The Bible and Hell

In today’s Thursday Theology post I’d like to invite you to read a study on the subject of hell as it is written about in the Bible. You may find it refreshing to explore this subject in some depth. It is by no means a ‘black and white’ issue – it’s actually rather complex.

For instance, did you know that there are four different words that are translated as hell in the King James Version of the Bible? The meaning of some of these words might surprise you. Also, have you considered whether eternal conscious torment (ECT) is a Biblical idea, or one that theologians have invented outside of Scripture?

To guide us through the issues, I’d like to introduce my blogging friend Amanda and her blog Kindling Truth. As far as I know Amanda wouldn’t describe herself as an academic or theologian (she’s very modest), but she’s a great writer with a passion for Scripture and she has certainly done a brilliant job in producing a thorough study on the subject of hell.

So then, without further ado, here’s the link:
The Nature of Hell (Complete Series)

If that’s too much to read in one go, here’s the series in four parts:
The Nature of Hell (Part 1) – Hell Lost in Translation
The Nature of Hell (Part 2) – Does God Subject People to Never-Ending Torture?
The Nature of Hell (Part 3) – The Lake of Fire and The Second Death
The Nature of Hell (Part 4) – The Teachings of Jesus on Hell

I’m sure Amanda would be happy to answer any questions or comments on her blog, and you’re welcome to leave a comment here if you’d like to do so – I’d be grateful to hear from you if you feel you’d like to add to the discussion. God bless and thank you for reading!

12 comments

  1. For me, hell would be livivg a life without God. So if we live a life without God here on earth, then our “hell” will continue in the afterlife. God wont send us to hell. We will automatically send ourselves there if we choose to live without Him. The same thing goes for paradise/heaven. Just my views. God bless

  2. The links were great – Amanda is a studious thinker! I looked to see if you had written on Hell in the past but only found a couple of slim posts. Now how am I gonna fill up my work day? Ah, well… 🙂

    1. Ha! Sorry to disappoint, Don. I guess Amanda has done all the hard work for me 😁 Really glad you enjoyed Amanda’s articles. Now get back to work, that library won’t run itself! 😉

  3. How many times have you heard someone say, “God is good,” followed by the reply, “ALL the time.” Now I have to wonder how many just find it a convenient thing to say and how many actually believe “ALL the time.”

    Suppose you had the power and ability out of an inanimate substance (dust) to make an animate (living being), and should make one, at the same time knowing that this creature of yours would suffer everlasting misery? Would your act of creating this creature be an act of goodness?

    And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto me.
    (John 12:32)

    Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life. (Romans 5:18)

    Who will have ALL men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to ALL men,
    (Titus 2:11)

    The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

    Is there an everlasting Hell? Without a doubt! Will some be cast into the lake of fire? Absolutely! The real question is, “Will they remain there for ever and ever?”

    The scriptures are crystal clear on this point. Crystal clear? Is there any other kind when reading the Word of God?

    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

    Yes, those who did not accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this life will be “cast into the lake of fire”, but only three, who will never repent…the devil, the beast and the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

    And after all of the scripture ever written…how revealing it is that God should end his Holy Words by saying, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you ALL. Amen.

    There is no sign at Heaven’s Gate that says, “Grace is finished.”

    1. Thank you for your reflections and insights, brother Dave. It’s interesting that you believe the Word of God is crystal clear, as there are so many different interpretations of many doctrines, including those pertaining to hell and the afterlife. The universalist perspective is one among many, so while you may be convinced you are right, I’d encourage open-mindedness and a respect for those who thoughtfully disagree with you. God bless you 🙂

  4. There are, I believe, two stages in history that have created today’s myths about Hell.

    The first occurred during the 300 years before Jesus Christ’s birth. In the OT scriptures, Satan is an obedient Public Servant carrying out God’s instructions and limited by Him. He was created because of the 6th century BCE rise of monotheism, and the consequent issue of Theodicy.

    The 3rd century BCE saw the creation of an evil individual (Book of Jubilees, for example) with names such as Mastema and Belial. This was rolled into Diabolos, Devil. By the time of the NT, this was assimilated into Satan, who now was changed into the personal embodiment of Evil.

    The second major phases too place more recently. The general populace was denied direct access to the Bible, and they created lurid and highly imaginative legends. The greatest influence on modern imagery, however, comes through the poet John Milton. His influence cannot be overstated. Dante, of course, added fuel to the fire.

    It was only in the 13th century that Satan, now Devil, was assigned the role of managing the ever-burning Hell. So he is “down there” while at the same time as “roaming the earth”.

    Unfortunately, people today read the Bible through the eyes of these distortions.

    If you want more details, I can point you to a Study I have drafted. I am in the process of updating it, which will take me another couple of weeks.

    Doug

  5. Hi, thank you for following my blog, I hope you find it interesting. There is actually an entire movement out there now which is based upon questioning doctrines such as ECT and hell, and finding them lacking. You might find dudes like Steve McVey, Baxter Kruger, Brad Jersak, Jeff Turner, and Don Keathley to be very enlightening. They have been very helpful on my journey, even though the question is only tangential for me (I was never brought up with these doctrines so they’re not something I really struggle with).

    I am not a liberal or progressive Christian by any stretch, but I do think that modern evangelical theology has a few things that are wanting. It is good that you’re willing to question and explore. Keep it up.

    As you may have inferred from my blog, I have a particular affection for eastern culture and religion, even as I am keenly aware of its shortcomings. I think we have a lot to learn from it, though.

    1. You’re welcome! Thank you for your comment. I’ve been interested in eastern spirituality for a long time – it’s been a significant part of my spiritual journey. Thanks for sharing your advice concerning ECT and the doctrine of hell. Blessings upon you! Steven

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