A woman tries to teach that annihilationism is biblical

by Matt Slick

I stepped into a conversation that was going on in the CARM chatroom because it appeared that Cynthia was a universalist.  This is a problem because universalists have been a huge problem in the past.  They were very disruptive on the discussion boards and very insulting.  So, I jumped in and the ensuing conversation occurred.

Matt Slick:  Cyn, are you a universalist?
Cynthia:  Hello matt--big no.
Matt Slick:  Are you an annihilationist?
Cynthia:  Yes.
Matt Slick:  Are you Trinitarian?
Cynthia:  But only after punishment in hell.  Yes on Trinitarian
Matt Slick:  So you teach people earn their salvation.
Cynthia:  No I do not.
Matt Slick:  Yes, you do.
Cynthia
:  Where did I do that sir?
Matt Slick:  Tell me what salvation is.
Cynthia:  Salvation is eternal life in Jesus Christ blood shed for me.
Matt Slick:  That's not what salvation is.  What are we saved from?
Cynthia:  We are saved from sin and the consequences--2nd death
Matt Slick:  We are saved from the righteous judgment of God. To be saved is to be saved from the judgment of God that falls upon sinners.
Cynthia:  Yes I agree
Matt Slick
:  Now, since you agree to be saved is to be saved from the righteous judgment of God, then, since you teach that a person is punished for a while in hell and then is annihilated, that is being saved from the righteous judgment of God by your own suffering. Please tell me how that is not earning salvation since what you're saying is that a person earns the right to no longer be punished after they suffered enough.
Cynthia:  Matt--you are putting words in my mouth sir.
Matt Slick:  This is what you're saying.  You say they are punished in hell for a while, and then the punishment stops because they're annihilated.  So, they earned the cessation of the punishment after they've been punished enough.   Tell me how that is not earning one's salvation.
Cynthia:  Those who go to hell receive just measured punishment and then hell is thrown into the lake of fire and annihilated.  How is that earning anything?  They dissolve into nothingness.
Matt Slick:  You are not answering my question.
Cynthia:  Which question again
Matt Slick
:  I said that please tell me how is not earning one's salvation by suffering for a time, and then after you've paid what is due to your suffering, the suffering stops.
Cynthia:  Because you aren't getting salvation duh.
Matt Slick:  You earn, by your suffering, the stopping of the punishment.  You don't understand what salvation is.
Cynthia:  Not the same as salvation
Matt Slick:  Salvation is not the same thing as justification.  It is not the same thing as being delivered into the hands of God in heaven.  You are teaching that after a person's suffering, they are delivered.
Cynthia:  No not delivered. dissolved into nothingness is DELIVERED? weird concept.
Matt Slick:  Salvation means to be delivered from the righteous judgment of God. Our judgment fell upon Christ, and those for whom Christ died will be saved from that righteous judgment. That is what salvation is.
Cynthia:  I have no problem with your definitions of salvation.
Matt Slick:  So, according to you, a person sins, goes to hell, pays for their own sin for a while; and then after they paid what was due, they stop existing.
Cynthia:  Roger.
Matt Slick:  So, what you're saying is that after they have suffered, according to the law, they are then saved from the continued judgment of God.  How is that not salvation by their works?
Cynthia:  No God's judgment is measured--they get all that is measured for them.
Matt Slick:  You're not answering my question.
Cynthia:  No salvation comes for them I never said it did.  You keep putting those words in my mouth.
Matt Slick:  You were saying that after they have suffered enough, according to the law, they are then saved from the continued judgment of God. Please tell me how that is not salvation by their works.
Cynthia:  You just told me what salvation was. It didn't include being dissolved
Matt Slick:  I said salvation is being delivered from the righteous judgment of God due to a person's sin . . . Breaking the law . . . Therefore, the lawbreaker incurs a punishment due to the law.  Therefore, those in hell are being punished according to law. That means that after they've fulfilled the requirements of the law, they are then annihilated.  In other words, you're saying that after a person has done the work required by the law, they are then saved.  They are then delivered from the continued righteous judgment of God.  The judgment of God upon them stops.
Cynthia:  Yes, because god is just.
Matt Slick:  They have been saved from the judgment of God . . . by their own suffering. Please tell me how that is not salvation by works.
Cynthia:  Because salvation is not the RESULT matt.
Matt Slick:  Salvation is being delivered from the righteous judgment of God.
Cynthia:  The result is justice
Matt Slick:  I keep telling you that, and you've already agreed to it.
Cynthia:  Not in that sense. You are playing with words Matt.
Matt Slick:  So please tell me how they did not earn their own salvation by fulfilling the requirements of the law. Remember, after they fulfilled the requisite punishment time according to the law, the punishment of the law stops. In other words, they're saved from the righteous judgment of God in any continued sense.  What you're telling me is that they are then saved from that righteous judgment through their own suffering.
Cynthia:  Their judgment is righteous punishment measured. They receive it all. Not saved from the punishment. They are over, finished.
