Monday, March 14, 2011

Book Snap: Ajith Fernando's "Crucial Questions About Hell"

This past weekend while waiting for an oil change to be done I had a look at another book for the next Building Blocks project: This one, which unfortunately was (like the last) only one chapter-useful, and even that one didn’t have anything I needed.

Fernando’s book is more like what we’d call a Hell FAQ than it is a serious exposition. Chapters are all over the map, and each could warrant its own book – everything from reincarnation to universalism to the justice of God.

My one chapter of interest, on, the nature of hell, took up only 12 pages and added nothing new to my research. Fernando acknowledges hell as a place of separation from God; he says that weeping and gnashing of teeth are “figurative” language intended to describe “conscious suffering,” but he never gets to describing the exact nature of that suffering beyond general references to “torment”. It is hard to say where he stands on these issues such as, “Is the fire a literal burning?” At least a quarter of the book is about evangelism rather than hell.

I guess it is appropriate that this is called “Crucial Questions…” rather than “Crucial Answers…” because it does not seem the reader will get enough of the latter from Fernando. He’s an earnest commentator but he doesn’t do enough.

Tomorrow’s Ticker post will be the next one on Harris’ Moral Landscape by Nick Peters; then we’ll do Part 3 on Bad Arguments Against the Resurrection.

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