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Eternal Realities: Real Heaven, Real Hell

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Question #1:

Hi Bob,

People have been graced by God in two ways. They have been given his creation and his word. People have more scientific knowledge and scriptural knowledge in this generation than in any other generation.

Nonetheless they mock God by their imaginations. They molest what he has given him. They remold it according to their wicked hearts. They then replace the knowledge of creation and scripture with their creation. They call their abomination fiction.

But are they content with their lust? Is their appetite ever full? No! They go on to make more and more, yet they know that they are never satiated.

The truth horrifies them. The light of the sun beats upon their flesh, but they cannot sweat. Their skin was washed, but cannot bear the heat. To the mire they go, hoping the mud will relieve them. They are creatures made for darkness, not light.

Yet they will never find relief. The truth will never go away, or be replaced. They seek in vain, but their hatred of the truth will be recorded. As they have done to the truth, it will be done to them. Their own deeds will come back upon their own heads, and their standards will be measured against them.

But on Mount Zion there will be deliverance.

Sincerely,

Response #1:

Yes, the human race is incredibly ungrateful. The Father sent the Son to die for all of our sins, yet for the most part human beings would rather use the image of God to be god unto themselves rather than submit to the only true God by accepting through faith the Gift of gifts by God's great grace.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2:

What happens to a Christian when they die?

Response #2:

Good to make your acquaintance. As to your question, Christians are taken to be in the presence of the Lord in the third heaven immediately at the end of this life. We are given an interim body to house our human spirits as we await the resurrection (which will occur at the second advent, not many years hence now). The judgment (of rewards: 1Cor.3) will take place after our Lord's return. Here are some links where all this is discussed in much greater detail:

What is heaven like?

Heaven and Hell

New Jerusalem

The New Earth and the New Jerusalem

Gates of New Jerusalem

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride:  Revelation 19:6-10

Please do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

In anticipation of that wonderful day to come when we are with our dear Savior forevermore!

In Jesus,

Bob Luginbill

Question #3:

We're do they go? Do they go to heaven or hell as soon as they pass? Are they waiting like in a deep sleep until Jesus comes for us?

Response #3:

The moment a believer departs from this life, he/she is taken to be in the presence of the Lord. There is no "sleep" of any kind. It only looks to us here on earth as we view the body of the departed in which there is now no spirit that the person is "asleep"; but the spirit has been taken to the third heaven directly and given an interim body to enjoy the presence of the Lord until the resurrection takes place (see the link). So heaven today is temporary because believers will return with Jesus in resurrection when He returns to rule the world at the end of the Tribulation. All this is written up in detail in the Coming Tribulation series part 6: The Last Judgment

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Greetings brother Bob – I am sure you have covered this one before...please give me the link to shed light on it!

I am quite comfortable with expiring and having my body return to dust ( I personally desire to take an EXPRESS ..cremation}, I reject the idea of "sleeping" till THE DAY...and am convinced that our soul/spirit continues to exist having departed the "tent" now as obsolete and useless as an old trade-in that is crushed and hauled off to the smelter. In accordance with Hebrews 9:27 I am counting on being judged RIGHTEOUS at death...because He is righteous...not me! All I did was repent, surrender and choose HIM as my Saviour that I want to serve for eternity! I am a believer in PARADISE..and its two compartments...where 99.9% of the 108 billion who have ever lived reside. An interim residence not quite as perfect as the NEW HEAVEN & EARTH described in Rev 21...the OTHER compartment being absolutely miserable! So bad those in it long for the day they make it into the Lake of Fire to serve the required time and then PERISH forever...

QUESTION: In Gen. 1:27 we read that Adam and Eve were created in God’s own image... the SPIRITUAL CREATION..{.PHYSICAL one Moses will describe in the next chapter}.. Since God is SPIRIT... wouldn’t they almost HAVE TO BE SPIRITUAL also, to absorb what He had in store for them?.. He didn’t speak Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek or any human language. THOUGHT TRANSFER was good enough... Therefore, what is wrong with our returning to this SPIRITUAL status as our interim form awaiting Resurrection and our final supernatural perfect GLORIFIED bodies? What would be gained by our having any kind of a quasi PHYSICAL form in this period? Taken a step further...it does not to be up on some distant planet in another galaxy {so far away that NASA cannot send a probe as we are on Mars right now!} It could be RIGHT HERE ..just in ANOTHER DIMENSION that is "beyond our pay-grade" to even comprehend now!?

Bob, I hate to think of how many other cans-of-worms this may open up...but I blame that on our PREACHING SYSTEM whereby preachers avoid any thoughts on the HEREAFTER like the plague! When was the last time anyone heard a sermon on SPECIFICS of what happens after we die? What does the BIBLE SAY about the PRESENT HEAVEN?...If these truths were properly presented they might even turn the tide and attract some of the younger generation who have chosen the SOCIAL MEDIA as the closest to any religion or spirituality they need?

Many thanks and God Bless you and your BRAVE ministry that must be under intense fire..as close as we are to the curtain coming down!

Response #4:

Hello again, my friend.

Let me answer these two questions by way of a synopsis of the biblical facts. Then I will provide some links for your perusal (after which please do feel free to write back with further questions):

1) Before the cross, believers went to paradise below the earth (aka "Abraham's bosom"). They were given an interim body to clothe their spirit. After the cross, at the ascension, our Lord "led captivity captive" – that is, all the believers who had passed away from Adam and Eve until that moment were taken by Him in His ascension to the third heaven where they now worship and fellowship with the Lord and each other, awaiting the resurrection. All believers who have died since that time likewise are taken directly to the third heaven and given an interim body. We shall all receive our ultimate, "resurrection" bodies at the second advent. We shall reign with Christ for a thousand years, and at the end of the Millennium will enjoy our inheritance in the New Jerusalem which descends to the New Earth from heaven at that time. Thus shall we ever be with the Lord.

Unbelievers likewise receive interim bodies when they die and will be resurrected all together at the end of the Millennium. After death, all who have died without Christ are placed in Torments, a compartment of Hades below the earth. Unlike paradise (also in Hades but now unoccupied), Torments, as its name suggests, is a place of cursing and not of blessing. After the last judgment, all unbelievers will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal separation from God.

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.

The Geography of Heaven, Hades and 'Hell'.

What is "heaven" like according to Christian teachings?

The Judgment and Reward of the Church

The Last Judgment

2) Adam and Eve, though not born physically, do set the pattern for all human beings in that they are both dichotomous, that is, human spirits in physical bodies. When God created their spirits and placed them in their bodies they became at that moment "living persons" (Greek psyche; Hebrew nephesh; both words usually translated "soul"). Today as well, when human beings are born God creates and places a spirit therein and they become alive in the biblical sense – possessing then not merely physical but spiritual life; when the spirit departs, life comes to an end, biblically speaking. The image of God is the free will He has given to us to decide on our own whether or not we want to spend eternity with Him; the likeness is the similarity between the plurality of mankind (many with free will) and the Trinity (three persons with one divine essence): since in the latter case the analogy is much looser, scripture says "according to the likeness" (as opposed to "in the image"), whereas we are made in His image. Links:

The Image and Likeness of God

Questions on Image and Likeness

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello,

In Isaiah the verse says we will not remember former things because of the new heaven and new earth; some people think this is about the millennium when Jesus is on the earth. I would love to hear your information about this, when you have time.

Many thanks

Response #5:

Good to make your acquaintance.

As to your question, the Hebrew of Isaiah 65:17 says that people will not bring the remembrance of the old earth and heavens to their mind and heart. It does not say that we will not be able to recall the details of our former lives. I think that the point here is that things on the other side will be so amazing, wonderful and brilliant when we finally "know as we are known" (1Cor.13:12b), that there will be very little interest in rehearsing our previous lives. Just as today most adults spend very little time trying to remember what happened in second grade or pouring over income tax returns from the 1970's, so in eternity the contrast between the (then) present wonders to explore (which will be infinite) and the comparatively mundane state of things in the past (i.e., now) will make reminiscence a very low priority. If we do look back, no doubt it will be to see things in their true spiritual light. The spiritual dimension behind what went on in history will be the "interesting" thing. We certainly will all want to know all about the life of Christ and all about the Bible – these things will certainly be "called to mind" – and I would imagine that the details of how our lives fit into the plan of God precisely, with all of our decisions good and bad fitting in just so into that eternal tapestry, will be matters of some interest. They will certainly be matters of eternal record. After all, we will all "stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (Rom.14:10) to be evaluated for those decisions, and also to be rewarded (with the rewards themselves being eternal). We certainly will still "be who we are" in resurrection, and it is hard to see how that could possibly be the case if we lost all memory of what had gone before. The point in Isaiah is that what is coming is so much more than we have any idea at present, that what we are doing down here for the most part just won't be all that interesting by comparison.

