Dr. Farrar on "Everlasting," "Damnation" and "Hell."

J. N. Darby.

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Dr. Farrar, with a great deal of pretentious language, appealing to his own perfect knowledge, his own deep sense of responsibility, and speaking in the sight of God (he says) and of the Saviour, perhaps of angels — he would hardly be so narrow-minded and illiberal as to speak of "elect angels" with Paul — and of what never crossed Paul's narrow mind, "the spirits of the dead" — declares that not one of the words, "damnation," "hell," or "everlasting," should be found in the English Bible.

Now with (I dare say) less knowledge than Canon Farrar, no unusual conscientiousness, still in the fear of God, I beg leave to say that what Canon Farrar says is entirely unfounded, in the essential point wholly untrue. I am not, in a note, going to enter into much Greek or Hellenistic learning, though both refute what Canon Farrar says as to "everlasting"; nor is there need. One passage suffices to shew as to this word that his statement, with all its pretension, is false. "The things which are seen are temporal (proskaira); but the things which are not seen are eternal" (aionia; 2 Cor. 4:18); that is, eternal is the opposite of what is for a time.

Need I quote more? Let the reader take a Concordance, and see the passages where "everlasting life" is used (or eternal), and say if everlasting should not be there. And note, "eternal life" in the Person of Christ was with the Father; 1 John 1:2. Is "eternal Spirit" wrong? (Heb. 9:14.) God has called us to His eternal glory; 1 Pet. 5:10. God lives for ever and ever (Rev. 5:14), the everlasting God; Rom. 16:26, I might multiply quotations; but these suffice to prove, or even the first alone, that the statement of Dr. Farrar, with all his boasted knowledge and conscientiousness, is, as to this word, either ignorance or dishonesty. Would Dr. Farrar in the Old Testament change the word "everlasting" in Psalm 90, "From everlasting to everlasting thou art God"? is "eternal power and Godhead" wrong? (Rom. 1:20.) Is "eternal glory" (2 Tim. 2:10), eternal salvation, eternal redemption, wrong? Is "everlasting God, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends of the earth," wrong?

131 As to "damnation," the English word was used more loosely when the Bible was translated than it is now. In 1 Corinthians 11:29, it is used in contrast with final condemnation. The translators, where one word was used in Greek, took pains to use several in English, and thereby disfigured the sense of many passages, or at least obscured the connection. Thus in John 5 we have "judgment," "condemnation," "damnation," all used for krisis, where "judgment" is the only true translation; but this does not affect the substance of Canon Farrar's assertion. He speaks of the word in its ordinary modern acceptation. "Damnation" is used frequently in the English New Testament for judgment, as in Matthew 23:14; Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47; Romans 3:8; chap. 13:2; 1 Timothy 5:12; and this is the sense of 1 Corinthians 11:29, in contrast with condemnation with the world. Now, even if this "judgment" be everlasting condemnation, still the word means judgment.

But there is another and a stronger word than krima used, even in express contrast with it, so as to plainly mean final, absolute, condemnation. The word is katakrima. What a man is condemned to must be known by the sentence. We have both words in Romans 5:16, "For the judgment (krima) was by one to (katakrima) condemnation," and in verse 18. So, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus," Romans 8:1. "God justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?" (vv. 33, 34). "When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world" (1 Cor. 11:32), where partial earthly judgments are contrasted with a final absolute condemnation. It is not therefore the mere word "damnation" for which I contend, nor to which Dr. Farrar objects, as all his sermon proves; for it is used in the English version many times, not in the sense of eternal condemnation; but that eternal condemnation meant by the word in modern times is spoken of in contrast with judgment, and as a distinct thing. Hence the apostle speaks of "eternal judgment" (Heb. 6); "eternal punishment" (Matt. 25); "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord"; and (Mark 3:29), "hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of (enochos, subject to) eternal damnation." And where the wicked have their part in the lake of fire it is said, gegone, It is done, when Omega is written on all things.

