What is Annihilationism?

Question

What is Annihilationism?

Answer

Annihilationism teaches that when a person dies they are annihilated (destroyed). Normally this doctrine is applied to an attempt to negate the biblical doctrine of eternal punishment. But Matthew 25:46 says, "Then they (the wicked) will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." Note that the same term "eternal" describes both the wicked and the righteous. If it is eternal for one group, then it must be for the other group as well.

Moreover, degrees of punishment will be given on the Day of Judgment: "Each person was judged according to what he had done," (Rev. 20:10-15; c.f. Matt. 11:21-24; Luke 12:42-48; Heb. 10:29; James 3:1). So, if the wicked are annihilated, why would there be degrees of punishment?

In addition, as Paul states in Romans 8:7-8, "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." The wicked CANNOT submit to the law of God and therefore will necessarily continue to sin. And since all sin is punished (Rom. 6:23) and the wicked NEVER stop sinning (2 Pet. 2:14; 1 John 3:8), punishment in hell must be perpetual.

For an in-depth refutation of Annihilationism please see "An Eternal Hell is for Real - The Heresy of Annihilationism?" below.

Related Topics:

An Eternal Hell is for Real - The Heresy of Annihilationism?
Annihilationism Error: Hebrew Word Definition Charts
Annihilationism Error: Greek Word Definition Charts
When was Hell created?
Is Purgatory Biblical?
What is Reprobation?
Imprecatory Psalms
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
A Gospel Summary

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).