Monday, August 18, 2008

Hell - On a Philosophical Level.

lcontinued from Hell - What does Scripture Say?

Philosophically speaking, what is the point of Jesus’ life and sacrifice if all mankind will end up in heaven or those who do not except him will be extinguished. The purpose of hell is judgment for living a life apart from God. The purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice is to give all of mankind opportunity to avoid that judgment. Is the woman who is in some tribe that has never heard the Gospel going to hell when she dies? We have no right to make such a judgment because it is ultimately up to God. We know and have faith that God is fair, but this doesn’t negate our responsibility. We are commanded to tell the world that there is the possibility of hell and that there is a way to avoid it. We can’t ignore this command. We have to believe that if we don’t tell those people about God that Scripture says there exists the possibility that their names will not be found in the Book of Life and that they will suffer judgment as a result. Whether we believe it to be fair or not we have to trust that God knows exactly what he is doing.

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except through him. This implies that in the end a person is either with God or not with God. Scripture makes it clear that to be with God means to be in heaven. So where do those who are not with God go? The natural conclusion is that this is the very reason Jesus introduced the concept of geenna. Scripture implies that those who do not know Jesus will not be with God. The natural conclusion is, they will be in geenna.

Paul gives a look into the future in his letter to the Romans. Chapter 2:1-16 tells us that all men will be judged whether they are under the law or not. Those who are “self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil” will experience God’s wrath and anger. Who are those who are self-seeking? It is those who have not experienced God's saving grace. It is they who are living for themselves and living for the moment. Who are those who will be saved? It is those people who's lives have been changed through their understanding of what God has done for them through Jesus.

And, what is this wrath and anger that Paul speaks of? It is judgment and punishment. God, through his wisdom, will judge all the inhabitants of the earth. Those he finds faithful will receive their reward. But what of those who are condemned? What happens to them? Could this be the very reason Jesus introduced the concept of geenna? Jesus himself described geenna as a place of judgment. Paul goes on to say that those who experience God’s wrath and anger or reward will experience it on the day of judgment. God's reward to the faithful in Christ will be heaven and life eternal. Those who have not turned to Christ for freedom from sin will go to the eternal geenna.

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