Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

25 Bible Verses That Disprove Eternal Conscious Hell

disprove hell

In a follow up to our recent episode of That God Show, folks have asked for a comprehensive list of Scriptures that refute the traditional teaching of hell. While this might not be exhaustive, I’ve put together 25 verses that strongly illustrate what the Bible teaches on the issue. As one will see, to believe in the traditional hell, one will have to directly argue against the language the Bible uses in these 25 passages which unanimously describe the fate of the unjust as being annihilation– not eternity in a conscious hell.

Here’s what the Bible says, and precisely why I have argued that if one were to read the Bible without preexisting ideas of traditional hell, one would not walk away believing in it. Here’s the list:

Psalm 1:6 “But the way of the ungodly shall perish”

If one believes in eternal conscious hell, they don’t believe the ungodly perish at all– but live forever in hell.

Psalm 37:20 “But the wicked shall perish… they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”

If one believes in eternal conscious hell, they don’t believe the wicked will be “consumed.” Instead, they believe the wicked and tortured and never consumed.

Psalm 69:28 says that the wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living.”

This continues the consistency of scripture which tells us the wicked die– not that they are eternally living in a conscious hell.

Ps. 34:16, 21 “evil brings death to the wicked.”

Of course, if one believes in eternal hell, one doesn’t believe that evil brings death at all, but brings life– in hell. 

Psalm 92:7 “… shall be destroyed forever.”

If one believes in eternal conscious hell, they don’t believe those who are lost are “destroyed” but again, that they live forever.

Prov. 24:20 “the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.”

To believe in eternal conscious hell means one believes they will not be snuffed out at all.

Dan. 2:35 “the wind swept them away without leaving a trace.”

This continues the theme of totally destroyed– there’s not a trace of the wicked. This is the opposite of eternal life in hell.

Isa. 1:28, 30–31 “rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.”

Obadiah 1:16 It will be as if the evil “had never been.

This speaks to ceasing to exist– not eternal life in hell. In the traditional hell it will not be “as if they had never been” because they’ll live eternally and still “be.”

Mal 4:1 “All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.”

Here God is quoted directly– the evildoers are destroyed like straw thrown into the fire, and nothing is left. This shows total annihilation (they no longer exist). To believe in eternal hell, one would have to argue that God was mistaken and that they aren’t destroyed in the fire at all– but live forever in the fire without being consumed, which is the exact opposite of what God claimed.

Again, as I said on That God Show, hell is NOT in the Old Testament. Instead, they believed that the wicked are destroyed– that they die and do not get resurrected to eternal life. This is the testimony of the whole of scripture. To believe in eternal conscious hell is to really be at odds with the terminology we see scripture use. These same claims of annihilation and destruction continue in the New Testament:

Matthew 10:28 “Rather, fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Here Jesus himself teaches against hell– saying that those who are lost experience the death of their soul. If one believes in eternal conscious hell, they believe Jesus was wrong on this point, and that souls don’t die at all, but will live forever in hell.

John 3:16 “…whosoever believeth in him should not perish”

Again, to believe in hell, one must believe Jesus was wrong in John 3:16 and that people don’t “perish” at all, but live forever in hell.

Matthew 7:13: “broad is the road that leads to destruction

Jesus in his warnings continues with the repetitive testimony of scripture: the consequence of rejecting reconciliation with God is destruction– not everlasting life in torment.

Jesus on a variety of occasions uses the metaphor of fire that consumes not tortures: Matt. 7:19; 13:40; John 15:6

Philippians 3:19 “whose end is destruction…

There’s that pesky word “destroyed” again. Those who believe in eternal hell don’t believe one is destroyed in hell, but lives there forever.

2 Thessalonians 1:9 “who shall be punished with everlasting destruction …”

Getting repetitive yet? Seems like the Bible is getting pretty clear that the consequence of rejecting God is destruction, not eternal life in hell.

1 Cor 3:17: “God will destroy that person”

There’s that word again that doesn’t mean tortured in hell, but just means what it says– destroyed.

2 Cor 2:15-16: “those that perish

Again, if Paul meant hell, he should have said it– seems like everyone talks about perishing, being destroyed– but doesn’t talk about hell.

Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death..

Growing up we’re taught that the “wages of sin is hell” but nope– it’s perishing, dying, being destroyed.. the opposite of eternal life in hell.

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

Another version of the same term… destroyed. 

James 4:12a “There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.”

