I appreciate your thoughts, Tabitha. I’m not sure of what hell is or isn’t. To be honest, I’m not overly curious as to the deets! However, I know enough about it to know that I don’t wanna be wherever “it” is…separated from God.
Amen Warner. I think our focus gets a little backward sometimes. But I love all this communication. Everyone is so smart here on this site, and I pray no one thinks I am trying to over simplify any topics. I hope to pick up on the apologetic side of theology and can share Christ with others without sounding cliche. But I know the message of Christ doesn’t change, it’s just that our culture does and I want to help and not hurt. This question is asked a lot about Hell, so now I have more “treasures to add to my heart” to share.
Not to drag it on, but I forgot about Hades mentioned in Matt 11:23. Wow, God’s word just comes alive the more I read it. This is an interesting chapter about unrepentant towns.
I tend to ramble a lot. I’m kinda a new Christian and am reading through my Bible again with a new heart and get very excited when God reveals something to me. This question used to cause me to doubt what I believe, but in reading Matthew 11:24 it sounds as though the people of Capernaum will be judged more harshly than the people of Sodom? If that’s what that means that tells me that God is a good and fair God.
Hi, @tabby68…and everyone else!
I find it interesting that Matthew records the most words of Jesus on hell and judgement that any other writer in the New Testament. So it’s a good place to start if you’re wanting to know what Jesus himself said about those things. In fact, the word Hades is one of three terms used in the New Testament often translated as hell. (Gehenna and the Lake of Fire I believe are the other two. There are a couple of other threads here on Connect where these things are discussed more at length, so I highly recommend you click on the magnifying glass at the top right and do a keyword search!) Hades refers to the ‘realm of the dead’.
As for why records so many of these conversations… I’m convinced it had something to do with the audience to whom he was writing, which many believe was Jewish. Jesus always seems to reserve his harshest words for the Jewish leadership/religious elite. Just do a quick skim of any of the Gospels and note the tone he uses when he’s challenged by the Pharisees or Sadducees and how many times he proclaims the coming judgement to them.
In the chapter you were reading (ch. 11), Matthew relays that there were entire towns who saw what Jesus did and heard his teaching, but did not turn to him (repent). I find it shocking (and the listeners/early readers must have too) that Jesus claims that the people of Sodom, Tyre and Sidon (all majority-Gentile cities as opposed to Jewish ones, perhaps?) would have repented had they seen His miracles. It’s a word of warning to us all, is it not? Sometimes we can become culturally complacent to the extent that we miss completely what Jesus is telling us and doing in our midst.
Thanks for bringing that passage to my attention!
Hi @tabby68 In Mathew 8:12 & Luke 13:28 Jesus talks about a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Interesting that there would be angery people and people who are weeping. I personally believe that this show to different kinds of people one who knows that God is real but hate him.
A story I heard personally from Malcolm Muggeridge (that stirred me then and still does even yet) was his account of a conversation he had with Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of Josef Stalin. She spent some time with Muggeridge in his home in England while they were working together on their BBC production on the life of her father. According to Svetlana, as Stalin lay dying, plagued with terrifying hallucinations, he suddenly sat halfway up in bed, clenched his fist toward the heavens once more, fell back upon his pillow, and was dead.
The incredible irony of his whole life is that at one time Josef Stalin had been a seminary student, preparing for the ministry. Coming of Nietzschean age, he made a decisive break from his belief in God. This dramatic and complete reversal of conviction that resulted in his hatred for all religion is why Lenin had earlier chosen Stalin and positioned him in authority—a choice Lenin too late regretted. (The name Stalin, which means “steel,” was not his real name, but was given to him by his contemporaries who fell under the steel-like determination of his will.) And as Stalin lay dying, his one last gesture was a clenched fist toward God, his heart as cold and hard as steel. Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God , (Word Publ., Dallas: 1994), p. 26
The weepers are those who knew but did not repent of there ways. The weepers are those I might relate to for my soul weeps for those who have already gone and for those who know but do not follow Christ, instead they follow there own ways.
