The Question of Hell: Sin Against an Eternal Being

The Question of Hell: Sin Against an Eternal Being May 20, 2024

If You’re Anything Like Me…

You’ve stayed awake at night before, eyes wide-opened, staring at the ceiling, wondering “What if I don’t make it?”

It’s a terrifying feeling. To be clear, my teachers and preachers growing up went to great lenghts no to use Hell as a fear tactic. They genuine cared for us and only sought to inform an accurate picture of the afterlife for us.

Yet, I do think the conversation around Hell in many pockets of the Evangelical Church should look a little different. The bottom line is that it’s an important topic to get our minds around. Jesus talks about Hell more than He does about heaven. It’s unavoidable. My hope here is to give validity to the idea of Hell. I know there is a lot to unpack, and in future articles I may do so. But I hope this is a good beginning.

The Question of Hell

I read a parable of Jesus where he describes a rich man who had all of his comfort and riches here on earth, and a poor man named Lazarus who lacked such luxury. At the end of their lives, they both closed their eyes, and woke up to two very differnt realities. One was in a place of bliss, joy,  hope, satisfaction, and for lack of better terms… Shalom. The other was in a place of darkness and torment. The fire was hot. His thirst couldn’t be quenched. And his desire for water could not be realized. (Check Out Luke 16: 19-31 for the whole parable)

This is one of the most fearful and eye-opening teachings that Jesus has. From carrying crosses, to “hating” our siblings and parents, Jesus was one to ruffle some feathers with His lessons. Yet, the lessons of Hell and gnashing of teeth are among the teachings that challenge many many believers and unbelievers the most.

Afterall, if God is loving, how can he send people to such a place?

If God is just, why such a long time in the pit of despair?

Are You Good Enough?

Now, this question can be answered in many different ways. If you asked a random person on the street if they consider themselves a good person, you would mostly likely get the answer: “Well, yes. Of course.”

Yet the following questions reveal an important insight about the state of humanity:

  • Have you lied?
  • Have you cheated?
  • Have you ever stolen anything?
  • Have you withheld forgiveness from someone or hated someone?
  • Have you lusted or coveted?

If any of these questions is “yes”, then this person has committed what is to be considered sin.

Sin in any sort leads to death, as is pointed to in Romans 6:23. Sin, “missing the mark” in the greek, in and of itself is rebellion against God. It is looking at God’s best for the world, and His order, coming to the conclusion that it is not good enough, and then going one’s own way. It is actively pursuing evil. Thus one who sins rejects the giver of life, the source of goodness, and the standard for moral oughts and ought nots.

This begs the question: Is anyone good enough?

  • Myself? Nope
  • Mother Theresa? Not at all
  • St. Peter? Nope
  • Ghandi?
  • Muhammed?
  • My dear praying mother? No
  • Those who help the poor and homeless? No…
  • You little sister who is as cute as a button? No…
  • Yourself? No.

It’s humbling. Yet no one is good enough. We all fall short of God’s Glory. And we are all in need of a saviour.

Finitude Vs Infinitude

Have you ever been caught sneaking out of your house at night by your parents? What was your punishment? Did you get your gaming system taken away? Were you grounded for an extended period of time? Whatever your punishment was, it was an expression of justice from your parents because of the offense that you caused.

Your parents were finite human beings. They lived in a house or an apartment, in a town, that existed in a state and in a country. That is on a continent. This continent was on a pale blue dot suspended in a beam of sun. And this pale blue dot is a part of a solar system that is a part of a… you get the picture.

Your parents were finite. A finite punishment then followed from your finite parents.

God is Different…

What about God? He is infinite. He exists outside of time and space and matter. God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. He is eternal. To sin against God is not like sinning against your parents. For sinning against a finite being, you receive a finite punishment.

For rebelling against an infinite being… perhaps it follows that the punishment would be infinite. Afterall, if you did not want to follow God’s ways now, and you don’t want to know the Lord now, or one doesn’t want to be with God now, why would God usher them into His kingdom at the end of their lives?

Perhaps it isn’t a matter of God sending people to Hell in the first place. People have chosen their destination in their sin.

And God is good and just in that He allows people to have their choice.

But… Eternal Life is Here

I mentioned Romans 6:23 earlier and wish to continue on with the verse. Paul continues on and says that there is a gift of God that we receive through Jesus. It’s eternal life. It’s life apart from Hell. This life is apart from the justice we deserve because Jesus took that justice upon himself. It is the suffering servant as described in Isaiah 53 whose wounds we are healed. It is when we call on the name of Jesus that we are saved (Romans 10:13).

I want to encourage you to give your life to Jesus. It looks like repenting from fruits of the flesh ((Sin) see Galatians 5: 19-21), and putting your trust in Jesus, God’s Son who died on a cross for your sins and who rose from the grave 3 days later. Know that the free gift of eternal life is given to you when you trust in Jesus.

He alone washes away our sins. And He along is the one’s who’s death paid the debt that we owed.

Much More Can Be Said

And much more will be said. Yet I hope this is a good beginning for us to begin to think about Hell again.

How is the teaching of Hell challenging to you? Leave a comment below!

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