Join Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley and Sam Storms as they discuss the doctrine of Hell.

Summary: During this broadcasts the hosts discuss issues surrounding the doctrine of Hell.


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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    20 replies to "Theology Unplugged: Hell – Part 2"

    • Dr Michael

      Cherylu, what I did with a similar situation was find all the verses with the underlying Greek word (aionion) and ask him to translate it with some type of “limited time frame”.

      Heb. 1:8 would be saying that God’s throne is limited. And since Heb. 1:8 is a quote of Psalm 45:6, the psalmist here is also saying God’s throne is limited in time.
      Eph. 3:21 and Gal. 1:5 are both part of a prayer in reference to God’s glory. So God’s glory is “limited in extent and distinct in character”? 2 Cor. 5:1, Paul says “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, aionion in the heavens.” Is this house in heaven limited in the extent of time and not eternal?

      Heb. 9:14 says, “who through the aionion Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God”. Is the Spirit not eternal?

      1 Peter 5:10 – Peter says “the God of all grace, who called you to His aionion glory in Christ”. Is God’s glory limited here by a certain age? Is God’s glory not eternal?

    • Ron

      I love how at around 25:30. Sam (I believe) plays devil’s advocate and presents the conditionalist understanding of “eternal punishment” in Matthew 25:46. Neither of the other two hosts have any response, and all Sam says is, “Now is that good exegesis of the terms and parallel language? I’m not convinced that it is.” But of course does not explain why, before the discussion abruptly turns to how some prominent evangelicals have embraced conditionalism.

      That gave me a chuckle 🙂

    • Susan

      I think it was Tim who said that thinking about Hell would make him want to pray for his kids more. I think that it should motivate us to want to share the gospel with people. If we love people we will tell them the truth about Jesus…and be honest about the wrath of God to come. There has been a great falling off of evangelism in the evangelical community, and it has largely been replaced with social activism….and not surprisingly Hell isn’t talked about much….there’s a drift which hasn’t been good, and in the mix there are thousands drawn to churches where the foundational doctrines of the gospel are not being taught.

      Personally I think that Hellgate might prove to be a bit of a wake up call. At least it’s bringing Hell out of the closet. This is a good thing! Jesus didn’t hold back on teaching this truth. We still need to warn people. We aren’t doing anyone a favor when we water down the doctrine of Hell. Great revival periods were characterized by the preaching of the gospel (hell included!)

      Good job, Michael, Sam and Tim

    • Ounbbl

      Excellent talk!

      If we want remove mumbo-jumbo of theological talks , we have to understand first that (1) there is no such thing as ‘going to heaven after death’ and (2) there is no such a word ‘hell’ in the Biblical text (it’s a borrowed word from pagan ideas to translate several different words in N.T. and O.T.), and (3) we don’t “go to the presence of God when we die”.

      It’s imperative for us to find meaning of ‘punishment’ from God placed on the people; and imperative to find a word in replacement of ‘hell’ which has been used whichever way one wants to mean. In other words, we have to dismantle a ‘doctrine of hell so that we can and should reformulate a proper, pertinent and precise doctrine of God’s retribution.

      I was somewhat unimpressed in the beginning part of your talk, but at the end you seem to have nailed it down – we have to understand ‘eternal punishment’ as that which has to be provided by God Himself who loves justice, to answer for…

    • Ounbbl

      I had to quote from the talk toward the end:

      …concept or idea of eternal punishment will be less objectionable once you embrace the concept of eternal sinning. Those who are consigned to hell, continue in fact not simply continue, but expand and deepen and intensify in their hatred of God and in their rebellion and in their disdain for Him in such that the continuous punishment to which they are subject is a just recompense for their continuing sin which they continuously engaged. The idea of our God being portrayed as refusing pleas and repentant cries of countless multitudes in hell is simply not in Bible. Those who are consigned in ‘hell’ are not only confirmed in their sinful rebellion and in their hatred for all that God is, but actually are intensified and further hardened in commitment to repudiate all that is true. (some parts may not be exact. The expression ‘eternal sinfulness’ on my preceding comment should be corrected to ‘eternal sinning’).

      Thank you so much.

    • cherylu

      Dr Michael,

      Thank you for your reply.

      I am not sure however, that this would work with this particular gentleman’s understanding. He seems to believe that the Greek word aionion does not refer to an endless duration of time in the strictest sense of the word. Unless I misunderstand him, he thinks of it more as a type or quality of life. Any time frame arguments then just don’t hold weight with him. That is why I said he has no problems with thinking of eternal life in the same sentence with eternal punishment and thinking the punishment is not of unending duration. It has to do with the punishment being from God as He sees the word aionion as primarily denoting something pertaining to deity. Any time frame attached to it is only a secondary consideration.

      This is the most recent article on the subject on Theologica:

      The discussion on the meaning of this word is in the comments.

    • Ron

      Those who are consigned to hell, continue in fact not simply continue, but expand and deepen and intensify in their hatred of God and in their rebellion and in their disdain for Him in such that the continuous punishment to which they are subject is a just recompense for their continuing sin which they continuously engaged

      The Bible says nothing of the sort. Final punishment is meted out according to the deeds we perform in this life; scripture is explicitly clear about this.

      This is merely another construct designed to make the traditional view more palatable.

      If everyone’s sin increases throughout eternity, then the intensity of everyone’s punishment will eventually reach some theoretical maximum. So much for degrees of punishment.

    • Ed Kratz

      It is not so much that everyone sins for all eternity, but that they are “in Adam” for all eternity. As such, they have spiritual death for all eternity. As such, they are eternally haters of God. Unrepentant, yet necessarily submissive to Christ as Lord. Not much different than now, but for the “lashing” of hell.

