The human soul is NOT eternal

The human soul

Many teachers out there teach that the human soul is inherently eternal, and consequently the souls of the wicked must also always exist which leads to the doctrine of Eternal Suffering. But is this true?

Some ask the inevitable question, “how can a God of love subject anyone to such a terrible fate? Let’s see if this idea of eternal suffering is true by looking at the very scriptures that these teachers use to support their teaching. Before we begin though, let’s think this hypothesis through.

First off, how are the wicked alive if they are cut off from the God of the living? Do they have another life power source apart from God? Or do they get to keep the breath that gave them life in the first place. If so, why does it say that the spirit goes back to God who gave it in Ecclesiastes 12:7?

and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

And what happens when you forfeit your soul, does it mean you keep it?

And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? … For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? (Mark 8:36)

These scriptures answer our sensible questions regarding what eternal judgement must entail.

Are these just isolated scriptures taken out of context though? Let’s read on and discover more scriptures that tell a completely different story to the Doctrine of Eternal Suffering.

First we will investigate if the human soul is eternal as many assume.

  • the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)
  • Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.(Matthew 10:28)

This is enough to answer anyone who believes that the human soul never dies. We have to clear witness scriptures that teach that the human soul can actually die. But there is more. In fact there is a wealth of teaching about the possible destruction and death of the human soul and the destruction of the wicked. After all, do we not already hold to the fact that eternal life is for the righteous soul ONLY.

  • for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
  • hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
  • But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.
  • He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.
  • What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath–prepared for destruction?
  • And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 
  • They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
  • I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
  • I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
  • For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
  • and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
  • Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
  • Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
  • They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
  • By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
  • For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Anyone who denies that the wicked will be destroyed, perish, forfeit their soul, die, or thrown into the Second Death that also destroys the present earth and heaven simply deny scripture and prophecy regarding what is taught on Eternal Judgment. In the Book of Revelation. we clearly read that Death and Hell are thrown into the Lake of Fire, and we know that the SAME fire that destroys the heavens and earth also destroys the wicked.

This teaching that says that both the righteous and wicked will have their soul exist for all eternity is clearly not aligned with scripture. But how important is the correct belief on Eternal Judgement? Well it is is one of the foundational doctrines of the true faith. See Hebrews 6:

1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, 2 instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And God permitting, we will do so. 4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, 6 if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. 9 Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation. 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

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This topic contains 416 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  t8 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #777315
     palal2 
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    A Simple question needs to be asked, where are the bible references for the no hell position?

    #777316
     Admin 
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    I guess you never read this through. I am not saying there is no hell. Hell is real.

    #777317
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    I have seen/experienced Outer Darkness first-hand. It is real.
    http://heavennet.net/visions/the-river-of-life/

    Scroll down to about half way down the page.

    #777318
     palal2 
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    As I have asked, where is the scripture supporting your view? These are the ones I found for eturnal:

    Daniel 12:2,3 (NET)

    12:2 Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake – some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence. 3 But the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those bringing many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever.

    Mark 9:43 (NASB95)
    43 “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,

    Matthew 25:46 (NASB95)
    46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    2 Thessalonians 1:9
    9 These will pay the penalty of aeternal destruction, baway from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

    Jude 7 (NASB95)
    7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

    #777319
     Admin 
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    Hi Alan.

    This blog lists a page with the supporting scriptures.

    Take a look.

    #777229
     dL 
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    Hi David..I saw in your discussions with Alan that you do not believe in an eternal hell, and read here your Scriptural support for this concept. I have always been of the mind that hell is eternal, but am open to learn anything from the Bible that teachers otherwise..
    I do recall that the SDA’s (Seventh Day Adventists) also teach this same belief..and for the same reason of being unable to reconcile the idea of a loving God with eternal suffering..
    My first thought was to reach for my Vines and look up Perish, which directed me to look up Destroy/Destruction..where I find straight away, “The idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being.” ..from here I check out another Lexicon reference book which says the same, “The fundamental thought is not annihilation, but ruin, loss..”..
    A couple of verses I’ve just looked at you may not find conclusive in any way David, but they seem to have the inference that the second death is eternal for sinners.. Rev. 20:10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” Well, at least for the devil the second death is eternal..verse 14,15 says that then those whose names were not found written in the book of life were cast into lake of fire..and 21:8 “…and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone..” so if it were a matter of complete annihilation, I think I would expect it worded differently than – ‘shall have their part’..
    Put it this way, if I were reading the Bible for first time, with no preconceived thought as to the different doctrines…I do think my impression of hell would be of a place of never-ending torment..
    Cheers, God Bless – David L.

