Is there really a hell?

For some reason the issue of hell doesn’t want to die down.  Every now and then another ‘theologian’ proposes that the loving God will never send people to eternal hell.  Either all people will spend eternity with God in peace and harmony, or the unwilling will be obliterated, blown to smithereens.

#  For some reason people cannot grasp that:

  • Hell was designed for the devil and his demons, not for human beings. 1
  • God provided an escape from hell for all people, regardless of race, education, gender, or whatever. 2
  • The choice to accept or reject God’s ‘escape route’ is up to each individual.

#  If the unsaved are obliterated, escaping hell, there are some anomalies: 

  • Why did God go to all the trouble of providing an escape from hell through Jesus?  If nobody will be in hell, why provide a Saviour?
  • Why didn’t God create man and welcome us into His Kingdom and leave the Bible, and Jesus’ death on the cross altogether?

#  God gave each person a choice.

However much we want to deny it, people who do not like God, who don’t want Jesus to pay the death penalty for their sins, will pay it themselves.  That means eternal ‘death,’ away from the wonderful presence of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

#  Scriptural reasons why hell cannot be argued away.

  • Scripture is Truth.  It is unchangeable.  The new heavens and earth is a future reality, as is hell for the unrepentant.
  • All people will appear before the Judgment Throne. 3
  • ‘Death,’ as the enemy of man, will be thrown into hell at the Judgement. 4   This means that from then onwards, all people will live eternally, either with God or away from Him with the devil. 5

Conclusion

It is a sad fact that those who deny the existence of God, or refuse His plan of salvation, will be eternally alive in hell.  No amount of reasoning can change it.  It is a fate the loving God wants all humans to escape. 6

References

  1. Matthew 25:42
  2. John 3:16
  3. Revelation 20:12-13
  4. Revelation 20:14
  5. Revelation 21:4
  6. 1 Timothy 2:3

God’s hands are chained

In the blogs Why is hell so horrific? and God’s Paradise, we saw that God planned two eternal destinations, heaven and hell.  Despite God’s brilliant design of a glorious beautiful planet for man and a lake of fire for the rebellious angels, it is very clear that not all people will be with God on the new heavens and earth as the Bride of Christ.  The last book of the Bible states it clearly, ‘If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.’ 1   What happened?

#  People, like angels, have free will.

Some angels sided with God and some followed Lucifer (the devil or Satan) when he wanted to usurp God’s throne and was thrown out of heaven.  People have the same free will to chose to side with God, or to reject Him.  For example, the first son of Adam and Eve, Cain, joined the ranks of the devil, ‘Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one, and murdered his brother.’ 2  God limited Himself (and the devil and his fallen angels) not to interfere with a person’s free will.

#  God knew people would rebel.

God is omniscient, He knew that people would rebel and disobey Him, just like the angels.  So before creation, God planned that this life will be a testing ground where people are sifted.  If someone decides to reject salvation (Jesus came to save man from the devil’s works 3), He will not interfere.  God will never force people to love Him (if He forces one, He has to force them all).

#  People are not powerless to resist the devil.

The devil was sentenced to the eternal lake of fire and he cannot change it.  So he tries to spite God and keep people away from His saving grace.  Yet the same free will that allows people to choose to reject God, enables them to resist the devil. 4

#  God’s hands are ‘chained’ when a person does not want to be helped.

God provided a way of escape from the decree of ‘the wages of sin is death.’  5  Jesus paid the penalty.  Some people are rebels who refuse God’s ‘escape clause.’   They tell Him straight in His face that Jesus’ sacrifice means nothing to them.  They are quite happy to pay the wages of their sin themselves.

Conclusion

At the final judgement God divides all people.  Those who loved God will be with Him, and those who rejected and resisted His grace and mercy, will never see His face.

References

  1. Revelation 20:15
  2. 1 John 3:12
  3. 1 John 3:8; 1 Peter 1:20
  4. James 4:7
  5. Romans 6:23

Why is hell so horrific?

If there is one aspect of the Bible that riles unbelievers, it is the proposition of hell.  How can a benevolent ‘Granddaddy’ in heaven, who smiles on all people and blesses whatever they do, plan something as gruesome as hell?  It is totally out of sync with a God of love.

#  Why did God design hell?

Despite all the arguments that eternal punishment for the ‘non-religious’ is very unfair, most people never ask the obvious question: why did God design hell?  What was His idea and for whom did He plan it?  People were made in God’s image.  So it sounds incongruous that God would plan something that gruesome for them.

#  God designed hell for a specific category of ‘criminals:’ rebellious angels.

Angels are part of God’s created order. 1  Like people they have free will.  One of them, gifted and rebellious, decided to usurp God’s throne. 2   After he convinced millions of angels to follow him, he set up his own kingdom, the kingdom of darkness. 3  For his treachery against God, the devil and his demons were sentenced to spend the coming age, which is eternal, in the lake of burning sulphur (hell).

#  Hell is gruesome. 

Make no mistake, hell will not be a place of drinks and drugs.  God designed it to fit the crime of the kingdom of darkness.  It will be never ending torment in a lake of burning sulphur where the fire never goes out.  The question is why such harsh punishment for the rebels?  The obvious question is which government through the ages regarded rebels in a favourable light?  Usually they were summarily executed.  It cannot happen with the devil and his demons, since they cannot die, but live eternally.  Torment, burning sulphur, relentless pain and agony is what waits for them.

#  The devil’s crimes

The devil is responsible for thousands of years of human misery, deaths, murders, wars, et cetera. Think of every kind of atrocity and living hell that people experienced, and it can be laid at his feet.  He is the murderer, the liar, the thief who steals people’s eternal lives. 4   The rivers of blood that have flowed over the earth since he took control of the world is indescribable.  The tortures inflicted by man on man, instigated by the devil, are too gruesome to mention.

#  Hell is fitting punishment.

The devil killed billions.  He must serve life sentence for each one.  This amounts to eternal punishment, ‘And the devil, who deceived them [people at the end of the age], was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur where the beast and false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.’ 5

To summarise

Hell was designed for rebellious angels and their leader.  God designed a place that will fit their treachery and rebellion, a ghastly ‘prison.’

References

  1. Hebrews 1:14
  2. Isaiah 14: 12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-17
  3. Matthew 12: 25-26; Colossians 1:13
  4. John 8:44
  5. Revelation 20:10
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