Conditional Immortality

This doctrine is an attempt to steer a middle course between what is felt to be the harshness of the doctrine of eternal punishment and the sentimental tendencies of restorationism. It is held to be realistic without being repugnant. It is the view that the soul is immortal by grace and not by nature, and is a form of annihilationism, for the soul that persists in sin is ultimately destroyed. It is defended partly on philosophical and partly on biblical grounds. Philosophically it would seem to owe something to privative ideas of evil, with their ultimate origin in Plato or even in oriental religious philosophy. The biblical evidence cited is largely lexical and involves a discussion of the sense in which the Bible uses such terms as “death,” “destruction,” and “perdition.” In fact none of these terms is properly the equivalent of “annihilation,” but refer to a condition of great loss and of continued existence. Conditional Immortality is maintained by some of the sects (e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians), but also by some who, in other doctrines, stand within historic evangelicalism.

See also

  • Immortality