Things You Thought Were True
Part 8
“A Loving God Would Never Send Someone to an Eternal Hell—Is That True?”

In a recent survey, it was found that 35% of Baptists; 54% of Presbyterians, 58% of Methodists, and 60% of Episcopalians do not believe in a literal place called hell! 71% of the 8 leading seminaries in the United States do not believe in either Heaven or Hell.

Yet in the New Testament alone, the “eternality of Hell” is mentioned 126 times. While Jesus spoke of Heaven only once, He spoke of Hell 11 times!

Yet all of the top cults teach against a Biblical hell.

Christian Science, founded by spiritist Mary Baker Eddy, teaches that there is no death. They teach that heaven and hell are states of thought, not places. People experience their own heaven or hell right here on earth.

New Age cult leader Sun Myung Moon of The Unification Church taught that God will not desert any person eternally. By some means…they will be restored.

Mormonism, founded by occultist Joseph Smith, taught that the punishment of an endless hell is a false doctrine. He called it unscriptural, unreasonable, and revolting.

Jehovah’s Witnesses founder Charles Taze Russell, taught that the wicked are forever annihilated—annihilationism. The teaching about a fiery hell, said Russell, can rightly be designated as a teaching of demons.

In today’s modern culture three major false teachings on hell are embraced by millions—universalism, annihilationism, and purgatory.

UNIVERSALISM—teaches that everyone will eventually be saved as Christ died for the whole world. They ignore the stipulation that one must repent and place faith in Him in order to be saved.

ANNIHILATIONISM—teaches that unbelievers will not experience an eternity of suffering in hell, but will instead be “extinguished” after death. Their soul will simply cease to be.

PURGATORY—the Catholic doctrine that teaches that purgatory is a place of temporary punishment for the spirits of dead people for the evil acts they did while they were alive. Those sins must be paid for by temporary suffering before they are able to go to heaven.

As you can see, there are a lot of different beliefs about hell. I believe one of Satan’s greatest goals is to dupe people into believing that Hell is not real, that a God of love would never send anyone to hell.

So does He? Actually, He does and He doesn’t. Jesus said in John 3:18:

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed (placed faith in) the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

So has God decreed that those that die in their sins and reject Christ will be sent to a place called hell? Yes!

But does He randomly select who will go and who won’t? No.

According to Jesus, WE decide whether or not we will go there based on our acceptance or rejection of Him!

FACT: We are all born with a spiritually terminal disease called sin. There is only one cure. It is a personal choice to accept that cure. Jesus is the only cure. God doesn’t make us a sinner. He provides a cure for the sin. It’s up to us to receive it.

So that said, let’s DEFINE HELL as taught in Scripture:

The Bible teaches that Hell is a place of eternal, conscious torment for everyone who does not trust in Jesus Christ. Hell involves final separation from God’s mercy and from God’s people, unending experience of divine judgment, and just retribution for sin.

For most of church history across every branch of Christianity, Christians have understood the Bible’s teaching about final judgment and Jesus’s teaching about hell to describe a place of endless conscious torment.

We note that Jesus himself speaks more about hell than any other figure in scripture. Indeed, except for James 3:6, the only person even to use the word hell in scripture is Jesus.

• “Whoever shall say, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the hell of fire” (Matt. 5:22).
• “It is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell” (Matt. 5:29, 30).
• “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).
• “It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the hell of fire” (Matt. 18:9).
• “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel about on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves” (Matt. 23:15).
• “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?” (Matt. 23:33).
• “If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43).
• “If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell” (Mark 9:45).
• “If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47–48).
• “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4–5).


The term rendered as “hell” is transliterated as Gehenna from the Greek word gheh’-en-nah. Jesus calls it the “hell of fire” (Matt. 5:22, 18:9).

The word gehenna means “Valley of [the sons of] Hinnom.” This was a real valley south of Jerusalem where some of the ancient Israelites “passed their children through the fire” (sacrificed their children) to the Canaanite god Molech.

In later years, Gehenna continued to be an unclean place used for burning trash from the city of Jerusalem. So Jesus used Gehenna as an illustration of hell—the place where children were sacrificed and trash was burned. What a picture of hell!

In Mark’s Gospel also, Jesus describes hell as a place where the worm never dies (Mark 9:48a) and the fire is never quenched (Mark 9:43, 48b).

When Jesus speaks of the undying worm and unquenchable fire, he alludes directly to the prophecy found in the final chapter of Isaiah, which says:

“Then they will go forth and look
On the corpses of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm will not die
And their fire will not be quenched;
And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

Both the worm and the fire are vivid images of the horror that is to come for the damned.


Eternal conscious torment has been the majority position of the Christian church throughout its 2,000-year history.

Jesus himself teaches that the final judgment will involve an irrevocable separation between the “sheep” and the “goats”—Matt. 25: 41-43; 46:

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me…46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

The apostle Paul says that those who experience “eternal destruction” will do so “away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2Thess. 1:9). There will be no post-mortem (purgatorial) opportunities to be reconciled to God in order to bridge this separation.

“It is given unto a man to die once, and after this the judgment.”—Heb. 9:27

Unending experience indicates that the punishments of hell will be consciously experienced forever and will not abate with the annihilation or eventual salvation of the damned.

Jesus clearly said that the devouring worm “will not die” and the consuming fire “will not be quenched.”

As we read, Jesus himself says that the “goats” are “cursed” and are forced into “eternal fire” and “eternal punishment” (Matt. 25:41, 46). When God “curses” someone, it means that he has called down harm or misfortune upon them. The nature of the misfortune is summed up in the phrases “eternal fire” and “eternal punishment.”

The term translated as “eternal” is the Greek word aiōnios, which is an adjective that means “pertaining to an age.” In this context, the age in view is the age to come, and that age is without end. Thus the fire refers to the painful experience that must be endured for time “without end.”

So, is hell real? Yes!

Is it true that a loving God could never send someone to a place of eternal, conscious torment? No!

Will He? Yes and no. He has decreed that rejection of His Son results in banishment to eternal hell. But each person’s eternal destiny is decided by them.

Email my notes