Is Hell real?…………………………………………………………………………………………………. If it is why did God Create it? In this post, I want to try to discuss several questions raised with the topic of Hell.
Over the last year, it seems like just about every church leader and theologian on the face of the earth has written a book, or paper, or blog post discussing their idea of Hell! In generations to come, I wonder if people will think what was our fixation on the topic of Hell? More books have been written on Hell in the last year than probably the last decade! (my guestimation)
Jesus spoke often of Hell and especially when He was around religious people, my theory on that is He didn’t want religion to send religious people to Hell when He was the answer their soul needed! Hell is not a comfortable topic and for good reason; it is a horrible place!
Bertrand Russell said in his Why I am Not a Christian:
There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching — an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence. You do not, for instance find that attitude in Socrates.
Many very famous people such as Mr. Russell throughout history have had a hard time accepting Jesus’ teaching on Hell. Does our frustration over Hell change its existence? What was Jesus so worked up about when He spoke on Hell?
Matthew 5:29 says:
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.
And in Mark 9:43-47:
And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell…
Betrand Russell believed that Jesus was not a good leader because He taught there is a Hell. The Hell that Jesus spoke of was not a temporary dwelling or a place for repentance, but in fact a place so devastating that it would be better to get rid of a body part that would send you there than go to Hell with all your members intact!
Rob Bell On Hell
Taken From Cathleen Falsani’s Interview with Rob Bell:
For too many people, though, what they’ve been told is the good news is actually an ugly truth. They hear that God is full of grace and unconditional love, a God of endless second chances, infinitely patient. But then they hear that God’s grace, love and patience expires at death. “Too late,” they’re told. “You had your chance.” That schizophrenic idea of God is simply untenable, Bell says.
“It’s psychologically unbearable. No psyche can handle that,” he said. “It’s devastating.”
It’s also toxic and a lie. The Good News, Bell insists, is better than that.
“If we have the freedom to choose these things now, that Jesus came to offer us and show us, then I assume that when you die, you can continue to choose these realities because love cannot co-opt the human heart’s ability to decide,” Bell said. “But after you die, we are firmly in the realm of speculation.”
I think that it is interesting that the whole article above about Hell ends with the phrase “firmly in the realm of speculation.” I’m not sure about you, but compared with the above Bible passages, I would not want to leave my afterlife in the ‘REALM OF SPECULATION.’ And furthermore, it seems that Jesus was pretty Damn serious that Hell is not something to leave to chance. Jesus spoke more on Hell in the New Testament than Heaven and, in my opinion, it is because Jesus didn’t wish anyone to go there!
If Jesus does not wish for anyone to go to Hell, then why did He create it in the first place?
We will explore Hell more in my next post!