The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1



CHAPTER ONE: Conditionalism Versus Immortal-Soulism

I. Purpose and Scope of This Vital Quest

Life, death, and destiny! Here and hereafter! These are quandaries that have intrigued the mind of man ever since the dawn of history. Where did we actually come from? Why are we here? Where are we destined to go at the close of life? And what, especially, of this mystery of the hereafter? What actually is death—is it a beginning, or an end? These are some of the perennial and insistent questions asked by millions of lips that clamor for a satisfying and authoritative answer. CFF1 17.1


Just what is the nature of man—is he mortal, or immortal? And what of death—is it a cessation of life, or an entrance upon a fuller existence? Above all, what is our condition during death—is it one of consciousness, or unconsciousness? And where are we during that mysterious intervening state? What about man’s fate after death—is he suddenly transported to eternal bliss, or consigned to endless agony—or perchance to bleak obliteration—if his life has been evil? Is he actually to be summoned back from the dark unknown? If so, for what purpose and what end? Can we know? Does anyone know? Is there any source of trustworthy and authoritative information? CFF1 17.2

What are the answers to these haunting questions that have plagued the curious and the thoughtful across the years? To find the answers to these and related questions is the purpose of this quest, and the design of The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers. To what sources, then, shall we turn? CFF1 17.3


Philosophy can only proffer educated guesses. Logic can only reason in plausible circles. History cannot supply the answer—it only records the gropings of man after the answers that he craves. Paganism has weird and wildly clashing notions. Even the Christian creeds are in conflict. And the eerie utterances of Spiritualism, both ancient and modern, are filled with contradictions that neutralise one another. It is a bewildering cacophony of discordant voices. Where, then, and to whom can we turn? CFF1 18.1

There is only one dependable and inerrant source of enlightenment—God, who made man. We must turn from man to God. And there is only one reliable revelation, the inspired Word of God. To Holy Writ, then, we shall turn to seek the answers to these questions. But first, permit this personal word. CFF1 18.2


Before proceeding further, it is only fair and proper that at this point in the opening chapter the author make a declaration of his religious faith, so there will be no misunderstanding as to the basis of his presentation. He is a conservative, evangelical Protestant. He believes that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, is the sole and sufficient rule of faith and practice, and provides the answer to our questions. CFF1 18.3

He believes in the historicity and reliability of the Genesis recital of the origin of man on earth. The author is a creationist, not a believer in the postulates of evolution. And he is a literalist as regards the record in the opening chapters of the first book in the Sacred Canon. He accepts the episodes narrated in Genesis 1 to 3 as actualities, not as legendary myths. This will give paint to the positions hereafter set forth, and avoid misunderstandings or ambiguity as to the basis of his statements. CFF1 18.4


First, the Biblical evidence will be studied in depth, the Old Testament evidence, and then the New. Next, the historical origin and development and worldwide spread of Immortal-Soulism will be examined, and its penetrations into the Jewish and Christian faiths presented with documentation. And then the conflict of the centuries between the three schools of the theological trilemma that developed will be set forth with covering data—the conflict over the nature and destiny of man as it advanced across the Christian Era. And finally will come the revival of Conditionalism in increasing volume and tempo during the past three hundred years. Thus the sweep of the ages will be brought into view, and the over-all picture set before us. That is the conspectus of the Conditionalist Faint volumes. CFF1 19.1

But before proceeding we should fast define the key terms, “Conditionalism” and “Conditionalist,” appearing in the title and thereafter throughout this work. CFF1 19.2


Conditionalism is the Christian doctrine that immortality, or everlasting life, is offered to man only upon Gods terms and conditions. Immortal-Soulism, on the other hand, holds that man was created with a soul, which has a separate existence from the body, and that it is innately and indefeasibly immortal. Conditionalists believe that the man who does not accept God’s conditions for life will be ultimately deprived of life, fatally destroyed. Immortal-Soulists, on the other hand, believe that the man who disobeys God and persists in his rebellion will be cast into an eternally burning hell-fire, where he will be tormented forever, since his soul cannot die. CFF1 19.3

Conditionalists believe that at the death that meets all mankind, good and bad alike, man rests in the grave until the resurrection, when all men will be raised, some to life everlasting and some to receive their punishment. During the interim they believe man is unconscious of the passing of time and knows nothing of events occurring on earth. lmmortal-Soulists believe that at death man goes to some place of conscious existence. Some believe that all men go at once to their eternal reward or punishment, the good to Heaven and the bad to Hell. CFF1 19.4

Others believe that some at least go to Purgatory, because they are not yet good enough for Heaven or bad enough for Hell. Here they are allowed to suffer for a time to purge them of their remaining sins, and then they are admitted to Heaven. Still others believe that there is no Hell, and all men will eventually reach the abode of bliss. CFF1 20.1