    • Ron

      CMP, are you clarifying what Sam said, or correcting him?

      Because that’s not what he said.

      And eternally hating God is sinning for all eternity; that’s almost tautological.

    • Carrie

      Granted I only edited the podcasts and didn’t get a chance to listen to them in their entirety, but I am willing to wager that Sam when he was speaking to this, he was more or less parapharsing Jonathan Edwards. Edwards used the example that sinners in hell, would continue sinning and thus deserve the punishment that ensues. For everyday the sinner was in hell, uttering blasphemy and cursing God, another day is added for each utterance. However Edwards further qualified that he did not believe things were set up on a “pound for pound” basis. He believed it would be entirely just for an eternal, inifnitely holy God to punish finite creatures for their sin, eternally. The extent of their sinfulness is as eternal as his righteousness, and is thus deserving of eternal punishment.

      Sam was not saying that a “pound for pound – sin for punishment” is his actual position (nor the position of Edwards) but using that as a “what if” scenario.

      Again I am saying all this without having listened to the podcast but I am fairly confident that is what Sam was getting at.

    • Carrie

      I’d like to add Ron….

      We as believers have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. It isn’t a system of every righteous act of Christ being imputed to us as righteousness. It is Him and His covering us that in turn brings about the imputation of righteousness. So as it was when our sin was imputed to Him; it wasn’t a pound for pound transference of each and every sin of all humanity. He took on our sinfulness (when Scripture speaks to His becoming sin …) and bore the wrath of God on our behalf as a result. Subsequently his suffering wasn’t “only so much for each sin”. He is a savior of infinite worth, which is why his sacrifice was and is completely sufficient…..

    • Carrie


      Anyone dying apart from what Christ has done on their behalf, rejecting a savior of infinite worth, is punished for rejecting Him. They are not simply punished for lying, cheating, stealing (punished so long for so many sins committed). While all those are our personal sin, they ultimately culminate in the final sin of rejecting the one who could save them from their lying, cheating and stealing. That is why people are in hell – for rejecting Christ. And they will never cease rejecting Christ while they are there.

    • Ron

      Carrie, I’m trying my best to synthesize what appear to be three distinct positions– Edwards’, Sam’s and yours.

      Sam does seem to affirm that sin against God is always deserving of eternal punishment (and by that he means eternal torment). From his site:

      In other words, our sin is deserving of infinite punishment because of the infinite glory of the One against whom it is perpetrated.

      Now, if people continually sin in Hell, it must be the case that their “rap sheet” gets longer and longer as time passes. The punishment must therefore intensify to accommodate the increasing culpability. Since the length of the term is fixed, the only thing that can increase is the intensity of the torment.

      This conclusion appears to be inescapable given the premises. If you deny any of the premises, that’s fine, but I’m not sure how the same can be said of Sam, or Edwards, for that matter.

    • Carrie

      Ron, I don’t see a difference in my position, from Sam’s or Edwards for that matter.

      Sin against God is always deserving of eternal punishment. I agree. And for the reasons Sam stated.

      The sin of rejecting Christ (which is the culmination of *all* sin) will be eternally punished.

      That one dies without having ever trusted Christ, means they die condemned. They are condemned for all eternity.

      That people continue to sin in hell isn’t what they are punished for. They are eternally punished for the cheif sin of rejecting Christ prior to their death.

      The “rap sheet” as it were, it simply a what-if scenario put forth by Edwards (but also qualified by Edwards to be clear he himself did not believe such a thing is the case). Sam merely gave the what-if scenario that Edwards gave.

      Sam is not saying because people continue to sin in hell their punishment will be increased or decreased. Sam is saying, like Edwards, like myself and like a very long line of believers…

    • Carrie

      …. through history, that people will be eternally punsihed for rejecting Christ while living.

      That in, and of itself, is worthy of eternal punishment.

      Whether you agree or disagree with that, well, that is another discussion.

      But in regards to what Sam, Edwards, and my own view are, there is no disunity. At all…

    • Carrie

      And in regards to the language about being “furthered hardened” that simply means their hearts increase in hatred for God. They know that Christ was their remedy and know that they rejected Him and yet they hate him ever more.

      That is a concept Edwards believed as well. That those in Hell are fully aware of what God did for them.

      *(Taken from my friends blog

      “After describing the anger of God working in the misery of the damned in Miscellany #232, Jonathan Edwards said:”
      ‘And all this will be aggravated by the remembrance, that God once loved us so as to give his Son to bring us to the happiness of his love, and tried all manner of means to persuade us to accept of his favor, which was obstinately refused.’

      Jonathan Edwards, “MISERY OF THE DAMNED”, 1726, p. 3. Works of Jonathan Edwards Online, eds. Harry S. Stout, Kenneth P. Minkema, Caleb J.D. Maskell, 2005-.

    • Ron

      That people continue to sin in hell isn’t what they are punished for. They are eternally punished for the cheif sin of rejecting Christ prior to their death.

      But this isn’t at all what Sam said. And nowhere did he hint that he was merely presenting a “what-if” scenario. He said:

      such that the continuous punishment to which they are subject is a just recompense for their continuing sin which they continuously engage.

      This stands in direct opposition to what you said above. If Sam misspoke on the podcast, or if you have inside information, then ok, I guess my criticism doesn’t apply. It is frustrating, however, that I apparently can’t listen to someone and take what they say at face value.

    • Ron

      Oh, I forgot to mention this before: Did Louw-Nida suggest Aidios? As far as I’m aware, that really is a word that just only means everlasting (unlike aionios).

    • […] keep in mind that God will do what is right. No one goes to hell who doesn’t deserved it. (Theology unplugged – Hell Part 2). And those who go to heaven, do they deserve it? “Any man who thinks he deserves heaven is […]

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