Did God create hell?


Did God create a hell, where sinners are punished for all eternity ? “God is love,” 1 John 4.8, would it make sense for a God, who is the very definition of love to create such a place?  In Genesis, God created the heavens and the earth, and he looked upon his creation and, “behold, it was very good.” Gen.1.31. Man suffers for the sin he commits, Gal. 6.7 states,” Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Man’s actions do result in consequences, but not in a torture chamber called hell.

God created man and set him in the Garden of Eden. He also placed in the garden two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. Adam and Eve committed sin by disobeying God, and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil . God warned them, if they ate of THIS tree they would die, not live for ever in a place of eternal punishment. It was Satan who lied to Eve, and told her she would not surely die. Satan told Eve the exact opposite of what God had told her, and this lie has been spread in the form of the doctrine of hell to this very day.  God said to Adam after he had eaten of the forbidden fruit, “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Gen. 3.19.  God also created the tree of life.  The story of man’s fall is continued in Gen. 3.22, “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.”  Man now knew what was good and what was evil, and had to pay for the consequences of the knowledge he had gained.  James 4.17 states “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  The bar had been raised very high, by man, when he ate of this fruit. Continuing on in Genesis 3.22 God said, “and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.  Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”  Man was cut off from the tree of life at this point,” lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.”

God did not want man to become an eternal spirit, in his fallen state. God in his infinite mercy prevented man from becoming an eternal spirit, and living for ever. Only an eternal spirit can be punished for eternity in a hell.  This tree of life is mentioned again in Rev. 2.7, Jesus states, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Only Jesus and faith in him gives us eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” John 14.6.

Man is sin full, and no amount of good works will ever get us saved, or give us eternal life with God. No amount of sin will ever get us damned, or give us eternal life in hell . The Apostle Paul states,” For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph. 2.8. But what are we saved from?  Math. 25.46 says , “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” Two things to note here , Jesus talks about everlasting punishment, not everlasting punishing, and the righteous  go into everlasting life. We would have to have everlasting life, to be punished for eternity in hell.  In Math. 10.28 Jesus says, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Notice Jesus is very clear, both soul and body will be destroyed in hell. Not punished or tortured forever, but destroyed. Also John 3.16 states, ” For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Webster’s dictionary describes the word perish as waste away, disappear or die.  One of the most convincing passages on this subject comes from Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, in it he writes, “And to you who are troubled rest with us,when the Lord shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” II Thes. 1.7-9. I think we all understand what it means to be destroyed.  And it certainly does not mean to exist forever in everlasting torment.

Finally the Bible speaks of a second death, in the lake of fire. All mankind will be resurrected, to stand before the judgment seat of God. Rev. 20.13, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them, and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” To be spared an eternal separation from God’s presence, by eternal death, we must be saved, and have our names written in the book of life. To be saved the Apostle Paul writes in Rom. 10.9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus is the Tree of Life.

21 Comments

  1. I could not agree more. John 3:16 gives the only choice there is—-eternal life or perish. John 17:3 tell what eternal life is. You are correct that the church teaches this false teaching; but it is not the only one by a long shot.

  2. I know that no scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 Peter:1.20

    But I try and build upon all that the Bible has to say on a subject.

    Isaiah 28:13 3But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

    Thanks for you comments.

  3. Leon, I’ve developed a simple logical “proof” that the Bible does not condemn human beings to hell. If you’re interested, you can read it here:

    http://www.thehypertexts.com/no%20hell%20in%20the%20bible.htm

    Mike Burch

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks, for visiting my site, and for the link to your article.I read it, and see you have done a lot of research on the subject of hell and the Bible. Great job.

      Lee

      • Leon,

        I’m glad you like the result of my research. Before anyone condemns anyone else to an “eternal hell,” they ought to be able to produce a Bible verse in which God or the prophets explained when hell came to exist, and why. It seems clear that there is no such verse in the Bible. For thousands of years of Bible chronologies, there was no mention of hell or any possibility of suffering after death. None of the Hebrew prophets or Levite scribes who gave us the Bible said anything about hell. When a few verses that seemed to describe hell appeared in the New Testament, they just popped up as if everyone knew about hell and believed in it, so there was no need for explanation. That could not have happened in Israel, where people knew Hebrew scripture and would have pointed out that God and the prophets had never mentioned such a place. So it seems obvious that the hell verses were added later, in Greece and Rome, where people (but only the ignorant people) believed in hell. As the Greek philosopher Celsus once pointed out to the early Christian father Origen, no wise man believed in hell, as they knew it had been created solely to keep the unwashed masses in line.

