In Revelation 20 the resurrection of the wicked is detailed. They are then judged and thrown in the lake of fire.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [The righteous only were raised to life first]

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God [the wicked are then raised for judgement]; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. [all the dead wicked are found and raised for judgement]

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. [then they die]

I personally take the Annihilationism perspective, where the wicked are completely annihilated after being judged; they will exist no more.

So from the other perspective, the traditional doctrine of Hell, how does it make sense that the wicked will be resurrected, only to be killed, then suffer eternal torment in Hell (Lake of Fire)? Less challengingly said, why are the wicked resurrected when it seems unnecessary?

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    I don't know that this can possibly be constructive. You're asking for us to explain God's motives, an impossible task. This could be constructive if it were asking if the view is Scriptural, but why God decides to operate a certain way is not. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 12:11
  • The question assumes that the wicked will be killed. Saying that something that God does "seems unnecessary" might be... missing an important point, to put it one way.
    – Alypius
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 16:26
  • @Alypius Since when does death not mean killed? There is also a difference between assumption and interpretation. You call it assumption only because you think it is a wrong interpretation. Feel free to answer from the other perspective, which is exactly what I have asked for.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:27
  • 1
    @DavidStratton I don't mean to ask for God's motives, but surely God only acts with reason. I am asking for the non-annihilationist perspective if there is a reason that is known, whether through Scripture, tradition, or logic.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:30
  • 3
    This question also assumes the verse is actually talking about the wicked, and death, and resurrection... and isn't analogy for something.
    – Flimzy
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 18:59

3 Answers 3


I think the misunderstanding here is that the wicked are resurrected and then killed. I'm not sure there's a Biblical backing for the idea that those who rejected Christ will again be separated from their bodies. Their souls will be in bodies when they are cast into the lake of fire. Therefore, the punishment is eternal, physical, punishment in the presence of God and the angels (Revelation 14:10).

The underlying belief here is that the soul was never meant to live without a body, and so it will not, for all eternity, but the question is, will the body be glorified, or will it not be? From Romans 8:30, we see that the foreknown Christian is predestined, justified, sanctified, and glorified.

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

So a Christian is glorified, but a non-believer will not be.

In 1 Corinthians 15:12-14, Paul specifically states that the dead are raised. He doesn't say that only Christians are raised, but all are raised:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.

Not only this, but Christ himself states that all people will be raised, in John 5:28-29:

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

So it's not only Christians who are resurrected, but ALL people, though their resurrection may be followed immediately by very different experiences. All will worship, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life will be justified in the eyes of God. All others will bear their own sin.

As for the underlying idea that annihilation might be preferable to eternal suffering, and eternal torment, I can only conjecture that the reason why eternal torment is taught instead of annihilation, is because annihilation is simply "not complete enough" of a penalty to pay for the sins that have been committed against an all-holy, perfect, just, and loving God. The object of the transgression must be taken into consideration as well. Whereas death may be a sufficient penalty here on earth when sins are committed against humans, it is not sufficient in eternity, when committed against an infinitely good God.

(As a side note, some of our discomfort with eternal torment in western culture comes from the western culture's over-emphasis on love and forgiveness at the expense of justice. In Islamic cultures, they may find our emphasis on love and forgiveness somewhat offensive, preferring to value justice more highly.)

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    I suspect it is not so much "over-emphasis on love and forgiveness" as a lack of consideration of the "object of the transgression". While the West still has some concept of respected persons or positions, the emphasis on equality, exposure to faults, and perhaps reduced concept of respecting the office by respecting the person--these seem to make it more difficult to conceive of even the least sin being cosmic treason. (a bit chatty)
    – user3331
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 15:04
  • Maybe you can clear a few things up for me here. I'm confused by what you are saying in the first two paragraphs. So the other perspective does say the wicked are reunited with their body? Then the dead suffer eternal hell with their physical body?
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:35
  • I'm not sure if they'll be in the same body as what they lived in before they died on earth, or whether they'll be resurrected into new bodies, which will then be punished, but it does seem as though, biblically, they will suffer eternal hell with a physical body, yes. At least that's how I read it. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:55
  • 1
    Ok. Perhaps you can then expand on the second paragraph. That seems to be where the answer is but it is the shortest paragraph.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 20:34
  • The edit is much better. +1. So the argument is that a physical body is apparently necessary to receive the punishment of Hell? The definition of Hell, therefore, does not actually matter on this point. Correct? That still leaves a 'why' echoing, but I guess we just don't know. Correct?
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 21:31

While I realize is an old question, and that you have probably already settled on an answer or moved on to more pressing questions; but when I read it and I felt compelled to give you an answer.

As a Southern Baptist, I believe that the holy Bible is the inerrant word of God. And that all of the answers to any of our questions are in his word. Some of course and are more conspicuous than others, and often the answers are found in books of which we would not normally associate with the question.

