If hell is not real, what’s the point? (2)

Francken II, Frans, 1581-1642; The Harrowing of Hell

‘Frans Francken II, The Harrowing of Hell (copy of Jan Brueghel the Younger), photo credit: Grosvenor Museum.  Available under a CC BY-NC-ND licence.’

Reading: Matthew 18:8-9

In my previous post I have laid out my first argument on why I believe hell is real—I did not mean to be preachy (apologies, I thought I sounded a bit one!), but rather making stable the ground I am standing on—and if this also helps your faith to be less shaky, then I am blest!

My first argument was if hell, as we’ve always thought it to be, is not real (or just eternal unconsciousness), why would the Apostle Paul endanger himself every hour (1 Cor.15) to give us the gospel of resurrection, and why would Jesus rather have it that we enter life maimed than be “thrown into the fire of hell”?  And most of all—why would Jesus give up His life for us, in exchange for us to avoid a mere eternal slumber?  Surely hell must be more serious than that!

My second argument will be found in Revelation 20—you can have a quick read if you click on the link (it is only 15 verses), and if you wish you can carry on up to Revelation 21:1-8.  In Revelation 20 we read how the Apostle John saw the souls of the beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus.  Then they came to life—the first resurrection, after which they reigned with Christ a thousand years.  After the thousand years, the “sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done” (v.13).  (Remember Hades?  That’s where the soul of the rich man went while Lazarus’ was carried to Abraham’s bosom.  I’ve heard some say that the rich man and Lazarus story is just a parable so Hades as a place of punishment could not be true.  I think it’s a true story, but regardless, why would Jesus use a parable that would mislead our understanding of our eternal choices and consequent destination?)

So that is how I understand v.13—there is another resurrection.  And those whose names were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire (v.15).  So, my second argument is: if hell is just an everlasting unconsciousness—why bother to resurrect the wicked and give them the judgment of an eternal slumber—isn’t that a relief from their temporary residence in Hades?  Where is judgment (see also 2 Peter 2:4)?

You might also ask why bother to resurrect the rich man from Hades to put him back to Hades, but to Hades he will not go back, but, together with death and Hades, they will be thrown into the lake of fire.  Now I’m moving to my third argument—to counter the statement that because death itself will be thrown into hell, there is no more death, God has gotten rid of it, and it’s a reward of life for the righteous and just inexistence for the wicked (because with death gotten rid of, the latter could also no longer die).  But isn’t it more obvious now—there has just been a resurrection of the wicked, and those whose names were not found in the book of life were thrown into the lake of fire—yes, there is no more physical death—they will be thrown into hell alive!!!!!  In Hades their souls were in torment while their bodies were dead.  But In hell, their resurrected bodies will find their eternal destination.

How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. – Hebrews 10:29-31 (NIV)

Frans_Francken_II_-_The_Last_Judgment

‘Frans Francken II, The Last Judgment, photo credit: Christie’s.  Public domain.’

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12 thoughts on “If hell is not real, what’s the point? (2)

    • Thank you, Gerard and Alida. The Lord be with us always as we “snatch others from the fire”. May knowledge, wisdom and grace come from Him–and all glory back to Him! (I plan to read more of your previous posts–your blog has really caught my interest! The Lord bless you and the ministry he has entrusted to you.)

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  1. The same question could be voiced as to ‘heaven’?
    The expression ‘fake news’ comes to mind! So if there is no ‘heaven’, nor a ‘hell’, what then?l
    What should be done to all the religious ‘leaders’ around the world? They would really have a lot to answer for, don’t,you think?

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    • Hello Seenorway! My response to your question will be coming from the same [Bible] chapter I mentioned at the start of my post (I Corinthians 15:14-15): “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead…..”

      (As to “heaven”, those who will be resurrected in Christ will actually live on the “new earth”. This is mentioned in the Bible many times–in the Old Testament and at the book of Revelation in the New Testament–if you’re curious, you can easily make a search on the net by typing the phrase).

      Those who are preaching for their own personal gain will have to account in the last days–as everyone else. But the Apostle Paul, who wrote to the Corinthians, and many other early Christians had to fight wild beasts and go through many other punishments (including death) for preaching the Word of God–I can only say they believed in what they were preaching!

      Nice picture of the flowers you took, by the way. I really liked it. ‘Hope you have a pleasant day.

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      • Thank you for your response. However, I’m afraid my scepticism prevails!
        I strongly feel that if there were ever a rightous and allmighty God, our world wouldn’t look the way it does!?
        They keep telling us that there is but one God? So how can it be that different religions fight each other and bomb women an children senselessly all over the world?
        If that is the will of a rightous God, that’s one God I dont need! And I think a lot of people see it my way these days.
        Contrary to the old days, today 80% of humanity can read and write. The time when people could be scared with hell and damnation is over. And it won’t ever come back!

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      • No worries, we can still respect each other even with differing views/beliefs! At least I think we both agree that flowers and the night-time sky are beautiful 🙂
        Thanks for sharing your view. As per my belief–God is righteous–the world is the way it is because of the wrong choices mankind has made (and its continuing consequences).
        Not all religions are the same (for me not all roads lead to heaven). I believe that the one, true God is the God of the Bible–and He will restore all things (the new earth). We think He’s not doing anything, but He’s actually just being patient with us, waiting for us to say ‘sorry’ to Him, to be restored to Him and to what He originally designed us to be/to do, and for His righteous kingdom to be within us (for the meantime until He establishes it on earth)–that is my hope!
        Yes, man knows many things now in the observable world (but not that many still, I should say), but I do not discount what we could not see–and from what the material world even came from is another story!
        (Please feel free to leave a comment any time–I don’t mind you asking questions or sharing your views!)

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  2. God created hell for the fallen angels. Our God would not be a just God if He allowed evil to go unpunished. When people disobey God, they mirror the adversary’s rebellion and they end up sharing their lot with the fallen angels. Since God breathed life into humanity, we have a soul that is also eternal because God IS eternal. We also have God’s likeness in this aspect apart from the ability to create.

    God incarnate did not skimp in giving warnings regarding that dreadful literal place and for people to come up with a suggestion other than what God revealed is basically asserting they know more about the place than the one who created it and even gives us sensory descriptions of it.

    I grew up believing in purgatory and my testimony actually has something to do with waking up to a dream that when I died, there was no alternate place and that my destination was hell. I didn’t have an experience of hell per se but was left with the deep conviction that it is real. To me, it is not just because “the Bible tells me so” but the fact He literally had to give up His life so we don’t have to go there.

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  3. I was going to “like” this post, but I find it distasteful to “like” the idea of hell, as real as I believe it is. So I’ll simply say, thanks for your breakdown. It’s important to warn folks.

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    • You’re welcome, Brandon. It has alarmed me that a lot of Christian church-goers no longer believe in hell, and I also wanted to stand my ground. ‘Grateful to God that you are of the same position (as the Scriptures!). Bless you!

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