I would like to ramble on for a few seconds hear! I have friends who older and much older and some around the same age as me. the most interesting conversation are about God they can get quite heated lol.
The weepers should be all of us, we all deserve to weep for eternity. Jesus gave us a way to reunited with are Creator, Father and God yet many do not run to him to be embarrassed. They stand off to the side thinking about this world and there own self-interest (the ways of the flesh). It is easy to follow the flesh but it is hard to follow God’s ways because we are sinners. Galatians 5 talks about the flesh and the spirit I recommend everyone hear read it.
I’m reading a book by Mark Cahill called one heartbeat away. The book points to all that God has made as proof of a creator and even scientist have no other explanations but things must have had a creator. Very good read I think you all would enjoy it.
Hello @Duke, so many great responses from everyone already. Here are my thoughts -
I find that once a conversation leads to the topic of evil, people’s ideas of punishment and their own cries for justice in the world quickly are uncovered, no matter their worldview. This helps us present the perfection of the Most Just Judge of all, who’s righteous judgment was not/could not be withheld from His own dear Son on the Cross of Calvary when He bore the sins of the world. Ravi and RZIM show us how to handle this question and I’m still developing, but once we get the chance to present God’s character and perfect sense of justice, then in the end, I like this question that I heard just the other day. Then the question is no longer “Why would a good God send someone to hell?” but more accurately becomes…“Why would Anyone reject such a loving God?”. I really like this way of addressing it. What do you think?
@salee I would completely agree with you! And please come on hear more often,
I believe we can be rest assured in the fact that a good God won’t send a good person to hell so when people generally ask this question they assume the person in question is “good”. But to say something is good requires a reference point so is the person good in reference to how we perceive them or how God perceives them?. I suppose all we can really do it to trust in the justice of God that he will reward every deed whether good or bad. The question them becomes how will a person pay for their bad deeds and that is where the love of God through Christ comes in for us who are saved and forgiven.
Great topic! There is a heaven and there is a hell. Jesus talks more about hell than He did about heaven in the Bible. God sends no one to hell. People make this choice. God doesn’t want someone who didn’t believe in Him, didn’t love Him, didn’t care about Him, to be forced to come to heaven and spend eternity worshiping almighty God who they denied all their life. God is known as the hound of heaven and I believe He pursues people until they take their last breath. If they have rejected Him then they have chosen their destination, which is eternal separation from God. I have responded to people something like this: my question is; why would God allow any of us into heaven? The answer is because His love is beyond our comprehension. God didn’t send His Son to earth to live a sinless life, be brutalized and nailed to a cross because He’s hateful. He did this because He wanted to give us a way. Jesus is that way, He is the truth and He is the Life. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ.
I believe the answer to the question lies in Isaiah 55:8 " My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways. God wants all to be saved. If you refuse His grace, I believe you actually send yourself to hell. Trust in God shows your love of God, avoid the prideful lure of asking why.
I had this conversation with my dad two days ago. He said he could not believe in the idea of a God waiting to “Lower the boom on us after we die.” Rather, he believes “We all came from good and we will return to good.”
I explained how I’ve heard it put to me. If my son was standing on railroad tracks and I could see and hear a train on those tracks, what should I do? The train is approaching, it’s getting louder and louder, I’m looking back and forth at him as my heart begins to race. Would I be a loving father if I did nothing before the train came barreling through, or if I cried out to him and came to his aid? Well, God isn’t waiting to ‘lower the boom’ nor does he desire to see us suffer. God loves us and has come to our aid because a judgement is coming.
All that being said, I’m willing to bet you’re friend has deeper problems than just an intellectual disbelief. If you get the chance to ask more questions, try to understand what their underlying issue might be. Why is it they don’t believe in hell? Do they believe people are inherently good? How do they define love? Does love require discipline? etc…