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Thread: What is hell like?

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    tWebber
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    What is hell like?

    What is hell like?

    I agree with Dr. JP Morland’s take on hell. He was interviewed in the book, “The Case For Faith” by Lee Strobel. I found an article written by him on the Internet and I will quote from it from time to time. When I quote from the article I will put the text in blue.

    1. Hell is real. Hell is probably not a location but it is a part of the universe. Sort of like going through a door into another kind of existence.
    2. Hell is not a torture chamber.
    3. Hell is separation or banishment from God. It brings shame anguish and regret. (gnashing of teeth), a state of anger or realization of great loss.
    4. Hell is a place of punishment.
    5. There will be different degrees of punishment in hell.
    6. Hell is not a pleasant place.

    The words and terms you read in the Bible, such as fire or flames, lake of fire, etc. are a figure of speech. What is figurative is the burning flame and what is literal is that this is a place of utter heartbreak. If you take the fire literally, it does not make sense since hell is darkness, but if there are flames of fire, they would produce light.

    The Greek word for "hell" is the word Gehenna. It's used twelve times in the New Testament, once by James and eleven times by Jesus. Gehenna was the name of the city dump outside of Jerusalem. It was in the Valley of Hinnom south of the city and in Jesus' day it burned constantly, 24/7, with the garbage that was thrown into it every day through the Dung Gate. It was the place where thousands of dead carcasses were thrown each week from the temple sacrifices. And worms fed off the fat and blood of those carcasses. And the constant flow of refuse kept the worms ever living and the fires never dying. It was the place where the bodies of executed criminals were thrown. Jesus would have been thrown on that smoldering pile if Joseph of Arimathea hadn't stepped forward and rescued his body from the cross. Gehenna was foul. Jesus took the worst place he knew on earth and used it as a description of hell.

    First, hell is not a torture chamber. God doesn't torture people in hell. He's not like the bad boy in Toy Story who loved to dismember dolls and blow up toys. God's not like some spoiled child who says, "If I don't get my own way, I'm going to make you pay." Now don't get me wrong, hell is hell. It's a horrible place, which is why Jesus used horrific imagery to describe it.


    In the New Testament the Christ is described as returning with a sword in His mouth. Will Jesus come with a literal sword in His mouth. No. The sword stands for the Word of God coming in judgment.

    The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:29
    Hebrews 12:29
    New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
    29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”[a]
    Footnotes:
    a. Hebrews 12:29 Deut. 4:24

    Deuteronomy 4:24
    New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
    24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

    Yet no one believes God is a cosmic Bunsen burner. The “consuming fire” is imagery and is a way of saying that God is a God of judgment.

    Moreland says it would be immoral for God to force us into heaven, because it would go against our freedom to choose and that would be dehumanizing. That would strip us of the dignity of making our own decision and would treat us like a means to an end. It would be unloving for God to force people to accept heaven if they didn't really want God. So when God says, "You make the choice," he's giving us respect and dignity.

    Hell honors our free choice. Hell honors our intrinsic value. Strobel asked Moreland why God punishes us for eternity? Why doesn't he just snuff us out and put us out of our misery? In Matthew 25 Jesus says, Go away to eternal punishment.

    In Daniel 12:2 God says, Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Forever is a long time to be punished.

    Eternal punishment is another way that God honors his creation. Every human being is created in the image of God. We all have worth and intrinsic value in God's eyes. So again, it would be immoral for God to just snuff us out and annihilate us.

    Hell will forever be a monument to the value of human life and the value of human choice. It's God's divine quarantine where he says two things, "First, I respect your freedom of choice enough not to force you into my heaven and give you what you want. And second, I value the image of God in you so much, I will not annihilate you and snuff out your life." "In the final analysis," Moreland says, "hell is the only morally legitimate option."

    Hell is not a torture chamber. Hell honors God's creation. And third, hell honors God. Hell honors God's love, because it gives a person what they want, a place to go where God is not. Hell honors God's justice, because it gives a person what they deserve. One of God's good attributes is his justice. God is perfectly fair. If he wasn't, then he wouldn't be loving.


    I have to warn you guys I can run pretty fast if you start to throw stones at me after posting this masterpiece.

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    tWebber
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    Most of the figures of speech are taken from the OT, where they speak of death or destruction.

    Your description of Dan 12:2 is misleading. It doesn't speak of punishment that goes on forever, but eternal shame and contempt.

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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
    Most of the figures of speech are taken from the OT, where they speak of death or destruction.

    Your description of Dan 12:2 is misleading. It doesn't speak of punishment that goes on forever, but eternal shame and contempt.
    Eternal shame would be an unending punishment.

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    There are no sources from any time earlier than the Middle Ages that suggest that Gehenna was a garbage dump, although this has become a popular myth.

