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Nature of Hell

Discussion in 'Traditional Theology' started by Airaux, Aug 8, 2019.

  1. Airaux

    Airaux New Member

    Christian Seeker
    I've had many decades of exposure to the Bible - from many (some opposing) directions - Trinitarian/ Unitarian, etc.. I've come across - among many other issues - differing beliefs about the nature of Hell.
    As far as I know, the references to Hell in the OT and NT comprise in the Hebrew and Greek: Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, Tartarus and (something like) Lymnos tou Pyrou (Lake of fire). Some people - eg - JWs and Christadelphians and a great many Anglicans - believe Hell references refer to a metaphor for eternal annihilation, whereas others - more orthodox denominations - tend to believe in the literal eternal torture of the unsaved.
    I've come across - at least on prima facie consideration - seeming differing biblical passages which in isolation at least support both sides.
    I'd be interested in reading others' biblically-based evidence from any side, if anyone would like to contribute.
    To start off, (roughly, from memory) referencing Ecc. 9:5 - "The living know they will die, but the dead are conscious of nothing". This text, at least in isolation, seems to say the dead are unconscious, whereas others seem to talk about eternal torture - Eg - Rev. 21.
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  2. devin553344

    devin553344 Enlighten our lives dear Lord

    United States
    What does destroy mean? Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

    I noticed that he referenced kill also in relation to the soul.
  3. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

    United States
    All in the grave (asleep - dormant - non thinking) waiting until the Lord returns and then the 1st resurrection happens.

    State of the Dead

    Psalm 90:3-6

    You turn man back into dust And say, "Return, O children of men." For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night. You have swept them away like a flood, they fall asleep; In the morning they are like grass which sprouts anew.

    Job 7:21

    "Why then do You not pardon my transgression And take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust; And You will seek me, but I will not be."

    Job 14:10-12

    "But man dies and lies prostrate Man expires, and where is he? "As water evaporates from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dried up, So man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.

    Psalm 13:3

    Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

    Daniel 12:2

    "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

    Matthew 9:24

    He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him.

    Mark 5:39

    And entering in, He said to them, "Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep."

    Luke 8:52-53

    Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, "Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died.

    1 Kings 2:10

    Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.

    Deuteronomy 31:16

    The LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.

    2 Samuel 7:12

    "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.

    1 Kings 11:43

    And Solomon slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of his father David, and his son Rehoboam reigned in his place.

    1 Kings 14:20

    The time that Jeroboam reigned was twenty-two years; and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his place.

    1 Kings 16:6

    And Baasha slept with his fathers and was buried in Tirzah, and Elah his son became king in his place.

    1 Kings 22:50

    And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of his father David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place.

    2 Kings 14:16

    So Jehoash slept with his fathers and was buried in Samaria with the kings of Israel; and Jeroboam his son became king in his place.

    2 Kings 15:7

    And Azariah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Jotham his son became king in his place.

    2 Kings 16:20

    So Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David; and his son Hezekiah reigned in his place.

    2 Kings 20:21

    So Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and Manasseh his son became king in his place.

    2 Kings 21:18

    And Manasseh slept with his fathers and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza, and Amon his son became king in his place.

    Revelation 14:13

    And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them."

    John 11:11-14

    This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep." The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep.

    Acts 7:60

    Then falling on his knees, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" Having said this, he fell asleep.

    1 Corinthians 15:6

    After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

    John 5:28-29

    "Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.

    Job 14:13-15

    "Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, That You would set a limit for me and remember me! "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait Until my change comes. "You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands.

    Psalm 17:15

    As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

    Isaiah 26:19

    Your dead will live; Their corpses will rise You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, For your dew is as the dew of the dawn, And the earth will give birth to the departed spirits.

    1 Corinthians 15:20

    But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

    Jeremiah 51:57

    "I will make her princes and her wise men drunk, Her governors, her prefects and her mighty men, That they may sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake up," Declares the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.

    Psalm 7:3-5

    O LORD my God, if I have done this, If there is injustice in my hands, If I have rewarded evil to my friend, Or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary, Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it; And let him trample my life down to the ground And lay my glory in the dust. Selah.

    Psalm 76:5

    The stouthearted were plundered, They sank into sleep; And none of the warriors could use his hands.

    Jeremiah 51:39

    "When they become heated up, I will serve them their banquet And make them drunk, that they may become jubilant And may sleep a perpetual sleep And not wake up," declares the LORD.
  4. Silverback

    Silverback Well-Known Member

    United States
    Well, what people should realize is that HELL is what the condemned choose, God simply gave them what they wanted.

