- Category: A Hell of a Question
Theme Text– ‘Their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men’ (Isaiah 29:13)
1) What do many of the present-day churches preach as punishment for sin?
Preachers warn from their pulpits – ‘If you don’t accept Christ as your Savior, you are condemned for your sins! When you die, you would be sent alive to hell to be tortured forever in raging fire!’
Eternal torment is the ominous warning. Many claim that a fire-proof Satan rules this underworld and that his demons torture the people cast down there.
2) On what basis is this preached?
This torment theory is based on the assumption of an immortal soul (being eternally alive after death). But does that concept have any biblical foundation?
We can’t find any. The Bible rather seems to say the dead are really dead - not alive.
They sleep (1Kings 2:10, Acts 7:60, 1Thess 4:14, 1Cor 15:6 etc.) awaiting the promised resurrection. It talks of neither consciousness, nor pain nor any feeling whatsoever in the grave (Psalm 146:4, Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10).
3) What is the soul’s punishment for sin according to the Bible?
God tells us the penalty for sin - ‘the soul that sinneth, it shall die’ (Ezekiel 18:20).
He sentenced Adam to death for his sin of disobedience. Neither was there a mention of Adam having an immortal soul, nor any threat of it burning eternally. Adam was the soul (Gen 2:7) and he died.
Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).
Yes, death is our punishment.
4) But doesn’t the Bible mention hell fire in many places?
Four words have been translated as hell in the Bible – Sheol, Hades, Gehenna and Tartaroo.
Let’s study them to understand what they mean. And let’s study the lake of fire too. Read further.