RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

God can reach into the depths of hell

There are some attitudes, deeds and behaviors that evoke such anger that a curse is called for to punish that person or group. In this way, “hell” is used as a symbol of appropriate justice.

Hell is imagined as a place that is absent of God, goodness, compassion, love, peace and hope.

Human nature judges, curses and wishes bad things upon those with whom they are angry. However, God is different.

Christians are called to take on the image of Christ, which is compassionate, loving and forgiving.

Psalm 139:8 expresses that there is no place we can escape from God, not even the depths of hell. Many Christians believe that at death Jesus went to hell to offer a second chance to those who had died before his resurrection. This is comforting for humans who make mistakes and wonder if there is hope to reconcile with God.

There are threads of the idea of eternal damnation in the New Testament, but the belief in eternal damnation among Christians has grown unpopular. Many Christians reject the doctrine on moral grounds because of their understanding of what God would or would not include in God’s design. If the essence of God and the Kingdom of God is love, then permanent damnation after life would be morally wrong and not in keeping with a God of second chances and love.

— Dale Clem, First United Methodist Church, Anniston

Hell is eternal separation from God

There have been a lot of descriptions of hell through television, books and movies, but none more accurate than the Bible itself.

Not only does the Bible describe hell, it also tells us who it was prepared for.

Matthew 25:41 tells us that the everlasting fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, but because of the sins of mankind, hell was enlarged (Isaiah 5:14).

So, what is hell going to be like? Hell is a place of everlasting torment where the fire will never be quenched. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. According to 2nd Peter 2:4, it is a place of utter darkness and judgment. Therefore, hell is eternal separation from God.

Luke 16 actually gives us a firsthand look of a man who ended up in hell. The story began with two men who lived different lives. Lazarus was righteous and the other man was unrighteous. Both men died. Lazarus went to heaven and the unrighteous man was cast into hell. He found himself begging Abraham to allow Lazarus to come and dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue, because he was being tormented in the flames.

Hell is a place where the wicked will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord. The best way to avoid this place of torment is to give your life to Jesus!

— Winfred Logan, Heart to Heart Ministries

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