About

You may think hell is an odd topic to discuss these days given a significant number of people in the West don’t even believe it exists…

First, what people believe can affect those around them. This is becoming ever more apparent in our increasingly globalised world. An extreme example is someone who believes blowing themselves up in a crowded place will earn themselves a spot in Paradise. Assumably, you think that’s a ridiculous thing to believe but the fact someone else believes it still affects you, even if only indirectly (e.g. tightened airport security).

Second, I’m sure I’m mistaken about many things in life. At the same time, throughout history, many of people have believed in some sort of hell and that should make us pause. It’s just possible you might be mistaken about what happens after you die.

In both cases, I think it’s better to engage with the issue—even if you think it’s only a hypothetical thought experiment—rather than simply ignoring it. We may not significantly, nor rapidly, change the other’s view but we might reform it a little, and influence those quietly following the discussion.

Anyway, I’m a Christian, a husband, a father of 3 young children, and a full-time worker but God willing, I hope to make time each month to share thoughts on:

  1. “Always Reforming”? How do we need to reform our view of hell?
  2. How does hell fit into God’s intentions revealed in Genesis 1 and into the Bible’s big story of creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and transformation into the New Creation?
  3. How does our view on hell affect the way we interact now—with God, people, creation, justice, punishment, and evil?
  4. When life is hell, how can we reform? What can we do to make life less hellish for others?
  5. Can God reform people in hell? Is hell a place of reformation—a reforming hell?

Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration

28 thoughts on “About”

  1. Aww so fun to find your blog and see a comment from Thomas Talbott!! Inescapable Love of God was instrumental for my husband and me in questioning some of what we’d always been taught in church growing up. Looking forward to reading through many more of your posts. Thanks for writing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Kimie, that’s very encouraging! The Inescapable Love of God is one of the few books that I’ve read multiple times. When the 2nd edition came out I managed to arrange for it to be made into an audiobook narrated by the talented George Sarris so that my brother could benefit from it 😀

      The Inescapable Love of God (Christian Audio audiobook)
      The Inescapable Love of God (Audible audiobook)

      My latest post Engaging Orr-Ewing: How Could a Holy/Loving God Send People to Hell? contains Talbott’s insights into C. S. Lewis’ conversion and a link to a great article he wrote fleshing it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would like to know what you believe about Jesus our Lord? . One of my favorite verses is Heb,1:8 I believe Jesus is God ,because God says so What do you believe about it.?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the question William. I believe the eternal Trinity is the best systematic description of God that we have. I believe it is what God has revealed, primarily in the Bible but by also through secondary means (e.g. logically an eternally loving being requires someone to have loved eternally). I believe Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the promised Messiah, and eternally/fully part of the Trinity. I believe He physically incarnated, taught, performed miracles, was crucified and resurrected, before ascending. While He is currently with us via the Spirit, I look forward to His physical return. Because of who He is and what He has done, I try to follow Him.

      Feel free to ask me to clarify anything.

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      1. I also believe that Jesus is God. I’m not sure if you answered William’s question directly. I don’t agree with the ‘universalist’ idea, I really don’t see where it is supported by scripture. I think we must be careful what we teach. “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement.” James 3:1 Jesus preached more about hell than heaven. Sounds like a warning to me.

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      2. Thanks Clay for your feedback. I’m glad we both believe that Jesus is God, as I believe that’s one of God’s the most wonderful revelations to humanity.

        I think you’re wise not to agree with someone if you don’t see it supported by Scripture. At the same time brother, I encourage you to look into God’s promise to rescue all of His Creation—an excellent, free, easy starting point is https://www.hopebeyondhell.net/audiobook/, which is overflowing with Scripture.

        I agree that anyone teaching should be very careful and prayerful as God warns us He will hold them to account whenever they mislead people.