In anticipation of that wonderful day to come,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hello Robert,

Thank you for your informative email. I guess what was on my mind is something someone said to me about hell. Let's say if I ended up in heaven but someone I loved ended up in hell; how would I be happy while they are in that place? I have always believed hell is a place where you go once and for all if the Saviour is rejected, and I also thought the soul could not die! I think I should have been more clear in the question I am asking but I have copied and pasted what it was someone said in some forum that has got me thinking, once again I appreciate your knowledge on these matters very much.

Regards 

""What kind of God do you serve that enjoys the screams of billions of people in hellfire for all of eternity? Answer...not the Christian God of the Bible...because immediate life after death, eternal life in hellfire, and the doctrine of soul separation are found NOWHERE in the Scriptures...is as if the pastors of the world are trying to sell the people "fire insurance". Adolf Hitler and Alexander the Great are sleep in the dust of the earth, waiting for the resurrection at the last day. This is an undeniable fact found all over the Scriptures... For those who need a "thus saith the LORD" see this page...http://remnantofgod.org/Hellfire.htm The simple truth is would heaven be heaven if you could look across the "great gulf" and see...i.e. a loved one reviling in pain for all eternity? Many have a grave misconception about hell (the grave) and hellfire (the second death). This is nothing new, even I used to believe that hell was a literal burning place in the center of the earth that houses billions of lost souls throughout all eternity...and you know what spawned that concept? Hollywood. Movies. Books....a.k.a. fiction. The Word of the Lord is absolute truth and if one is to take it as such then they MUST go line upon line. They MUST carefully examine verses thoroughly and not base a doctrine on one verse. Quick question...is Sodom and Gomorrah still burning to this day? If you pick up a Bible and read that passage, you would certainly say yes Jude 1:7, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. " Eternal Fire? The same word that is used by many that preach eternal life in hellfire...somehow they seem to overlook something else that is clearly written in that same passage..."are set forth for an example" A clear example of what is to come for the wicked...unless Sodom and Gomorrah is still burning right now, the wicked shall be consumed in the same manner as outlined in the "example" as for those who actually believe the doctrine of eternal life in hellfire...consider this...The term "eternal punishing" is not found in the Bible. However, Jesus did speak of "everlasting punishment" (Matthew 25:46). Do you know the difference? What is the punishment for sin? "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). Period. This is an everlasting death. The Scriptures clearly foretell the fate of the wicked "whose end is destruction" (Philippians 3:19); "everlasting destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9). "Thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. O thou enemy , destructions are come to a perpetual end: and...their memorial is perished with them" (Psalm 9:5, 6). "This is the second death" (Revelation 20:14). The Bible is very clear on this subject

My daughter highly recommends me to you and shared your website for me to read and study.

Regards

Response #6:

As for your statement here, "I have always believed hell is a place where you go once and for all if the Saviour is rejected, and I also thought the soul could not die!", you are certainly correct (albeit when you say "soul" you are speaking about what the Bible calls the "spirit" – a somewhat complex question that is, however, important for a number of other biblical topics; see the link: "Soul and spirit"). The screed you pasted in here is very confused (it would probably upset anyone not used to this genre of megalomaniac hobby-horse pseudo-Christianity which seems to be all the rage these days out there in cyberspace). So let me just give you the basics (you seem to understand them correctly in any case) and some links to places where the details are included.

First, everyone dies, but it is true that everyone will be resurrected; however, only believers are resurrected unto eternal life: there is a "resurrection unto death" (Jn.5:28-29); these are the individuals judged in Matthew 25:41-46 and in Revelation 20:12-15. They are indeed thrown into the lake of fire where they will indeed exist forever in cursing since they rejected blessing (everyone goes to the place where they choose to go; unbelievers would prefer heaven to hell but only without God – and that is, blessedly, impossible). Therefore there is no "universal salvation" on the one hand, nor is there "annihilation" of unbelievers on the other – although both of these false positions (along with the somewhat related false doctrine of "soul sleep") are being vigorously pushed by all manner of false teachers these days (no doubt because the evil one is anxious to inject the Church with as much false doctrine as possible before the Tribulation begins).

Here are a number of links where aspects of the above are treated in depth:

The Last Judgment

The Lake of Fire

Annihilationism, Universalism, Hell and Judgment

Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God

Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved

Against Universalism III: Unbelievers in the Plan of God

Literal Hell.

Biblical Anthropology III: Soul versus Spirit, "Soul Sleep", and the Interim Body

Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy

"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above (I will be back at my desk late next week).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hello Robert,

Many thanks for your brilliant information. I think the person who wrote those comments was a seventh day Adventist. I will read those links that you included and study them. I knew I would get clarity from you and my daughter says they always get prompt answers from you. Many thanks for that.

Response #7:

You're most welcome!

Please feel free to write back any time.

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

After researching this topic for one year, I found what must SURELY be the answer to what hell really is by narrowing it down to just one thing.

"What happens to the "souls" of all the more than one billion aborted babies in the world?"

Eternal hell believers have to be able to give an explanation as to what happens to unborn fetuses, or little babies that die; since according to them --- everyone has an immortal soul. So they made up a theory that the sacrifice of Christ will cover their sins. But the only evidence that they can really try to use is this one verse. It is what King David stated after the death of his and Bathsheba's son.

2 Samuel 12:23
But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.

But this verse doesn't say, "I will go to him in paradise," So this verse only means that David will eventually die and go to the grave like his baby son. Also, those fetuses and young infants who died, NEVER had their hearts tested; so why would they receive a free pass into heaven? Every Christian KNOWS that they would grow up to be sinners. And since abortion became legal in the US (1973 ) there have been over 55 million abortions. And in the entire world there have been over 1 billion abortions! And of course, a certain percentage of those aborted babies would have grown up to be terrible thieves, pedophiles, drug dealers, murderers, etc. etc So the theory ( belief ) that such souls would just get a "free pass" into heaven doesn't make any sense .... AT ALL! That it is not justice --- by any stretch of the imagination!

As of yet, I haven't read anything on the Internet which can explain a literal eternal hell, and also explain what happens to such young ones who die prematurely. In order to answer this question, literal eternal hell believers have to tell a lie, by saying that they will get an automatic free pass into heaven. That is complete nonsense. If God could do that for over a billion lost souls; then surely He could do that for all of humanity! After all, God is willing that none should perish. (2 Peter 3:9) Therefore, the only common sense, logical answer is annihilation.

And the teaching of the Catholic Church is that such young souls go to a place defined as Limbo, a place of perfect natural happiness (much like the state of the world before the fall of Adam and Eve), but they do not possess the beatific vision of God.  Neither of these made up theories ( beliefs ) have any Biblical support. The only people who will PUT ON IMMORTALITY are those who have been given it by immortal God ( 1 Corinthians 15 ) This chapter is absolutely crystal clear as to who will become immortal.

Thank you for your attention to this letter. ( I really did work on this whole thing very diligently.)

Sincerely,

Response #8:

Dear Friend,

Having worked on this for a year, perhaps you can put in a bit more time. I am somewhat nonplused to see that you have forgotten everything I shared with you before. That is somewhat sad inasmuch as the errors in this email you send me could easily have been avoided had you re-read some of those materials (either in the messages sent in reply to you or in the links shared):

1) What you mean by "soul" here is not what the Bible means; the words nephesh (Heb.) and psyche (Gr.) in scripture refer to the living person, not some immaterial "thing" (see the link: "Is the Soul a tertium quid?"). Human beings are dichotomous, consisting of a physical body and a human spirit. When the human spirit is created at birth and placed in the body by God, the person becomes "a living being" or otherwise translated "living soul"; the "soul" is thus the whole person, and not something with independent existence (please see the link: in BB 3A "The Creation of Man").

And the Lord God formed the man (i.e., Adam's body) from the dust of the ground, then blew into his nostrils the life-giving breath (i.e., his human spirit), and [thus] the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7

For Adam, life began when the Lord created and placed the spirit in his body. For everyone else, the same is true, but the time of creating and implanting the spirit by the Lord is birth, not conception (or any time in-between).

2) There is a big difference between human logic and theology when the former fails to take into account the spiritual dimension – as happens all too often even when it is biblical doctrine which is under consideration. That is a diplomatic way to say that just because something may offend you or I or seem to be nonsensical to you or I, if scripture does in fact teach it, then it is our sense of the possible and our sense of the logical that is at fault, not the Bible. Jesus Christ died for the sins of every single person; and the plan of God has contemplated all eventualities. It is for this reason that the Book of Life contained originally the names of every human being to whom the breath of life (the human spirit) would ever be given (see the link). Only those who reject God's solution by refusing to accept the gospel, either by direct rejection or passive resistance until death have their names blotted out of the book. All others are saved – and that includes infants and the mentally deficient who never come to the point accountability for the ultimate choice as a result.

