The absurd notion that man, through his disobedience, may become nonexistent as being the equivalency of eternal damnation or of the consummation of God’s wrath is easily refuted and further shown to be a fallacious conclusion when the same cavilers embrace, with full liberty in the antithetical, the impeccable and plain teaching of eternal life.
There must here be immediately addressed the words of Christ in Luke 16:19-31 concerning the rich man and Lazarus. Although many have rightly perceived that Christ’s words here concerning the spiritual realm of the dead as being consistent of a true event, many others have been disillusioned to think that this is a parable and must then be examined through the lens of such a gross miscalculation when the text does not inherently follow the rules of being one; but let the one who believes this to be a parable explain to me the use of proper names as if some fiction in the name of Lazarus exists conveying some sort of symbolic significance. Also, let them explain to me the symbolic relevance for angels being mentioned here as if they are symbolic for anything other than being angels. Furthermore, let them show me other parables where angels are mentioned within and not rather mentioned without as being part of the explanation and not as its participants within it. We take notice that in Matthew chapter 13 and verses 24-30, 36-43, and 47-49, angels are mentioned in the explanation of the parable and not within the parable itself. The word parable comes from the Greek word “parabole” and means a comparison. It is a comparison in that it compares physical things with spiritual things. Parables speak about things that we are familiar with such as birds, seeds, fields, pearls, wheat, barns, leaven, fish, and so on, to convey spiritual truths that are unseen. Why is it that we must now here abandon the consistent manifested methods of parables being about physical things that are compared to spiritual things? Here it is speaking precisely of a spiritual event that is unseen. There has never been told a parable which begins spiritually in order to convey a physical truth. Rather, parables do the complete opposite, seeking by things that are physically present and things that are seen to explain things that are not seen. In 2nd Corinthians 4:18 we see that, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” If Luke 16:19-31 is describing something or some place that is unseen, shouldn’t it be understood that it is describing something “eternal”? Having rightly compared all parables to this section in Luke 16, surely we cannot wander presumptuously over this text as if it is describing some fictional event with symbolic characters and thus conclude that it never actually occurred.
The next error of these cavilers occurs regarding Revelation 14:11 where it says “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Now here these unorthodox presumptuous “poofologists” suggest that the smoke here of those that have ceased to exist is intending to mean that the smoke is the after effects of those that God has judged in annihilation. Let them explain to me any logical soundness in that madness and further explain away the correlation of the smoke that is mentioned as being anything other than the direct result of their torment. There can here be no sound argument against the smoke ascending forever as being the result of anything other than their torment which is also lasting forever. If they cease to be tormented at any point then it would also follow that the smoke would cease. The smoke ascends forever because they are forever being tormented.
Where Christ speaks of hell in Mark 9:43, He uses the Greek word “Geenna” meaning the “valley of Hinnom.” Now the valley of Hinnom, near Jerusalem, is where some of the Israelites sacrificed their children to Moloch (Jeremiah 32:35), which, on this account, was afterward regarded as a place of abomination, and made a receptacle for all the refuse of the city, perpetual fires being kept up in order to prevent pestilential effluvia. In the New Testament the name is transferred, by an easy metaphor, to Hell and further builds on this metaphorical language of the valley of Hinnom in Revelation 20:10, 14, 15; and 21:8. Regarding this passage in Mark 9:43, Christ follows with a bold statement that should shut the mouths up completely that believe we are annihilated with the statement in Mark 9:44, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” Matthew Henry says of this passage, “The soul that is food to this worm, dies not; and the worm is bred in it, and one with it, and therefore neither doth that die. Damned sinners will be to eternity accusing, condemning, and upbraiding, themselves with their own follies, which, how much soever they are now in love with them, will at the last bite like a serpent, and sting like an adder.” Now let these “poofologists” first explain to me this spurious idea that the worm is intending to mean anything other than being directly related to the soul. The word here for worm, is “skolex” in the Greek and means a grub, maggot or earth-worm that feeds on dead bodies. The worm is “their worm” and it is never quenched nor is the soul that it preys upon. Again, the same correlation that is found in Revelation 14:11 with the smoke and their torment can be found here with the “worm” that never dies in its relation to their souls. If the soul ceases to exist there should not be any point for the worms to be here for they have nothing to feed upon. Shouldn’t the idea of a fire that is never quenched at the very least quench the worm, let alone the soul if “poofology” is true? The most compelling part of this verse is that the worm is present and is never completely eradicated. If the worm is meaning a maggot which feeds on the soul, the problem remaining is that, regardless, the fire is never quenched. If the worm is symbolic, what is its symbolic significance for the annihilationist? Lastly, why is this fire never quenched if, in accordance to annihilationism’s assertion, there is nothing actually present within it to ever challenge its unquenchable flame?
Finally, the most compelling of verses that could be offered speaks nothing towards the word “geenna” or to the everlasting fire. May the annihilationist take offense when Christ says of Judas in Matthew 26:24, “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born.” Now the “poofologists” know better than to think this verse has any cogent logical meaning if when before Judas was born didn’t exist and afterwards would also cease to exist regarding judgment. Yes, if anything, Christ so erred in warning the likes of Judas that it would have better if he were not born, for in the annihilationist view, Judas is simply returning to his previous state of non-existence. So that there is no confusion on this being a special case regarding Judas, Christ repeats this phraseology regarding those that caused His little ones to sin. In Matthew 18:6, it reads, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” This statement is certainly dealing with others outside the likes of Judas and equates an intimately detailed form of death as being a better death than what they would ultimately face. Now if the comparison of this death is regarding those that cease to exist then I would submit that this death is worse than anything an annihilationist believes or holds too. Yes, it is far worse than anything that awaits those that are judged by a cessation of existence. In ending ones existence, there is no pain, no torment, no memory, and ultimately no wrath and no eternal judgment. For the annihilationist Christ has come to save a people that are facing obliteration and not the horrors of an eternal hell fire or judgment.
While these presumptuous slaughterers of clear Biblical teaching embrace Christ when He states in Matthew 25:46, “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal” in teaching life eternal, they are immediately shown as cowards and hypocrites for their prideful false analysis, as if the opposite of life eternal is cessation of existence. Let them cast out the Greek word “aionios”, meaning perpetual, forever and ever, and may they be consistent and show that eternal life is but for a time and ultimately a moment of happiness felt then lost forever in some sort of perpetual non-existence. These arrogant cavilers forget the words in 2 Peter 2:4-9, “For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:” as if the idea of punishment is cessation of existence. Would the annihilationist care to explain the meaning of these verses: Daniel 12:2 “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt,” Mark 9:47 “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire,” and Ecclesiastes 12:7 “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Yes, the annihilationist mocks all of these verses and at the admonishment of Christ where he says in Matthew 10:28, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Why should the annihilationist fear? There is nothing to fear but the thought of cessation of existence.
Suffice it to say here that the annihilationist is plagued by a plethora of meaningless exhortations and warnings in scripture. I would submit to the “poofologist” that they had better be right concerning themselves by “making their calling and election sure” first, notwithstanding those that are taught by them in this gross error, that the only thing to fear is cessation of existence. This is certainly one doctrine that if one is to err on, he or she should err on the side of hell existing and that eternal damnation is as real and tangible in the spiritual realm for the unbeliever as heaven will be for the saint.