My Spanish 1 instructor, Professor Farcau, assigned each student in her class a number and informed the students, “In la clase de Spanish 1, all will give an oral presentation.” Then, she said, “All who have been assigned numbers one through twenty will present on Monday.”
The students assigned numbers twenty-one and up did not assume that they were exempt from giving an oral presentation, because they had already been told that everyone would give a presentation. They knew that they would give their oral presentations in a class period other than Monday.
In attendance at the Summer Research Academy at UCF were approximately one hundred students. The instructor announced, “All Summer Research Academy students will be provided with a Subway sandwich and drink. All who are Biology majors are now dismissed.”
Did the non-Biology majors think that they would have to stay in their seats and go hungry? No, of course not. They had already been told that everyone would be provided with a meal. They knew that they would be dismissed, each in his or her own turn.
The apostle Paul writes, “In Christ, all will be made alive.” And he also writes, “All who belong to Christ will be made alive at His coming.”
Should we assume that those who are not made alive at His coming will never be made alive?
According to Francis Chan, the answer is yes. In his book, Raising Hell, he comments on Paul’s letter, “[It] can’t mean that everyone will be saved in the end.”
Think about it. If Paul writes, “In Christ, all will be made alive,” then why should Paul’s explanation about the order in which this reality takes place nullify his first statement?
Chan attempts to explain why, but his explanation, in my opinion, falls flat on its face if it is accompanied by a bit of scrutiny. Chan writes,
In fact, following this verse is a whole lot of destruction: destruction of everyone and everything that opposes God in this life. This is why Paul concludes the letter with a forceful warning that everyone who does not love Jesus will be damned.
In the previous blog, If God Swears, Then What About…, I wrote about the Greek word, apoleia, and its derivatives, which are translated into our English word, destroy, destruction, lose, or lost. There are many scriptural references to make obvious that something apoleia or someone apoleia can be found, restored, healed, cleansed, made alive, made useful, saved, etc. If you haven’t read it yet, you should, because Chan’s view, which lines up with the orthodox view, does not stop to consider the broader meaning of the Greek word. They read the English words destroy or destruction and auto-think eternal torment in Hell, even though the text says no such thing.
Let’s take a look at Chan’s claim that Paul asserts “everyone who does not love Jesus will be damned”, based on Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 16:22, “If anyone does not love the Lord – a curse be on him […]”. Again, Chan and his orthodoxically correct buddies (yes, I just made up that word LOL) see the English word “damned” and auto-think eternal torment in Hell, even though the text says no such thing. Let’s look at how the word is used elsewhere in the Koine Greek of the New Testament:
[…] about the temple, that with goodly stones and devoted things it hath been adorned […] Luke 21:5
[…] certain of the Jews having made a concourse, did anathematize themselves, saying neither to eat nor to drink till they may kill Paul and they were more than forty who made this conspiracy by oath, who having come near to the chief priests and to the elders said, `With an anathema we did anathematize ourselves – to taste nothing till we have killed Paul. […] thou, therefore, mayest thou not yield to them, for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, who did anathematize themselves – not to eat nor to drink till they kill him, and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from thee. Acts 23:12-14, 21
[Paul speaking …] I was wishing, I myself, to be anathema from the Christ – for my brethren, my kindred […] Romans 9:3
I give you to understand that no one, in the Spirit of God speaking, saith Jesus [is] anathema, and no one is able to say Jesus [is] Lord, except in the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:3
Clearly, the temple was not decorated with eternal torment in Hell, nor were the Jews protesting by volunteering themselves for eternal torment in Hell, nor was Paul wishing he were suffering eternal torment in Hell, nor were people saying that Jesus was suffering eternal torment in Hell. We must not read into the word anathema what is not there.
Here is the etymology for anathema:
1520s, “an accursed thing,” from L. anathema “an excommunicated person; the curse of excommunication,” from Gk. anathema “a thing accursed,”
But here is where the etymology really gets interesting. Pay attention, now…
originally “a thing devoted,” lit. “a thing set up (to the gods),” from ana- “up” (see ana-) + tithenai “to place,” from PIE base *dhe- “to put, to do” (see factitious). Originally simply a votive offering, by the time it reached Latin the meaning had progressed through “thing devoted to evil,” to “thing accursed or damned.” Later applied to persons and the Divine Curse. Meaning “formal act or formula of consigning to damnation” is from 1610s.
As I have repeatedly claimed through various blogs, the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible brought with it several key mistranslations that have made their way into the English Bibles which populate the shelves of Christian book stores, the very Bibles that people count on to communicate truth. These errors have been the basis for God-dishonoring orthodoxy for far too long, and it is time people are exposed to it. If you don’t believe me, then find a pre-1984 New International Version of the Bible, and look up Galatians 1:8-9 (or click the reference to view it online), which also references anathema, but translators decide to exaggerate, adding to scripture what isn’t there, in order to convey the idea of eternal torment in Hell. As author and teacher Gary Amirault points out,
NO other English translation had the nerve to put “eternally” into these phrases in Galatians. Why? Because there is no word in these two sentences that remotely refers to eternity. The NIV translators simply took the liberty of injecting their own beliefs in eternal damnation into this passage without a shred of support from the Greek. This passage is not a unique instance in which the NIV translators took great liberty with the Greek text.
Now that Chan’s argument has fallen apart, let’s reexamine the idea that Paul is NOT saying all those whose earthly life ends without yet believing are damned to eternal torment in Hell, in contrast, Paul is asserting the order and manner in which all will be made alive:
And now, Christ hath risen out of the dead – the first-fruits of those sleeping he became, for since through man [is] the death, also through man [is] a rising again of the dead, for even as in Adam all die, so also in the Christ all shall be made alive, and each in his proper order, a first-fruit Christ, afterwards those who are the Christ’s, in his presence, then – the end, when he may deliver up the reign to God, even the Father, when he may have made useless all rule, and all authority and power – for it behoveth him to reign till he may have put all the enemies under his feet – the last enemy is done away – death.
Again, notice exactly what the work Christ accomplishes, somewhere between “those who are Christ’s, in his presence” and “the end” – Christ “made useless”, not people, but “all rule, and all authority and power”. He does not ultimately do away with the people who “all their lives were held captive by the fear of death”, he does away with death itself! What glorious, triumphant news! Why the Hell would Chan want to darken it with such hopelessness?
Next blog – Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: “All = Some”