        Cheers,
        Mike

  4. Reblogged this on johnedoe.wordpress.com/.

  5. Steven

    “But I try and build upon all that the Bible has to say on a subject.”

    What about the parable of the sower? What does it mean? Out of the Kingdom and into fire to be burned?

    “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”.

  6. Reblogged this on Bible Insights.

    • The Hebrew prophets never mentioned anything about hell or suffering after death. If they spoke for God, there is no hell, or they would have been running around warning everyone about the danger of going to hell. Hell was an invention of the pagan Greeks, who used hell to keep the ignorant masses in line. This was admitted freely by Greek philosophers like Celsus, who said that no wise man believed in hell. If God is all-knowing, and there is a hell, it would have been his responsibility to let ALL THE WORLD know about hell. But he didn’t mention a word about hell to even his closest human friends.

      • Hi Mike,
        Thanks for visiting my Blog and for your comments. You are pointing out that aside from the Bible there is no proof of hell, and I was arguing that according to the Bible, there is no place of eternal punishing. Thanks for your insight.

      • Hi Leon,

        Actually I was also using the Bible to argue against the existence of hell. My point is that if God is all-knowing, and there is a hell, the Old Testament would have been full of warnings from the Hebrew prophets about the possibility of hell and suffering after death. But the Hebrew prophets spoke only of Sheol (the grave) and suffering in this life. The possibility of suffering after death was never mentioned to God’s closes human friends in the Bible. Hell was never mentioned to Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon, or a long line of Hebrew prophets. In fact, hell was not even mentioned to the worst people at the worst of times, such as Cain (the first murderer) and the pharaoh who defied God repeatedly.

        If hell existed from the beginning, God and the Hebrew prophets would have warned their human friends about the danger of hell. If hell was created later, it would have been incumbent on a wise, just Gog to warn ALL human beings about hell. But there are no such warnings about the creation of hell in the Bible, and most of the world never heard of the Christian hell until after 1492, since much of the world wasn’t discovered until then.

        The idea that a wise, just God would send billions of people to a hell they never heard of, for reasons they couldn’t possibly now, is not only ludicrous, but evil and therefore blasphemy, if God is good, wise and just.

  7. Ooops, I meant to type “couldn’t possibly know.”

    In any case, the fact that hell does not appear in most of the Bible, and not in the entire Old Testament, and that most human beings never heard of hell proves that there is no hell, if God is all-knowing, wise and just. How can God send anyone to a hell they knew nothing about, and be called loving, wise or just?

  8. Maia Armstrong

    But hell is a place of eternal trment and fire. Those who are unsaved would perish in the lake of fire for eternity, with weeping and gnashing of teeth. It will be total darkness, and no way of escape.

    • But “hell” is a fabrication. The biblical God knew nothing about hell, nor did his prophets ever mention it. It would be wildly unjust and cruel for God to cause or allow human beings to go to a “hell” he never warned anyone about, and never told anyone how to avoid.

      What you have been told to believe is actually a pagan myth that was added to the New Testament so clumsily that the writers forgot to ever have God announce its creation or purpose. The Bible says the wages of sin is death, not hell. And that commandment was never revoked or changed. The truth is that “hell” pops up at the last minute in the Bible without any explanation whatsoever. There is no reason to believe in “hell” just as there is no reason to believe God commanded children to be stoned to death for misdemeanors. Can you imagine Jesus commanding children to be stoned to death, a truly ghastly method of execution? Human beings wrote the Bible, they made things up, and they made mistakes when they fabricated things like “hell” and the Great Flood (which obviously never happened).

      • Maia Armstrong

        Ok. But, we ourselves make the choice whether or not we go to Heaven or Hell. RENMBER, God cannot force his will on anyone, therefore, he does not choose whether we go to Hell. The reason why many will go to Hell is not just because of unbelief, but because of willful sin. Not [q~”]everyone who professes to be of the Lord will enter Heaven, but those who do His will. Even if you attempt to do right in our own flesh, it is useless. This is where Jesus and the cross come in to the picture.

      • My point is that there clearly was no “hell” in the Old Testament. How can there be a “hell” if God and his prophets knew nothing about it and never mentioned “hell” or any possibility of suffering after death? Clearly “hell” was an invention of the writers of the New Testament, as was the idea that Satan had somehow become the ruler of the earth, when in the Old Testament he was a powerless errand boy who had to get God’s permission to do anything.

      • Hi Maia, I agree, Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life. Wide is the way to destruction but narrow is the way to eternal life. It is only through Jesus, and that makes the way extremely narrow, but also attainable for everyone!