3) Other points: of course David understood his son to be in paradise; he says this by way of comforting himself – being buried as a corpse is not a comfort. He didn't have to use the word paradise for these words to have that meaning (obviously). In the case of those who die before being able to choose for themselves, salvation is not a "free pass": Jesus died for their sins; Jesus died for ours as well. The plan of God put us where we are; the plan of God put them where they were. My situation / life circumstances are not the same as yours nor yours mine. In this respect, we are all different, even as we are all the same. God is not unfair because I was born on my birthday and you were born on yours, I in my city/state, you in yours, I with my parents, you with yours. No two lives are the same. And yet we all share the image of God and have all had our sins atoned for by the blood of the Lamb so as to have our names (originally) in the book of life. My realm of choices is not the same as yours nor yours mine. I have been restricted from many things as have you and they are not the same things. Yet we make use of the image of God to choose all the time – that is what life is about. If God in His great mercy and complete wisdom chose to bring some home to be with Him without making the right choice of choices, can you say with certainty that they would not have made that same bad choice, given more time to make that good choice? The playing field is not even for any two people, and you are finding fault with that. Can you not see that in fact God is adapting the playing field perfectly for each and every person so as to maximize the chance of salvation – with the result that all are meant to be saved are saved (1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9; cf. Matt.18:12-14; Jn.12:47; Acts 17:27)? And since we are all different, can you not see that different circumstances are necessary which take our individual differences into account if the offer and chance of salvation is indeed to be fair and to be maximized?

If you find the salvation of infants unfair, then by definition you will have to find everything that God has done in discriminating between all individuals "unfair". That would be somewhat ironic and also highly unfortunate because He is Justice and Righteousness in His unalterable character. And He is also Love. In Love He found the perfect way to propitiate His justice and righteousness to bring to salvation all who would be willing to be saved . . . through the ineffable sacrifice of His own dear Son on behalf of us all. The plan of God perfectly incorporates every detail of time and history to accomplish that blessed result . . . and we know that it has been done perfectly in every respect because our God is perfect; therefore this is not only just for Him to do but it was the one perfect way to accomplish the plan of salvation. Do you have questions about the details? We all have questions. The better part is to seek out and accept the answers God gives us in His holy Word (rather than finding fault with perceived "logical" inconsistencies which, when actually understood, merely reveal the depth and the wonder of the glory of God on the one hand – and the hardness of heart of those who resist Him on the other).

If interested in the details (the biblical support, as you call it), please give some attention to the following links:

BB 4B: Soteriology: The Study of Salvation

"The Resurrection" (Peter #20)

"The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride" (in CT 5)

What will our relationship in heaven be with children who died young?

Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?

Infant Salvation

Yours in the dear Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of all mankind, especially of believers.

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Robert Luginbill: Some eternal hell believers are rather fond of saying, "God doesn't send people to hell. They choose to go there."

That's true. Most people love sin and darkness, rather than the light and truth of God, and holy living. And the same is true for heaven. God doesn't send people there. They have to choose it! They choose it because they love the light and truth of God, and holy living.

Romans 2:7
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.

And

Matthew 7:13,14
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

People have to enter through that narrow gate by CHOICE. So that means God isn't going to send any of the over 1 billion aborted fetuses or any babies who died early --- to heaven.

Another eternal hell believer wrote this to me.

"The salvation of the unborn or "innocent" who have yet to commit sin was not made up from one verse in 2 Samuel, even though some may use that passage. It probably does only refer to David dying like his child. But this is by no means the only Biblical support and inference we can draw regarding the unborn and other "innocents".

I think the main reason you so easily give such young ones a free pass into heaven is because like practically everyone else in the world, you view them as somehow being innocent. In that same sense, my unsaved dad who passed away, was pretty innocent. I mean he was one of the nicest guys you could have ever met. As opposed to quite a large number of the one billion aborted babies, who, had they been born and had grown up to adulthood would have grown up to be all kinds of nasty, evil sinners such as: thieves, pedophiles, drug dealers, murderers and so on. I mean that is just basic statistics. You cannot deny that --- no way. So I believe that you should stop looking at them as if they are somehow innocent. That is just not statistically logical or Biblical. The Bible says that we were conceived in sin.

Psalm 51:5
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Also, none of those over 1 billion aborted babies never had their hearts tested! That would be like a teacher giving a passing grade to a student who never took the test, just because their father was a rich and powerful man. Of course, for a teacher to do such a thing would be immoral and unjust. Why do we have to live through this hellish earth? And for a lot of people, it is a hellish world --- like in Syria, etc. etc. That's because this earth is a testing ground. God is testing our hearts to see who comes towards truth and righteousness, and who seeks out life for their own enjoyment.

It really is getting a 'free pass' into heaven when someone didn't have the opportunity to take this earthly test. Especially when, statistically speaking, it is undeniable that a certain percentage of those unborn fetuses would have grown up to be quite evil. The logic of my argument is absolutely undeniable. What could possibly be wrong with such clear and reasonable thinking? I can see no fault in my logic --- none whatsoever. ------ I really can't!

But if you can find a flaw in my logic, then by all means tell me. Because I cannot see any flaw at all --- 0%.

Blessings,

Response #9:

Dear Friend,

It seems to me that your objection to what scripture teaches on this point is that God is unfair to allow into heaven those who never had the opportunity to make an informed choice through no fault of their own. That strikes me as a very odd position. We have been saying that theology is not always appreciated by secular human logic, but on this particular question it seems to me that even most secular legal systems do appreciate the difference between actions taken by minors and those taken by mature adults. If human systems see the need to make this distinction – which I assume you must find unfair also – then it is hardly surprising that God does so. Indeed, by the logic of this position you adduce, if God wished to avoid unfairly throwing the newborn dead into hell or unfairly giving them "a pass" as you say, then He either would have had to 1) work things out so that in the history of the world no single person every failed to live to the age of accountability and so that no one was every mentally deficient; or 2) refrain from creation altogether. As neither of these things are the case, according to your logic and argumentation it seems that God is unfair or else He doesn't know what He is doing – or perhaps both. Let me assure you that God cannot be unfair and that His understanding passes anything human beings can even conceive of.

In fact, Christ died for the sins of all human beings so that all human beings may be saved. So you see the shoe is actually on the other foot – unbelievers reject salvation to go to hell (hell is a choice). Admittedly, it is a point most people do not "get". The fact is that the names of all human beings are written in the book of life before the world was created – because Christ would die for the sins of all (see the link). What that means is that hell is the destiny only of those who refuse to accept the solution God provides for sin, death and judgment. Believers are saved, yes, through faith; but by grace (Eph.2:8-9). God's grace is fully available to unbelievers as well but unbelievers reject that grace either outright or by living their entire life without accepting it. It is for this reason that they are lost. They are not forgiven because through their own choice of omission or commission they have rejected that forgiveness. Those who die young or who never attain mental maturity are not able to reject the gospel and are thus automatically saved for that reason – through the blood of Christ.

So that is the answer to your question. The logic is the reverse of what you (and most people) suppose. Hyper-Calvinists teach election without much functional free will; Hyper-Arminians teach choice without much functional grace; most Christians assume as you do that believing the gospel is "what it is all about" – and indeed that is critically important (the alternative being its rejection unto perdition); but it is even more important to understand what God the Father did through Jesus Christ to make that gospel available: sending His Son to die for the sins of the world; and that therefore God's "default position" is the salvation of all (Jn.3:16; 1Tim.2:4; 2Pet.3:9).

People go to hell through their own choice, putting their will over God's will that they be saved. People go to heaven through acceding to God's will. Those who do not have a choice are saved through the will of God, through Christ's sacrifice for their sins, and on account of the fact that they never rejected the gospel, and so are not blotted out of the book of life where their names were written from before the creation of the world. It is being alive and morally culpable that "activates" the problem of choice regarding our eternal status. That does not happen for those who die young or who never mature mentally.

In the Lord whose wisdom passes all human understanding,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Dear Robert Luginbill:

You assumed wrong. Of course young children need to receive a different kind of judgement from adults. Anyways, that is precisely why I find it strange that you think it is okay for God to punish young children who reached the age of accountability and are unsaved, and then die so young –– with a literal eternal burning in hell! Now when human beings sometimes say in the movies, "I hope you burn in hell forever!" They are usually screaming at someone who killed one of their family members. They would never think anything like that about a little child of 10 or 11 who died at such a young age.