Matt Slick:  Why do you teach that people, the wicked, who go to hell to their own suffering, are delivered from punishment?
Cynthia:  2 reasons.  First is all punishment is measured.  Second, hell and death are eventually destroyed in lake of fire--they are no more.
Matt Slick:  Who said punishment is measured?  Please show me that in Scripture. Rev. 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Cynthia
:  There are more than a few. It would be some in the OT as a type and shadow, 3X to some 7X. Jesus also gives examples of measured punishment.
Matt Slick:  Show me in Scripture where it says that a person stops existing after they paid for their own sins?
Cynthia:  Smoke has to go somewhere.. and forever and ever doesn't mean infinitely.
Matt Slick:  Forever and ever aionas ton aionon "ages of the ages." "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen," (1 Tim. 1:17).   " . . . To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever" (Rev. 5:13).
Cynthia:  Laughing--slow down.
Matt Slick:  So are you saying then that the glory and honor due God will stop?
Cynthia:  I haven't answered your previous question yet.  Let me answer this one first . . . there is no scripture I know of that says a person stops existing after they paid their own sins except for possibly only god can kill a soul Matthew 10 something, I think.
Cynthia:  So if god can kill a soul, what does that mean to you Matt?
Matt Slick:  Eternal punishment.  "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." (Rev. 20:10).
Cynthia:  Kill = eternal pun? scripture for that.
Matt Slick
:  John the apostle tells us the devil with the beast and the false prophet (human being) are tormented day and night forever and ever.  That is without end.  Therefore, killing the soul in hell is forever.  Why do you deny what God's word says? Is it because you don't like the idea of God punishing people forever? 
Cynthia:  Forever and ever is 2 evers/2ages.  Forever and ever is the hang up apparently.  And you do like the idea of god tormenting people for infinity?
Matt Slick:  Whether or not I like it is irrelevant to whether or not it's true.
Cynthia:  I know that . . .
Matt Slick:  Personally I don't like it. But so what? The issue is what does God's word say?
Cynthia:  So why did you ask me the question then if it doesn't matter what we think?
Matt Slick:  I'm giving you Scripture that demonstrates eternal punishment.  You are the one in here pushing annihilationism
Cynthia:  So if that upsets you I will leave.
Matt Slick:  Those who hold to annihilationism and universalism are similar in my experience.  They tend to argue the one point and derail all conversations.  They effectively stop evangelism.
Cynthia:  I don't believe that
Matt Slick:  Why should someone repent now when the punishment will end?
Cynthia:  Because they want to live with Jesus forever, that's why.
Matt Slick:  You don't understand with what God says apparently. In Romans 3:10-12, it says that no one seek for God, none understand, they are all unrighteous . . . So you're wrong about that.
Cynthia:  Prove it false then.
Matt Slick:  I already have with Scripture. But proof is different from persuasion. You reject what the word of God says in this area.  Rev. 14:11: "And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."  So please tell me, does that mean that their torment will end?  Forever and ever aionas ton aionon "ages of the ages."
Cynthia:  I told you our hang up on our differences is on the word definition used to translate forever and ever.
Matt Slick:  "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." (1 Tim. 1:17).  The exact same phrases used regarding the honor and glory of God. Will that also end?
Cynthia:  No.
Matt Slick:  So you believe it will end when the Bible says it won't.
Cynthia:  Because he is LIFE.
Matt Slick:  And when the same phrase is used of God's glory and of the punishment. So, you are being inconsistent.
Cynthia:  Its the difference between light and dark, death and life
Matt Slick:  The Greek phrase aionas ton aionon, which is translated "forever and ever," occurs 18 times in the Greek New Testament. In 17 of them, the phrase means without end, extending into infinity. In Rev. 19:3, the phrase is used to describe the destruction of the great whore of Babylon (Rev. 17:1, 4) whose smoke ascends forever and ever. It, too, is eternal; and it signifies the beginning of the eternal judgment that comes upon her.
Cynthia:  No life trumps dark. Life trumps death.
Matt Slick:  That is a meaningless statement.
Cynthia:  Life trumps death is meaningless?
Matt Slick:  It can mean whatever you want it to mean in the discussion.  Life doesn't triumph over death. Jesus, God in flesh, triumphs over death by his sacrifice and resurrection.
Cynthia:  Matt, this is the area were we differ. the definition of the word aionas and aionon.
Matt Slick:  I've done a study in the Greek--a rather extensive study.  You can read on my website. I quoted you what the Greek phrase is. I have shown you how it's used in reference to God and his glory. I've shown you how it has used the same phrase in reference to eternal damnation, yet you refuse to believe that they mean the same thing.  For you, they take on different meanings depending on whether or not it's according to your preconceived idea of punishment.  "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46).  So in Matthew 25:46, is the eternal punishment forever along with eternal life? Or, does its eternal punishment end along with eternal life?
