Have you ever thought about Hell? It is not an easy matter to discuss, but we must not be afraid of the truth. I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I also believe that the Bible says what it means and means what it says. So, I do believe in an eternal place of torment.
There is much debate concerning Hell. Many people believe it to be nothing more than imaginary or a scare tactic to get people into religion. Let’s take a look at some of the more prominent questions regarding that awful place.
How could a loving God put someone into Hell?
This question does not take into account the person of God. Yes, God is love (I John 4:8). If not for His love, there is not one person, born of Adam, who would not be in Hell. However, we must also realize that God is not ONLY love. God is also holy (Isaiah 6:3). The Bible clearly teaches that God is not only against sin but that He hates sin (Psalm 5:5; Amos 5:15).
The question also does not consider that sin deserves Hell. Sin is not just a little mistake or an accident. Sin is completely contrary to God, and its payment is death (Romans 6:23).
Furthermore, God sent His Son to the cross, showing His love for people (Romans 5:8). If a person goes to Hell, he must go past the cross to get there.
Isn’t Luke 16:19-31, the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man, only a parable?
Personally, I believe that Luke 16:19-31 is not a parable but a true story of literal events. However, my answer to the question would be, if it is a parable, so what?
If Luke 16 is a parable, then it should be interpreted as a parable. Jesus did not make up imaginary things or give fairy tales in His parables. When He told parables, He used real, literal things to illustrate a larger truths. For example, we do not look at Matthew 13 and say, “Because this is a parable, then there is no such thing as a mustard tree or a pearl.” We know that the Lord used common things that people understood to teach them truths that they did not yet grasp.
In the case of Luke 16, it would be incorrect to call it a parable and then make the leap into saying, “Therefore, there is no such thing as Abraham, Abraham’s bosom, fire, torment, a drop of water, or a great gulf.” Again, the Lord used literal things in His parables to illustrate truths. If the story is a parable, it only demonstrates that the Lord and everyone else listening that day believed in a literal Hell.
Hell does not last for eternity, right?
Some people hold to what is called Annihilationism, which teaches that sinners without Christ will be consumed in judgment, thus ending their existence. We must go to the Scriptures for our answers.
Revelation 14:11 says, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”
Furthermore, Jesus spoke of “everlasting fire” (Matthew 25:41), ”everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), and “everlasting destruction” (II Thessalonians 1:9).
When the Bible speaks of eternal life, it speaks of it as being without end; the same is true when it speaks of eternal punishment.
God made man into a living soul. We shall all exist as long as God exists, yet our sin separates us from God – which is death. Apart from the life that God gives, we shall not only be separated from Him in this life but also in the world yet to come. The Bible never teaches that a soul with Christ merely ceases to exist.
We must let the Word of God speak for itself. It is not easy to deal with the subject of Hell, but it is true. Though there is a place of torment for the lost, the Lord does not desire for any to go there (I Timothy 2:3-5; II Peter 3:9). God sent His Son to take the just punishment of our sin for us (John 3:16-18). He raised Jesus from the dead, and all who will accept that living Saviour will find forgiveness and everlasting life.
Thank God for such a wonderful Saviour!