Many people talk about it, but there are so many visions of hell today that it is hard for the average Christian to know what to believe.
Is there a hell?
Well scripture certainly seems to give the impression that there is some sort of eternal punishment for those who reject Christ. But what is hell?
In Greek, there are really two main terms that are translated “Hell,” Gehenna, which is language of a lake of fire and Hades, which is reminiscent of the Hebrew term Sheol and really is more of a reference to the place of the dead, a pit or simply a grave. So first, when one reads their English translation of the Bible, it is hard to know, when reading the term “Hell,” if it is a reference to Hades or Gehenna. The difference does seem to matter. In this video, N. T. Wright talks about Hell from his perspective. I will use this as a point of departure. Watch the video and then meet me on the other side:
This post is not my attempt to explain Hell. I would actually like to know what you think about hell. Is N. T. Wright “right” that hell has been blown up into the fiery, eternal place of punishment by the western church? Is Hell as Wright says, “what happens when human beings say to the God in who’s image they are made, ‘We don’t want to worship you’?” Is it adequate to say the Hell is the “progressive shrinking of human life?”
Using some of the commonly held beliefs about hell as examples, do you believe that hell is
1. A literal burning lake of fire where unbelievers will burn for eternity;
2. A metaphorical reality whereby one will suffer as if s/he were burning for eternity, but really it is more of a separation from God with no literal fire;
3. Hell is actually an annihilation of the soul, a total destruction of the person (the second death);
4. All persons will be saved at the end (this is what Origen believed);
5. There is no hell;
I leave the explanations to you. What is hell? How do you justify your belief?