Lately this question has permeated our culture because of a new popular book creating more questions than it does answers. The belief in hell is a foundational truth in Christianity.
Jerry Walls, in his book The Logic of Hell, says, “The doctrine of hell is disappearing from Christian beliefs . . . It’s not just liberals who don’t believe, but also many Christians”. But what happens to our culture if the foundations of faith are abandoned?
“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Psalm 11:3–4 (ESV)
Two modern mindsets pervading our culture are universalism and annihilation (or total destruction). Universalism in short means that everyone will eventually be saved. Annihilation means that all will be lost; those who die without God will cease to exist altogether as body and soul are destroyed. It’s interesting to see the bipolar extremes of these two views. One is utter hopefulness, the other hopelessness.
One of the rules of Bible interpretation is the Law of Frequency – which refers to how many times something is mentioned. There are over 162 references in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) that warn of Hell. Over 70 of these references are attributed to Jesus. According to the gospels, Jesus spoke more on Hell than on any other subject. How can anyone deny that Jesus meant what He said, when He said it so many times?
If there is no hell, then there is no justice, no consequences, and no accountability. We don’t have to carry out personal justice because God will take care of it. If there is no hell, then people like Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini all get away with it. Every mass murderer, rapist, pedophile, everyone who lives in sin gets off and living for God means nothing. We would earnestly hope that there could be a possibility of repentence from such who deserve justice but what if they don”t repent? Will God save them in the life to come? This is what some suggest today. Although Jesus spoke to the Pharisees these words below, I believe it applies to anyone who refuses to follow Him:
"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"
If there is no Hell, there is no accountability, because sin becomes trivialised. If God doesn’t ultimatly hold you accountable for your actions, then you can do whatever you want.
If there is no God, everything is permitted. Fyodor Dostoevsky
A low view of hell lowers the view of sin and immorality. Is it any wonder why it seems that the moral conscience has all but disappeared from our culture? It has even seeped into our Christian culture.
Dostoevsky further wrote, “If you were to destroy the belief in immortality in mankind, not only love but every living force on which the continuation of all life in the world depended, would dry up at once,” Fyodor Dostoevsky.
It is a universal belief that every action has consequences. If this is true, then we must be careful to suggest otherwise.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Proverbs 9:10 ESV