Why Do You Teach that God Can Destroy a Spirit or Soul in Hell, When Spirits and Souls are Eternal?

Why Do You Teach that God Can Destroy a Spirit or Soul in Hell, When Spirits and Souls are Eternal?

Steve, you claim that God can destroy a spirit or soul in the lake of fire.  My understanding is that Satan is a spirit and GOD is a spirit. Angels are spirits (Psalm 104:4).  But man is a body, soul, spirit (1 Thess 5:23).

I believe our body can be burned, or dies.  But what came from God was my very life, my breath or my soul and spirit. My soul is eternal…when I die. I’ll either go to Paradise (2 Cor 1:1-4) or Hell, until judgment.

So human spirit cannot be destroyed.  Why? Becuz it came out of God…anything that comes out of God never dies. Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away (Isa 40:8).

Gen 17:7:  Once God speaks a word out there…God cannot go back on His covenant or His promises. Example:  God wanted to destroy the children of Israel for sinning, but Moses reminded God of His covenant (Exodus 32:-9-14).

Satan is a spirit.  Angel’s are spirits…a spirit cannot be destroyed.  They came out from God. To say that God could have destroyed Satan…it’s like saying God is going to destroy Himself!

A spirit cannot be burned, cut, or destroyed, but can be given eternal life or eternal punishment.  It can only be separated from God.

I’m open to any information or link of what you’ve shared. I have a very close relationship with my Heavenly Father and ask Him questions everyday when I’m reading the Bible or if I hear something from someone else…especially from other sources. We are to test the spirit whether they are from God (1 John 4:1), right?

Your Sister in Christ,


Steve’s Answer:

Hi C.,

I understand what you’re saying.  I previously believed the same, when I was much younger.  But it’s merely church tradition.  In other words, Biblically it’s just not true.  And we have to stick with what’s Biblical.

For example, it’s written:

Mat 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

In other words, we don’t fear offending our enemies, who can only kill our flesh bodies.  We fear offending the One who has given everything for us, our Creator.

And why?  Because if we offend Him, He can “destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Both.  That means your bodily overcoat, as well as your soul, which is your very self.

The bottom line is that what we call “hell,” is actually the great lake of fire in Revelation 20.  And it’s designed to destroy both the soul and the body, rendering the individual entity no longer existent.

That’s why you don’t want to end up there.  You’d never again exist, because your very essence — your soul — would be destroyed.

Remember, that’s Christ’s own teaching in Matthew chapter 10.  Whenever I’m having to choose between what some church teaches, or what Christ Jesus teaches, I choose Christ Jesus every time.

The Word “Destroy”

The word our Lord and Savior used for “destroy” in that verse above (i.e., Matthew 10:28) is the Greek word apollumi (i.e., Strong’s G-622) meaning “to destroy fully…to perish.”

It’s a complete and total destruction of one’s very essence.  Once the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 takes place, at the end of the Millennium, everyone not found written in the book of life perishes in the lake of fire.

That’s why Psalm 37 tells us, regarding the final days of judgment:

Psa 37:20  But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.

If you’ve ever seen fat dripping from meat being cooked over an open flame, such as on a barbecue grill, you’ll know that the fat hits the fire, turns to vapor, and then rises as smoke until it “consumes away” into the air, never again to exist.

God tells us in the above verse that this is exactly what’s going to happen to His enemies in the great lake of fire, after the judgment.

By the way, the word “consume” in that verse is translated from the Hebrew word kalah (see Strong’s H-3615), which is where we get our word for “kill.”  It means “to cease, be finished, perish.”

And that Hebrew word kalah is used twice in that verse, for emphasis, referring to both body and soul.  If one ends up in the lake of fire after the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20, all that’s left of the body, the soul and its spirit is lifeless vapor,

Don’t Limit God’s Abilities

God has the ability to bring us into existence.  And He has the ability to make us non-existent.  I’d be very careful about limiting God’s abilities.

That “lake of fire” in Revelation chapter 20 is not the kind of physical fire we know of.  It’s a spiritual fire.  And it’s specifically designed to destroy spiritually decrepit entities, body and soul, such as those who willingly join with Satan after having had 1,000 years of perfect teaching from the Lord and His faithful servants.

When I was a kid, if I got a little too out-of-line to my folk’s liking, they’d say “We brought you into this world, and we can take you out, too.  So straighten up and fly right while you still can.”

Well, it’s the same with God.  He brought us in, and He can take us out, as well.  He’s in charge.  He’s not going to make us go through the eternity with a bunch of trouble-makers and unrepentant sinners.  They’ll all be gone.

And He’s not going to make us go through the eternity listening to the horrific screams of people roasting in flames.  He’s promised us perfect peace.  And honestly, if you think about it, if you had to witness friends or even loved ones screaming in torment for eternity, what kind of “heaven” would that be?

Our heavenly Father is not a sadist.  He will keep His Word.  He will make the enemy perish, fully.  Body and soul. They’ll never exist again, because they were given every chance to repent and were intransigent in spite of God’s offer of mercy and grace.

Since God’s own Living Word, Jesus Christ, tells us that the Father has the ability to “destroy both body and soul in hell,” I have to believe it to be so.

First and Second Resurrection

That’s why there’s a first and second resurrection, as well as a first and second death.

The first resurrection is at Christ’s arrival, and is basically His faithful many-membered body on this earth.  The second resurrection is for those who make it through the Millennium and don’t fall for Satan’s temptation at the end of the Millennium.

Likewise, the first death is the death of the flesh body, which everyone has to endure.  But the second death is the death of the soul.  And once a soul is gone, it can never exist again. The soul is the self.  Here are some verses discussing the second death:

Rev 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.


Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.


Rev 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.


Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

In verse eight above we see a total of eight different classes of people who will die the second death after the judgment.  We’ll never again have to put up with these trouble-makers, because they simply won’t exist any longer after the great white throne judgment and the lake of fire.

If we’re alive at Christ’s Second Advent, we all lose our flesh bodies at that time, at the sound of the seventh trumpet (see I Corinithians 15:52).  But our soul — our very self — remains alive until the great white throne judgment of Revelation 20.  And those judged unworthy of the eternity will experience that “second death,” with is the death of the soul.  It’s that simple.  And there’s really no other explanation.

Even Satan himself is burned to ashes from within.  As it’s written of him in Ezekiel 28, in his role as the King of Tyre:

Eze 28:17  Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.


Eze 28:18  Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.


Eze 28:19  All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

The word “devour” in verse 18 above is translated from the Hebrew word ‘âkal (i.e., Strong’s H-398), and it means to be burned up and consumed.  Gone for good.  As the verse clearly states, “And never shalt thou be any more.”

The word “never” in verse 19 above is translated from the Hebrew word ‘ayin (i.e., Strong’s H-369), and it means “to be nothing, to not exist; a non-entity.”  Again, it means they’re gone for good.

So no.  Just because God is eternal doesn’t mean all souls and their spirits (which is to say, all of God’s children and their intellects/personalities) are eternal.  The first death gets us all, because that’s the death of this flesh overcoat that covers our soul.  But the second death is the death of the soul itself.  And when the soul (and its concomitant spirit, or personality) is destroyed, it can never exist again.

To learn more on this topic, consider reading my more detailed study titled “Tormented Forever and Ever?

Regards in Christ,

Steve Barwick


Steve Barwick

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