“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done."
All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.
C S Lewis
1. Does God condemn people to hell?
And neither does God burn people in a place called hell. It is not scriptural. It is nowhere stated in the Bible.
Only people who wants nothing to do with God, who will not believe God and what He did through His Son, will find themselves in hell, and be without Him forever. He will respect their choice. Though in this life, He is always looking at the horizon for their return to Him i.e. The Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32.
Love by definition is free and He will force no one to love Him. If one chooses to be without Him, one will be without Him, now and forever. If we don’t want to be shaped by Him, if we don't want to be conformed to in His image, as He originally meant us to be, He will not force us. God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.’ Genesis 1:26 Sin has broken His image within us and He has provided a way to reshape this image within us through the Person of Jesus Christ.
And none will be with an excuse; Paul writes in Romans 1:18-23 ‘But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because He has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So, they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.’ And today money, education, people, ideas.
Jeremiah 29:12-14 ‘Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear [your voice] and I will listen to you. Then [with a deep longing] you will seek Me and require Me [as a vital necessity] and [you will] find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord’
2. Does God want to send people to hell?
Gods desire is that all shall be saved. God does not delight in the destruction of sinners.
‘Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.’ Ezekiel 33:11
‘… God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’ 1 Timothy 2:3-5
He gave a Son to carry His judgement at a huge cost to Himself. But as a perfect righteous God, He cannot let sin go unpunished like any judge earthly would not do if he is true righteous judge.
3. Why hell?
But how can a loving God send people to hell? Maybe the question should be ‘Can a perfectly righteous, just God allow unrepentant, sinful people into His presence?’ God is an absolute just God. And this demands the existence of punishment or hell.
Could God say to a Hitler ‘It’s fine, come and be with us, enjoy eternal love and life like all the others’ And say exactly the same to a Mother Theresa? Would that be fair? What earthly judge would do that without an outcry from the public? But in Jesus the Christ, who is completely just, we can come to Him despite our unrighteousness. Gods wrath was poured out on Christ, our guilt has been paid for. The ultimate penalty for sin is death. ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Romans 6:23 Christ took the death penalty onto Himself. And we can enter in His presence, sinless in Christ, He paid for our sin in full. But like an earthly father, He wants you to come to Him and say you are sorry. In other words, acknowledge and repent of your wrong doings and accept His hand of love that He is reaching out to you.
4. Is hell for eternity?
The Bible is not clear on this
1.It seems to be destruction, more than everlasting misery.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 ‘For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them.’ Not burning forever.
Romans 6:23 ‘For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’
2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 ‘in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.’
Matthew 10:28 ‘Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.’
Paul never said that hell is everlasting.
Hebrew 10:39 ‘But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.’
Malachi 4:1 ‘… “And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch.’
Psalm 37:1 & 10 ‘Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. 2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone.’
Proverbs 14:12 ‘There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death’
And the Bible nowhere states that the soul is indestructible, immortal. But the soul can be immortal in Christ.
i)The book of Revelation was written in symbolism and metaphors;
Revelation 14:11 ‘And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever’
Revelation 20:10 ‘The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.’
ii)And Jesus often spoke in hyperboles. (e.g. Luke 14:26 ‘“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.’)
Matthew 25:46 ‘And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.’
Matthew 25:41 ‘“Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’
5. Is hell a place of eternal fire?
Hell is symbolized by;
1. Fire. Metaphorically the Bible also often, but not always, speak of hell as an eternal fire. Burn injuries are the worse of injuries a human can sustain and to be separated from God is the worse condition a human can find himself in.
It also depicts intense thirst …. thirst for God. One can never find fulfillment in this life without God and one will not find it afterwards - be an unquenchable thirst for God. He is the source of the water of Life. John 4:14 ‘But whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again. But the water that I give him will become in him a spring of water [satisfying his thirst for God] welling up [continually flowing, bubbling within him] to eternal life.”’
2. But also as darkness. Separation from God. Ultimate loneness. Dead in one’s soul and spirit.
Jesus talked about hell as a place of darkness in Matthew 8:12, ‘But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness.’ 2 Matthew 2:13 ‘… the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ and Matthew 25:30 ‘And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
To be separated from God, who is light, is to be in darkness. 1 John 1:5 ‘This is the message we heard from Him and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all.’
In 2 Peter 2:4 we read 'For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment.'
'And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light (Jesus Christ) came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.' John 3:19
To be in darkness is to be separated from God, to be where there is nothing of God; no light, no love, no beauty, no friendship, no warmth, no joy, no pleasure, no purpose nothing of God. Separated from the source of all goodness. Left to our own selfishness.
‘The lake of fire depicts the horror of spending eternity apart from the love and joy freely offered through Christ. Those who reject his love will be “burned” to the soul as they suffer the severe pangs of loneliness in an eternal state without love. How tragic!’ C. S. Lewis, former atheist, reasons that it isn’t God who sends us to Hell. Those who will go there, do so willfully, because they reject Christ’s free pardon for sin and judgment. Lewis writes, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek, find. To those who knock, it is opened.”
John 3:16 ‘“For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.’ This divides people into those saved and those who will perish.
He puts before us life or death, Deuteronomy 30:15 ‘“Listen closely, I have set before you today life and prosperity (good), and death and adversity (evil);’ this does not say not eternal torment, though, but with death, His punishment is everlasting.
Hell is the consequence of rejecting God, a place where one will be separated from Him by choice until the day of final judgement and eternal destruction, the Day of Christ’s return, the Day of the new earth and new heaven.
e worse of injuries a human can sustain and to be separated from God is the worse condition a human can find himself in.
What does hell mean:
Total absence of love
compassion and kindness
Total absence of beauty
grace, decency and tact
Total absence of hope
honesty, trust and friendship
Total absence of a caring heart
a mother’s love, a father’s concern
Total absence of the presence of God
of peace, holiness and content
His thoughts towards me only holy
filled with love
But eternally without Him
And what is of Him
And what He created
None of Him
Where Evil reigns in Hades
the father of lies
telling me this can’t be
with relentless attacks of utter hate
No virtue or compassion
None of God
Obscene monstrous acts of violence
worse than anything real or imagined
No mercy, no fair play
Look at the world
None of God
The heart of a cruel killer
Deceiver, Power of Darkness
Father of lies
His thoughts towards me only evil
filled with hate
None of God
Hate thy neighbor
Have no regard for God
in the presence of your father -
The Evil One
Whose only heart
is your pain
Satisfied, he’s hurting the heart of God
Your eternal destiny secured
Separated from God
And what is of Him
You’ve lost His presence
A place called Hell