The Synchroblog is where bloggers write on topics – often different perspectives. This month is God and Hell. See links to more perspectives at the end of this Post.
Why would a loving God torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose? Humans wouldn’t even create a place such as Hell for their worst enemies. Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Many would rightly not engage with God to pursue spirituality if imagining the Creator is a sadistic torturer. Maybe Hell is a myth!
Hell isn’t possible for moral reasons.
Moral outrage hints of a common, human Creator communicating through our moral intuitions that lead to outrage. How do we intuitively know it is wrong to steal, murder, lie, or commit adultery? We also sense a Supreme Being must be perfect to claim to be God. A perfect God wouldn’t torture people forever since unending suffering is pointless. Besides, humans much less God are fully aware beliefs are influenced by opportunities, role models, or misinformation. It is suspect an impartial, moral God determines our destiny based on beliefs while living a brief time on earth. The only reason to think a loving God would create such as a place as Hell would be if we believed a Book taught such a horrific thing.
Hell isn’t possible for biblical reasons.
The biblical writers weren’t thinking of a torture chamber after death when using certain Hebrew and Greek words translated into the English word Hell. The Hebrew word Sheol referred to a place of darkness – the grave – where all were thought to go regardless of beliefs. The best translation of Sheol is Sheol. The Greek word Gehenna translated as Hell was the name of a real valley nearby Jerusalem with a history of terrible slaughter. Jesus when referring to Gehenna didn’t have in mind torture after death for all human beings. Hell is not a translation of Gehenna, a valley, any more than the city of Atlanta is a proper translation for Chicago.
When Jesus was asked by a religious expert how to have eternal life, He simply said to love God and your neighbor (Lk.10:25-37). Jesus’ focus wasn’t on quantity of life after death but about a life worth living here on earth by knowing your Creator loves you and seeks to empower you to shun evil and do good. 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. The word Hell was a substitution for certain Hebrew and Greek words, possibly invented over the centuries to scare people into obedience.
Hell isn’t possible for justice reasons.
Punishment doesn’t bring back a victim’s robbed memories of the future due to the murder of a loved one. Real justice is being forced to understand your victim’s pain and accept the harmfulness of your actions. After death God may bring to memory every action of betrayal and how it felt to their victims. The cleansing and educative effect may take longer for some than others. Humans like God may forgive their enemies if they truly regret their actions and seek forgiveness. Justice from a fair, merciful God is possible despite people being given a second chance after death.
Hell isn’t possible because of a loving God.
A loving parent much less a loving God is always seeking to restore than pay a price. If there is no Hell, there is real hope for our loved ones who didn’t acknowledge God much less have an obvious trusting relationship with their Creator. But, God wants a life with fewer regrets to begin now for all. I haven’t died yet so I can’t positively tell you what happens after life here on earth. But, I am convinced the Bible and our moral intuitions tell us God is not a sadistic torturer
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This post is part of the May Synchroblog, in which numerous bloggers around the world write about the same topic on the same day. Links to the other contributors are below. If you enjoyed my article, you will also enjoy reading what they have to say about the topic of hell.
- An Investigation into the Biblical Concept of Hell – Justin Steckbauer
- To Hell and Back – Soulcare Ministries
- The HELL You Say! – Nathan Jennings
- Forbidden Fruit = Hell’s Flames – Michael Wilson
- How long does hell last? – K.W. Leslie
- The problem of those unable to Love, or the question of hell as a reality – Bram Cools
- Hell No! – Mike Edwards
- Five Misconceptions about Annihilationism – Wesley Rostoll
- Knowing Who You Trust – Tim Nichols
- Heretic (Belated) Fridays – Bradley Jersak – Her Gates Will Never Be Shut – Scott Sloan
- Hell – A Place of Passionate Desire – Alan Stevens
- Christians Should Go to Hell – Jeremy Myers
- Oh, Hell, NO! – Liz Dyer