What the Hell

When dealing with the subject of Hell it is often taboo to discuss unless it is dealt with in a dissociative manner with the mindset of an unrealistic outcome such as the seasonal horror flicks or an unscientific documentary. Sometimes Hell is downplayed and seen as an invention of preachers and Hollywood to elicit a scaring or frightening response to move the emotions of people for conversion or merely for the effect of an adrenaline rush.

For some Hell is regarded as a make believe place and if it does exist then it is reserved for the worst of the worst or perhaps its just a temporary residence but for the most part  their viewpoint is that the average Joe has nothing to worry about.

I have actually wrote a blog about the biblical perspective of Hell combined with some explanations concerning near death events which includes a video testimony from a medical doctor of people who have experienced this reality


Anyway in my first post I dealt more with the doctrinal and phenomenal experience of Hell and for the nature of this blog I am speaking more about the philosophical objections that people often use as a sedative to calm themselves in numbing their minds against the notion of such a place. Interestingly enough the fact that some people attempt to process their thoughts in a defensive matter regarding this subject is suggestive that our subconscious bears witness to a moral intellect which confirms a sense of judgment.


Romans 2:14-16

14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.


Anyway some deal with this subject on the front end by just trying to repress or get rid of the God idea altogether while others just shrug their shoulders in response towards God in hopes that ignorance is bliss. However, according to the Barna Group 81% of Americans accept some form of afterlife and nearly two-thirds of them regard heaven as their final destination. Additionally, 71% affirm that there is a Hell but of this group only a half of one percent believe in a personal hellish outcome.

Many of us have no problem agreeing with the red letters of Christ when it comes to a heavenly abode but we don’t take seriously all His claims of Hell which apart from the popular sayings concerning “the kingdom of heaven”  Jesus refers more to Hell than to this heavenly realm. It’s not too hard for people to have a sense of expectation towards the narrow gate of the glorious afterlife but it is much more difficult to anticipate the broad way of its counterpart Matthew  7:13,14. After all if Hell is really irrelevant then this whole idea of suffering on the cross and the concept of salvation is meaningless. Recently while watching Dr. Frank Turek’s show on crossexamined.org he brought up some interesting points when contemplating the intellectual and  emotional objections to this matter which I would like to further disclose.

The first question is why is there a Hell to begin with and who goes there? Originally Hell was designed for the devil and his angels and it would also include all the rebellious creatures against their creator Matthew  25:41, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Revelation 21:8 and Romans 1:21-32. It is a place where beings are quarantined from God and eternally judged for committing acts of cosmic treason and for suppressing the truth of Him in unrighteousness Romans 1:18 including the grace of His pardon John 3:18, Romans 2:4,5 and Hebrews 2:3. Furthermore, God does not just randomly send anyone to Hell nor does He desire than any should perish but that all should have everlasting life 2 Peter 3:9. Gods wants all people to be saved but not all people want to be saved and what is logically possible may not actually be achievable with free creatures. Therefore people just don’t haphazardly end up in Hell and He would not let them “go to Hell” if there was a chance that they would be saved.

We choose our final destination as free creatures and outside of heaven there is no other alternative. Amazingly many people want heaven but then they forget who is there and who they have tried to avoid all their life and if they didn’t want the Lord in the here and now then why would they want to spend an eternity with God?

Also Hell from a biblical perspective isn’t portrayed as some temporal place of punishment whether through annihilation or a purgatorial existence but rather it is described as everlasting and eternal Matthew 25:41 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

Additionally as surely as death is final so are the consequences of an afterlife as there is no hope for a reincarnated state. As a man is appointed to die once and then face the judgment Hebrews 9:27. We see an example of this in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in which the rich man could not go back to save himself nor could Lazarus return to warn the rich man’s brothers, Luke 16:19-31.Hell is not a place for penance or repentance and if we could change our mind in Hell then what is the sense of this intermediary existence on earth as there must be some finality to life. Why have this life if choices can be made latter? There must be a point when there is a “final answer.”

Another matter we might question is regarding God’s justice on how He can eternally condemn sinners who have never heard about Jesus because the bible is explicit on the exclusivity of Christ.

As there is no other name given to men by which we must be saved Acts 4:12.  Jesus is the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to God except through Him, Jn 14:6.

