Hiya Pork, I thought this should be a new thread so as not to derail the other one.
I will use scriptures from the Douay Bible to defend the JW view. It’s one of those issues that we really won’t be able to reach concensus on.
Please note a) JW’s believe ‘hell’ means the grave, a place of death and inactivity, b) JW’s do not believe in an immortal soul, we believe souls can die.
Reason 1 - The Penalty is Death, not everlasting life (in torment):
Gen 3:3 “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of paradise, God hath commanded us that we should not eat; and that we should not touch it, lest perhaps we die.” Here it says Adam and Eve would die. It does not say they would live, albeit in torture. They knew what death meant as they had seen it with the animals - it meant ‘not living’.
Gen 3:4 “And the serpent said to the woman: No, you shall not die the death.” The first recorded lie. We feel this is still perpetuated today.
Eze 18:4 “Behold all souls are mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die.” This does not describe eternal existence in misery, but death.
Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death. But the grace of God, life everlasting in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Same again, but from the Greek scriptures.
Jas 1:15 “Then, when concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin. But sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.” Consistently the Bible says ‘Death’, not ‘Torment’.
- I’ll stop here as there are too many others to keep adding which are just the same.
Reason 2 - Death means Destruction:
Psa 145:20 “The Lord keepeth all them that love him; but all the wicked he will destroy.” The punishment from God is not immortal woe, but destruction.
2Th 1:9 “Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power:” The eternal punishment is destruction - everlasting destruction.
Rom 9:22 “What if God, willing to shew his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction,” When something is destroyed, what is left over? - Nothing is left over.
Mat 7:13 “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.” One of the most famous sermons. It talks about being destroyed.
Mat 10:28 "And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. " What happens in hell according to this?
- I’ll stop here as well, as I could just keep adding to this list.
Reason 3 - Death involves nothingness, ie not being able to see, hear, or be tortured:
Ecc 9:10 “Whatsoever thy hand is able to do, do it earnestly: for neither work, nor reason, nor wisdom, nor knowledge shall be in hell, whither thou art hastening.” Nothing happens in hell.
Ecc 9:5 “For the living know that they shall die, but the dead know nothing more”. Those dead are not capable of anything.
Psa 146:4 “His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return into his earth: in that day all their thoughts shall perish.” If you cannot think you are dead / nothing.
1Sa 2:9 “He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness;”. Nothing to hear, nothing to see.
Reason 4 - Good people go to Hell:
Gen 37:35 “And all his children being gathered together to comfort their father in his sorrow, he would not receive comfort, but said: I will go down to my son into hell, mourning.” Jacob thought his innocent son was in hell. He thought he would go to hell. This only makes sense if he thought hell was ‘the grave’ and not a place of punishment.
Job 14:13 “Who will grant me this, that thou mayst protect me in hell, and hide me till thy wrath pass, and appoint me a time when thou wilt remember me?” Righteous Job wanted to die to end his suffering, not to prolong it.
Act 2:31 “Foreseeing this, he spoke of the resurrection of Christ. For neither was he left in hell: neither did his flesh see corruption.” Christ himself spent three days in hell - the Sign of Jonah.
Explaining ‘Hell fire’:
- Mat 5:22 And whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mar 9:45 (9:44) And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting than having two feet to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire:
Mar 9:47 (9:46) And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire:
Jas 3:6 The tongue is placed among our members, which defileth the whole body and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, being set on fire by hell.
All of these verses derive their terminology from the greek ‘Gehenna’. This was a rubbish tip outside Jerusalem which was kept burning to get rid of the city’s rubbish. They did not throw anything into Gehenna alive. It is a fitting symbol of complete destruction, in line with the rest of the Bible. We know it must be symbolic from the final scripture…
Rev_20:14 “And hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death.” Can hell be thrown into itself? Can death be burned? This means that death and the grave will be done away with. Please note that JW’s believe resurrection is possible from the grave (hell), but not from the ‘pool of fire’.
Porknpie, this of course is not everything but a sample. I have not covered the rich man and Lazarus, or Tartarus, for example.
When we look at it all together JW’s draw the conclusion that hell means the grave (which is why we are cast ‘down’ into it), and not a place of unending torment.
Sorry it was so long but it was a big question!