Seems like every biblical author wants us to understand to be “destroyed” is the natural consequence…

2 Peter 2:3: “Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.”

Revelation 20:14 “This is the second death…”

Those who believe in eternal conscious hell don’t believe in the second death– they believe everyone is immortal, and that some will live forever in hell. Rev 20:14 is clear that they die– they don’t live forever in hell at all.

So there you go folks– the testimony of the whole of scripture does not testify to hell as a place where you are alive and tortured for all eternity. Instead, from the beginning to the end of scripture we are warned that refusing to be reconciled to God– the author and sustainer of life– results in a natural outcome: the finality of death which is the ultimate destruction.

I would encourage you to just read the Bible– and read it without the lens of hell that you grew up with. If you read it without those lenses to distort what you see, you’ll find that eternal hell isn’t what the Bible warns us about– it warns us about a second death.

Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

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24 Responses

  1. This all hinges on what the Bible means by second death. We all know what the first death is. The author of this conveniently skips the context. Revelation 20 says:  “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever . . . Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.” – Revelation 20:10,14

  2. This is one of your quoted passages that you said shows that the wicked simply die, and do not live eternally in hell:
    “Psalm 69:28 says that the wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living.”

    Simply turn to Revelations 20:15- “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, HE WAS THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.”

    You are sorely in need of prayer for further knowledge of the truth.

    Be well.

    1. Yes, the Lake of Fire where they will be burned up and consumed. Nothing will put that fire out until they have all been consumed. Turned to ashes and stubble.

    2. What happens in fire? Are Sodom and Gomorrah still burning? They were burned up by the eternal fire. If you burn a house down, does it burn forever? When thrown into the lake of fire, you are burned up, then don’t exist.

    3. Well let’s look at Revelation 20

      “14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

      How can Death – a state of non-being be thrown into a fire? Same goes with Hades – the place of the dead?

      Or did he mean this guy?

      And just on this verse

      10And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

      The False Prophet is Paul…….The writer of Revelation is an Ebionite

      “9And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them.”

      That’s referring to the destruction of Jerusalem.

  3. Mankind has believed in an afterlife since the dawning of our conscience some 50,000+ years ago. A handful of rabid atheist will not change mankind’s historical and universal belief that there is a God and an afterlife. And that 6,000 years old Earth is a fictitious date created by man.

    1. First of all, the Bible does not say that the Earth was 6,000 years old. You will not find that in the Bible at all. Just because you don’t understand the Bible, doesn’t mean it is not true. If the Bible is not true, then why do you waste your time in trying to prove it is not true. I don’t believe in unicorn, but I would not waste my time in trying to prove unicorns are not true. So, why are you wasting your time, if you don’t believe in the Bible? Believe it or not, you are being used by God to fulfill His purpose.

    2. Fewer than 18% of Americans and fewer than 6% of Europeans remain active members of any business of religion according to attendance and membership figures published by Church Leaders organisations and declining church institutional head quarters.
      The third largest and fastest growing human cohort comprises the non-religious and all over the western world empty churches litter our villages, towns and cities while the vast and almost overwhelming majority of the global millennial generation shun all ridiculous superstition based business of religion.

      Meanwhile; the annually published “Global Peace Index” repeatedly confirms that the top ten most peaceful nations in the history of mankind are also the ten least religious nations in the history of humanity.

      Your particular childish beliefs are shared by a shrinking minority while the world is becoming a better place as free, educated, secular democracy gains strength and support.

  4. Evidence as Mr. Rational requests: I rationally observe that if you take just the earliest physical copies of the bible that we have (Dead Sea Scrolls) that C-14 date to 500-250 BC, you can read that the Jews were predicted to be persecuted throughout their history, scattered throughout the world, and then restored to their land as a nation. Subtract off the restoration as self-fulfilling if you’d like. You still have an accurate prediction thousands of years ahead of time. Add in that after the restoration they were predicted thousands of years ahead of time to have a strong military, be surrounded by enemies, to flourish agriculturally, to be one united nation instead of the previous Israel/Judea, and to have become a nation in one day (May 14, 1948 Declaration of Independence), and you have more than just a coincidence. The one and only nation/people in history for these events to all have happened to and it was predicted thousands of years beforehand. Perhaps it was time travelers? Aliens? Or perhaps it was just God as the bible says.

  5. The penalty for sin is death. If the penalty for sin were eternal torment by fire or otherwise than Jesus did not pay for our sins and we are all in big trouble. Also; the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable and not to be taken litetally. Jesus told that parable to emphasize a point. Many scriptures make it clear.