We wrongfully assume within our finitude that it would be impossible for God to communicate such knowledge of Jesus due to logistical problems but with God all things are possible and if they can be saved then God will use every means to ensure they have the ability to receive the necessary information such as what is reported among Muslims who are coming to Christ in these restricted nations where they have no or very little exposure to the biblical concept of Jesus and yet it is through this unique medium of dreams and visions by which Jesus is appearing to them.


I have personally have met someone from Iran who had this experience and I don’t doubt his sincerity in breaking free of his cultural norms after all just to be a target or martyr for nothing is nonsensical.

Anyway God will give true seekers the truth about Jesus such as the biblical examples of Cornelius or the Ethiopian Eunuch as found in Acts. Also this is being accomplished exponentially today in this contemporary age of information and mass media in that it is becoming much more difficult to completely avoid this witness with the advent of TV, radio broadcasting, literature distribution, internet, video, or through the conventional methods of feet preaching.

So no one can claim total or complete ignorance to God’s truth of which there is no excuse Romans 1:18-20 and Romans 2:15,16.


Romans 1:18-20

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and    unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.


If we don’t respond to the natural or general signs of creation and conscious then He is not obligated to give a fuller disclosure in regards to a special revelation so as to be saved.

Another reason why some may never hear of Jesus is because God so ordered the world so that those who never hear the gospel would have never believed it anyway, Acts 17:26-27

Therefore it seems that God prearranged the world both in time and space for those who would favorably respond to Him and for the majority who are reading this post this  isn’t the problem anyway.

Another objection to the concept of Hell and judgment is that an individual may think that it is unjust to be involuntarily cast in the play of this human drama in being subjected to sin under the influence of our common ancestry in Adam and yet Christ as the second Adam has become our regenerative representative therefore removing this curse by becoming a curse on our behalf, Galatians 3:13. According to the staging of life it is the heroic actions of God Himself who delivers us from the villainous plot of our own iniquitous nature  by making an entrance through the incarnation to rescue us through His salvific work.

Additionally we may also think it’s unfair for God to choose the methodology in which we are to be forgiven and yet by our reasoning we grossly underestimate the severity of sin and its “just” consequences which were placed on the sacrificial altar of the cross.

You may blow all this off and just say well I already have enough problems in this life to worry about the life thereafter and perhaps you have exaggerated your seemingly urgent  circumstances by declaring your protest as hell on earth which to a degree does speak of the curse nonetheless it is not an accurate or adequate depiction as being a proper frame of reference when relating to the biblical concept of Hell which uses such graphical imagery as unquenchable fire, outer darkness, fiery furnace where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth along with torment and everlasting destruction.

The little wild fires that you are trying to put out today are manageable compared to the fire of eternity which will be unquenchable, Mark 9:43,44. Therefore in this life God’s blessing can still be obtained of which in Hell there is no hope, 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

When it comes down to it generally it’s not too difficult for some to think of a hellish existence  because we realize that if God exists and if He is supremely sovereign and just then there must be a means of reckoning His justice especially on those who have committed heinous acts of crime without receiving their due punishment here  on earth.

However I think the real objection comes when we consider God’s judgment in allowing unregenerate people to suffer eternally for temporal sins. After all isn’t Hell overkill? This may also lead into the another question about God’s love and His goodness which I have also written about at


Actually sin doesn’t necessarily stop at the grave as it continues perpetually. Thus sin and rebellion is just a continuum into the afterlife and likewise punishment continues for eternity as well. It isn’t about infinite punishment for finite sins as evil is perpetually resident in Hell.

We may wrongfully think that somehow we don’t meet the criteria for an eternal inferno as being in the camp of evildoers who deserve Gods wrath and yet all have sinned. Sin is simply classified as lawlessness in which all are counted worthy of eternal death, 1 John 3:4 and Romans 6:23. Also a person in their agnosticism cannot default on Hell in that Jesus states that if you are not for me then you are against me, Matthew 12:30. Also we can’t avoid it by thinking that somehow our good deeds cancel out our bad deeds with a payment towards our karmic debt. If we break the law we are guilty and likewise condemned, James 2:10.There is no middle ground or lukewarmness with God and either you are righteous and justified before Him or you are not. You are either alive to God or dead to Him.

