To the Editor:
As human beings, we definitely have an interest in understanding what our Creator says about hell/hellfire.
Jesus mentions different severities of suffering for those who ultimately reject Him. (Luke 12:47, 48) As an example: Two unrepentant persons are finally lost. One murdered two people, one murdered 200. Both receive the penalty of death, but if that was all, it would not be fair. One will suffer more than the other, before death, because of their actions. (Romans 2:5, 6) After their term of punishing, each lost person will be ash. Their smoke will have ascended, “forever and ever.” (Revelation 14:10, 11) They will never be reconstructed. When we burn firewood, the smoke rises and disperses forever and ever. The wood is not eternally burning or existing. It burns for a certain amount of time and then is gone, permanently.
The end result for the lost, however, is the same: death. Only the gift of God is eternal life. He does not force this gift onto the lost against their will. (Romans 6:23, Ezekiel 18:20) Eternal life is only given to those who choose and accept it, in Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) Satan himself is promised eternal death, non-existence, at Jesus’ final victory. (Ezekiel 28:19, Revelation 20:10)
The only aspect of hell/hellfire that is eternal is its outcome: non-existence. Death is the opposite of life, not another dimension of it. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) When hell/hellfire is brought into existence, the lost will have a period of unrepentant suffering and rebellious regret. Then, they will be no more. There is no eternal suffering anywhere, by anyone. Jesus wants a completely happy, healthy universe when this horrifying experiment with sin and crime is over. (Malachi 4:1-3, Obadiah 1:16, Revelation 20:5-15, 21:4)
God’s gift of eternal life is valuable beyond comprehension. May it be ours.