I need your guidance. When it comes to the question of final destiny, there are three basic positions that are advanced in theological discussion: annihilationism, universalism, and _____. The annihilationist position declares that the damned will be eventually obliterated out of existence. The universalist position declares that all will be eventually restored to God in grace, repentance, and righteousness. And the _____ position declares that the wicked will be definitively excluded from the bliss and joy of the Kingdom. Each category comprises any number of variations. For example, within the _____ camp, there are those who espouse a retributive construal of damnation and there are those who espouse a damnation of freely-chosen alienation and estrangement.
My problem is this: within the literature it has become popular to refer to the _____ position by the term infernalism. As a descriptive term this seems to work well, as it immediately evokes memories of Dante’s Inferno, as well as the words of Jesus himself (e.g., “Gehenna of fire” in Matt 5:22). Everyone agrees that damnation is not a pleasant prospect for anyone.
But those who believe in eternal damnation object to this descriptive term. So my question is this: If not infernalism, then what? You who espouse _____, please suggest an alternative term. Neither “traditional” nor “classic” will do, as they do not actually describe the position. Besides, annihilationists and universalists believe that their respective views have as much claim to being “traditional” as the other two positions do.
So I need a substitute for infernalism. At the moment, the term that seem to work best, at least in my mind, is perditionism. It does not immediately evoke the objectionable image of hell-fire, but it does point to the state of lostness and ruin that is perdition.
What do you think?