There are three major views about the fate of unredeemed man. There are variations of each of these three, but we will concentrate on the main body of belief each one is built upon. Let’s take a look at these three views.
- Eternal Torment: Unredeemed man is sentenced to eternal torture in the lake of fire.
- Annihilation: Unredeemed man is annihilated when cast into the lake of fire.
- Universal Forgiveness and Redemption: Unredeemed man will eventually be saved.
These are the only three possibilities for the destiny of unredeemed man. These three views cannot coexist because they are contradictory between themselves. Only one of these views can be correct. So which one is? Only the Word of God tells us the truth.
Let’s look at a brief synopsis of each. I realize there are many variations of each, but I will stick to the basic definition of each since the shades are all derivations of these three.
Sometimes this is called “Eternal Damnation.” This view states that man has the opportunity to believe and confess Jesus Christ before death of the mortal body. There is no further chance for salvation after death. The soul is said to be immortal, hence it has to live somewhere. This view is based upon the belief that the soul never dies, and that God hates sin and unbelief so much that man must be tortured – not indefinitely – but eternally in the lake of fire which most proponents of this view also call “hell” as well as “Gehenna.”
The doctrine of eternal torment states that Satan and the “fallen angels” are forever damned, never to be redeemed. They will “burn in hell” or the lake of fire forever with unredeemed man. The antichrist and the false prophet are included in this fate as well.
The second view of the fate of unredeemed man is called “Annihilation.” This means that when someone dies, they stay dead, except for when they are raised from the dead at the Great White Throne judgment to be sentenced. They are raised, judged and they die again when they are sentenced and thrown into the lake of fire.
The doctrine of annihilation states that Satan and the “fallen” angels are forever damned, never to be redeemed. Only they will “burn in hell” or in the lake of fire forever. Some include the antichrist and the false prophet in this fate as well.
The third and final view is that eventually, all mankind will be saved. Unbelievers will believe when they see the Lord Jesus at the Great White Throne, just like Saul believed when He saw the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul said he was an example or “pattern” of how God will redeem His enemies: through sight when they see the Lord.
Unbelievers will be raised and judged, and each will serve the sentence he or she receives. Afterward, they will die a second time. Their dead bodies will be thrown into the lake of fire. They will remain dead during the eon of the new heaven and earth while the righteous will live. At the conclusion of the new heaven and earth, which also marks the end of the fifth and final eon, the Consummation will occur when the dead – those who have died the second death – will be raised, and death – the last enemy – will finally be destroyed. Some proponents of this view also believe the devil and the entire celestial host who oppose God will also be purified and saved.
This view is called Universal Salvation, or Universal Reconciliation, and seems to be the most controversial. It certainly is the least taught out of the three views of the sentencing of unredeemed man.
This view has wrongly been called “Universalism” or “Unitarianism” which denies the rightly divided Scriptures and uses them as a touchpoint only when a verse agrees with what they are teaching. Unitarianism is fraught with errors and contradictions and even denies the atonement of Christ’s sacrifice. Universal Salvation is not Universalism or Unitarianism, so please be careful not to confuse it with them. Unfortunately today, many use the terms interchangeably.
You may be surprised to discover that all three views are found in the modern versions of the Bible. No wonder confusion reigns regarding God’s judgments and the final state of unredeemed man. But if we let God’s Word interpret itself to us, these contradictions will disappear in the light of truth.
The chart below shows the principal verses that pertain to each.
|Eternal Torment||Annihilation||Universal Reconciliation|
II Thessalonians 1:9
|Colossians 1:20 – Reconciliation Romans 5:18 – Justification I Corinthians 15:22 – Vivification|
Now we want to examine the Scriptures to see which of these three views is correct and which ones do not hold any spiritual water, so to speak. We can only do that by looking at the judgments of God in light of God’s nature and His ultimate purpose which is to become All in all.
We must separate truth from the error wholly from within God’s Word itself.
To continue, read my “Unto Perfection” series which is available here on LiveFaith.TV. Go to the “Richard’s Books” page to download all three volumes.