Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reasons to Believe in Hell

***Posted by Tyler M Taber***

"Of all the doctrines in Christianity, Hell is probably the most difficult to defend, the most burdensome to believe, and the first to be abandoned." --Peter Kreeft

Here are a few reasons to believe in Hell.

1). Argument from Scripture

a) The Bible is God's Word and teaches truth
b) The Bible teaches Hell
c) Therefore, Hell is true (or real)

If the Bible teaches Hell, the believer should be inclined to believe in it.

Here are some verses from Scripture describing Hell. Hell is:

*eternal (Isaiah 66:24; Matthew 18:8; 2 Thess 1:9)
*everlasting (Daniel 12:2, Matthew 25:46)
*punishment (Matthew 25:46)
*shut out from the fellowship of God (2 Thess 1:9)
*place of God's wrath (Romans 2:8)
*anger (Revelation 14:10)

The list goes on. The bottom line, however, is that Scripture speaks very highly on the reality of Hell.

2). Argument from Church Tradition

The Church--Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox--generally speaking, has supported, taught, and defined Hell. As Peter Kreeft says, "A Christian who does not believe in Hell is a contradiction in terms, because a Christian is one who believes in Christ, and Christ is one who is believes in Hell."

If the Doctrine of Hell does not fit within your worldview, probably very likely Christ does not either.

3). Argument that God is love

If we refuse to believe in Hell, we really have no basis to believe that God is love. Many critics have tried to shown an inconsistency in simultaneously believing in hell and the notion that God is love. However, this need not be the case. "Either we accept both on the same ground or reject both on the same ground, for they stand on the same ground." --PK

4). Argument from the salvation Jesus offers

If there is no hell to be saved from, then Jesus is not our Savior.

He might be a great moral teacher, but certainly not Savior. What is there to be saved from?--the wrath of God in an everlasting Hell.

These are just a few reasons for believing in Hell. Objections? Criticisms?



rog said...

The question for me is not so much whether or not it exists(because I affirm that it does), but what actually takes place there and where it is located?

Is it literally a place of fire with intense heat?

Where does is it located after the events surrounding the New Heaven/New Earth take place?

tyler m taber said...


Where in the hell is Hell?

I do not claim to know Greek or Hebrew so I can only speak from a secondary position concerning the Greek/Hebrew names for Hell in the OT/NT.

The OT word for Hell is Sheol.

The NT word for Hell is Hades--which, as far as I understand, means "unseen."

Another NT term for Hell is Gehenna--the name of a valley near/around Jerusalem (obviously a whole different posting in itself!) (And, as best I can tell, not the exact same meaning as Hades or Sheol.)

Anyways, although Scripture seems to allude to hell as "down" into the Earth (Ephesians 4:29; Lk 10:15)or a "lake of fire" (Rev 20:10-15), I still have a difficult time adhering to those literal interpretations.

The usual Christian view of Hell--a "fiery lake" (which almost seems contradictory) or a "dark, flaming furnace" (which, once, again, seems contradictory)--is hard to accept, mostly because Scripture does not tell us where, geographically speaking, Hell is located.

Although I believe Hell is literally a place of everlasting punishment, we just aren't in a position to speculate where it's at from a geographical standpoint. Scripture doesn't tell us.

What do you think about what I've responded with thus far?

Also, I am not sure the location of Hell concerning the coming of the New Heaven/New Earth. What do you think?


tyler m taber said...

Also, different areas of the NT use different descriptive words to define Hell.

-a "bottomless pit" in Rev. 20:3;
-a "lake" in Rev. 20:14

It can't possibly be both.

Another source I used put it this way,

"Its symbolic descriptors bring us to a place beyond the limits of our language—to a place far worse than we could ever imagine."

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