For a long time men have been taught that the punishment for the wicked, those who disobey God, is everlasting torment or torture in a hell burning with unquenchable fire and brimstone. Many have been frightened away from studying the Bible because of this terrible doctrine. Many have refused to believe in God and the Lord Jesus because of it. It is another doctrine of Satan, used to blind the people. The doctrine of eternal torment cannot be true for at least four separate and distinct reasons: (1) because it is unreasonable; (2) because it is repugnant to justice; (3) because it is contrary to the principle of love; and (4) because it is entirely unscriptural.
It seems strange that men with reasoning faculties should ever reach the conclusion that the all-wise Creator would eternally torment any of his creatures. What could be the purpose of such torment? Could it accomplish any good? Would it result to the glory of God?
There could be no eternal torment of any of God’s creatures except by God’s will. A reasonable, loving God could not torment any of his creatures. A Creator that would put in operation a system of endless torment would be a fiend and not a reasonable God. Man is not perfect, yet he has some love. God is perfect. He is love. A man or a child would not torture his horse, his dog, or his cat.
Suppose we have a dog that becomes mad and tries to bite every one in the neighborhood. He must be killed; but we would not torment the poor brute by putting it into a slow fire. We would kill it in the easiest way, so that it would not suffer much pain. Why would a person do this? Because his sense of justice and love would deter him from doing anything else. Man has not as much love as God. Every thing that God does for man he does for man’s good.
The doctrine is unreasonable because no one could be eternally tormented unless that one were eternally conscious; and the Scriptures above cited show that the dead are not conscious. Furthermore, there could be no eternal torment of the soul unless that soul were immortal, indestructible; and the Scriptures above cited and all other Scriptures bearing upon the subject show that man is not immortal, that none are granted immortality except those who receive it as a reward for right-doing and who are made joint-heirs with Christ Jesus in his glorious kingdom. Then it is easy to be seen that this is a doctrine of Satan; and the two doctrines or teachings of inherent immortality and eternal torture must stand or fall together. And since they are both false, they must both fall.