For about a year or two, I have had what I will readily admit is a bizarre obsession with the “theology” of hell.
I’ve written about it. A lot. But not in a few months. For the most part, I’ve been whining about how, in most evangelical circles, “hell” (i.e., what is it? who goes there? for how long? what happens to you while you’re there?) is seldom discussed any longer. Indeed, it sometimes seems like it is anathema to bring up the subject.
So…at risk of developing a reputation as someone who is overly obsessed on this topic, below, I have tried to summarize the implications of what I believe was the mainstream evangelical view about 30-40 years ago. No one would quite say it in this many words, but it seems to be the inescapable conclusion insofar as the questions of sin, hell, and salvation are concerned:
The vast majority of human beings are destined to be tormented by God in the most unimaginable ways possible for all of eternity.
To put it mildly, this seems to be a very grim perspective, particularly for people who claim to be bringing “good news” into the Earth. Will this be the true nature of the universe – the ultimate reality – for virtually all of humanity that has lived, that is now living, and that will ever live?
My working theory is that a lot of folks are uncomfortable with this way of thinking, but they aren’t sure there is an alternative that is faithful to scripture. On the other hand, part of the reason there seems to be no viable alternative may be precisely because everyone has stopped talking about it. A lot of street-level evangelical theology has changed in the last 20 years or so. Perhaps the thinking on this subject may have also changed if it were only discussed more openly.
What do you think? Has the time come to have a long, hard look at this subject? Or should I just get over the whole thing, because everything that needs to be said has already been said?
At this point, I’m not even asking anyone to take a position here. I’m just wondering if anyone else thinks its worth talking about…