    God's providence shines on the disobedient, as well as the redeemed. When we pass on, we will know the goodness, mercy, and blessings that God showered on us every day of our lives. Those who by grace have faith, and believe and trust in God's promises and forgiveness will move on to eternal joy in the presence of God.

    The rest to eternal punnishment, banishment, and suffering. The condemned will have regret, hopelessness, despair, and it will never end. They will spend eternity sobbing, whaling and without the comfort of God, and they will be acutely aware of what they could of had, and how much God had blessed them in there lives, and it will torment them.

    To me HELL is continuing to exist in my body without God's providence, and knowing it.
  5. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    Since you posted in Traditional Theology - you might get different sorts of answers if you post elsewhere.

    You asked for Bible passages ... the problem with some teachings (and death / hell is a good example) ... if people interpret passages on their own and in isolation of the rest, they will come up with different and contradictory ideas. As you have seen.

    Traditional Theology is about interpreting the Scriptures in the way they always have been interpreted. That is the only way they make a cohesive sense without contradictions.

    To be fair, there are different denominations here and you will get some differences in nuance. But there are some basic truths.

    Christianity never regarded the death of the wicked to end in annihilation. (In fact, iirc it's still against CF rules to promote that idea in most Christian areas.)

    What we do know and all agree on, I think, is that there was a place where the souls of the dead went - in a conscious state. The souls of the wicked had a different experience here than the souls of the righteous.

    I'm not sure which groups (if any) might not hold to the following ancient teaching (which began with the Apostles) ... that when Jesus died, He went to this realm and preached to the souls there.

    And there might be more disagreement with the following. This is Orthodox teaching.

    When people die, their souls continue a conscious existence. The judgement is not yet - but those souls will experience a foretaste of an eternal state (blessedness or torment). They have no bodies, so they cannot fully experience it. And again - the judgement is not yet.

    In a sense, people judge themselves. We do not see God as an angry judge, determined to punish sinners. But ... the way we live our lives, our hearts toward God and others, and so on will shape who/what we become.

    Remember even Moses, the friend of God, who asked to see His glory, was told no, because just to see Him would kill Moses in his current body. God will be the same always ... when a wicked person who hates God is in His glorious and holy presence in a body that cannot die - it's going to be torture.

    The Scriptures say that God IS agape-love. Perfect, total, unselfish, unconditional love, concerned with the best good of the other. That is God's very nature and being. That isn't going to change.

    But free will is a dignity God has given to all persons. If they choose hell, they will have it.
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  6. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

    Being asleep, is not contradictory to eternal life nor to eternal judgment (whether or not torture).
  7. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

    United States
    Actually, the more literal way of reading word like "perish", "destroy" and "second death" -- as not being metaphors -- is what makes many believe annihilation is what is being described, for human souls, which are thought not to be like angels (human souls not immortal like angels) unless given immortality (John 3:16).

    So, see?

    It's the literal reading, that makes many of us think that.

    Because these key wordings do not sound at all like metaphorical wordings.

    Why word "second death" if it is meant as metaphor? Why "perish"? Why "destroy both body and soul in hell" if only metaphor?

    Not metaphor-like words at all.

    So, you have to reverse who you think is trying to make things just metaphors, see....
  8. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

    United States
  9. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

    United States
    It's what we actually recite (the Apostle's Creed) in services, many times a year, and most all members could probably recite every word with their eyes closed, easily. We all say

    "He descended to the dead"
    or sometimes:
    "He descended to hell"

    And perhaps some portion of us have connected this with the 1rst Peter chapter 3 reference (where I presume it came from).

    I had not been aware specifically of it actually until I joined this Lutheran church and began to recite the creed for the first time, and immediately went to examine the that line.
  10. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

    United States
    Surprising people are unaware that actually conditional immortality is a traditional Christian understanding, already present in the 1rst century (as noted above). Labeling it 'controversial' would be only error, as it is widespread in most any church in America, for instance. It's sorta like some other somewhat mysterious questions, where people have a range of views, in a church. Many churches for instance don't try to make it required to believe a certain way about for instance the age of Earth (for instance the Catholic Church allows either viewpoint).
  11. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    A simple example for me is the life of Jesus Christ Himself, as revealed in the Scriptures, the Word of truth, God-breathed out words from God Himself.

    These all occurred at the same time, with Jesus' body AND soul AND spirit.

    At death the Scriptures, both the OT & the NT, teach that the spirit & the soul depart from the physical body, which returns to dust. We know the body stays behind, on this earth. So where do the spirit & the soul go after departing the physical body?

    Eccl 3:20 All are of the dust & all turn to dust again.

    Ps 104:29 Thou takest away their breath, they die & return to their dust."

    Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    Genesis 18:27,28 Then Abraham answered, “Now that I have ventured to speak to the Lord—though I am but dust and ashes—suppose the fifty righteous ones lack five. Will you destroy the whole city for the lack of five?”

    Ecclesiastes 12:5-7 ...Man is going to his ETERNAL HOME & the mourners go about the streets— before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern & the dust returns to the earth as it was & the spirit returns to God who gave it.

    The silver cord is the bond of union between soul, spirit & the body, which when snapped, brings physical death. The soul & spirit are the immaterial parts of man, which DEPART FROM & CONTINUE after physical death, with the body being the mortal, corruptible physical part of man, while the spirit & soul continue to exist.

    Jesus taught that one can kill the physical, mortal body but one CANNOT KILL THE SOUL. It continues to exist consciously, departing from the body.

    Matt 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but CANNOT kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul & body in hell (Gehenna). (Heb 10:31; James 4:12)

    Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear the One who, AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN KILLED, has POWER to throw YOU into hell (the fire of Gehenna, the Lake of fire, the fire of Topheth--place of burning--Jer 7:31; 19:12-14). Yes, I tell you, fear Him!

    We know that Jesus physically died on the cross. We know that His dead, lifeless, physical body was laid in Joseph’s tomb, the burial custom completed. He was buried.

    Mark 15:45-47 When Pilate had confirmed it with the centurion, he granted the BODY to Joseph. Joseph bought a linen shroud & taking Him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud & laid Him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene & Mary the mother of Joseph saw where HIS BODY was laid.

    John 19:38-40 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away THE BODY OF JESUS & Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the BODY OF JESUS.

    Nicodemus, who had previously come to Jesus at night, also brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. So they took the BODY OF JESUS & wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices, according to the JEWISH BURIAL CUSTOM.

    So, while Jesus lifeless physical body was buried in a tomb & wrapped with linens & spices, where did His departed human spirit & his human soul go AT THE SAME TIME?

    Luke 23:46 “Father, into Your hands I commit My SPIRIT!’ And having said this He gave up the spirit.”

    John 14:3 And if I go & prepare a place for you, I will come again & RECEIVE YOU TO MYSELF; that where I am, THERE you may be also.

    Acts 7:59,60; 8:1 While they were stoning him, Stephen cried out, “Lord Jesus, RECEIVE MY SPIRIT.” Falling on his knees, he cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he FELL ASLEEP. And Saul was there, giving approval to Stephen's DEATH.

    Falling asleep was a euphemism for physically dying.

    John 11:11-13 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up." His disciples replied, “Lord, IF he is sleeping, he will get BETTER.” They thought that Jesus was talking about actual sleep, but He was speaking about the DEATH of Lazarus.

    Acts 13:36 For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep (died). His body was buried with his fathers & saw decay.

    Strong's Greek 2837: From keimai; to put to sleep, i.e. to slumber; FIGURATIVELY, to decease.

    Ps 31:5 Into Your hands I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, O LORD, God of truth.

    Eccl 12:7 ...Before the dust returns to the ground from which it came & the spirit returns to God who gave it.

    Luke 8:55 And HER SPIRIT RETURNED & she got up immediately & He gave orders for something to be given her to eat.

    Ps 146:4 When HIS SPIRIT DEPARTS, he returns to the GROUND; on that VERY DAY his plans perish.

    Now we know where Jesus' spirit & peoples' spirits go after departing from the body & some that were physically resurrected, had their own spirits return to their now living bodies from God. At the same time Jesus' body was in the tomb, lifeless, His living spirit was committed into the hands of our heavenly Father, waiting for three days before His spirit would return to His resurrected body.

    So now we know where Jesus body was & where Jesus spirit was during these three days. Where, then, was His soul during this three days?

    All the souls of people, both righteous & evil went to Sheol (OT)/Hades (NT). Jesus was a man & experienced the same thing that all humans before Him experienced, upon physically dying. They went to the place in the invisible realm (where immaterial spirits & souls exist) called Sheol in the OT & Hades in the NT.

    Genesis 37:35 Jacob said, "For I will go down to Sheol TO MY SON MOURNING."

    Jacob knew where he was going after he died. He knew also he would see his son there & would go down there, mourning for his being deprived of his son via death.

