An abstract representation of the two concepts of hell: annihilation and eternal torment. The imagery is dark and unsettling, yet artful, symbolizing the profound and uncomfortable nature of these beliefs. It conveys the universality and nightmarish quality of hell in human culture. by Ted Tschopp

Contemplating the Afterlife: Understanding Hell from Various Perspectives

A Personal Reflection on the Concepts of Hell and Its Existence in Belief Systems

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Two Concepts of Hell : an image by Ted Tschopp

I posted this elsewhere, and ran into it today, and thought about reposting it here:

“There are really several positions on regards to the afterlife for unbelievers. One is annihilation where after a certain amount of punishment the soul and the body will stop existing. And the second is that hell goes on forever and ever.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t like either option. I really don’t. I don’t think that any human if he spends the time thinking about the idea of hell likes it, even if he believes he is not going there. The reason is that our idea of who God is greatly altered when we realize that He allows either idea of hell to exist. He would not be God if He did not.

But the problem with hell is that the Bible is overly abundantly clear that it does exist. Even pagan literature says that it does. There is something universal about the idea of hell in human culture.

Even the nicest representations of hell make me shutter and are the things of nightmares. Due to the universality of the idea of hell I must believe that something like it exists. I also know that hell is something of a symbol for some type of punishment. I also know that any symbol pales in comparison to the real thing.

The current Christian viewpoint is that unless you believe that your sins have been transferred to Christ and that His righteousness is yours you are going to Hell. I hate the way that sounds. I wish it were not so. I hope it is not so. From my understanding of reality, God, and His revelation, I can not escape the harshness of this Truth. Oh how I wish I could find a way to make God vanish in a puff of smoke and become the master of my own destiny.


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