I read Rob Bells controversial book “Love Wins” back in April. I’ve been letting the information I took in from his book simmer in my mind. At first it made perfect sense to me and I attempted taking on the belief that there is no hell — that ultimately God was going to save everyone. Over time though this belief turned sour inside of me. Each time I told myself that Hell wasn’t real, that God loves us too much to send us to such a place, I found increasing Biblical evidence to the contrary.
I cannot say for sure what happens to those who reject God after they die and I am not claiming to know who will or who won’t be there. I am sure of one thing however and that is the Bible makes it clear that our choices in this life directly impact the next, providing a judgement of rewards or punishment.
Hell could have two forms, it may be a permanent destruction of body and soul so that Hell’s inhabitants burn up and cease to exist; or it could be that those who are in Hell burn in torment for all eternity with no hope of escape.
It cannot however be a temporary place where people suffer and ultimately are redeemed from their sufferings, as this would strip the cross of it’s power and make Christ’s death unnecessary and pointless. If Hell’s punishments were temporary and redeemable then there is no need for a savior to take our place. We could suffer out our sentences in Hell knowing that eventually it would pass and we could leave the torment; There would be no need for Christ to die for something temporary. If Christ died, then He died to save us from something permanent and eternal, something which we had no hope of escape.
Rob Bells book is still worth reading, providing a wonderful perspective of God’s love with many challenging and thought provoking ideas; Although I disagree with Bell on the reality of Hell, I will not use Hell as a tool of fear or manipulation. It is important to me that people come to God through humility and love and not out of fear.