Essentially all mankind is subject to moral failure as being under the federal headship of the progenitor of our race namely Adam who has imposed on humanity a nature of sin of which the bible supports in stating that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God Romans 3:23 and that there is none righteous not even one Romans 3:10. You may consider your self a good person and your morality compared to others may be noteworthy in the same way a fruit inspector scrutinizes rotten apples but you are no  comparison with a holy God who demands moral perfection. The bible supports this view with such verses as “be perfect as God is perfect”; “be holy because I am holy”, Matthew 5:48, 1 Peter 1:16 . I believe this is confirmed in the very hearts of all who at one time or another has been burdened with a sense of guilt which confirms our inability to achieve perfection.

Part of this matter in dealing with sin is that we have an obscured perspective in respect to our visual acuity which overlooks the diagnosis of sin in having a log in the eye problem which further advances to macular degeneration as we fail to fully recognize our own sinful corruption resulting from a depraved mind, Romans 1:28.

On the other hand the positive aspect of being sensitive to sin is not meant to just leave us in a state of condemnation like putting a dog’s nose in its own mess but it is a redemptive act of God to intervene in our lives to make us more acutely aware of our transgressions by whom the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, judgment and righteous to come, John 16:8. We more vividly see this overwhelming sense of sin as recorded in the biblical narrative in which people who were suddenly and unsuspectingly ushered into the awesome presence of God where there was an invasive awareness of guilt and fear. Isaiah bears witness to this in Is 6:5 with his words “woe to me for I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people with unclean lips.” Experientially we get a small foretaste of this when we come face to face with a pastor or even a cop at which point we become consciously aware of what we say and do as we recognize our human weaknesses which is susceptible to being exposed causing us discomfort as evidenced by the temporary change in our behaviors.

So how much more responsive would we be before a holy God who not only omnisciently knows our actions but also who can discern our hearts and thoughts in that  no flesh will be self justified in His sight, Romans 3:20 and Galatians 2:16.

Moreover we are not to be left in a paralytic state of fear when faced with the danger of judgment as we are summoned to respond to God’s saving provision. Our initial response may be like that of Peter who supernaturally wanted to run away from his guilt when he recognized the person of Jesus as Lord by which he awkwardly responded according to His spiritual state to “go away from me Lord for I am a sinful man. However we aren’t to distance ourselves from God when we come to discern our unregenerate condition but rather we are to posture ourselves like David who sought God’s mercy and grace, Psalm 51.

So when we come to the crossroads in life where we encounter God’s conviction along with a heightened sense of His drawing presence John 6:44 then we are called to respond to God in humility and submission so as to seek reconciliation with Him in accordance with His divine will and purpose, 2 Corinthians 5:19. Then as we become the benefactors of His grace and mercy we are then able to confidently and boldly approach His throne of grace Hebrews 4;16. This is because His perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment, 1John 4:18.

As a child I was often forewarned  by my parents to behave otherwise I would be on the receiving end of the belt of discipline and in retrospect to my parents threats I am not completely confident  that they always had my best interest at heart yet I am reassured that God’s forth telling is motivated by perfect love so much so that He sent Jesus in my stead to take my due punishment thus consequently averting His just wrath and without this compensation what hope would any of us have.

Furthermore as benevolently serious as He is towards pursuing the redemption of those who believe; He is likewise just as zealous to exact His full wrath against those who mock His gracious provision by spitting on the Son, Hebrew 2:3 and John 3:18.

In conclusion there are other objections which are not covered in this post and some matters aren’t fully disclosed or handled according to the biblical record and even though this answer may not satisfy the skeptic this tension of not knowing is perfectly eased based on the nature of God who alone is supremely just and loving.

Lastly when contemplating this matter we shouldn’t think of Jesus as only a means to the end in obtaining fire insurance but the fact that a fire is inevitable should get you to begin to consider the coverage under God’s plan. Ultimately fear will not be the driving motivator to our decision regarding Christ because it is the kindness of Christ which leads us to repentance resulting in a reciprocation of love by which we acknowledge Him as both Lord and Savior, Romans 2:4.


Romans 6:23

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.



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Permission granted by Dr. Frank Turek at www.crossexamined.org

Permission granted by The Barna Group,  “Americans describe their views about life after death”, October 21,2003, www.barna.org

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