Where The Hell Did Hell Come From?

Where The Hell Did Hell Come From? October 11, 2019

If you look for the traditional view of Hell – Eternal Conscious Torment – in the Old Testament Scriptures what you’ll find is a giant goose egg. There’s not one verse – literally nothing whatsoever – to suggest that those who perish without faith in God will suffer endlessly in a lake of fire without any hope of rescue or relief.

Zilch. Zero. Nada. Nil.

Which, in itself, should tell you a little something about the doctrine. I mean, if God’s plan all along was to roast unbelievers in an endless torture chamber of unquenchable fire, don’t you think He should have at least mentioned it – at least once? Yet, somehow, it must have slipped God’s mind for a few thousand years to clue us in on this ultimate scheme to fry the lost in eternal Hellfire.

Or, maybe it didn’t.

See, the doctrine of eternal suffering didn’t creep into Jewish thought until after the Old Testament prophets had grown silent. During what’s known as the “Intertestamental Period” – that time between the writing of the final Old Testament book and the coming of Jesus, the Messiah – this concept of eternal torment first slid into view.

Where did this view originate? Well, it wasn’t from any of the Old Covenant Prophets, and it wasn’t from any of the Jewish Rabbis of the day. Nope. The concept of endless torment for the wicked came from pagan sources.

Let’s stop and consider that for a moment, shall we?

The view that almost every American Christian has been told is the “Biblical Truth” of Scripture didn’t arise from Scripture. It came from the unbelieving pagans whose ideas gained traction after the Old Testament was already written.

Hmm….

Now, to be fair, the ideas of a paradise for the righteous separated by a gulf from the place of fire and torment where the unrighteous were tormented in flames, are all concepts found in the Talmud. This is true. But, the writers of the Talmud took these ideas from the Greeks and the Egyptians of their day, and these ideas were
incorporated into other Jewish writings like 1 Enoch and the teachings of various Jewish rabbis at the time during the 400 year gap of time between the end of the Old Testament scriptures and the coming of Christ.

What’s important to note here is this: These ideas were never revealed by God to the Jewish people through their own Old Testament prophets. They are based on very common Greek notions of Hades and on pagan concepts of the afterlife which crept into Jewish thought after the Old Testament was written – and prior to the coming of Christ.

To me, it is very significant that the concept of Hell as taught by those who embrace eternal suffering is not found in the Old Testament. Furthermore, it is very suspicious to me that the concepts incorporated into the doctrine came from non-biblical, pagan sources that had infiltrated the Hebrew faith just prior to the coming of Christ.

And do you know who else supported this view of Eternal Torment? The Pharisees.

So, is it likely that Jesus agreed with the Pharisees – and the pagans – on this concept of Eternal Suffering?

I think not. [But that’s another post].

Now, whether we like it or not, the doctrine of eternal suffering is part of the Christian faith today, and it seems as if almost everyone believes it.

Of course, the reason why so many Christians believe this doctrine today is simply because it is so widely taught – to the exclusion of the other two views which co-existed with the Eternal Torment view from the beginning of the Christian faith.

Perhaps if more Christians understood the origins of this view, and if they were allowed to hear the Scriptural support for those other two views, they might be allowed to think for themselves and make up their own minds about which doctrine actually holds the most Biblical weight.

But, that’s the point isn’t it? Pastors today don’t want the average Christian to think for themselves on these sorts of things. The doctrine of Eternal Torment is an essential element of a fear-based Christianity that relies on the threat of never-ending fire and endless torture to secure more followers and keep them held tightly in the grip of a dreadful God of wrath and vengeance.

Is this the “Abba” revealed to us by Jesus? Is this how the Father reacts to those who reject Him and run away to live in rebellion?  Not according to Jesus and the parable of the prodigal son.

Does God hold our sins against us and maintain an attitude of separation with sinners? Not according to Paul the Apostle.

