The Nature of Hell...

In this thread jmullaney and MEBuckner are having a good conversation about Jesus, but there seems to be some confusion about the nature of hell.

So, for the teeming millions, what is the true nature of hell? How is it described in the Bible, and how is it different than what is described in Dante’s popular description.

Is there unanimity in the religion of Christianity? Or do some believe in annhiliation view versus eternal torture? It torture and torment the same thing?

Are their irreconcilable differences in the OT picture of the grave and the NT picture of gehenna?


did some searching… putting ‘Hell’ in the search engine for the SD archives brings up so many articles of differing topics… I’m thinking that perhaps it is used in a differnt way.


GD’s own DavidB wrote this essay: Who invented Hell?

At least I’m thinking it’s David, if I’m wrong may I be smitten by one of GD’s resident deities. :wink:

Dex had this on the subject of ‘fire and brimstone’

[Edited by Gaudere on 03-03-2001 at 10:15 AM]

too outta three ain’t bad…

Sorry… that link was supposed to say ‘thread’… a little help?

Silly 'Gator! Of course all Christians have the same image of hell!

It’s spending eternity with Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Fred Phelps, Lyndon LaRouche, and that Urkel kid from “Family Matters,” being moderated by Bill Maher and Jesse Jackson.

Don’t forget Regis Philbin, andros.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

Where do you want to begin, Jon? Maybe Matthew 25 will work:

Burn baby, burn.

“Is that your final sin?”

Perhaps the ‘Son of Man’ was expanding on Daniel 12:2

I have heard hell described as everything from eternal torture which even our own imaginations and mortal pain threshold doesn’t begin to describe, on the harsh side, to a place that is simply “the absense of God.”

It seems that the more conservative the sect, the more likely that Hell is gonna suck according to how they interpret things.

I find that significant, somehow…

Jon, you’ll remember one of the Pizzaholics who has a theory on Hell=annihilation, and got argued with on the basis of the “burning torment” verses.

I don’t think either side in that argument was wrong.

Here’s my take on it. First, Christianity agrees with (philosophical) Naturalism that the natural end of man is death, body and soul both perishing. The idea of an afterlife, good, bad, or indifferent, has been around for a long, long time – nobody has the mental skill to envision his own total dissolution, it seems.

Sidetrack which contributes to my point: I knew a gallant young man, physically fit and ready to use his strength in the cause of right, who got caught up in crack cocaine. He was a wonderful guy back when. Today his personality, along with his health, is trashed completely and apparently permanently: he lives for his drug, thinks of little else but it. In short, he’s narrowed his horizons, his life, down to crack. He’s a shadow of his former self, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Over on the Seven Deadly Sins thread, a bunch of us were commenting on the idea that every sin is the perversion of a virtue. In short, if you take something innocuous or even inherently good and carry it to an extreme, you end up addicted and enslaved to it, having declared your “freedom” to do it and ended up with it controlling you. The crackhead I just told about is an extreme example of this, and I know you know personally of cases that fill that description exactly.

Now consider everlasting life, and what the effect of following any sin (see above) must be.

You’re reduced to an ash of yourself, a out-of-control mass of longing and self-hatred that does nothing but suffer, and has no ability to get out of that condition, because all self-motivation has gone down the tubes.

If that’s not Hell, then I don’t know what is. :frowning:

Could be. Daniel always makes my head hurt. Well, prophesy as a whole usually makes my head hurt.

I guess part of the question could be resolved by determining which testament pulls more weight. It’s bad enough reconciling various descriptions of afterlife within the Old or New–as you know well it’s nearly impossible to reconcile beween them.

So . . . if we assume that Christ’s New Covenent supercedes the Levitical Law, can we also assume that the NT views of Hell supercede the OT’s?

It’s a big “if,” of course.

OK, Poly, I’ll bite.

Doesn’t that condition then warrant outside intervention? Or is that then the eternal torment bit?

Well using Jesus words about the Law and the Prophets, we should be able to reconcile the Old and the New. Perhaps the popular opinion isn’t the right opinion, just like back in the day…

so why is the hebrew word SHEOL get translated as HELL when it actually means “place of the dead” or “dwelling place of spirits”?

a few months ago a rabbi in israel raised a stink by saying that holocaust victims were atoning for sins. apparently some jews believe in reincarnation.

Dal Timgar

Andros quoted me and responded:

Sure does. Thing is, at that point (post death) there’s only One who can intervene. And He’ll use everything at His disposal to try to do that intervention. Including, IMHO, reincarnation in some cases, calls to repentance when somebody purblind finally sees the truth, and so on. (That’s not orthodox, but it’s my personal view – knowing how loving He is.)

But when someone has intentionally and deliberately knowingly rejected that one source of outside intervention, and cannot get out of the mess himself – that is Hell.


10-4. Gotcha.


Well using Jesus words about the Law and the Prophets, we should be able to reconcile the Old and the New. Perhaps the popular opinion isn’t the right opinion, just like back in the day…

Hmmm . . . so did Christ change the Law? Or supplant it? Or did he change “not one jot?”

Well… he said he fulfilled it…

I don’t know if this is turning into a hijack or not.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. 1992, Houghton Mifflin Company.
I guess we could go into exactly what it means that the Christ “fulfilled the law,” but I don’t know if it’s germane or not. Jon, you seem to be saying that there is no conflict between the OT and NT depictions of afterlife for sinners. How do you resolve the seeming differences among Sheol, Gehenna, our modern idea of the Pit, etc?

Well, andros, one of those definitions fits, no matter what your particular flavor of Christianity. Unfortunately, we don’t seem able to agree on which one! :slight_smile:

Although, on second thought, maybe that’s how he intended it… :o

Aw, c’mon Poly . . . you know Christ was never deliberately obscure. :smiley:

awww… fodder for another thread perhaps…

I asked to see what the teeming millions thought… I know what this fundy thinks. But am hesitant to open myself to the ire us fundy’s get all the time… (okay, I’m only HALF serious).

Certainly I think there is a difference between sheol and hades and gehenna. I think there is something different than when we die and the end of the age. As Poly says there was a good thread on the annihilation concept that I had never heard before. There is also something to be said about the absence of God angle.

I’m beginning to think that the whole ‘fire and brimstone’ angle may be allegorical, or symbolic. Course they’ll come and revoke my SBC card if they found out to keep it quiet… okay? :wink: