Section 9B .. The Future
The Problems With The Traditional View of Hell


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The Problem of Hell... Index

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

Also See The Message of the Bible   and The Warning of The Bible
Far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, the Kingdom of God Jesus was sent to earth to proclaim (No, His main message wasn’t about ‘love’) is exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of, not some pie-in-the-sky ethereal place the other side of Pluto where everyone exists in a state of disembodied blessedness. However, there is also a warning. The Bible very clearly tells us that we all have a choice to make in this life - the most important decision we will ever make. And, if the Bible is indeed the word of God, as it claims to be, and Jesus is the Son of God as He said He was, the consequences for the individual who chooses to ignore the ample evidence, or counter it with clever arguments, will be fatal.


The Importance of the Subjects: Since either Heaven or Hell is the final and eternal destination of every one of us, the importance of these two subjects cannot possibly be overstated. In fact, it is imperative that we thoroughly and completely understand, not man's teachings, but what the Bible says about heaven and hell.  In the absence of a clear cut and fully developed teaching in the New Testament (which, as we shall see, speaks volumes), I originally presented both sides of the issue (eternal death vs. eternal torment) in this section, and left it to the reader to make up his, or her, own mind. However, presenting 'both sides of the coin' simply wasn't good enough... Either hell is a place of torment, or it is not. Either hell is eternal or it is not. There is no middle ground, and no room for fence sitting.

Conflicting Arguments: In this case, as in so many others, the doctrine of the Bible and the doctrine of the church seem to have little in common... that is if you do not rely on a shallow, first-glance, interpretation of certain passages. When it comes to hell, the deeper one delves into the subject, the less persuasive the argument in favor of the traditional view becomes. The study is not an easy one. On the surface there appears to be an enormous amount of conflicting arguments, with both sides presenting seemingly compelling Scriptural evidence. However, knowing that the Bible does not contradict itself, all Biblical passages on this subject (and all others) have to be taken into consideration. And when, as sometimes happens, two positions seem to be at odds with one another, they have to be carefully examined to see which fits the overall teaching of the Bible. In other words, one has to consider the whole counsel of God.

Challenging The Traditional Viewpoint: As said by David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries... "The doctrine of the duration of Hell has been so strongly held throughout the history of Christianity that few have dared to challenge it. Adding to the reluctance has been the fact that most modern challenges have come from the cults. Thus, a person who dares to question the traditional viewpoint runs the risk of being labeled a cultist" [1] or, at best, a Universalist. We are neither.

A Core Biblical Doctrine? Much of the problem with this topic centers around the fact that most Christians believe that an everlasting nightmare is a core doctrine of the church.. This is patently untrue. In the words of Keith Stump... (Emphasis Added)

    "The doctrine of hell evolved long after the core doctrines of the historic Christian faith were established. The views of the early Church fathers about hell were far from unanimous. It took the Christian community hundreds of years to come up with a consensus on the issue. The majority view -- that hell is a place of eternal fiery torment -- emerged only after a long debate within the Church... By the Middle Ages, the concept of a fiery underworld had become a dominant element in people's minds. To the medieval faithful, hell was a place of suffering and despair, of wretchedness and excruciating pain. The medieval Church used fire-and-brimstone rhetoric to its fullest to keep believers under control. The Church considered hell a useful prod to piety, a strong incentive to refrain from evil." [2]

Christians Do Not Really Believe In Eternal Torture: Eternity is, admittedly, a difficult concept to grasp, but it seems to me that very few Christians truly believe in the doctrine of eternal fires of hell, no matter how much they profess to do so. The idea of unending, conscious pain, whether physical or mental, is beyond anyone's darkest imagination or worst nightmares, and should stir Christians into a state of near panic for the welfare of their unsaved relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Yet, when was the last time any of us tearfully went to an unsaved person that we care about, and begged them to 'repent and believe'?  When was the last time you did so?

Presuppositions: However, it is totally pointless to embark on a investigation unless one is prepared to set aside one's denominational presuppositions, and other biases, and rely strictly on what the Word says, something that seems to be easier said than done for many, if not most, Christians. But for those who are willing to allow the Bible to dictate their beliefs....





Sheol and Hades
Why Are We ‘Translating’ Proper Names?

Sheol and Hades Are Exactly The Same Place
Roots of The Word "Hell"
Inconsistencies In Translation

Additional Reasons Sheol/Hades Is Not "Hell"
Jacob Expected to Go To "Hell"?
People went Down Alive Into "Hell"
No One Can Be Rescued From "Hell", yet...
No One Can Be Returned to "Hell", yet...

Location of Sheol/Hades
Duration of Sheol/Hades
Affliction in Sheol/Hades?



PART II... Gehenna (HERE)

Gehenna, Mentioned in The Old Testament and The New, Was An Actual Physical Location.

Jesus and Gehenna

That Deafening Silence

People Who Have Already Received A "Just Recompense"



Eternal Life vs. Eternal Death
Clarifying the Phrase “Eternal Punishment”
John 3:16
Eternal Life Vs. Death
Eternal Life Vs. 'Decay'

Immortality of The Soul?

Eternal Life... a Result of Redemption
I Corinthians 15
Jesus "Died" In Our Place
The Second Death
Symbolism of Revelation

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth



The Rich Man and Lazarus
Difficulties with the Traditional Interpretation of The Parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus
A Biblical Interpretation of This Parable

Where Did The Idea Of The Torments of Hell Originate?
The Various Apocalyptic Texts, Dante’s Inferno and Augustine

Additional Considerations
"Choosing" Hell
The 'Joys' of Heaven
Infinite Punishment and The Character Of God
Not Choosing Eternal Life

Summary and Conclusion


End Notes

[1] Dr. David R. Reagan. The Nature of Hell. An Eternal Punishment or Eternal Torment?

[2] Keith Stump. The Battle Over Hell. http://www.precipicemagazine.com/battle-over-hell.html


    The Future


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