Hell is one of the major topics which seem to be uncomfortable to people of various denominations. Most Christians find many discussions about hell as those which should be avoided and those which not supposed to be done in open environments or in places where believers have gathered. The bible which is the main book read by many believers in all denomination clearly issues out statements on the topic about hell. The author of the book “Four Views on Hell” tends to give each and every believer an opportunity of having theological arguments provided one is able to fully support his or her argument or interpretation. The author tried to ensure that his opinions are based from the biblical point of view and he also used some of theological opinions which were not necessarily supported by the bible. Crockett’s argues that hell is a form of metaphor as compared to the reasoning of the other authors of the book.
The book “Four Views of Hell” clearly describes four different views on hell. The four authors clearly have supported their beliefs about hell and have significantly defended their positions. The books define the four views from different authors and how these different authors are able to clearly persuade different readers on their views. The book tends to provide an opportunity to every proponent to have a view which is open to any form of argument and that the respondents are free to give their opinion about the different views.The book covers the four views about hell. These views are literal, metaphorical, conditional and purgatorial.
The book does not necessarily tell the reader which of the define views is the best or that which is most biblical but it tries to let the reader to think and choose which of the four view s does make sense. All of the authors have a different understanding of what the scriptures defines what hell is.
Walvoord begins the argument by use of a simple and fundamental literal definition of hell as eternal fire. He tries to give explanations of his view which highly defines the biblical passage on hell as what is read in the bible. His idea was unfortunately questioned as the literal interpretation for only those who believed that the bible was inerrant. His fellow authors argued that there was a great connection between his dispensationalist and the literal argument that was found in the revelation.
Crockett’s steps in with his metaphorical view. He does not view the description of hell as found in the scriptures as literal but argues that it is just the use of metaphor. His view is considered to have more convincing idea because of the skills he uses to argue his view. He develops a theological idea which does away with the concept of Walvoord about eternal fire but incorporates the idea of literal interpretation to his concept.
He questions whether we should consider the literal view of hell and heaven or whether we should consider them as metaphors that describe the real but indefinite states. This argument brings out the use of symbolic words to define what or where hell is. He concludes by stating that the images of both hell and heaven in the scriptures suggest that one place is that of misery while the other one is that of immense happiness.
Hayes tries to defend his view i.e. the purgatorial position. He tries to approach his argument from a different perspective as compared to Crockett’s and Walvoord. Other than only focusing about hell he clearly defines the need to understand the benefit of purgatory. In his argument he argues that it is through our response to the grace of our lord during our stay in earth which is ought to be good but far from perfect. In this statement he brings out the difference between the people who are just and those who are sinners. In order to ensure that the reader is able to follow his argument from the historical to the theological background he has based his approach by the use of statements from the Roman Catholic Church.
Pinnock concludes the four views with his view of i.e. conditional view. He argues that hell is a reality though it does not mean having to endure with eternal punishment because of not following what our lord wants us to do. He tries to clearly define the real meaning of immortality which he argues that has been misunderstood through applying it to human beings. As found in first timothy chapter six versus sixteen God alone is the one who has immortality. He concludes by pointing out that instead of God issuing immortality to everyone he simply withholds it to those who have rejected him. He defines states that by becoming an annihilationist the torture found in hell becomes significantly less but this does not mean that it lessen its extreme seriousness.
Based on the church understanding by many readers, the literal view is more acceptable since it retains the traditional view on the definition of hell. His argument of the term alonios adds more significance to his discussion. However, his argument that hell is an everlasting punishment of flames that consume bodies is still questionable. This argument has greatly deviated from the understanding of the literal view to that of the prophetic saying.
On the other hand, Crockett’s metaphoric view is a clear contradiction of the literal view though there are certain similarities between the two views. Both Crockett’s and Walvoord arguments contest the conditional and purgatorial views since they both talk about hell as eternal punishment though Crockett’s argues that Walvoord view is that of physical improbabilities. He confirms the reality of hell basing his confirmation by the use of symbolic words. He ends his argument by stating that the people who are rebellious will be thrown away from the presence of the lord without any form of restoration.
Hayes does not directly cover on the issue about hell but he rather focuses on theological and historical background of the Roman Catholic Church. His support of his doctrines is found in the books of Maccabees and Deuterocononical. Some of his respondent comments that the understanding and of justification and grace eliminates the meaning of purgatorial view.
Pinnock view on hell is not very clearly because he seems to lack words to express his views. For instance, he asks, how should I begin? Should I pretend to be calm when am not? He clearly says that he is not certain to the traditional doctrine of hell and sees that there is no need for him to pretend. He did not understand why God would create an eternal punishment and why those who did not accept his way were to be annihilated. He did not support the literal and metaphorical view on how good and evil could co-exist eternally.
It is very clear that each contributor had a certain goal when writing the section of the book. The goal of trying to explain the different views was clearly achieved by the different readers. The goal of providing different views and accepting different point of views from subscribes was also achieved. The book also offered a persuasive measure to those with different ideas to change their opinion about hell and decide which of the four views was more appropriate.
Four Views on Hell, provides an interesting insight to the four views discussed. It generally leaves the reader with a certain curiosity in trying to understand more about hell. Though there is great need for one to find interpretation to all the view discussed. God plan will be fulfilled and it will be visible to everyone. The book is very important in analyzing the pros and cons associated with all the discussed views.