By Hank Hanegraaff
Just as universalism is the rage in liberal Christianity, so, too, annihilationism is gaining momentum in conservative Christian circles. The question, of course, is whether or not annihilationism is biblical.
First, common sense dictates that a God of love and justice does not arbitrarily annihilate the crowning jewels of His cre- ation. Far from rubbing us out, He graciously provides us the freedom to choose between redemption and rebellion. It would be a horrific evil to think that God would create people with freedom of choice and then annihilate them because of their choices.
Furthermore, common sense leads to the conclusion that nonexistence is not better than existence since nonexistence is nothing at all. Moreover, not all existence in hell is equal. We may safely conclude that the torment of Hitler’s hell will greatly exceed the torment experienced by a garden-variety pagan.
God is perfectly just, and each person who spurns His grace will suffer exactly what he or she deserves (Luke 12:47– 48; Matthew 16:27; Colossians 3:25; Revelation 20:11–15; Proverbs 24:12).
Finally, humans are fashioned in the very image of God; therefore, to eliminate them would do violence to His nature. The alternative to annihilation is quarantine. And that is pre cisely what hell is.
Adapted from Resurrection
If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 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. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.
Revelation 14:9–11 NASB
For further study, see Robert A. Peterson, Hell on Trial: The Case for Eternal Punishment (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Press, 1995); and Hank Hanegraaff, AfterLife: What You Need to Know About Heaven, the Hereafter, and Near-Death Experiences (Brentwood, TN: Worthy, 2013). See also Are there degrees of punishment in hell?
**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***