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Universalism, Annihilationism and Conscious Punishment

             Benjamin Franklin stated "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."1.
             If death is certain, why do so many fear it? Is it our uncertainty of what lies beyond the grave? Is death to be feared as an extinction of life or is there a place of torment that drives this fear? Indeed do we need to fear the possibility of an eternal hell? Where can we find information and who's report can we believe? In the search for an answer to the question of is hell forever? This paper will discuss the three views of Universalism, Annihilationism and Conscious Punishment and weigh them against the available Biblical evidence. Within the context of the earlier discussions, the paper will also consider questions like "Is hell the place where a loving God would actually send the object of his affections? Is hell only metaphorical or is it literal? And indeed, does a modern understanding require the existence of hell at all?" The writer has the view that the answer is available to any earnest inquirer and that there is a heaven to gain and a very real hell to shun!.
             The topic of hell is one that is rarely preached in many of our church pulpits. The view is that we are no longer a generation that accept the teachings of the bible and that we must therefore reason with our generation as to their need of Christ at their area of felt need. The author takes the view that the need of our generation remains primarily their eternal soul and the church still has an obligation to declare the full council of God's word.2 Yes, our preachers are envoys of Christ's love, as it has been for all generations since Christ. Yet the messenger of Love must also warn of the eternal dangers that lay ahead for those who, either deliberately or because of indifference reject the call of the loving Saviour to repent. The Holiness preachers of times past would preach this message and urge people to turn to Christ.

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