        I agree it’s important (especially for people who have the Scriptures) to take Jesus’ warning about Gehenna, judgment, and punishment seriously. At the same time, even non-universalists only claim that about 13% (some say it’s as low as 3%) of Jesus’ teaching was on hell and that about 10% of Jesus’ teaching was on heaven (although if you include His teachings about the Good News, the Kingdom of God, Eternal Life, etc. it’s much more! Similarly, I’d suggest that the Sermon on the Mount will be primarily fulfilled in the ages to come when God dwells with humanity in the New Jerusalem—which colloquially is referred to as heaven).

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  3. Hi Alex,
    My name is Femi, Nigerian based in Johannesburg. I am happy with what our Father is doing through you. And most importantly, thank you for making sure the Inescapable Love of God is in audio.
    Please do you by anyway knows anybody that believes that “Love Wins All” in Johannesburg? I am very hungry to meet people who have same believe like you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your encouragement Femi! My brother was too busy to read the book but said he’d listen to it if it was an audiobook… thankfully George Sarris was keen so that made it doable!

      I don’t know many people in SA but I believe one of them does believe “Love Wins All” so I’ll see if I can get in contact with them 🙂 Are you happy for me to give them your email address?

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  4. Alex, I find you, and the majority of those who respond to your blogs, to be courteous, unassuming, and enlightening – I’m not trying to curry favour, just telling how I feel. In short, I appreciate what you write and the manner in which you write.
    A brief word of explanation – I’m 77, a Christian since 1953, married with nine children. My beautiful wife’s condition is now a state of advanced dementia, i.e. she is totally helpless. I insist she remains at home with me and count it only the greatest joy and privilege to take care of her every need. God alone gives me the necessary strength and grace. He has also provided me with Jaki, a lovely Christian Filipina, to assist me. We now live in Canada, which is probably quite similar to Australia in its origins, culture, politics, etc. but with very different climates!
    My wife and I have attended many different churches, of all persuasions, but which we considered held firmly to “the faith once delivered ..etc.” I have been an elder and a lay preacher in some of them. I have written quite a few essays on a number of subjects, the most recent (since we are presently members of a very conservative Reformed church) being a critique of the doctrine known as exclusive psalm singing. I am currently leading our church’s mid-week bible study on Revelation. I, unashamedly, use the Internet quite a bit to find out what interpretations are “out there”. So, I chanced upon your blog.
    My Internet searches caused me to come across the story of Michael Servetus who was burned at the stake for the heresy of denouncing Trinitarians. The reformed churches, under Calvin, handed him over to the civic authority to perform the slow, excruciatingly painful execution. In my essay, I asked the question, backed by the beautiful commentary of the Heidelberg Catechism, whether such an action was wilful non-adherence to the Sixth Commandment. (The 10 Commandments are read every Sunday by Reformed churches who remain strictly faithful to the prescribed Order of Worship). Reading through the Belgic Confession we find that the future of the wicked is to suffer “eternal torment” – not for the 35 minutes it took to extinguish Servetus’ life, but for ever, and for ever, and for ever.
    I give my wife supper every evening before putting her to bed a 6 p.m. The ladies in our church graciously prepare meals to help me. I heat them up in our microwave. Recently, I took note of how hot the bowls of food became after 2 minutes. Too hot for me to extract them with my bare hands. I needed to use a tea towel. No tea towels would help in hellfire. An eternal, conscious hell is not something that one likes to think about.
    Then a thought came to me – please tell me if it was a suggestion from the Devil – if I, a man created in the image of God, could never torture any living being, say a cat, by setting fire to it or throwing it into a cauldron, how can a loving God, infinitely more caring and loving than I, ever do such an act? I am fully aware that God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, but I am still left with an unanswered question.

    Please say hello to your dear wife,

    Norm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Alex, I find you, and the majority of those who respond to your blogs, to be courteous, unassuming, and enlightening – I’m not trying to curry favour, just telling how I feel. In short, I appreciate what you write and the manner in which you write.

      Thanks for the encouragement! It takes hours—sometimes days—to do a post as I’m trying my best to “to give the reason for the hope that [I] have. But do this with gentleness and respect”, knowing that there’s lots more for me to learn about most things in life, not least the Bible & God!

