Is Hell Eternal?
Is Hell Eternal? The question doesn't get much attention in the "church", but seems to be an accepted doctrine.
There are two differing views - Traditionalist and Annihilationist
Traditionalist believe that Hell, the place of punishment for the unfaithful, is an eternal torment.
Annihilationist believe that Hell, likewise a place of punishment, is a "consuming" fire, meaning that it burns up those who are thrown in, and they are eternally lost. While they have a reasonable argument, one that I have nearly conceded to, I want to focus on their main point.
Annihilationist bring the ball down court scripturally very well, however their slam dunk gets rejected at one scripture in Revelations 20. In context, it is speaking of the final judgement, the end to all ends.
10And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Seeing that the "beast" is the AntiChrist and the "false prophet" is just that, a false prophet, we have two human beings being burned for eternity. The Annihilationist answers that there are a select few deplorable persons that will go into Hell eternally, using Hitler, Stalin, and the like as examples.
However, the Bible clearly states that ALL the unfaithful will be thrown into the same Hell as Satan.
41“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45“Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46“These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”