A growing movement within Evangelical circles is the denial of Hell as a literal place of eternal conscious torment. As a religious or spiritual person, one of the most difficult concepts to grapple with is the notion that a loved one may be in Hell. Even the most devout believers can struggle with this idea, not merely because they doubt the Scriptures, but because of our human weakness. We all have moments of doubt and unbelief, and during tough times, it is natural to rely on our own human reasoning and desires instead of trusting in God.
However, we must acknowledge that doubting God’s word is a sin that demands repentance and we must confront the reality that the concept of a literal, eternal Hell is present in Scripture. There are numerous passages that make clear its existence. Jesus, Himself speaks of Hell in the Gospels, and His descriptions are clear and unambiguous.
Jesus’s language depicting Hell is uncompromising and resolute—it unequivocally portrays Hell as an abode of never-ending anguish and torture, where sinners face eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46) with unrelenting flames (Mark 9:43). Hell is a realm of absolute obscurity, where wailing and grinding of teeth prevail (Mark 8:12), and where the worm endures perpetually (Mark 9:48).
Furthermore, Hell is also described in comparable terms by other biblical writers. John portrays those who worship the beast and accept his mark as enduring excruciating pain from fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb (Revelation 14:9-11). Additionally, the Apostle Paul declares that those who are ignorant of God and do not obey the gospel will suffer perpetual ruin, banished from the Lord’s presence and the splendor of His might (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).
These descriptions leave no room for doubt or equivocation.
The standard of evaluation used to determine the goodness of our loved ones is infinitely short of God’s perfect, holy, and righteous standard. Our loved ones, whether they are suicide committers, brothers, or friends struggling with depression and substance abuse, are all transgressors of the law of our Creator. They deserve to go to Hell, just like you and I deserve to go to Hell. We cannot rely on our human emotions to reject the reality of Hell.
Eternal conscious torment is a necessary consequence for those who reject God, because sinning against an infinite God is an infinite offense that requires an infinite punishment. This means that any sin against the infinitely holy and just God is a heinous, infinite offense that deserves an everlasting punishment because God’s wrath cannot ever be fully satisfied in a finite being. Eternal conscious torment is an inescapable outcome of sin as it reflects the infinite nature of God’s holiness and justice, and the severity of the offense of sin against Him.
It is important to remember that Hell is an expression of God’s justice and righteousness. God is perfect, holy, and righteous and has given fallen humanity the opportunity to love and obey Him through His Son Jesus. Those who reject his forgiveness and grace will stand unrighteous before Him and will receive eternal punishment in Hell for their disobedience that they not only deserve but desire. The Bible clearly states that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
Hell also provides the believer with a glimpse of the darkness and despair that we deserve, providing a contrast to the glory of God. When the saints in glory see the doleful state of the damned, it will heighten their sense of the blessedness of their own state, so exceedingly different from it. They will see the dreadful miseries of the damned and consider that they deserved the same misery, and that it was sovereign grace, and nothing else, which made them so much to differ from the damned.