- Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)
- They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
- Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth? (Ecclesiastes 3:21)
- And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
Eternal destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah does not mean that the cities are tormented for ever, just that they cease to exist. Eternal destruction also means exclusion from the presence of God, which would have been the case if the person existed. However, the idea that we are dust and return to the Earth, and the air we breathe turns back to God as if it is nothing, disregards much of what the Bible teaches concerning the spirit of humans.
Isaiah and Jesus both spoke of the worm that will never die:
- And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men that have rebelled against me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24)
- And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. (Mark 9:47–48)
People say that eternal punishment is annihilation (Matthew 25:46). Yet people commit suicide rather than face punishment because they see this action as not being punishment. This is because punishment involves pain. Those who commit suicide believe that they are going to escape pain; therefore their punishment will be over. Is this really what Jesus is saying? Are people going to be put out of their misery and not be punished for their crimes or—as they are called in the Bible—sins.
The Bible tells us there is a second death and two resurrections. Those who share in the first resurrection are given immortal bodies to enter life. Those who are part of the second resurrection are given immortal bodies to be judged and thrown into the lake of fire. Immortal bodies are indestructible.
- The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power… (Revelation 20:5–6)
- And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
- And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
- But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
- And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. (Revelation 14:11)
Now the false prophet is a human being. If one human being is to be tormented forever—because they prefer evil rather than the truth—it does not make sense that other people are going to be be annihilated. Justice would require the same punishment for all. If a person’s name is not found in the Book of Life, the Bible says that person will be thrown into the lake of fire. Nevertheless, justice would demand that the intensity of their torment may vary, depending upon the evils that they have committed.
What needs to be understood, first and foremost, God does not delight in the death of anyone, including the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). God desires that every person is saved and comes to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). But if a person rejects the truth, then that person cannot be saved from his or her fate (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Each one is accountable for what each one does. Nobody is responsible for anyone else’s decisions (Hosea 7:2).
The Judgments Of God Are Just. Each One Of Us Will Be Held Responsible?