Truth About Hell

Date: 03/11/2013 
Today, we want to give you hell to think about. You've probably heard that if you made just one mistake, committed one sin and didn't repent, the Lord God, which is holy, just, and good, condemns your life, and God will burn you in the flames of hell forever.
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Today, we want to give you hell to think about. You've probably heard that if you made just one mistake, committed one sin and didn't repent, the Lord God, which is holy, just, and good, condemns your life, and God will burn you in the flames of hell forever. It's true. Sin can keep you out of heaven and God will purge sin from his universe with fire. Does the Bible teach that the lost burn forever in hell?

If you're an agnostic, you might be thinking, "If that's the kind of God you serve, I don't want anything to do with it. I could never respect or love a God who burns people in hell forever just because they don't love Him in return." A well-meaning Christian might say, "God is God. Who are we to judge what He does or doesn't do?" After all, the Bible teaches that the wicked burn forever in hell, and that settles it.

To embrace the idea of eternal hellfire, one must sacrifice any ideas of human compassion, feeling, or reason to this God of fire. As a Christian, it's one thing to say with conviction, "The wicked burn forever." It's quite another to conceive of it being your own wife, husband, or child. Wouldn't you hate a divine being who would do such a horrible thing to the love of your life?

For those of you who don't go church, aren't religious, and have a problem with a God who would burn people in fire forever, don't walk away just yet. The ending will surprise you. For those Christians who have been persuaded there is a place called hell where people burn forever but have a hard time understanding how a God of love could do such a thing, hang in here for a moment. Your instincts are probably right.

What if it is true that God does burn people forever? Think about it. Have you ever burned your hand on a hot stove? How did it feel? Can you imagine then your whole body burning in a blazing hot fire for eternity? First of all, no human being could mentally endure that much torture. A person would pass out and eventually go insane. Further, the vital life force of the body would give way to death.

If by some miracle you lived in the fire forever, what do you suppose you would be thinking about God during your endless suffering? Knowing that for a brief 70-plus years of sin, you must suffer one of the worst forms of torture known to man forever? Wouldn't your hatred of God only grow more virulent as eternity rolled on? Wait. Doesn't the bible say the wicked perish? How could the wages of sin be death when the wicked actually never die? Seems like a good question.

If there was an eternally burning place called hell, sin and sinners would have to be miraculously suspended in a state of extreme torture forever, where their implications and curses against this God of love will continue as long as He exists. Thus, God would immortalize sin and sinners for eternity. Have you ever thought about how fire works? The chemical reactions in the fire are self-perpetuated.

The heat or the flame itself keeps the fuel's ignition temperature so it continues to burn as long as there is fuel and oxygen. The flame heats any surrounding fuel. In this case, the wicked. It releases gasses. When the flame ignites the gasses, the fire spreads. The fire is self-perpetuated, which means as long as there is fire, it burns until nothing is left.

Here is the logical conclusion. In order for people to live more than a few minutes or seconds in a fiery furnace, God would have to create a miracle to keep the physical body from being consumed by the fire. Otherwise, no one could live more than a few moments in the inferno. No human being has the vital force to withstand that kind of pain more than a few minutes. It is logical to conclude then, if you believe in the doctrine of eternal hellfire, you must also accept the fact that God tortures people forever.

Can there be any stretch of the imagination or logic where one can reconcile these two realities? Where God is love and He burns people forever. These ideas are mutually exclusive. Either God is not a God of love, in which case He might burn people forever, or He is a God of love, in which case he would never burn people forever.

How many billions of people have gone to Christless graves? Are they all doomed to suffer the wrath of God for eternity? Further, could you love or trust a God like that? A God who says, "If you don't love and obey me, I will burn you forever." Could a woman ever love a husband who told her, "Honey, if you don't love me, I will torture you as long as you live"? Wouldn't the very thought of the love for her husband be destroyed by such a statement? How then can we expect people to love God with the same sentiment ringing in their ears? "If you don't love and obey me, I will torture you forever."

When challenged on this point however, many Christians say, "Who are we to tell God what He can and cannot do? He is God and He has a right to do whatever He wants." According to the Bible, He would never do anything that wasn't just and righteous. The very character of God is maligned when we say, "He burns people forever." That is exactly what the dark side wants.

Another question. Would justice be served by burning a human for eternity in the flames of fire for the bad things they did in this life? Note God's comment on the subject. This is what the Lord Almighty said, "Administer true justice and show mercy and compassion to one another." Moses said, "For all His ways are justice, a God of truth, and without injustice." Job said, "He is excellent in power, in judgment, and abundant in justice. He does not oppress." God's own testimony of Himself is that He only acts in a just way.

Shouldn't the punishment fit the crime? Even a Godless secular society understands this obvious fact. If a shoplifter steals lipstick and a person kills someone, shouldn't the punishment be different? How just then is it to say, "Any human who even commits one sin and does not repent will burn forever"?

There's a fascinating passage in Malachi that says, "The wicked will be ashes under the soles of our feet." This is literally true. When fire reduces a substance to its final chemical state, all that is left is carbon or ash. The earth is recreated after the fire does its cleansing work, and the wicked will literally be reduced to carbon. Just like when someone is cremated and all that is left of what was once a real, living person is a small box of ashes.

What about the eternal hellfire spoken of in the Bible? The answer is simple. Jude said that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone are "set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Peter said, "God turned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly.

Luke said, "On the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all." Likewise, when the wicked suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, it will destroy them. Is the eternal fire still burning the people of Sodom and Gomorrah today? Obviously not. What then is meant by Jude when he said, "The people of Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the vengeance of eternal fire"? Simply understood, the expression eternal fire means the results of the fire are eternal, that the lost perish in the fire, never to exist again. Eternal death by fire. Fire that destroys forever.

One of Jesus' disciples said, "Jesus, show us the Father." Jesus replied, "Philip, haven't I been with you all this time and you don't know the Father? He who has seen me has seen the Father." Jesus prayed that His father would forgive those who were crucifying Him. Jesus said, "Love your enemies. Be kind to those who despitefully use you." In all of Christ's life, did He ever manifest a spirit that would warrant the idea that He would burn people forever who didn't love him? Why then, would His father in heaven do anything different? God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

If we could learn but one thing from the life of Jesus and what His life tells us about His father in heaven, it is this: God is love. This is good news. God is love, which means there is no eternal torment for the lost but a cleansing of the universe from the curse of sin. That, my friend, is the truth on hell.

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