Article

Hell

Jonathan L. Kvanvig

in The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology

Published in print December 2007 |
Published online September 2009 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195170498.003.0024

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The language of heaven and hell as well as the doctrines associated with this language have their origin in the great monotheistic religions of the Abrahamic tradition—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The doctrines of heaven and hell are doctrines concerning the afterlife. The philosophical issues surrounding these doctrines have much wider significance, however, for every religion promises certain benefits to its adherents, and those benefits require by way of contrast some costs incurred by those who do not receive those benefits. The doctrine of hell has a central place in any serious eschatology, and it is no longer true that this doctrine is one of the ignored aspects of eschatology. This article focuses on the problems arising for the doctrines in the great monotheistic traditions and especially within Christianity, although the issues discussed will arise for any religious tradition. It examines the four separable theses associated with the punishment model: punishment thesis, no-escape thesis, anti-universalism thesis, and eternal existence thesis.

Keywords: Christianity; heaven; hell; afterlife; monotheistic religions; punishment model; eternal existence

Article.  7031 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Philosophy of Religion ; Christianity

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