“…In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” [2 Cor. 5:19]

Does Jesus hold a grudge against those who reject him and his message of love? Not according to his own words from the cross as he was being nailed there by unbelieving pagans:

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

How does God respond to our sin? He forgives it.

How did Jesus respond to sin? He forgave it, even before anyone could confess it or ask for forgiveness.

What is the purpose of God’s discipline? Is it punishment for the sake of punishment? Not at all. According to the author of Hebrews, the reason God disciplines us is because of His love for us. And this discipline process has a goal in mind – to make us righteous like Him:

“…but he [God] disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” [Hebrews 12:7-11]

So, the next time you hear someone tells you that the Bible teaches endless torment, or that no one ever spoke more about hell than Jesus [which we’ll cover in an upcoming post], just remember where this teaching originates from: Not from the Old Testament prophets, not from Jesus or the Apostles, but from pagan sources that crept into Jewish thought in the 400 year gap between the Old Testament and the coming of Christ.

Hell as we know it today is something we adapted from pre-Christian, pagan thinkers who did not know the Abba revealed to us by Jesus.

Praise God for Christ who showed us that God is better than we think and gave us a Gospel that isn’t just “Good News”, it’s “Great News!”

**

Keith next book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” releases Nov. 9, 2019 on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brad Jersak.

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife are returning to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure.

Are you an aspiring author? Keith is leading an Author’s Academy starting Nov. 4. Learn how to become a full-time author and crack the code for building your platform and marketing your books online. Details HERE.
Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Herm

    Keith, I’m guessing my “Pending” your approval post here is too long? That’s a pity. I tried to be honest and respectful.

  • fractal

    Hey Keith,

    How about releasing my “pending” on this article?
    I don’t think there was anything nasty or snide in it—just maybe not doctrinal enough for everyone…

  • Iain Lovejoy

    The OT doesn’t have much mention of heaven in it either, or indeed anything other than a shadowy semi-existence in Sheol for everyone equally after death – eternal life with God and Gehenna arose simultaneously as corollaries of each other, as I understand it, so I am not sure how far you can go with this “hell is a pagan idea” notion. The later medieval idea of inventive tortures by devils with pitchforks etc is certainly nicked from rediscovered classical Greek and Roman descriptions of Tartaros, but that’s not how hell started out.
    That the idea of eternal torment won out over the (very Jewish) “purifying fire” concept of Gehenna may be in part due to pagan influences, I’ll grant you, but I don’t think you can blame them for the original idea.

  • Peter Cohen

    Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2).
    The notion of everlasting contempt – i.e. some clue of hell found in the Old Testament.

  • Gary

    Hell is mentioned by name 31 times in the Old Testament. Other times mentioned by another name, such as Daniel 12:2 referenced by Peter Cohen in these comments.

  • Chad Hoelzel

    Hell isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament but She’ol is. It is understood as a place of darkness to which all the dead go, both the righteous and the unrighteous.

  • You say……”Perhaps if more Christians understood the origins of this view, and if they were allowed to hear the Scriptural support for those other two views, they might be allowed to think for themselves and make up their own minds about which doctrine actually holds the most Biblical weight.”, but you didn’t provide the references. How did you learn that ETC came from pagan sources and when it was introduced. I’m very open to it, but want to be educated before I blindly believe (I’ve already done that and look where it got me)

  • Nimblewill

    Keith, maybe you will get to it in this series but Jesus talked Gehenna which is certainly in the OT. What it is/was is the real question that Christians need to answer?

  • Nimblewill

    Perhaps this “purifying fire” could be torturous to some yet all the while cleansing them.
    God is a consuming fire,

  • Nimblewill

    Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (Hell), You are there.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I’d agree: have you been reading George MacDonald? If not, I would thoroughly recommend his “Unspoken Sermons” which is available for free on the Gutenberg site. He goes into this idea (among others) in great detail.

