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There have been several comments on this site which tend to deny the existence of Hell.

But Jesus tells me that the lake of fire is the place of Eternal punishment that God created for Satan and the rebellious Angels, and that the unsaved will also be cast into it.

Matthew 25:41 KJV

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Revelation 20:12 through 15

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

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.

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

And Jesus himself spoke of Hell 15 times in the Gospels and one time in the Revelation.

But by far there is one question that haunts me the most, and that is that if there was not the most horrendous of all punishments awaiting the unsaved, why would God send Jesus to be tortured and die on the Cross?

You say it is because of his great love for us, but that doesn't pass the smell test; in that if he loves us that much why would he love his own son less.

To take him from Heaven and make him go through what he went through on Earth has to be a lot worse than us just dieing.

Even beyond that unless he was saving mankind from a fate worse than his torture and death on the cross, why would Jesus voluntarily go through it?

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Good argument. I believe that no Hell means no Cross. –  Mawia Nov 25 '13 at 14:24
    
Hell was something that was foreign (figurative and literally) to Old Testament Jews. When you died, you just died. The pit of darkness. No fire and brimstone. A similar question would be, "No literal Adam and Eve, no Cross" –  The Freemason Nov 25 '13 at 15:03
    
@ Freemason the satirist I don't understand that since Hades is referred to many times in the Old Testament. –  Bye Nov 25 '13 at 15:16
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Excellent question. It's like paying for a Life Guard when the swimming pool is empty or does not exist. A Savior has to save us from something. –  Narnian Nov 25 '13 at 15:36
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General philosophical or sociological questions are off-topic unless clearly asking for a doctrinal answer. See: On-topic and constructive examples. These extended discussions in comments are evidence of this being a poorly scoped, Truthy question. I agree it's a good question, but it needs to be scoped to bring it in line with guidelines. It's a bit hard to close "why are Christian dumb" questions as off topic if we allow equally opinion-based questions to stand just because we agree with them. –  David Stratton Nov 25 '13 at 23:25
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closed as off-topic by David Stratton, Affable Geek, El'endia Starman Nov 26 '13 at 13:02

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2 Answers

It depends on how you interpret the word "perish" in John 3:16.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, NIV)

Physical death: To say that the word 'perish' here means physical death would mean that the moment we believe in Jesus Christ, we will become immortal and we will never die; which is obviously false. One might also interpret this as the resurrection at the last day, which would mean that non-believers will never be raised again, they will remain in the dust forever, which is again in contradiction to Revelation 20:5, which has resurrection of the unjust after the Millennium.

"Hell/Lake of fire/ Second death:" We will go to Hell after we die if we do not accept the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Revelation 20(NIV) has something to say about this.

[4-6] I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

[11-15] Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

I was born and brought up in the Assembly of God Church. Most of the preachers always interpret John 3:16 as,

Those who believe in Jesus will not go to Hell. After the fall of Adam and Eve, everyone is destined to go to Hell because we no longer belonged to God and we are now children of Satan. When God saw that all men are going to Hell, He could no longer stay where He was. God then came down from Heaven to earth, to pay the death penalty of sins for us, so that we may escape the fire of Hell by accepting Jesus Christ as our savior.

No wonder why the Apostles' Creed states "Jesus descended into hell".

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@ Mawai If I understand these Scriptures correctly The old man dies and a new Soul is born at accepting Christ. Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't that make the new man immortal? –  Bye Nov 25 '13 at 17:54
    
@CecilBeckum I asked about the "New Creation" before. Most protestants think that a "new man" doesn't imply immortality on this present life. –  Mawia Nov 25 '13 at 17:59
    
@ Maiwa I am not considering mortal man, what I believe is that the old Soul is dead with Christ on the cross and a new immortal Soul is created at Salvation. –  Bye Nov 25 '13 at 18:36
    
@CecilBeckum You mean soul or spirit? I haven't heard anything like "the spirit can die". –  Mawia Nov 25 '13 at 18:43
    
@ Mawia Check out Matthew 10:28 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. –  Bye Nov 25 '13 at 18:55
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This answer has been edited

I am going to start of by saying Hell is a term put together by mankind for mankind. It is only a figurative “place”.

What do I mean? God has created Heaven and God has created Earth and God has created all of creation. But God has not created some “place” or “location” called Hell. There is no record in the entire Bible of God creating Hell. It is a term mankind has used to describe the final state of the wicked and unconverted.

Quoting Christian Theology by Millard J. Erickson, pg 456 - “Throughout life, a person says to God, in effect, “Leave me alone.” Hell, the absence of God, is God’s simply giving that person at last what he or she has always asked for. It is not God, but one’s own choice that sends a person to hell.”

Hell is not a ‘place’, it is being apart from God, which most of the following is trying to say.

Now I believe some will follow this question and read that and say, “exactly!”. But the problem is, the substance of their conclusion and mine is totally opposite.

Quoting from Dr. Deffinbaugh’s article - “A Hell to Shun”: “No one really wants to talk about hell. The person who finds some kind of satisfaction in exploring its horrors must have a problem. Many do not wish to believe that some will suffer eternal torment. One survey over ten years ago indicated that 58% Methodists, 60% Episcopalians, 54% Presbyterians, 35% American Baptists, 22% American Lutherans deny it is a specific place after death.9 It is not difficult to understand why some choose to believe there is no such thing as eternal torment. After all, such a fact would have dramatic implications!”

