Edward Fudge writes as a person who deeply trusts the Bible as his authority but who believes that Christian theology and teaching has distorted the biblical teaching about hell as the fate of those who reject God. The traditional view has been one of unending conscious torment often elaborated with colorful punishments for the damned.
Fudge argues that the scriptures’ dominant picture of hell/gehenna is captured in words such as “perish,” “death,” “destruction,” “consuming fire.” As Jesus emphasized, the one to fear is he “who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mt 10:28).
Fudge argues simply that these words mean what they say. They should not be turned upside down to mean that in hell the human soul is not destroyed but has an indestructible existence suffering conscious torment through an infinity of time in which the one thing that can never happen is for it to perish.
Throughout the book Fudge interacts graciously with other views in order to encourage debate. The book is especially focused on study of practically every biblical text that is relevant to the nature of hell. It is quite a journey that he takes the reader on including Dead Sea Scrolls and many church authors, especially Augustine and Calvin.
The book will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in understanding the biblical teaching of the afterlife whether they ultimately agree with Fudge’s presentation or not. This is a great contribution to the debate.