Friday, June 23, 2006

The bible says that the dead are conscious of nothing at all, so then can you torment some one in a burning hell forever, if they are unconscious?

From time to time I receive questions regarding the Bible from some of my readers. Instead of trying to answer each one individually, I thought that I would try to deal with some of them on my blog. Show here is the first one…

tperrymandias writes: The bible says that the dead are conscious of nothing at all, so then can you torment some one in a burning hell forever, if they are unconscious? “For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

Personally, I do not believe that this scripture is meant to teach us that, once we die, we are unconscious of everything around us. This is certainly not what Jesus believed. In His teaching on Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus describes the condition of both men as the entered into Hades after their death.
“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.’” (Luke 16:22-25)
In this account, both men are very aware of their surroundings and are able to communicate, feel pain, and express emotions. Peter also reminds us that,
“Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah , during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
During the three days following Jesus’ death, He descended into Hades and preached the Gospel to those who had died before. Even the dead were given a chance to receive the Gospel. Three days later, when He rose from the dead, He took with Him those who believed. This is why many who had died were seen alive after Jesus’ resurrection. “The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:52-53) I think this is what Paul meant when he said of Jesus, “He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8) I believe that the captives He is talking about are those who had died and were being held in Hades. Either way, how could Jesus preach to those who where unconscious?

I believe that what King Solomon was trying to say is that the dead are unaware of what is happening among the land of the living. I honestly do not believe that my dead grandmother is in heaven looking after me. She is in heaven, but she is totally consumed with Jesus. There is, however, one who is watching out for me and that is Jesus.

I hope this helps.
David Robison


  1. Anonymous3:50 PM

    I can't get by the ultimate question? If God knows all, the past, present and future, then he already knows who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. He knew this before he even created us. Why would he do that on purpose? He would already know what choices everyone would make that would land them in either place. Where's the free will in that? Most humans would never, on purpose, create a scenario already knowing advance that it would hurt others to this mass degree. We are better than that.

    Then you have to ask, why would he create a set of circumstances where his own son would have to be crucified to save some of these humans. It makes no sense and there is no love in that. When one would have the power to create good or evil, why create evil at all? Jack Harney

    1. Anonymous7:56 AM

      There IS NO free will...only the appearance thereof. Pain is an emotion and response we create to process information...
      GOD created us to BE GOD. HE cannot be cot without creating BEINGS to interact with and show HIS characteristics to. What are His characteristics? He knew HIMSELF to be LOVING, JUST, MERCIFUL, GRACIOUS, VENGEFUL, GENEROUS, JEALOUS but without out CREATING outside HIMSELF HE (EXISTANCE ITSELF) could never BE (MANIFEST) itself and actually BECOME what it experitially (mind-wise) was to become PHYSICAL (REAL). Thus God spoke all physical objects into creation out of love and no one can even phathom what love even IS without the concept of it's exact equal- EVIL. EXISTANCE (GOD)is ALL that exist , good and evil, etc. only God Controls "HIS WARING MEMBERS" and Good will always prevail over evil, but evil must exist at some point or humans would not comprehend/have reference to what it's opposite was.

    2. Anonymous8:47 PM

      You Are Free To Choose One Or The Other Thus Taking GODs Obvious Choice Of Who And Deciding For Us We Decide Ware We Go In The End He Could Choose Having Seen It All Already But Then You Would Not Have Free Will He Has What Could Be But He Gave You The Authority To Rewrite The Ending Thus Giving You 100 Percent Free will Without False Appearances There Of The Choice Is All Yours Do Whats Right And Live In Paradise Or Do What's Wrong and live in Gahanna He Named The Lake Of Fire Gahanna After The Pit Outside Of Jerusalem Ware They Use To Burn The Waste Such As Trash And Carcasses of any unclean thing with sulfur and brimstones it is however far worse since it will become a boiling lake of lava whehuu

  2. Thank your for your response. I'm glad you took the time to read this post and that it caused you to think. I think that part of our problem is that we try to imagine God in human terms, we try to understand His wisdom by using human wisdom, and we try to understand the infiniteness of God from a framework of the finiteness of man. If we understood everything, then there would be no need for faith. Here are somethings we can be asured of, even if we are unsure about the rest.

