Q. Reading “Is Only God Immortal?” today and I have a hard time understanding how our soul is eternal already and the eternity of life in hell. If God grants us eternal life through a belief in Christ’s gift to us, then it would be safe to say we don’t have it yet, or before our belief. Reading John 3:36 seems to say to me that you will either have life, or not have life. Wouldn’t an eternal life in hell still be a life? Could Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 have meant that the fire is eternal, the destruction is eternal, not the time some spend there?
A. Just as mankind has a physical life and a physical death, we also have a spiritual life and a spiritual death. Spiritual life consists of an eternity of blessing in the presence of God and is called eternal life. It’s reserved for believers only. Spiritual death, also referred to as the second death, consists of eternal punishment and separation from God. It’s for unbelievers. Revelation 20:14 says the lake of fire is the second death. This is what Paul referred to as everlasting destruction in 2 Thes. 1:9, and what Jesus called the eternal fires in Matt. 25:41. There is no Biblical evidence to support any alternative to eternal punishment. It’s the reverse image of eternal blessing.