Anyways, let me take your proposition to what would be the next logical step. God could kill Jesus on the cross, or shed his blood and kill him any kind of way. Then, God could make everyone little babies (as opposed to adults like Adam and Eve). Then he could kill all those babies. Then everyone could be saved.

And that is not a straw man argument! I did not change your premise one iota. I looked up straw man argument on the Internet. The "straw man" argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent's proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., "stand up a straw man"), and then to refute or defeat that false argument instead of the original proposition.

Your statement was basically this. All aborted babies, or young babies who died, or mentally retarded persons will gain entry into heaven because of the sacrifice of Christ. Now, all I am saying is, IF THAT WAS TRUE, then why wouldn't God make us all babies and then kill us all? IT IS JUST THE NEXT LOGICAL STEP TO FOLLOW! It only makes sense to apply YOUR PROPOSITION TO EVERYONE! And then coming back to what you said before, I want to make a very important point. If human systems see the need to make this distinction – which I assume you must find unfair also – then it is hardly surprising that God does so. What kind of human judge would punish anyone with a never ending punishment in a lake of fire? The fact is no judge in his right mind would ever do that because it is complete insanity.

Blessings,

Response #10:

Dear Friend,

God is righteous and fair. He could not be otherwise – being God. We all know that from viewing His creation – or did at some point in our lives before hardening our hearts (Rom.1:18-32).

Being righteous, God has never given anyone a "bad deal". You are assuming in your construct here a population that is so young as to be innocent but yet accountable and therefore unfairly condemned. There is no such population. God never condemns anyone who has not definitively and from full knowledge of what they were doing refused to respond to His truth (or rejected it outright). In some individuals, societies, situations, accountability may come as early as ten or eleven or earlier . . . or it may come much later, even into one's twenties. I can't say for certain (nor can you), but God knows every heart perfectly, and gives everyone a perfect opportunity (with those who for reasons of an early death etc. do not have such an opportunity being exempted from judgment).

As to the rest, I have answered these questions many times now and the answer is always the same. In order to create anyone, God had to create everyone – God is perfect and therefore this is the perfect creation. Nothing at all is accidental, even though it may appear so to secular, worldly eyes. There is no more certain proof of this than the fact that Jesus died for the sins of all, even for those you lament. If the Father condemned His own dear Son so that the sins of those who are lost would be forgiven and they might be saved, how can you or anyone find fault with God for the fact that many reject that grace and are thus not saved even so? Clearly, God has done more than the most to save them; if they are not saved, it is because that was their heartfelt choice. Please do not be like the pot who accuses the Potter, "why did You make me like this!?" God made us who we wanted to be in our heart of hearts. The fact that unbelievers will not realize the full horror of their awful choice until it is too late is comparable to the fact that believers will not realize the full wonder of their good choice (and choices) until after all this is over on earth – if they did, more believers would be putting everything they had into the learning, believing and living the Word of God. But for our free will to function fairly in every case, God gives us the truth but allows us to keep that truth at arms length (or further away, if that is our desire). In the course of life, long or short, the true desires of every heart come forth. That is the imponderable genius of the historical process that God has set up: the Plan of God (please see the link).

God could have killed all before accountability and God could have made all perfect and eternal from the start; to do so in the first case would be to violate the perfect plan and compromise the whole (not to mention the whole purpose of the plan – perfect self-selection via free will of eternal destiny in each case); in the second case no one could have genuine free will and we would then be like dogs and cats, not who we are. The only way you and I could be who we are, recipients of the image of God with the opportunity to make the choices we are making, is through the implementation and righteous carrying out of the Plan of God as it is (not as it may be alternatively imagined). This is where we are and this is what we have; accepting it accepts God's perfect character in faith. Railing against it unprofitable in every way, as the generation of the Exodus found out, e.g. (Ex.17:3; Num.16:3), because it lacks faith in the Lord – and faith is the only way to please God:

For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
Hebrews 4:2 NKJV

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 NKJV

Jesus Christ is the only way unto life eternal. We can debate the fate of infants or other hypotheticals continuously, but it really all comes down to this for those who are truly accountable before God: "What think ye of Christ?" Those who believe are saved; those who refuse to bend their will to the Will of God by accepting in faith the sacrifice of the One who came to earth and died for them are lost – of their own free will.

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:18 NKJV

As long as there is life, there is hope. God leaves us here more than long enough in each and every case to demonstrate what is really in our hearts.

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
2nd Corinthians 5:20 NKJV

Yours in our dear Savior Jesus Christ, the one Way of Salvation,

Bob L.

Question #11:

The Bible is extremely clear about what destroyed in hell is going to be.

Unsaved sinners will be destroyed. When the Bible uses the word destroy, it means to completely or totally destroy. And when he Bible uses the word ruin, it means NOT TO completely or totally destroy. It just means to ruin. So when the word destroy is used in Matthew 10:28; it means to destroy, and not –– 'to ruin'.

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

And what does the Bible mean by destroyed in hell ? Well, 2 Peter chapter 3 gives a very good description.

7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

Response #11:

Dear Friend,

These are derivative arguments based upon your interpretations of the scriptures you quote (and I would not agree at all with taking them this way – it's certainly not at all necessary to do so, merely possible if the language is stretched and the theology ignored).

Can you share with me one – just one – scripture that shows definitively that anyone goes out of existence?

FYI, as pointed out several times before, the verses in your email today only say "destroy" in your rendition; Matt.10:28 literally says "kill" (apokteino) which means "remove from life on earth" – not inconsistent with being conscience in hell thereafter. 2Pet.3:7 says "perishing" (apoleia; n.b., the verb in v.11 is different and is never used of human beings) which means to lose life on earth – not inconsistent with being conscience in hell thereafter. Neither of these passages addresses the situation after death; both speak of the process of being deprived of human life on earth.

So when I say your arguments are derivative, what I mean is that you are translating Greek verses into English a certain way (or relying on the translations of others), and justifying a theological principle based upon your understanding of English concepts (which are not at all what is present in the Greek). That flawed process if the basis of much flawed theology. Instead, one has to look at what the scripture actually says without drawing unwarranted conclusions.

That is why you must provide a scripture which actually says what you feel to be true, namely, that, in your view, the spirits of those who are lost are actually obliterated and removed from existence – not just from life on earth, because the whole point of eternal life is that it is free from the second death of the lake of fire (which is, however, existence).

(22) "For just as the new heavens and new earth which I am about to make are going to continue before Me", says the Lord, "so your seed and its name will continue. (23) And it will come to pass that from month to month and from Sabbath to Sabbath all flesh will come to worship before Me", says the Lord. (24) "And they will go forth and look upon the corpses of the men who rebelled against Me, for their worm will not die and their fire will not be quenched and they will be [i.e., forever existing] abhorrent to all flesh".
Isaiah 66:22-24

Finally, it is important always to keep in mind that this horrible eternal existence is avoided only by putting one's faith in Jesus Christ, by accepting Him as the Son of God and accepting His work in dying for our sins. All believers are saved; only those who refuse the Gift of the Son are condemned (Jn.3:16-18) – which is why infants are not lost (or anyone else who has not had the "opportunity" to reject Jesus and His work on the cross).

In the Lord of glory who died that we might live forever with Him, Jesus Christ the righteous.

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Robert Luginbill:

What do you mean, "... in your rendition;"? Bible scholars, like yourself, who studied ancient Greek, translated this verse. Not me!

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

What you just said does not make any sense. And besides that, the verse says. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way .... That means ALL THE THINGS THAT WERE TALKED ABOUT IN THIS CHAPTER! And that INCLUDES ... ungodly men! Well, these verses, 2nd Peter 3:7-13 DO address the situation after death! Now, how I am I stretching the language?? THESE VERSES ARE ABSOLUTELY CRYSTAL CLEAR. No language stretching! I really cannot understand how you can say that I am stretching the language.

Sincerely,

Response #12:

Dear Friend,

Many months ago I explained to you that the "soul", as psyche is translated in your version Matthew 10:28, is not the spirit; the word soul is an English word used mostly in English versions to translate the Hebrew and Greek words for "life" (nephesh and psyche) respectively. I understand the historical reasons for retaining this misleading word, but it can really cause theological problems for people who are trying to build theology based upon English versions (as you are doing).

