The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Don Preston's case for ET

Preston argues that Hebrews teaches that some people suffer a punishment worse than death, and since the only punishment worse than death would be “spiritual death” (which clearly means ET to Preston), Hebrews teaches ET. Thoughts on his argument?

I’m not seeing why nothing could be worse than physical death, except endless torment?

@maintenanceman what do you think of Preston’s case?

Why not? This is an odd claim for a full prêt to make as the preceding verse (Heb 10:27) specifically makes mention of the… “fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” — what full prêt can’t see that prophetically points to the AD70 destruction of Jerusalem and in particular the Temple?

Preston’s argument is based purely on a criteria HE himself has set. He THEN sets about to prove how nothing can meet or beat this criteria HE has set. The question is… IS his criteria valid?

He uses a portion from Hebrews 10 as the basis for what he contends, BUT is what he contends and thereby concludes isn’t necessarily so?

Heb 10:29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

A much worse punishment simply guarantees the surety of it, i.e., it intensifies, as in, much more so — there is nothing said as to any change in the nature aka type of punishment, say from… physical to spiritual death; THAT’S just his interpolation he introduces to set his criteria and thereby the parameters of the argument.

The reality was… to invoke Moses needed two to three witnesses to bring said condemnation; apostasy OTOH was flying solo, in terms of being a proactive self-evidencing work needing no other testifying collaboration — and of which its dire end being assured.

At the end of the day you need to answer Preston according to his eschatology not his soteriology… although he is a prêterist he argues this particular ECT point purely from his soteriology. However, undermine his eschatology and his soteriology collapses. The argument as follows is simple…

IF the last enemy to be destroyed is death THEN as a full prêterist he has a problem… IF death (spiritual death) being the last enemy has been destroyed in the Parousia THEN God has NO MORE ENEMIES — it’s that simple… game over! This rationale is NOT universalism, it is inclusionism aka inclusive prêterism aka pantelism.

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That’s an interesting theory.

If it is not spiritual death, then the theory falls apart. Not saying it does fail, just that IF it does, K?

Isn’t davo talking about spiritual death? I think it’s important to remember that Paul told the church in Ephesus that they were dead in their sins.

Yeah but that is not the only death there is, right? Jesus did not die spiritually, he really died, and was visibly raised and attested to in that new physical (and more, apparently) body. That appears to be the whole thrust of the resurrection accounts, and what the apostles believed as well.
We STILL die - THAT will be the last enemy.

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Yes I am… and because I am as prêterists likewise do the whole ECT argument thereby falls apart — that’s NOT the case if this falls in the realms of physicality.

Yes Jesus really did die, but ask yourself this… did the Deceiver tell the truth when he stated… you will NOT surely die, as per what God declared i.e., on the day you eat thereof. What death did Adam really die that day? I say it was spiritual aka covenantal aka relational — he broke covenant and lost relationship with God and by such became exiled… OT parlance for death — that’s the real death defeated in Jesus (1Cor 15:26), i.e., “your sins have separated you from your God” aka “dead in trespasses and sins.

I’m on board with much of that though we do diverge when it comes to this:

My thinking is that our physical death is very REAL also - being the cessation of consciousness and the loss of our bodies. Coming at the subject with a preterist bias imo does violence to the plain teaching
of scripture concerning physicality. Spiritual death is real, I think we all realize that, but it is not the whole story, but an important part of it.

He didn’t die that day at all. He continued to live. God said to him, “In the day you eat from it you shall (future tense) surely die.”

Prior to eating the fruit, death was not at work in Adam. In the day that Adam ate the forbidden fruit, the death process began to work in him.

so your thought is that Jesus is going to make physical death null and void, even with all of the contradictory evidence?

Nope, not my thought at all.

okay dokay

To the contrary Dave the prêteristic approach sheds light and common sense AND sticks to the text on these things. Consider the following…

Well that completely avoids answering the actual question, i.e., what death in that day?

Not only that… but your position agrees 100% with that of the cunning serpent who claimed the very same thing in contradiction to Yahweh’s decree…

Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Gen 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.

IF physical death was the referent then God likewise either lied (and the serpent and yourself were and are right), or was mistaken… I reject either proposition in regards to God — He spoke the truth.

The day Adam disobeyed was the day he lost his viceroyalty and was no longer vicegerent having become dead to God covenantally, aka spiritually i.e., this actually happened that very day being subsequently banished from His presence — that’s the death in view in those Genesis passages and as such creates NO contradiction nor convolution of any texts… unlike your view.

Logic even points to the FACT that physical death was ALREADY a natural part of the created order… howbeit with them potentially reaching for the Tree of Life they would live forever — IF they were already living forever, i.e., no physical death, THEN the whole TOL scenario itself becomes redundant and dead!

AGAIN… what threat was physical death IF no such thing ever existed; like what would that threat mean to Adam who apparently knew no such thing — and in light of that consider Ezek 3:18; 33:8. You maybe need to think and then rethink some of this stuff!

Well of course it was future, as was THE DAY they would “surely dietherein… as per the text! See that, no twisting needed. The Hebrew “die die” reflects and is indicative of the immediacy and surety of such a disastrous outcome, i.e., this was NOT some drawn out process baloney.

The main problem with this is… the bible NOWHERE says ANYTHING like that; as always, you’re just making this stuff up! In fact see how ludicrous your… you shall begin to die spin looks here…

1Kgs 2:42 Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the Lord, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die’? And you said to me, ‘The word I have heard is good.’

No way!

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Yet for all this supposed death and separation from God, we see God does not abandon them but in love clothes them in order to deal with their own sense of shame. He banishes them from the garden yet he continues to deal relationally with them as evidenced by the fact that Cain and Abel experienced direct relationship with God in the offering of sacrifices. Cains were not first fruits and thus were not favored but what did God do in response? He approached Cain and coached him gently and supportively as a Father.
I think that these death and separation definitions need to be weighted by those positive facts.


They do indeed… and such as you have laid out shows where all these tangible things reflect the greater and deeper thrust of His boundless mercy, i.e., the relational aka spiritual restoration of the banished (2Sam 14:14).