  3. Anonymous7:09 PM


    First, there is nothing shown in your response after the sentence,"Here are some things we can be assured of, even if we are unsure about the rest." Please re-send that missing part.

    I find your response lacking in a couple of ways. First, you refer prolifically to scripture when answering all questions posed on your site. In my case, you didn't offer any. Also, I could understand a response that said we should have faith that God loves us, or that Jesus was the Son of God, but I didn't ask that type of question.

    I asked a question about one of the most basic beliefs that all Christians claim, that God is omniscient...all knowing the past present and future. Let me ask you this. Do you believe that before God created the universe and mankind, did he already know every person who would be born and which persons would end up in heaven and hell? Do you believe that he knew that before creation?

    Jack Harney

  4. Sorry, this is how my previous comment ment to be posted.

    Thank your for your response. I'm glad you took the time to read this post and that it caused you to think. I think that part of our problem is that we try to imagine God in human terms, we try to understand His wisdom by using human wisdom, and we try to understand the infiniteness of God from a framework of the finiteness of man. If we understood everything, then there would be no need for faith. Here are some things we can be assured of, even if we are unsure about the rest. That we are all sinners, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. That God is holy and just. That Jesus died for our sins that we might be forgiven and justified of all unrighteousness. That if we believe in Jesus we will be saved and will enjoy a restored relationship with our father in heaven. That being saved, we will spend eternity with God. Bless the Lord, this is good news.

  5. Anonymous2:31 PM

    When "jesus" was talking about lazarus, wasnt he just talking figuaratively? like a parable. Lazarus wasnt really burning in hell... "jesus" was just teaching a lesson.

    1. I believe that Jesus said in John 11:11 "said these things, and after this he said to them: “Laz′a‧rus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.”Therefore the disciples said to him: “Lord, if he has gone to rest, he will get well.”Jesus had spoken, however, about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep.At that time, therefore, Jesus said to them outspokenly: “Laz′a‧rus has died,and I rejoice on ​YOUR​ account that I was not there, in order for ​YOU​ to believe. But let us go to him.”Therefore Thomas, who was called The Twin, said to his fellow disciples: “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

  6. Yes, as far as we know, Jesus was teaching a parable. However, I believe that he was speaking factually about hades. Thanks for reading. David

  7. Anonymous5:30 PM

    What a lame answer. The reason why I call it lame is because what you say is not what the Scriptures say. If you read God's Word carefully it does not chastise people (us sinners) to eternal damnation. A loving God would not do that. He wants us to have life but on His terms. We have the CHOICE. But so does God. HE doesn't always use all of his powers at all time. For example, when he destroyed the earth because of His anger towards evil in Noah's day he did not destroy ALL of mankind but chose a few to preserve. In like manner, when he created us with FREE WILL, there is some knowledge he chooses not to know but leaves to us to decide whether we will do GOOD or BAD. Whether we obey him or not. Then it becomes totally our choice as to how we will behave.

    Our work should be to find individuals who may/are bad and teach them what God would want them to know from His Word, thus saving them and us. That's what His Son Jesus set as an example for us to follow. Didn't his disciples do that very thing? Isn't that what they did as well?

    There is much more to this than you saying that God has not revealed all the mysteries and therefore it not within us to know.
    He would not keep such simple knowledge from us if it is a matter of life and death or being in His favor or disfavor.


  8. I agree that God does not chastise us to eternal damnation, but I do believe in eternal judgment; some to eternal life with God and some to an eternal live in hell away from the presence of God. While I may not agree with you, I do appreciate your comments and the time you took to read my thoughts. I hope you have time to read some of my other posts, it may give you a fuller idea of my faith and belief in God.
    Blessings, David

  9. Anonymous3:48 AM

    Sorry, but that is incorrect... The scripture quite clearly states that there is 'no further reward' ie going to heaven if your good.

    Also, to put that into perspective the scipture at John 5:28/29 states 'the hour is coming when all will be called out of their memorial tombs' (ie NOT heaven).

    And also bear in mind Matthew 5:5 'the meek shall inherit the earth' ie NOT heaven.

    Just another perspective to think about!

  10. Anonymous8:28 AM

    Jack Harney should be congratulated on a brilliant Very VALID question.
    cannot turn a blindeye on this one.
    Still waiting for a legimate answer

  11. Anonymous1:09 PM

    If all go to heaven after they die, then what would the resurrection of the dead be for. Another perspective to also think about.

