What the Hell is the Deal With Hell?
Updated: Jan 28
Hell is an uncomfortable subject.
If you are a follower of Jesus and the subject of hell doesn’t make you uncomfortable, then you’re not thinking through that topic well enough. I’m going to share a couple of ideas about what hell means that helped me process this topic — and perhaps will help you too.
Here’s my conclusion: hell is less a location and more a condition.
Even though I have been taught different, after 45+ years as a student of the Bible, I do not see hell as a place of fire (here comes the nasty comments). Yes, I know Jesus compares hell to a trash dump in the Gehenna Valley outside of old Jerusalem.
Where trash, human waste and animal bodies burned 24/7.
Where dogs gnawed on rotting corpses and garbage.
Jesus compared that to hell.
But is it possible Jesus used the trash dump as a metaphor?
Is it possible that Jesus is saying hell is the condition of a person who chooses to burn their life down to a crisp? You see, when a person chooses to live without healthy connections, healthy spiritual habits or healthy love in their life they move towards destructive patterns of living.
Think of it this way, if you only live 50, 60 or 70 years, it isn’t that important how you live; you’ll only be rotten for 50, 60 or 70 years and then you die and cease to exist.
But what if you go on living?
I mean forever.
What if you continue to be greedy or selfish or sensual with no restraints?
I mean forever.
Can you see the kind of person you’d become?
And worse, it would be a situation where your itch would never be fully scratched.
You would be completely alone because everyone else is the becoming their worse selves too. You would be in darkness because you only see what you do not have.
And here’s another thing to consider: hell cannot be a place where God isn’t.
Hell would be a place where God is present by his conspicuous absence.
Or is it this way, His love you've rejected and grown to hate feels like fire?
You have demanded to be left alone all you life.
God has given you your request.
So we can say hell is actually being left alone by the only Goodness which could have prevented you from becoming the worst version of you.
Just like heaven can’t be a place where God is or goes to as if heaven is some huge parlor room. No, God can’t be in heaven; where God is, is heaven.
Like heaven, hell is a condition and not a location.
Hell is the final expression of our rejection of God’s love.
Heaven is the final expression of acceptance of God’s love.
Hell is less of a location and more of a condition.
Photo by Celestine Ngulube on Unsplash