What is hell like?

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What is hell like?

Postby Christian2 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:22 am

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.


Any thoughtful comments would be welcome.

Thanks
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby RickD » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:26 am

Christian2 wrote: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.


Any thoughtful comments would be welcome.

Thanks

B.W., You might wanna take this one. Christian2, you really might want to hear B.W.'s story. :yes:
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and you’ll have his shoes.

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Re: What is hell like?

Postby Christian2 » Tue Oct 04, 2011 10:51 am

RickD wrote:B.W., You might wanna take this one. Christian2, you really might want to hear B.W.'s story. :yes:


Sure, I would love to hear B.W.'s story. :)
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby Katabole » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:32 pm

Christian2 wrote:The words and terms you read in the Bible, such as fire or flames, lake of fire, etc. are a figure of speech.


Not always. Check out Korah's rebellion in Numbers ch 16.

Num 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

Where did the fire originate from? From the Lord. Why? Because our God is a consuming fire, (Deut 4:24, Heb 12:29).

Or when Aaron's sons offered strange fire before the Lord, look at what happened.

Lev 10:2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.

Again, where did the fire originate? From the Lord.

I believe the lake of fire is a figure of speech and that God will consume all evil at the end of this age in the same way he consumed Aaron's sons and those of Korah's rebellion, consuming everything about them, including the memory that others have about them, IMHO.
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby DannyM » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:53 pm

Hi Kat,

I used to believe that hell meant oblivion, limbo, and that the lake of fire was figurative. But figurative of what? How is eternal torment figurative for a state of unawareness or an unconscious sleep?

Revelation 20:10

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Matthew 25:31-41

31 When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.

32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,

36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?

39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.


I'm not final on this, and for the purpose of another debate I'm looking into this right now.
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby PaulSacramento » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:08 pm

The one constant in all of Jesus's lessons on Hell is that there is fire.
Ghenna was a place of fire, the rich man thirst was never quenched from the flames ( fire).
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby RickD » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:21 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:The one constant in all of Jesus's lessons on Hell is that there is fire.
Ghenna was a place of fire, the rich man thirst was never quenched from the flames ( fire).

Whether it's literal fire, or figurative fire, the message is clear that it's eternal fire.
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and you’ll have his shoes.

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Re: What is hell like?

Postby Gman » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:35 pm

Bryan created a seven part series on hell below..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piHZkKFdsFc
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby Katabole » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:36 pm

RickD wrote:Whether it's literal fire, or figurative fire, the message is clear that it's eternal fire.


From my understanding of scripture, I comprehend that the only thing that is eternal is God. The Bible claims God is a consuming fire and also that He is eternal, yet scripture also claims that the fires of the lake of fire are eternal.

DannyM wrote:But figurative of what?


Figurative of God Himself. Is it not in accordance to believe that God Himself is an eternal fire; a fire that burns eternally as it's own source?
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you know you gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan

Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Jesus from John 18:37
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby RickD » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:43 pm

Unread postby Katabole on Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:36 pm

RickD wrote:Whether it's literal fire, or figurative fire, the message is clear that it's eternal fire.



From my understanding of scripture, I comprehend that the only thing that is eternal is God. The Bible claims God is a consuming fire and also that He is eternal, yet scripture also claims that the fires of the lake of fire are eternal.

God is without beginning, nor ending=eternal
Hell is created; therefore has a beginning, but is eternal in the sense that it has no end.
Different definitions of the same word.
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby DannyM » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:48 pm

Katabole wrote:Figurative of God Himself. Is it not in accordance to believe that God Himself is an eternal fire; a fire that burns eternally as it's own source?


I'm not sure we can make the connection. There is an eternal fire prepared for the devil, his angels and those who are cursed. I don't see this as figurative. The lake of fire is eternal, and so the punishment.
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby Katabole » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:49 pm

RickD wrote:but is eternal in the sense that it has no end.


If Hell doesn't have an end, why then is it cast into the lake of fire?


Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you know you gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan

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Re: What is hell like?

Postby RickD » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Katabole wrote:
RickD wrote:but is eternal in the sense that it has no end.


If Hell doesn't have an end, why then is it cast into the lake of fire?


Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

I think hell is the lake of fire. Hades is not Hell.

Sheol (Hebrew) and Hades (Greek) are the temporary place of torment for the souls of the wicked dead. Prior to Christ's resurrection, saints were kept and comforted in the now vacant half of Hades, known as Abraham's Bosom. Gehenna (Greek, but from a Hebrew name) is the Lake of Fire for the permanent place of torment of the souls of the wicked dead in their resurrected bodies. Hell is a rather general and inadequate term that is often used to refer to either Gehenna or the torment side of Hades, both by those who know the basic difference between these two specific places and by those who do not.
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Re: What is hell like?

Postby Katabole » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:01 pm

RickD wrote:I think hell is the lake of fire.


I respectfully disagree, however, I guess we will discover the truth eventually. Here is a link regarding the second death.

What is the Second Death?

http://mcdonaldroad.org/bible/study/second-d.htm
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you know you gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan

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Re: What is hell like?

Postby RickD » Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:12 pm

Katabole wrote:
RickD wrote:I think hell is the lake of fire.


I respectfully disagree, however, I guess we will discover the truth eventually. Here is a link regarding the second death.

What is the Second Death?

http://mcdonaldroad.org/bible/study/second-d.htm

"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:14,15.


14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if [a]anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.


Perhaps Hades and hell can be used interchangeably, perhaps not. When I think of hell, I think of the second death. The lake of fire.
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