  12. Anonymous5:09 AM

    Very interesting article. Another thing to consider is that teaching of everyone going to hell didn't originate in Christianity until the 4th century in Rome where Roman mythology already believed in the place of the gods and place of the wicked (Not too sure on the exact names) and was brought into Christianity to (hollowly, many more reasons just an example) as crowd control.

  13. Anonymous11:08 AM

    The rich man in hell asking for a tiny bit of water on his toungue? like that would help any!! I think he would ask for more water wouldnt he? Or do we perhaps assume he doesnt feel quite worthy of more? Just so we can deny what Jesus so clearly explained is the state of the dead. David Robison I believe you must mean well but, You are reading what you believe is Gods word and wanting to believe he just didnt quite mean it how he said it, and so emphatically, do people want to believe so bad in this hell of torment the churches teach since they became the false wheat, of Constintines rulership of Rome? It can only be a parable unless the Bible contradicts. Water is used a lot in the Bible to signify LIFE, and fire is used a lot to signify ever lasting destruction, because nothing destroys so totally as fire, and water provides life so well, as a polar opposite.(remember the woman at the well and Jesus first revealed himself to have that gift of water you will never thirst again for? he didnt mean literal water he eternal life) There is also reference to the (lake of fire)some translations just say HELL, but we know with a little reserch, it was a litteral lake of fire. A rubish dump where they burned all the rubish including dead bodies deemed unworthey of proper burial (Reserch Gehenna). This can miss lead some people into thinking its some paranormal place of Gods punishment when a man asks Jesus how do I avoid the lake of fire, But Jesus answers fear not man who can destroy the body in the lake of fire but fear God who can destroy body and soul. (refering to the lake of fire as a man made insult to a mans worth not gods judgement) if you shouldnt choose to dissregard that death is unconscious, because Look at the first Book Genesis Our punishment warning for sin told to Adam and Eve by GOD was that THEY WOULD DIE! I think that would have been a pretty fair time for a perfect God that loves Justice to warn them, oh actually your gonna burn forever aswel. Actually it was Satan who first taught the lie that we will not die after turning away from Gods rulership To teach that people will all live on in heaven or Hell is to perpetuate his lie even put faith in Satans lie. And what about "he who has died has been aquitted of his sins." and "the wages sin pays is death" And yes these teachings make sence for a reserection to come. Also God can be all knowing of course but if God is perfect then he can have perfect discipline not to exercise all his powers all the time, thats why the bible talks about God being dissapointed or saddened at times clearly he didnt know something was going to happen. Finally think of this, In Jeremiah 19:5 God said "and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, which I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind-" these children would have burned and died but if such a thing had never come into his mind would this God design it on a much grander scale for enternity?? and if it never came into his mind then quite clearly God does not always exercise hiis all knowing power thats what free will and obedience is all about. A precice predestiny of which we cant escape and God knows of it before we are born, and whats more God will punish and reward us for living out these unescapable destinies???, Simply rediculous. Man is better than that, Would you bath your small child then punish him for getting wet? Not even with a small burn coz you know he was destined and its your doing. Um done for now see ya

  14. Anonymous11:11 AM

    Good post David Robison!!
    What everyone fails to realize is, God knows who will and will not choose to live life according to His Word. WE, people, do not know. So WE still have the free will to choose what we want to do. Just because God knows, doesn't mean I don't have free will, because I don't know what God knows!!
    And about eternal judgement, the Bible CLEARLY indicates that the Lake of Fire and Brimstone is REAL!! Gehenna (a place where garbage WAS burned in ancient times) is symbolizing the Lake of Fire and Brimstone.

    Read Rev. 20:10-15...."The devil, who deceived them, 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 forever and ever.
    Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God,and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the "lake of fire"."

    The lake of fire is place God created for Satan and his demons and followers. Satan isn't going to Gehenna!!! Gehenna is GONE, no longer to exist!!! So it has to be a place (spiritually) that we understand (carnally) to be like Gehenna.
    Read Rev. 14:9-12....."Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If ANYONE worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be "tormented" with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends "forever and ever"; "and THEY have NO REST day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."

