I take no special delight in writing this article. But hell is real and people are going there. So let’s look closely at what the Bible has to say about it as well as the on-going debate over whether hell is eternal conscious punishment. Continue reading . . .
I take no special delight in writing this article. But hell is real and people are going there. So let’s look closely at what the Bible has to say about it as well as the on-going debate over whether hell is eternal conscious punishment.
(1) The word most often translated “hell” in the NT is Gehenna, the Greek equivalent for “the valley of Hinnom”. This valley is immediately southwest of Jerusalem, still visible from the Mt. of Olives. At one time it was there that human sacrifices were made to the pagan deity Moloch (2 Kings 23:10; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6; cf. Jer. 7:31-32; 19:5ff.).
There is an on-going debate among scholars as to whether the Valley of Hinnom actually served as the “city dump” or “garbage heap” of Jerusalem. The evidence strikes me as inconclusive and thus we should avoid being dogmatic on the point. But no one denies that this area was at one time the locale for pagan child sacrifice. That it should be used as a way of referring to the place of eternal torment is therefore understandable. Against the notion that Gehenna was, in the days of Jesus, a garbage dump, see the excellent discussion in Francis Chan & Preston Sprinkle, Erasing Hell: what God said about eternity, and the things we made up (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2011), 56-67; and David A. Croteau, Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions (B & H, 2015), pp. 49-53.
(2) The most graphic portrayal of hell is found in Revelation 14:9-11. There we read: &l