Those who purport the traditional doctrine of eternal conscious torment/separation, which asserts that the wicked do not physically die at the final judgment, but are instead consciously separated from the presence of God for eternity while physically alive. However, as I point out in my question here, this is an inconsistent position. It is very clear from scripture that humans do not have eternal life in and of themselves, but only God and Jesus do. As a result, there is an unavoidable, inescapable consequence of being separated from their presence, i.e. physical death. This fact is made plainest in scripture in Genesis 3. Being banished from the garden, where God's presence was, meant the inevitable demise of Adam and Eve. I see ECT/ECS proponents point to scriptures like 2 Thessalonians 1:9 all the time, particularly to versions of the passage found in the NIV, NLT, and ISV, assuming that it supports their position.

2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (NIV)

2 Thessalonians 1:9 They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. (NLT)

2 Thessalonians 1:9 Such people will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by being separated from the Lord's presence and from his glorious power (ISV)

Notwithstanding that the original Greek says none of this whatsoever, which is evident by the following literal translations(even the KJV gets it right);

2 Thessalonians 1:9 who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, (ASV)

2 Thessalonians 1:9 who will suffer justice—continuous destruction—from the face of the LORD, and from the glory of His strength, (LSV)

2 Thessalonians 1:9 who shall suffer justice -- destruction age-during -- from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength (YLT)

The source of eternal destruction IS the face of the Lord; the wicked undergo eternal destruction via the presence of the Lord. But never mind that, because even IF the original Greek said what was said in the NIV, NLT, and ISV translations, it would STILL not support eternal conscious separation/torment. Why? Because we know what the inevitable outcome of being separated from God's presence is; physical death! If God and Jesus are the only sources of life(which scripture attests to, e.g. John 5:26, John 6:57), then permanent separation from them means certain death. The NIV, NLT, and ISV translations of 1 Thessalonians 1:9 actually support conditionalism(conditional immortality/annihilationism), not traditionalism.

So I realized... The only way that passages in the Bible that talk about condemnation/destruction being "separation from God's presence"(of which there are none whatsoever, but let's pretend) can be used to support traditional ECT/ECS is if one can prove that the wicked dead are resurrected in immortal bodies as the children of God are. If the wicked are resurrected as ordinary human beings, then if condemnation/destruction really is separation from God(and there's no evidence in the Bible that it is[erroneous translations of 2 Thessalonians 1:9 do not count]), they will necessarily die eventually, and eternal conscious torment/separation is proven false. Only if the wicked are resurrected in immortal, incorruptible bodies can they live for eternity in torment(or not in torment, either way). This is essential in proving eternal conscious torment/separation. You can throw any number of "destruction is separation" passages at me(not that there are any) and it'll do you absolutely no good unless you can prove that the wicked are raised immortal, on account of the fact that separation from God necessarily entails eventual death.

It is not an overstatement to say that the validity of the traditional doctrine of eternal conscious torment/separation hinges on whether or not you can prove the unrighteous are resurrected in immortal, incorruptible bodies. If one cannot do this Biblically, there is essentially no basis whatsoever for the doctrine of eternal conscious torment/separation. Everything reduces to this question;

  • What is the Biblical basis for the notion that the wicked are resurrected in immortal bodies just as the righteous are?

NOTE: This question is directed towards those who purport the traditional doctrine of eternal conscious torment/separation, which asserts that the wicked do not physically die at the final judgment, but are instead consciously separated from the presence of God for eternity while physically alive.

