How does Scripture describe punishment and death?
(44:23) Chris: So what do you make of it? Is it the case that punishment, by definition, is consciously, ongoingly experienced?
Ronnie: Well, I mean obviously not. Well, the punishment for some sins is pain, the punishment in certain contexts is some sort of suffering. Scripture describes many different types of punishments for sin, so you have people being struck blind, you have people being made barren, you have people’s entire family line being wiped out, you have entire nations being wiped out. Yeah, so there’s many possible types of punishment, and Scripture describes a number of those punishments. The question is, how does Scripture describe final punishment. Overwhelmingly, and I would say, unanimously describes it as death, as destruction, as again, consumption, abolition, and so forth. And yes, those things may involve a measure of physical pain and suffering, very few people would deny that, but the actual punishment is death. The wages of sin is death. So the ultimate, you know, the ultimate punishment, the most lasting punishment, is death. Actual deprivation of life.
Notice, again – this conception of what death is, is central to the point being made – it is what determines how all their discussion takes place, and seems to be the focal point of their entire hermeneutic – which will be seen even more clearly in a future excerpt. It is what drives their discussion, and informs all of their dealings with the concept of “death,” and by extension, the second death. I believe our readers can see where this concept of death is not only unidimensional, but contrabiblical, as it does not take into account (or even discuss!) the nature of sin, death, life, the fall, sanctification, and salvation from sin and death – it assumes it, and does not argue it. You will see how other contexts of “death” are treated, shortly, and that will be even more illuminating for you. It is assumed to be the case that this materialistic conception of death is that which determines how death in Scripture is to be understood – and then it is read into every passage involving death, and punishment. This will be seen over and over again as I post several more sections. “Actual deprivation of life” is how it is depicted – or, as we have seen elsewhere, “rendered lifeless.” We will examine these ideas in detail in the near future – but I would in the meantime, refer back to a post made previously which discusses the nature of sin, death, and life. Theology determines apologetic – and this all tracks back to the ability of your hermeneutic to be self-correcting and accurate in it’s discussion of the text, and preclude eisegetical insertions.