"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)
|Volume Five, Number Two||Summer 1997|
[Editor's Note* Following are questions asked by Blake Nightfall on the local BBS in Sullivan, along with my responses.]
"Why would a God who is the greatest personification of love allow a firey place of torment to exist?"
Response: Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41). It was never God's desire for man to spend eternity there (2 Pet. 3:9). However, if man refuses to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ then he passes up the only way back to God (Heb. 10:26), and will have to spend eternity in hell because he has refused to have his sins removed.
"If hell was a place of torment why would a perfect loving God allow his son, a perfect sinless man, to be tortured for three days before his resurrection?" (Acts 2:31,32).
Response: The English word "hell" in the KJV is translated from different words.  In Matthew 25:41, the word "hell" is translated from "Geheena" and refers to the eternal damnation of the wicked.  In 2 Peter 2:4 the word "hell" is translated from "Tartarus" and has reference to the place for the wicked in "hades" where they await the judgement.  The word "hell" in Acts 2:31 is translated from "hades" which is the realm of the unseen for the dead to await judgement. However, Jesus told the thief on the cross that he would be with him in "paradise" which is the place for the righteous in the unseen realm of "hades" (Lk. 23:43). Thus Jesus was not in "tartarus" but rather "paradise." The Old Testament also translates "hell" from the word "sheol" which has reference to either "hades" or the "grave" (the context must be the determining factor) (Psa. 16:10--hades; Psa. 18:5--the grave). Christ was not tortured for three days. He was in the hadean realm (in paradise) for three days before his resurrection.
"How can you burn forever when you have no thoughts, feelings, or anything?" (Ecc. 9:5,10).
Response: Solomon was writing from the standpoint of what he saw of the dead. The body feels nothing, it knows nothing. This statement does not refer to what the soul (which lives on) thinks or feels. The soul will be given an incorruptable body (1 Corinthians chapter 15). This body will feel and the soul will think.
"For those who believe the soul lives on forever after death... Ezekiel 18:4- The soul that is sinning-it itself will DIE."
Response: The death spoken of here is spiritual death, not physical. When one sins, he dies (is separated from God) spiritually.
CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.