Print a Response to the Skeptic's Annotated Bible: Does Hell Exist?

1. Does Hell Exist?

The answer to the question is no. Hell as most people know it is a Christian adoption of pagan mythology, and isn't a Biblical teaching. The skeptic points out three possible interpretations. Those that don't go to heaven are tormented forever in hell; Those that don't go to heaven, just die; and Everyone goes to heaven after they die. None of these are correct Biblical teachings. The Bible teaches that a few people go to heaven to judge and rule with Christ Jesus, the rest of the people who have ever (or will ever have) lived will either live forever in paradise Earth or suffer everlasting destruction. Not a literal torment, as in hell, but a simple death.

2. God tortures some in hell?

SAB: Yes, God tortures some people forever after they die.

No. Not literally. The Greek basanizo or related terms, can mean being restrained, as in Matthew 18:34 where the tormentors are jailers. (See Revelation reference below in this section #2) In modern colloquialism it is similar to telling someone if they jump off a cliff, they'll be sorry, not meaning sorry in a literal sense because they'll be dead. Romans 6:7. (Compare Translations) The wages of sin are death.

Daniel 12:2 doesn't convey the idea of hell. The meek shall inherit the earth and the disobedient will be destroyed.

Matthew 13:41-42 is a parable about the harvesting of crops after the weeds have been burned, beginning in verse 39. Jesus compares the disobedient to the weeds that would have been thrown into the fire and burned so that the crop may live. Fire was, in Bible times, the most thorough means of destruction.

Matthew 18:8-9 is a reference to Gehenna. Gehenna was a literal place which came to represent spiritual destruction. A figurative everlasting fire.

Matthew 22:1-14, the illustration of the marriage feast, is actually a pretty good account of Christianity. The King (God) invites his subjects (Jews) to the marriage feast of his son (Christ) and bride to be (anointed 144, 000) but they refuse. The first call went out from 29 - 33 CE during missionary work of Jesus' disciples (the King's slaves). The second call began at the wedding dinner (Pentecost 33 CE) and continued to 36 CE but still the subjects refused and even began to kill the slaves of the King. He became enraged and his armies destroyed them (70 CE). Since the subjects of the King had refused, he sent his slaves outside of the city (Jerusalem) to gather any who would attend (Gentiles) beginning in 36 CE. First the Roman army officer Cornelius and his family and continuing to this day. The man without the wedding garment is the apostate, who will be removed and thrown into the darkness. Which brings us to the next verse given by the skeptic:

Matthew 25:41, 46 - Verse 41 is a reference to the lake of fire which is symbolic of everlasting destruction and verse 46 is interesting in that the KJV uses the term everlasting punishment, or in other translations, cutting off. From the Greek kolasin, which literally means "lopping off or pruning."

Mark 9:43-48 is a reference to Gehenna, mentioned above. Gehenna was a literal place which came to represent spiritual destruction. A figurative everlasting fire.

Luke 16:22-24 is the illustration of Lazarus and the rich man. It isn't a literal/historical account. Jesus would later say that no man had ascended to heaven. (John 3:13)

John 5:28-29 in the KJV is a pretty poor translation. Compare John 5:29. Damnation comes from the Greek anastasin kriseos and the Latin resurrectionem iudicii, far more accurately translated as "judgment" or "resurrection to judgment." It is a reference to the resurrection of the unrighteous. (Acts 24:15) Those who have not been given the opportunity to know Jehovah God, though unrighteous, will be resurrected and given the opportunity to do so.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 deals with the judicial punishment of everlasting destruction of the disobedient.

Revelation 14:10-11; 20:10; Revelation 20:14-15 indicates that the wicked are tormented, from the Greek basanizo or related terms, which can mean being restrained, as in Matthew 18:34 where the "tormentors" are "jailers."

3. Heaven or death?

SAB: No, those that don't go to heaven, just die.

This is actually the closest interpretation to the truth according to the Bible. If it were reworded to say those that don't go to heaven or live forever on earth just die it would be correct.

Deuteronomy 29:20 - The book of God's remembrance is used throughout scripture to symbolize him taking note of those who are righteous and those who are not. The righteous to live and the unrighteous to die. This doesn't indicate that the righteous go to heaven or the unrighteous to hell, but that the meek shall inherit the Earth and live forever upon it and the unrighteous will suffer everlasting destruction. Death.

