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Literal Fire?

Wm E. Evans, The Great Doctrines of the Bible, Moody, p. 262

Is the fire spoken of literal fire? It is an accepted law of language that a figure of speech is less intense than the reality. If "fire" is merely a figurative expression, it must stand for some great reality, and if the reality is more intense than the figure, what an awful thing the punishment symbolized by fire must be.