Fifty Pointed Questions Regarding After Death—What?

By the late H. A. Ironside

(in consideration of those who deny the everlasting consciousness of all, who are in the disembodied state)

1. What did our Lord mean, when He said not to fear those "who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do," if the loss of soul is the same as physical death?

2. A soul which cannot be killed with the body, is it not mortal?

3. Have you noticed that Scripture uses the terms "Mortality," and "mortal, "immortality" in relation to the body? (See Rom. 3:11; 1 Cor. 15:53).

4. If a spirit cannot live without a body, how do you account for the existence of God, who "is a Spirit?" (John 4:24).

5. What of the angels, who are called “spirits?” (Heb. 1:7, 14)

6. How do you account for the prolonged existence of demons, who are wicked and lost spirits? (Luke 8:27-29; Mark 1:23-26).

7. What of the angels that: stoned, who are reserved under chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day? (Jude 6)

8. How could the people of Sodom/Gomorrah be suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, if they were annihilated, or totally unconscious, when destroyed by material fire? (Jude 7)

9. When the Lord told the thief on the cross, "To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise," (Luke 23:43) did He mean that He should be fast asleep and know nothing?

10. How could Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be said to "live unto Him," thousands of year after they had died, if death and extinction of being are synonymous? (Luke 20:38).

11. Do you think all who heard the Lord Jesus relate the story of the rich man and Lazarus, would naturally suppose He meant to teach conscious existence after death in happiness or woe? (Luke 16:19-31).

12. If it "only a parable," and represents the changed relations of Jew and Gentile after Christ's rejection, as some teach, why the great gulf fixed?

13. Could you honestly say that they who would pass from Judaism to Christianity or vice versa cannot do so?

14. If "eternal does not mean eternal," why is it put in contrast with "temporal?" - "The things that are seen are temporal, but the things that are unseen are eternal." (1 Cor. 4:18)

15. If there is a stronger word for eternal than that used for eternal or everlasting punishment, why is not the stronger word used for "eternal life," the "eternal Spirit," and the "King eternal? (Matt. 25:46; Heb. 9:14; 1 Tim 1:17)

16. If all the solemn all statements as to an undying worm, outer darkness, and a lake of fire are symbols, is it to be supposed that the reality is weaker or less that the figures employed to picture it?

17. If final punishment is extinction, ho will it be possible of Sodom to be more tolerable that of those of Capernaum? or that of Tyre and Sidon, than Bethsaida and Chorazin? (Matt. 11:21-24

18. If Judah annihilated what special force can you see is the Lord's words, "It had been good for that man if he had not been born?" (Matt. 26:24)

19. In what sense will it be any worse for Judas than for another lost one, if all are to be annihilated together?

20. If "cast into the lake fire" results in extinction, how It that "the beast and the false prophet" are described as alive in it a 1,000 years after being cast into it? (Rev. 20:10)

21. If “perish” means to be annihilated, why are not the bottles of Luke 5:37 annihilated?

22. What warrant have you to explain, "Thy throne, 0 God, is forever and ever," and "He, that liveth forever and ever, as meaning eternity, while you limit, "tormented day and night forever and ever," to a brief period?

23. Do you really see any hint or thought of annihilation in the expression, "Wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever?” (Jude 13)

24. Do not the words just quoted at least seem to picture the lost as comets or stars out of their orbit, for all eternity away from the Sun of righteousness?

25. Can you logically couple the thought of abiding wrath with annihilation? (1 John 3:36)

26. Could unconscious spirits "desire a better country?" If not, how do you explain Heb. 11:16?

27. If Paul believed that his soul and spirit would become unconscious at death, what did he mean when he wrote of being "willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord?" (2 Cor. 5:8)

28. Could one be absent from the body and asleep in the body at the same time?

29. What did Peter mean when he wrote "Knowing that I must shortly put off this my tabernacle?" (2 Peter 1:14).

30. Does it not imply, at least, that he would be living apart from his bodily tabernacle?

31. If souls cannot consciously exist out of the body, why so pictured in Rev. 6:9-11?

32. In what sense are some to be beaten with few stripes, and others with many, if all who die in their sins are to be annihilated? (Luke 12:47, 48)

33. Is it honest to say, "Death means extinction, or annihilation," m the face of, "Sheliveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth?” (2 Tim. 5:6)

34. If death means extinction, did Christ become extinct when He died?

35. If so,' do you not see that He could not be "that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us?"? (1 John 1:2)

36. Have you observed that the same Greek word which, is translated "destroy" in many passages, is translated lost in Luke 15:32?

37. Would you conclude from this that the prodigal had been annihilated while he was in the “far country?”

38. If not, is it logical--is it true or false--to maintain that destruction and annihilation are synonymous?

39. Have you observed that in Scripture life and existence are never confounded?

40. If men exist now, who "have not the life" (1 John 5:12), why may they not exist eternally without that life--which is eternal life?

41. Christians are said to "have come to . . . the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. 12:23). In what sense have these spirits been made perfect. In what sense have these spirits been made perfect, if unconscious?

42. It is sometimes said that as no human father would cast his child into material fire, so God will never cast sinners into the fires of hell and let them suffer there forever; but is not this an ignoring of what we see every day?

43. Would you allow one you loved to be afflicted with a painful or loathsome disease if you could hinder it?

44. Does not God permit such affliction to go on for years?

45. If He permits great anguish in this life as a result of sin, who can say what sin may entail in the world to come?

46. Have you observed that sinful men eagerly accept the teaching that punishment is not eternal, while holy men have ever received the Bible's teaching as to it?

47. If annihilation is the punishment of sin, why did the Lord Jesus speak of "weeping and gnashing of teeth," following the being cast into outer darkness? (Matt. 8:12)

48. If hell--or rather "hades," is merely the grave, why is it put in contrast with heaven in Luke 10:15?

49. Since the people of all cities of the past have gone down to the grave, in what sense was Capernaum's punishment different from theirs?

50. Caviller, consider this well: "How shall you escape the damnation of hell?" (Matt. 23:33)

--copied from the Baptist Examiner (Unknown date)