Q. I receive this by-monthly mag. with a question and answer/ letter area. One person wrote in that “she is very upset that her unsaved family and friends will spend eternity in torment and punishment! The author writes back that, when the unsaved person dies, after judgment he then is burned up into a pile of ashes!!! That the only eternal punishment is not having God in his life. There is no eternal pain and suffering per se. What is your opinion on this issue?
I am convinced that if that were all there is to the punishment, wouldn’t it be easier to live a worldly life, and at the time of judgment, suffer the few minutes it takes to just burn up. It can’t possibly be that easy.
Thank you for your articles. They are very informative, and very accurate. Thank you for your time . Have a blessed day.
A. There are four schools of thought about the destiny of the unsaved. There called Traditional, Metaphorical, Purgatorial, and Conditional. The Metaphorical and Purgatorial views are absolutely at odds with Scripture so I”ll exclude them with out comment. That leaves two.
The Traditional view is that the unsaved spend eternity separated from God in a place of torment. Until recently this was the only orthodox view. But now some teach a Conditional view. This view holds that God is too kind to make people suffer forever so at the Great White Throne judgment, He judges unbelievers according to the quality of their lives and levies punishment suitable to their works, less for those who did lots of good things, and more for those who did little or none. After they’ve served their time of punishment, they’re destroyed and cease to exist in any form. So no one is immediately destroyed, but the time of torment for some is less than for others. It’s conditional upon their behavior.
Conditionalists, as they’re called, say that this view is in harmony with the nature of God. Each sinner gets exactly what he or she deserves and even the worst sinner is mercifully destroyed after a time. This view also parallels the price Jesus paid for believers’ sins. Suffering and death, not eternal torment.