Two Views of Hell: A Biblical and Theological Dialogue, Edward Fudge and Robert Peterson

Not a terribly enjoyable book to read as neither Fudge's nor Peterson's writing is excellent, but very helpful for examining annihilationism. Fudge's argument seems strong drawing from the OT, but Peterson systematically destroys his arguments with attention to (especially NT) scripture. Highly recommended for anyone struggling with the view of annihilationism.


As they began to read his [Fudge's] book and consider his case for annihiliationism, they came to class complaining of physical symptoms including headaches and churning stomachs. I gave them credit for not being dismissive but earnestly considering Fudge's arguments. When they were about halfway through Fudge's book, however, a great change came over them. Fear gave way to confidence, and even anger. The more closely they looked at Fudge's case for conditionalism, the less they were impressed. What had once seemed like a powerful case crumbled in their hands as they took apart one argument after another.

When he bore the penalty of our sins, it was as the sinless substitute,  whose own life merited the exact opposite of God's wrath. In light of such considerations it is not surprising that Jesus could have borne on the cross what sinful, rebellious human beings can only bear in hell forever. In other words, because of the infinite dignity of Christ's person, his sufferings, though finite in duration, were of infinite weight on the scales of divine justice (much as his righteousness, though displayed during his incarnation over a finite period, is of infinite weight). As God incarnate, Jesus was capable of suffering in six hours on the cross what we can suffer only over an infinite period of time.

In other words, according to Fudge hell is penal suffering followed by the ultimate punishment, annihilation. But this is exactly where the problem creeps in. When this view of hell is affixed to the end of the biblical scenario of last things, annihilation does not constitute the ultimate punishment. rather annihilation would constitute the end of the punishment. It would mean relief for the wicked in hell who are suffering for their sins.

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