01 December 2002              
A Prayer 
of Jesus  
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will


2. What are your views on hell?

We can know nothing about it other than what we can learn from the utterances of Jesus, who spoke of it many times.  You may have examined this page  where I have collected his words concerning judgment, that include many references to what we would interpret as hell.

There are several things to consider:

1. The Father is merciful.  That is one of the most persistent themes of Jesus.


[7] Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.


[36] Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
2. The Father is righteous and just.  For this reason, Jesus assesses our prospects of divine judgment as follows:


[2] For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.
3. The Father is first of all a Father whose love is measureless.


[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
4. As the texts collected at the above link on judgment indicate, Jesus did nothing to relax or lessen the fearful picture of hell as a place of torment by fire. But he also majored on the wonderful reward  to come to all who believe in him and the Word he delivered in the world.


    [11] "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
    [12] Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
5. Whatever the details of hell, the judgment of individual souls as being worthy or unworthy of it has one criteria, and one only:

[24] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.


    [51]  Truly, truly, I say to you, if any one keeps my word, he will never see death.


[48] He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day.
6. Finally, there is something to consider, something that Jesus doubtless understood clearly but never broached because humans were then and are not now equipped to conceive of it.  This is the fact that physicists are just now discovering that time as we know it in this world has severe limitations. It seems to be so much a part of the fabric of space and energy that comprises the cosmos as to lose its existence apart from the creation.  In that case, Eternity cannot be rightly conceived as unending time if, apart from the creation, there is no time.  Having only the experience of time, we have no mental tools for conceiving such an "eternal" state.  "Eternal punishment" may have no reference whatever to the passage of time.  We think temporally of the Father and all things eternal as "without beginning or end."  It is helpful and enlightening to see, therefore, that if whatever is eternal has no end, it also has no beginning. Applying this thought to "eternal torment" may lessen the offense of the thought that the God of mercy is capable of subjecting sinners to a never ending torture.  
As for me, it seems prudent to be prepared according the the counsel of Jesus and the Holy Spirit by relying on his Word so as not to be subjected to that torment, but rather to be blessed with the reward.  And I take Jesus as my sole authority because he makes sense of the experience of my life in this world as no one else has or can, and It is most heartening to know that genius is not required to comprehend the Way of him who said,


[25] I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes;.
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