Monday, February 17, 2014

Why does Hell exist? What is it like?

Loose icon in Gelati monastery shows somewhat ...
Hell: Loose icon in Gelati monastery. (Wikipedia)
(Part of a series on death and the hereafter)

Hell was not created to punish human beings. God created hell to punish those angelic beings which rebelled against him. There is no possibility of redemption for them. Though hell was not created for human beings,
because of sin, it is our default destination for punishment with the rebellious angels because God’s character of holiness requires punishment of rebellion and sin. Hell exists for retribution of evil deeds (Matt 16:27; Luke 12:47-48; 2 Peter 2:13; Jude 15; Rev 14:9-11; Rom 1:18-32) and the righteous rule of God (Matt 25:31-46; Rom 12:19; 1 Cor 15:24-25; 2 Cor 5:10).

What is Hell like? Hell is the total absence of God and anything holy (2 Thess. 1:9), beyond human comprehension. Hell is a place of utter misery (Matt 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28). The Bible has numerous images to describe the awful reality of Hell’s punishment. It is a place of horrible destruction (2 Peter 3:7). “Fiery hell” and “lake of fire” indicates the agony of incineration (Matt. 5:22; 13:50; 18:9; Rev 20:15). Jude 13 describes hell as “black darkness” devoid of all but pain. Matthew describes the intensity as “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12; 13:42, 50). One of the agonies is the conscious awareness that others you have influenced in life may be headed to hell based on your example and encouragement (Luke 16:27-31).