  • I thought the general idea was, ' they are immortal souls already'. The resurrection is just giving them back a body so they can suffer eternally. I know, that isn't in there either but that doesn't stop the doctrine getting taught to millions.
    – steveowen
    Mar 22, 2022 at 5:50
  • "I thought the general idea was, ' they are immortal souls already'." Sure, we are "immortal souls", but we are "immortal souls" in mortal bodies, that is to say, our bodies will eventually stop functioning altogether and "release our souls" so they can "depart to Abraham's bosom/the other compartment of Hades". But traditionalists assert that the wicked will be alive forever physically, that is, they will be bodily alive for eternity. That's only possible with an immortal body, hence my question, is there any Biblical basis for the wicked being resurrected in immortal bodies?
    – Rajesh
    Mar 22, 2022 at 6:01
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    I think you have mis-stated what is held : the resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. Acts 24:15 anastasin mellein esesthai nekrwn dikaiwn te kai adikwn [TR/KJV]. And also (by opposing argument) that 'humans do not have eternal life' : of course not. They have organic life and they may attain to eternal life through faith. Else they perish, eternally : in a lake of fire, which lake would have no purpose if nothing were eternally burning in it. I think the question needs a good deal more clarity and detail in regard to the doctrine that the question is trying to oppose.
    – Nigel J
    Mar 22, 2022 at 11:03
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    @Rajesh, there is (apparently) no need for logic in these matters. We have some who think perish means everlasting life - *they perish, eternally : in a lake of fire, which lake would have no purpose if nothing were eternally burning in it. * This idea has little to do with scripture but a lot to do with doctrine.
    – steveowen
    Mar 23, 2022 at 0:30
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    @steveowen I agree + It's logically impossible. You can't perish for eternity. It's just not possible. I don't know why so many people don't realize this. Many talk about an "eternal destruction process" or "eternally perishing", not knowing that such statements are oxymoronic. "To perish" means to die, but if you perish for eternity, you never actually die, because if you did, you would stop perishing(the perishing would come to an end), but something that is eternal, by definition, never stops or ends! :/
    – Rajesh
    Mar 23, 2022 at 0:35

4 Answers 4


What is the Biblical basis for the notion that the wicked are resurrected in immortal bodies just as the righteous are?

There are many passages like 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 which indicate that believers are to be raised with immortal, incorruptible bodies:

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

As for the resurrection of the wicked there is no distinction ever made between body types that I can find. A distinction is made concerning the purpose of the resurrection for the righteous and the wicked:

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

But no distinction between types of bodies for the two categories is ever made. Scripture simply says that at some point ALL of the dead will rise:

And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. - Acts 24:15

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; - Revelations 20:12a

Where Scripture makes no distinction any distinction we attempt to make resorts to speculation. Since we have some description of what the bodies of the righteous will be like and no different body type ever described for the wicked, there is no clear biblical basis for the dead to be raised in different kinds of bodies.

There is, however, a strong implication in 2 Thess. 1:9 that the wicked are raised with the same type of incorruptible bodies as the righteous:

Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power

Eternal destruction from the presence/face of the Lord. The face of the Lord is not the cause of the destruction...it is the face of the Lord that is ever turning away (apo). Face here is:

προσωπον (prosopon) and together with the prefix προς (pros), which describes a motion toward: the noun προσωπον (prosopon), literally describes the area in which the eye sits: the face or countenance, and by extension a person's attention or inclination. It often occurs in phrases such as "to turn the face toward

...only, in this instance it is turning away. It is eternal destruction "away from" (apo) the "turning toward of the face" (prospon) of the Lord.

The wicked are eternally removed from the attentive gaze of Almighty God. He will no longer turn to the sinner's cry for mercy. He will never stop actively not turning. There is no indication that the animating force is removed from the resurrected body but there is an end to the merciful and grace filled attentions of God who would have all to come to repentance.

Hence, the immediacy of the plea; "Today, if you hear His voice, harden not your heart."

  • 1
    But... My question was not about 2 Thessalonians 1:9. Nowhere did I ask a question regarding 2 Thessalonians 1:9. The only question I asked was, "What is the Biblical basis for the notion that the wicked are resurrected in immortal bodies just as the righteous are?" This doesn't answer my question at all. :/
    – Rajesh
    Mar 23, 2022 at 1:05
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    The first half (nearly) of the body of your question regards 2 Thes. 1:9 AND you take from it that "The source of eternal destruction IS the face of the Lord; the wicked undergo eternal destruction via the presence of the Lord.". Whereas they are not destroyed BY the presence but FROM the face of, and eternally so. God cannot eternally turn away from something that no longer exists, therefore this verse strongly implies immortal continuance of the wicked. Does that help? Mar 23, 2022 at 1:26
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    And then I literally go on to say, "But never mind that". Did you miss the, "but NEVER MIND that"? And this is beside the point, which is that my actual question in both the title and end of my post has absolutely nothing to do with 2 Thessalonians 1:9. -_-
    – Rajesh
    Mar 23, 2022 at 1:38
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    Why would you include so much text and then say "never mind that"? :) Mar 23, 2022 at 12:14
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    Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Rajesh
    Mar 23, 2022 at 16:49