“The cults have generally tended to distort biblical teachings on eternal punishment: Christian Science believes there is no final judgment. The Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that lost men will have a second chance and that those who reject this offer of salvation will be annihilated. Mormonism maintains that all non-Mormons will be sentenced to eternal torment, along with those Mormons who are thus judged worthy of it. Unity refuses to believe in the finality of death, but believes that through mind action we resurrect ourselves from the dead. Modern theology insists that a loving God could never subject anyone to such punishment.”

So according to Mr. Deffinbaugh, there are those who will say, “exactly - there is no hell”. I now go on to show the substance behind their conclusion cannot be correct. Though there may not be a “place” called hell, there certainly IS a condition for it, that of being apart from God.

He is Creator, I am created.

He is Holy and lives without sin because His nature cannot sin. My nature makes possible my own suffering and the suffering of others.

Belief in His Son provides my Salvation and moves me into His realm. With Him, I can now relish this blessing and strive to live like Jesus Christ.

His realm is one of beauty and righteousness and awe and wonder. We know this because we see His handiwork in the earth and the heavens. There are many incredible things God has created around us which we have learned from over the years. And in God’s realm, there is an eternity MORE of things to learn and experience.

But you cannot be part of this realm and presented with this boundless goodness unless you choose now that Jesus Christ provides the way to this realm. There is the issue. There is the stopping point for many. Presented with an eternity that FAR surpasses any and all that has been experienced on this planet, there are those who don’t want to get there through Jesus Christ. But that is not a problem.

God is going to go out of the way to make sure that is your final decision. He is going to allow suffering like you have never known just to make sure you really want to live with your decision. But this suffering will come by the hands of mankind, not God. It will be mankind who invokes such suffering upon mankind. At some point in time God will have to step in or all would be destroyed. But he is going to allow mankind to do this because He would much rather you choose salvation through Jesus Christ then live apart from Him.

At some point in the future, there will be a separation. Those who accepted Jesus Christ will go to live in God’s realm, the kingdom of God, ruled by Jesus Christ. What about the rest? Where will they go?

Those who choose not to accept Jesus Christ will get to live outside the realm, outside the kingdom of God. Where is that place? One term mankind has put together for this is “hell”.

All created beings are to face a final judgement before Jesus Christ. At this judgement, some people will be turned aside as they have desired all their life while others will receive the blessings and rewards God chooses to bestow upon them. There will be no other judgement after this. Those who are turned aside will reside in “hell” - being without God. You really do not want to be in that group so accept the salvation God offers through Jesus Christ.

See: “The Future Judgment of the Believer” by Lehman Strauss

Now to answer the question. If we permit “hell” to be a term that does not describe a “literal place or location”, we must yet realize there will be a separation of people based upon their choice of believing Jesus Christ is their Savior. We must also realize there will be a group who rejects a kingdom based upon “love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control” and who will not be in that kingdom.

Though dispensing with the term, Jesus Christ would still have had to come to provide salvation for those who will be allowed to live eternally in the kingdom of God. We are created, therefor not perfect, as is the Creator, and still have need of a Savior.

At the start, I showed “hell” as a term created by mankind rather than a “place” or “location” created by God. But we must realize we are created beings and being created, are not perfect. Since this is the case, Jesus Christ would still have had to die because nothing else would have been sufficient in God’s eyes to bring us into the perfect kingdom of the Son he Loves.

See: “God’s Plan of Salvation” by J. Hampton Keathley III

One Final Point

If I am not created, I am perfect
If I am not perfect, I need a Savior
Yes, Jesus would have had to die for me.


Now points about the comments

First off, most of what I have written is from an Evangelical, Christian, Biblical point of view and not from any specific denomination. Perhaps I have stated what a specific denomination believes but did not do so with that purpose in mind.

Second, the scriptures mentioned in the comments suggest the word “Hell” be taken as authoritative. The problem is that the word “Hell” in Rev 20:13, according to English translations offered at Bible Gateway and Dr. Deffinbaugh’s article above, is more often translated as “Hades”. Further, “Hades” does not carry the idea of everlasting separation from God. Quoting Dr. Deffinbaugh: “As is seen by its usage in the New Testament, Hades has the same general reference to the abode of the dead, whether righteous or wicked.”

For Matthew 10:28, it seems “hell” is the term most commonly used by translators. But from the context, I would suggest it is really talking about eternal separation from God, as was mentioned above. Regarding this, all people should fear its meaning and seek salvation offered by God because, like you implied, Jesus was not a liar.

The Edits: Seeing the down votes and disparaging comments, I recognize my answer lacked clarity. Due to this, I have added the highlighted text and references above in an effort to be better understood.

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@ Warren If what you propose were true, How could 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. be true? Also that would make Mat_10:28 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. a lie and therefore Jesus a liar. –  Bye Nov 25 '13 at 17:44
    
It is a good practice here to mention your denomination while dealing with sensitive topics like this, as I mentioned mine. Otherwise, you get down votes. :) –  Mawia Nov 25 '13 at 18:17
    
Read Rev 20:14 carefully, "Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death." Even if Hades is not close enough to be understood as Hell, what about the Lake of fire? First people go to Hades and then Hades itself which holds them will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Hope that's clear enough. –  Mawia Nov 26 '13 at 10:52
    
@ Mawia See my answer to your question about the difference between Hell and the lake of fire. –  Bye Nov 26 '13 at 15:54
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