      A brief word of explanation – I’m 77, a Christian since 1953, married with nine children. My beautiful wife’s condition is now a state of advanced dementia, i.e. she is totally helpless. I insist she remains at home with me and count it only the greatest joy and privilege to take care of her every need. God alone gives me the necessary strength and grace. He has also provided me with Jaki, a lovely Christian Filipina, to assist me.

      Thanks for introducing yourself. I’m married with 3 kids & that’s often a juggle so I can’t imagine how anyone handled 9 :-O Sorry to hear your wife has dementia—that must be so tough. I’m impressed you’re able to care for her and I’m glad to hear God’s given you the strength and grace (& Jaki) to do so.

      We now live in Canada, which is probably quite similar to Australia in its origins, culture, politics, etc. but with very different climates!

      I live in Tasmania, which is the coldest state in Australia but despite some people complaining that it’s too cold over winter, I know that it’s mild compared to Canada!

      My wife and I have attended many different churches, of all persuasions, but which we considered held firmly to “the faith once delivered ..etc.” I have been an elder and a lay preacher in some of them. I have written quite a few essays on a number of subjects, the most recent (since we are presently members of a very conservative Reformed church) being a critique of the doctrine known as exclusive psalm singing.

      I grew up in a small, fairly conservative, Brethren church (I also visited one that only sung psalms). When I was 15 I joined a conservative Presbyterian and was a member there for about 15 years before joining a conservative Christian Reformed Church for almost 2 years. I’ve then returned to my childhood church, where my parents & 8 of my other relatives go. I do a couple of sermons each year (for the last few weeks I’ve been working on one for the 26th of Nov) and hope to one day go to https://www.ridley.edu.au/ as I love theology, particularly where it intersects with life—“rubber hitting the road”.

      I am currently leading our church’s mid-week bible study on Revelation.

      Good on you, that’s a challenging book! Although it contains so of my favourite passages (e.g. Rev 22, particularly verse 17)

      I, unashamedly, use the Internet quite a bit to find out what interpretations are “out there”. So, I chanced upon your blog.

      I’m very thankful for the Internet as it’s been even more effective than the printing press giving lay people easy access to the Bible in dozens of translations, to interlinears & lexicons, to numerous commentaries, and great works by respected theologians, all the way back to NT times! I’m delighted to hear you stumbled upon my blog—I hope it’s a blessing to you.

      My Internet searches caused me to come across the story of Michael Servetus who was burned at the stake for the heresy of denouncing Trinitarians. The reformed churches, under Calvin, handed him over to the civic authority to perform the slow, excruciatingly painful execution. In my essay, I asked the question, backed by the beautiful commentary of the Heidelberg Catechism, whether such an action was wilful non-adherence to the Sixth Commandment. (The 10 Commandments are read every Sunday by Reformed churches who remain strictly faithful to the prescribed Order of Worship). Reading through the Belgic Confession we find that the future of the wicked is to suffer “eternal torment” – not for the 35 minutes it took to extinguish Servetus’ life, but for ever, and for ever, and for ever.

      While I am a Trinitarian and think it’s a very helpful way to articulate the God we see revealed in Scripture, I think Jesus wouldn’t have burned someone at the stake and so neither should we.

      I give my wife supper every evening before putting her to bed a 6 p.m. The ladies in our church graciously prepare meals to help me. I heat them up in our microwave. Recently, I took note of how hot the bowls of food became after 2 minutes. Too hot for me to extract them with my bare hands. I needed to use a tea towel. No tea towels would help in hellfire. An eternal, conscious hell is not something that one likes to think about.

      Yes, I’ve burnt myself on microwaved containers that get surprisingly hot, surprisingly quick! Yes, eternal, conscious hell is hard to even imagine and a lot of people prefer not to think about it—although I admit I’ve been thinking about it since I was a teenager in the 90’s.

      Then a thought came to me – please tell me if it was a suggestion from the Devil – if I, a man created in the image of God, could never torture any living being, say a cat, by setting fire to it or throwing it into a cauldron, how can a loving God, infinitely more caring and loving than I, ever do such an act?

