Monday, 12 March 2012

More on the fire fighters!

I am going to address another issue relating to the subject of annihilation.

The view that the penalty for sin is cessation of consciousness leaves no room for degrees of punishment, that is, the person who lived a reasonably respectable life, but never had their relatively few sins forgiven, gets exactly the same punishment as the murderer, who gets the exact same punishment as the mass murderer - it makes no difference at all.  This means it literally makes no difference how much one sins.

Now I would say that this jars with our notion of justice - surely someone should get a worse punishment if they commit more sins, or worse sins.  And this sense of justice corresponds exactly with what the Bible teaches.  Note the following passage:

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek

The Bible teaches that unbelievers are going to be judged according to their works.  But if annihilation is true then is that really true?  They are not being judged according to the works they have done, they are just getting the same judgment with absolutely no distinction.

Furthermore the passage is telling us that the unbeliever is now treasuring up wrath in view of that day of wrath.  Is that not telling us that every day the unbeliever goes on in his sins and in his unrepentance he is making things far worse for himself?

And also, look at what the unbeliever gets as a reward for his sins - God gives him "indignation and wrath", and this results not in soul sleep or extinction, but in "tribulation and anguish" or "affliction and distress" (NET).  Now ask yourself honestly, is that teaching that the unbeliever goes out of conscious existence?  The answer has to be no.  It is saying that what he gets as a result of God's indignation and wrath is affliction and distress - he gets suffering and misery.

We have all stored up a lot of wrath by the sins we have committed - the only way out is through Christ, who bore the wrath at the cross.