Questions On Hell

Posted By Thomas Perez. October 13, 2009 at 9:48pm.

Vindictive, eternal punishment by fire? Let us examine this closely. Have you ever had these questions before. Lets be honest. I have….

•If Hell is real and describes a real place, why does the English word “Hell” come from a pagan source instead of the ancient Hebrew writings of the Bible? Why is the word “Hell” not found in the Jew’s Bible which is the Christian’s Old Testament? Furthermore, the word “Hell” has completely disappeared from the Old Testament Scriptures in most leading Bibles. Why? Because the best scholarship demands it. (The word “Hell” comes from the Teutonic “Hele” goddess of the underworld “Hell” of northern Europe. The description of this ancient mythological place has very little resemblance anymore to the modern Christian image of Hell. See any Encyclopedia or dictionary for the origin of the word.) Seeing that the Bible is supposed to be “Holy,” why have pagan religious words been added to our modern English Bibles? Please understand, the English word “Hell” and its concepts are NOT in the Hebrew nor Greek. They come into the English through Northern European mythologies, NOT from the roots of Christianity.
•If Hell as a place of everlasting tortures was the real fate of all mankind unless they did something here on earth to prevent it, why didn’t God make that warning plain right at the beginning of the Bible? God said the penalty for eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was DEATH. He did NOT define death as eternal life being forever tortured in burning fire and brimstone.
•If Hell was real why didn’t Moses warn about this fate in the Ten Commandments or the Mosaic Covenant consisting of over 600 laws, ordinances, and warnings? The Mosaic Law simply stated blessings and cursings IN THIS LIFETIME for failure to keep the Mosaic Law.
•If Hell is real and it is a place of eternally being separated from God, why does David say in the King James Bible, “Though I make my bed in Hell (Sheol) lo, Thou art there? (Again please note, most Christian Bibles NO LONGER have the word “Hell” in the Old Testament. The KJV written over 350 years ago is an exception. The Jews do NOT put the word “Hell” in their English translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is, the Old Testament and the leading English Christian Bibles have removed it because it is NOT in the originals. Most Christian scholars now acknowledge it should never have been placed there in the first place.)
•If Hell is real and if good people go to heaven and bad people go to Hell, why does EVERYONE, good or bad, go to the same place in the Old Testament? They ALL go to Sheol which the King James Version translated “Hell” thirty-0ne times, “grave” thirty-one times and “pit” three times? Are we all destined to go to Hell or did the King’s translators make some gross translational errors?
•If Hell is real, why don’t the Jews, many who know the Old Testament better than most Christians, not believe in the modern Christian concept of Hell? They say they don’t believe it because it is not in their Scriptures. Most scholars today can not find Hell in the Old Testament. Most leading Bible translations no longer contain the word Hell in the entire Old Testament. (Genesis through Malachi.)
•If Hell doesn’t exist in the Old Testament, how could Jesus and his disciples teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in their Scriptures? (There was only the Old Testament at that time.) Would that not make Him appear like a false teacher? Or could it be that Jesus never taught such a concept in the first place? Could it be that this concept has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through “traditions of men?”
•If Hell is real, since SOME English translations use the word Hell for the Greek word “Gehenna,” in the New Testament, why didn’t this same place (Gehenna) get translated Hell in the many places where it appears in the Hebrew form “ga ben Hinnom” in the Old Testament? If the Jews did not understand this valley as a symbol of everlasting torture, why do SOME English translations give this word such a meaning? And who burned who in this valley? And what was God’s response for Israel doing such a horrible thing to their children? (Jer. 32:33-35) And how could God say “such a thing never entered His mind” if in fact He is going to do the very same thing to most of His own children?
•If Hell was real, why did the early church appoint an avowed universalist as the President of the second council of the church in Constantinople in the fourth century? (Gregory Nazianzen, 325-381)
•If Hell was real, why did Church leaders as late as the fourth century AD acknowledge that the majority of Christians believed in the salvation of all mankind?