Let me see if I can explain to you in broad-brush terms the essential fallacy under which you are laboring here. The Bible, in all of these and many similar passages, is addressing its appeal to human beings who are alive on this earth; for us, the threat of being killed = being destroyed = the loss of life, is one we can all appreciate and ought to take seriously. Death is the "ultimate concern", as Tillich put it. However, losing our physical life does not mean that we will not have an existence on the other side. Indeed we shall. The only question is where that existence will be, either in the New Jerusalem or in the lake of fire. Scripture is very clear on that in many places; your attempts to take passages which speak of the dire consequences of rejecting God's solution to the universal problem of human condemnation absent faith in Christ and make them mean the opposite (i.e., that annihilation rather than the lake of fire will be the lot of those who are not saved), constitutes standing up for a bad cause. The Stoics and Epicureans (among others) drew solace from the (wrong) position that there was nothing to fear after death because death was the end of all things. Personally, I don't find that fairy tale particularly comforting, but an eternity of condemnation is undeniably more frightening – and that is the true alternative for those who reject God's grace in Jesus Christ.

In addition to "soul" meaning "life" in Matthew 10:28, which only thus means the end of life on this earth for those who reject the Lord, notice also that the passage adds "in hell".

Question: if God is going to annihilate unbelievers – and in your view also all those who do not actually have a chance to accept Christ – why does He need to put them in hell to do so? Why is there even then a need for a place called "hell"? Why isn't it the fact that unbelievers just go out of existence when they die? Indeed, how could it be otherwise, if your position were correct? Why in the world would God go to great lengths to preserve the existence of unbelievers and other who are not culpable so that He could later terminate their existence "in hell"? Hell is hardly anything to fear in your false view, because no sooner would a person be there than said individual would immediately cease to exist entirely.

In fact, what Matthew 10:28 means (explaining for about the fourth time now), is that unbelievers will lose "life" on earth (which in the Bible is a blessing from God who gives that life) but not existence; their continued existence will not be "eternal life" as ours (those who believe in Christ) will but, but an awful existence which is so dire that it is termed "the second death" (Rev.2:11; 20:6; 20:14; 21:8). But if the false doctrine of annihilation were true, how could there be two deaths? Languishing in hell, "where their worm never dies" is "death" by definition, even though existence continues. "Life" is all about God; "death" is all about being separated from God – not going out of existence. Once God creates a spirit, it is indestructible.

I don't see much point in discussing the Peter passage inasmuch as you didn't respond to the critical point of the previous email which is that the verb difference clearly shows that the dissolution of the elements of the cosmos in the second part (verb lyo) has nothing to do with the condemnation of unbelievers in the first part (noun apoleia, meaning physical death then followed by the second death which is an eternity in the lake of fire). One might add that the universe (two heavens and earth) will be dissolved, according to this passage, but not the third heaven nor Hades (see the link: "Biblical Geography").

At the very least, the above makes clear (whether or not you choose to accept that clarity) that your passages most definitely do not say even on their face what you need them to say to carry your argument – especially inasmuch as that argument contradicts much clear scripture (as previously explained and documented with some specificity).

So you still haven't satisfactorily answered my previous question. It's not surprising. The question cannot be answered, because that is not what the Bible teaches.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

. . . that the spirit is ever destroyed? That is one Bible verse which says clearly on its face and without interpretation that the spirit is destroyed.

Now the following verses may not say the "soul or spirit" is destroyed. Nevertheless, when you refer back to Matthew 10:28 you get a SUPER CLEAR PICTURE of what the Bible means ---- by destroyed IN HELL.

2 Peter 3:7
But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of ungodly men . . . 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat.

These verses are about as crystal clear as you can get. And I don't see how you could possibly reinterpret those verses to mean anything else. If you think you can, somehow, ---- then SHOW ME HOW. Don't just say, "If not, this is all a matter of your views imposed upon scripture."

Of course, you would have to show me something super spectacular and super, super clear because that is what I have shown.

Sincerely,

Response #13:

Hello Friend,

1) The "point" is that the passage does not say that the spirit is destroyed; and what it does say instead is that the "life" is destroyed – and what that means is that the person is bereft of eternal life, being in hell, but still conscious and still in resurrection, albeit for an eternity on the lake of fire.

2) In biblical terms, "death" does not mean "non-existence". That is the secular view. But we know that death is the beginning of what comes next. That is why, for example, our Lord's contemporaries, being unbelievers, thought of "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" as "dead" in a completely different way from what is the truth:

"He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."
Luke 20:38 NIV

3) There is no "limbo"; paradise is paradise (not "the grave"); "eternal" fire is eternal (not temporary).

Make no mistake: "destruction" is not a good thing; it is not, however, an end to existence. In point of fact, that is far worse than oblivion. That is one of the dangers in this particular heresy, namely, leading unbelievers to think that even if there is something on the other side, it won't matter because it will all be over in an instant (not the case). The other main danger is the incredible weight of completely unnecessary and non-biblical grief it puts on the backs of those who have lost anyone before coming to Christ on account of age or mental deficiency.

Do you really believe that a God of grace and love behaves that way? It makes no sense, and, blessedly, is not the way things are.

I think the main issue with your exegesis is the failure to see that "death" is threefold in scripture (physical, spiritual and eternal), and that "life" is twofold (present earthly life and eternal life). If person is in heaven, that person has eternal life; what is the alternative? Not having eternal life, which means [eternal] death. But one cannot use human logic to assume that this means "no longer having existence". People who die today still have existence, even if they are unbelievers, because they are still awaiting the last judgment, correct? Since they can be described as "dead" (as even believers are so described), and yet still have existence at this moment (as of course believers continue to enjoy), then clearly "death" from the biblical point of view does not necessitate the end of existence as your argument assumes. Take away that false plank and the whole structure falls.

The Bible says what is says and means what it says. You are free to see it otherwise – this is still a semi-free country in that respect (more or less). However, the fact is that unbelievers will be in the lake of fire forever, as scripture proclaims, and not taken out of existence (which is never said).

It is clear that you will never be convinced of what (to me at least) is unavoidably clear and obvious to anyone looking into these matters aright. Happily (for me), I will never be convinced otherwise.

The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.
Revelation 2:11b NIV

Yours in Jesus Christ the One in whom alone we have eternal life.

Bob L.

Question #14:

Dear Robert Luginbill:

I don't see your point. Either way –– Matthew 10:28 still has the same meaning!

Matthew 10:28
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the life.

Rather fear Him who can destroy both life and body in hell.

And you try to further explain that unbelievers will lose "life" (which in the Bible is a blessing from God) but not existence; How can you interpret "destroy the soul" ( or life ) as meaning a continued existence? The opposite of life is death – not continued existence. This is the most ridiculous explanation I have ever heard. It makes absolutely no sense at all.

Hebrews 9:27
27And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement:

In the first death people cease to exist in this world. In the second death the unsaved will cease to exist forever. That is their eternal punishment.

Anyways, in a very brief and clear way, here is how I came to the conclusion as to why annihilation is the correct answer. It has four brief clearly explained points. First, the Bible says that mankind is mortal –- not inherently immortal. The NIV Bible says that about 50 times. The only people I see receiving immortality are true believers (2 Corinthians 15). Mortal means one's existence will come to an end. Second, the Bible says the wicked will be destroyed. For example:

Malachi 4:1
4 See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

Third, eternal hell believers have to be able to give an explanation as to what happens to unborn fetuses, or little babies that die; since according to them –- everyone has an immortal soul. So they made up a theory that the sacrifice of Christ will cover their sins. But the only evidence that they can really try to use is this verse. It is what King David stated after the death of his and Bathsheba's son.

2 Samuel 12:23
But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

But this verse doesn't say, "I will go to him in paradise."

So this verse only means that David will eventually die and go to the grave like his baby son.

Of course, they also try to use Matthew 19:14.
14 Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." But they very conveniently (surreptitiously ) leave out Matthew 18:6 which shows who Jesus was really talking about.

Matthew 18:6
6 "If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

And the teaching of the Catholic Church is that such young souls go to a place defined as Limbo – a place of perfect natural happiness (much like the state of the world before the fall of Adam and Eve), but they do not possess the beatific vision of God. Neither of these made up theories ( beliefs ) have any Biblical support.

Fourth, the eternal fire doesn't really keep burning for all eternity.

Jude 1:7
7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

It says eternal fire, however, Sodom and Gomorrah and the people who lived there are not still burning. Those people are awaiting judgement day. The eternal fire, or unquenchable fire is a fire that cannot be put out until everything is completely destroyed. The eternal fire happened once for them. That was their first death. They ceased to exist in this world. In the second death they will cease to exist forever.

Matthew 3:12
12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clear his threshing floor; and he will gather his wheat into the barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

I don't see "the chaff" as continuing to exist!

Okay that's it. –– Very brief and clear, n'est-ce pas?

Blessings,

Response #14:

Hello Friend,

1) Destruction = being killed. It means losing one's physical life, not one's spirit. It means "passing from the world and from physical life"; it does not mean "having no existence outside of the world we can see through having been metaphysically obliterated" – the latter is not the case in instance of the word. Even in common English, we do not have that expectation with the use of the word.

