Appendix 5 - Summary of the Argument

Summary of the Argument

The doctrine of eternal torment is discredited with two fundamental fallacies: the absence of any substantive scripture to support it and its re-definition of death.

The most evident fallacy of the doctrine is that there is no scripture to support it. The scriptures cited to support the doctrine do not mention eternal torment and there is no substantive reference to eternal torment of the unredeemed anywhere in scripture. The doctrine is wholly unfounded and conclusory.

By, conclusory, we mean that the interpretation of the doctrine is founded solely upon conclusions that have no substantive foundation. For instance where scripture refers to the eternal punishment of the unredeemed, the doctrine of eternal torment concludes that the eternal punishment is eternal torment, even though the scripture does not state what the punishment actually is. If there were a scripture that stated that the unredeemed will be tormented for eternity then there would be a credible argument that "eternal punishment" means eternal torment. But there is no such scripture. All of the scriptures that directly refer to the eternal state of the unredeemed say that the eternal state is death and they never mention eternal torment. Therefore, to read "eternal punishment" to mean eternal torment is wholly conclusory. It is a conclusion based upon nothing.

The second most evident fallacy is that the doctrine rests upon a re-definition of the word for ordinary death to mean precisely the opposite: a conscious sentient existence forever.

In Romans 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 Paul expounds at length upon sin and salvation. His exposition reaches its crescendo in his famous lament where he states that he could wish himself accursed from Christ if only his brethren in the flesh (the Jews) could be saved.1

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved.2

But saved from what? Saved from the effect of sin, to be sure, but what is the effect of sin?

In these six chapters, Paul repeatedly emphasizes that the effect of sin is death. He uses the word “death” 20 times and never uses the term torment or eternal torment. Paul is speaking of both spiritual death (killing one's relationship with God in this life) and the ultimate end of spiritual death: the eternal death of the soul. Paul teaches:

as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.3

Thus, death passed upon all men. Why? Because all men sin and causes death:

The wages of sin is death4

That is the reason for Christ's sacrifice on the cross. Not to save men from eternal torment but to save them from eternal death. Christ states is plainly:

Verily verily I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.5

Christ was not speaking of the physical death of the body because it is appointed unto all men to die once.6 Therefore, the cross did not save anyone from the first death (physical death). The cross saved us from the second death.

He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.7

Notice that all of these scriptures and all of the ministry of Jesus Christ refer to "death" and never to eternal torment.

Romans 6:5 teaches that we were united with Him in the likeness of His death.8 His death was our death thereby paying our penalty for sin.9 It is because we are "in Christ" that we have no condemnation.10 Our sins were paid for not only because His death was sufficient to pay for them because in a spiritual sense His death was our death. The wage of our sin (death) was paid by Jesus Christ. We don't owe it any more. It has been paid.

The entire structure of salvation is "Christ's death for our death." We were united with Him in the likeness of His death.11 He died our death for us. This is the doctrine of substitutionary atonement.

If eternal torment is true, then Christ doesn't save anyone from death, He saves us from eternal torment and eternal torment is the opposite of death. One cannot be dead and at the same time be tormented. The unredeemed in the eternal torment scenario are not dead. They are conscious, sentient beings who will never die.

Therefore, those who hold to eternal torment must offer some explanation as to how Christ could say that He saves us from death when, in fact, He does not.

The explanation they offer is simple. They cannot deny the numerous scriptures that repeatedly point to death as the ultimate penalty for sin,12 so they simply redefine "death" to mean an "eternal, conscious, sentient (feeling) existence."

So, for those who advocate eternal torment, "death" does not mean actual death. Death does not mean death for those who advocate the eternal torment of the unredeemed. It means being "un-dead" for the rest of eternity. They create this different death by another doctrine that re-defines death. They create the doctrine of separation. The doctrine of separation teaches that death in the Bible does not actually mean death. Instead, death in the Bible really means "separation."

Since death is really only separation, everyone is eternal and the souls of the unredeemed never actually die. This re-definition leaves room for the eternal existence of the soul so it can feel pain forever. This is the doctrine of the "immortal soul" and is absolutely gross error because scripture clearly teaches that "The soul that sins shall die."13

To avoid the obvious conflict, the advocates of eternal torment explain that, again, God didn't really mean death when He said death. Instead, He meant that the soul will never die but live forever. And with a fiat of theological myopia the Hebrew word for death is redefined with the stroke of a pen-as thanatos, the Greek word for plain ordinary death, has been equally re-defined.

In its attempt to bolster itself, the argument points to the parable of Lazarus.14 In this parable, there is a poor man named Lazarus and there is a rich man who ignored Lazarus. Both Lazarus and the rich man died and both continued to exist after death. Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom but the rich man was in hell. This scripture is supposed to demonstrate that death is not really what we normally understand it to be because both the rich man and Lazarus continued in a conscious, sentient existence after they died.

It is certainly true that Lazarus and the rich man continued to have conscious sentient existence after they died, but not because the word for death does not mean actual death. Lazarus and the rich man continued to exist after death because their physical bodies died but their souls did not. The souls of Lazarus and the rich man continued to live and have sentient existence after the death of their bodies because there are two deaths, the body dies in the first death15 and the unredeemed soul dies in the second death.16 So it is not a question of what death is. It is a question of what has died.17 Death is death and the word for death does not take on a different meaning simply because it is used in scripture or because it is used to describe the death of the bodies of Lazarus and the rich man.

Death in biblical times was exactly the same as it is now: total cessation of life and end physical sensation and physical consciousness. Whatever dies is dead and stays dead unless resurrected. When the body dies in the first death, it is dead. When the soul of the one who rejects Christ dies in the second death, it is just as dead as the physical body was in the first death. The same Greek word (θανατος) is used for both and that word means simple, plain and simple, death. Hence, the final end of the unredeemed, is death, the second death. Not eternal torment.


1. Romans 9:3 “ For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

2. Romans 10:1

3. Romans 5:12

4. Romans 6:23

5. John 8:51

6. Hebrews 9:27 " And as it is appointed unto men once to die"

7. Revelation 2:11

8. Romans 6:5 "we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death"

9. See Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (University of Chicago Press, Fifth Ed. 1958) s.v. όμοίϖμα, "= in the same death that He died."

10. Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

11. Romans 6:5

12. See Appendix 1 - Scriptures Teaching Death as Final State page 141

13. Ezekiel 18:4

14. Luke 16:19-31

15. Hebrews 9:27 "it is appointed for men to die once" NASV

16. Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die." NASV Also see Revelation 21:8 "their part will be in the lake that burn with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." The phrase "which is the second death" refers to "part," not "lake" meaning that the part of the unredeemed in the lake of fire is the second death. See "The Grammatical Context of "Second Death"" on page 104

17. See The Fate of Unbelievers Outline page 132