History of Hell | Hell before Augustine


by Dr. Glenn Peoples

History of Hell

Imagine if somebody said, “No Christian leaders taught the doctrine of eternal torment prior to Augustine.”

That sounds like a pretty bold statement, right? No teachers taught what is now the traditional view of hell back then? None? And yet, it’s no more bold or over-the-top than many of the claims some theologians make in defense of the traditional view. In the last few years I’ve heard or read a number of people making the extraordinary claim that the early church fathers “unanimously” taught the eternal torments of the damned in hell, or that this was their “consensus.”

Now I’ll admit, the opening line was an intentional overstatement — mainly for the purposes of trying to show how absurd the opposite claim sounds to anyone who knows a bit about the early church fathers (by “early” here I mean prior to Augustine). The…

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