Is Hell eternal?

Hell Fire

Part 01 – Is Hell eternal?
Part 02 – Scriptures used to support an eternal Hell
Part 03
 – New Testament scriptures that dispel an eternal Hell
Part 04 – Old Testament scriptures that dispel an eternal Hell
Part 05 – Other resources about Hell

NOTE: This writing was taken from our old site and substantially restructured. The same basic argument remains which is a refutation that God will make the wicked suffer for all eternity.

This page will let scripture answer the most asked questions on this topic. Following that, we will look at scriptures that are used to support the idea of an eternal Hell to get a balanced view. The last two pages will take a more substantial look at scriptures that talk about the wicked and their fate.

Will the wicked perish?

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

2 Peter 2:12
But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.

Luke 13:3
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

In order to understand the word ‘perish’, how is this word used in other biblical topics?

Hebrews 1:10-12
10 He also says, “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.
11 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.
12 You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.

Colossians 2:21-22 21
21 Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

Will the wicked be destroyed?

Matthew 7:13
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Philippians 3:19
Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9
8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 
9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power

How is the word ‘destruction’ used in other biblical topics?

1 Corinthians 5:5
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

2 Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

How will the wicked be destroyed?

2 Peter 3:7
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.

Luke 17:28-30
28 “It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
30 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

The wicked are cast into hell, but isn’t Hell eternal?

Revelation 20:14
Then death and Hell were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

Revelation 21:8
“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

So there will be no eternal suffering in hell?

Romans 6:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”

Revelation 21:4
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

So the wicked will cease to exist?

Psalms 104:35
“Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.”

Psalms 37:10
“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.”

Adam came to life when he became a living soul, but can a man lose his soul?

Mark 8:36
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?

1 Peter 1:9
for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

But isn’t the human soul immortal?

Matthew 10:28
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.

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.

Are you sure that the wicked will be completely consumed or burned up though?

Psalms 37:20
“But the wicked will perish: Though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field, they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.”

Malachi 4:1
“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”

Does God want to destroy the wicked?

Ezekiel 33:11
Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn from your evil ways!

2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Will sin ever happen again once all the wicked are destroyed?

1 John 3:9
No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.

2 Peter 1:4
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Luke 20:35-36
But those who are considered worthy to share in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In fact, they can no longer die, because they are like the angels. And since they are sons of the resurrection, they are sons of God.

We know that sin causes death and we will no longer die because sin has been dealt with.

1 Corinthians 15:54-55
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come to pass: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

When will the wicked be completely destroyed?

Matthew 13:40
“As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world/age.

2 Peter 3:10.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Okay so wicked men will be destroyed along with the old creation, but what about Satan?

Hebrews 2:14
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

Ezekiel 28:18
“Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.”

The last verse may be referring to a man instead of Satan, however we know that the Devil will be destroyed from the previous verse above.

After reading this page you may argue that I have given scripture, but not all of it. There are of course other verses that seem to teach an eternal hell or eternal suffering for the wicked. The next page will cover these scriptures to provide a balanced view. The last two pages in this study will list the most prominent verses in the Bible that teach that the wicked will be destroyed, perish, and die. There will be many more verses than quoted on this page and they are divided into Old and New Testament verses. These pages will be useful if you wish to study in more depth what scripture says about the fate of the wicked.

This topic contains 531 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  t8 2 days, 23 hours ago.

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

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

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    I have seen/experienced Outer Darkness first-hand. It is real.

    Scroll down to about half way down the page.

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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.

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    Hi Alan.

    This blog lists a page with the supporting scriptures.

    Take a look.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

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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.

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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.

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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..!!

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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.

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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..!!

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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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