A part of The Fate of the Unbeliever
Many do not believe in life after death, whether it is heaven or hell. These are often the same people who deny the existence of God. However, the doctrine has found its way into some churches. British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a champion of this view. He was an agnostic, not a Christian.
He writes about Christ and his position on hell: “I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world.” He later speaks of the cruelty of teaching about hell and disregards its existence basically because a loving God wouldn’t have created hell.
There are many who regard hell as a story, or something told to kids to scare them into acting properly, much like “Be good or Santa Clause won’t bring you any gifts.”
Some Christians disregard hell as being unreal because its images are too horrific. Any reference to hell must simply be a metaphor for something else.
To ignore the existence of hell, for whatever reason, requires a person to ignore numerous verses concerning hell and its nature or depiction. To begin to pick and choose verses from the Bible and throw out ones a person doesn’t like is extremely dangerous.
Assuming a literal interpretation of the Bible, there is much to be said about hell. Even if one takes an extremely metaphorical view of these passages, they are still left with the issue. They can disbelieve the depictions of hell, but it is still spoken as a real place – just as real as heaven is. To take heaven as literal and hell as figurative would be quite foolish.
Here are some of the Biblical references to hell:
Matthew 5:22 “But anyone who says ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”
Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
Revelation 1:18 “I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
And the book of Isaiah ends with this unsettling verse- 66:24 “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
For those non-Christians who deny the existence of an afterlife, they only are lying to themselves. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Eternity is in our hearts; anyone who denies its existence denies their hearts.
Next Section – Hell is Annihilation