    By representing the beggar as being in heaven and the rich man as lost, Jesus taught His hearers that, contrary to the prevailing view, wealth was not necessarily an indicator of divine favor, just as poverty was not a sign of God’s judgement upon a person.

    Jesus was also seeking to educate the Jews that salvation would not be theirs by birthright. The rich man in torments calls out to “father Abraham,” just as the Jews of Jesus’ day were mistakenly pointing to heritage as proof of their assurance of salvation.

  6. “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.” -Isaiah 59:14

    Christians are not supposed to remain silent about apostasy. This is not the right way. The Lord tells us in Isaiah 59:14 that TRUTH IS FALLEN IN THE STREETS, and we are to pick it up again. We are to tell the truth, in season and out of season, when popular or unpopular, when legal or outlawed. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto him. We are not responsible for the results, we are just commanded to tell the truth. 1st Corinthians 3:6,7 tells us that it is GOD ALONE that gives the increase in souls reached for Christ… “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” Our duty as Christians is to preach the truth, and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. We cannot force anyone to repent and do the right thing.

    Truth is fallen in the streets of America! The truth has few friends these days. Few people care anymore about the blatant evils happening in Washington D.C., especially in The White House,The Congress, and The Senate.

    Few Americans are concerned anymore about the moral decay of our nation. The truth that homosexuality is a vile and filthy sin has fallen in the streets! The truth that abortion is cold-blooded murder has fallen in the streets! The truth that immodestly dressed whorish woman destroy marriages has fallen in the streets! The truth that drunkenness is a sin has fallen into the streets of America! The truth has fallen into the street, and there are few willing to pick it up!

    Few believers today care about the Bible, having traded in their trustworthy King James Bible for a corrupt modern version, such as the damnable New International Version (NIV), which brutally attacks the Godhead and deity of Jesus Christ. Why would anyone use the NIV? Yet, the NIV is by far the most popular Bible version on the market today. Sad. So sad! Most Christians have exchanged their Sword for a butter-knife! Truth is fallen in the street!

    Few pastors and preachers are willing to preach against sin anymore. Here’s a pastor of 10,000 people every Sunday, who calls the murdering of babies, a “minor concern” in his church. Truth has fallen into the streets! Christianity Today magazine gives Harry Potter’s witchcraft positive reviews, recommending it to parents for their kids in an article titled, Why We Like Harry Potter. The truth has fallen into the street that all witchcraft is of the Devil!

    Apostate pastors, pastor’s wives, and professed Christian workers all across America are recommending divorce as an answer to marriage problems. The truth that divorce is a rotten sin has fallen into the streets of America! Divorce is selfish, self-centered, and self-righteous! It also makes you a dirty thieving liar, because you made a promise on your wedding day… “For better, for worse; ’til death do us part.” You are guilty in God’s eyes. Women especially, frequently write me, attempting to justify their sin of divorce, but they cannot. The Bible stands firm against them… “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 3:20). “…Let not the wife depart from her husband” (1st Corinthians 7:10). Truth is fallen into the street!

    Truth has fallen into the streets concerning education. America’s children are being brainwashed that they evolved from animals; instead of being lovingly formed by a Divine Creator (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3). Evolution is of the Devil. The missing link will never be found because it DOESN’T exist! If men came from apes, then why are there still apes? It’s common sense folks. Evolution is the religion of the atheist and the humanist. There is NOT one conclusive proof of evolution; but here’s proof that evolution is a hoax. Truth is fallen in the street!

    Instead of searching the Scriptures as Jesus commanded in John 5:39, people today are searching the TV. Oprah Winfrey draws well over 15,000,000 viewers a day to her heathen show. She propagates a damnable New Age gospel of self, sin, and Satanic influences. Please read, The Holy Spirit and Jesus to learn more about Oprah and her New Age “experts.” By the way, Oprah has openly denied that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to heaven. Truth has fallen into the street!

    All across the world, truth is fallen into the street! Every generation must rediscover the truth for itself. Oh, that men would repent and seek the Lord! The truth has always been unpopular, twisted, shunned, and ignored–until it was too late. 1,517 people aboard the sinking Titanic froze to death in the icy waters of the North Atlantic Sea. There weren’t enough lifeboats. Do you think people would ever learn? No, in 1994, the Estonia ship sunk into the Baltic Sea, drowning 852 people. Again, there weren’t adequate lifeboats. It is sadly true that history always repeats itself. History is plagued with example after example of disasters which happened because someone ignored the truth.

