Hell No

The doctrine of "eternal torment in hell" has probably done the most damage to Christianity, e.g. "How can God send people to hell where there is eternal suffering?".

Ultimately, I think this comes down to how well you know God. I mean, would God really allow people to be tortured forever in a place run by satan? Really?!?

The Bible however is quite clear on this.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 (KJV)

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
- Revelation 20:14 (KJV)

So there is death, and then there is the second death for the wicked (in the lake of fire).

So where does all the confusion come from then?

The Bible does contain the word hell in some places, but as it turns out these words simply mean things like "grave", or a place called Gehenna (outside of Jerusalem) where the dead were buried (or cremated). If there's ever any confusion about words in the Bible, we need to go back to the original translation, e.g. Greek, Hebrew, etc. Check out www.ecclesia.org for a full study of all the different Greek and Hebrew words used to describe hell.

Some newer Bibles have replaced "hell" with "Hades", but it's the same thing.

The Wicked Shall be Ashes

Satan (the root of sin) and his followers (the branches) will be turned to ashes.

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.
- Malachi 4:1-3 (KJV)

Everlasting Punishment

Some people talk about a verse that talks about "everlasting punishment", and claim that it is evidence for "eternal life in hell".

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
- Matthew 25:46 (KJV)

However, the simple explanation here is that death is everlasting punishment. They are the same thing. The punishment is death, and no one comes back from that (it's death forever).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 (KJV)

And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
- Matthew 25:46 (KJV)

God is not some kind of horrible cruel monster that will torment people for all of eternity!!

How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell; that for the sins of a brief, earthly life they are to suffer torture as long as God shall live.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 535

God is Love, and His anger will eventually end.

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
- Psalms 30:5 (KJV)

Unquenchable Fire

Others refer to a fire that can not be quenched.

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
- Mark 9:44 (KJV)

But that only means that the fire can not be quenched while it hasn't fulfilled its purpose. No one can quench it during that time. Then it will go out by itself.

The same happened with this "unquenchable" fire in Jerusalem.

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
- Jeremiah 4:4 (KJV)

It's not burning anymore today obviously, so the "unquenchable" fire must have gone out at some point.

A similar thing can also be said for the worm that doesn't die.

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
- Mark 9:44 (KJV)

Worms are like maggots, so clearly we're not the worms, as some people have suggested. It simply means that the worm won't die until all is consumed.

The Parable of the Rich Man

Others refer to the parable of the rich man, where heaven seems to co-exist with hell.

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
- Luke 16:19-31 (KJV)

But Jesus uses this illustration to show that even if people were to come back from the dead to warn others, they will still not be listened to. That's the moral of the story.

Also, imagine seeing hell from heaven. You might see your dad/mother/children/friends being tormented. How on earth can that then be heaven?!? That makes no sense to me at all.

Finally, if you were really in hell, you'd probably ask for more than just a fingertip of water on your tongue.


Then people refer to torment that goes on "forever".

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
- Revelation 20:9-10 (KJV)

But please understand that "forever" can refer to both "a finite period", or to "everlasting". It depends on the context. For example: it took me "forever" to get to work this morning, but how long did it take me really? Seems like "forever", right?

Since it says that the fire will devour them, "forever" must therefore refer to a "a finite period" of time.

All that the verse above says is that the devil (and his followers) are in the lake of fire where they will be tormented day and night, then they will die, and then the fire will go out. Then the sin problem will have been dealt with.

Immortality of the Soul?

Others say that our souls are immortal, and that they cannot be destroyed, but that's just not true.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die.
- Ezekiel 18:20 (KJV)

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
- Matthew 10:28 (KJV)

The Wages of Sin is Death

The Bible ultimately does not contradict itself, and in fact, it's quite clear.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Romans 6:23 (KJV)

The terminology used to describe the punishment of the wicked is always the same.

  • But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:17)
  • The soul that sinneth, it shall die (Ezekiel 18:20)
  • For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be (Psalms 37:10)
  • Burn as an oven / All that do wickedly, shall be stubble / Shall be ashes (Malachi 4:1-3)
  • Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28)
  • That whosoever believeth in him should not perish (John 3:16)
  • The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)
  • Devoured them (Revelation 20:9)
  • And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (Revelation 20:14)

It just doesn't get any clearer than that. The "eternal hell" doctrine is a false one.


The only one who wants you to believe in eternal hell is satan, simply because it turns people away from God.

Believing in this lie, will immediately put you in "defense mode" trying to defend a God of Love that lets people suffer for eternity?!? It just doesn't make any sense, and it will do terrible things to your faith, and your understanding of God. God doesn't want to be worshiped out of fear that you might go to hell. He wants you to genuinely love Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Please understand that the wicked don't want to spend eternity together with God, and there's simply nothing further that God can do for them. Their death is an act of mercy from God.

Could those whose lives have been spent in rebellion against God be suddenly transported to heaven and witness the high, the holy state of perfection that ever exists there,-every soul filled with love, every countenance beaming with joy, enrapturing music in melodious strains rising in honor of God and the Lamb, and ceaseless streams of light flowing upon the redeemed from the face of Him who sitteth upon the throne,-could those whose hearts are filled with hatred of God, of truth and holiness, mingle with the heavenly throng and join their songs of praise? Could they endure the glory of God and the Lamb? No, no; years of probation were granted them, that they might form characters for heaven; but they have never trained the mind to love purity; they have never learned the language of heaven, and now it is too late. A life of rebellion against God has unfitted them for heaven. Its purity, holiness, and peace would be torture to them; the glory of God would be a consuming fire. They would long to flee from that holy place. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them. The destiny of the wicked is fixed by their own choice. Their exclusion from heaven is voluntary with themselves, and just and merciful on the part of God.
- Ellen White, The Great Controversy, p. 542.2

God is Love.