Hellfire and Damnation, Part 1: Don’t Know Much About Hell

The Tides of God

Dante and Virgil in Hell_DoreHELL is a topic that seldom intrudes into any civil discourse, popular discussion, or casual dialogue. Want to start an argument or stop a good conversation or just make people uncomfortable? Bring up the subject of eternal damnation. Even Christians avoid the topic, like shying away from a strange uncle who is part of the family, but no one wants to admit it. Popular avoidance mechanisms include “annihilationism”, in which Hell isn’t exactly frozen over, but eventually it, and everyone in it, melts away to nothing; and “universalism”, in which Hell is merely temporary low-rent lodgings for the down-and-not-yet-redeemed.

Bosch garden of earthly delights_hellI do not want to be flippant about this—I am persuaded Hell is a reality we must come to terms with. But a glaring problem is that much of what we think we know about the nature of Hell doesn’t come from the Bible, it comes from Medieval, Renaissance, and later…

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