The question of Hell

Hola a todos! :slight_smile:

I wanted to share with you my thoughts on a seemingly difficult questions for all Christians today. Please share your views on it too. I hope it helps you form your own answers for it as well. Praying for all of you today. Here is my answer for the existence of Hell (please note that Hell is a multi layered topic)

"The statement: “it seems harsh or incomprehensible how someone could be punished eternally for a finite existence” is a very good one. However, the metaphysical foundation and presupposition of the person stating it takes for granted the fact that “existence” or “reality” IS. Reality itself, if created out of nothing by God, can be what God wants it to be; without reality, there wouldn’t be “finiteness” or “eternity” to account for.

The fact that there is evil in the world as a result our choices would be true and objective whether God exists or not. We all recognize that the world is not the way it is supposed to be. Science is beautifully explaining the subtleties and mechanisms of an intelligible Universe, so when we discover something, we only discover it, but we don’t create it, since it was there before we got to describe it (let alone the fact that we can even describe it!). Natural law can help us discern better ways to live our lives, but the existence of natural law itself entails a different type of picture and reasoning, begging the question of why reality IS the way it is. Having the opportunity to live eternally in blissful existence and being punished eternally because of our own choices and decisions, is still a better picture than the one that states that life, ultimately, is meaningless and it doesn’t matter what we do, think or discover about it. Therefore, God’s picture of reality benefits humanity way more than ultimate meaninglessness. God offers two options (that we get to choose): a good one (heaven) and a bad one (hell), and an explanation for reality itself. A reality without God cannot account for itself to begin with, and it is definitely not preoccupied on giving any metaphysical meaning to life itself or our choices. Therefore, the question keeps being alive, vibrant and is a real possibility. People can come to the conclusion that God exists by just looking around and wondering about reality; add to it the life that Jesus Christ lived on earth and there you have a whole picture of reality (the tangible and non-tangible one) suitable to all human beings, one that makes us all be equal and goes beyond anything a human mind could have ever imagined. The question of hell is not as difficult as it seems to be when it is contextualized metaphysically."

1 Like

Hey Pedro, I looked at your website and see that thoughtful and engaging dialog is what you are all about. Great name @Askandwonder !

As you said there are a lot of layers to the topic of hell. Wouldn’t if be great if there was a great deal more clarity on the topic in the Bible. The related topic that does have much more topical reference in the Bible, is of course “judgement.”

I’m wondering if ultimately people don’t have more challenges with the concept of judgement than the physical existence of a hell. I guess for me, bottom line, why not go for all goodness that God offers rather than settle for the opposite.

I think we humans are driven by the idea of fairness. But we base that idea of fairness with ourselves at the center…is it fair in relation to me? Is it fair for a God to condemn me eternally when I never asked to be born in the first place? Is it fair for a God to condemn me when I had no control over my circumstances? Is it fair for a God to condemn me when no matter what I do I can’t seem to overcome my weaknesses? And so forth.

But the idea of judgement has so much more foundational truth when it’s God as the center of the fairness question and not ourselves. Is it fair after God has provided us with life, surrounded us with extraordinary creation, faced all that we go through as living beings in this world through the incarnation of Jesus, faced excruciating suffering (the very basis for the word), and die FOR OUR BENEFIT, that we reject him? That we ignore him? That we deny his existence? That we call Him unloving? That we call him abusive…if he exists at all?

That’s my contribution to the topic. Thanks for starting such a challenging topic to discuss.

1 Like

Hi @Askandwonder,

Great question to ponder. I think many ponders this question too at some point in their lives, Christian or not. I did too.

Let’s just put aside the argument for what happens inside Hell for another debate, as you rightly mentioned it is a multi-layered topic in itself.

The best answer for that, I learned from Frank Turek, where heaven is, at its core, a place where God is, eternally. Hell is then a place absent of God’s presence, eternally too.

Frank’s video:

Now the heaven and hell system is actually more fair than people warrants it. Problem is we all wrongly assume everyone wants to go to heaven and no one wants to go to hell. What is true is people are interested to go to a place they considered good and avoid a place they considered bad. It’s a very different proposition.

Imagine this simple concept, if you fall in love with someone, you want to marry them and live with them forever. But if you hate someone, you will keep rejecting their advances to stay away from them forever.

The same is true when someone doesn’t want to be in God’s presence, they keep turning away from Him, so if God truly loves the person, God will let that person be to themselves. The term is give them up to their own desires. Like a great lover would, God would leave them alone if that’s what they wanted. So it is only fair and just, that God didn’t put them in heaven(His presence) against their will, and let them go away from His presence(hell) according to their will. If away from His presence is their definition of “heaven” or a good place.

So the better question we should be asking our questioner is “Do you want to be in His presence forever, or as far away from Him as possible?” That’s what it means to accept Jesus. Why would they want to go to heaven, where Jesus resides forever, if they don’t want to accept Jesus? That is illogical.

This is actually the ultimate ethic of love, that God honors their free will. The judgment is based on how they used that free will, despite knowing of its eternal consequences.

If what is in question from your questioner is His justice, due to the severity of punishment, eternal consequence for a finite offense, then God has offered redemption from that through Jesus. Otherwise all good or bad people alike will go to hell, as ALL has fallen short of His glory. But even then, they still choose to reject this redemption from the eternal consequence, then are we not back to God simply honoring their free will?

If there is no judgment system at all, then can God be considered just?

I hope I’m making sense here.
Blessings in Christ.

1 Like

Hi Pedro

I find your thoughts very interesting and i will take time to think them trough.

I’m also very interested in the topic of hell. I stated an argument below, i don’t get around this argument at the moment. I mean, that i don’t see how an eternal hell or better stated, eternal punishment, can be biblical and philosophical correct.

Here is a biblical-philosophical argument to grapple with.

P1:
In hell there are different severity of punishments for unbelievers.
2.Tessalonians 1:9 and intimations at Isaiah 59:2 / Galatians 5:4 / Genesis 3:22-24 and Genesis 2:17

P2:
The people in hell are separated from God and his attributes. (God does not interact with them, except to hold them in existence)
2.Corinthians 5;10, 1 Corinthians 4;5, 1 Corinthians 3;12-15, Luke 12:47-48, Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:22-24, John 19:11, Romans 2:6

conclusion:
Punishment cannot be eternal, because only trough duration is it possible to have a difference in punishments.

be blessed
Patrik