Much has been written about hell lately. Some hold to the historical Christian view while others reject the existence of hell altogether.
Thirty years ago, Fudge wrote the 500 page scholarly book, The Fire That Consumes. In it he examined every passage in the Old and New Testaments that was on the topic of punishment. He had done extensive biblical study and found it required a change of mind he had not planned on. Christianity Today called that book the “standard reference” on the topic of hell.
In this book, Fudge now makes his research scholars have had accessible to all readers. It's his “final word” as he'll not write another book on the subject.
Fudge is clear. Hell is real. Hell is bad. Hell is punishment. Hell is separation from God. Hell is eternal.
But Fudge also found some surprises in his study. “Scripture nowhere suggests that God is an eternal tormentor.” (34) God's judgment is severe and fair. “Those who go to hell will suffer conscious pain exactly measured by a perfect, holy, divine justice.” (35) The ultimate punishment is that they will cease to be. “Scripture nowhere says that any human being will be tormented forever.” (140)
He argues his case using Bible passages. For example, Matthew 25:46 speaks of “eternal punishment.” he relates that to 2 Thessalonians 1:9, “eternal destruction,” and argues that it is the results, not the action itself that is eternal.
Fudge presents a comprehensive argument for the ultimate extinction of the wicked rather than eternal torment. Anyone who has interest in the topic of hell will find much in this book for discussion and thought.
The story behind this book has been made into a film. Find out more at www.hellandmrfudge.com.
Edward Fudge is a Bible teacher, preacher, and practicing attorney living in Houston, Texas. He has conducted retreats and special Bible studies for churches of many denominations in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. He is the author of several books. He and his wife have two grown children. Find out more at www.edwardfudge.com.
Leafwood Publishers, 176 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.