Several verses that talk about resurrection use terminology such as the dead which doesn't distinguish righteous vs unrighteous/wicked. (Mark 12:46, John 5:21, Romans 4:17, Acts 17:32)

Here are some of the most clear verses on resurrection (not to be considered all conclusive)

Job 14:14

If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.

John 5:28-29

28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice

29 and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

Acts 24:15

and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.

1 Corinthians 15:22, 51

22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed

1 Thessalonians 4:16 (first can conclude at least second as well)

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Revelation 20:6, 12 (if first resurrection, can conclude there is at least a second as well)

6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

  • Thank you for the answer, but your statement, "terminology such as the dead which doesn't distinguish righteous vs unrighteous/wicked", is blatantly false. In the first scripture you quote a distinction is made between the righteous and the wicked. Both are resurrected, but nowhere does it say that both are resurrected in immortal, incorruptible bodies. A distinction between the righteous and the wicked is also made in John 5:28-29 and Daniel 12:2. Perhaps the largest distinction is made in Revelation 20, where the righteous are resurrected one thousand years before the unrighteous!!!
    – Rajesh
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:12
  • @Rajesh blatantly false? updated with examples. What other type of resurrection is there? both seem to be referenced the same way (John 5 and Dan 12 could maybe be construed as a difference or its about where they are not how they are resurrected). Being resurrected later also does not denote a different type of resurrection, just that it happened later
    – depperm
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:35
  • "first can conclude at least second as well" True, but those who rise second are not the wicked/unrighteous who are not in Christ, and nowhere does it say that. In fact, Paul goes on to clarify who it is that rise second; "then we who are living, who are remaining over, together with them shall be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in air, and so always with the Lord we shall be;" The dead in Christ rise up to Him in the clouds first, then we rise up to the clouds to be with Christ.
    – Rajesh
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:36
  • @Rajesh considering John 5/Dan 12 reference wicked also being resurrected and it not being mentioned in Thess, to me implies the process just isn't fully flushed out at that moment by John
    – depperm
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:42
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    @Rajesh I'm honestly curious if a/what denomination distinguishes different resurrection types (not times). I believe resurrection to mean the rejoining of body and spirit (there is only one type). As no denomination perspective was asked I just provided biblical basis-limiting expounding. I'd be happy to provide LDS perspective (the one I'm most familiar with) but currently that is out of scope
    – depperm
    Mar 22, 2022 at 17:51

The only passage necessary is that in which Christ says:

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

Clearly, fear only accompanies conscious beings, and in any case is no threat to any non-conscious being. In any case, Jesus promises us that the body will be punished in hell along with the soul. One is never apart from the other.

But in Daniel, we also read:

Daniel 12:2 And many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake: some unto life everlasting, and others unto reproach, to see it always.

This obviously refers to the sleep of death so named because the body ceases to move, talk or show signs of life. But both shall awake, the just and the unjust, some to life, and others to reproach. The awakening is in the body, since the sleep was in the body, but some suffer, and some are rewarded. Indeed, lack of suffering in the afterlife would mean someone could live as wickedly as they wanted and suffer no ill consequence — one cannot suffer when one does not exist!

Moreover, in Revelation 14 we read:

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torments shall ascend up for ever and ever: neither have they rest day nor night, who have adored the beast, and his image, and whoever receiveth the character of his name.

