Go to Hell?! A Debate about the Eternal State of the Wicked
Allen Plug, Moderator
Lake of Fire? Eternal Damnation? Who will go to Hell? Is there such a place?
Hear three experts debate the topic of Hell on Monday, November 12 at 7 p.m. in the Johnson Center Sanctuary. Featuring proponents Duane Watson, Thomas Talbott, and Jerry Walls. Moderator is Allen Plug.
Thomas Talbott, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of philosophy at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and author of The Inescapable Love of God (1999). A graduate of Portland State University (B.S), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of California at Santa Barbara (Ph.D.), he first argued against the traditional understanding of hell, charging that it is logically inconsistent with the Christian concept of God, in two articles published in 1990: "The Doctrine of Everlasting Punishment" (Faith and Philosophy) and "Providence, Freedom, and Human Destiny" (Religious Studies). In subsequent articles, such as "Craig on the Possibility of Eternal Damnation" (Religious Studies, 1992), "Freedom, Damnation, and the Power to Sin with Impunity" (Religious Studies, 2001), "Misery and Freedom: Reply to Walls" (Religious Studies, 2005), and "Grace, Character Formation, and Predestination unto Glory" (in Joel Buenting (ed.), The Problem of Hell: A Philosophical Anthology, 2010), he examined further (and criticized) various theistic appeals to free will and character formation. He has also defended a universalist reading of the Bible as a whole in four chapters of Robin Parry and Christopher Partridge (eds.), Universal Salvation? The Current Debate (2004) and as one of five participants in Chad Owen Brand (ed.), Perspectives on Election: Five Views (2006). And finally, he wrote the entry on Universalism for Jerry Walls (ed.), The Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2007) and a forthcoming entry on Heaven and Hell for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Duane Watson, Ph.D., is professor of New Testament studies at Malone University. He is a graduate of Houghton College (B.A.), Princeton Theology Seminary (M.Div.), and Duke University (Ph.D.). He is the author or editor of 12 books, and author of more than 100 articles and essays on the New Testament, the Pauline and Catholic Epistles, rhetorical analysis of the New Testament, and the history of biblical interpretation. He recently published First and Second Peter with Terrance Callan (Baker Academic) and Miracle Discourse in the New Testament (Society of Biblical Literature). Dr. Watson is an active participant in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas, presenting more than 40 papers in these and other venues both here and in Europe. He also served on the translation committees of the Common English and New Century Versions of the Bible. He comes to the topic of the afterlife from the perspective of New Testament interpretation and early Christian tradition.
Jerry Walls, Ph.D., became professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University in 2011, after serving two years a Research Fellow in The Center for Philosophy of Religion at Notre Dame, where he finished his book Purgatory: The Logic of Total Transformation (Oxford University Press, 2012). This volume is the third in a trilogy of books on the afterlife, the first two of which are Hell: The Logic of Damnation (University of Notre Dame Press, 1992) and Heaven: The Logic of Eternal Joy (Oxford University Press, 2002). In addition to this trilogy, he has written two dozen articles and reviews on hell and the afterlife. His recent book, Good God: The Theistic Foundations of Morality, co-authored with David Baggett (Oxford University Press, 2011), was chosen by Christianity Today as the outstanding book in apologetics and evangelism in their 2012 book awards. Others include: The Oxford Handbook of Eschatology, ed. (Oxford University Press, 2008); Why I am not a Calvinist (with Joe Dongell, IVP, 2004); C.S. Lewis and Francis Schaeffer: Lessons for a New Century from the Most Influential Apologists of our Time (with Scott Burson, IVP, 1998) and a small book of poetry, Who Watch for the Morning (Finishing Line Press, 2009). Dr. Walls is senior speaking fellow in the Morris Institute for Human Values. His most recent book is Wisdom from the Hardwood: Defining a Success Worth Shooting For (Gray Matter Books, 2012.
Allen Plug, Ph.D., is assistant professor of philosophy at Malone University. He is a graduate of Calvin College (B.A.) and the University of Rochester (Ph.D.) Dr. Plug is the co-author (with Andrei Buckareff, assistant professor of philosophy at Marist College) of numerous publications, including, Escaping Hell: Divine Motivation and the Problem of Hell; Escapism, Religious Luck, and Divine Reasons for Action; Value, Finality and Frustration: Problems for Escapism in The Problem of Hell: A Philosophical Anthology; and Hell and the Problem of Evil in the forthcoming Blackwell Companion to the Problem of Evil.