A Brief Book Summary from Books at a Glance
By Matthew Claridge
Table of Contents
Part I: Annihilationism and Its Debate in Contemporary Evangelicalism
Annihilationism: Its Forms and History
The Annihilationists and Their Arguments
Exegetical Responses to Annihilationism
Part II: Jonathan Edwards’ Theological Method and Its Uses in Refuting Annihilationism
Annihilationism in the Early Eighteenth Century
Jonathan Edwards’ Theological Method for Refuting Annihilationism
The Application of Jonathan Edwards’ Theological Method to the Current Debate
Chapter One: Introduction
Morgan introduces us to the main theological position he will be analyzing and critiquing in his book: the position of annihilationism. This position holds that the damned do not suffer eternal conscious punishment in hell, Hut rather their existence will be eventually annihilated. Surprisingly, many prominent evangelicals have adopted this view in recent years, including Philip Hughes and John Stott among others.
Responses to this position have come in many forms, mostly exegetical. However, the theological rationale for the position has been seldom scrutinized yet, it might be argued, this is what gives annihilationism its persuasive force. Morgan seeks to zero in on the theological arguments made in favor of annihilationism with the help of Jonathan Edwards who also ministered in at a time when annihilationism was hotly debated. While Edwards’ views on Hell are fairly well-known, how he formulated the traditional doctrine of Hell against the tide of annihilationism is less so.
Chapter Two: Annihilationism: Its Forms and History
Annihilationism encompasses many different positions on when a damned soul is destroyed. The purely materialist view locates this moment at death—as the body goes, so goes the soul. No evangelical holds this position. Conditional immortality suggests that the attribute of immortality is not intrinsic to the human soul as created in the image of God. Immortality is only conferred to those who are united to Christ. A third approach is that of “annihilationism proper” which affirms the intrinsic immortality of the soul, but suggests such immortality is lost, eroded, and vitiated by sin over time.
Annihilationism is by no means a modern development. It was first articulated by the recent convert and African apologist Arnobius of Sicca in the early fourth century. It began to be advocated with growing vigor in the Post-Reformation. . .[To continue reading this summary, please see below....]
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Jonathan Edwards and Hell