Fallacies In The Annihilationism Debate? A Response To Glenn Peoples -- By: Robert A. Peterson
JETS 50:2 (June 2007) p. 349
Fallacies In The Annihilationism Debate? A Response To Glenn Peoples
Robert Peterson is professor of Systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary, 12330 Conway Road, St. Louis, MO 63141.
I am appreciative that Glenn Peoples regards my work on the doctrine of hell as worthy of a response.1 Although several recent books have furthered the traditionalist-annihilationist debate, I am afraid that Peoples’s article does not.2 Although his arguments related to 2 Thessalonians 1 and Revelation 20 have been cogently answered in Hell under Fire by Douglas Moo and Gregory Beale, respectively, Peoples seems unaware of this. In this essay, I will respond to his major criticisms of my exegesis and theological method, express appreciation for a point of correction, and largely overlook his comments that reflect negatively on my character. Along the way I will also indicate why I continue to affirm the historic view of hell (traditionalism) and to oppose annihilationism (conditionalism).
Peoples alleges that I committed “inexcusable misrepresentation” when I wrote in Two Views of Hell that Edward Fudge’s view that Christ’s death involved destruction compromises the unity of Christ’s person because it implies the dissolution of his human nature.3 I am also accused of misrepresenting Fudge’s exegetical presentation as a theological argument to avoid his exegesis, of misrepresenting one of Fudge’s footnotes, of falsely claiming that Fudge cited Edward White, of misrepresenting White’s teaching, and of attacking a straw man that I had erected.
I respectfully submit that none of these accusations is true. For example, in the first edition of The Fire that Consumes Fudge included the heading,
JETS 50:2 (June 2007) p. 350
“Jesus’ Death Involved Total Destruction.”4 Therein he made the following theological argument: (1) Jesus suffered the penalty of hell in his death; (2) this penalty consisted of his destruction, not his suffering everlasting punishment; (3) therefore, annihilationism is true and traditionalism is false. I called this a theological argument, because, although Fudge appealed to Scripture, which I acknowledged, he employed the theological deduction that I have summarized here in three points. And that is plainly a theological argument.
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