Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh, Hell!

I don't like talking about the idea of "hell." I don't wanna believe in it. I just don't. I don't wanna confront the idea of people spending forever separated from the presence of God (which is what hell is). That's too heavy and too awful.

Then too, the Bible isn't extremely clear when it comes to how all that works. I know, I know--some people are going to say that the Bible is very clear on the matter. They'll say things about if you "accept Jesus into your heart" then you're bound for "heaven." They'll say if you choose to "reject Jesus" then you'll spend eternity in a place that involves "burning" and "weeping" and such. I don't think its that cut and dry. I think way of Jesus is much bigger than that.

Don't get me wrong. There's definitely a line of accountability with God. That's a fact that is very clear Biblically. As a human, I just don't think its my place to define what that line is and what puts people on one side or the other. I'll leave that to God.

But anyway, some friends and I are studying Romans together and Paul talks a lot about God's wrath and such in the first few chapters. Its funny--well, not humorous, but I ironic I suppose. When Paul talks about God's wrath, its typically letting people have the independence from God they're asking for. It wasn't what I expected to find. So we decided to find out how many times Paul talks about "hell."

He never does.

Paul mentions "hell" zero times in any of his letters. Luke, in writing the book of Acts, never quotes Paul as mentioning the word hell there, either.

That blew me away. Here's a couple of good links to read about further discussion on the subject.
Running With The Lion
Jerry Bernard



Anonymous said...

yeah, those are tough questions. i hate to imagine people in hell too (although when i think of hitler, and other things like that, i don't feel very soft-hearted). i wish i knew the answers, but like you, i guess we have to believe God knows how to take care of those things, even though we don't?