Who Goes to Hell?


What is Hell? For centuries, the idea of hell has fascinated people. Everyone who has lived has clearly wondered what happens when they die. Throughout the Western World during the Renaissance, there were three varied views about this: the view of the Greeks, the ideas expressed by Dante, and the Christian view of the Bible. Predictably, some of the ideas in these views are similar, although very different in matters of who is there and what their punishment is. They have progression in matters of why people are there, and what the levels of punishments are, but none of them show the Christian view.

In the Greek view, all are punished. Equally, everyone goes to hell. Even the mightiest of heroes go there, as readily shown by Hector’s death in the Iliad, “The shrouds of death enfolded him, whereon his soul went out of him and flew down to the house of Hades” (Illiad 22.371-72).  Every soul goes to hell, even those who are the greatest by Greek standards. Having traversed there, their sentence is then pronounced by judges. Everybody is judged to be punished, from the good to the evil. If you had lived an extraordinary life, you went to the best part. However, most of the dead souls end up as shades, floating around eternally like leaves because of their mediocre lives. Obviously, Greeks believed that everyone went to Hell and were judged according to their deeds.

In Dante’s hell, a slightly different view of Hell is expressed: all who were not baptized went to Hell with progressive punishments. In Dante’s Inferno, it says, “That they sinned not; and if they merit had, ‘tis not enough, because they had not baptism” (IV. 34-35). If one who was not baptized died, that person went to Hell, no matter how they had performed during life because they had not entered into the realm of God via baptism. Having been decided their eternal place of residence, they were subsequently judged by Minos, the former King of Crete. “Seeth what place in Hell is meet for it; girds himself with his tail as many times as grades he wishes it should be thrust down” (Inferno V. 10-12). Everyone is judged by Minos to see where in Hell they belonged. If their sin was small, their punishment would be small. Likewise, if their sin was excessive, so would would their punishment. In Dante’s view, all unbaptized went to Hell, with sin being punished according to severity.

In the final view, Christianity, all the unrighteous are punished in Hell, and punished equally. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20.15). Every person who has not accepted God’s free gift of eternal life with Him will consequently be sentenced to an eternal separation from Him which is called Hell. All sinners are judged equally based on this status. They are then thrown into the burning pit called Hell and eternally separated from God because of their unbelief. If one is not a Christian, they are unsaved and must dwell in Hell for eternity.

In the Greek view, everyone went to Hell and were judged according to works. Dante’s view was slightly different in the fact that only the unbaptized went to Hell. Clearly, their precise level of punishment is still determined by their deeds, however. The Christian view holds that those who are unsaved go to Hell, and are punished because of their rejection of life with God and their unrepentance of sins. Although these views are somewhat similar, it is obvious that the Greek view and Dante’s view differ from the Biblical one. Their punishment is the greatest deciding factor because of their greatest difference. How is this? While the Christian and Dante’s view both restrict the occupants of Hell, Dante’s limits it even more by requiring baptism. In the Bible, it says nothing about needing to be baptized to be saved, but only that it is a symbol of the faith. Only God can save a soul from Hell.

Fatherhood, Dating, and God


Recently it has been discovered that many people are unable to begin a relationship with God the Father because of their own relationship with their earthly father. This sad fact is because we all naturally view God the Father as our earthly father to some degree. Thus the role of men to be good fathers who display our Father’s attributes cannot be overemphasized. If our father is abusive, unloving, unfaithful, short-tempered, or gone it can effect how we view God. When a father works day in and day out thinking he is helping his family he may really be hurting his children by not spending time with them and may unknowingly cause them to have a unconnected relationship with their Heavenly Father

Thus, men have a huge responsibility to become men who can be looked up to: Men who are loving and caring fathers who directly mirror their Heavenly Father. This of course means they need to be directly getting guidance from their Father. We men need to be constantly assessing ourselves and thinking about whether we are mirroring our Father. But not just assessing, acting on this assessment too. We need to be able to be shaped and molded not succumbing to the pride of being right. A good man is able to accept responsibility for his actions, and fix them when needed.

Women also have a major responsibility as well. It is important that in a dating relationship a woman be considering whether the man she is dating would be a good father who would guide his children in a strong relationship with God our Heavenly Father. She also needs to consider whether he is the kind of man who can lead the family in worshiping and teaching about God. A husband who is unable to do this may harm his children by not providing a standard of how a father should be.

