Monday, March 21, 2011


HELL. Always a 'hot' subject. Where did you learn your concept of hell from? What IS your concept of hell? Where did the concept of hell come from originally? We know it is prior to biblical times. It is common in all of ancient history of earliest civilizations and religions. Was it God inspired? Let's think for a moment.

When Adam sinned and assumed a darkened mind with a fallen nature all of his descendents assumed that same darkness. With Satan now being the 'god of this world' and with his influence man was ready to conjure up any explanation of the after life that 'seemed' right to him. Reward for being 'good' and punishment for being bad seemed only right to fallen man's thinking.

From the earliest recognized religion in the world, Zorasterianism to the Egyptians and the Greeks, a retributive , punishing, tormenting, suffering and torturing afterlife for evil was conjured. This Satan inspired teaching served only to discredit God and His unlimited love for His children.

For thousands of years man suffered under this illusion with fear of death hanging over his head. Unfortunately this 'hell' concept came into the Christian church in the 5th century A.D. through an early church leader named Augustine of Hippo. And it has stayed in its damnable teaching in the Christian church ever since. In its teaching is is almost point for point exactly the same as the teachings of Zorasterianism, Egyhptian afterlife, Greek after life, Catholic afterlife suffering and many Protestant teachings on the aferlife as well. It may be noteworthy to know that this 'Fire' teaching of punishment was NOT preached or taught in the early N.T. church of almost 500 years.

I believe in hell, make no mistake. But the hell one experiences is self imposed through living in darkness with a fallen nature and a darkened mind excercising what the Bible calls 'eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.' Or, living out of ones own mind and thinking. Or, not believing who ACTUALLY we are IN Jesus Christ. Even after death of our physical life, one can continue to resist believing who he or she is IN Jesus. This suffering or 'perishing' can last hyhpothetically FOREVER. One could keep himself or herself out of the party of
heaven through this unbelief. Revelation chapter 22 shows that the invitation to accept and believe and take of the river of life ( Jesus ) continues on for all to believe. But until one does, he or she continues to live in Hell. Not separated from God. Always loved by the Father. Always adopted and included and wanted by the Father in His life forever.

Until we can completely get RID of our preconceived ideas of a fiery hell and torture we can never see the real Love of God for all of humanity. Nor can we experience the real love relationship between God and ourself. Father help us to see.

I can almost hear the arguments now. But, What about Lazarus and the Rich man? And worms that die not. And any number of other scriptures which SEEM to contradict what has been said here. OK, what about them. Maybe you need to do more study into actually what is being said and taught in those examples. It is an interesting study to say the least. Until next time, God bless and happy studying.



Thom Friedrich said...

Hi Paul. Great topic! Can you recommend any books on this subject which explain in more detail how these false views of God and hell crept into our thinking? I definitely agree with what you wrote, but would like some more details before I try and "preach" this message...

-Thom Friedrich

Robin said...

This article by Tim Keller -
is really good. And, as always, Lewis' The Great Divorce is a good one.

You do realize some people don't want to go to heaven, don't you? Some people actually loathe the very idea of god, much less G-d Himself. They want nothing to do with Him. They say, don't bother me with that, leave me alone! And so, G-d does.

In the end though, the question of does hell last forever or not is silly. Time is something we know now. It is relevant only now. Jesus says that it will last forever. Does He not say this because we think in temporal terms? Eternity cannot be interrupted by time. As Lewis says in one spot, when all this is past, we will look back and see both heaven and hell working all through our lives, every minute. Yes, I recommend The Great Divorce. And certainly the article by Keller above.