The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


IV. Swedish Cleric Ekman-“Unquenchable Fire” Totally Consumes

Similarly on the fate of the wicked, Dr. E. J. EKMAN, 24 celebrated Swedish clergyman, in 1910 contended that the “unquenchable fire” of Scripture is fire that consumes until it completely destroys. His declaration is both lucid and convincing. CFF2 759.1


Bishop John Personne, likewise of Sweden, in a pastoral letter to his diocese of Lindköping, in 1910, tells how Ekman “turned against the doctrine of eternal suffering” when his very relationship to the Lutheran Church was “at stake.” 25 Here is Ekman’s summarizing word, to which reference was made: CFF2 759.2

“In conclusion we will remark that the Greek word asbestos which is translated by unquenchable, does not have the meaning that some ascribe to it. On the contrary it occurs in the profane Greek language, especially in Homer, qualifying such words that show that it does not concern something which never ends. For example it is used concerning ‘honor,’ ‘laughter,’ ‘cry,’ and the violent but short fire which consumed the Greek fleet. And Eusebius says twice in his ‘Church History,’ vol. 6, p. 41, that the martyrs were consumed by an unquenchable fire. This fire certainly was extinguished, but the word is used to emphasize the force and violence of this fire.” 26 CFF2 759.3


Ekman’s statement on “aion” is equally forceful. Aion does not mean “without end“: CFF2 760.1

“The word ‘aion’ occurs in the Greek literature with the meaning time, period, age, lifetime, but in no place with the meaning of a time without end.... Now if the root word aion does not mean without end, it follows that the derived adjective aionios cannot mean something without end, which is also evident from the fact that the word is used concerning things, which have already ceased to be.” 27 CFF2 760.2

Such are voices from Scandinavia. CFF2 760.3