This principles are often lost in today’s dating relationships. Men and women are not thinking about their future family and the children they will raise. They often are only thinking about whether they like the person and whether the person can be their soul mate. Although we need to be thinking about whether the person we are dating can be a good person, we also need to be thinking about whether the other person (and whether we) can be a good parent who displays the characteristics of God and is able and will teach them to the children.

Christ’s Death: It had to happen


According to the definition of a traditional inheritance: we could not have inherited God’s gift of eternal life had Jesus not died. In order for the offspring to receive the gift, the elder generation must die, and therefore pass over the inheritance. If Jesus had suffered the cross, but then before he had died he came down from the cross (or was helped down), he would not have died and passed on the inheritance. Or say that Jesus was not fully God (and fully human), then the inheritance could not have passed from the Father to his children because God did not die (Also, you can not “pass on” something you do not already possess. Therefore, God must have eternal life *). Thus, according to inheritance, Christ’s death must have occurred. It could not have happened any other way.

*- This may be why, in Acts 20:32, Luke uses the word “inheritance” to describe our relationship with Christ. Also, we are “heirs” according to many passages in the Bible to (see also Hebrews 9).

Holiness


Many times holiness and “perfect living” seem a little daunting, and maybe even boring. Why would anyone want to follow the 10 commandments. Besides the fact that God commands us to, why would you want do it? My sister proposed a very good idea to answer this question.

Suppose you are a musician. For some of you this may not apply, so for those of you who aren’t musicians just pretend you play the radio. You, being the musician that you are, have multiple instruments you can play. But your favorite one is the saxophone. You love playing it, especially in the evening. One day your parents come over to visit. As the day nears to an end you start to play your saxophone. After you have played for a while you notice that your dad is plugging an ear. It is the ear that he has a hearing aid in. You realize that the noise is hurting his ear, because your music is ringing and screaming too loudly in his ear. At this point you have a choice. You can either continue playing your music, hurting your father, and just pretend you don’t notice the pain on his face; or you can stop and kindly suggest to do something together a little more quiet.

This illustration is an everyday example of our activities in life. Everyday we do our habits, sometimes without even thinking; and some of those habits are sinful. God our Father is sensitive to sin. Because He is Holy, He cannot be with sin. When we sin, our sin separates us from Him; and because He wants to be with us, our sin hurts Him. Then we come to a choice. We can stop sinning because we love our Father and we don’t want to see him in pain (pain that may even compare to the pain God endured while Christ was on the Cross), or we can continue in our habits of sin. And when we continue, we not only hurt God but we also hurt ourselves.

So, out of love for our Heavenly Father, we should strive to be holy. But to be holy we must understand what it means.

Holiness is obeying God:

loving one another as He loved us

even when it’s against our own interests

sharing His love, even when it is inconvenient

finding ways to help those in need

holiness consists in thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills

When you give yourself wholly to God, He will make you wholly holy. Holiness is obeying God.

Infallible Bible


2Timothy 3:16 says  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (also consider 2Peter 3:15-16). Notice the ‘all’. All means everything, all of it. Not one part is wrong or incorrectly translated. Even if it was, I think that that would indicate God is not all-Powerful, because even He could not keep His servants on earth from messing up His Word. If God is not all-Powerful, then honestly, how could He guarantee us a place in heaven. How could He forgive us and pay for our sins, if He can’t even help us not make a mistake in writing the Bible, His own Words?

Laughter


Laughter is good medicine. There is no denying it. You just feel better whenever you laugh. How could this happen by chance, that feeling happy feels good. How can we feel? How is it by chance that we don’t feel good when we cry. We don’t feel happy when we are angry. In my opinion this is because we are made in the image of God. We have been created with emotions that make us feel good and make others feel good too. Just like him. God enjoys it when you laugh. So go have a laugh with your family or friends.

God’s Forgiveness


People will often say that they’re to sinful or dirty to come to church. They would say that God would be shamed to have them there. However, I would suggest this: God wants to be worshiped (Exodus 43:14),  Luke 7 says that those who have more debt forgiven are more thankful. Therefore when God forgives those with more sin, they will worship Him more and He will get more praise, which is exactly what He wants. Therefore God will not be shamed by you coming to church and worshiping Him or asking Him to forgive you. He will be praised.