Many ministers believe that when the wicked die they pass into hellfire, there to suffer endless torture by a vengeful God. Here are ten reasons why Christians who study the Scriptures should reject such a doctrine.
1. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it claims that the lost will continue living forever, which is contrary to Scripture's plainest testimony: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12). "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20). "No murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15).
2. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it robs us of our God of love and substitutes a being whose wrath is never appeased. God is "not willing that any should perishm but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:19).
3. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it cannot be reconciled with the picture the bible gives of Christ. Jesus said, "Suffer (Allow) little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14). Could this Jesus, who gathered little children in His arms and blessed them while here on earth, take little children and torture them throughout eternity?
4. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because the redeemed, who will have a part in the final judgement, could never condemn their fellow creatures - their relatives, grandparents, parents, husbands, wives, and children - to unending torture. Their sense of justice could never permit such an atrocity. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Corinthians 6:2).
5. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it imposes a punishment all out of proportion to the crimes committed and thus violates the infinite justice of God. "But we are sure that the judgement of God is according to truth against them which commit such things" (Romans 2:2). "I judge and my judgement is just" (John 5:30), Christ tells us.
6. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it would forever cast a shadow over the happiness of the redeemed to know that somewhere in the universe their own relatives - their flesh and blood - were being tortured, tormented, and toasted over undying flames. But "God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17).
7. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it demands that an eternal plague of sin taint God's universe and makes it impossible for God to eradicate sin completely from His domain: "Through death he (Christ) might destroy him that had the power of death,that is, the devil" (Hebrews 2:14). "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
8. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it perpetuates and immortalizws sin, suffering, sorrow, and pain, and thus it contradicts and nullifies God's promises that these things will no more exist: "And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:4).
9. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because it vilifies God's character and turns Him into a monstrous agent of satan - a miracle worker who keeps the wicked alive moment by moment in a fire that burns but cannot consume, that hurts but cannot destroy. God would have to miraculously sustain the lives of the lost in an aimless and endless punishment. Hence God would in reality become worse than satan himself. Instead, "good and upright is the Lord" (Psalm 25:8; "O taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).
10. I reject the teaching of eternal torment because of the fruit it has brought forth here on earth. It has caused untold thousands, like Robert Ingersoll, to turn their backs on God and become His bitterest opponents.
Moreover, it has caused thousands of others to do unspeakable things to their fellow humans in the name of God. Many who led out in the infamous inquisition of Europe and the witch-hunts of early America were religious men who believed they were carrying out the will of God. These devout persecutors tortured heretics in order to save their souls from the eternal damnation in the flames of hell.