the Christian theological tradition there has always been a variety of
perspectives on hell, usually distinguished according to their views about the
duration of hell’s torments for the damned. Traditionalists maintain that the
suffering of the damned is everlasting. Universalists claim that eventually
every person is redeemed and arrives in heaven. And conditional immortalists,
also known as “conditionalists” or “annihilationists,” reject both the concept
of eternal torment as well as universal salvation, instead claiming that after a
finite period of suffering the damned are annihilated.
has enjoyed somewhat of a revival in scholarly circles in recent years, buoyed
by the influential biblical defense of the view by Edward Fudge. However, there
has yet to appear a book-length philosophical
defense of conditionalism . . . until now. In Hell
and Divine Goodness,
James Spiegel assesses the three major alternative theories of hell, arriving at
the conclusion that the conditionalist view is, all things considered, the most
defensible position on the issue.
James S. Spiegel is Professor of
Philosophy and Religion at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.