⇒Hell isn’t from the Bible but an invention over centuries to command obedience
⇒A Creator of Earth can create Heaven where decisions can be made even after death
Okay, I have a confession. I haven’t died yet so I can’t positively tell you what happens after life here on earth. I do believe there was a Creator as opposed to life originating by happenchance. If there is a Creator there is nothing irrational about hundreds of millions believing in an afterlife.
I have suggested in this series if a Creator exists, they have communicated clearly through universal moral intuitions. How else do we explain a universal desire to treat others like we want to be treated or our sense of ought or guilt? How do we know it is wrong to steal, murder, lie, or commit adultery? We can’t always know what is good according to a book such as the Bible or the Koran. Literature is interpretation and we claim our interpretation is the Word of God.
We know intuitively a loving God would not torture people forever for beliefs while living a brief time on earth. Unending suffering is pointless. God is a God of many chances.
God is fully aware beliefs are influenced by opportunities, role models, or misinformation, so it is suspect a loving God determines our destiny based on beliefs on earth. Biblical scholars rightly debate that Scriptures teaches all enter Heaven after meeting their Creator – often referred to as universalism. God can’t stop being forgiving and merciful at the moment of one’s last breathe. I’m not sure anyone would choose non-existence as opposed to life with a loving Creator, unless they have come so harden on earth. God will not coerce anyone against their will on earth or after death.
It turns out the Bible appears to argue what we intuitively believe is most likely about the afterlife if we believe in a good God who is perfect morally.
Hell as we think of it simply doesn’t exist in the Bible. Gehenna is the Greek word translated as Hell in the NT. Gehenna was the name of a real valley nearby Jerusalem with a history of terrible slaughter. Jesus used Gehenna to illustrate that spiritual death can be as tragic as horrendous physical death. The Apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament never refers to Hell. Noah, or any prophet in the OT, never warned of Hell as a consequence for behaviors here on earth. Hell seems an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience
Heaven as we think of it isn’t mentioned as much as we might think in the Bible. The word “heaven” appears the most in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew doesn’t refer to the Kingdom of Heaven as a place after death. Jesus speaks of bringing heavenly love to earth – “on earth as in heaven.” The Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the NT, in his longest theological letter only mentioned heaven twice and says nothing about Jesus dying so we can go to Heaven (Rm. 1:18, 10:6). Eternal life in the Bible refers to a quality of life that begins here on earth, not a quantity of life after death. The Bible teaches forgiveness is unlimited (i.e. Mt. 18:21-22).
We know Hell doesn’t exist. The only reason we might believe in such a place created by a loving God would be if we thought such a Book taught such a horrific thing. Also, there is hope for our loved ones who didn’t acknowledge God much less have an obvious trusting relationship with their Creator here on earth. For many God may bring to memory the pain and harmfulness caused for the sake of victims, but a good parent much less a good God is always seeking to restore than pay a price. God will always show grace and mercy whenever one decides to trust in the true God.