•If Hell was real and a place of no escape, why did the early church teach Jesus went to Hell (Hades), preached to them and led captivity captive? (Eph. 4:8,9; Psalm 68:18; 1 Peter 3:18-20)
•If Hell was real and the grave settled the matter forever, why did the early Christians offer up prayers for the dead?
•If Hell was real, why did the first comparatively complete systematic statement of Christian doctrine ever given to the world by Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 180, contain the tenet of universal salvation?
•If Hell was real, why did the first complete presentation of Christianity (Origen, 220 A.D.) contain the doctrine of universal salvation?
•If Hell was real, why didn’t the church teach it until AFTER the church departed from reading the Bible in Greek and Hebrew, substituting Latin in its stead several centuries after Christ’s death?
•If Hell was real, why did not a single Christian writer of the first 3 centuries declare universalism as a heresy?
•If Hell was real why didn’t a single one of the early creeds express any idea contrary to universal restoration, or in favor of everlasting punishment in Hell?
•If Hell was real why did not a single Church council for the first five hundred years condemn Universalism as heresy considering the fact that they made many declarations of heresy on other teachings?
•If Hell was real, why did most of the early church’s leading scholars and most revered saints advocate universal salvation?
•If Hell was real, how is it that the most prominent universalists of the early church were born into Christian families and were most highly revered by their peers while those who advocated Hell came from paganism and confessed they were among the vilest? (Tertullian and Augustine)
•If Hell was real and found in the original Greek manuscripts of the Bible, why is it that it was primarily those church leaders who either couldn’t read Greek (Minucius Felix, Tertullian), or hated Greek as in the case of Augustine, that the doctrine of Hell was advocated? Those early church leaders familiar with the Greek and Hebrew (the original languages of the Bible) saw universal salvation in those texts. Those who advocated Hell got it from the Latin, NOT from the original Greek and Hebrew. Who would more likely be correct – those who could read the original languages of the Bible or those who read a Latin translation made by one man (Jerome)?
•If Hell was real why do most leading historians acknowledge that the early church was dominated by universalism?
•If Hell was real then why did four out of six theological schools from 170 AD to 430 AD teach universal salvation while the only one that taught Hell was in Carthage, Africa, again were Latin was the teaching language, not Greek?
•If Hell was real why didn’t Epiphanius (c. 315-403) the “hammer of heretics” who listed 80 heresies of his time not list universalism among those heresies?
•If Hell was real, since most historians would acknowledge today that Origen was perhaps the most outstanding example of early universalism in the church, when Methodius, Eusibius, Pamphilus, Marcellus, Eustathius, and Jerome made their lists of Origen’s heresies, why wasn’t universalism among them? Could it be perhaps that it wasn’t a heresy in the original church?
•If Hell was real and a serious heresy, why was it not until the sixth century when Justinian, a half-pagan emperor, tried to make universalism a heresy? Interestingly, most historians will acknowledge that Justinian’s reign was among the most cruel and ruthless.
•If Hell was real, since the early church was closest to the apostles and since they were closest to the original manuscripts of the Bible, why did the vast majority of the early Christian believers NOT believe in Hell as a place of everlasting burnings?
•If Hell was real and all died NOT because of their transgressions but because of Adam’s transgression (Rom 5:18), why do many Christians not see what is plainly written, that “even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to ALL MEN, resulting in JUSTIFICATION OF LIFE!” (Rom. 5:18) This Scripture declares the FACT that all are justified due to Christ’s righteous act. No one “decided” to die in Adam, it was “reckoned” to us. Equally no one “decided” to “receive eternal life,” it is also “reckoned” to us. (A thorough understanding of Romans Chapter five carefully comparing several English translations would be a very good exercise. The omission of the definite article “the” in Rom. 5:15 before the word “many” in some translations has caused some great misunderstanding of this most important chapter of the Bible.)
•If Hell is real, in Romans 5:19, the “many” who were made sinners were actually “all” of the human race. Why is the “many” who were made “righteous” not equally be “all” of the human race? “For as by one man’s disobedience MANY were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience MANY will be made righteous.”