      I think wanting to see someone made in the image of God become God’s son or daughter He intended is a suggestion from the Holy Spirit. In Eden, we see God laying out His plans—giving us our telos—humanity is designed to be in a relationship with Him, that’s the way things ought to be—that’s Justice. There’s no Hell in Eden, it’s not part of His intentions. I believe He only tolerates Hell because He knows it’s a temporary and seemingly unavoidable necessity for dismantling some delusions. Similar to how a loving parent tolerates a child crying for a few minutes when they’re disciplined because they know spoiling a kid actually isn’t in the kid’s best interest—isn’t actually loving. Or how a surgeon tolerates the blood when he operates because he knows that it’s in the patients best interest. Or how a gardener tolerates a tree looking bare when pruned because it’s better in the long run. I would struggle to be a surgeon so I’m glad I’m not responsible for overseeing hell—I think only God is capable of knowing how to morally do that.

      I am fully aware that God’s ways are not my ways and His thoughts are higher than my thoughts, but I am still left with an unanswered question.

      It’s not surprising that we don’t yet understand everything God has done and is doing. However, it’s important to note that the context of Isa 55:8-9 is actually God’s compassion and forgiveness:

      Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive. Isa 55:7

      That’s what we underestimate—He has a higher amount of compassion and forgiveness than even the best parent for their child.

      I reckon you’d really benefit from reading “The One Purpose of God” by Jan Bonda (Dutch Reformed Pastor who engages with Scripture and the Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, etc. Short review here: The One Purpose of God – Jan Bonda (Eerdmans 1998))

      Please say hello to your dear wife

      She said, “It’s lovely to get such an encouraging message all the way from Canada.” 🙂

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      1. Thanks for replying so quickly, Alex. As a “teenager in the 90s”, you would be a contemporary of the middle third of our family! We wouldn’t notice the addition of another son. We seem to have walked down similar paths, e.g. my wife and I attended a (Free) Brethren meeting when we lived in Zambia where our first two children were born; the church where I served as an elder was CRC; denominations are unimportant, a true church is one that is Bible-based and exalts Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
        I really should go through all your prior blogs before posing this question – I would probably discover you have already dealt with it. If hell is only “temporary” as you put it and is intended to be reformative, then will not every man, woman and child have to spend varying lengths of time in it since not only have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” but all continue to sin, unconsciously as well as wilfully? And isn’t that idea a bit similar to the Roman Catholic teaching about purgatory? Help me out here, I’m a little confused.
        And thanks for referring me to Bonda’s book. I’ll be sure to get it and read it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for replying so quickly, Alex.

        I like to not be too busy on a Sunday so that makes it easier—during the week it harder.

        As a “teenager in the 90s”, you would be a contemporary of the middle third of our family! We wouldn’t notice the addition of another son.

        Hehe

        We seem to have walked down similar paths, e.g. my wife and I attended a (Free) Brethren meeting when we lived in Zambia where our first two children were born; the church where I served as an elder was CRC; denominations are unimportant, a true church is one that is Bible-based and exalts Jesus as Saviour and Lord.

        Yes, it seems we have walked a similar path. I should’ve said that it was “Open” Brethren, as opposed to the “Exclusive” type! I’d happily be part of a non-denominational church that was Bible-based & Christocentric 🙂

        If hell is only “temporary” as you put it and is intended to be reformative, then will not every man, woman and child have to spend varying lengths of time in it since not only have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” but all continue to sin, unconsciously as well as wilfully? And isn’t that idea a bit similar to the Roman Catholic teaching about purgatory?

        That’s a fair question. There are a number of responses:

        1. Some Christian Universalists believe that the Bible teaches that all the punishment has occurred (e.g. in 70AD. Full preterism), or will occur, in this age. My understanding is that they believe punishment won’t occur in the next age because once people come face-to-face with the risen & glorified Christ, all their delusions will evaporate and they’ll fall in love with Him.
        2. Some Christian Universalists believe that the Bible teaches that punishment will occur in the age(s) to come and that they can be just as severe, retributive, non-reformative, conscious, tormenting, etc. as whatever a non-universalist believes, except that it’s not eternal.
        3. Some Christians (even non-universalist Protestants, like Jerry Walls) believe that the Bible teaches purgatory (e.g. “everyone will be salted with fire”), except that it’s for sanctification, rather than satisfaction—that is to say, you can never earn your salvation (James Gould also discusses that in detail in this journal article: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-anglican-studies/article/gods-saving-purpose-and-prayer-for-all-the-departed/9884A1CDB22F8B3F94232F6142D64AA7)./li>

        While I think the biblical authors were often referring to the impending destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, I’m not convinced that ruled out multiple fulfillments. So I don’t hold view 1. above—I think partial preterism might be where I’m at, although it’s something I’m still quite unsure about.

        Regarding view 2., while I don’t like active/direct use of force, even retribution, I don’t rule it out as something that God requires to satisfy justice (although I’d want to be careful not to discount what Jesus has already done in that regard) and achieve the best for all creation. Also bearing in mind that 9/10 times in the Bible, justice is restorative justice, rather than retributive (according to the Bible Project scholars, who aren’t universalists)–so a restorative justice type hell actually seems more consistent.

        Regarding view 3., I don’t use the term “purgatory” as it has too much baggage and because I’m also unsure exactly when, where, and how, God intends to get everyone from their current state to the glorious, final state of God being “all in all”, uttermost/primary/filling to everyone—but I believe He will. I do believe repenting and coming to faith Jesus will be essential for each and every being ever created. I do believe that’s only possible because the Holy Spirit is working within people—I imagine in some sort of cooperative capacity as to allow free will but again, that debate is complex (I like Talbott’s chess illustration though see https://reforminghell.com/2017/03/18/engaging-orr-ewing-how-could-a-holyloving-god-send-people-to-hell/). I do believe everyone will freely give the Father the praise & glory He deserves—that mere lip service from a heart that hates Him wouldn’t be good enough. I think along the way He will seek to see every perpetrator apologise to every victim (remembering that victims are perpetrators of things too), for the victim’s sake, the perpetrator’s sake, and because I think leaving relationships unreconciled, leaving hatred even “quarantined” in hell, would be evil (I try to unpack that more in https://reforminghell.com/2017/02/12/engaging-shumack-justice-and-the-death-penalty/).

        The other important consideration is that the pattern throughout the Bible is that God patiently warns people to stop their evil behaviour but only for a limited time (albeit sometimes that’s decades). There comes a time when God allows (possibly causes) the ramifications to catch up with people—the resulting calamity may last for a while before another opportunity arises for repentance. This means it’s always better to turn to God today, rather than just assume you can get rescued as soon as the “flood” hits. I try to explain that more in https://reforminghell.com/2015/10/04/do-we-need-hell-as-a-motivation/

        I hope that helps. One of the highlights of Robin Parry’s book, “The Evangelical Universalist” (happens to be my favourite book on the topic), is that he carefully goes through the OT looking at the pattern of judgment.

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  5. I just stumbled onto your blog today (and subsequently your other socials) while researching Tim Mackie’s (and Jon’s) approach to eternal destiny. Like you, i think the Bible Project is the best thing happening on the interwebs right now, so i was happy to see that you had documented a number of the different references that were building up recently. It’s hard to remember/note these while listening to podcasts and commuting, so thank you! One thing i’m trying to track down is in reference to a comment Tim made (on an “Exploring My Strange Bible” podcast episode, i think) to a handout/paper about what happens to people who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. Not sure if you’ve posted about that yet but i’ll keep digging. No need to reply, i really just wanted to say thanks and keep up the great work! I’m not really a universalist, just open to it, but i do love where you’re going with this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the great encouragement! I agree that The Bible Project is excellent and I’m keen to engage with them a lot more this year. I agree it’s hard remember/note references as usually when I’m listening I’m either driving or outside without pen & paper. I haven’t listened to the “Exploring My Strange Bible” podcast yet but I was thinking about doing so the other day.

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  6. Hello Alex. Through search and browsing unrelated to the subject of hell I landed on your page, by serendipity or providence. On the topic of hell as well ass other topics I keep some compiled reply snippets in a copyboard. I would like to share some snippets on this blog while I will take a glance on your blog. Including snippets concerning Dr. Fudge which you are as I sense familiar with already. Greetz from Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

    First Snippet:

    Why is it important that we understand hell and by consequence unlearn traditional views?

    Three main reasons why it is important for us to understand the biblical teaching on this topic.

    If we claim that we are telling people what God has said — on any subject — we have a fearful duty to do our best to get the message straight. Throughout Scripture, God has shown himself quite unhappy whenever someone announces a message not from him and calls it the word of God. It is important that we diligently try to understand this teaching correctly in order to be faithful spokespersons.

    Second, the traditional doctrine of hell has often been a hindrance to evangelism and a stumbling block to faith. Through the centuries, the teaching of everlasting torment has driven away many would-be believers and has actually turned many people into atheists. Famous atheists from Bertrand Russell to Antony Flew have specifically stated that they cannot believe in a god who would make people stay alive forever to torment them for deeds done in a few years lifetime.

    If the Bible really taught the doctrine, we should just have to live with it. But since it does not teach unending torment in hell, that doctrine is an unnecessary impediment to the spread of the gospel, and for that reason needs to be abandoned and forgotten.

    Third, the traditional notion that God will intentionally and actively keep millions of people alive forever just to torment them endlessly is inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture, contradictory to the character of Jesus, and, even worse, is a horrible slander against the heavenly Father. Think how two good parents would feel to learn that their babysitter has told their little children that if they disobey, their parents have said they will cut the children’s fingers off with scissors, stab them in the neck with a butcher knife, and poke them into the microwave oven until they pop. That is nothing compared to the slander of saying that God will torment people alive in fire forever and ever without end—if indeed God has said nothing of the sort. How furious would you be with that sitter? How hurt would you be to think that is what your children had been led to believe about you? This is what preachers have been telling the children of God about their Heavenly Father.

    These three reasons involve our vision of the character of God, the way we relate to him ourselves, and how we represent him to others. What could possibly be more practical than that?

    Compiled and edited from http://mattdabbs.com/2011/09/30/interview-with-edward-fudge/ and https://www.amazon.com/Consuming-Passion-Essays-Immortality-Edward/dp/1498223052

    Second Snippet:

    Lecture – Edward Fudge – The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of Hell > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHUPpmbTOV4

    Around the world today, evangelical Bible scholars are giving hell a serious second look. Would the God who gave his Son to die for sinners finally keep billions of them alive forever to torment them without end? Does Holy Scripture require such a conclusion—or offer a different vision? The story of how the great majority of Christians came to teach unending conscious torment is as fascinating as any mystery or “Who-done-it.” In this lecture, Edward Fudge will identify scores of generally-overlooked Scriptures, then lead a tour through some paths of church history that are less well travelled, and which are haunted by pagan philosophy, medieval law and Reformation politics.

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    1. Thanks for commenting Frank. I think you’ve made some good points about truth and what our views on hell imply about God’s character, and how that can be a significant stumbling block to people coming to him.

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  7. I have a third interesting snippet that purports to introduce an article: Especially the view that the Rich man and Lazarus is satire rather than a parable is interesting and the methodology is sound. Greetz

    The article below is about hell, its traditional role in the Christian Church and the problems it presents for Christians, both those who believe it and those who don’t. Believers in orthodox hell often have an issue with their conscience. Non-believers tend to more readily question the reliability of scripture. “Hell” shows a way we can have both — accurate scripture and a secure conscience. Harold R Booher, Ph.D is a freelance writer on issues in philosophy, science and religion.

