What will happen in Hell?   Will it be...

Eternal Torment, or Universal Reconciliation (aka Purgatorial Christian Universalism), or Annihilation?


with responses by Craig Rusbult  (during life on a road less traveled)


In afterlife, what is the final state of unbelievers?  The page I've been writing since 2014 — asking What will happen in Hell?  will it be Reconciliation (that could be Universal or semi-Universal) or Annihilation, or Eternal Misery? describes the views (so you'll know what each view does & doesn't propose, to avoid misunderstandings) and evaluates the biblical evidence.

What do I think?  Based on my 31 years of carefully studying what the Bible teaches us about what will happen in hell, I'm confident that God will not cause Eternal Misery, even though this currently is the most common view.  The other two views, with God causing Reconciliation or Annihilation, are consistent with biblically taught Conditional Immortality — with God giving immortality to only people who are saved (because His condition-for-immortality is “IF saved, then immortal”), so during Afterlife those people who were unsaved-in-Life will have a period of very unpleasant suffering in Hell, ending with the final result being Annihilation or Reconciliation for them — and each of these two views can claim strong biblical support, so I think each is a possibility.     {what is Conditional Immortality and why am I confident that it's clearly taught in the Bible?}

Regarding the best possible outcome, I'm hopeful and optimistic.   I hope the eventual fate of people who are unsaved-at-death will be Reconciliation (with God & people), and I think it will be either Reconciliation or Annihilation.  I'm hopeful that Reconciliation will happen, and am rationally optimistic (but not certain) that it will happen.


Earlier, from 1995 to 2010 (before I began seriously studying Universal Reconciliation in 2014) I wrote papers comparing only two views, comparing Annihilation — which at that time I mistakenly called Conditional Immortality because I had not yet realized that Conditionalism logically includes both Annihilation and Reconciliation, excluding only Eternal Tormenting — with Eternal Misery.  Based on a careful study of what is taught in the Bible, I concluded that God will not Eternally Torment, instead He will Annihilate all people who were unsaved-during-Life.  Here are the final versions (from 2010) of my papers that compare 2 of the 3 main views:

    • 1-page summary (in HTML WebPage or PDF) that was written to condense the ideas in my...
    • full-length paper (in HTML Web-Page or PDF) with 18 pages, and a 14-page Appendix;  it's
          also in Word (if you want to reformat or change fonts) with 2 columns (as in PDF) or 1 column
    and 4 Diagrams (from 2000) to describe 3 Views.

And you can learn from other authors.


my personal timeline:

In 1987, I began to carefully study “what will happen in hell” as it's described in the Bible, with lots of researching in books & online & in libraries in 4 states, WA WI CA NC.  I began writing in 1996, making three versions of the long paper (1997, 2000, 2010) plus the one-page summary in 2010.

Beginning in 2014, I've been learning more about Christian Universal Reconciliation, and becoming more impressed with its biblical support.  Because all of us should rejoice whenever a person becomes reconciled with God, I'm hoping He does this for all people — or at least more people than those who “say yes to God” during Life — by giving people who are unsaved-in-Life another chance in Afterlife.  This view has strong biblical support, but so does Annihilation.