The doctrine of hell is one of the most difficult and unsavory theological topics. In Four Views on Hell, leading biblical scholars meet this subject head-on, discussing the four primary views on what the Scriptures say about divine punishment.
Is hell to be understood literally as a place of eternal smoke and flames? Or are such images simply metaphors for a real but different form of punishment? Is there such a thing as "conditional immortality," in which God annihilates the souls of the wicked rather than punishing them endlessly? Is there a Purgatory, and if so, how does it fit into the scope of biblical interpretation?
Here, scholars who affirm an inspired Bible, relevant and authoritative for every era, present models they consider most faithful to Scripture:
- Literal – defended by John F. Walvoord
- Metaphorical – defended by William Crockett
- Conditional – defended by Clark Pinnock
- Purgatorial – defended by Zachary Hayes
Each view in turn is presented, respectfully critiqued by the others, and defended. This evenhanded approach is ideal for comparing views in order to form a personal conclusion about one of Christianity’s toughest doctrines.
The Counterpoints series presents a comparison and critique of scholarly views on topics important to Christians that are both fair-minded and respectful of the biblical text. Each volume is a one-stop reference that allows readers to evaluate the different positions on a specific issue and form their own, educated opinion.