Thursday, September 15, 2011

Does Hell Exist?


May the Word of the Lord be on our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts.

Come Holy Spirit.....

Greetings, everyone! Sorry for the lack of updates, but my job plus summer has kept me busy, plus I am trying to start a local charity (prayers appreciated!) so I haven't been able to properly relax and update as much as I have wanted to.  

I have felt called to discuss whether or not Hell really exists, as lately, I have been hearing far too many people, including clergy, say that it does not, and that many people are starting to actually believe this.

The Bible references Hell in some way so many times it is hard to even count them. But the descriptions are consistent: fire, torment, etc. But people are starting to say that the Bible was merely metaphorical in its descriptions, and that it can't be as bad as it sounds, and that maybe it isn't even a real place! 

While much of the Bible is allegorical and Jesus spoke in many parables, as I said above, the descriptions of Hell are quite consistent. There is not a lot of room for interpretations. 

Let's take a look at the most famous scripture reference to Hell, where the physical setup of the afterlife is actually described by Jesus:

“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame. But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’—Luke 16:19-26

The words "anguish" and "flame" are once again used, as they are repeatedly throughout the Bible. It also tells us that Hell is not under the earth, as we imagine it, but within view of heaven. While some say that the knowledge of being separated from God and His Love is the real Hell, which likely has some truth to it, Jesus still describes the flames in these verses. 

Lets take a look at some other Bible verses on Hell:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.—Revelation 20:9-15

"You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way."-Matthew 7:13 

"For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell,
in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment." -2 Peter 2:4 
"And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. - Matthew 13:42 

As you can see, Jesus did not ever mince words when teaching about Hell. His descriptions are clear and consistent throughout Scripture.  Hell is painful and sad, there is fire and torment. Describing Hell as anything else is calling Jesus a liar. 

So, where does this notion of no Hell, or even no Satan, coming from? From the one Jesus called "the father of all lies," Satan himself!  By taking away the fear of Hell, Satan's job of tempting us to rebel against the Lord is even easier. So, he starts to plant these lies in our heads and hearts that we would never truly be punished for rejecting the Lord by sinning or outright denial of God's existence. Satan is making his job as easy as possible by convincing us that Jesus lied, or at least really exaggerated what Hell is like. Jesus is perfection, and Satan is the father of all lies, so we know that in reality, Jesus teaches the truth only, and the truth always scares Satan. (Jesus is "the truth, the way, and the life," remember.)

The number one argument people use against the reality of Hell is that "a loving God could never send us to such a horrible place." To this, I say you are 100% correct. God does not send any of us to such a place. We send ourselves there by the choices that we make. 

In fact, God is every bit as loving as the people who argue against Hell say He is. So loving in fact, that He gave us a way to avoid Hell:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.-John 3:16-17

God sacrificed His only Son so that we may be saved from the fires of Hell. Think about that for a minute. How much love does it take to sacrifice your only child so that others might be saved? And how bad must that other place be to cause someone to sacrifice their child so that people can avoid going there? If there is no Hell, there is no reason for Christ. God loved us so much, that He became flesh and died a horrible death, so that we can avoid the torment of Hell by simply believing in Him and serving Him as He asks us to. 

Why were Jesus' final hours so brutal? Because that was the heavy price of our sins. Because He had to suffer as the people who would go to Hell would suffer. The beatings that He took, that horrible walk to Golgatha, the being nailed to a tree alive and left to hang there for hours until dead, were all necessary because that suffering is the price of our sins. He took that suffering upon Himself so that we can avoid that same suffering in Hell, if we choose to follow Him. If Hell did not exist, or if it was not as bad as Jesus described it, then His suffering and death would not have been necessary. To deny Hell is to deny Christ because of this. You cannot have one without the other.

God wants us to avoid Hell so badly, he offered up His son as a sacrifice in our place. So yes, He is a very loving God who does not want to send us into the fires of Hell. However, that does not mean such a place does not exist. You can blame Satan's existence for that necessity. And God will not stop us from choosing to reject Him or His teachings if that is the path that we choose (see Matthew 7:13 above.) And, needless to say, God's judgement of us is always just. He knows our hearts better than even we do, you simply cannot hide anything from Him.

As I said in the beginning, God does not send us to Hell, we send ourselves to Hell by rejecting the Lord and His teachings. God gave us a way out. We must be willing to accept His offer of salvation if we wish to avoid Hell. God did not have to do it, but He loved us too much, despite our sinful natures, to not offer His son in our place. And Jesus loved us enough to accept His horrible fate. Whether we appreciate that and love the Lord in return with all of our hearts and minds is totally up to us. 

No amount of denial can make the reality of Hell go away. It exists, whether we want to believe it or not. And rest assured, if we go there after we die, we truly deserved it, and we only have ourselves to blame.



  1. I can see now why you said you were pooped after writing this.... it's deep! Very good. You are right. Hell is a very real place, and it's sad and sickening to hear clergy say from the pulpit that it's just metaphorical. Praying that someone reads this post and lets their life be changed by Jesus! Awesome post, Eric.

  2. Excellent post... I agree with you 100% the way to escape Hell is to come in to a relationship with Jesus Christ by being baptized for the forgiveness of your sins... Acts 2:32, John 3:1-9

    1. If you are not born again or baptized by a disciple of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, you are not saved and will not enter into heaven, so don't be prideful and except God's instructions from the bible.