Home Page

Dr Pravin Thevathasan's Reviews page  

Dr Pravin Thevathasan's home page

Article by Dr Pravin Thevathasan


The Road to Hell
Everlasting Torment or Annhialation?
by David Pawson
Terra Nova Publications

The famous evangelical Bible teacher David Pawson (1930-2020) wrote this important work to counter Annhilationism, the false teaching that the punishment of hell is not eternal, and Universalism, the false teaching that all are saved.
 
Pawson argues that because God is good, there must be a place of evil where wickedness is punished, hell. He writes: "hell is a reminder of the need for holiness as well as forgiveness." Such beliefs are at variance with the liberal notions that no one goes to hell or if they do their souls will be annihilated, notions to be found inside the Catholic Church as well. This demythologising of hell began in earnest in the mid-twentieth century, first in Protestant and later in Catholic circles. Pawson names the Anglican Archbishops Carey and Habgood among the hell-denying Christians. There are many more!

Pawson teaches that the souls in hell are in eternal pain and despair. They are spiritually dead and isolated from each other. As the Catholic Church teaches, the chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God. The sufferings that come from the fires of hell are as nothing in comparison. The fire of hell does not annihilate the soul. Pawson looks to scripture to support this belief: "undying worm" (Mark 9), and "everlasting smoke" (Revelation 14). As Augustine observed, for the souls in hell, time is no more. It is eternal.
 
Dare we hope that all will be saved? No, says Pawson, we dare not. What we need is to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. We need vigilance. As Pawson puts it, our salvation is free but it is not cheap.
Pawson argues that the death of Christ can show us what hell is like. There was darkness when Christ died. Hell is eternal darkness. Jesus said "I thirst." The souls in hell thirst for the God who is beyond their reach. Jesus said "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Hell is a place where God is not.
 
The teachings found here are largely in harmony with the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church. Pawson even notes that while we cannot contribute to our salvation insofar as it is a free gift of God, we need to cooperate with it.
 
The author might have been a Protestant but, contra Von Balthasar, there is very little for orthodox Catholics to disagree with here.


        
Copyright ; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2023

Version: 14th May 2023



Home Page

Dr Pravin Thevathasan's Reviews page  

Dr Pravin Thevathasan's home page