I am convinced there are beliefs claimed about God that lead to many tuning out God. Our relationship with God cannot exceed our understanding of God. I have written HERE how we can decide what God is really like. One’s interpretation of a Book may be the only reason to think human and godly perfection are different. Why would a Creator not love us and others how we were seemingly created to love others? God surely isn’t a hellish, sadistic torturer!
The Old Testament says nothing about Hell.
The Hebrew word Sheol in the Old Testament is wrongly translated as Hell. Sheol was used to describe a place of darkness occupied by the dead regardless of beliefs, not a torture chamber for unbelievers. Job, an extremely righteous man in God’s eyes, desired to go there to escape his tremendous suffering (10:21-22). God only warned Adam and Eve about death, not Hell, if eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Noah failed to warn evildoers about Hell before their death by Flood. The popular understanding of Hell is not in the OT. Recent translations simply translate Sheol as “Sheol.”
Jesus said nothing about Hell.
One reason many may not believe God eventually convinces all about Heaven is because Hell supposedly exist. Jesus used the Greek word Gehenna, that has been translated into the word Hell, maybe 3-4 unique occasions to disciples or religion leaders and never to a big crowd. Gehenna was the name of a real valley near Jerusalem that was filled with garbage and even dead bodies. Fires were set to get rid of the garbage and smell. We don’t normally translate names of valleys with a different name. Gehenna should be translated as Gehenna. Jesus used the word Gehenna symbolically to illustrate what kinds of lives here on earth lead to hellish living, not what happens to people in the afterlife. Hell’s non-existence allows hope for heaven for all.
The Apostle Paul, who wrote a lot of the New Testament, never once warned this dire fate!
But, the Book of Revelation speaks of a Lake of Fire!
The Bible only suggest that believers and unbelievers will face some kind of judgment after death. Fire in the Bible is used more metaphorically than a literal fire where people are tortured forever after death. The Book of Revelation is the only place Lake of Fire is mentioned, but if dragons with seven heads are considered figuratively why wouldn’t the Lake of Fire be a metaphor? Why would a loving God torture anyone forever since such pain serves no lasting purpose? Hitler was condemned for torturing millions of Jews for a brief time; God is said to torture billions not briefly but forever. A moral God can’t be a hellish, sadistic, torturer!
Don’t people need the fear of God to change?
Fear only leads to trying to avoid getting caught. God’s continual encouragement and mercy, not the fear of Hell or gloomy uncertainty of God’s favor, is our necessary nourishment for lasting changes of the heart. One may argue if certain beliefs aren’t required for Heaven, people will do whatever the hell they want on earth. Fearing God in the OT was the same as respecting God’s ways to avoid personal heartbreak and the destruction of others. How real is faith if only to avoid Hell? Genuine changes result when knowing you are deeply loved by a parent or God empowering you to reflect such love to others.
Can there be justice there is no hell and all go to heaven?
Punishment doesn’t bring back a victim’s robbed memories of the future due to the murder of a loved one. Real justice is understanding your victim’s pain and accepting 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.
There are many reasons to doubt Hell is real other than because not in the Bible!
- Hell opposes our created moral sense. Most don’t want to believe or act as if Hell is real. Wouldn’t we all be yelling like lunatics to family, friends and strangers to avoid Hell? Hell only exist because interpretations of a supposed infallible Book are alleged infallible.
- Hell encourages hidden agendas in relationships which we despise. If Hell is true, we must always have a hidden agenda to convince friends to accept our beliefs to avoid destruction.
- Hell can lead to a violent view of God. God’s justification of violence to be appeased has led to excusing our own violent solutions in the name of justice.
- Hell makes it seems as if we humans are better lovers than God. Most of us would not treat our enemies, much less our children, the way God supposedly treats unbelievers and their creations.
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