Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Snap: "Rethinking Hell"

A book like this one is of the type that makes me feel like someone watching two boxers beat each other up, knock each other out, each unaware that the prize they were fighting for was already taken by someone else. Rethinking Hell is of the genre of what you could call a "convenience collection" of previously-published materials, assembled in one place for ease. (A very sound tactic I use, too.) Multiple essays here are collected to defend the premise of conditionalism/annihilationism, the idea that human spirits who are not part of Christ's covenant end up annihilated after judgment.

Like I said, though, this is one of those things where I'm mostly a bystander. My own view of hell, based in the agonistic context of the New Testament, bypasses many of the criticisms of a literal-fire hell that these varied authors stand against. This view also happens to undermine attempts made by some in this volume to read "fire" passages about hell in terms of annihilation, since such terms already come semantically occupied by another metaphorical fulfillment (that of shame). I did say "some". Others in this volume actually reach close to my view, reading hell in terms of separation from God -- a conclusion they reach without the agonistic tenor, which would end up reinforcing their conclusion even so.

At any rate, this and some other material has led me to update my own little volume on hell, which I expect to have ready next month. You should pick this one up if you want to get up to snuff on the debate, even if (like me) you don't buy into the same conclusions.

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