    #777230
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    Thanks David. 🙂

    My thinking on this is that God created angels to be eternal and intended this for man too. But God in his great mercy took precautions at the right time to stop us from existing forever as sinners. So man could be spared from existing forever and ever (ages and ages) in a sinful state.

    Genesis 3:21-24
    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.

    Clearly God spared man from living forever. Instead, God made a promise to us and all generations that eternal life is not given to all, but is a free gift of God in Christ Jesus our lord to all who will receive him.

    This is why God is able to destroy both body and soul in hell forever. Further we know that Hell is not forever because the Book of Revelation teaches that Hell is cast into the Lake of Fire which is the second death. Thus it means that the body and soul is destroyed for ever and ever after being cast into Hell.

    And does it not say elsewhere that the body will go back to the dust in the ground and the spirit back to God who gave it.

    Further if some believers are handed over to Satan for destruction of the flesh so that their spirits might be saved, then here we have the exact same word ‘destruction’ in a different subject and can plainly see that this is not an eternal process of being ruined, but very finite.

    #777231
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    Further, I would say that most confusion on this subject is with the symbolism that is chosen. But there is an amazing amount of clear teaching on this subject in scripture.

    Blessings in Jesus name. 🙂

    It is good to search the scriptures.

    #777232
     dL 
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    Thanks – I know it will be hard for me to try and see hell in a ‘finite’ sense, but will definitely give some thought to what you have shared..
    Blessings..!!

    #777233
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    We know the truth shall set us free and yet we are somehow conditioned to be scared to question what most take for granted. But I believe that it was that fear that lead to the domination of RCC doctrines and it was bravery that led to the reformation and to those who protested. What these early reformers saw as wrong, even though it was considered correct by most, took courage to challenge, and with the prospect of being burnt at the stake and then to continue in that fire for eternity after death was what the opposition was threatening them with. Indeed it was the bravest of souls that challenged the might of the Roman Catholic Church in those times. But this fight is still happening today, There are still many doctrines that we consider true, but are rooted in this false organisation. (NOTE the Reformation was never meant to end, but to keep going even to this day.)

    The more I look into today’s doctrines, the more I see that traditions of men and even doctrine of demons which have crept into mainstream Christianity. Much teaching and even the modern day gospel is unrecognisable to Heaven. Paganism even crept in many centuries ago, going way back to the time of Contantine and few there be that challenge those doctrines. Even further back before Christ, it was a Babylonian belief that we suffered for eternity after we died. And God judged Babylon for her idols and religion. Babylon was part of Sumeria and it is considered by historians to be the first civilisation and the birth place of our modern way of life.

    The idea that one day a vast number of people including people we know, even family will be consigned to the everlasting torment of hell is distressing to sensitive Christians who love of God and their fellow man. It is not surprising to see the traditional view of hell as been a stumbling block for believers and a weapon used by skeptics to challenge the credibility of our gospel. Further, it is the reason for many to reject our gospel if indeed that is our gospel.

    #777234
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    Another consideration is this David.

    Jude 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.

    Sodom and Gomorrah underwent “a punishment of eternal [aionios] fire.” It is evident that the fire that destroyed the two cities is eternal, not because of its duration but because of its permanent results. The keywords for context here are “in a similar way”.

    Last time i checked, Sodom and Gommarah have not even been disocovered leading some to believe they never existed. Although I did hear about some text that was found that mentioned trade with Gommorah. So given that, it is even more unlikely that there is an eternal fire still consuming those cities. Further, this verse is used as a symbol for us to understand the punishment of eternal fire.

    #777235
     dL 
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    phew – you sure give one plenty to think about..but I guess it WILL take a lot of convincing to persuade me the Bible teaches ‘annihilation’ is the second death..(even the word ‘death’ itself means ‘separation’..) – and are you saying Bible Dictionaries and lexicons are incorrect when they give the definition of ‘Destruction’ as NOT meaning ‘annihilation’ or ‘extinction’…? I know you quoted from Strongs but Strongs does give quite limited definitions of words in general…could you also look up another Bible Dictionary to verify this..?
    I would also be interested to know where you first acquired or heard this particular belief.. cause I would be very surprised if it was some understanding you got directly from Scripture yourself, and not from some other teaching source (sorry – but it does sound very Seventh Day Adventist in it’s origin..!!)

    When you say that the idea of eternal punishment can put people off God and the Gospel, I believe that this is probably the reason certain teachers have tried to explain hell this way (which I do believe is contrary to what the Bible itself teaches)..but this sort of thinking is based purely on ‘human’ reasoning..and is itself why the Gospel has become so distorted..this is really the result of ‘the Fear of Man’ trying not to offend humanity by creating a ‘user-friendly’ approach..
    Shalom & Blessings..!!

