White Horse Inn Modern Reformation

Hell

Too often discussions of hell go beyond biblical description to alert people to avoid such a dreadful place. The problem here is that hell, rather than God, becomes the object of fear. Think of Jesus’ sober warning: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). Hell is not horrible because of alleged implements of torture or its temperature. Whatever the exact nature of this everlasting judgment, it is horrible ultimately for one reason only: God is present. This sounds strange to those of us familiar with the definition of hell as “separation from God” and heaven as a place for those who have a “personal relationship with God.” But Scripture nowhere speaks in these terms. Quite the contrary, if we read the Bible carefully we conclude that everyone, as a creature made in God’s image, has a personal relationship with God. Therefore, God is, after the fall, either in the relationship of a judge or a father to his creatures. And God, who is present everywhere at all times, will be present forever in hell as the judge. (Adapted from Michael Horton, “Is Hell Separation from God?” Modern Reformation, May/June 2002, p. 18)

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