Heaven and Hell

Listing of questions (click to jump to that question)

1. How can a good God create something bad like hell?
2. Heaven sounds boring. Why should I want to go there?
3. How horrible is hell?
4. What happens to those who never had a chance to hear the Gospel or were not able to make the decision (e.g., an infant died soon after birth)?
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1.  How can a good God create something bad like hell?

Before we discuss hell, let's postulate what hell is. If you believe God to be the essence of all that's good, then hell can be defined as one place where none of those good things exist. In one sense, hell is where God is not or where His characteristics cannot be found.

Now, God did not create hell. People who reject God consciously are in fact telling God that they do not want to be part of the realm where His characteristics are the norm. Unfortunately for them, God honors their wish by not being part of their eternal dwelling place. It's like having many rooms in a building and the owner of the building avoids one room where all the people in that room request that he not be there... It breaks God's heart to see those people not enjoying everything He could offer to them, but He gave them the choice and honors their choice.

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2. Heaven sounds boring. Why should I want to go there?

We think Heaven is boring because we do not know how it's like. Some of us are taught that we will sing for the rest of eternity and do nothing else. That's unlikely the case, since angels don't just sit around and sing all day. In the book of Daniel, it is recorded that Gabriel was busy delivering messages while Michael was busy fighting the devils. I believe many descriptions of Heaven in the Bible are figurative. Imagine a city where pavement is pure gold. Hard to imagine, isn't it, but suppose that is literally the case, then gold will be seen as cheap as dirt here. I think God allowed people to see such imagery because they cannot possible understand Heaven if they see it now, and showing them golden pavement is an indicator of how precious and wonderful Heaven would be like, so wonderful that gold is only good enough to be pavement... I doubt any living "visitors" to Heaven can really describe the real Heaven even if they actually saw it, and God probably let them see an earthly representation of a small component of Heaven that is meant for them to see. After all, if Heaven really can be understood by us, then it's probably not good enough because we can always make improvement to what we imagine.

If you are a doomed pessimist, then here's another quick answer to this question: Hell is far worse!

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3. How horrible is hell?

By our speculation from the first question, I think it's a place where there are no "good" qualities at all.  Using earthly phenomena as examples, we can imagine what it would be like: no passion and pleasure in sex, no excitement in winning a lottery, no feeling in seeing your best friend, or no hope because you know nothing will ever be changed. In short, it's worse than not having milk in your fridge.

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4. What happens to those who never had a chance to hear the Gospel or were not able to make the decision (e.g., an infant died soon after birth)?

God is perfectly fair and just, so those who never had a chance to hear the Gospel must have a way of being saved. Perhaps they will be given a chance to accept Jesus after death...

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Last updated: /2000