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in which the wicked are said to "perish;" for it is usually the same word in the original which is rendered “destroy” and “ perish," and expresses the utter ruin but not the annihilation of the sinner. Indeed, after we have settled the meaning of the word “life” as expressive of condition rather than mere being, we may take the words “destroy” and “perish” in their most literal sense. The sinner's well-being shall “perish” utterly, or be wholly “ destroyed.”
4. The annihilation theory does not harmonize easily with the fact of the resurrection of the wicked. There would seem to be no propriety in such an event if they are to be immediately judged and annihilated. Why not judge the soul according to its character and punish it with extinction, without recalling the body to life? If the penalty of the divine law be literal destruction to body and soul, we should suppose that when a wicked man dies that penalty was executed on the body which moulders back to dust, and that nothing remained but to inflict the same upon the soul, then or at the general judgment. Why must the body die twice? What end is to be served by summoning it from the grave to destroy it again? This has always been a puzzling question for the annihilationists, nor have they returned a satisfactory answer. And the difficulty is increased when we consider the difference between the resurrection-body and that which died. The Bible is explicit in assuring us that the resurrection-state is, in important respects, unlike our present mortal condition; that the future body is not a mere reproduction of the body which died, but one adapted to a more refined spiritlike state of existence. This is beyond question true of the righteous, and there is not a word of intimation that the same general fact will not hold good of the wicked. Now if the latter are to “come forth” from “their graves” to be judged, as Christ assures us will be the case, for what purpose is this new bodily organization bestowed ? Merely that it may be destroyed again? The transaction wears no such appearance. It seems rather to be the preparative for an abiding condition, the reuniting of soul and body that together they may enter upon a new, even an eternal state, in which shall be reaped the harvest of which earthly life was the seed-time. How much more rational and scriptural is the idea that the resurrection of the wicked will complete the likeness, so imperfect on earth, of soul and body, so that the character will be portrayed eternally in the physical appearance of the lost; deformity being in hell united with sin, as in heaven beauty will be associated with holiness.
5. The annihilation theory is inconsistent with various words and phrases by which Christ describes the future punishment of the wicked. These words imply continued existence, during which the punishment is borne. One instance occurs in connection with the last point named, to wit, the resurrection, as our Saviour says: “The hour is coming in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation," or con. demnation. That is, they rise only to receive a portion of sorrow and shame, as being under the frown of God. And this is still more clearly the meaning, if we regard Christ not as making a new statement, but as calling to the minds of his hearers the well-known words of Daniel, which are so strikingly parallel that they were probably in his own mind and must have been recalled instantly to theirs : “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Thus life is in both passages promised to the righteous, while to the wicked the one predicts a coming forth to "condemnation," and the other an "awaking” to “shame and everlasting con. tempt,” words which, thus synonymously used, admit of no consistent meaning on the theory of annihilation. Take, also, the fearful words in the judgment scene: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, prepared for the devil and his angels." These words point out not merely eternal results, but an eternal condition of being. What can be meant by “ departing” and “ going away” from God “into everlasting fire,” but eternal exclusion from the joys of heaven and endurance of the pains of hell ? To say that “everlasting fire” has reference only to the permanence of the effect, and means a fire that burns up a thing so completely that it has no being afterward, is to affirm an unnatural meaning of a very simple phrase. To kindle a fire that entirely consumed an article placed in it has been done in
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millions of instances, and is in fact a matter of daily occurrence, but we are not in the habit of calling such a fire “everlasting.” Everlasting means ever-existing, and denotes the continuance of the thing to which the epithet is applied. Nor is the case at all at variance which is quoted from Jude: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” This does not mean, as annihilationists claim, that the material cities of the plain are “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire ;" that their overthrow by fire was complete and perpetual, and that the fire is said to be “eternal” because its effect was enduring. The sacred writer is not speaking of the material cities, the dwellings and public buildings which were burned, but, according to a common mode of expression, of the cities in the sense of the inhabitants, as appears from his specifying their characteristic sins. Of these fornicators he says, precisely as Jesus did of the rich sinner in hell, that they are now “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire,” just as in the previous verse he had said of the fallen angels, that they were “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” And even if the material cities were meant, the fire may have been termed eternal, as being supposed still to be burning, that country being alluded to by authors of that day as still “smoking.” There is no proof, then, that “everlasting fire” means anything but fire that shall burn on forever, implying that those who are sent into it are consigned not to annihilation but to endless suffering. The same thing may be argued from the phrase "everlasting punishment.” The Greek word konaaois means chastisement, punishment, and refers to the infliction and experience of suffering. It occurs in but one other passage in the Bible, (1 John iv, 18,) and is there rendered torment. “Everlasting punishment” as a phrase, naturally, if not necessarily, means everlasting inflict tion of suffering or torment, which of course excludes the idea of annihilation.