•If Hell is real and everlasting, why does Psalm 30:5 say His anger is but for a moment?
•If Hell is real one would never know it by the actions of most Christians. They go through life pretty much like atheists, pagans, etc. If they really believed in Hell, they would spend their entire life trying to snatch their friends and relatives from the burning flames. If Hell is real, why don’t they do this?
•If Hell is a real place of merciless endless torture, since God knows the beginning from the end, why didn’t God just kill Adam and Eve and end the long terrible chain of misery that passed to their offspring before it began? After all, the Scriptures say that all died BECAUSE of Adam. (Rom. 5:18)
•If Hell is real, why is it not mentioned in most leading English Bible translations until Matthew? (Most Bible translations now acknowledge Sheol should NOT ever be translated Hell as the King James Bible incorrectly did.)
•If Hell was real, and if Paul was commissioned by God to preach the gospel to the nations, why did Paul not mention Hell even once except to declare victory over it? (1 Cor. 15:55, the word death in this passage is the word “Hades” which some translations of the Bible also translate Hell.)
•If Hell was real and easy to define and find in the Bible, why did the translators of the original 1611 King James Bible find it so difficult to define Hades? They put Hell in the text at Rev. 20:13 and “Or, grave” in the margins while putting “grave” in the text and “Or, Hell” in the margins in 1 Cor. 15:55? Seems they couldn’t make up their minds whether Hades meant Hell or grave. (Recent editions have removed the marginal readings thus avoiding the embarrassment.)
•If Hell is real, why are there many English Bible translations which do NOT contain the word Hell at all nor do they contain the concept of “everlasting torments”?
•If Hell was real and the belief that there is no Hell is a deception from Satan, why is it that those born from above Christians who DON’T believe in Hell seem to manifest more of the nature and fruit of the Spirit than those who teach Hell? Surely those who believe that Jesus is the Savior of all mankind manifest more love towards their enemies than do serious Hell-fire types. Could it be that we begin to manifest what we worship? If we believe God loves all mankind and plans to save it, then we have no excuse but to do the same. However, if we believe God will cast away most of mankind, then we begin to manifest the very same spirit here on earth.
•If there is a Hell and salvation is the deliverance from it, why does the word appear only a dozen times or so in most leading selling Bibles like the NIV, NASB, NRSV, NKJV, etc. as compared to the word Heaven which appears hundreds of times?
•If Hades is Hell and there is no escape from it, why is it emptied and cast into the Lake of Fire along with death. (Rev. 20:14)
•If the Lake of Fire is actually a place of everlasting burnings, why isn’t it defined as such? The Bible calls it the “second death,” that is, the death of the first death. One would think that the death of death would be LIFE, which is a good thing! (Rev. 20:14) Even in mathematics two negatives make a positive.
•If there is a Hell and all who have sinned are destined to go there (which is everyone) unless they figure out how to avoid it, does that not consign all aborted babies and most children to Hell? (Dear Reader, while some denominations teach a so-called “age of accountability,” it is NOT found anywhere in the Bible. It is just some people’s way of trying to make God more humane than the Hell teaching makes Him out to be.)
•If all things were made for GOD’S pleasure, is it conceivable that God would derive pleasure from seeing those He created endlessly tortured?
•If there is a Hell and according to most denominations of Christianity the majority of mankind will go there, could you really enjoy heaven knowing your mother or father or children or best friend are suffering everlasting tortures the likes of which would make the Holocaust seem like a picnic? If the Rich Man and Lazarus story (Luke chapter 16) is real and NOT a parable, then we will be able to converse with our loved ones who did not make it into heaven. Would heaven really be paradise if this were true?
