DISCLAIMER: The material in this article may offend those with other viewpoints. This article is not meant to offend or cause any emotional harm to anybody. I have written this piece to both share my experiences with this topic and to hopefully help others who are interested in this doctrine. And if you'd like to make the most of this article, go grab your dusty Bible under that lamp and follow along. May you be blessed in reading this as I did in writing it.
Chapter 1: Views of Hell
How many times have you thought about death? Once? Twice? Maybe you think about it every day. Maybe you have pushed the thought aside because it creates too much anxiety. Well, whether you think about it or not, there will come a day when you will not only ponder your death, but you will have to experience it as well.
Death comes to everything. Plants, animals, and humans inevitably come face to face with this sudden passing. I call it a passing because it is not merely a destroying of your body, but a passing of your soul from either life or to death. You see, our physical death is not the only death that exists. There happens to be a much more severe death that awaits people. As Christians, we know what that death is. It is Hell. It is excruciatingly painful; and it is eternal.
Some Christian Viewpoints of Hell
Some Christians claim that Hell is a place where people get exactly what they always have desired, namely themselves. They claim that unbelievers have selfishly searched after “stuff” for their own use and enjoyment. That whatever acts the unbeliever did while living, were acts solely done for selfish gain. So when these unbelievers go to Hell, they receive their just reward, which is what they desired, themselves. No God; no family; no friends; no relationships at all. They will spend eternity in a very lonely place. And that’s it. Eternal solitary confinement.
Other Christians believe that Hell does not exist, otherwise, God would not be merciful. This viewpoint holds that Christ came to die for the world, therefore, the world has been saved and nobody will have to be put in such a horrible place. Their souls will either be destroyed, or they will be forgiven of their trespasses and ultimately allowed into Heaven.
But the majority of Christians would claim that Hell is a place without God. Their argument is one that is solely philosophical in nature and nowhere in Scripture does it teach this. But here’s their argument: God is good, merciful, and holy, therefore, He cannot be in a place where sin continues to exist, leaving Hell out of bounds for God’s omnipresence. And following you will find a list of non-Christian beliefs about the doctrine of hell in their own words. None of which are Christian in nature.
Non-Christian Viewpoints of Hell
“After we are resurrected we will be judged and rewarded for the things we have done in this life (see Revelation 20:12,13).
Jesus Christ taught His Apostles that in His Father’s house are “many mansions” (John 14:2). Our loving Heavenly Father is anxious to reward all of His children according to their obedience to His commandments and their willingness to follow the Savior.
Those who do these things and are worthy to return to the presence of God and Christ become “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17) of all that the Father has. They will return to live with Heavenly Father and with their families in His eternal glory.
Those who choose not to follow our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ will receive a reward according to what they have done in this life, but they will not enjoy the glory of living in the presence of God.” – www.mormon.org
You see how eternal life is based upon works, but nobody gets penalized by their total depravity. What great news! Except for the fact that nobody does anything worthy of eternal life (Romans 3:9-11). And all of our good deeds are like crap to God (Isaiah 64:6).
“They totally deny the existence of the traditional Christian view of Hell. Satan is regarded as having created the concept of Hellfire in order to turn people against God. They believe that hell is the "common grave of mankind" where people go when they die. They are not conscious there. Unbelievers simply cease to exist at death. Believers remain in death until the resurrection.” – www.towerwatch.com
“The Buddhist concept of heaven and hell is entirely different from that in other religions. Buddhists do not accept that these places are eternal. It is unreasonable to condemn a man to eternal hell for his human weakness but quite reasonable to give him every chance to develop himself. From the Buddhist point of view, those who go to hell can work themselves upward by making use of the merit that they had acquired previously. There are no locks on the gates of hell. Hell is a temporary place and there is no reason for those beings to suffer there forever.” – www.buddhanet.net
“Being a Muslim does not keep one out of Hell, but it is not clear whether Muslims remain in Hell forever. Non-Muslims (kafir), however, will be punished eternally.” – www.religionfacts.com
The “wishful-thinkers” nonchalantly push the idea of Hell aside and say that if there is a Hell, it’s a place to party. Satan will be hosting the fiesta while Hugh Hefner and his playboy bunnies run around the massive fountain flowing with the best quality tequila.
Actually, most people who hold to the wishful-thinkers belief system are simply swayed by peer pressure during college parties or at bars. When alone and in a sober mindset, these same people will have a completely different answer. And most likely the answer is, “I don’t know.”
“In order to restore the level of purity the soul had possessed before entering the physical world, it must undergo a degree of refinement commensurate to the degree which the body may have indulged itself.” – www.askmoses.com
“The manifestation that our Hereafter is our ‘next life’ entirely alters the general concept of spiritual destiny. There is no argument whatever with the tenets of any faith, since it is not precisely stated uniformly by all religions that one immediately goes to a Heaven or Hell. It is certain that an individual experiences the effect of the civilization, which he has had part in creating, in his next lifetime. In other words, the individual comes back. He has a responsibility for what goes on today since he will experience it tomorrow.” – www.scientology.org
The Hell of Scripture
Many people may have their own hopeful renditions of what Heaven or Hell will be like, but we must ultimately get our knowledge of such things from Scripture. Anything else is merely fictitious. And not merely a few passages of Scripture, but the whole thing.
Jesus talks about Hell in more than ___ verses of the Gospels. His description of Hell leaves room for some imagination, but it is certain that it is a place of horrific torment and pain. In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells of Hell containing fire. He says,
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:21-22)
Not only is Jesus giving a glimpse into the descriptions of Hell, but He is making a profound statement too, but we will talk about that in Chapter 2.