Hey there Lora,
Originally Posted by Lora
The interpretation of the first and second resurrections of Revelation 20 is entirely speculative. There is nothing in the text that tells us what those terms mean, so folks have been speculating about it for 2000 years. The interpretation you suggest seems reasonable, but some people would say that it contradicts other passages that teach eternal conscious torment, such as this:
Revelation 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.They also would cite this passage:
Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.They argue that the "everlasting punishment" lasts as long as the everlasting life, and would deny that death satisfies this condition because the punishment would end as soon as the sinning soul was extinguished. Folks who believe in Annihilationism would assert that the "second death" is annihilation, and that it is "eternal" in the same sense as capital punishment is eternal - the damned never come back to life.
This is an ancient dispute. I have two books that present a total of six different views from serious Bible scholars. The Scriptures are not sufficiently clear to settle it with any certainty so folks simply choose which they prefer and go with that (usually just following the Christian tradition). The Bible simply fails as a guide to answer this question and people are left to their own opinions.
Getting back to the main point - I tried to find alternate solutions to the problem of hell for many years. My first solution was to accept Annihilationism (which seems to be your position). This is the view that God resurrects, judges, and annihilates souls that do not meet his condition for salvation. After more study, I began to think that Christian Universalism was a better solution. This is the belief that God ultimately redeems all people through Christ. But after a while I noticed that it doesn't matter what solution I came to believe because it was like I was just inventing my own religion. I found myself rejecting so many aspects of traditional Christianity that it became evident I was no longer a "Christian" in any meaningful sense of the word.
Your assertion that death seals our fate is not well-supported by the Bible. This is pretty obvious because folks who support this view have only one verse to cite in support of it:
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:But this verse says nothing about whether a person can repent after they die and before the judgment. This view always bugged me because it seemed totally unfair that the only time we could make the right choice was before we could have any certain knowledge of the truth, and then as soon as we had proof (because we died and could see God) it would be too late! That's like a nightmare scenario devised by a devil.