  • Yes, and I would add that the Pharisees were influenced by the Persian farsi-speaking Zoroastrians, which is where they get their name from, who also held to a fiery future for the wicked. But I am sure you knew that already

  • Summers-lad

    I was gong to make a similar comment. I agree with Keith that the biblical basis for eternal torment is weak – certainly a lot weaker than the alternatives – but basing the argument on OT silence effectively throws heaven out too.
    I don’t agree that eternal life with God and Gehenna are corollaries of each other though. One doesn’t require the other, or at least doesn’t require Gehenna to be similarly eternal. Christian faith shouldn’t be dualistic (although it often is). We can have the yin without the yang, if you like.
    And as Nimblewill seems to imply below, there can be a hell/Gehenna whose purpose is to purify, not to punish without end.

  • Iain Lovejoy

    I don’t believe in an eternal hell either – Gehenna in the Jewish tradition is not in principle eternal (although some Jewish thought says for a relative or vanishing few it is) and Jesus was Jewish. My point is merely that if you start believing in some sort of eternal reward after death, a necessary corollary is that something has to be done about the bad guys after death also. Gehenna, a place where they account for their misdeeds and are reformed before they get to join the good guys in heaven, is one such solution (and I think the one Jesus refers to). Casting them into the eternal waste bin or wiping them out entirely are others.

  • Summers-lad

    Understood, and I agree that “something has to be done about the bad guys”. A question which has bounced around in my mind for a while though is that as every one of us is to some extent bad, what purification do we have to go through if we have already been forgiven? Keith gave his answer in his previous post, but I haven’t come to a definite view on it.

  • Ron Swaren

    What about Shadrach, Meshach and that other guy? They would have burned up, right? Maybe there are some distant references. Then there was the burning bush. (Not a GWB effigy).

  • Silverwolf13

    The last Old Testament book dates from 400 b.c.e.? Maccabees covers the rebellion against Greek rule circa 160 b.c.e. And there is doubt on the dating of some Wisdom literature, particularly Job. Errors like this show a carelessness in the writer that casts doubt on the whole piece.

  • rationalobservations?

    It’s interesting that no historical evidence supports the fables of the OT bible and there is no historical trace of “Jesus” from within the time in which the centuries later written legends of “Jesus” are set.

    It’s also telling that the “Father forgive them….” quote is absent from the oldest 4th century originated bible (Codex Sinaiticus – online since 2008) along with over 14,000 other discrepancies between the prototype bible and those later versions in circulation today.

  • Justafoolagain

    The best and true explanation of where hell originated is said by Bishop Spong.
    Regards
    DL
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SF6I5VSZVqc

  • Justafoolagain

    I like the honesty of Job 2;3 where god admits to being moved by Satan to do evil without a just cause.
    God admitting to being a sinner.
    Christians do not want to admit that fact.
    Regards
    DL

  • Justafoolagain

    That works if thinking esoterically or mystically.
    That is not what Christians do and that is why they see a second death, after purposeless torture in hell, in the lake of fire.
    The foolish literal reading of myths causes all kinds of problems for Christians.
    Regards
    DL

  • David Cromie

    I never thought I would agree with a bishop.

  • Justafoolagain

    He is one of the few preachers and clergy who is not a perpetual liar.
    Regards
    DL

  • Gehenna is not where anyone goes after they die. It’s the valley where the Israelites burned their children to Molech and later it’s the same valley where invading armies piled the bodies of people who resisted their attacks.

  • Sheol = The Grave [where everyone – good or bad – ends up]

  • Nimblewill

    I agree Keith. But teaching our people what Jesus said and meant when He used the term would go a long way.

