Propitiation and Final Punishment

Having had every desire not to accept annihilationism/conditionalism, I believe that over the course of the past year or so during which I “converted,” I’ve honestly sought out the best arguments I could find in support of the traditional view of hell (and found them lacking). At this point, I don’t often encounter a challenge I haven’t heard in some form before. Occasionally I’ve heard it claimed that annihilation means there’s another sacrifice for sins besides Christ’s, which hasn’t particularly surprised me.

Recently, however, I encountered an argument I hadn’t seen before, but which is somewhat related to the idea of Christ’s sacrifice. I wrote about it here, clearly refuting the argument that the Levitical animal sacrifices, repeated ad infinitum until Christ’s sacrifice ended them, means the death of an annihilated sinner can’t satisfy the punitive demands of the Law. The author of that argument and I discussed it in the comments thread of that post, and while at one point it seemed to me that he believes annihilation would, in fact, mean there’s another sacrifice for sin, having gone over that conversation multiple times I’m no longer certain.

Just in case, and because I’m not sure I’ve clearly addressed the occasional traditionalist claim that annihilation is another sacrifice for sins besides that of Christ, I think it’s worth my time to explain why it most definitely is not. Following that, I’ll again explain why the repeated Levitical sacrifices do not prove that a sinner’s annihilation cannot satisfy the punitive demands of the Law. And it all begins with understanding the concept of propitiation.

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No End to the Bloodshed: Annihilationism Refuted?

Hiram Diaz, with whom I debated the nature of eternal punishment back in December, recently posted a question on his Facebook page. He later indicated in the comments thread that his question leads to a refutation of annihilationism, based on the insufficiency of repeated Levitical sacrifices to satisfy the punitive demands of the Law, as described in Hebrews 7. Once it is formulated clearly in the form of a syllogism, however, the insufficiency of his argument to challenge annihilationism becomes clear.

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