I should probably attack things in a more linear fashion, but I have to assume that if God is behind me on this blog thing, I should follow my gut feelings rather than my brain. So, while I plan soon to talk about why Hell (and Satan) are even necessary—and why everyone should at least give serious consideration to Jesus even if they ultimately reject him—I’m going to start with a thorny topic that is weighing on me right now: Is Hell really the end of the life in the afterlife? Let’s be clear here: This post is “learned speculation.” Some logical guesses based on Scripture that, frankly, may not be true. I’m writing this in prayer, but I’m only human, and some of the assumptions of this post could be wrong.
But working on my current theories, it seems highly unlikely that Hell is the endpoint for all those who don’t have Christ backing up their lousy record with His exceptional credit.
First, let’s consider the fact that the Bible says that Hell and death and the fallen angels will ultimately be cast into something called the Lake of Fire. Why bother dumping lost souls into Hell if you’re going to throw them somewhere else later? The universe is pretty efficient, so I cannot imagine God giving souls a pit-stop for no good reason. More on that in a moment.
Also, if you read the Book of Revelation, you’ll see a picture of the future that has a pretty grim 7-year run. Let’s consider the fact that during these “end times” (that big bad period when the antichrist shows up, hell on earth breaks lose, and all that), people will see some pretty amazing metaphysical shit going down, and the Bible is clear that as things get worse and worse, large groups of people turn to God and redeem their souls. So, if folks who rejected Jesus can still turn to Him once the final battle is raging and they see God’s forces at work and they suffer all sorts of wrath (in other words, the clearest-ever proof that God exists), why would people who for whatever reason didn’t (or couldn’t) accept Christ in life not be granted similar benefits? I mean, that would seem to be way fucked-up unfair, don’t you think? Just like the people left on earth, they turned away, they have suffered, and now they see some pretty strong evidence that they were wrong about the way of things.
Here’s what I think—and again, it’s not biblical canon but my educated opinion, so don’t base your life (and afterlife) on this. I’d rather you found Jesus before you croak. Anyway, what I think is that those in Hell do still have a chance to accept Jesus as Lord and savior before that hunk of damned real estate goes into the Lake of Fire.
Now, that may seem like I’m giving a “get out of jail free card” to folks in Hell. Far from it. For one thing, people are people in this life or in Hell. If they turned a deaf ear and blind eye on every chance to learn about Jesus, why would they feel all that warm and fuzzy toward God and His son in the end? Many might be repentant and feel remorse for ignoring Jesus’ sacrifices and God’s love, but many I suspect will simply blame God. They will insist His universe was pooch-screwed from the get-go and He’s an asshole, and they’ll say “Take your fucking heaven and every last one its damn harps and get out of my sight.” Also, there will be a fair contingent of folks who will try to appeal to Jesus out of fear, but not out of remorse. No one is going to get out of Hell for hating the place or fearing eternity there, but rather for realizing that the reason they are there is because they rejected Heaven themselves. Redemption does not come to those who cannot accept responsibility. Accountability is the first step to accepting and receiving salvation.
Hell is a place of separation from God’s touch. It’s a harsh place but a place for reflection and, I believe, final redemption. But if I were you, I wouldn’t take my word for it. And I wouldn’t wait too long to explore whether Jesus makes sense.
Eternity is a hell of a long time to end up regretting your decisions.
(Image from freeimages.com)