Revelation 20.13-15 and Matthew 25.45-46
The unpopular doctrine of eternal damnation
Posted: 13 February 2012 in Matthew, Revelation

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Eternal damnation is probably the least popular doctrine with which Christians have to deal. What makes it even harder to accept is the doctrine of Predestination. But, irrespective of whether or not we like it, it is a doctrine to be found throughout the New Testament. It is one which comes, moreover, from the lips of Jesus himself (on more than one occasion). The language is (sometimes) obviously picturesque, but Jesus must have thought it appropriate, otherwise he wouldn’t have used it. God is a Mystery, and scripture is given so that we can have an objective knowledge of God.  The only alternative to accepting what it says is to construct an idol which is pleasing to ourselves.

A fallacy frequently heard from atheists is that something (such as eternal punishment) can’t be true, unless they find it unobjectionable. Perhaps we can sympathise to some extent, but is a bit ironical when members of a group, who typically pride themselves on their scientific objectivity, decide the truth of biblical doctrine on the basis of their subjective feelings. Christians ought not to fall into the same trap.

There are a couple of things which need to be remembered. The first is that we are explicitly forbidden (Matthew 7.1) to usurp God’s role, and judge for ourselves who the saved and unsaved are. The second is that, although all men deserve to be eternally punished in God’s eyes, he, in his mercy, has made available a way of salvation for those appointed to eternal life. Only those who refuse it will be condemned. It is almost certainly better to dwell upon God’s mercy than to dwell upon his justice, but not to the exclusion of the latter. If we would not blaspheme his holy name, we are required to confess, and ourselves believe, that God, as he is revealed to us in scripture, is just in all his ways.

We must further believe that he is worthy of all glory, honour and praise, for none other reason than that he is, and ever will be.

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Revelation 20.13-15 and Matthew 25.45-46
The unpopular doctrine of eternal damnation

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