  • Spencer Bradford

    Seems to me that Jesus as apocalyptic prophet wasn’t constrained about image of eternal punishment in his parables, nor Paul with the Thessalonian church in his earliest letters. Hell emerged as a theological postulate for divine justice for oppressed, martyred people during Greek occupation of Palestine, as apocalyptic perspective took fuller shape. Jesus and early church expanded on it. Now, whether the parabolic imagery of Jesus and the apocalyptic imagery of Paul and John constitute sufficient basis for the doctrines of hell developed in later centuries by councils and theologians is a legitimate point of discussion and debate. But that Jesus and first apostles would assert a final judgment and divine retribution upon the wicked (however those wicked are identified and specified) is entirely credible in their historical context and as attested prima facie by documentary evidence of the New Testament, notwithstanding the tension with portrayals of divine mercy and redemptive mission in those same documents. If some traditional teaching about hell makes God seem small and petty, some modern rejection of hell makes God seem small, pallid, negligent and nicely suburban. Not saying I’m certain about hell, by any measure, but I’m sure as hell that Giles is muchly wrong in his portrayal of its place in history and spirituality. In the face of Sunni Syrians killing Kurdish families, the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, and the millions of African corpses cast into the Atlantic during the middle passage for more than three centuries, there are days that early Christian apocalyptic hopes for an accounting have great appeal.

  • AntithiChrist

    One of the best things about writing fan fiction, based on prior fiction, is that you can change pretty much any detail you want. So kudos on ditching the morally reprehensible “h ell” idea.

  • Elephile

    The term Gehenna was used only to people who lived close enough to Jerusalem to know where and what Gehenna was. It was not a concept, it was a real place, and that place had nothing to do with torment. The corpses of criminals who had been executed were thrown there so, although it wasn’t somewhere you wouldn’t want to end up, it also wasn’t something you would experience.

    The Old Testament, as well as Jesus and the apostles, did not speak of any kind of afterlife. What they did speak of was the resurrection of all, and that was the only way the dead would ever experience anything again. Jesus was clear that no one goes to heaven, and this is echoed by Peter on the day of Pentecost. As for “Hell”, the concept never appears in the Bible.

    Our real hope has nothing to do with us going anywhere; it is that God will make his home in the cosmos, pouring himself (Love) into it, making all things right, bringing complete reconciliation and healing to all, and giving life beyond anything we could imagine to everyone and everything that has ever existed and will ever exist.

  • Mark
  • David Cromie

    The KJV is very fond of ‘hell’, but so what?

  • Newton Finn

    Much of what Keith Giles wrote deeply resonates with me, with what little I have come to know of God and ultimate things in some 70 years of living, 40 as an ordained minister. Jesus, as best I can glean, did use the intertestamental “paradise vs. fire” picture of the afterlife in his parables and other teachings, so I’ll be eager to read Giles’ follow up piece on this subject. He’s already pointed out that Jesus’ last words on the issue, uttered from the cross, was a plea to Abba for forgiveness. I concur with Giles, if this is where he is going, that this plea is likely universal, goes far beyond the particular Roman officials and soldiers who crucified him. Did Jesus, as a fully incarnate human being, change his mind about the afterlife as his own life was ending? This would be in accord with his belief that revelation was open-ended, that “a scribe trained for the Kingdom of Heaven brings out of his storeroom treasures old and new.”

  • HelenaConstantine

    The reason Jesus liked hell so much (and you more ignore than deny this in your post) is that he saw that there was no way to punish the rich for the structure of sin that they control on earth. So, if god is just, they will have have to punished once they leave the earth. it’s eternal, because the system of domination and oppression he was fighting against was eternal.

    (Notice that Jesus does not say sinners go to hell, he says the rich go to hell: Lazarus’ dives goes there precisely because he is rich and acts like a rich man, while a rich man can enter heaven as easily as a camel can pass through the eye of a needle).

    (As a second aside, I always thought it was interesting what Abraham says in Dives and Lazarus: If the law and the prophets aren’t enough, why would sending back a dead man convince anyone? Very likely an original saying of Jesus, since I don’t think Luke would have thought of it on his own condescending what he wrote a few chapters alter).

  • Justafoolagain

    “Jesus, as best I can glean, did use the intertestamental “paradise vs. fire” picture of the afterlife in his parables and other teachings,”
    ???
    It seems you have forgotten much of what Jesus taught.
    Then again, preachers are not comfortable preaching the truth to their sheeple.
    I wrote this to refute the false notion that Gnostic Christians do not like matter and reality that the inquisitors propagated to justify their many murders of my religions originators. It shows that Christians should actually hate matter and not Gnostic Christians.

