Evangelical Christians affirm that a dreadful destiny awaits those who reject God's grace throughout life. According to the traditional view, that destiny will involve unending conscious torment in hell. However, believers are increasingly questioning that understanding, as both unbiblical and inconsistent with the character of God revealed in the Scriptures and in the man Jesus Christ.
This internationally acclaimed book – now fully updated, revised, and expanded – carefully re-examines the complete teaching of Scripture on the subject of final punishment. It concludes that Hell is a place of total annihilation, everlasting destruction, although the destructive process encompasses conscious torment of whatever sort, intensity, and duration God might require in each individual case.
Rooted in a careful analysis of biblical references to Hell, Fudge's treatise incorporates consideration of Platonic influences on Christian notions of the afterlife, the further development in the 4th Century A.D. of the concept of an immortal soul separate from the body, and a comprehensive study of the development of the doctrine of Hell in the influential teachings of Augustine and Calvin among others. The treatment of Hell is traced from the days of the early Church through the Middle Ages and Reformation to the present day. In revising his text, Fudge has taken a close look at the objections of traditionalist critics, and provides an overview of developments in the field over the last thirty years.
This classic treatment of the topic, now containing a new foreword by celebrated theologian Richard Bauckham, will be of great interest to anyone seeking a greater understanding of the doctrine of final punishment, and the conditionalist view of Hell as final destruction.