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Objections to patristic universalism part two 'unquenchable'


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Does unquenchable fire mean forever without end to the object subjected to it? Is God going to abandon those in fire of punishment forever?

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Objections to patristic universalism part two 'unquenchable'

  1. 1. Isaiah 66:24 Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind. (NASB)
  2. 2. THE HELL PASSAGES If there are so many passages that seem to teach an eternal hell, how can you believe in universalism?
  3. 3. UNQUENCHABLE FIRE  “Unquenchable” in Scripture often indicates the fire’s immunity from human efforts to extinguish it. For example, if my house were fully engulfed in flames, I might try to put it out with a garden hose and one could certainly say the fire for me was “unquenchable.” But that doesn’t hold true for the local fire department. In the same way, God’s purifying fire is “unquenchable” for us because we can’t extinguish it; but this does not mean God is powerless to extinguish it (i.e. after it’s served its purpose).
  4. 4. As an example that "unquenchable" does not necessarily mean eternal we only need look to the book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah Chapter 7 we read: Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and on beast and on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.’ (Jer 7:20 - NASB) DOES UNQUENCHABLE MEAN NO END?
  5. 5. JUDGMENT FOLLOWED BY RESTORATION So even though phrases like “unquenchable fire” seem on the surface to teach something that never ends, when we interpret scripture with scripture we find that it means no such thing. Jerusalem was said to be part of this “unquenchable fire” and yet we read in Jer 31 of its restoration. The key is to read the whole story and not stop at judgment. This is a theme we’ve encountered over and over again…judgment followed by restoration.
  6. 6. WHAT DOES GRACE LOOK LIKE? •(Jer 23:20); that “the Lord will not reject forever” (Lam 3:31); that we are to forgive as many times as we are wronged (Matt 18:22; Lk 17:4); that we are to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us (Lk 6:27); that God punishes as a father to a son (Heb 12:7); and that He disciplines us for “our good” (Heb 12:10).