•If Hell is real and a place of eternal separation from God, why would Paul the apostle say the goal of God’s creative plan was to ultimately be “all IN all?” (1 Cor. 15:28)
•If Hell is real since there is only one name under heaven by which men might be saved (Acts 4:12), why did God wait thousands of years and millions of souls after Adam’s fall to provide the name and means of salvation? Are all those before Jesus’ birth damned forever because they never heard of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ? Would that be just? (Remember the Mosaic Law can never “save” anyone and it was only for Israel. Rom. 3:20)
•If Hell is a real place of everlasting punishment and if Jesus died in our place to save us from this fate, wouldn’t Jesus have to be eternally punished if in fact He took our punishment upon Himself? But He’s NOT being eternally punished. He DIED which is what the penalty of the wages of sin is, DEATH, NOT everlasting life of unending torture or eternal death (annihilation).
•If Hell is real why do some of the best Bible scholars and Bible teachers say it is NOT in the Greek or Hebrew text? (William Barclay, John A.T. Robinson, Lightfoot, Westcott, F.W. Farrar, Marvin Vincent, etc.)
•If Hell is real why is it that those who preach it the most look more like Pharisees and the devil, while those who believe in the salvation of all mankind seem to be more loving and merciful than strong Hell-fire believers? It’s a plain fact that the colder less loving one is the easier it is to teach Hell while the more loving one becomes the harder it is to talk about Hell. Is heaven full of cold unloving people?
•If Hell is real and everlasting, why is it thrown into the Lake of Fire to be destroyed? And why is Hell never called the Lake of Fire nor the Lake of Fire ever called Hell if in fact they are the same thing?
•If Hell is real and the devil and all his works and people are to be thrown into it to stay alive forever, doesn’t that violate Jesus’ statement that He came to “destroy” the works of the devil? (1 John 3:8)
•If Hell is real and the greatest part of mankind eventually goes there, wouldn’t Jesus be considered a great failure considering the fact He was sent to save the whole world? And if He failed so miserably this time to accomplish the will of the Father, can one really trust that He won’t fail again? (1 Tim. 2:3,4 KJV; Heb. 10:9) We who believe that Jesus will save the world obviously do NOT believe He failed…He will save all of us.
•If Hell is real it must have been created at some time. Why doesn’t the Bible tell us when Hell (as traditionally taught) was created? Could it be that the Bible fails to mention its creation because it was never created in the first place?
•If Hell is real and it is plainly seen in the original languages of the Bible, why is there such a great discrepancy among Bible translations as to which words should be translated Hell?
•If Hell is real and most of mankind ends up there, how can God have promised Abraham that in him ALL the families of the earth will be blessed? (Gen. 12:3)
•If Hell is real and Matthew chapter 24 says and means that the goat nations will go to “everlasting punishment,” how can God promise to Abraham that “all the nations of the earth shall be blessed by him? (Gen. 18:18) Does God not keep His promises?
•If Hell is real, does that mean that motherly love is more powerful and enduring than God’s love? Do you know of normal mothers who would endlessly torment most of her kids. Do you know “normal” Fathers who would do such a thing? Why do we believe our heavenly Father, who is millions of times more loving than all of us combined, could do such an evil, wicked thing?
•If Hell is real, is justice being served considering the fact that finite crimes would receive infinite punishment?
•If Hell is real, since all is out of Jesus Christ, does that mean Hell comes out of Jesus Christ? (Rom. 36:11)
•If Hell is real and all the different types of crimes committed here on earth receive the same punishment (endless torture) does “justice” not suffer?
•If Hell is real and a person gets caught stealing and goes to jail for it and does his time, is it just for God to still punish him eternally for that crime? Is this not “double indemnity?”
•If Hell is real, since some people receive many chances to “get saved,” some receive only a few chances and billions have never even received one chance, does that make God a respecter of persons? (Acts 10:34, James 3:17)
•If Hell is real and is the fate of all mankind because of Adam’s transgression, if all are not saved through the last Adam, Jesus Christ, does that not make the transgression of the first Adam greater than the redeeming act of Jesus? (Rom. Chapter 5)
•If Hell is real and most of mankind is doomed to go there, does that not violate the declaration of Paul who said that Christ’s righteous act on the cross gave ALL mankind a free gift resulting in justification of life?! (Rom. 5:18)
•If Hell is real and God’s wrath abides upon billions of human beings FOREVER, some being your relatives and friends (or it could be you), doesn’t that violate the Scripture which says His anger WILL come to an end? (Isaiah 57:16-18)
•If Hell was real and you went there, would you consider that good? (Psalm 145:9 says all will praise Him.)
