Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ (Matthew 25:41-43)
I often find myself relating the unfortunate event of being stuck in rush hour traffic to “hell on Earth.” Living in Phoenix, I often hear people use the word “hell” to describe the weather during the summer months. And I’m sure we have all seen the bumper sticker referencing “hell” as a final destination for society, courtesy of a hand basket.
Pastor Tim Griffin and Dr. Jason Hiles sat down to discuss if hell was a real place in last week’s Trending Faith, which has led me to challenge my perception and casual reference of the word.
I also had the opportunity to speak with Chris Cunningham, a member of the Spiritual Life team, about this topic:
I find myself running to defend a certain position on hell and whether or not it exists. The truth is, there are a diverse range of opinions within the Christian faith about hell—and most of them have exegetically correct support for their opinions.
At the end of the day, though, hell is not something I can empirically prove the existence of in the way that I can prove the existence of Earth. It’s something that you take on faith.
In “The Great Divorce” C.S. Lewis says: ‘There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.’
Lewis’ point is one we should all take to heart. Jesus spoke of a life lived for the other—a narrow way that few find. But this way is only narrow because the way to enter down this path is to lose yourself, to give up your own life for the flourishing of others, in faith that a greater life is to be had on the other side.
People often associate hell with something so horrific that they don’t want to think about it. They cling to hope that there is a middle ground, perhaps so that they don’t feel guilt or feel justified when they make selfish choices.
Instead of fearing hell or discussing it in a cavalier way, perhaps out of said fear, we should spend our days living for Him and following Jesus’ example.
Want to hear more about this topic? Comment below with your thoughts or email TrendingFaith@gcu.edu.