    Full article > http://www.arn.org/docs/booher/the-problem-of-hell.html

    Table of Contents Chapter 1: Conscience versus Inerrancy Chapter 2: Concepts to Ease Pain of Hell Chapter 3: Philosophical Considerations Chapter 4: What does Bible Say about Hell Chapter 5: Problem Scriptures – Concepts Chapter 6: Problem Scriptures – Words Chapter 7: Summary and Conclusions
    Chapter 7: Summary and Conclusions

    Summary

    Three Steps Study

    This study on the solution to the problem of hell was conducted in three iterative steps
    1. Determining the meaning of hell;
    2. Determining what the Bible says about hell, and
    3. Interpreting difficult scripture that provide proof texts for the traditional view.

    Three Words for Hell

    Three words Sheol, Hades and Gehenna account for nearly all the translations of hell in the Old and New Testament..Sheol is Hebrew for grave or death with resurrection in view. Hades is Greek for grave or death with resurrection in view. Gehenna is Greek for destruction without resurrection in view

    Bible Teachings about Hell

    In determining what the Bible says about hell, it was found thatThe apostles and Acts are essentially silent about hell. Hell pays no part of the gospel they teach. The Old Testament does not present the doctrine of hell. Most occurrences of sheol can mean grave or state of death. There is no equivalent concept of gehenna mentioned in the Old Testament. The traditional view of hell finds support primarily in the teachings of Jesus and in Revelation.

    Problem Scriptural Concept and Words

    In order for the annihilationist to claim the totality of scripture more clearly supports his view, he must provide credible interpretations of the following problem scriptural concepts and words, showing logical and scriptural reasons for these problems. He must show these concepts and words traditionally supporting the traditional view mean something quite different from what they suggest from a non-exegetical reading.

    1. The story: Rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
    2. Immortal soul
    3. Everlasting, eternal fire and punishment
    4. Weeping and gnashing of teeth
    5. Worm and fire that never dies
    6. The word “torment.”

    Reasonable Interpretation of Problem Proof Scriptures Support Annihilation View

    Based on works of Sellers, the problem proof scriptures were analyzed to determine if a rational interpretation could support the destruction (annihilation) view as well or better than the traditional interpretation. It was found that without exception a reasonable interpretation favoring annihilationism could be made for each of these verses. The story of the rich man and Lazarus, for example, appears to be satire, rather than parable, so does not teach the reality of hades, only the foolishness of the Pharisees teaching about it. The idea of an immortal soul is not Biblical but rather Greek. The Bible teaches that a person is a living soul, not having something separate (called a soul) from the rest of the body. Further current science supports the view that the soul is neither a separate part of the body nor immortal.Phrases like everlasting fire, weeping and gnashing of teeth, worm and fire that never dies in the context of gehenna are metaphorical, expressing the finality of God’s judgment of the wicked. Each of these difficult phrases more readily expresses destruction than conscious eternal punishment. Finally the passage Revelation 14:9-11 is entirely figurative in which the word “torment” indicates a most rigorous and stringent examination by the Lord Jesus to determine the facts of those who took the mark of the beast, not to inflict physical pain upon them.

    Conclusions

    Two conclusions are drawn from this study. 1. Destruction (annihilation) of the “wicked” is the best scriptural view of both the Old and New Testaments. The traditional view of conscious eternal punishment is not only unconscionable but is not Biblical.
    2. The destruction view saves the concept of God’s justice for those who have freely chosen to live evil lives and created great harm to innocent people. It allows one to believe both in God’s love and His justice. Universalism need not be the only option for people whose conscience will not tolerate a belief in conscious eternal torment.

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  8. ım live in Turkey and here I am a Christian and here christian population is really growing has increased a lot, especially this year, and I had to leave the church because of new people coming in and they said to me you will go to hell because of your thoughts and ı left the church I do not want to lengthen it anymore and I want to ask you a question, Should I to come back to the church please help me

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    1. I’m glad to hear Christianity is growing in Turkey but saddened to hear that you have faced hostility for your beliefs about hell. I had to leave two denominations because of my beliefs about hell. It was very disheartening but I think going to church is important to our spiritual growth and as a place to be able to work with others to promote the Gospel and serve others. Thankfully, I was able to find another church that allowed me to hold my beliefs, even though the church doesn’t hold those beliefs themselves. I encourage you not to give up but to keep looking for another church. I pray God opens a door for you.

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