At the beginning of time, one simple word changed the fate of mankind forever. “You will NOT surely die,” the serpent told Eve, contradicting God’s warning about eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. She and Adam believed that lie, and just like that they lost their chance to live in paradise forever (Genesis 3).
That three-letter word has the same power today as it did back then, and once again it is being used to deceive people about their fate.
God’s promise of a dark yet fiery hell as punishment for the lawless and disobedient is as clear as His warning in the Garden of Eden. But misguided “evangelical scholars” are lulling people into a false sense of security with another lie: “There will NOT be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
National Geographic recounted this trend toward apostasy in a treatise dubbed “The Campaign to Eliminate Hell.” Strip away all of the article’s highbrow babble about universalism, annihilationism, conditional immortality and eternal conscious torment, and you’re left with a doctrine full of falsehood.
This opening quote, a flashback to something theologian Clark Pinnock wrote in 1990, is the most outrageous: “Everlasting torment is intolerable from a moral point of view because it makes God into a bloodthirsty monster who maintains an everlasting Auschwitz for victims whom he does not even allow to die.”
If Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies covers Bible debates, the revival of the argument that hell does not exist was lost long ago, when Pinnock played the Auschwitz card. Rejecting the truth of an eternal hell is bad enough because souls are at stake, but calling God an immoral, “bloodthirsty monster” is blasphemous.
The damnation deniers complement such inflammatory rhetoric with flawed logic. The National Geographic piece captured their mindset in this series of questions:
Why would a loving God punish a single lifetime of sin with endless lifetimes of torture? And, among sinners, does an adulterer merit the same punishment as a murderer? And what about the billions of people whose only sin was to follow a different faith?
The Bible addresses all of those questions directly. For starters, God is loving and just (Ps. 33:4-5), and justice demands eternal punishment for all who reject God’s loving sacrifice of His own Son (Rom. 6:23). Adultery and murder are both works of the flesh that keep people out of heaven (Gal. 5:19-21) – and thus condemn them to hell. And the billions of people who have not or do not follow Jesus chose to travel the broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13-14).
The best rebuttal, though, is found in the words of Paul: “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor. 1:25).
There will always be “wise” men willing to preach one-sided messages about eternity, and people will flock to them because they promise only happy endings. It is comforting to believe that only heaven is real and that even spiritual losers will get participation trophies on Judgment Day.
But hell is real, too – and it is eternal. It is better to accept that reality now than to believe the same lie as Adam and Eve and be punished forever.