Your question would appear to have partial answers in many books, even though your question basically has to do with the Revelation; the beginning of the answer seems to be all the way back in the book of Genesis:

All Scripture is quoted from the King James translation, unless otherwise noted.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

There are two things that we need to notice in this Scripture;

  1. The Lord formed physical man out of the dust of the ground.

  2. The Lord God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.

So first let's take up the breath of life, the breath of life came from the Lord God and was a part of the eternal God. Therefore it seems to me that the breath of life, which came from the Lord God; is also eternal. And that means that the breath of life is also eternal, which to me gives meaning to the Part which says man became a living soul. If the breath of life is eternal and created that the soul, the soul itself should then be eternal.

We may have some explanation of that in what Jesus said in:

Matthew 10: Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

I am struck by Jesus saying "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:" when talking about man, contrasted with " but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

And when I researched this I found that the original words Jesus is attributed with using are:

ἀποκτείνω apokteinō ap-ok-ti'-no From ἀπό and κτείνω kteinō (to slay); to kill outright; figuratively to destroy: - put to death, kill, slay.


ἀπόλλυμι apollumi ap-ol'-loo-mee to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: - destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

And while the definition of both words are almost the same, why did Jesus use different words, unless he meant something separate for them.

Before we go on lets take a look at the physical body part.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

From this we may determine that our physical bodies will return to dust, therefore we cannot spend eternity in these physical bodies. So then what about eternity and how will we spend it?

First lets look at what John said;

1st John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

What I read in this Scripture is that God has not shown us exactly, what we will be like when we are resurrected, but we will be like Jesus is now. So does that include a body of some kind, but not the physical body we now have which God has decreed will return to dust?

John 20:19 and 20 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.

When Jesus was resurrected he was apparently resurrected in a body much similar to the one he occupied while alive as a man.

The question then becomes does that body have the senses of feeling, and seeing and the other three senses of man?

Satan will be tormented forever;

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

but what about man? Since we are accepting that the soul is eternal where will the Soul spend eternity?

Lets go back to:

Matthew 10: Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Remember the part about Jesus using two different terms in that statement, both of which mean almost the same. Lets take a longer look at:

ἀπόλλυμι apollumi ap-ol'-loo-mee

this word appears to be more toward total destruction of both body and Soul, and according to Jesus is something only God can do, so therefore we are left to determine whether:

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

The tormenting is only for the devil or if it also applies to unbelievers.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

According to this Scripture death has been cast into the lake of fire before the unsaved.

Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

That to me says that they have been resurrected according to:

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

So Jesus returned in a body similar to his human body, and if we are to be like him we will also have a body similar to our human bodies and it should feel, and hear, and see, and taste, and smell.

And lets take a look at something else Jesus told us.

Luke 16:22 through 24 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

If the rich man was being tormented while in Hell, was he any less tormented when Hell gave him up and he was cast into the lake of fire?

So if that resurrection body has all of its 5 senses how many of them will be effected by what happens in the lake of fire. I hate to consider the smell, and taste of dryness in the mouth, not to mention all of the pain that must be associated with eternal burning.

This is my reading of the Scriptures, you may not read them as I do, but I hope it will at least help you to find what you need.

  • @Fredsbend Sorry to be so late answering this question, but it was originally asked before I joined.
    – BYE
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 22:35

It says in Hebrews 12:

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

One of my favorite books is The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. He uses a fabulous analogy. The people of Hell are permitted to take holidays to Heaven in a bus. However, when they walk on the grass, it cuts their feet like knives, because their bodies are so insubstantial. Only those with faith and love are bulked up enough to be able to bend the grass.

Many people complain that God sends some people to Heaven and some to Hell. What if he sends everyone to the same place? The righteous receive glorious bodies and are able to look upon the face of God and yet not die. Their bodies are strong. But the unrighteous are given other bodies, indestructible but incapable of withstanding the fiery glory of God. Imagine living inside a supernova for all eternity, unable to perish but feeling the heat? The righteous feel it as love and joy, the wicked as torment, but it is the same glory.

A laser crystal is a good analogy. If there are no flaws, cracks, or smudges on a laser crystal, the light passes through it and the crystal is unharmed. But if there be any impurities (sin) then the light is absorbed by the impurities or fractures and the crystal overheats, cracks, and is destroyed. So just as three Hebrews were cast into the fire in the book of Daniel and were not harmed, but the soldiers who approached too near the flame were killed, so we all will be cast into the fire of God's glory.

  • I'm not sure you've answered the question.
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 15:31
  • We are all resurrected to stand in the presence of God forever, whether good or evil. Some of us will enjoy the experience, and other will be tormented by it. No one is destroyed, in the sense of ceasing to exist. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 15:42
  • The question asks why the wicked are raised, only to be killed then tormented forever. You are saying they are not killed? Any theological sources agree with you?
    – user3961
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 16:11
  • They are "killed", they suffer the second death. All I am saying is that their death is to stand in the presence of God unshielded. As Ecclesiastes says, God has set eternity in our hearts. The eternity we all get to keep. The quality of that eternity is what is in question. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 16:41
  • For a source, see: mundall.com/erik/hellfire.htm where comparison is made to the three who were cast into the furnace in the book of Daniel, but were not consumed. All are cast into the fire, where some burn while others do not. Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 16:47

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