|Series Theme: Questions of Eternity|
Title: 3. Is there a Hell?
simple consideration of the existence of Hell and our
1. A Reliable Source - the Bible?
The Bible, somewhat obviously, states, "Man is destined to die" (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible is a record of God's dealings with the nation of Israel, into which was born His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible is historically reliable and it can, therefore, be used as an authoritative source on spiritual matters (See the Main Resources Contents Page, "The Trustworthiness of the Bible").
So what does it tell us about life after death? In this page we'll focus on hell. In its companion page we focus on heaven.
2. Who says Hell exists?
Many sources from around the world speak about an afterlife. Jesus Christ spoke about it many times. Jesus claimed to be God's Son who had come down from heaven, and then went on to substantiate that claim by the things he did, the death he died, and then by coming back from the dead.
(For substantiation of the resurrection, please see the "Easter" page, in the "Seasons" area.)
Jesus spoke about hell and heaven many times. In this page we'll simply look at his references to hell.
those who purported to be religious and good but yet who, in reality,
were hard hearted hypocrites, Jesus challenged them as to how they would
escape being condemned to hell. (Matt 23:33)
On another occasion he referred to hell, where the fire never goes out. (Mark 9:43).
In another figurative reference to hell, Jesus spoke of it as a place of darkness, a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 8:12).
On yet another occasion he told an entire parable with the points that hell is a place of torment (Luke 16:19-31) and that once there, there is no possibility of being transferred to heaven
Others in the New Testament?
Elsewhere in the New Testament we find similar pictures being conveyed of hell.
in his short letter refers on one hand to being "kept
in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgement"
(Jude 6), and then on the other hand speaks of "the
punishment of eternal fire" (v.7).
What does the language say?
does the language used by all these people in the Bible say? Various
things are obvious:
3. An Analogy
Consider this picture. At death you find yourself in a corridor which eventually divides into two.
At the end of one corridor is a room of misery, there is no loving God, there is hatred, bitterness, self-centredness, anger, hostility, coldness, hardness and then isolation and utter hopelessness.
At the end of the other corridor is a room where there is the wonderful presence of God, there is love, joy, happiness, beauty, creativity and wonderful life.
In which room would you want to spend eternity? It's a poor analogy because the realities indicated by the Bible are obviously so much greater than can be conveyed in such a simple picture
Suppose none of it is true?
If that is so then death is the great fearful unknown. It could mean that ANYTHING could happen. But why should that be? The Bible speaks truth in all other areas, declares things exactly as they are, as has been testified to by millions of people down through the ages.
Supposing it is all true?
Just supposing this amazing compilation of books we call the Bible is true. Just supposing that it is true that you have opportunity here and now on earth to make choices that determine your eternal destiny. Just supposing that is true, it would be madness to ignore it, wouldn't it. Here is God offering you the most wonderful of futures and you refuse it and choose the most terrible of alternatives possible. Absolute madness.
on the right path
1. Tell God (in prayer) that you acknowledge you have left Him out of your life and you're sorry because your life is less than perfect without Him.
Tell Him you believe in Jesus Christ His Son coming and dying in your
place, for you to receive forgiveness for your wrongs. Tell Him you
want Him to forgive you your past that wasn't perfect.
If that sounds simple it is! All it requires from you is complete sincerity. God isn't fooled when we are half-hearted, still holding onto our self-centredness. It needs to be all or nothing, but remember that 'nothing' goes on beyond death.
5. The Wonder of Heaven
The emphasis isn't on the awfulness of hell, which we have focused on in this page, but on the wonder of heaven, which we considered on the companion page.
God offers you a future here on the earth in which you can learn to experience His love for you in very practical and tangible ways.
He also offers you the most glorious future with Him in eternity. He simply requires that you put your hands firmly into His, that you come to trust Him instead of yourself for the days and eternity ahead of you.