    Genesis 35:18,19 And as HER SOUL WAS DEPARTING (FOR SHE WAS DYING), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. So Rachel DIED & WAS BURIED on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

    Again the Scriptures verify that not only the spirit of a person departs the physically dead body (and can return upon resurrection) but the soul of a person does also & goes to a specific place prepared by God in the invisible, spiritual realm. It ALSO can return to a lifeless body, with the spirit & they will live again physically.

    Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

    Psalm 49:15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He shall receive me. Selah.

    Ps 89:14 What man can live & never see death? Can he deliver HIS SOUL FROM THE POWER OF SHEOL (hell)? Selah

    Hosea 13:14 I will ransom them from the POWER of Sheol; I will redeem them from Death. Where, O Death, are your plagues? Where, O Sheol, is your sting?

    I Kings 17:21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times & cried unto the LORD & said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let THIS CHILD'S SOUL COME INTO HIM AGAIN.

    Ps 68:20 Our God is a God of deliverance; the Lord GOD is our rescuer from death.

    John 11:44 And he that WAS DEAD came forth, bound hand & foot with graveclothes & his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them...let him go.

    Ps 73:24 You guide me with Your counsel & later receive me IN GLORY.

    Luke 9:30,32 Suddenly two men, Moses & Elijah, began TALKING with Jesus. They appeared IN GLORY & spoke ABOUT His soon departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

    Luke 16:22,23 And it came to pass, that the beggar DIED & was carried by the ANGELS TO Abraham's side (bosom) & the rich man also DIED & WAS BURIED & in Hades, WHERE HE WAS--in torment, he LOOKED UP & saw Abraham from afar, WITH Lazarus BY HIS SIDE.

    While Jesus' soul did go to Sheol/Hades in the spiritual, invisible realm, He went to a compartment in the temporary hell, called by various names: Paradise, Abraham's bosom or side, Gan Eden (mentioned in the prophets of Jeremiah & Ezekiel), or the Abode of Bliss as the Jewish sages called it.

    There was a gulf, a separation that divided the place below in Hades, where the unbelieving went & were found in & the compartment above there, where the believing saints went, such as Abraham, Lazarus, Jesus, David, Abel, Enoch, etc.

    Luke 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

    2 Cor 12:4 ...how that he was caught up into Paradise. The things he heard were too sacred for words, things that man is not permitted to tell.

    Rev 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will grant the right to eat from the tree of life in the PARADISE of God.

    John 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

    2 Cor 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

    So now we know about Jesus' body AND His soul AND His spirit, where they were & the state of them--during those 3 days from after He died until He was resurrected.

    'Your are mistaken because you know neither the Scriptures nor the POWER of God. God is not the God of the dead but of the living. You are quite mistaken.

    And that, my friends, IS THE GOSPEL MESSAGE WE PREACH!

    I Cor 15:1-8 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, and in which you stand firm. 2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures & that He appeared to Cephas & then to the Twelve.

    After that, He appeared to more than 500 brothers at once, most of whom are still living, though some have FALLEN ASLEEP (died). Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles. And last of all He appeared to me also, as to one of untimely birth.

    Hades/Sheol--Where Do the Dead Go?
  12. Airaux

    Airaux New Member

    Christian Seeker
    Thanks, Guys, for your input. There are a few things I'd like to respond to:-
    Anastasia: There is indeed a potential danger in reading a text in isolation and deriving a belief from it in isolation. Things should be considered in the context of the whole Bible.
    I think it's important to do private study and study with a knowledgeable other.
    There is no SINGLE way Scripture has always been interpreted - in the issue of death or many others - a fact to which the vast differences of denomination's beliefs testifies.
    Halbhh: I certainly don't consider the terms you mentioned to be metaphors.
  13. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

    United States

    Luke 1:37
    For nothing will be impossible with God.”

    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    Jeremiah 32:17
    ‘Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
  14. Rubiks

    Rubiks armchair linguist

    United States
    I think a literal fire which brings annihilation is the best representation of what we find in the NT. Since we can't discuss annihilationism here, I'll discuss the literalness.

    Jude 7 (NRSV) "Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

    Here the judgement of Sodom and Gomorrah serve as an example of future judgement

    2 Peter 2:6 says the same thing (NRSV): and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly;

    The CS Lewis-esque "separation from God" interpretation seems to be an attempt to make Hell more digestible; this could easily solved just as well by subscribing to annihilation, but oh well :rolleyes:

    Some may respond that "separation from God" is found in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, but notice how the ESV translates this verse as well as the footnote

    "They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might"

    footnote: "Or destruction that comes from"

    Here the preposition "apo" is ambiguous and can be interpreted as either the individual separated from God or God's wrath coming from himself.