•If Hell was real and you were consigned to it, would you praise Him for sending you there? (Psalm 145:10)
•If Hell is real and most of mankind will fall into this fiery pit, if there is not escape out of it, would this not violate the Scripture that says He raises ALL who fall? (Psalm 145:14)
•If Hell is really a place from which there is no escape, why does God turn man to destruction and then give the command to return from it? (Psalm 90:3) If Hell is “everlasting” destruction,” how can man return? (2 Thess. 1:9)
•If Hell is real and most find their way to it, was Jesus lying when He said that He would “draw” (“drag” in the original Greek) all mankind unto Himself? (John 12:32)
•If Hell is real, since Jesus ultimately fills ALL things, will Jesus fill Hell as well? ((Eph. 4:10) How can Hell be eternal separation from God is Jesus fills Hell with Himself?
•If Hell is real and Jesus is the Heir of all things, does that mean He inherits Hell as well? (Heb. 1:2)
•If Hell is real, since God will have all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:3 KJV), does that mean God’s power is not strong enough to have His will fulfilled? Is man’s will more powerful than God’s?
•If Hell is real, would that not violate the plain Scripture of the “restitution of all things?” (Acts 3:21)
•If Hell is real and eternal separation from God, why does the Scripture say, “All flesh will come to God?” (Psalm 65:2-4)
•If Hell is real and most people don’t get “born again,” doesn’t that make abortionists the greatest evangelists of all since they kill the babies before they can enter the world to begin their life of sin? (Gory thought, but think about it.)
•If Hell is real and there is no escape from it, how can the Scriptures speak of the gathering of all things into Christ? (Eph. 1:10)
•If Hell is real and God were human, we would give Him a death sentence for all the cruel things we say He is going to do to most of mankind?
•If Hell is real and most people around you are on their way to it, how can you talk with them and not beg them each and everyday to be saved? How can you not go crazy at just the thought of their fate?
•If Hell is real and you have “unsaved” family, friends, and business associates, when was the last time you went to them on your knees begging them to get saved? And if you haven’t done this recently yet still believe their fate is everlasting punishment, don’t you deserve to go to Hell yourself for being so callused and non-caring?
•If Hell is real, how does the threat of endlessly torturing us convince us that God loves us and that we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength?
•If Hell was real and the “full” gospel was designed to reach all mankind, doesn’t that make the results of the “full” gospel pretty “empty” considering that fact that most people are in Hell according to traditional theology?
•If Hell was real, does that mean Jesus raised the wicked from an unconscious state, make them alive only to be endlessly tortured? Wouldn’t it be more merciful to just leave them eternally unconscious (which some believe)? (Ecc. 9:5; John 11:11)
•If Hell is real and God only loves those who love Him, what better is He than the sinner? (Luke 6:32-33) Can you REALLY call eternally torturing your own children love?
•If Hell is real, since “love thinketh no evil,” can God design the ultimate evil of a single soul? (1 Cor. 13:5)
•If Hell is real, since” love worketh no ill,” can God inflict, or cause, or allow to be inflicted, an endless ill? (Rom. 13:10)
•If Hell is real, since we are forbidden to be overcome by evil, can we safely suppose that God will be overcome by evil? (Rom. 12:21) Would not the infliction of endless punishment prove that God HAD been overcome by evil?
•If Hell is real, if man does wrong in returning evil for evil, would not God do wrong if He was to do the same? (Rom. 12:20,21) Would not endless punishment be the return of evil for evil? As we are commanded “to overcome evil with good,” may we not safely infer that God will do the same? Would the infliction of endless punishment be overcoming evil with good?