132 Now it is not the use of the mere word "damnation," which had not then the definite force it has now which is insisted on or objected to. In Mark 3:29 it is krisis, judgment; but it is eternal, conclusive, absolute, and final. The objection made is to what is meant by the modern use of the word, and that is definitely stated in Scripture.

The other word is "hell." Now, unfortunately, two words are translated "hell" in the English Bible — Hades and Gehenna: one meaning the temporary state of departed spirits, the unseen world without saying more; the other used for the fire that never shall be quenched. Its meaning is, etymologically, the valley of Hinnom, where people offered their children to Moloch, and which was defiled by Josiah; and, it seems, a fire kept up to consume what was filthy and unclean out of Jerusalem and called Tophet. Hence we have in Isaiah, "For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large; and the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it," Isa. 30:33. "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh," Isa. 66:24. This is, on the face of it, a material fact; there was a constant fire enduring continually, to which those bodies were enduringly subjected. Now Sheol, or Hades, is never confounded with this. It was an actual valley between Zion and what is called the Hill of Evil Counsel, south of Jerusalem, where tradition places the house of Caiaphas, if my memory serve me. This valley, where the unquenched fire consumed what was unclean, which yet, according to Isaiah 66, should remain in the consuming fire unconsumed, an abhorring unto all flesh, was used for an image of a sorer punishment, and was called Gehenna (Anglice, "hell"); that is, literally, the valley of Hinnom. Now this word is found in Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; chap. 10:28; chap. 18:9; chap. 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6.

In Matthew 5 the statement is general: danger of hell-fire — thy whole body cast into hell; referring to sacrificing one member rather than sin; clearly not the valley of Hinnom. "Fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell," chap. 10:28. It is not the valley of Hinnom. They do not put souls there. It is metaphorically used for the place of final judgment and punishment. Chapter 18:9 is as in chapter 5; in chapter 23:15, a child of hell — one who is the natural heir — belongs to this place. That it is the place of condemnation in judgment Matthew 23:33 shews: "Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the judgment (kriseos) of hell?" (Mark 9:43-48.) We have solemnly repeated the call to sacrifice the dearest thing that is a snare to us, under penalty of being cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. It is a judgment, a judicial punishment, for which there is no relief, of which there is no cessation.

133 In Luke 12 it is used as a known thing, a place, the effect of divine judgment. James 3:6 is only of importance as shewing that it is connected with pure unmitigated evil; where nothing else is. Now a person who reads all this cannot doubt that that which the word "hell" is used for in English is fully contemplated. The desirableness of not confounding it with Hades, the vaguest possible word for the unseen world, no reflecting mind would deny. It is a place into which God's judgment casts the unrepentant and rebellious wicked, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. That human figures of fire and worms are used may be; but the force of it is plain enough — it is the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels, where God casts in judgment those that are righteously rejected, where there is no remission, when God says gegone, It is done; and without are whoremongers, and all who love and make a lie. Hades is not Gehenna, and Gehenna in the New Testament is never used as the Valley of Hinnom. The proper English word is "hell"; that is, the place where pure evil, if such a phrase may be used, meets its final doom, after restoring means (even to God's giving His own Son, and beseeching men to be reconciled) are exhausted, and where the effect of judgment remains unquenched.

Canon Farrar is wrong in saying 'everlasting' should not be used: no other word but that, or an equivalent one, would give the sense of what is not pros kairon for a time, or temporal. He is wrong in saying "damnation" should disappear, though it is used with uncertainty of meaning in the English version; nor is the mere word what is really in question, but what it is now used for — full and final condemnation; and this is used and contrasted with partial judgment.

134 Finally, "hell" is the only true English word, as usually employed, which answers to the word Gehenna in the New Testament. With great and boasting pretension to knowledge, and a conscientiousness which the spirits of the dead are to be witnesses of "perhaps," I find (in the report given in a weekly journal, which is all I can speak of) ignorance as to the use of language in the New Testament, or, if it be not that, a want of conscience in the solemn things of God.