Tradition / Church Fathers
"If any one confesses Christ Jesus the Lord, but denies the God of the law and
of the prophets, saying that the Father of Christ is not the Maker of heaven
and earth, he has not continued in the truth any more than his father the
devil, and is a disciple of Simon Magus, not of the Holy Spirit." Ignatius of
Antioch, To the Philadelphians, 5 (A.D. 110).
"…Christ Jesus, our Lord, and God, and Saviour, and King, according to the will
of the invisible Father, 'every knee should bow, of things in heaven,, and
things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should
confess' to Him, and that He should execute just judgment towards all; that He
may send 'spiritual wickednesses,' and the angels who transgressed and became
apostates, together with the ungodly, and unrighteous, and wicked, and profane
among men, into everlasting fire; but may, in the exercise of His grace, confer
immortality on the righteous, and holy, and those who have kept His
commandments, and have persevered in His love, some from the beginning of their
Christian course, and others from the date of their repentance, and may
surround them with everlasting glory." Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 1,10,10
"…thus also the punishment of those who do not believe the Word of God, and
despise His advent, and are turned away backwards, is increased; being not
merely temporal, but rendered also eternal. For to whomsoever the Lord shall
say, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire,' these shall be damned
for ever; and to whomsoever He shall say, "Come, ye blessed of my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you for eternity,' these do receive the
kingdom for ever, and make constant advance in it; since there is one and the
same God the Father, and His Word, who has been always present with the human
race, by means indeed of various dispensations, and has wrought out many
things, and saved from the beginning those who are saved, (for these are they
who love God, and follow the Word of God according to the class to which they
belong,) and has judged those who are judged, that is, those who forget God,
and are blasphemous, and transgressors of His word." Irenaeus, Against
Heresies, 4,28,2 (A.D. 180).
"But do you also, if you please, give reverential attention to the prophetic
Scriptures, and they will make your way plainer for escaping the eternal
punishments, and obtaining the eternal prizes of God." Theophilus of Antioch,
To Autolycus, 1:14 (A.D. 181).
"[T]hese have further set before us the proofs He has given of His majesty in
judgments by floods and fires, the rules appointed by Him for securing His
favour, as well as the retribution in store for the ignoring, forsaking and
keeping them, as being about at the end of all to adjudge His worshippers to
everlasting life, and the wicked to the doom of fire at once without ending and
without break, raising up again all the dead from the beginning, reforming and
renewing them with the object of awarding either recompense." Tertullian,
Apology, 18:3 (A.D. 197).
"Therefore after this there is neither death nor repeated resurrections, but we
shall be the same that we are now, and still unchanged--the servants of God,
ever with God, clothed upon with the proper substance of eternity; but the
profane, and all who are not true worshippers of God, in like manner shall be
consigned to the punishment of everlasting fire--that fire which, from its very
nature indeed, directly ministers to their incorruptibility." Tertullian,
Apology, 48:12 (A.D. 197).
"[T]he world when thou shall know what it is to live truly in heaven, when thou
shalt despise that which is here esteemed to be death, when thou shalt fear
what is truly death, which is reserved for those who shall be condemned to the
eternal fire, which shall afflict those even to the end that are committed to
it." Letter to Diognetus 10:7 (A.D. 200).
"Of which voice the justification will be seen in the awarding to each that
which is just; since to those who have done well shall be assigned righteously
eternal bliss, and to the lovers of iniquity shall be given eternal
punishment." Hippolytus, Against the Greeks, 3 (ante A.D. 225).
"Oh,what and how great will that day be at its coming, beloved brethren, when
the Lord shall begin to count up His people, and to recognize the deservings of
each one by the inspection of His divine knowledge, to send the guilty to
Gehenna, and to set on fire our persecutors with the perpetual burning of a
penal fire, but to pay to us the reward of our faith and devotion!" Cyprian, To
Thibaris, Epistle 55 (58):10 (A.D. 253).
"But, however, the sacred writings inform us in what manner the wicked are to
undergo punishment. For because they have committed sins in their bodies, they
will again be clothed with flesh, that they may make atonement in their bodies;
and yet it will not be that flesh with which God clothed man, like this our
earthly body, but indestructible, and abiding for ever, that it may be able to
hold out against tortures and everlasting fire...The same divine fire,
therefore, with one and the same force and power, will both burn the wicked and
will form them again, and will replace as much as it shall consume of their
bodies, and will supply itself with eternal nourishment ...Then they whose
piety shall have been approved of will receive the reward of immortality; but
they whose sins and crimes shall have been brought to light will not rise
again, but will be hidden in the same darkness with the wicked, being destined
to certain punishment." Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 7:21 (A.D 310).