    Tragically, America today is just like the Titanic. We are rearranging the deck chairs up on deck, while there’s a gapping tear in the hull, and we are sinking into a moral cesspool of iniquity. America is NOT going to be salvaged by education, reformation, or rehabilitation–we need to repent and turn back to God!!! Truth is fallen in the street!

  7. Yes! And that famous verse, “the smoke of their torment shall rise forever” is a quote from Isaiah 10 about Edom’s smoke rising forever. It’s a picture of total destruction, with the smoke and the foreverness being metaphorical. There is not still smoke rising from Edom.

  8. I think it’s a mistake to think that one could have “life in hell” as you put it. In essince “hell” is to be in a place where God is not. And the Bible says that God is: life, goodness, love, joy, peace, fellowship, relationship. So if you go to a place that’s the apposite of God, you go to a place where none of those thing are. Yes you might carry on to exist eternally, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have “life”. I lived for myself, doing whatever I felt like doing, not caring whether I lived according to God’s ways or not… Because I didn’t believe in God. Then eventually I started experiencing “death” in me. Although I was still walking around and breathing… I felt dead inside. And it was horrible. This got worse and worse, and I so didn’t want to be in “that place” that desperation made some basic part in me cry out to God for help. Although I didn’t believe in God, I wantwd there to be something bigger (and I guess better) than me, to help me. Through a series of events I got invited to a church, where I was told the gospel/good news: that if I believe in Jesus and ask Him to save me, He will. Because He took my place of “death”. At first I didnt want to believe it… But eventually death pushed me to do it (hey, I was willing to try anything to get better). So I did it. And the instant I prayed and gave my life to Jesus the death went away and I felt life and joy and peace in me. It was incredible. So Ive been a Christian (believer in Jesus) ever since. Cause I know now He’s real (I now have relatonship with Him) and He saved me from death… Aka Hell. And Im eternally grateful for it.
    So I want to encourage everyone: get Jesus. There’s no doubt in my mind that the state of death I was experiencing would have become permanent if I were to die then. Peace everyone. Rudolf.

  9. I think further study of the terms in bold is due in order to get a more accurate understanding. If the terms are used as the writer describes I can see where we would come up with that interpretation. It gives me reason to search this information out. i suggest everyone be open minded enough to do further study and prayer.

  10. “2) Jesus also said in Matt 25:46: “They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” That juxtaposition is completely unambiguous, and is a specific description of Judgment Day and eternity. And is nearly verbatim of what you mocked in this article.” – Punishment not punishing. The punishment is eternal; it lasts forever, not the punishing.

  11. “It is beyond the power of the human mind to estimate the evil which has been wrought by the heresy of eternal torment. The religion of the Bible, full of love and goodness, and abounding in compassion, is darkened by superstition and clothed with terror. When we consider in what false colors Satan has painted the character of God, can we wonder that our merciful Creator is feared, dreaded, and even hated? The appalling views of God which have spread over the world from the teachings of the pulpit have made thousands, yes, millions, of skeptics and infidels.” – The Great Controversy, page 536

  12. “What would be gained to God should we admit that He delights in witnessing unceasing tortures; that He is regaled with the groans and shrieks and imprecations of the suffering creatures whom He holds in the flames of hell? Can these horrid sounds be music in the ear of Infinite Love? It is urged that the infliction of endless misery upon the wicked would show God’s hatred of sin as an evil which is ruinous to the peace and order of the universe. Oh, dreadful blasphemy! As if God’s hatred of sin is the reason why it is perpetuated. For, according to the teachings of these theologians, continued torture without hope of mercy maddens its wretched victims, and as they pour out their rage in curses and blasphemy, they are forever augmenting their load of guilt. God’s glory is not enhanced by thus perpetuating continually increasing sin through ceaseless ages.” – The Great Controversy, page 536

  13. You’ve made numerous errors in this article, ones that are easily cleared up if you truly cared to know the Truth. I’m sad that I am compelled to make such an accusation. I will sum up your fallacy with three examples:

    1) When Jesus said in Matt 10:28 “destroy both body and soul”, he didn’t use a word that meant cease to exist – the word He spoke (or was written) is used to mean a state of ruin. There is a different word for cease to exist or annihilation. In addition, similar to my item #3 below, Jesus isn’t giving a description of what Judgment Day or eternity will be like – he’s telling you who has what power and whom you should fear, and not fear. So to use this verse as a doctrinal reference to what’s going to happen on Judgment Day is to ignore Jesus’ point and to insert your own. That’s probably not good.

    2) Jesus also said in Matt 25:46: “They will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” That juxtaposition is completely unambiguous, and is a specific description of Judgment Day and eternity. And is nearly verbatim of what you mocked in this article.

    3) Most of the OT examples are not specifically about Judgment Day, and to conflate them with Judgment Day when the context doesn’t call for it is dangerous. Much like what you did in item #1. Maybe I should have put those items together and just had two.

    I don’t pretend to know with certainly exactly what hell is like. But what I *do* know is what I’ve been told by Jesus: that hell is a real place of punishment where real people will be sent forever. And if I can’t believe Jesus when he said it so clearly and bluntly, even if it seems crazy, then why should I believe that he can forgive sins? Even forgiveness of sins is crazy if you think about it.

    Your doctrinal arguments remind me of those that Jehovah’s Witnesses would use when I debated them. Have you read up on their doctrine? You’re likely to find some comfort there.

    One final note: I’ve given you fair warning that you are incorrect and should repent. If you are right, then Jesus’ love will cover the sins of my post and all of my other doctrinal errors. If I am right, then you are in big, big trouble, as this post is reaching out to many and nudging them away from the truth of Scripture. When that Great Day comes, you will not be able to look me in the eye and say “Why didn’t you tell me?” Please change your mind.

  14. Ben:
    Should God ask me if I thought people should suffer an eternal hell, I would probably say, ‘isn’t that a little long,” but He has not asked me and doubt He will.

    You know, of course,”we see through a glass darkly.” I think I will follow God’s Word, instead of the Corey Doctrine. As the “sharks” say, I’m out!

  15. One of my favorite quotes on the subject, from English preacher Samuel Minton circa 1870:

    “Scripture is silent on man’s immortality. It is trumpet-tongued on the other side. From beginning to end it positively labours to impress upon man that he is not an immortal indestructible, but a dying, perishing creature; who, if he desires to inherit eternal life, must accept it as the free gift of God in Christ, and seek for it by patient continuance in well-doing. The alternatives of life and death, immortality and destruction, are incessantly put before us in every shape and form. Dogmatic assertions, warnings, promises, arguments, illustrations, and necessary inferences are massed together in such a way that it might have been thought impossible for any human being to misunderstand them.

    The very object of Christ’s death is again and again declared to be, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life:” yet Scripture we are told, pre-supposes that man is absolutely imperishable, and must spend an everlasting life of some kind, whether he believes or not. It teaches that “whosoever doeth the will of God abideth for ever;” but we are told it pre-supposes that everyone must abide forever either in weal or woe. It teaches clearly that “if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever;” but we are told it pre-supposes that every man must live forever, whether he eat of it or not. It teaches that “the wages of sin is death;” but pre-supposes that man’s spirit is essentially deathless, and that his body having been raised from its first temporary death, can incur no second death, but must live eternally on in weal or in woe.

    Scripture teaches clearly that the “end” of impenitent sinners “is destruction,” even “everlasting destruction;” that “like natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed,” they “will utterly perish in their own corruption;” that they will be “cast forth as a branch and withered…. cast into the fire and burned,”—burnt up like “chaff” with unquenchable fire; that “a fiery indignation” will “devour” them; that they “shall be cut off,” and “shall not be;” that “into smoke they shall consume away;” that they shall “lose their own souls,”— “lose themselves;” and yet we are told that it pre-supposes what?—why, something that would render it absolutely impossible for any one of these things ever to occur.”

  16. Benjamin, please explain what God meant when he described the lake of fire in Revelation 20, where Satan, Death, the Beast and all whose names are NOT written in the Book of Life will go; where there is torment day and night forever.

  17. Albeit, I see the inference in the verses you cited that the judgement of the wicked would be finite and complete, there are two verses that would lead me to believe differently.

    Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: (And the antithesis would be) but the righteous into life eternal. (If we are granted “eternal” life, it would seem logical that the antithesis would be “eternal” or “everlasting” punishment.)

    2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

    The destruction, although not annihilation, is:
    (1) to be continued forever; and,
    (2) is to be of the nature of punishment.

    One thing is for certain…as a “Born Again” believer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I only need concern myself with the eternal life that awaits and to share that glorious hope with a lost and dying world.

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