•If Hell is real, if God hates the sinner, does the sinner do wrong in hating Him?
•If Hell is real, if God loves His enemies now, will he not always love them? Is God a changeable being? (James 1:17)
•If Hell is real, is it just for God to be “kind to the evil and unthankful,” in their present life? (Luke 6:35) Would it be unjust for God to be kind to all men in a future state?
•If Hell is real, if all men justly deserve endless punishment, will not those who are saved, be saved unjustly?
•If Hell is real, would it be merciful in God to inflict endless punishment–that is, merciful to the sufferer?
•If Hell is real, if the demands of divine justice are opposed to the requirements of mercy, is not God divided against Himself? If the requirements of mercy are opposed to the demands of the justice of God, can His kingdom stand? – (Mark 3:24)
•If Hell is real, does not judgment triumph over mercy and thus contradict this Scripture? (James 2:13)
•If Hell is real, if you had sufficient power would you not deliver all men from sin? If God WOULD save all men, but CANNOT, is He infinite in power?
•If Hell is real, if God CAN save all men, but WILL NOT, is He infinite in goodness?
•If Hell is real and created by God, does it not stand against God’s DESIRE the salvation of all men? (1 Tim. 2:3-4) Since God is righteous, must not the desire for universal salvation be a RIGHTEOUS desire? Is it true, that “the desire of the righteous shall be granted?” – (Prov. 10:24)
•If Hell is real, would endless misery benefit the Almighty, as the INFLICTOR? Would endless misery benefit the saints, as SPECTATORS? Would endless misery benefit the sinner, as the SUFFERER?
•If Hell is real and endless punishment is the “wages of sin,” could the sinner ever receive payment in full? (Rom. 6:23)
•If Hell is real and sin is infinite, can it be true that, “where sin abounded grace did MUCH MORE abound?” – (Rom. 5:20)
•If Hell is real, if ONE sin deserves an eternity of punishment, how much punishment will TEN sins deserve?
•If Hell is real, yet God “openeth his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living thing” – (Ps. 145:16), If I desire all men be saved, will God satisfy my desire? Is it good to desire all men to be saved? “This is GOOD and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior who DESIRES ALL MEN TO BE SAVED and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:3,4)
•If Hell is real and you are a Calvinist, were you “responsible” for getting into heaven? Then why do you take the responsibility for those going to Hell away from God and put it on those you say are going to Hell? Is God “sovereign” only over the “elect?”
•If Hell is real and God is our Father and our Potter (Isaiah 64:8,9) did He make mostly junk and are most of the children He raised misfits worthy only to be thrown away and endlessly tortured? Do we not hold parents responsible for their children’s outcome? If we use the same standards towards God’s “fathering” abilities, according to the doctrine of endless punishment, our Father did a very poor job in raising His children.
•If Hell is real and a person is considered foolish trying to build a tower without first seeing if he has enough resources with which to complete it, wouldn’t Jesus also be foolish if He purposed to save the world but only came away with a part of it? And wouldn’t Jesus appear foolish if He came to destroy the works of the devil but left most of the devil’s work continuing endlessly in the Lake of Fire? Wouldn’t He be found guilty of not counting the costs before He began? (Luke 14:28-32)
•If Hell is real and since probably less than one percent of the world’s population ever got “born again” and stayed on the straight and narrow, doesn’t this fly in the face of Jesus’ words which says He leaves the ninety-nine to find the one and doesn’t give up until He finds it? (Luke 15:4)
•If Hell is real and a place of terrible pain, why is it that we wouldn’t think of sending our pets to such a place yet don’t blink an eye at the thought of God sending His very own children to such a place?
•If Hell is real and universalism is a heresy, why is it that those who believe God loves all and will save all find it easier to love all people than those who believe most people are going to Hell? (Think this through very carefully.)
•If Hell is real, will you judge your mother, son, or other non-believer to Hell? “Do ye not know that the saints “shall judge the world”? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Corinthians 6:2-3.

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