    This scripture and MANY others detail who, what, where and how ALL THOSE who believe NOT in what God says and follow satan!! Their place will be WITH satan and his demons!!! DO NOT BE DECEIVED!!! STUDY your bibles people!!!

    1. Only those who receive the mark of the beast and besides
      “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyre, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.

      Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

      Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”
      ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭28:12, 14-15, 18-19‬ ‭KJV‬‬,14-15,18-19.kjv

    2. So Satan dies and is no more in the future and good riddence

  15. Anonymous7:54 PM

    Why would a God who is love want to burn his children in hell ? It's as if you were to say a parent is going to burn them for not listening... why ?

  16. You confuse with what is wanted with what is just. God does not want to "burn his children in hell" but along with love, God is also just. At times justice must prevail over the desires of love. How could God be so unjust as to admit into the reward of those who have become his those who even till the end held out as enemies of him and his own?

    1. I don't believe that God will send anyone to be tormented forever. That is the same as to believe that God is working with Satan. Think about it. If you have a child and that child is being misled by someone else. And despise your teachings and directions for him to do right, he continues to be misled by that someone. Would you in turn send your child to the same person that mislead him so he can now torment him forever? No. "God is love" and that is not something my loving God would not do. Rev 12:9 “Down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him”. & then it goes on to say “ Rev 12:12 “On this account be glad, YOU heavens and YOU who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to YOU, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time”

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  18. Anonymous6:05 PM

    Your Answer Is As Such Jesus Said I Am The Resurrection And The Life The Dead Are Conscious Of Nothing AKA Lifeless Because The Dead Have Not The Also Have Not Jesus At That Time Until He Calls Them And Depending On Their Guilt Or Innocence In His Eyes After The Resurrection That's When The Torment For Ever And Ever Will Begin We Are Spirit Beings Immortals In GOD AKA JESUS Is The Governor Of That Existence The Punishment For The Guilty Is An Immortal Soul In What Is Called Gahanna The Place Of Everlasting Fire But Until He Calls The Living And The Dead To Judgment The Dead Remain Conscious Of Nothing Hauntings Are Tricks By satan To Distract You From The Truth Of Christ

  19. Anonymous6:50 PM

    GOD IS Many Things He Is Love He Is Peace He Is Also JUDGEMENT He Does Not Like The Idea Of Any to Receive Punishment For Their Sins However When He Removes His Protective Spirit From Yours You Are Still Immortal Just In Another Place Ware He Is Not And As For satan He Knows Ware he Will Be That's Why He Does Not Want To Go Alone He Hates Your Guts And The Thought Of You Being Punished For All Eternity Just Like Him And His Fellow Angels It Is All He Lives For At This Time Because God Gave Us his Spirit He Was To Give us more respect than he thought we should have and then refused to respect us at all he thought ware he as a God Like Figure That We Should Worship him Like The Almighty And It All Began With That And GOD Is Also Called Justice And Punishment

  20. Anonymous6:56 PM

    We Are Knowingly Being Misled We Are Responsible For Our Own Freewill We Like To Eat Drink And Be Merry But We Don't Want The Bill

  21. Anonymous7:04 PM

    Nowhere in the bible does it say we go to heaven when we die

  22. Anonymous7:12 PM

    Jesus Said Workers Of Lawlessness Are Of There Father The Devil So If You End Up In Hell You Were satan's Child Not GODS And You Will Go Ware Your Father Is

  23. Anonymous7:17 PM

    all my answers are legitimate straight from the word of GOD If You Have Not Read The Whole Bible We Might As Well Be Talking To The Wall Sorry

  24. Anonymous7:31 PM

    Jesus Told John In Revelations I AM The King Of Kings And The Lord Of Lords In Other Words He Is The King Of The Book Of Kings And The Lord Of All Words LORD Found In The Bible

  25. Anonymous7:43 PM

    GOD Says I Chasten You Because I Love You If I Did Not Love You I Would Not Do So

  26. Anonymous8:01 PM

    Chasten Or Chastise Just Simple Means To Correct It Has Nothing To Do With

  27. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Eternal Damnation

  28. Read your Ezekiel chapter 28 and know more explicit info on what happens to the being know as Satan

  29. The answer is no answer why would the bible say he dead know nothing! Ecclesiastes is not s depressed mans view point it is not a humanistic book it is the word of God used by Jesus and the early church who didn't have he NT that he is misrepresenting