2) Malachi 4:1 is an analogy. People are not chaff. People have spirits; chaff does not. The residue of chaff is not metaphysically destroyed but still exists physically in the form of ash, energy, etc. Obviously, we cannot assume from this analogy that human bodies are composed of vegetable matter because they are compare to chaff; likewise, assuming that because chaff is burned physically, that human spirits are metaphysically annihilated jumps many more logical steps.

3) 2nd Peter chapter three is speaking about people in the first instance ("destruction" apoleia) but about the dissolution of the universe in the second (lyo – translated often "destroyed" but actually meaning "dissolved"). When Peter says "all these things" will be dissolved in verse eleven, he is using the same verb he used in verse ten (not the root verb of the noun in verse seven), so that grammatically he has to be speaking about the dissolution of the material universe – and not to the killing at Armageddon of the evil individuals from verse seven. The latter is merely an analogy to the first and vice versa, so we cannot improperly import specific circumstances from the one to the other. People will not "melt" nor will the universe be "killed". Both will be dealt with in the ways appropriate to each: the universe will be replaced (with the new heavens and new earth); unsaved human beings will be consigned to the lake of fire forever.

4) The Bible speaks of being with the Lord forever in the New Jerusalem as "life"; the eternal state of those not so privileged (by their own choice) is described as "the second death". If death were metaphysical destruction and annihilation in your terms, there would not be (nor would there need to be) a resurrection of those who reject Christ; but there is:

(2) For many who sleep in the dust will awake, some to eternal life, but the others to shame and eternal separation [from God]. (3) Then those who have insight will shine like the shining forth of the dawn, even those who led the many to righteousness, like stars forever and ever.
Daniel 12:2-3

For they shall come forth – those who have done what is good to a resurrection of life (i.e., those who have faithfully followed Jesus Christ), but those who have done what is worthless to a resurrection of judgment.
John 5:21-29

And I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.
Acts 24:15 NIV

The disposition of the wicked, after having been destroyed off of the earth, after having them spent time in torments, after then having been resurrected and judged at the end of the Millennium . . . is the lake of fire, and the lake of fire is eternal:

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Revelation 20:10 NIV

Notice that a thousand years after having been thrown into the lake of fire, the beast and the false prophet are still "there", destined to be "tormented day and night for ever and ever" – something only possible if hell, the eternal disposition of all unbelievers, is everlasting.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Dear Robert Luginbill: Your own words. 1) Destruction = being killed. I agree with that 100%. And anyone who goes through the kind of destruction described in 2 Peter chapter 3 will surely be killed! Nobody could live through that kind of hell fire destruction unless they were like Superman. Mankind is mortal. And the Bible never makes any distinction between mortality of the body or mortality of the soul. Even Wikipedia, an unbiased, non-religiously affiliated website comes to the same conclusion that the Bible never says that man has an inherently immortal soul. Check it out for yourself at "Soul in the Bible" Wikipedia. And EVERYBODY in the world, except you and other eternal hell believers, understand mortal as one's life coming to an end –- not just the body. Ask anyone directly, "What is the definition for mortal?" And people will say something like it means that you will die. Ask anyone directly, "What is the definition for immortal?" And you will get a universal answer. Immortal means you will live forever.

If a person continued to exist forever in hell, then they would still be BY DEFINITION –- immortal. They would be living forever in hell.

Genesis 3:22
And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

God does not want sinful mankind to live forever IN HIS SIN. And God would not allow sinful Adam and Eve to take also from the tree of life and live in potential sinful spiritual separation from Him forever, which is YOUR definition of hell – exactly. Fallen mankind is mortal. And you can't just say that only the body is mortal, UNLESS you can actually show some solid Biblical evidence. But the only thing you can try to offer is Matthew 10:28.

Matthew 10:28
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

But that is NO PROOF AT ALL because this verse ends with body and soul (or life) BEING DESTROYED. You can't just SAY, "only the body is mortal." You have to offer REAL SOLID BIBLICAL PROOF. I mean if I tried to offer you Romans 6:23 as "proof" that sinful people will die and will never come back to life, ...

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

You could very easily define that as a spiritual death. And I would agree with you because when Adam and Eve disobeyed God they experienced a spiritual death. And actually, some annihilationists try to use that verse. I don't know why. It is so easily refutable.

But mortal –- you cannot redefine that. And you cannot refute it.

Romans 1:22,23
22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

About 50 times the Bible says that mankind is mortal. This is just one of about 50.

This is solid, direct, straightforward evidence. And here is more solid, direct, straightforward evidence.

Matthew 16:24-26
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

To lose: 1. to no longer have possession of

To forfeit: 1. to give something up, or have something taken away,

often as a penalty for doing something wrong.

You offered no Bible verses for the meaning of "destruction" that supports your view.

Show me one Bible verse or passage where destroyed or destruction is used and life does not come to an end.

Very sincerely yours

Response #15:

Dear Friend,

Your rationale in quoting all of these passages boils down to the same mistake I have been trying to help you correct from the beginning of our conversation. Yet one more time: The soul is not an independent entity as the word is used in the actual Bible; by "the soul" (English), the Bible means "the life"; the immaterial part of the human being in the Bible is the spirit – and the spirit is indestructible, even in the case of unbelievers.

As to the distinction between the immaterial "spirit" and the material "body", that hope of distinction is what the Christian life is all about. We expect this body to die; we are confident in Christ that this spirit will live and be clothed anew forever in the power of God in a resurrection body in which we shall live forever in the presence of Jesus Christ.

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Robert Luginbill:

What you wrote sounds perfectly fine to me. But you didn't refute any of the Bible verses I presented such as this.

Genesis 3:22
And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

God does not want sinful mankind to live forever IN HIS SIN. And God would not allow sinful Adam and Eve to take also from the tree of life and live in potential sinful spiritual separation from Him forever, which is YOUR definition of hell – exactly.

Blessings in Christ,

Response #16:

Dear Friend,

Death and life on this earth are not the only death and life. Believers look forward to a better eternal life in a new body; unbelievers have only the second death to look forward to. The fact that in both cases this present body is destroyed means nothing as far as the spirit is concerned, for it is ever preserved for what it to come, be it blessing or cursing. That is the point.

So Genesis 3:22 is not talking about eternity but remaining alive in this body and on this earth. After all, God told Adam and Eve "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen.2:17); but they didn't die physically; rather, they put themselves immediately in the prospect of being thrown into hell after physical death – even though their physical bodies remained alive for the moment (and for hundreds of years thereafter).

This dichotomy – between the way the world looks at things (the apparent "destruction" that attends the physical body being wrongly attributed to the spirit as well) and the way things really are from God's true perspective – thus goes back to the first book of the Bible and continues to the end (cf. eternal life and "the second death" in Revelation).

By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
Hebrews 11:3 NKJV

*Please answer this question: If what you say about annihilation were true, then where are unbelievers after physical death, but before the last judgment? Their spirits are not annihilated but kept in existence – otherwise they would not be around for a last judgment in the first place. Also, they are kept in Torments, so there is an after-death state of extreme unpleasantness. These facts alone knock out any of the arguments proffered based on "logic" on the grounds that God "couldn't" or "wouldn't" perpetuate the existence of unbelievers in such a state – because He can and He has:

"And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.' "
Luke 16:23-24 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dear Robert Luginbill:

Exactly. Second DEATH. Not living. I don't get your weird explanation. "So Genesis 3:22 is not talking about eternity but remaining alive on this earth.

Genesis 3:22
And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

How can you read this verse and say it is not talking about eternity!? Since when is "living forever" NOT talking about eternity?

I don't get your weird explanation at all. It is bordering on the truly ridiculous. If Adam and Eve were able to somehow eat from the tree of life they would have become immortal. This verse is most definitely talking about ETERNITY.

Sincerely,

Response #17:

Dear Friend,

The Lord told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowing good and evil, "dying thou shalt die".  But after eating they did not die . . . physically.  So there is more to death than being taken from this earth when the spirit exits the body.  The same is true of the second death.  Those who suffer the second death have already been resurrected, which means that their spirits have been clothed with a body which can no longer die, a resurrection body (albeit a body resurrected "unto death", rather than "unto life" as in the case of believers).

Everything in this current cosmos will be destroyed at the end of history (the only exception being the third heaven and Hades), so that no one could survive on this earth, even in Eden, even eating of the tree of life – because this is all going to be destroyed. Only those resurrected will not be destroyed, be they in the third heaven or in Hades.

However, this latest digression on your part does prove that this discussion has wandered too far.

The human spirit is eternal. There is no Bible verse that even suggest it is destroyed. What is destroyed is life and the (first) physical body. That is what death is on this earth; the end of physical life on this earth.

What, then, is the second death?