    #777236
     Admin 
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    Ha, yeah plenty to chew on.

    I have never been to a Seventh Day Adventist Church. The last denomination I fellowshipped at was a Vineyard.

    What I believe has been sought out by myself. I have a conviction about something and then read scripture to see if it is so.

    I use to believe everything that I was told as a younger believer thinking that more mature believers had it altogether. But in time as I grew, certain doctrines or teachings just didn’t seem right to me. So I let scripture teach me. Like Paul, I didn’t get it from man, but I spent a number of years learning from the scriptures and the Lord. At first some of the conclusions although seemed true, just went against the grain of traditional Christianity so I honestly what I learned away for almost a decade. But God had me take it up again with signs. And if it is written and men say otherwise, then who am I to argue.

    Maybe I should remind you that I believe that judgement is eternal for the righteous and the wicked and that the wicked are indeed cast into Hell and it is horrible beyond belief. God even gave me a taste of it. Also, Jesus taught enough on Hell to know that it is certainly true. Hell is not in question. And even that the wicked suffer eternal punishment or eternal destruction is not in question as it is written.
    What is in question is the nature of Hell or the nature of what it means to say when it is eternal. The traditional teaching is that it means Hell exists for eternally, when in fact we know that it is cast into the Second Death. It is the consequences that are eternal. Just as life is eternal, so is death and destruction. Death is not life in disguise.

    You rightly say that death is separation. But the second death is separation from God and we know that God is the source of all life. Thus separation from the life source is death. How can anything live if it is cut off from life himself? If you cut off a river from water, then it is not a river anymore. And if the spirit goes back to God who gave it, then you would have to assume that the wicked have the spirit inside them for eternity to keep them alive.

    But no such teaching is found in scripture. We read that eternal life is only given to the righteous. If the traditional view was correct, it would say that we all have eternal life, but some in the presence of God while others in will live in the fire. i.e., that the wicked too have eternal life.

    The Church has gathered many teachings over the last 2000 years and much of it is not recognisable in Heaven. But Jesus is coming back to a Church without spot and blemish. So there is a refining process going on, and we need to let the fire of God refine us.

    #777237
     dL 
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    Thanks..ok (I still hope you’ll check out another Bible Dictionary definition for ‘Destruction’ sometime..) – so I’m thinking that the point in question is whether or not the second death (mentioned in Chapters 20,21 of Rev.) is in essence a state of extinction – where those condemned by this judgement are utterly and completely consumed to the point where they finally cease to exist altogether..complete annihilation..!! If this IS INDEED what you believe, can I ask – why does it matter..?? Is God somehow less loving if the torments go on forever instead of a thousand years..? (Like it’s somehow God’s fault..and has nothing to do with my own free-will..!!??) or is it that my conscience will ease up a bit if I think there’s going to be an end somewhere down the track – no matter what horrors I have to endure in the interim..?? (remember the deceitful heart of man, and his lying foe the devil) – these combined factors of fallen man and Satan endlessly work at ways to avoid being apprehended by the truth.. and if there is some appearance of a loop hole, some easing of conditions or avoidance of consequences..then, believe me, it will be exploited..!!

    The reality of hell played very hard on my mind as a sinner.. it sounds silly now, but what I held onto as my only source of pitiful hope was something I’d once been told a preacher had said – ‘if you find yourself in hell, cry out ‘Jesus, Jesus’ and the devil will kick you out’.. That false bit of information (that seems so ludicrous now), was what I clung to.. in a similar way you may find that a sinner will hold onto the notion of an ‘finite hell’ as a means to hold onto his sin a little longer… until it is too late..

    Blessings friend..!!

    #777238
     Admin 
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    Eternal judgement is one of the foundation doctrines of our faith and most of these doctrines have changed as the Church has added thousands of years worth of tradition to them. For me what is important is that the truth shines out beyond the dark ignorance of our own minds and traditions. I believe that traditional Christianity is more wrong on such matters than many would believe.

    Let’s face it, if God doesn’t burn people for eternity, then it could only be an attack on his character to say he does and no good thing comes from a lie. Even a conversion based on fear is not the same as one based on love. However, if he does burn people without end, then we just have to get use to that reality as we have no choice in the matter. But I have yet to see a conclusive scripture that teaches that man is eternal or exists forever even if they are sinners. On the contrary there are a number of witness verses that say the humans are not eternal (only the elect), and the wicked do not have eternal life/existence. So I have to go with those scriptures in order to keep a good conscience before God.

    Jeremiah 7:30-33
    30. “For the sons of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight,” declares the LORD, “they have set their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it.
    31. “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.
    32. “Therefore, behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be called Topheth, or the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of the Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place.
    33. “The dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth; and no one will frighten them away.

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