Rest is taken from work — or from punishment for suffering or enduring hardship. Non-existent beings cannot even tentatively take rest, or do that from which rest can be taken.

John describes the fate of those who follow the antichrist regime.

This is the same "for ever and ever" that we read in Revelation 1:

Revelation 1:17-18 And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as though dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last, and the living, who was dead: and behold I live for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell.

Again, remember Jesus taught body and soul both, not separately or disparately, suffer in hell.

Moreover, Josephus tells us what the Pharisees (i.e. the sect to which St. Paul belonged, even after his conversion to Christ, cf. Philippians 3:5, Acts 23:6) believed concerning the afterlife:

Now for the Pharisees, they live meanly, and despise delicacies in diet; and they follow the contract of reason: and what it prescribes to them as good for them they do: and they think they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason’s dictates for practice. They also pay a respect to such as are in years: nor are they so bold as to contradict them in any thing which they have introduced. And when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit: since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament; whereby what he wills is done; but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. They also believe that souls have an immortal vigour in them: and that under the earth there will be rewards, or punishments; according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life: and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison; but that the former shall have power to revive and live again. On account of which doctrines they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people: and whatsoever they do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction. Insomuch, that the cities give great attestations to them, on account of their intire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives, and their discourses also.

This "under the earth" is that which St. Paul refers to in Philippians 2:

Philippians 2:10 That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth:

As well as Revelation 5:

Revelation 5:3 And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.

And Ephesians 4:

Ephesians 4:9 Now that he ascended, what idoes it mean, but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

Clearly there was a belief that the underworld and the spiritual afterlife began at least by "going" to a subterranian holding place of spirits (cf. 1 Peter 3:19-20). 'The Science' that at earth's core there is unimaginable heat could have more truth to it than at first thought...

Now while all these writings await the general resurrection (i.e. in which the body will follow the soul to its eternal destiny), they nonetheless support the reality expected.

Was the purpose to detain evil people in this spiritual place to decimate and erase their existence as...punishment? In no way would that be punishment. A being which does not exist cannot suffer anything, much less punishment. In no way could it correspond to be opposite to the reward of heaven.

  • Thank you for the answer. :-) I just have one critique. "In no way could it correspond to be opposite to the reward of heaven." The "reward" of heaven is everlasting life(see Matthew 25:46). If you really want the punishment of the wicked to "be opposite to the reward of heaven", then the punishment must necessarily be death, as it is death, NOT torment, that is the opposite of life. The opposite of eternal life is eternal death, ergo the "punishment" is that of eternal death. Similarly, in John 3:16, the perishing is necessarily death. That's what we get when we talk about opposites.
    – Rajesh
    Mar 26, 2022 at 1:43
  • Death cannot be a punishment since the dead cannot be punished; it would also make the eternality entirely superfluous. No one who believes in eternal punishment disagrees that this is called "death." "He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome, shall not be hurt by the second death" (Revelation 2:11). Mar 26, 2022 at 14:09
  • "Death cannot be a punishment since the dead cannot be punished" You should read your words very, very carefully. The former half of your sentence is so unimaginably inaccurate, I don't even know what to say. Death is actually capital punishment in most countries. Not only is death a punishment, but it's capital punishment. The latter half of your sentence is a strawman of my argument. I didn't say "the dead are punished"; I said "death is punishment", particularly for that of the living. Not only that, but this sentence violates your own belief in torment in Hades(Luke 16:19-31)!!!
    – Rajesh
    Mar 26, 2022 at 20:14
  • You're talking about capital punishment, which robs you of the rest of your earthly life as punishment for serious crime. We're talking about the fate of those who died and will be raised again at the last day. Two entirely different things. Mar 26, 2022 at 20:19
  • Ok? You completely missed the point I was trying to make. You explicitly said, "death cannot be a punishment", and so I showed you why that statement was incredibly erroneous. That's all.
    – Rajesh
    Mar 26, 2022 at 20:47

In John 11:23-26 Jesus is speaking about resurrection and life and it is helpful to make a distinction between the two types of resurrections. One can be resurrected and not be made incorruptible and immortal yet.

