25. To those who bring forward, in support of the doctrine of eternal punishment, certain Bible- texts that may seem, at first sight, to favor that doctrine, we reply that the Bible contains other texts, of a contrary character, and that are more clearly and decidedly condemnatory of that doctrine. For example, the following passages from Ezekiel are an explicit denial, not only of eternal punishment, but also of the condemnation supposed to have been entailed, by the sin of the father of the human race, on his descendants:
1. The Lord spoke to me again, and said: — 2. How is it that you have among you this parable, and that you have made of it a proverb in Israel, saying: —”The fathers have eaten unripe grapes, and the children’s teeth have thereby been set on edge?” – 3. I swear by myself, said the Lord God, that this parable shall no longer pass among you as a proverb in Israel; — 4. For all souls are mine; the soul of the son is mine as is the soul of the father; the soul that has sinned, that soul, itself, shall die.
5. If a man is righteous, if he acts according to equity and justice; – 7. If he neither grieves nor opposes anyone; if he gives back to his debtor the pledge he had received from him; if he takes nothing from others by violence; if he gives of his bread to the hungry; if he covers with garments those who are naked; – 8. If he does not lend on usury and receives no more than he gave; if he turns away his hand from iniquity, and if he renders a just verdict between two men who plead against one another; – 9. If he walks in the path of my precepts and keeps my commandments, so that he acts according to the truth: he is righteous, and he shall surely live, said the Lord God. 10. If this man has a son who is a robber, and who sheds blood, or who does any evil deeds, – 13. This son shall surely die, because he has done that which is detestable, and his blood shall be on his own hand. – 14. But if this wicked son has a son who, seeing the evil deeds that his father has done, is seized with fear and takes good care not to imitate his wrongdoing, – 17. This son shall not die for the iniquity of his father, but shall surely live. – 18. His father, who had oppressed others by his calumnies, and who had done evil deeds in the midst of his people, is put to death for his own iniquity.
19. If you say: “Why has not the son borne the iniquity of his father?”, it is because the son has acted according to equity and justice; because he has kept all my precepts and has practiced them; for which reason he shall surely live.
20. The soul that has sinned, that soul, itself, shall die: The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous man shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked man shall be upon him.
21. If the wicked man repents of all the sins he has committed; if he keeps all my precepts, and if he acts according to equity and justice, he shall surely live and shall not die. – 22. I will no longer remember the iniquity he had committed; he shall live in the deeds of righteousness that he has done.
23. Do I desire the death of the wicked? Said the Lord God; and do I not, on the contrary, desire that he should be converted, and that he should turn from his evil path, and that he should live? – (Ezekiel, chap. XXXIII v. 11, and on)