRODUCTION. My statement had in mind the contemporary scene. Many Stripes. So, if it it permissible to talk of a probability over the course of eternity; then that probability is 100%. Traditionalism and conditionalism / annihilationism hold in common that some are punished forever (whether that punishment is torment or death). Here are a … Now, however, I fear that not all of those were duplicates, but they are permanently deleted. 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). ". Eternal suffering or destruction of the wicked? There is no compelling challenge to evangelical conditionalism here. Without Christ, there is nothing of worth that can withstand His eternal fire. 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. “ when what I really mean, I guess, is that “traditionalists should affirm . Well, not in my case, anyway. 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 . Annihilationism is the condition of nonexistence that awaits the damned. It depends on the definitions. 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. For humans, immortality is God's conditional gift, bestowed at the resurrection but only to the redeemed. Those two positions have very useful descriptors. that God gives “life” only to those in Christ. God has put eternity in our hearts or given us thoughts of immortality. 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. What separates this view from the one that sees physical death as the point of annihilation is this: Conditionalists see a judgment of sinners, an assignment to hell, and then annihilation. Traditionalists believe that the wicked, who experience the “second death,” are forever conscious of God’s punishment, which never comes to an end. But where traditionalists and universalists agree against conditionalists is where they affirm immortality for everyone. Preservationist? This is a difficult issue, and we’ve also been thinking about it. We just don’t agree with you about what the words “destroy” and “death” mean when used in the Bible to describe the ultimate fate of the unrepentant.”, Even though, again, I can fill up pages with quotes of traditionalists—going back to the Fathers up to present day—claiming and arguing that the wicked will never die and that the wicked will be made indestructible and that the soul cannot be destroyed, etc. This is not something that either Chris Date or Robin Parry asserted, but it appears to me to be true. 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). 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. “Tormentalism” doesn’t denote the unending nature of the punishment, so I don’t find it useful. In March, I gave some reasons why “ultimate annihilationism” is a better name for that position than “conditional immortality,” although the latter is widely used by proponents of this position. Moreover, I could argue that the term “traditionalism” refers to a certain stream of traditional doctrine when in fact annihilationism has been traditionally present in every age of Christianity as well as Rabbinic traditions from before the time of Christ. God is too good and loving to punish someone forever in eternal conscious torment. Your email address will not be published. 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. Annihilationism is the view that lost people in hell will be exterminated after they have paid the penalty for their sins. Afterwards, they would cease to exist in any form. 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. Your email address will not be published. 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. 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.”. 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. 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. Evangelical universalists believe that hell serves the purpose of both retribution and restoration. But what distinguishes two of those positions is annihilation of the wicked and universal salvation, respectively. “. But, conditionalists affirm the annihilation of the wicked. 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. For the ancients it wasn’t even true. There is a particular form of conditionalism requiring special mention which seeks to avoid the difficulties of annihilationism, by teaching, not the total extinction of the souls of the wicked, but rather, as it is commonly phrased, their "transformation" into impersonal beings incapable of moral action, or indeed of any feeling. It helped me a lot to understand the terms. Conditionalists have various arguments they employ to support their position. The other main way of attacking the biblical position is to push annihilationism. The effort, to urge adoption of the more novel label “annihilationism,” seems to me to be somewhat pedantic. [p.14] C.S. However much traditionalists might want to call hell a place of “death,” it’s in resurrected, living bodies that live for eternity–the very thing meant by “immortal.”. 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. No worries, stuff happens. According to Scripture, unbelievers are said to be destroyed; therefore, they will not exist anymore. Therefore, universalists could be annihilationists, too! As a consequence, I have said that “traditionalists affirm . Annihilation vs. Eternal conscious torment Is the fire literal or figurative? Few vs. My impression is that, historically, universalists have shared these presuppositions about unconditional and universal immortality with traditionalists (even though I’m much less acquainted with historical universalist literature). ... One variation on this theme is what is known as conditionalism. . A new thought dawned on me today, however, and that is that evangelical universalism is a form of conditionalism. There could be a period of time of suffering in hell before complete destruction. Conditional immortality is appropriate nomenclature for this view. Spam filter, perhaps? 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. It is for this reason that “universalism” is so fine a description of that position; it asserts that everyone will eventually belong to Christ and inherit his kingdom. 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. In this video we will explore two alternative views of Hell. 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