I recently skimmed through this video, and I thought it was worthy of attention:
In this video, Bart show the thesis of his recent book, in which he seems to guarantee that there is absolutely no Hell beyond silly christian inventions, that there is only annihilationism.
Of course, as we all know, there are endless references to a place of suffering, pain and anguish all theough the Bible in both the OT and NT, but in the magical world of Bart, everything is possible. For example, when Daniel talks about “waking up to eternal shame and contempt”, that just means that at ressurrection they are judged, annihilated, and that they are perpetually held in contempt by eeryone. It doesn’t matter that Daniel is clearly talking about what someone experiences. It doesn’t matter that right before he talked about waking up to eternal life in perfect parallelism.
Again, when Jesus talks about eternal fire, and the “worm that does not die” (or similar), it just means that people are annihilated… er… in some place so in that place there is lots of death and whatever.
It is a constant insane unnatural reading. Is anyone more familiar with this topic?
I’m not familiar with the topic, but I’d hazard a guess that at its core it must hold that Lucifer sinned against God and just stopped existing since if there is no Hell, then there can be no place for Satan, in which case Genesis becomes problematic, and if you have a problem with Genesis, the rest of Salvation History becomes irrelevant.
This claim, however, directly contradicts Christ’s “Depart from Me…” claim, which clearly states the existence of Hell as a place, further strengthened by His “where there will be a weeping and a gnashing of teeth”.
I’m listening to the video as I write this, so these points may have already been dealt with, but I see them straight away as issues with the argument for “no Hell/empty Hell”.
Also, that last name, “Ehrman”, is quite (((nasal))).
Expect all these things to be “dealt with”, that is, to have a rather sad, pathetic response to save face. The question is whether or not those responses are actually solid, credible, and consistent.
The point about Satan is good, though someone could claim that there are different consequences for humans and angelic creatures.
If I get the money for it, I might buy the book so that I can actually properly tackle his arguments (it’s a lot easier with a physical copy than a digital one), but it’s sounding to me like a rehashing of the usual “God loves us therefore He can’t send us to Hell”, which is well covered under “God has all perfections in their fullness, this means that His justice and His mercy are beyond our comprehension” guide.
If money is tight I don’t think buying it would be worth it.
I mean, Bart is not known precisely for his solid factual arguments. This seems to be quite reelvant here since all the arguments are horrid, unnatural readings of clear texts. And of course, avoidance of the earliest sources of widespread doctrine.
I suspect that there may also be the issue of having an incomplete understanding of Heaven and Hell. In my understanding, they are more akin to states of being with a physical sensation of either greater bliss or greater suffering than we could ever imagine.
If you still need ideas on where to look, I can’t go past Dr. Rumble’s Radio Replies for a source. If you select a volume and search for the terms “heaven” and “hell”, it’ll provide you with a list of every occurrence of that term in that volume. Also, this was a radio show back in the '30s, so it’ll be more direct than most of today’s sources.
These people are familiar with the idea that descriptions of wordly things are used to describe something inmaterial. But while we say it is an image of spiritual-body suffering/anguish, they go too far and say it refers to annihilation, which is rather absurd.
It is a matter of historical analysis. In this regard, the attempts by Bart and others to imply that the widespread belief in ye olde days of the OT was annihilationism is just insane.
For me, the major issues with annihilationism are:
Denying the immortality of the soul. A fundamental belief of “Christianity” (meaning Catholicism and Orthodoxy) is that the soul is immortal (i.e., has a beginning but no end). Annihilationism states that after death, the soul is stricken from existence, which means that it has ended.
Denying the existence of angels and demons. For annihilationism to exist, it must be that angels and demons do not since their existence necessitates some place or state of being in which to exist, and the existence of such a place or state depending upon their standing with God (in His Favour or out of it) implies that man, having, in Church teaching, an immortal soul, should be able to merit for himself eternity in one of these places. It seems strange to think that Satan and his angels sinned against God and then ceased to exist and it fails to explain why Jesus should have directly spoken of them and performed exorcisms of demons.
Denying Christ’s Death and Resurrection. As has been compassed, annihilation entails that there is no resurrection of the dead (a soul that has ceased to be upon its particular judgement cannot unannihilate to be present at the general judgement since it no longer exists) anymore than there is a Hell for the damned, which raises the question of where Jesus went after He died but before He rose again. The Church teaches in the Apostles’ Creed that “He descended into Hell” and many Catechism (the Baltimore Catechism, for the wording I choose) adds “where the souls of the just were waiting”. The clarification here is that the Hell to which Jesus descended was not the Hell of the damned, but whether it was or not, if the unjust are annihilated, then there is nowhere for these just souls to have been waiting since you either die with God’s Grace or you don’t.
Denying the existence of Heaven. Although possibly a stretch on my part (I’m going to argue “Reductio ad Absurdum” on this), there is no reason for there to exist a Heaven since, as stated in my first point, the soul is no longer immortal, so Heaven need not exist for us.
Ultimately, the problem at the heart of this issue is the immortality of the soul. Annihilationism does not simply deny the existence of Hell, it must also deny the immortality of the soul, which goes against the basic teachings of the Church on what the soul actually is.
I actually follow Bart Ehrman quite a bit, and find him to be a very knowledgeable scholar. Certainly among the worlds leading first century scholars.
I find Erhman to lack academic integrity in some regards. For example, in his best selling book ‘misquoting Jesus’, he delves into the new testament inconsistencies. However when confronted about the issues in public debate, admits that these issues between translations and existing copies are negligible.
As for the doctrine of annihalationism, I can see where he would be trying to use an interpretational grey area to skew the data and change the face of first century doctrine in order to be controversial and gain notoriety.
From everything I have seen from him, he is not a scholar, but a random fedora who desperately looks for cheap shot attempts. He is quite sad and certainly lacks any intellect or honestly.
I really don’t get why people are obsessed with him. Well, I can: because he is just another dawkins who has spent more time googling things from which to say ridiculous things.