Four Views in Hell is an anthology of four different kinds of views on Hell. The book was published in 1996 (originally in 1992) and was edited by William Crockett. The views presented in this book are literal, metaphorical, conditional, and purgatorial. All four authors have described the subject from different directions. Views are all based on teachings of Bible and the four theological concepts which are somewhat different from each other. The four views are John Walvoord's 'the literal view', William Crockett's 'the metaphorical view'. Zachary Hayes' 'the purgatorial view' and Clark Pinnock's 'the conditional immortality view'. The book 'Four Views on Hell' is an interactive book in which every author has presented a view on Hell, and every author has also defended the view against all the counter arguments put forward by the others.
John F. Walvoor has presented the Literal View (pg. 11-29) and according to this view, Hell is a physical and an eternal place where those people who rejected God will be placed for eternity. This is an old view of Hell, where people believe that God will put everyone, who went against Him and His judgment, in Hell. The fires of Hell will destroy all the sinners and people will be punished for the sins committed. A strong case was put forward by Walvoord for the everlasting actual fire in Hell. He argues that the punishment in Hell is everlasting and that is punitive, not redemptive. He surveys the doctrine of Hell in both old and new testaments.
The next section, The Metaphorical View is presented by William V. Crockett which rejects the literal view. According to Crocket, the view shown in the Bible of what Hell actually looks like is not to be taken in literal sense; instead, the view of Hell has been explained in the figurative sense. Hell does not actually contain a burning abyss, hellfire and brimstone etc., the use of these terms is a way to warn the sinners of what lies for them ahead, if they went against God's judgment. Also, these terms reflect the availability of a certain place without God's love which no one would want to go to. Though Crockett agrees at one point with the literal view, which is that Hell exists as an eternal place of punishment.
According to Theological Critique by Jeff Scott Kennedy (2008), William Crockett argues that the Literal View is the rhetoric accommodations that only to a certain extent is reality.
Zachary Hayes explains the Purgatory view in which the focus is on the views of Roman Catholic Church about 'purgatory'. Purgatory is the interim period or state between Heaven and Hell for those people who have died but are still in need of purification. This state will continue to exist for them till the time Heaven and Hell exists.
The above concept of purgatory was based on Biblical theology. It all depends on the way the interpretation of the scripture. According to this view, if one wants the intercession between purgatory and Heaven to happen, then they can be aided by those still in a living state. People are kept under this state until the time when only Heaven and Hell exist. The purgatory is similar to an interim period which is common in Christian eschatology.
The final view in the book is the Conditional view written by Professor Charlie Pinnock. According to the Conditional view, Hell is like a temporary chamber which holds those people who have sinned but this will be destroyed when the time for final judgment appears. People stay in Hell and the absolute death in body, soul and spirit occurs when the existence of God is rejected. Hell is a reality but the eternal punishment of the wicked is not in the character of God. He believes that God withholds immortality from the wicked but grants them nonetheless in the end.
Charles Pinnock says that the use of destruction and eternal fire refers to the annihilation of wicked from existence. This viewpoint can be said, is based on the loathing of the traditional view, which is incompatible with the love of God.
III. Critical interaction with author's work
John Walvoord: The Literal View
According to Walvoord, "Hell is a physical and an eternal place where people who have been rejected by the God will be placed for eternity."
Crockett is in favor of Literal View about the duration…