    There's also a verse in Revelation that speaks of Judgement being in the presence of God.

    Finally, there are stories in the Old Testament where go back in forth "in the presence of God" with seemingly no effect on the individual.
  15. ViaCrucis

    ViaCrucis Evangelical Catholic of the Augsburg Confession

    United States
    In Relationship
    There's always been a lot of diverse views concerning the nature of Hell. So there's never been a definitive, fully and universally accepted/authoritative position on the matter.

    However there are two views which have, by and large, been rejected historically:

    1) Annihilation, that the wicked simply cease to exist altogether.
    2) Dogmatic universalism, that everyone will--absolutely and certainly--be saved in the end.

    I mention dogmatic universalism, because it is considered heterodox to say, "All will be saved", but it is orthodox to say, "We hope and pray that all will be saved."

    The truth is that we can't be absolutely certain about the details. So unsurprisingly the Church has, broadly speaking, avoided being too dogmatic about details. And unsurprisingly the Church has frequently preferred over the centuries to speak not about what happens to the wicked, but rather to speak about the hope of salvation we have in Christ--that our sins are forgiven, of Christ's glorious coming again, that we look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and of God's renewal and healing of all creation and of that life of the Age to Come.

    It should be telling that in the Creeds much is said about our hope and salvation, but nothing is said of the damned.

    In a way the only thing we can say for certain is that since we know what God's purpose and plans are for His creation--to heal, restore, renew, and save--then "hell" is, in some sense, not those things.

    Also, most of us--regardless of our denomination/tradition--would almost certainly agree with what C.S. Lewis once said, that in the end there are two sorts of people, those who say to God, "Thy will be done" and to those to whom God says, "thy will be done". That it's not about God sending anyone to hell, but about people choosing for themselves hell.

    I think the following is really helpful:

    "It's not a question of God 'sending' us to Hell. In each of us there is something growing up which will of itself be Hell unless it is nipped in the bud." - C.S. Lewis

    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
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  16. Airaux

    Airaux New Member

    Christian Seeker
    Thanks for your input. I've heard from some of you that annihilation is not allowed to be discussed here, so obviously that's restrictive to my original post.
  17. Knee V

    Knee V It's phonetic.

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    I prefer to use the word "Hell" strictly as the English/Germanic equivalent of Hades/Sheol. That was its original usage, after all, even though many have since given the word additional theological baggage. In that sense, then, Hell is "the abode/realm of the dead", nothing more, nothing less.

    Christ taught us that Hell/Hades/Sheol is divided into two areas: one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous, the side for the righteous at least being relatively more comfortable than the side for the unrighteous, who are experiencing some level of torment.

    When Christ died and entered Hell (even in death, His human soul was still perfectly united to Divinity, and was still the Incarnate Logos, just absent from the flesh), He preached His gospel to all those who were there, and freed as many as wanted to follow Him. The righteous are now freed from the captivity of Hell and go to be with Christ, while the unrighteous remain in Hell, awaiting the final judgment.

    Hell will be consumed by the Lake of Fire in the end, as the final Judgment will have taken place and there will be no need for it. The Lake of Fire (however one interprets what that means) will be the permanent abode of the unrighteous.
  18. Airaux

    Airaux New Member

    Christian Seeker
    Knee V: I've come across the idea of there being 2 compartments in Hell or Hades - it has been asserted and mocked by those on either side. I thought this belief was from the Haddith, part of the Talmud; I haven't come across the teaching that is was stated by Christ.
    Would you like to quote from the Bible where this is said?
  19. Knee V

    Knee V It's phonetic.

    United States
    Eastern Orthodox
    The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Luke 16.

    Some will say that this comes from a parable, and therfore can't be taken seriously. I would disagree. In Christ's parables it is the events which are fictional, not the backdrop of the story. The woman cleaning her house to find a coin is fictional, but sweeping exists, as do old women, houses, furniture and coins. The Parable of the Good Samaritan might be fictional, but Samaritans are real, as are donkeys, roads, inns, bandages and money.

    In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, both die and are in Hades/Hell, but one wants water to cool his tongue, while the other is being comforted while being held by Abraham.
  20. Airaux

    Airaux New Member

    Christian Seeker
    Thanks for responding.
    During my course of reading the Bible, Luke 16 has often confused me. Some say it's a parable; others that it's literal.
    It's only relatively lately that I've heard the "2 compartments" idea. It suggests the questions "Are they next to each other?"; "Why would a drop of water on the tongue be of any relief to the rich man if he were in flames?"
    I'd be interested in reading any further on this, or other based subject(s), you'd like to share.