After defining annihilationism, we get to what annihilationists believe in general. It must be noted that, as with most of theology, no two annihilationists will present their case in exactly the same way. However, according to Global Dictionary of Theology: A Resource for the Worldwide Church (pg 374), these are the common arguments:
- It is morally inconceivable that the God described in the Bible should punish (torment or torture) people forever, so annihilation presents God more attractively to unbelievers. To punish endlessly the sins of finite beings would be unjust.
- The traditional belief in eternal conscious punishment has been heavily influenced by the Greek philosophical concepts of the inherent immortality of the souls. This is not taught by the Bible, which describes immortality as God’s fit, particularly to the righteous. Because of the importance of this argument, many proponents of this position identify their view as “conditionalism” rather than annihilationism.
- Human freedom is libertarian and so God cannot secure the salvation of all but he accepts the decision of the persistently unrepentant.
- The dominant biblical teaching concerning the final destiny of the wicked is that they will be destroyed.
- Biblical references to the “eternity” of punishment describe its quality and finality rather than endless duration. As an adjective, “eternal” has a different meaning in regard to life than it does in regard to death. Hell is eternal in that the effects of God’s judgment are endless; no one consigned to hell ever leaves it; when the last sinner has paid the appropriate penalty, “death will be no more” (Rev. 21:4); it will be the last enemy destroyed (I Cor 15:24-26, 54-57).
- The final victory of God rules out the endless rebellion of sinners within God’s creation. On this point, annihilationists appeal to the same texts that universalists use in support of universal salvation, but they disagree about the means by which active rebellion against God is brought to an end.