Luke J. Wilson | 25th May 2020 |
I know this is quite a divisive topic, and one you may have come across before (sometimes referred to as “Annihilationism”); and have been told outright that it’s “heresy” or false, or that it’s an emotional argument people want to believe because it ‘sounds nicer’ than the doctrine of Eternal Conscious Torment (ECT). Or maybe you’ve never even heard of this before and you didn’t realise there were alternative interpretations and views on hell.
Any discussion on “hell” is going to cover a lot of ground, and refer to many, many places throughout Scripture; so with that said, this will be a long one, so get comfy! I will do this in two parts as it will become too lengthy for one blog post.
This article will just focus on the Scriptural basis for the position of Annihilationism, as opposed to ECT, but to begin with I’ll define some terms as words like “hell” have become quite loaded with extra and unbiblical meaning over the centuries.
What is hell, anyway?
If you read through the Old and New Testament in older translations like the KJV, you’ll see the word “hell” a lot more often than in more recent Bible translations, which will most likely transliterate the Greek words instead. Not all the words get this treatment, and some still get presented as the word hell in English, for example, the NIV and NRSV will convert the word Gehenna into “hell”, but keep the Greek word Hades as-is (see: Matt. 5:22; 11:23).
The etymology of “hell” and its origins and how it became the word we know today in English, would take more time than I have space for here, but in short, there are three main Greek words which often get translated as the word “hell”, even though they are each different words with different underlying meanings:
GehennaLiterally means “valley of Hinnom”, which is a place near Jerusalem where children were once sacrificed to Baal (see Jer. 19:5–6). Due to its history, it took on a more eschatological/spir...
Luke J. Wilson | 05th April 2014 |
Book Film Reviews
Book review on Rob Bell's “Love Wins” (originally written March 2013)
This book was quite openly condemned by some prominent Christian leaders when the book was first announced back around Spring 2011, mainly mainly accusing Bell of being a universalist and denying the existence of hell.
Lots of leaders formed opinions about the book and thus lots and laypeople took on various opinions as their own without much insight or research. The problem was that these leaders hadn't even READ the book! It wasn't released yet at the time. They decided their opinions based on the blurb and promo video which posed provocative questions about the doctrine of hell.
The book starts up asking lots of questions concerning salvation and how are you “attain” it and the consequences if you don't – while the same time pointing out the flaws in modern theology and general beliefs held by many in the Church today.
He then presents a lot more question to get you thinking and quotes Jesus' words, and a few other scriptures, which leads to more questions. Therein lies the purpose of this book – not for Rob to push you to believe what he does, but to get you to question and really think about the things we say we believe.
Bell then moves on to heaven. Unless you've really studied the Bible on Heaven, this chapter will likely smash a lot of cultural ideas you hold without you really realising it – the same can be said about the the chapter after which deals with hell.
Prepare for an eye-opener, and a lot of "Gospel Truth" that has somehow got lost, changed, misrepresented and mixed up in Medieval tradition and imagery over the last few centuries.
Anyone who is aware of the controversy that was/is surrounding this book and who heard that that Rob Bell "doesn't believe in hell" can rest assured that this isn't the case.
To quote the book, Bell writes:
"There is a hell now, and there is a hell later, and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously." (pg. 79)
It's not only...