punishment, everlasting


punishment, everlasting
The ultimate destiny of the irredeemably wicked. The ancient Hebrews regarded sheol, the abode of the dead, as a place of weariness and forgetfulness and not of punishment or retribution for earthly sin. The concept began to emerge later of a punishment where ‘their worm would not die and the fire would not be quenched’ for the wicked, after death (Isa. 66:24), and at a resurrection of all the dead (Dan. 12:2) the wicked would be condemned to everlasting contempt. The valley of Hinnom, notorious for child sacrifices (2 Kgs. 23:10) became a symbol for everlasting punishment (2 Esd. 7:36) and, now called Gehenna, a fiery punishment is envisaged there for the unrepentant wicked (Matt. 5:22). Much elaboration followed in apocalyptic literature. In modern theology, the idea of everlasting punishment is generally regarded as inconsistent with the concept of a God of love. It is held either that in the last resort the love of God will prove universally irresistible and all will be saved—there is no hell—or that it is possible to be so irredeemably evil that a person forfeits the gift of eternal life and ceases to exist at all. ‘Hell’ in this case is the total absence of the presence of God. The scriptural basis for universalism is Rom. 11:26, 32. The gospel of John suggests that hell is a state in this present life of total opposition to God, whereas eternal life is a quality of abundant life available here and now (John 5:24).

Dictionary of the Bible.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • everlasting — adj Everlasting, endless, interminable, unceasing are comparable when they mean continuing on and on without end. Unlike infinite, eternal, and similar words (see INFINITE), these terms do not presuppose the absence of a beginning and therefore… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • punishment — pun·ish·ment n 1: the act of punishing 2: a penalty (as a fine or imprisonment) inflicted on an offender through the judicial and esp. criminal process see also cruel and unusual punishment Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster …   Law dictionary

  • punishment, eternal —    This term (from the Latin punire, meaning to inflict a penalty or to cause pain ) refers to the everlasting condemnation of unrepentant sinners to hell. Eternal punishment consists primarily of the separation from Godfor all eternity. (See CCC …   Glossary of theological terms

  • damnation — This word is used in AV for condemnation to everlasting punishment [[➝ punishment, everlasting]] (Mark 3:29; ‘an eternal sin’, NRSV, REB, and NJB.) The idea of an unforgivable sin is found also in rabbinic writings. Many modern theologians regard …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • darkness — A symbol for what is evil: it encompasses the underworld (Ps. 143:3), but is not impenetrable by God (Ps. 139:12). it is the sphere of punishment [[➝ punishment, everlasting]] (Ps. 35:6) and will therefore be part of the experience of the day of… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • disease — Many kinds of disease are mentioned in the Bible but it is difficult to identify them by their modern names. The incidence of disease and the means of cure were highly important in biblical times, and its causes were sometimes ascribed to God as… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • flood — There is no archaeological evidence for the universal flood described in Gen. 6–8, but there are several Mesopotamian stories about how a family marvellously survived such a flood. In Gen. the flood is a punishment [[➝ punishment, everlasting]]… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • furnace — Five different Hebrew nouns are translated ‘furnace’ in AV and refer to ovens, kilns, and domestic fires, as well as the burning, fiery furnace of Dan. 3:6 ff. A Greek noun is translated ‘furnace’ by AV and NRSV twice in Matt. (13:42, 50) and… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • God — There are in the Bible ‘fools’ who do not believe in God (Ps. 14:1), not on the ground of considered rational argument but by reason of their depraved and selfish lives. The atheism therefore of modern existentialists like Jean Paul Sartre or… …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • guilt — The modern senses of this word are either the legal concept which arises from someone s having infringed a law; or the feeling of remorse and culpability which may not have anything to do with a legal or even social transgression. But in the… …   Dictionary of the Bible


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