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:14 NKJV

According to your point of view this "second death" would be oblivion. However, that is only an argument based on human logic that seems reasonable to you. But what does scripture say:

The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:10 NKJV

Please note:

1) The devil is thrown into the lake of fire 1,000 years after the beast and his false prophet were thrown in, but they are still there ("where the beast and the false prophet are").

2) Scripture says that they then will be "tormented day and night forever and ever".

This is very clear. It requires no arguments based on logical deduction or assumptions about the meanings of certain words based upon secular, physical human experience. It is also absolutely consistent with what our Lord says about the final state of the unrighteous:

They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 13:42 NIV

*If a person's being is annihilated, there can be no "weeping, no gnashing of teeth"; there can be no nothing.

Hell is forever. That is what the Bible says. I can understand that you do not wish to believe that. That is your business. But there is a reason why everyone else who has looked at this issue has come to the same conclusion about what the Bible says, namely, this is what the Bible clearly says.

There's really nothing to argue about here. I have been working on the peripheries of the issue with you with the intention of helping you see that there isn't any leverage to be had here even through inventive manipulation of obliquely applicable passages nor through the employment of logical deduction. Your efforts are really more in the realm of philosophy than biblical exegesis. Ichthys is a Bible ministry, however, so, if you wish to continue the discussion, I would ask you first to accept the truth of what I am saying here – or demonstrate with scripture how that "forever and ever" doesn't mean "forever and ever" (which, to be honest, cannot be done, not to my satisfaction, I am confident).

Yours in the Lord Jesus Christ our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Robert Luginbill:

The Luke passage is listed as one of Jesus' parables on many websites. Anyways, never mind that. I have offered seven parts of scripture. Seven very powerful and clear parts of scripture which do not have people either in heaven or hell before Judgement Day.

John 5:28, 29
"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."

Second Peter 2:9
9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

John chapter 11: 11-14
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." 12 His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."

1 Corinthians 15:51-54
51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Ecclesiastes 9:5
For the living know that they will die,
but the dead know nothing;
they have no further reward,
and even their name is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 12:7
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Blessings,

Response #18:

Dear Friend,

Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable (see the link), and no amount of testimony from internet "wizards" to the contrary will change that fact. Jesus did not "make up" details about Hades and individuals therein like some people today write science fiction novels.

So we are back to Luke 16:23-24. There is no way to dispute the fact that this passage refutes the false theory of the annihilation of the spirits of the wicked.

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Revelation 20:10 NIV

This is another passage which also proves conclusively the continuation of torment forever and ever because it says quite literally "They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever".

One very clear biblical passages that says things in a very clear way is worth, in discussions such as this, a hundred passages which are not definitive (and above we have two of them). None of the other passages proffered by you say anything about annihilation.

For example, Eccl.12:7 "the spirit returns to God". This passage makes no distinction between the spirit of the believer and that of the unbeliever; since believers are not annihilated, we conclude that neither are unbelievers – according to this passage.

The adducing of most of the other passages is more circular argumentation based upon parti-pris definitions:

You say "death = annihilation"; therefore, obviously, if we find the word condemnation we have proof of annihilation. Not a very persuasive argument for anyone who has read these passages in the original languages and considered the vocabulary closely also in the context of scripture. Death means many things in scripture, spiritual and eternal as well as physical. The assumptions you make about what death is beyond the material and physical are not scriptural, so we cannot make a logical deduction based on a misleading definition and end up with anything true.

You say "condemnation = annihilation"; therefore, obviously, if we find the word condemnation we have proof of annihilation. Not a very persuasive argument for anyone who has read these passages in the original languages and considered the vocabulary closely also in the context of scripture. Condemnation is a judicial term; one has to look elsewhere to find out what carrying out the sentence means.

You will be happy to know that I do understand your position and also the passages, arguments and methods you use to support them. However, I completely disagree, because yours is a rhetorical stance rather than a valid position based upon what scripture actually says.

So there we are. This is a Bible teaching ministry, and as your correspondence began in the manner of someone searching for answers to questions, I tried to help. It has become obvious by now, at least, that it is unlikely that we are going to accomplish anything by continuing this conversation.

If you have an answer for Revelation 20:10 and/or Luke 16:23-24, I'd be happy to hear it.

Otherwise, I'm afraid this correspondence must end.

I do pray for your salvation in Jesus Christ, for your coming to the truth, and for your prudence in refraining from spreading false teaching to others (Jas.3:1; cf. Mk.9:42).

In the Name of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Robert Luginbill: I asked a very good question. Can you please tell me your explanation of these 7 parts of scripture?

You wrote, "If you have an answer for Revelation 20:10 and/or Luke 16:23-24, I'd be happy to hear it."

Okay here you go –– 7 parts if scripture that show an answer for Luke 16:23,24.

To me, these seven passages show that the dead are asleep or unconscious and are awaiting Judgement Day. They are not currently in heaven or hell. As such, Luke 16:19-31 is a parable and not a literal account. If you completely disagree, then tell me your explanation for these seven passages because I cannot but see these verses as saying anything else but that.

And here are some other verses which talk about the state of those who are dead. They are not in heaven or hell. They are awaiting Judgement Day.

Verses with death as sleep.

John 5:28-29

2nd Peter 2:9

John 11:11-14

1st Corinthians 15:51-54

1st Thessalonians 4:13-18

Ecclesiastes 9:5

Ecclesiastes 12:7

Of course, exactly what happens to the spirit, nobody really knows. The main point is everyone is kept waiting somewhere, "sleeping", until Judgement Day.

Response #19:

Dear Friend,

This is not an answer; this is a return to your deductive arguments. I will give you a very brief reply to your seven passages (brief because I have already answered every one of them many times now) – in the love of God and out of the love of God – but please understand that this is a last attempt to help you see the truth.

The two passages I gave you, Revelation 2o:10 and Luke 16:23-24 stand on their own and are not in any way contradicted – or even addressed – by the passages you have listed here; they demonstrate categorically that there is no annihilation of the dead, not even a temporary sleep. Finally by way of introduction, Luke 16:23-24 is not a parable; it is a literal account because it gives names to the participants. If it were a parable, then Abraham would be a made up person, not a patriarch, and there would be no one named "Lazarus" unless there had really been someone by that name with this exact experience (e.g.). There is nothing in the passage that says it is a parable; there is nothing in the passage that suggest it is a parable. It is only called a parable by those who don't want to accept what it says. But even if it were a parable, you could not in good conscience ignore what it teaches, namely, that the dead are conscious and that the unsaved have eternal regrets because of eternal condemnation: if that is not the message of this passage, what is?

As to the seven passages, they all prove my points when examine carefully and objectively without a predetermined rhetorical stance:

1) John 5:28-29: The physical body comes forth in resurrection; the spirit was in the presence of the Lord in heaven (for believers); or in torments (for unbelievers); Eccl.12:7.

2) 2nd Peter 2:9: The unrighteous have not been obliterated but are 'being held' . . . in torments awaiting the judgment.

3) John 11:11-14: As pointed out many times, the bodies of the physically dead resemble – to those of us who are alive on earth – those who are sleeping; and it is a good analogy too because just as those asleep do not sleep forever but wake up, so also those who are physically dead will have their first bodies rise in resurrection, those who put their faith in Christ to life eternal; those who refused to condemnation in the lake of fire, an eternity of pain without respite.

4) 1st Corinthians 15:51-54: For some the resurrection will come while alive: those who survive the Tribulation and are still alive when Christ returns at the second advent will be resurrected while alive without ever experiencing physical death.

5) 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18: The dead are 'asleep' from our human perspective; but "all live to Him" (Matt.22:32) – conscious in His presence (if believers): "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad." (Jn.8:56 NKJV). How could Abraham rejoice if he were asleep?

6) Ecclesiastes 9:5: Ecclesiastes expresses many things from the point of view of secular life; everything it says is true from the secular human perspective: there is no hope – without God. From our human-viewpoint vantage point the dead are gone and have nothing to do with the world anymore. But "Who knows if the human spirit rises upward? (Eccl.3:21)" Solomon did know (as is obvious from this book and all of his writings in scripture), but puts things this way to show the vanity of life, which is after all the theme of the book (cf. Eccl.1:2): all things are not vanity – spiritually; all things are vanity – without God.

7) Ecclesiastes 12:7: !"the spirit returns to God" – my point exactly. Our spirits are in His presence (for believers), indestructible from the point He creates them; the only question is the eternal future we (the real "we", our spirits) will have: a resurrection unto eternal life or unto the second death (torment in the lake of fire forever).

