This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Is Immortality Conditional?

QUESTION: Is it true that immortality is conditioned on saving faith in Christ?

ANSWER: Some good people have fallen into this error. When they read annihilation into death and understand life to signify existence, or bare being, instead of well-being, they have a host of Scriptural proof-texts. Whereas there is no word in the Bible meaning annihilation. The Greek word  ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi), destroy, has not that meaning. If it has, we must translate Luke 15:24 thus, "He was annihilated and is found." "I am not sent but unto the annihilated sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 15:24). See also Luke 15:4, 6. The destruction of the organism does not destroy the agent for whom it was made. "Fear not them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul," etc. The doctrine of annihilation is inseparable from materialism. If the moral Governor of the universe is at last going to rid it of sin by annihilating sinners he would long ago have given assurance of it by annihilating the devil to prevent the spread of this dreadful contagion.

Spirits angelic, satanic and human are indestructible. Hence the infinitude of the divine sacrifice for their redemption.

— From Steele's Answers pp. 30, 31.

1 comment:

  1. He is so insistent on this point and on the immortality of the soul, because otherwise he would have to accept Annihilationalism / Conditionalism.

    He's nice enough to say that it is otherwise "good people" who "have fallen into this error."

    I was taught in Seminary that the soul is not a detachable part of the human person. I think a lot of scholars are currently teaching that this is the Hebraic view (though whether it really is, is an open question, at least to me).

    But, since a scholarly consensus seems to be emerging against the idea of the "immortality of the soul" doesn't this entail the embrace of Conditionalism rather than Steele's preferred doctrine of eternal torment in Hell for the wicked?

    (I'm actually a bit conflicted on the "immorality of the soul" issue.)