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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Deconstructing Don Perkins' Introduction to "Hell" - Part 1

HisChannel  [click for link] (which I like) recently ran Don Perkins' series on "hell." 

The first thing he says is misleading, "Hell isn't real. Have you heard that?" Well, as we've covered on this blog several times, we very much believe "hell" is real, it's just not the fiery torture chamber of human tradition. He sets up a straw man to knock down.

Don starts us off with Psalm 9:17
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God. (NKJV)
No surprises here. God told Adam if he sinned he'd be punished. But what is that punishment and what is God telling us in Psalm 9?
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
-Gen 2:16
Any threat there of fiery torture? No. Was God being dishonest? No. Can we get "spiritual death" out of that passage? Well, not directly. God is very specific. Sin = Physical Death.
For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.
-Gen 3:19b
Let's look back at Psalm 9:17 in a literal translation.
The wicked do turn back to Sheol, All nations forgetting God.
-Young's Literal Translation
What does scripture tell us about activity in "Sheol?" Nothing.
All that thy hand findeth to do, with thy power do, for there is no work, and device, and knowledge, and wisdom in Sheol whither thou art going.-Eccl 9:10 (YLT)
Ironically, Dr. Perkins continues his introduction by referencing God's demand for a just balance (Prov 11:1). We, of course agree with this. But what is the gift of God? "Eternal Life" (Rom 6:23). So the "balance" would be "Eternal death." And death is the cessation of being.

He goes on to break down "hell" into 5 "compartments," which we will address in future posts.

  1. Abraham's Bosom
  2. Hades or Sheol
  3. Tartarus
  4. The Bottomless Pit (The Abyss)
  5. The Lake of Fire (Gehenna)

We've looked at most of these in previous blog entries. You can either search them or wait until I link them in our next study (no need to retread).

He goes on to quote Albert Mohler who refers to the traditional doctrine of hell as "a doctrine... centrally enshrined in a system of theology..." Well, that's the problem. The true doctrine of hell, should be centrally enshrined, not the popular doctrine of God torturing people with fire for eternity. That doctrine of man's tradition is a blasphemy against the God of the Bible.

Looking back at where we started, with God warning Adam (the head of the human race) that "Sin = Physical Death," what is the immediate response of the Evil One? "You shall not surely die." This a lie that permeates the doctrine of eternal, fiery torture. The wages of sin is DEATH. And the death of a sinner is, indeed, "eternal." That is, the judgement, when meted out, is irrevocable. Death cannot mean "alive forevermore." God alone is immortal. Only in resurrection life can men become immortal.

You shall surely die versus You shall NOT surely die.

This foundational, creation truth is central to understanding scriptures concerning death.