AgnosticBoy wrote: the concept of eternal punishment is still mentioned in the Bible in my opinion.
I could only find one reference to eternal punishment in the Bible (KJV). And the context of it applies to those who do not take care of the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and prisoners.[Mat 25:44-46 KJV] 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
I expanded the search to verses on torment and found two passages.
Those who worship the beast will be tormented. Though it’s not clear it would be eternal, only the smoke is said to rise for ever.[Rev 14:9-11 KJV] 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
Rich man was in torment in hell (Hades), though it’s not clear this is eternal either.[Luk 16:23 KJV] 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
If we expand it further to eternal fire, those who give over to fornication (ekporneuÅ�) and after strange flesh will suffer eternal fire. But, it’s not clear this is some kind of eternal torment, but destruction.[Jde 1:7 KJV] 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
onewithhim wrote: After all, it portrays God as a sadistic beast, torturing people in an agonizing fire from which they can never hope to escape. It is downright blasphemy. God is NOT an ogre that delights in the pain of anyone.
Who said God is an ogre that delights in the pain of humans?
Who said anything about God torturing people?
Now, if you mean punishing, that’s different. And as I mentioned, there’s only one verse I’ve found that explicitly refers to everlasting punishment.[Mat 25:44-46 KJV] 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Note Jesus did not explicitly say “sinners” would be punished forever. He said those that do not minister to the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and prisoners would go into everlasting punishment.
Unfortunately, many people preach this passage out of context. Preachers point to this passage and proclaim the unrepentant would suffer eternal punishment. So, you must believe if you want to escape hell. But, if you take the words of Jesus literally, one must act to escape everlasting punishment.
Mark 9:43-48 is considered to support the notion of eternal torment and punishment.[Mar 9:43-48 KJV] 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell (Gehenna), into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
A few comments about this passage.
First, it does not explicitly mention torment or torture. One would have to interpret the “worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched” as some sort of everlasting torture in a literal hell. But, it does not directly say this. So, one cannot confidently claim the passage teaches eternal damnation and torment.
Second, how literally should this passage be interpreted? Nobody actually cuts off their hands or feet or gouges out their eyes. So, obviouly people don’t take maiming themselves literally. So, why should it be interpreted that people would actually be cast into a literal hell? Would there be a literal worm in hell?
Third, Jesus often used dramatic imagery, hyperbole, and nearby objects to teach. I believe Gehenna or “valley of Hinnom” was within sight when he taught this passage. So, the hearers could actually see the fire from Gehenna while he was teaching.
Fourth, the context of the passage was not about “sinners”, but about those that would cause a little one to fall away.[Mar 9:42 KJV] 42 And whosoever shall offend one of [these] little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
I have also not heard of a single instance where someone was tied to a millstone and thrown into the sea.
So, I do not believe Jesus was teaching in these passages that sinners would be eternally tortured in the bowels of hell. Rather, he was giving a stark admonition that we should not cause any harm to a child in the faith.
onewithhim wrote: I’m wondering what you think the word “punishment” means. I have previously been surprised by others’ ideas that it means some discomfort inflicted on a person who is alive.
There are four verses in the NT (KJV) that has punishment in it. Each one has a different Greek word for punishment.[Mat 25:46 KJV] 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment (kolasis): but the righteous into life eternal.
kolasis means torment, correction, punishment, penalty
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le … 2851&t=KJV
kolasis is translated as torment in 1 John 4:18[1Jo 4:18 KJV] 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment (kolasis). He that feareth is not made perfect in love. [2Co 2:6 KJV] 6 Sufficient to such a man [is] this punishment (epitimia), which [was inflicted] of many.
epitimia means penalty, punishment
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le … 2009&t=KJV
timÅ�ria means vengeance, punishment, penalty
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le … 5098&t=KJV
“kolasis differs from timÅ�ria as that which is disciplinary and has reference to the him who suffers, while the latter is penal and has reference to the satisfaction of him who inflicts it.”[1Pe 2:14 KJV] 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment (ekdikÄ“sis) of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
ekdikÄ“sis means avenge, vengeance, vindication, retribution
https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le … 1557&t=KJV
Punishment is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authorityâ€”in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal lawâ€”as a response and deterrent to a particular action or behaviour that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable.
Punishments differ in their degree of severity, and may include sanctions such as reprimands, deprivations of privileges or liberty, fines, incarcerations, ostracism, the infliction of pain, amputation and the death penalty.
So, death can be a form of punishment.
Can torture by a form of punishment?
Perhaps so since it’s a form of cruel and unusual punishment.