Qn 13. Is Hell for real ?

After my previous post titled ‘Theocracy to tyranny’, I happened to engage in a friendly conversation with the moderators of the group called ‘Theology for today’ on LinkedIn, where I had posted the article but we unexpectedly ended up debating the existence of hell. These liberal Christians were stubbornly unconvinced that there was a hell, inspite of me quoting Scripture after Scripture but they became increasingly abusive and expelled me from their theological group because they could neither win their argument with rhetoric nor could they find a Scripture to support their false notions.

Their argument was that if God is merciful, would he let men suffer for eternity, for a finite life of sin, much beyond the ‘cost of their sin’ ? Would he send men to hell even for the slightest of infractions? Their idea of paying for the ‘cost of sin’ was like serving a term in a state penitentiary and once the term was over, the state of the soul would be reversed. When I quoted to them that ‘the wages of sin is death …’ ( Romans 6 : 23 ), they immediately caught me on this verse to substantiate their belief that there is no hell because the verse in context did not refer to ‘hell’, while being oblivious of the fact that there were numerous other Scriptures that poignantly referred to hell. That showed how ignorant they were of Scriptures and the best they could do was to quote back the verse I had quoted to them, when asked to quote alteast one Scripture in support of their argument. Had they quoted the verse completely, it would have proved just the opposite of what they believe because the verse goes on to say, ‘… but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus’, which means everyone who is not willing to believe and receive this free gift of eternal life, will invariably remain in the state of death. However ‘death’ means just simple physical death to them but the Bible differentiates between ‘Spiritual death’ (the state every soul is born into since the fall of Adam until it is reversed at rebirth – Romans 5 : 12 – 16 ), ‘Physical death’ ( the state everybody is destined to experience irrespective of their faith – Hebrews 9 : 27 ) and ‘Eternal death’ ( the state of eternal separation from God for those who have rejected this salvation – Revelation 20 : 14 -15 ). The Bible calls ‘eternal death’ as the ‘second death’ which is also an euphemism for the ‘lake of fire’. The Greek word ‘Gehenna’ which was translated as ‘hell’, borrows the imagery from the place outside the walls of Jerusalem, where the garbage from the city was burnt ; where the fire was never put out. Therefore Jesus said, ” It is better for you to enter the Kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worms does not die and the fire is not quenched.” ( Mark 9 : 48, Isaiah 66 : 24 ) These liberals think it is absurd for the Bible to say that men will be cast bodily into hell because after all mortal flesh wouldn’t last in that ‘eternal fire’. But Jesus spoke about the bodily resurrection of all men when he said, ” Do not be amazed at this for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” ( John 5: 28-39 ) ‘So will it be with the resurrection of the dead … If there is a natural body there is also a spiritual body.’ ( 1 Corinthians 15 : 42 – 44 ) If their worms do not die in that eternal fire, then probably their bodies won’t either !

Why would Jesus often refer to hell, if it were not a real place ? ( These liberals claim to believe in Jesus but make him out to be the biggest liar by saying there is no hell.) Jesus said that the ‘eternal fire was prepared for the devil and his angels’ ( Mt 25 : 41 ) and therefore God is not willing that any man should go to hell. Every sin has been atoned for in Christ Jesus but if men reject this sacrifice, there is no sacrifice left to atone for the sin of having rejected Christ. ‘Whoever believes in him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in God’s only begotten Son.’ ( John 3 : 18 )

If ‘atoning for the sins of the whole world’ ( 1 John 2 : 2 ) and ‘appealing to men to be reconciled with God’ (2 Corinthians 5: 20 ) weren’t acts of God’s mercy, then what do these liberals consider as mercy ? Filling up heaven with rebels who have rejected God’s salvation, because they think he is too loving to cast men to hell ? “Rather be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mathew 10 : 28 ) ‘Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God.’ ( Romans 11 : 22 ) If men end up spending eternity in hell, they will only have the devil to blame for deceiving them, if not themselves for believing him! Suffice to say that God doesn’t send anyone to hell for the slightest infractions but they will send themselves to hell for rejecting God’s offer of eternal life ! If Scripture doesn’t convince them that Hell is for real, I earnestly hope that at least rationalism will awaken them from their stupor, before it’s too late ! Does not the attributes of the physical world around us teach us that they exist in opposites, with one having dominance over the other ? There is light over darkness, height over depth, big over small, strong over weak, and so on. Then why not apply the same logic and reason to the spiritual realm? Why is it preposterous to believe that hell really exists ? If there is no hell, then logically there can’t be a heaven, which means there are no judgments or rewards because there aren’t any laws since there is nothing good or evil, right or wrong, for there is no God or Satan. Therefore to deny part of the truth means to deny all of it but to believe the whole truth means to believe all of it. Amen.

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