Hell is not Heaven: So let’s stop talking about it
I read a blog post recently that touched on the subject of hell (click here to read it). It was a good post with some interesting points that I’m still brooding over. But it wasn’t the post that got my attention and sparked this post here – it was the comments section. In particular, there were these two guys going back and forth over this and that, in terms and phrases that required of me to pull out my dictionary a few times just to understand what they were saying to each other.
What particularly caught my attention was the one guy speaking of degrees of torment in hell, and I’m like thinking “So what”. What if there are degrees of torment or not, whether we are completely annihilated (obliterated) or not? Whether hell exists physically or not, should really not be a matter of grave concern to Christians. The matter of the fact is that hell is a place where God is not and I simply don’t want to be there, regardless of whatever manner of shape or form that might be.
For a long time Christianity was marked by the fire and brimstone messages that made one fear hell more than God. People were ‘coerced’ into Heaven because they didn’t want to go to hell (and burn and suffer for eternity), instead of being encouraged to simply love God and remain in His presence now and in Heaven forever. Then Liberal Christianity took a swing the other way with statements that said hell does not exist, that a loving God would not allow His creation to suffer for eternity. And because there is such a wide variety of thought on hell (read ofdustandkings’ post), I now prefer the stance that hell is a place totally removed (or devoid) of God (period). Whatever else may be said about it, is pure speculation and borders on the realm of the imaginative.
The only reason that I can muster why people talk about hell so much is because they are prideful (in their knowledge) or want to justify their behaviour in disobeying God. As to the latter, they are making hell out to be an okay end of life place to be, just in case they land up there one day. You see, if we focus on what it is like instead of it being void of God, then we don’t mind going there and inevitably start to ‘stray’ from God.
Now, I am not suggesting that we discard or disregard the doctrine of hell as it was a significant part of Jesus’ ministry (read ofdustandkings for references). But what I am saying is that we must be exceedingly cautious of focusing too much attention on it. In fact, for the most part, most people would be far better off talking about how to be getting involved in church life and being equipped to do the work of the ministry (see Ephesians 4:11-12), rather than talking about hell.
When confronted by the question of what you believe about hell, keep it ‘simplistic’ and simply say that hell is a place where God is not.
And then proceed to tell them what Heaven is like (see Revelation 7:16-17, 21:1-7) and how they can get there (see Romans 10:13 & ACTS 4:12).
What are your thoughts on this? Am I missing the boat or do we need to engage more on hell with unbelievers? Should believers be talking about hell? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say
Unless otherwise stated, all references are from the New International Version (NIV)
Ephesians 4:11-12 (NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, (12) for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
Revelation 7:16-17 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. (17) For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Revelation 21:1-7 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (2) I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. (4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (5) He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (6) He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (7) He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Rom 10:13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”