    The only other thing I want to say is that though Moreland (and I think Hank Hanegraaf) frequently says that it would be immoral for God to snuff people out, this is philosophical speculation that accounts to telling God what it would or would not be moral for Him to do, which is a big no-no. The question is what Scripture says about what God will do, not what we think God should do, and given that death is frequently linked as a punishment for sin in the Bible as far back as Genesis 3, this seems a hard case to make by itself. It may well be the case that God does grant everybody immortality in death but that case needs to be made in more detail.
    Last edited by KingsGambit; 07-02-2017 at 06:19 PM.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

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    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    On a personal/pastoral level, I tend to discourage people from imagining what hell is like. It's not good for your mental health.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

  6. Amen Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    all I know is it is someplace nobody wants to spend eternity in

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    tWebber
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    Most people when thinking of hell think it is a place of physical punishment.

    I find it hard to believe that a loving and compassionate God would punish people physically.

    Most people worry about those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their savior. What happens to them? What happens to people who have been lied to? Who don't believe Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead?

    Most of these people spend their lives believing in God, praying to Him, doing good works.

    Abraham asked God: "The Judge of all the earth will do what is right, won't he?"

    In this case, I think the loving and compassionate thing to do is let them go back to dust never knowing that they made a mistake.

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    Professor Cerebrum123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian3 View Post
    Most people when thinking of hell think it is a place of physical punishment.

    I find it hard to believe that a loving and compassionate God would punish people physically.

    Most people worry about those who do not accept Jesus Christ as their savior. What happens to them? What happens to people who have been lied to? Who don't believe Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead?

    Most of these people spend their lives believing in God, praying to Him, doing good works.

    Abraham asked God: "The Judge of all the earth will do what is right, won't he?"

    In this case, I think the loving and compassionate thing to do is let them go back to dust never knowing that they made a mistake.
    Annas and Saphira being struck dead, the Philistine tumors, bear attacks, global flood, 10 plagues of Egypt etc. I don't see any evidence in the Bible that supports that God wouldn't use physical punishment, and a lot that shows He's used it in the past.

  10. Amen KingsGambit, Obsidian, Rushing Jaws amen'd this post.
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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerebrum123 View Post
    Annas and Saphira being struck dead, the Philistine tumors, bear attacks, global flood, 10 plagues of Egypt etc. I don't see any evidence in the Bible that supports that God wouldn't use physical punishment, and a lot that shows He's used it in the past.
    I asked a Muslim about what hell is like in Islam and was told that a body's skin would be burned off and then a new skin would grow and it would be burned off and this would go on for all eternity.

    I just got this from the Internet about hell in Islam:

    The Qur'an Says ...

    Fill Hell If Allah had willed he could have given everyone true guidance, but the word of Allah is that he will fill Hell with men and genies (32:13, 11:119, 7:18).

    Fire The wicked will burn in Hell (82:14). The fire is kindled by Allah and will be chest high, vaulted above them and surrounding them in columns (104:6-9). On the Day of Judgment, people will be shoved into the fire of Hell as they are told that it is the fire they denied existed and they will burn there as a result of their deeds (52:11-16).

    Drink The unbelievers on Judgment Day will be given boiling water to drink (88:5).

    Food The only food will be “dari” (a bitter and thorny plant which looks and smells bad). It will not satisfy their hunger (88:6). The only food will be the filth, which comes from the washing of wounds (69:36). Their food will be from the Zaqqum tree which grows on the edge of Hell with fruit resembling the devil’s head on which they will eat their fill, drink boiling water and be thrown back into Hell (37:62-68).

    Chains People will be made to march in chains seventy cubits long (69:32). Those that disagree with any of the Scriptures (Bible or Qur'an) that the apostles have been given will have shackles put on their necks and be dragged through boiling water and thrown into fire on the Judgment Day (40:69-72). They will be chained together and thrown in a narrow place where they will beg for death (25:13).

    Mocking Questions The sinners will be questioned by those in the garden Paradise, “What did you do to be sent to Hell?” The answer will be that they did not pray or feed the hungry, gossiped and denied belief in the Day of Judgment (74:40-46). The occupants of Paradise will mock those in Hell (7:44-50).

    Never Ending The torment will never stop nor will those in Hell ever be reprieved (16:85).

    Beaten by Angels When an unbeliever dies, angels carry off his soul as they beat him in the face and across his back saying, “Taste the torment of Hell’s fire” (8:50).

    Rods of Iron The unbelievers will be whipped with rods of iron (22:21).

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    On a personal/pastoral level, I tend to discourage people from imagining what hell is like. It's not good for your mental health.
    People will think of it anyway. They imagine what heaven will be like and "hell" is the alternative.

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