What Is Hell Like?

4 Oct

Reaching Up

Now, today, right now, is the time to reach out to the God who made you, loves you and calls you.

Do you believe that Hell is real?

How do you picture such a “place?” What is hell really like?

In my childhood, hell was a place where a holy but somewhat merciless God watched you suffer a punishment of eternal fire, a fire that did not consume or kill, a fire that just ate away at you forever.

I was terrified of God.

In recent years, Hell has been de-emphasized and God’s love and mercy have been happily emphasized. However, we perhaps need a balance, a more realistic appreciation of God’s sovereignty and wisdom. Perhaps we need to consider again St. Paul’s admonition, “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12).

If God is merciful and loving, what is there to fear?

We have Hell to fear – a “place” in which aloneness eternally pierces the soul, in which there is an unrelenting sense of loss and crushing guilt. There we will realize how foolish we were to take God for granted—or to have ignored him and his loving call to good and moral living. There, in Hell, will be a never-ending and never-satisfied hunger and thirst for God, for love, for belonging.

Perhaps this is what is meant by the fires of Gehenna (Mt 5:21-22).

In Hell, you will realize that God did not do this to you. You did it to yourself. In life, you ignored God or maybe “created” him in your own image. Perhaps as did Adam and Eve, you fancied yourself equal to God.

Would it not be silly to aspire to eternal happiness with God when, without genuine repentance, you ignored or denied God in this life?

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