Five Reasons Why Len Pettis is Wrong About Μενω

For those who watched the recent “Hell Debate” between Len Pettis of the Bible Thumping Wingnut and Chris Date of Rethinking Hell, you may have noticed that Len (who represented the torment view) called upon his ace in the whole: the word μένω.

He cited John 3:36:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

The word “remains” at the end of the verse means “abiding”. As such, according to Len, the wrath of God abides on sinners, eternally so. Ergo, the conscious torments of hell must be eternal.

Chris cited a number of references where people μένω for a short period of time (like the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane).

Len’s retort to this was that when μένω refers to a state of being, it always refers to an eternal length of time. Now, this is an underhanded debate tactic: if you introduce an argument in a debate, you ensure that any caveats to your argument are also clearly presented. Otherwise — as it happened in this debate — your opponent cannot respond to your argument and it’s caveats.

Since Chris didn’t get a chance to properly respond to Len’s caveat during the debate, I thought I’d offer five verses where μένω is used referring to a state of being, but not an eternal time frame.

Μένω is translated as “endures” here. Yet it makes no sense for something to eternally remain, but only up to a point, as the text implies here.

Jesus said, “what’s it to you if I want him to live eternally before I come back?”

Yeah, no… same point as above.

“unsold” is a state of being, not a location. Yet there’s the word “while” prior to it. Is Peter using a phrase referring to an eternal state of being in the past tense? Obviously not.

Quick question: is the bow of that ship still there? If it remained eternally unmovable, we’d assume as much…

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