    • Hi Maia, Satan and his demons are spirit beings. Spirit cannot be destroyed, and they will be suffering eternally. Man without God’s Holy Spirit is flesh and blood. The person who has not received Jesus as their Lord and Savior, does not have eternal life. To be suffering in hell for eternity would require eternal life. God in his mercy will destroy that person in the lake of fire, when they will be judged for their sins, and found guilty. They sadly, will be eternally punished, by being eternally separated from God. Revelations 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” The second death referred to here is the lake of fire.

      • The writer of Revelation was making things up. For instance, in the letters to the churches he puts words in Jesus’s mouth and has him say that he (Jesus) was going to murder specific children of a specific mother living at that time, and that he was going to murder the children not for anything they did, but for their mother’s sins! Do you believe Jesus actually fulfilled that evil and unjust prophecy? Furthermore, one of the “reasons” John of Patmos gave for Jesus committing this evil act of murder was that the mother had been eating foods offered to idols. But Jesus, Peter and Paul all said that Christians can eat whatever they like, and Paul specifically said that Christians can eat foods offered to idols. So the real Jesus would not have made such a mistake and John of Patmos was expressing his own bizarre theology. When someone tells lies of that magnitude there is no reason to believe anything he says.

      • Hi Michael, Thanks for taking time to comment, and express your thoughts. They are certainly welcome! I can see you are putting thought into the things you read. I have read that scripture many times, but never paused to think about it a great deal. I looked up some commentary on it, and found some interpretations that this is referring to a specific woman, in a certain church. If this is the case, then I agree with you. It sounds absurd that Jesus would say theses things. Remember how he treated the woman caught in the act of adultery, the crowd was ready to stone her, but she found forgiveness with Jesus! Even in the old testament the harlot Rehab, was spared from being destroyed along with the rest of Jericho, because she believed God, and hid the spies. She should have been killed, according to the law. I often find myself in complete 180 degree opposition to many of the main line church doctrines and interpretations I come across. I applauded the fact that you are thinking for yourself! I am by no means an expert in the book of Revelations. It is very symbolic and mysterious. I think many prophecies will not be fully understood, until they are looked back upon. I recall several instances, where Jesus own disciples did not understand old testament prophecies concerning him, until after the event took place. My feeling is, do to the great points you brought out, the woman Jezebel referred to here, is symbolic of a corrupt religious system. The old testament Jezebel was a queen who led Israel from worshiping the true God, to worship and sacrifice of Baal, and other false gods. Jesus is still willing to forgive and show grace to all false worship, as scripture says. he is slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. Revelations is describing a time at the end of the church age. Grace has been extended to mankind for nearly 2000 years now. But Revelations is describing events just prior to the second coming of Jesus. The Jezebel referred to here has been given time to repent, but refused to. Her children are the followers of the false religion she represents. Jesus is the only way to eternal life. And God is still hoping that everyone will receive the sacrifice Jesus paid for with his own body and blood. But the book of Revelations appears to show that at the end of the age, many will still refuse to receive him, not repent, and will openly choose to worship the anti-Christ. I thank you again Michael for your comments. I am no expert on theses matters, but I along with you, often do not agree with many main line interpretations of the Bible I come across. Keep searching for the truth. Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life!

      • Leon, I grew up in an evangelical Christian family with missionaries, pastors and Sunday School teachers, including my mother. I read the Bible from cover to cover twice and read a great many books by Christian authors. But none of them ever dealt with the REAL problems the Bible presents, because over and over and over the Bible accuses its God of wildly unjust actions and commandments. Jesus threatening to murder children is not an isolated case, but just one of many cases. The worst of all is the unbelievably evil and unjust idea that billions of human beings will go to an eternal “hell” for the “sin” of guessing wrong about which earthly religion to believe. But there was no “hell” in the Old Testament, the biblical God never mentioned “hell” and his prophets never said a word about it. If God is good and Jesus is good, it seems like blasphemy to accuse them of murdering children and sending billions of people to hell for a ludicrous reason. I prefer to think that Jesus was actually good and would live by the parable of the Good Samaritan, a man he applauded for putting aside religion to practice compassion. Jesus saved all his sternest criticism for hypocrites, so how can anyone suggest that Jesus will be a hypocrite who demands belief in his religion, at the expense of infinite suffering for those who guess wrong, or never heard his name?

        Revelation clearly says that Jesus was going to murder children, but the Bible says even worse things about him, if there is a hell and he causes or allows people to suffer for all eternity for not believing improvable things that much of the world has never heard. That would make Jesus infinitely evil. I refuse to believe that Jesus could be capable of infinite evil.

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