Revelation 20:10 and Luke 16:23-24, along with all of the other evidence I have shared with you, are incompatible with your false view (whereas none of these passages you rest upon actually say what you wish them to say – as demonstrated many times now). The only way you can hold this false view of yours is to disrespect what the Bible actually says. There will be eternal life for all who believe (and for all who have not rejected Christ and had no chance to believe); there will be eternal condemnation for all who reject Christ or refuse to accept Him. These are basic, biblical facts, obvious to anyone who reads scripture with any sort of intellectual honesty. Ignoring them can only be done at great spiritual peril.

I hope for better things for you. This is not about you or me or winning an argument. This is a matter of eternal life.

In Jesus Christ who died that we might live forever through faith in Him,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Robert Luginbill: If the story of the Rich man and Lazarus is a literal account, then people would need 2 sets of bodies–- one body in the grave (or dust of the earth), and another body in the torments of hell.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 (NIV)
7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

My dead parents are in their graves. We could dig up their graves and look inside their coffins. And what would we see? Of course, we would see their BODIES! And that would include their tongues. My unsaved parents bodies cannot be in hell, and then be in their graves – at the same time! God did not give us two bodies. Geez, this was really easy to figure out. I don't see how you could miss that. And here is one more thing which shows that this is a parable. People in heaven will not be talking to people in hell! That is completely ludicrous. I can't believe that you have a Ph.D., and yet you couldn't figure out these totally obvious clues. These clues are staring you right in the face –– so obvious! This reminds of atheists who can look at 96 million miles of DNA strands in the human body, 60,000 miles of blood vessels and tiny capillaries, the super complex nervous system, the amazing complexity of all our different muscles, and yet they believe that life just happened by chance. The obvious answer is staring them right in the face!

Blessings,

Response #20:

Dear Friend,

The "spirit" is us – who we really are.  That is what "returns to God" (in anticipation of the resurrection and an eternal body while waiting in an interim body); the physical body which goes into the grave, namely "what you sow" is "not the body that is to be", but is merely "a bare kernel" of what is to be (1Cor.15:37 ESV).

As to Luke 16:23-24, it is not a parable (no matter how many sermons you find which fail to understand that point); but as I said before, even if it were, it is part of the Word of God and could not be ignored in any case, and in no parable does our Lord every mis-represent reality in an unbiblical way. That is to say, even if the passage were a parable (which it is not), even so either the details would still have to be accurate or else our Lord would be engaged in complete fiction of a substantive nature – but He is the truth incarnate.

As to bodies, all genuine Christians certainly hope for at least two bodies, this one being temporal, but the one to come at the resurrection being eternal:

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body sown is corruptible, the one raised incorruptible. The body sown is dishonorable, the one raised glorious. The body sown is weak, the one raised powerful. The body sown is suited [only] to physical life, the one raised to spiritual life.
1st Corinthians 15:42-44

The interim body is described in Revelation 6:11; 7:9; and 7:13-14 as a "white robe", and we can see from those passages as well as from Luke 23 that this temporary, interim habitation for our spirit will resemble us (as we may be confident our resurrection body will do as well); that is what Paul means when he says that we, i.e., our human spirits, the true, real "us" even after being disrobed "will not be found naked" (2Cor.5:3; in the Greek – see the ESV text note).

Once again, you are relying on logic – according to your own estimation of what makes sense or doesn't – as the basis for your arguments. But that is not the Bible. Yes, our first bodies go into the grave when we die, but not our spirits:

Then [at death] the dust (i.e., the body) will return to the earth whence it came, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:7

I spent a lot of time and effort earning my Ph.D. (and my other four degrees), so as to be able to benefit my fellow brothers and sisters who want to know the truth. I am sorry that you see no benefit either to that preparation or in this ministry. I am afraid that this must be our last communication inasmuch as you non-responsive on the issues, consistently refusing to answer direct questions, to wit, Revelation 20:10 directly refutes the idea of annihilation and absolutely affirms the doctrine of eternal punishment.

You are certainly welcome to your opinions; this is still a semi-free country, after all. But I have obviously done you no good despite the investment of a good deal of time and effort.

Salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ alone, the God-Man who died in the darkness for the sins of the world.

In hopes of your resurrection . . . unto life.

Bob L.

Question #21:

Dear Robert Luginbill: Okay. Good discussion. Here is my final say on this topic.

In my final say, I would like to show you crystal clear Biblical evidence that people are not inherently immortal.

Genesis 3:22-24
22 And the Lord God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Now you couldn't ask for more crystal clear proof. God did not allow Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of life and thus potentially live forever in their sin. This is as crystal clear as 100% distilled water. So you can't read these verses, and in any way, shape, or form argue that people have immortal souls. And of course the Bible says over, and over, and over again that mankind is mortal. Such as:

Job 25:6
6 how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot —a human being, who is only a worm!"

Or

Psalm 103: 15,16
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

Blessings,

Response #21:

Are you a Mormon?

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
1st Corinthians 15:51-54

But this blessing comes only to those who have been truly born again through faith in the person of Jesus Christ, the God-man, and His work on the cross in dying for our sins.

Question #22:

Dear Robert Luginbill: I don't have any denomination, although I am currently going to the largest Presbyterian church in the world –- Myungsung Church. I don't even know the name or the denomination of the little church that I went to for about 3 weeks in Carbondale, Illinois where I found Jesus. I went to a Wed. evening worship service, and after the service the young man who invited me introduced me to the two pastors. The one pastor told me that the blood of Jesus Christ could wash away my sins. I saw that these people had 'something' so I believed what he was telling me. Then they had to talk to somebody for a few minutes, but the one pastor said when they came back we should pray. I was very nervous about that because I never prayed before in my life! And I saw that their prayers were so long!

Anyways, they came back, and I asked if I could go first because I thought if I waited until they finished their super long prayers I would lose my nerve. So I went first and I prayed a very short prayer.

Then the pastor gave me some Bible passages to read in Romans. And then, just a week and a half later I was walking along the train tracks on my way to a health food store to get some yogurt. And all of a sudden I was stopped in my tracks on the train tracks. I felt a swirling around inside me, and I can only describe it as if my soul was being put in a washing machine. And then after about 5 or 6 seconds God filled me with the KNOWLEDGE that I would live forever! It was the most mind blowing awesome experience ever!

Blessings,

Response #22:

Now you have me really confused. I grew up Presbyterian and I can tell you that while they are wrong about a number of things they most certainly do believe in the resurrection and in heaven and hell.

Also, when you say you know you will "live forever", why then are you arguing against immortality?

This ministry is for serious questions, not games.

Question #23:

I am just a simple church member. And I have been looking for the answer to my questions primarily for myself. Anyways ,I don't care about the denomination of a Church as long as they are Holy Spirit filled Christians and are trying to follow God's will.

It was interesting and very unusual the way God led me to this huge church. And for a year I was sitting in the 5, 6th or 7th row front and center, right across the aisle from the main pastor's wife. One woman who is an usher there always saved seats for me and my wife. The sermons are translated into a few different languages and I listen on a small headset. The main pastor is like a Billy Graham. He meets with presidents and prime ministers of the world. But these days we are going to the English Worship service in the afternoon. I play soccer on Sunday mornings, and I am an MVP player, even when playing against guys in their twenties though I am decades older. My life has been very, very unusual.

P.S. You know already that it is called conditional immortality and such advocates included Martin Luther. Fortunately, he was used by God to help people get away from the teachings of the Catholic church.

Response #23:

Dear Friend,

Thanks for your interesting emails.

Luther was wrong about a great many things; the Reformers (Calvin included, since we are speaking of Presbyterians rather than Lutherans) did a great job in liberating the Church from the grasp of Roman Catholicism, but they didn't have time to solve all theological problems; eschatology and everything related to it was probably their weakest spot (Q.E.D.).

As it says at Proverbs 9:8, "rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee". If you are looking for answers in scripture, but do not know the original languages nor, more to the point, have the gift of pastor/teacher, controversy about doctrinal positions may be entertaining but will never be truly edifying. In order to grow spiritually, a Christian has to be presented with the truth, and has to believe that truth. Take away either one, the truth or a firm belief in it, and what is left is mere knowledge (true or false). As I always counsel everyone, while this ministry may not be your "cup of tea", in order to carry out the mandate the Lord has for you, namely, to grow up spiritually (through actual faith in the actual truth), pass the tests of spiritual maturity, and finally to come into your own ministry to help others (this process is the only true way to glorify the Lord and earn eternal rewards), the vast majority of Christians do need to be fed by someone. My advice: find that someone and stop spinning your spiritual wheels. For even if you do have the teaching gift, and even if you do commit yourself to a program of specialized education so as to become "apt to teach", you will not be able to feed even yourself until you not only get that education but also get to the point of spiritual growth where you are able to feed others as well.

Offered in the love of Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

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