What Did Jesus Say About Hell?
Many books deny Hell. Some embrace universalism, the belief that all people will ultimately be saved. Some consider Hell to be the invention of wild-eyed prophets obsessed with wrath. They argue that Christians should take the higher road of Christ’s love. But this perspective overlooks a conspicuous reality: In the Bible, Jesus says more than anyone else about Hell (Matthew 10:28; 13:40-42, Mark 9:43-44). He refers to it as a literal place and describes it in graphic terms–including raging fires and the worm that doesn’t die. Christ says the unsaved “will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 8:12). In his story of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus taught that in Hell, the wicked suffer terribly, are fully conscious, retain their desires and memories and reasoning, long for relief, cannot be comforted, cannot leave their torment, and are bereft of hope (Luke 16:19-31). The Savior could not have painted a more bleak or graphic picture.
How long will Hell last? “They will go away to eternal punishment,” Jesus said of the unrighteous, “but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:46). Here, in the same sentence, Christ uses the same word translated, “eternal” (aionos) to describe the duration of both Heaven and Hell. Thus if Heaven will be consciously experienced forever, Hell must be consciously experienced forever.
… If I had a choice, that is if Scripture were not so clear and conclusive, I would certainly not believe in Hell. Trust me when I say I do not want to believe in in it. But if I make what I want–or what others want–the basis for my beliefs, then I am a follower of my culture, not a follower of Christ … In The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis writes of Hell, “There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, especially, of our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and it has the support of reason.”
You Might Also Like: