Hi Jim, One issue that I've recently been convinced of is "Conditional Immortality". (which you seem to share with me) It seems very obvious that God's Word says absolutely nothing about the non-believer having Eternal life and therefore burning forever in hell... BUT - I ran into a verse that has brought me some trouble... Luke 20:35-36... (angels don't die). This seems to say that Satan and his angels will be tormented forever, which would also mean that the lake of fire would have to exist through eternity, too... Do you have any insight on this? I've been getting alot of negative vibes from my friends about this issue. And I'd like to make sure that I'm not missing something... Man, Tradition is a drag sometimes...
Thanks and God bless, Rudy
Hello Rudy! Thanks for writing.
There are many scriptural questions regarding hell that I haven't considered for a long time. Most of it has resided in that place I call "stuff I'm just not sure about right now"! haha! :) The funny thing now is that I'll often revisit some of those long-forgotten verses and see them in a totally different light.
Here are some of the questions that hit me in reference to the Luke verses:
First, that little snippet in Luke about angels not dying isn't found in the same scene as recorded in both Matthew and Mark. I have to wonder why not. In both Matthew and Mark, the likening to angels was in reference to not being married nor being given in marriage (all which was to shut the mouths of those who thought to use the scriptures to bind Jesus). The Luke 20 account connects the likeness to the angels to the supposition of not dying any more, and this sure seems to make a different point concerning his mention of the angels. Was this mistranslated along the way? Was it possibly added? Don't know, but I'm not going to rule it out.
Also, considering the lake of fire as mentioned in Revelation 20 it is referred to as the second death. Could anything put into the second death not die?
Also, if the reference to angels inability to die is legitimately placed in Luke can we automatically assume that it has to refer to the general category of angelic beings - both demonic as well as those of God? I think we've had so much speculation built upon all this that we read a verse like this and see a doctrinal point instead of the real point.
The real point being that by their technical manipulations of the old scriptures they had failed to realize the most simple realities contained in them, as well as misunderstanding the power of God. "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God." (a line strangely missing from Luke's account, even though the point was still made there).
Just keep in mind that when we fall into patterns of making technically logical speculations using a bit of scripture here and there ... that's exactly what the Sadducees were trying to do in their attempt to trap Jesus "according to the word of God" after the Pharisees had failed to do so by the same means.