What Hell is Like & Why It’s Even Worse Than You Thought

hellHell is one of those topics that always invokes a strong emotional response. The concept of a place of eternal punishment or torment is a difficult pill to swallow even for many Christians. The idea that a loving and caring God would “send” a person to hell for nothing more than disbelief is counterintuitive for a great many people, but I think that this comes from a misunderstanding of what hell is and why those who reject God deserve to go there. Explaining the nature of hell is essential to your witness because it shows the nature of God and the nature of our rebellion. In short, we must show people that hell isn’t a place God sends us because we displeased Him, but a place where those who rebel against God get exactly what they asked for.

To understand hell you must first understand our world. As broken and messed up as our world is, it still feels the effects of what is known as common grace. Common grace is simply the grace that we all get no matter if we are children of God or if we are unbelievers. A world that has famine and suffering also has plenty and happiness. A world where people die, still has children born everyday. This is a great illustration of what this looks like.

commongrace

Our world and how Common Grace affects the good or bad things that happen in it.

The better something goes, the more grace God put into it. The more horrible something is, the less grace God put into that event. When God hardens someone’s heart he does not make them rebellious, He simply removes a portion of His grace. When Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, it was not God that made him so, but the fact that God allowed Pharaoh’s sin free range. When Adam rejected the full grace of God he infected creation. Adam allowed rebellion to infect God’s grace and created a fallen world where sin and death always pushes against what grace is left to us. That is the reason we live in a world where at the same time children laugh and play other children are dying.

This is where things get touchy. A nonbeliever rejects God and thus states with no uncertain terms that he does not want God or the things of God. God’s wrath is not satisfied by personally inflicting hurt and torment on those who have broken His laws and rejected His mercy. God simply gives unbelievers what they asked for, a place where God’s grace does not exist. Imagine a place where the power of God to hold back the suffering of the world does not exist. A place where the things that bring us joy and happiness are not present. Think about all the things that can give us even the smallest happiness and now remove them all. A lung full of sweet air or looking at the beauty of a sunset. The comfort of a warm spring day or the invigoration of a dip in a cool lake.

Now imagine a place where only the evil things of this world exist. Perpetual darkness, sadness, rage and hunger. A place where God is not present. Only those things that are counter to His will.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. – James 1:17

If God is pure goodness and ALL good comes from God imagine a place where there is literally no good at all. Jesus described it well.

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 13:41-42

1542673_hellfireThis isn’t a place of demons and pitchforks poking you for all time, but a place where all one has to look forward to is pain and misery. Nothing good and nothing pleasant. Wailing and torment for all eternity. This place is what our earth would have been like if God had abandoned it when Adam fell. A place where God says, “you don’t want me? Fine, here you go.” The reality is that hell is not somewhere God sends you, but a place that one sends themselves. It is the place where those who reject God go because they said I don’t want God and God gave them their hearts desire.

I believe that those who end up in hell don’t even regret their rejection of God. Because it takes grace for us to even have the ability to love God. I believe that hell’s separation from God is so complete that those in hell can’t even comprehend feelings outside of anger and rage. I believe that an eternity in hell is spent cursing God simply because God is good and goodness is absent from hell.

I think I painted a pretty bleak picture of what hell is like, but now try to imagine what heaven and the new earth will be like for those who have received Christ as their savior. Imagine a place where God’s grace is all there is and the effects of sin and death have no sway. A place where only joy and happiness exists and where God’s love is felt in full force. Imagine a place where all the things that make life worth living is free from the taint of sin.

When we realize that Christ died on the cross to prevent us from spending an eternity separated from God and His grace, and replaced that fate with everlasting joy, it kind of makes the word Savior seem like a bit of an understatement doesn’t it?

Michael Davis
Senior Editor of Veterans to Christ. Served as a Cavalry Scout from 2005-2009. Iraq Veteran.