But the idea of the eternal continuance of the suffering of the wicked, as indicated by the expressions under examination, does not depend upon the word "everlasting,"merely as the epithet of the "fire" and of the “punishment;" nor yet upon the natural implication of the word punishment in addition; nor yet upon the words “depart” and “go away into," as signifying a condition or abiding state to which the wicked are remanded. There is fearful accumulation of evidence in the added declaration, that this is the very fire and punishment “prepared for the devil and his angels.” Now does the Bible teach that this fire is to annihilate the devil, or simply to torment him? Let Rev. xx, 10, answer: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
To the same effect are all those passages, in the parables and elsewhere, which represent the punishment of the lost by the figure of an exclusion from the feast in the palace, and an expulsion into the utter darkness without, where they stand venting their rage and disappointment in unavailing cries. The figure points not to extinction of being but of happiness. The narrative of the rich man and Lazarus, which must be taken as depicting future scenes before, not after the resurrection, is also at war with annihilationism, in so far at least as this, that in its use of flame as a symbol of punishment, it points wholly to torment and not to extinction. The figure of fire, upon which, as used in other passages, great reliance is placed to prove that the wicked are to be utterly burned up and consumed, like the chaff of the thrashing-floor, is there set forth not as the symbol or instrument of destruction, but of torment. “I am tormented in this flame," said the rich man; and Abraham, while denying the request that Lazarus should be sent with a drop of water to cool his tongue, did not intimate, as might have been expected on the annihilation theory, that after a while relief would come in the cessation of consciousness as the fire should do its work and reduce him to nothing! So also in the parable of the tares and of the net, fire is as obviously used to denote suffering and not destruction. “They (the angels) shall sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” One other, a significant expression of the Saviour, may be quoted - as implying continued being: “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The use of the present tense-precisely as in the case of the life ascribed to the believer: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life”-seems to denote that God's wrath begins even now to rest upon the man and continues thenceforward to crush him down into ruin.
6. The last objection which I bring to the theory in question is its lack of sufficient moral power. It is confessedly resorted to by those who shudder at the thought of endless misery, and wish to find some other explanation of Christ's words without embracing the absurd interpretations of the Universalists. They thus imply the fact that annihilation is preferable to everlasting punishment. And precisely here is its weakness as a threatening against sin, and that in three respects :
(1.) It does not seem to provide for degrees of punishment according to degrees of guilt, as insisted upon so frequently by Christ and by the inspired writers. If the penalty of the divine law is simple death, in the sense of annihilation, then the same punishment overtakes all the wicked whatever their guilt; for how can there be degrees in annihilation? Thus there is no restraint for the transgressor in the thought that added wickedness will bring added punishment. If, to escape this fatal objection, the annihilationist contends that the process of annihilation will be gradual, by the operation of some divine law, and that preceding the extinction of being there will be suffering, which may be made to vary in length and in degree, he in effect gives up an important part of his theory, and in a way too to endanger the whole. For in that case the penalty is after all not mere annihilation, but annihilation preceded by intense, and in many cases protracted suffering. But if that be the meaning of death, and if much of its moral power lie in that fact, he is assuming new ground, and departing from his pertinacious arguments as to the proper and literal meaning of the threatening. And if he thus enlarges the signification to embrace a distinct idea, found to be necessary to fill out the Saviour's meaning, how shall he resist those who present evidence that the idea of suffering is the prominent and characteristic one, especially when simple annihilation is thus made the smallest degree of punishment for the lightest offenders ? Besides, this view of a gradual process of annihilation, as by some natural law, is either purely materialistic or without any evidence whatever. Allowing that the body may be consumed in