    The Christian reality.
    1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    Gen 3; 17 Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.
    ———–

    The Gnostic Christian reality.
    Gnostic Christian Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all.
    [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”

    “If those who attract you say, ‘See, the Kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you.

    If they say to you, ‘It is under the earth,’ then the fish of the sea will precede you.

    Rather, the Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you.

    [Those who] become acquainted with [themselves] will find it; [and when you] become acquainted
    with yourselves, [you will understand that] it is you who are the sons of the living Father.

    But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty.”

    As you can see from that quote, if we see God’s kingdom all around us and inside of us, we
    cannot think that the world is anything but evolving perfection. Most just don’t see it and live in poverty. Let me try to make you see the world the way I do.

    Here is a mind exercise. Tell me what you see when you look around. The best that can
    possibly be, given our past history, or an ugly and imperfect world?

    Candide.
    “It is demonstrable that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end.”

    That means that we live in the best of all possible worlds, because it is the only possible world, given all the conditions at hand and the history that got us here.
    That is an irrefutable statement given entropy and the anthropic principle.

    Regards
    DL

  • Justafoolagain

    Hi.
    May I comment on this.
    “So, if god is just,”
    You use if as if you are not sure.
    Are you sure god is just and if so, would you like to argue for this?
    I ask because whenever I ask Christians to debate god’s morality and justice, they always run away.
    I guess because they cannot.
    Here, since you are talking heaven and hell, we could look at the moral issues involved.
    Most Christians I chat with are male.
    Perhaps you, as a female, have more balls than the males who run away.
    Cowards can never be moral. Are you brave enough to face the truth?
    Regards
    DL

  • HelenaConstantine

    I hope you can find a Christian. I’ve only ever seen two or three. I’m an atheist myself. I suppose that Jesus supposed god to be just

  • Justafoolagain

    Darn.
    To your last.
    I don’t know, but he sure retired him quickly when he ascended to heaven and took over the judgement seat.
    You don’t retire the old man if he is doing a good job.
    You are right about Christians. They are becoming rare. Especially the decent apologists.
    All that seems to be around are the deflectors who never deal in honest debates or discusions.
    Regards
    DL

  • ProchDolor

    Contempt and torment are two different things–with contempt being much closer to the OT term “sheol” (separation).

  • Newton Finn

    I interpret your verses from John, and there are many similar verses in the NT, as drawing a sharp distinction between worldliness (lust, greed, pride, vanity, hunger for power, etc.), characterized (and summarized) as “the kingdom of this world,” and the polar opposite values of “the Kingdom of God/Heaven,” which stark juxtaposition was the principal theme of Jesus teaching. I have respect for some of the Gnostic traditions, as best we can reconstruct them, and regret that they were exterminated after the church married the empire that murdered its founder. Sad story all around.

  • Justafoolagain

    I don’t think I see the polar opposite you see.
    The son’s of god lusted after our women just prior to Noah’s flood. God himself coveted Mary a major lust, greed for all souls, pride Yahweh had for Jesus ands his other creations, vanity I put with his pride, as well as god’s hunger for power.
    Look again for the firdt time my friend and know that god id made in our image with all the negative as well as positive attributes.
    Regards
    DL

  • Steven Smith

    I think an eternal hell is not needed by an almighty God, but maybe a purifying fire (with suffering included) is. Any child could tell you that just because you are forgiven doesn’t mean you are actually pure and holy.

  • I wish my name was Fred

    The people who write these articles need to study the bible more. The Lake of Fire is just at the end of times, it’s the final procession of being in helll, at the time of judgement, then souls will be cast there. The OT often mentions the time of judgement and day of the Lord etc. If there is no torment in the after life, then why have a day of judgement for the souls and angels?

    The OT mentions the bottomless pit and or pit, sometimes referred to as the abyss. Sheol also, which can mean grave but is also a place for the dead.

