In previous articles we tried presenting a more spiritual picture of heaven, minus the harps, angel wings and fluffy clouds. This begs the question, could the reality of hell also be different than what many of us grew up with? The classic imagery of fire and brimstone appeals to our bodily senses but is that the reality or is it just a flesh oriented deterrent? There are many who will reject the non literal understanding of hell but for centuries now, the notion of hell being a physical place of fiery torment has been questioned. If heavenly bliss is a spiritual state of existence in sync with God, why could hell not be the exact opposite; a spiritual state of existence against God rather than a place of fire and brimstone? But if hell isn’t a place of fire, why does the Bible describe it that way?
The fiery torments we read of in the Bible may be flesh oriented deterrents intended to drive home the eternal, unchanging agony of living out of harmony with God. Hell is described in terms of agonizing torments of the flesh because that’s what gets the attention of fleshy creatures like ourselves. We of the flesh are woefully inept at perceiving the things of the spirit. We are fallen, fleshy brutes of a lower realm reaching upward to a God we know but cannot comprehend. Fortunately for us, God reaches downward too, most dramatically in the world changing advent of Jesus Christ but in other ways too. The Biblical descriptions of hell as a place of eternal flame are one of those other ways.
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