Is HELL a real place? Part 1
Do you believe that God’s Word is true? If so, you should also believe that Hell is a real place; where people go after having lived their lives by the world’s standards. They never answered the invitation to receive God’s only Son, Jesus Christ as their Lord-and-Savior. I realize that sounds a bit harsh, but that’s exactly what God’s Word says, and in numerous places in the Old and New Testaments.
I believe that God and Christ always tell the truth; they have to, otherwise, they wouldn’t be Holy. A recent Pew Research Poll found that 29 percent of Catholics, 11 percent of Evangelical Christians, and 40 percent of mainline Protestants, DO NOT believe in the existence of hell. And, only 24% of all Christians believe that the Bible is the literal Word-of-God.
The Bible declares that Hell is a real place. We can speculate as to the reasons some people disagree; possibly they may prefer a ‘prosperity or feel-good’ Gospel. Maybe, they don’t like the negative passages found in Scripture, that talk about JUDGMENT’ and SIN? Some may have even experienced a loved-one that passed on, with no assurance of what would happen to them next.
They may find comfort in dis-believing hell exists… possibly to soften the reality. So, let’s take a moment and explore the nature of hell; what it looks like, and what Scripture has to say about it. Jesus preached about it through His parables and sermons; even the prophets proclaimed it; can they all be wrong? And just to be clear, God doesn’t send anyone into hell; it is by a person’s own actions that they march right in without any assistance. Some folks would like to believe that hell is just a form of purgatory, where sinners go to cleanse themselves from sin, before entering Heaven. A billion Catholics subscribe to this doctrine, and unfortunately, will be sorely disappointed. It does seem reasonable though, that a few priests will likely be there to console them about their new home.
And why is hell necessary? Well, if hell didn’t exist, the public would likely run amuck again, as they did before the flood. God wound up destroying that earth and needed to start over. And for man to disregard God’s directives, that’s really a foolish choice. We CANNOT CHANGE what God has decreed. And when we decide to delete this important component from Christian doctrine, it only cheapens the Cross, the Resurrection, and even Christ Himself. It doesn’t matter what man’s viewpoint is regarding Heaven; we don’t get to make the final decision about who goes and who does not… only GOD DOES!
So, what Does Hell Look Like?... the most common description includes images of fire, extreme heat, and torture for all of eternity. The Book-of-Revelation, Daniel and Ezekiel, all made attempts to describe it. Even the author, C.S. Lewis, described his thoughts of what hell probably looks like.
Where is hell located; well, if it’s located here on Earth, it’s not on the earth’s surface; more likely, near the earth’s core. Personally, I think it’s entirely possible that God placed hell on a separate planet, located somewhere in the universe. After all, there are numerous bodies that record surface temperatures in excess of 500 degrees. Regardless of where God places hell, it’s not going to be very pleasant. An interesting point of view: In Revelation, 21: 1… John tells us… ‘Then I saw a ‘New Heaven and a New Earth, for the first Heaven and the first Earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.’ There would likely be no place for hell in a newly created Earth. In Revelation 21: 2… John describes the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down from Heaven from God, prepared as a bride, beautifully dressed for her husband. Does that sound like someplace where God would allow Heaven and Hell to co-exist; it sounds more like beauty and the beast. We can speculate all day about the location and nature of hell, but what should be most important; is our desire to stay clear of a place that represents eternal damnation.
And since this topic is so important, we will continue our discussion regarding Hell, during our next blog.