    As for the Jews copying the Greeks, Hades is not quite like helll. And how do you know the Greeks didn’t copy the Jewish books? Who copied who?

  • Malissa

    Giles alluded to two other Christian views on Hell. They are conditionalism and universalism. He didn’t say (in this article) which one is correct. In other words, he didn’t say that the wicked would not suffer AT ALL. I don’t know if you noticed, but he mentioned other articles where he explains more Scripture passages about hell and the afterlife. There are links to those articles at the bottom of this article. This article was not intended to be a comprehensive study on Hell.
    Many scholars who HAVE studied the Bible extensively (like Giles) and openly and honestly searched with the understanding that God is Love, have concluded that the Bible never says that the wicked will suffer endlessly in an “undead” state forever. And furthermore, it is slandering our heavenly Father to insist otherwise.
    Why do some Christians so staunchly defend a middle English king’s book that was deliberately translated with an authoritarian and threatening slant, when many passages clearly contradict other Scripture? If you can simultaneously believe that God loves us and that He will torture us forever if we disobey Him, are you sure you know what love is?

  • I wish my name was Fred

    “Middle English King’s book?” I don’t remember referencing the KJV, strange.

    Try these scriptures.

    Mat 8:11
    11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” NIV

    Heaven is eternal here, so therefore logic would imply that the opposite is eternal. Thus the comparison.

    Revelation 20:10
    10 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” NIV

    Rev 21:8
    8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” NIV

    So, Rev 20:10 implies that the Lake of Fire is an eternal place. Rev 21:8 Tells us human souls go there also. And again logically we can deduce this is an eternal state of being, you could argue what a ‘second death’ is, but no where in the scripture does is say our souls are not immortal and will die.

    God may be love, but evil souls will not be allowed into the presence of the Lord.

  • Malissa

    I agree that evil souls cannot enter Heaven, but why must God punish them endlessly? It seems to me that the Creator of the universe would be smart enough to figure out something else to do with them.
    The Bible says that only those of us who love and obey God will experience eternal life. The belief that lost souls never expire comes from the Greeks, as well as the belief in eternal punishment.
    Sorry, I’m not a big fan of the NIV either. The “everlasting, for ever and ever torment” passages are mistranslated. Tradition plays a bigger role in translation and interpretation than most Christians will admit.
    Also, your “Heaven is forever, so Hell is too” claim is unbiblical dualism. The Bible says that in the end, God will create a new heaven and a new EARTH. Earth, not hell, is Heaven’s counterpart.
    I would recommend spending some time on rethinkinghell.com, but I have my doubts that you really want to learn anything new.

  • I wish my name was Fred

    Earth is Heaven’s counterpart? Which translation did you think you read that from? Now you’re just babbling nonsense. It will be the same Earth, it will only be ‘new’ as in different, the meek shall inherit the earth, the lion will lay down with the lamb. And the sinners and evil people will not be permitted to live in the new Jerusalem, or the new Earth. Souls are eternal and an argument could be made they even existed before birth. No where does the bible say souls die, to the contrary it says they live for ever. Let scripture interpret scripture, it may not always state the obvious, try to use some logic.

    As far as the Greeks go, they copied their beliefs from other Indo-European and Semitic religions and mythologies. And again, Hades is nothing like the biblical after life, nor is the Greek heaven, which very few ever got to go to. And most souls in Hades are not being tormented for sins, it’s just a place for the dead that’s not fun place to be.

    To say the Jews copied from them is an outlandish and unproven statement. Aphrodite was just another form of Astarte or Ishtar, another fertility goddess. The Father and Mother gods and goddesses predate the Greeks too, their stories are entertaining but their pantheon and core beliefs are no different than many other pagan societies. The Greeks copied others, not the Jews. BTW Alexander the Great didn’t conquer Israel/Palestine until the fourth century BC, most if not all of the OT had already been written by then.

    Your problem is not with the translations, but with what the scriptures actually say.