"The real and true life then is the Father, who through the Son in the Holy
Spirit pours forth as from a fountain His heavenly gifts to all; and through
His love to man, the blessings of the life eternal are promised without fail to
us men also. We must not disbelieve the possibility of this, but having an eye
not to our own weakness but to His power, we must believe; for with God all
things are possible. And that this is possible, and that we may look for
eternal life, Daniel declares, And of the many righteous shall they shine as
the stars for ever and ever. And Paul says, And so shall we be ever with the
Lord(1): for the being for ever with the lord implies the life eternal. But
most plainly of all the Saviour Himself says in the Gospel, And these shall go
away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." Cyril of
Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 18:28 (A.D. 350).
"[I]nto eternal punishment; the just, however, into eternal life." Basil, Rules
brieflyTreated, 267 (A.D. 370).
"We believe in one Catholic and Apostolic Church, and in One baptism of
repenetance, and in the resurrection of the dead and the just judgment of souls
and bodies, and in the kingdom of heaven, and in eternal life." Epiphanius, The
Man Well Anchored, 120 (A.D. 374).
"[T]o judge the living and dead, of Whose kingdom there will be no end...look
forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Amen." Creed of Constantinople (A.D. 381).
"When you hear the word fire, you have been taught to think of a fire other
than the fire we see, owing to something being added to that fire which in this
there is not; for that fire is never quenched, whereas experience has
discovered many ways of quenching this; and there is a great difference between
a fire which can be extinguished, and one that does not admit of extinction.
That fire, therefore, is something other than this. If, again, a person hears
the word 'worm,' let not his thoughts, from the similarity of the term, be
carried to the creature here that crawls upon the ground; for the addition that
it 'dieth not' suggests the thought of another reptile than that known here.
Since, then, these things are set before us as to be expected in the life that
follows this, being the natural outgrowth according to the righteous judgment
of God, in the life of each, of his particular disposition, it must be the part
of the wise not to regard the present, but that which follows after, and to lay
down the foundations for that unspeakable blessedness during this short and
fleeting life, and by a good choice to wean themselves from all experience of
evil, now in their lifetime here, hereafter in their eternal recompense." Gregory
of Nyssa, Great Catechism, 40 (A.D. 383).
"And he said not the afflictions are so, but 'the things that are seen;' all of
them, whether punishment or rest, so that we should be neither puffed up by the
one nor overborne by the other. And therefore when speaking of the things to
come, he said not the kingdom is eternal; but, 'the things which are not seen
are eternal,' whether they be a kingdom, or again punishment; so as both to
alarm by the one and to encourage by the other." John Chyrsostom, Homilies on
2nd Corinthians, 9:17,18 (c. A.D. 392).
"His fourth and last contention is that there are two classes, the sheep and the
goats, the just and the unjust: that the just stand on the right hand, the
other on the left: and that to the just the words are spoken: 'Come, ye blessed
of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of
the world.' But that sinners are thus addressed: 'Depart from me, ye cursed,
into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.' ...And
as in one Gospel our Lord promises the Apostles a hundred fold, in another
seven fold, for leaving children and wives, and in the world to come life
eternal." Jerome, Against Jovianianus, 2:18,19 (c. A.D. 393).
"But because this is absurd, they who desire to be rid of eternal punishment
ought to abstain from arguing against God, and rather, while yet there is
opportunity, obey the divine commands. Then what a fond fancy is it to suppose
that eternal punishment means long continued punishment, while eternal life
means life without end, since Christ in the very same passage spoke of both in
similar terms in one and the same sentence, 'These shall go away into eternal
punishment, but the righteous into life eternal!' If both destinies are
"eternal," then we must either understand both as long-continued but at last
terminating, or both as endless. For they are correlative,--on the one hand,
punishment eternal, on the other hand, life eternal. And to say in one and the
same sense, life eternal shall be endless, punishment eternal shall come to an
end, is the height of absurdity. Wherefore, as the eternal life of the saints
shall be endless, so too the eternal punishment of those who are doomed to it
shall have no end." Augustine, City of God, 21:23 (A.D. 426).
"For there are two kinds of compunction, as you know: one that is afraid of
eternal pains, the other that sighs for heavenly rewards; since the soul that
is athirst for God is first moved to compunction by fear, and afterwards by
love. For in the first place it is affected to tears because, while
recollecting its evil doings, it fears to suffer for them eternal punishments."
Gregory the Great [regn. A.D. 590-604], To Theoctista, Epistle 26 (ante A.D.