What is Hell?

Always a cheery topic. Consider it another morbid musing in a questionable mind, but my wife and I were reading a Psalm the other day and it briefly mentioned God’s judgment, and I began to think.

Quick note: I know many Christians don’t believe in Hell. Jesus seemed to think it was real, as evidenced in some verses below. Therefore, I believe in it. For those of you who aren’t Christian, I ask that you stretch your mind for just a moment. Begin with the idea that Hell is real, and bear with me on this journey.

We often picture Hell as a place of fire and torture, and there’s some Biblical evidence there (Matt 13:41-42, Rev 20:15). The Bible also says it’s a permanent place of darkness (Matt 25:46, 2 Peter 2:4). However, I think there’s another subtlety that we often miss.

The Bible says that everyone will stand before God on Judgment Day at the end of time. We often picture God pulling some cosmic lever on the wicked and a trap door opening beneath them. Once more, I think we have missed the subtlety.

Many don’t believe God exists. Many more absolutely refuse to believe it, thinking God to be evil and cruel. But on Judgment day, we’ll all see God fully. Imagine that moment, seeing without a doubt that He’s real and He’s nothing like we imagined (Christian or not), but far greater. No more speculation or doubt, the evidence will be right in front of us, in all his wonder and glory. And in that moment, we will know. We will see He is real, we will see He is magnificent, and we will see He is all-powerful. Imagine seeing that.

But better/worse than that, we will know his Love. Imagine finally knowing the answer to every “Why?” you ever asked, or to no longer see them as important. Imagine seeing something bigger and greater than you ever imagined, that all of time and space is eclipsed in his face. Imagine the realization that He is worthy and we moral fools are not. Imagine realizing the perfection in his system of redemption, the perfect balance of justice and mercy, sending someone to pay our price of sin, but his innocence broke sin entirely. Imagine seeing that kind of love in that instant.

Now imagine being turned away. Imagine understanding why, and having no reason He should relent.

That is Hell: to have seen the fullness of God, and see the answer to all man’s longings, and then be immediately cut off from Him forever. How much lesser the power of Hell to have never seen God at all! But to look upon Him once and be forced to turn away? Who can endure such torture?

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