Resurrection, in its lowest form, is a raising from the dead, but not to immortality. But the highest form of resurrection is to immortality.

Jesus said to her, I am the Resurrection AND the Life. He who is believing into Me, even If he should be dying, will be living. And everyone who is living and believing into me by no means dying for the eon. John 12:26

This resurrection also has been given Christ's life with it.

There are two resurrections. One He called the resurrection of life, the other the resurrection of judgment.

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice, 29and will come forth—those having done good to the resurrection of life, and those having done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:28-29

The resurrection of judgment will keep those from seeing the face of the Lord for the age or eon. That judgment will be according to the acts of those along with the light that they had received.

who shall suffer justice -- destruction age-during -- from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 YLT

There are only three resurrections that lead to immortality. First, that of Christ Himself, second, those that are His at His future "presence" and lastly all mankind at the consummation when all will be made alive and death is abolished. 1Co. 15:22-28

Christ is life. Since this life beyond the reach of death is imparted only on three occasions, it follows that every other resurrection is not a "resurrection of life". Those raised in the past and those at the great white throne are still subject to death. They are not made immortal until the consummation , when death is abolished, and life is the portion of all. 1 cor. 15:22-28 Concord commentary

It is good to remember that eternal life can only be applied to that which had no beginning and has no end so no one but God has eternal life. We are given life for the ages as well as being made incorruptible and immortal in Christ.

The word aion and aionios has been mistranslated as eternal in so many passages of scripture thereby causing much confusion.

Cognate 166 aiṓnios (an adjective, derived from 165 /aiṓn ("an age, having a particular character and quality") – properly, "age-like" ("like-an-age"), i.e. an "age-characteristic" 166 /aiṓnios). See 165 (aiōn). [166 (aiṓnios) does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age (165 /aiṓn) it relates to.

So once again there will be resurrection for those who will be suffering for an age as well from the face of the Lord for a period of time that will come to an end as all ages do.

who shall suffer justice -- destruction age-during -- from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of his strength, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 YLT

  • 1
    Surely our everlasting habitations (Luke 16:9), the everlasting God (Romans 16:26), the eternal building of God (2 Cor, 5:1), the everlasting honor and power He has (1 Tim. 6:16), the eternal Spirit (Heb 9:14), and the everlasting kingdom of our Lord (2 Pet. 1:11) are not to be considered as enduring only to the end of some age and then stopping. There has to be excellent reason to ascribe opposite meanings (eternal/not eternal) to the same word. Everlasting God and everlasting destruction are the same word. Mar 24, 2022 at 14:03
  • @Mike, Look at Revelation 20:10 in the interlinear in the Greek. Some translations say forever and ever and others age or ages. Here are a few samples of verses of the word aionas and aionon translated two different ways. If you look at the different translations on Bible hub you will see the ones that are closest to the literal Greek word uses age and ages. When the living creatures give glory, honor, and thanks to him who sits on the throne, to him who lives forever and ever,Rev:4-9. WEB or and when the living creatures do give glory, and honour, and thanks,
    – Sherrie
    Mar 24, 2022 at 18:47
  • to Him who is sitting upon the throne, who is living to the ages of the ages, Rev4:9 YLT. Here is another one. and the Devil, who is leading them astray, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet [are], and they will be tormented day and night through the ages of the ages. Rev. 20:20 YLT The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev20:10NAB
    – Sherrie
    Mar 24, 2022 at 18:48
  • It benefits greatly anyone who really looks at the Greek word every time they see the word eternal, forever ,world is used. There are at least five ages we know about it, too much to go into here right now.
    – Sherrie
    Mar 24, 2022 at 18:48
  • Romans 16:26 everlasting God (KJV) and age-during God (YLT). Just a single use of aionios and yet we are not to infer that God is in any way temporary. The One who sits on the throne is also not there temporarily regardless of how many "ages" we think we comprehend. He lives to the age of all of the ages...He endures all ages...without end...it is an expression of eternity. Mar 24, 2022 at 19:53

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