A response to Edward Fudge, The Fire that Consumes:
Starting out with a presupposition that Hell is a difficult subject to address, he commits to the reasoning that since the Doctrine of Hell is appalling to most people to research, that this is the reason there is very little information concerning the topic. Edward comments, few people want to study the subject any more. Page 19, Edward Fudge is quoted, “Harry Buis tells the difficulty he had locating material for his book on final punishment.” (Harry Buis, The Doctrine of Eternal Punishment.) Thus his attempt to establish the reason that there is no much subject material on hell is because of a lack of interest in it, rather then the other possibility, it is mostly the vain imagination of self-righteous religious elite, and a made up concept.
He continues to say, "This doctrine is “an integral and vital element of our Christian faith” quoting Roger Nicole (The Punishment of the Wicked, Christian Today, 1958 p 15.)*
Read my summary of Chapter 3 to find out Edward defeats himself
In Chapter 1 it is full of Fallacy ** False Cause, Confusing Correlation and Cause, Causal Reductionism, Cliche Thinking, Appeal to Widespread Belief, etc.**
He continues down the slippery slope of ‘why’ Hell is not being discussed. He says, it is because people ‘desire’ or ‘wish’ not to have it. Then goes into to entire treatise that not wanting the existence of hell, is a fanciful wish. Has he decided to reflect on the fact that perhaps it is his own desire that hell exists (at least in the manner he is presuming)? He quotes L.A. King earlier, mentioning he only met two people in his lifetime who found PLEASURE talking about Hell. There is something inheritant wrong with that statement. Even if Hell is as he says, even Jesus did not take pleasure in discussing it with his disciples and the pharisee.
Why we don’t want to study or believe in Hell?
His first reason, Our Desire: It is a wish that it doesn’t exist.
This is absolute speculation.
His second reason.
Easy Answers: Hell is a difficult bible study.
If eternal torment hell is the truth, why are so many finding such a simple concept of hell, a difficult study? As mentioned above, occam’s razor would find the more simpler explanation is the correct one, it doesn’t exist.
His third reason?
Private Interpretation: Discovering a ‘new’ truth that has never been seen before.
Except that Universalism was a very popular subject and that it is recorded that 5 out 7 of the first father churches taught Universalism in one sense or another. But, he has an rebuttal on that one.
His fourth reason?
Church Tradition: Just because earlier churches taught no everlasting hell, doesn’t mean it is correct.
Huh? Honestly, this man is trying to cover all his bases, so even if Church tradition rejects his interpretation of Hell, then it was Church Tradition that was wrong, because Hell is true. Sigh.
In Chapter 2 it is full of Fallacy ** False Cause, Confusing Correlation and Cause, Causal Reductionism, Cliche Thinking, Appeal to Widespread Belief, etc.**
AIONIOS! How long is forever.
Admittingly, Edward Fudge even points out the ambiguity of the word aionios among early church father’s and modern theologians.
He rightly points out it was Augustine who deduced that Eternal Punishment must last just as Long as Eternal Life, which by that claim, demonstrates that it was not thought this way before him. Since Augustine made this claim three centuries after Christ, theological precedent nullifies Augustine as the authority on the word aionios. Perhaps Edward didn’t know, it is a historical fact that Augustine could not read, speak or understand Greek. So how is someone who doesn’t understand Greek, making authoritative conclusions on what the Greek word aionios says?
William G. T. Shedd is quoted to say, “The truth is that aion is a term that denotes time only, and never denotes the nature or quality of an object.” Jon E. Braun on the other hand says that William G. T. Shedd’s explanation of aion is nonsense, wishful thinking and a biblical word game.
He provides a lot of examples, including ones of theologians who agree aionios does not mean forever. It frustrates him so much, that he just ignores that they even said anything. Edward Fudge then says, we cannot settle this matter by merely quoting the claims. Thus defeating all his points in Chapter 1 and Chapter 3.
In Chapter 3 it is full of Fallacy ** False Cause, Confusing Correlation and Cause, Causal Reductionism, Cliche Thinking, Appeal to Widespread Belief, etc.**
I read the entire book, and scratch my head on he could honestly write a book with all those flaws of his position. Perhaps I will post more later.