What do you think about the view of Edward Fudge with regard to Hell?
I recently watched a video by Edward Fudge on Hell; you can see it at Douglas Jacoby’s website, clearly Douglas agrees with him, I would like your opinion.
editor’s note: The lecture can be viewed at http://vimeo.com/30967402 Douglas Jacoby’s site is www.douglasjacoby.com
I just listened to the lecture by Edward Fudge. I believe it is a fairly compelling argument which he presents. I am not sure I would go all the way into his “camp” or that of Doug Jacoby, but I believe his prentation is closer to the biblical truth than the “traditional view.” I believe that the punishment in Hell is eternal. What is in question is the meaning, in context, of the word which is translated as “eternal” (Greek: aion). I believe that in the biblical context, the word “eternal” always means until the thing is completed. This applies to our eternal life as well. The covenant of circumcision was eternal, but then Jesus completed (fulfilled) the Law of Moses. I believe that punishment in Hell will be eternal, but that this does not mean that it will continue for an infinite number of years. The phrase that Fudge uses which I like, which he uses to distinguish the views is eternal punishment vs eternal punishing. I believe that the biblical doctrine is eternal punishment, but not eternal punishing. The scripture is consistent with the first but not the second view. I completely reject the view of Rob Bell, which is a kind of universalism (ie. that even those in hell will eventually be saved).
So, I prefer to be a bit more careful in how I say things and do not describe the punishment as of a short duration, followed by annihilation, but I am open to that view. I prefer to stick to biblical language, which is to say that the punishment is eternal (which does not mean a trillion, trillion, trillion years), and that it is just, and leave the rest to God.
I agree strongly with Fudge that we should not allow debate over this to be a fellowship issue and that we should use caution and humility when we approach this issue. I believe that Fudge set a good example in his lecture, and this is one reason I appreciate his lecture, even if I am not absolutely agreeing with everything he says.
I hope this helps.