Contemporary Shifts in the Christian Doctrine of Hell in Anglo-American Philosophical Theology

Document Type : Research Paper


Academic Dean at CredoAkademin, Stockholm, Sweden


This problem of hell is a specific form of the problem of evil. The possibility that perhaps a great number of people will end up in an eternal hell is a problem for the Christian who also confesses faith in an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God.
In this paper, I shall introduce issuantist views of hell and show that the basic formulations of this perspective do not provide an adequate answer to the problem of hell. Issuantist scholars themselves, however, recognize this weakness and add a wide range of possible supplements to their basic perspective. Some of these supplemented versions succeed in presenting reasonable answers to the problem of hell.
One of the key reasons for the shift in interpretations of hell is a perceived failure on the part of other interpretations of hell to give adequate answers to the problem of hell. It is my conclusion, however, that with the addition of some of the same supplements, versions of annihilationism/ conditionalism and hell as eternal conscious torment can be advanced that succeed just as well in presenting answers to the problem of hell as those advanced by issuantist scholars, thus rendering some of their critique of retributive perspectives on hell unfounded.


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