Cynthia:  I have old books that give different definitions which I believe are not in vogue now. Eternal life and eternal death. ok I will talk about this give me a minute
Matt Slick:  "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). The same Greek word is used that describes "eternal" punishment as well as "eternal" life. If someone's eternal punishment ends, then why don't you also say that their eternal life also ends?
Cynthia:  Eternal life in the context of its use is speaking of the heavenly realm regarding Rev. 21-22 right?
Matt Slick:  It is Matt. 25:46.
Cynthia:  Let me go there.  Ok. I agree in the concept that they go there to each place. But that it is intermediate/temporal in the sense that it happens before the Great White Throne.  I'm saying that the good saved go to heaven (eternal life as described in Rev 21 and 22) and the unsaved go to hell.
Matt Slick:  "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). The same Greek word is used that describes "eternal" punishment as well as "eternal" life. If someone's eternal punishment ends, then why don't you also say that their eternal life also ends?
Cynthia:  I'm trying to explain . . . slow typer.  Then at the Great White Throne, things change. The temporary heaven (Rev 21-22) merges with earth and hell and sin and death is finally done away with as symbolized in the lake of fire.
Matt Slick:  "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). The same Greek word is used that describes "eternal" punishment as well as "eternal" life. If someone's eternal punishment ends, then why don't you also say that their eternal life also ends?
Cynthia:  Rev 21-22 is not a picture of true eternity imo. It is a picture of heaven NOW.  Because of the references to sin outside her gates.
Matt Slick:  "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46). The same Greek word is used that describes "eternal" punishment as well as "eternal" life. If someone's eternal punishment ends, then why don't you also say that their eternal life also ends?
Cynthia:  Rev 21-22 is not a picture of what will happen after Great White Throne--it is reality now during the church age, our heavenly rest.  Because I go back to the definition that you and I disagree on remember? I believe all references to Eternal Life and Eternal Punishment are temporary . . . as they stand before the GWT.
Matt Slick:  So eternal life is temporary?
Cynthia:  Eternal Life in the Rev 21-22 picture is temporary; until the Great white Throne. Yes.
Matt Slick:  So we stop having eternal life?
Cynthia:  We have life, but the word for eternal is not sufficient to describe infinity. 
Matt Slick:  So, do we stop having eternal life?
Cynthia:  We have infinite life on the new earth, instead of temporarily in heaven with sin and death happening below us.  Heaven and earth then merge when no more sin on earth.
Matt Slick:  So, do we stop having eternal life?
Cynthia:  In the since that I describe it as "for the age".
Matt Slick:  So, do we stop having eternal life?
Cynthia:  What part did you not understand?  Aionioin life because simply LIFE.
Matt Slick:  I am waiting for an answer to THIS question >>>> "So, do we stop having eternal life?"
Cynthia:  Aionion life becomes simply LIFE.
Matt Slick:  The answer is yes or no.
Cynthia:  It goes from temporary to infinite.  There is no stopping.
Matt Slick:  1 John 5:13 says that we have eternal life right now.
Cynthia:  Amen.
Matt Slick:  So you're telling me that the eternal life I have right now will stop being eternal?
Cynthia:  And after the GWT when we get our glorified bodies it will be different somehow.  I'm saying--that eternal means for the age. We have a spiritual (no glorified body) eternal life in heaven up until the GWT.
Matt Slick:  It is difficult to have a conversation with someone who doesn't answer direct questions.
Cynthia:  Well, it is difficult to have any conversation with someone who tries to put words in my mouth.
Matt Slick:  Jesus said, "And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Matt. 25:46).  If you are saying that the word eternal in this sentence changes meaning, then I have a problem with that. Jesus equated mutuality of punishment with the eternality of life.
Cynthia:  Great White Throne is where we all (in heaven) get our glorified bodies and EARTH and HEAVEN merge.
Matt Slick:  I've asked you specifically to address this specific verse, and you've not done it. Instead, you go somewhere else and try to interpret this verse by looking somewhere else. This is what the cults do.
Cynthia:  I don't understand what you are saying matt . . . not trying to be difficult.
Matt Slick:  Furthermore, you tell me that my eternal life will end? And that somehow it will be changed into infinite life? Is that correct?
Cynthia:  Yes.  Because eternal doesn't mean infinite--it means for the age.
Matt Slick:  So even though the Bible doesn't say what you're saying, right?
Cynthia:  But it does.
Matt Slick:  I see . . . and where is the word "infinite" in the Bible?
Cynthia:  It is represented by heaven and earth merging and there not being any more sin and death or hell.  You do believe that heaven is temporary?
Matt Slick:  I see . . . did you know that blue sleeps faster than Wednesday?
Cynthia:  Stooping low there Matt.  Please do not insult me. I am not your enemy
Matt Slick:  You're not making any sense.
Cynthia:  I'm trying.  LOL

 

At this point, I decided to give up.  She kept reinterpreting God's word, not answering my questions, and then asserting ideas that weren't biblical.  I figured we'd gone round and round enough.

 

 

 

 
 
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