Psalm 1:4-6 - Interesting because the Hebrew word here translated as wind is the Hebrew ruach, which can also be translated as spirit. Not that this implies some spiritual connotation - quite the contrast - ruach simply means any invisible active force like breath, wind, or spirit. Like chaff, the thin covering on wheat and barley which is blown away with the wind after harvest the ungodly will be "blown away" in the end. Useless to a perfect creation without sin.

Psalm 34:16 - Interesting that the "remembrance" being removed can also be translated as the "mention" of them being removed. They are no longer remembered or talked about. Dissolved along with their sin.

Psalm 37:1-2; 37:20 refers to the corrupt evildoers who, through injustice and malice advance while the righteous gain nothing through wrongdoing. Those who rape, murder, steal, cheat and lie to get what they want corrupt the system, or world. Their demise would cease this destructive pattern.

Psalm 69:28 again refers to the book of life, those noted by God as deserving of life in a perfected heaven and earth, free from sin.

Proverbs 10:25 is a variation of both the chaff in the wind and the end of sin, death and destruction. The results of sin may seem like a storm now, but there are better days ahead.

Proverbs 24:20 reflects the sentiment in some verses mentioned earlier. Not only will the wicked be destroyed but the illumination of their works will be a thing of the past. Their corrupt system ended along with its effects.

Obadiah 1:16 - Again, the remembrance and mention of them will be no more. Forgotten.

Romans 6:21, 23 indicate an end to sin, which is disobedience to Jehovah, the creator, and brings death. These are interesting scriptures in the context of a discussion about hell, because if the wages of sin are death, then at death the debt of sin is paid in full. To suffer beyond that in a literal fiery torment would be overcharging. Romans 6:7 makes it clear when it says: "For he who has died has been acquitted from [his] sin."

1 Corinthians 3:17 - It is important to realize what exactly is meant here by the "temple" or "church" of God. It isn't, of course, a building which houses a congregation. It is the congregation itself. The people. As 1 Corinthians 3:9, 16 indicates. In addition to persecutors this may also apply to apostate Christianity who spiritually destroy God's true congregation.

2 Corinthians 2:15-16 - The Roman soldiers would parade victorious through the city of Rome and burn incense in the altars, perfuming the air. To the Romans it was a sweet smell representing honor, promotion and riches. But to their captives it represented the unpleasant reminder that they would be executed at the end of the parade. Likewise, to those who accepted the Christian message and those who reject the message.

Galatians 6:8 - The indulgence of sinful human desires corrupts one in a way that leads to death.

Philippians 3:18-19 - These verses properly convey the idea that the sinful will be destroyed, but don't imply that the righteous will all go to heaven. On an unrelated note, the KJV uses the word cross where torture stake or pole should have been used. Jesus didn't die on a cross.

James 1:15 - A sinful nature leads to destruction and death. Through sin we all die, but if, during a brief life in faith, we avoid a sinful nature which corrupts the spirit as well as the flesh and so there is the hope of a resurrection to eternal life without sin rather than eternal destruction.

James 4:12 - Not everyone agrees with the morality dictated by the lawgiver, whether God or man, but as men we have no authority to question the morality of God. We may still not agree, but God the lawgiver has the authority to judge.

James 5:20 - Interesting because some Christians think that being "saved" is predestined, but this verse along with others considered in this article indicate that the sinful can turn back from destructive ways, and the righteous can turn to sinful ways.

4. Everyone goes to heaven after they die?

SAB: No, everyone goes to heaven after they die.

1 Corinthians 15:12 - This chapter isn't dealing with mankind in general, but rather only those who have "fallen asleep in death in union with Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:18.

1 Timothy 4:10 - Christ gave himself a corresponding ransom for all, but not all will accept it. 1 Timothy 4:10 points this out. Paul said that Jesus was a savior for all men, potentially, but specifically for the faithful.

1 John 2:2 - "Our sins" refers to the sins of the anointed Christians (144, 000) like John himself, who would judge in heaven with Christ, but also the people of the world who have the possibility of resurrection to everlasting life in paradise earth.

5. There is no heaven or hell?

SAB: No, everyone dies. There is no heaven or hell.

Put simply, the Biblical words heaven and hell mean, respectively, high and grave.

Joshua 23:14 - Joshua was dying with the hope of resurrection. God is in hell in the sense that his attention is fixed upon the grave to resurrect the faithful. Like Joshua. (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Amos 9:1-2 Compare; Proverbs 15:11; Psalm 139:8 Compare)

Job 7:9; 14:10-14; 20:7 - At Job 7:9 Job may have been referring to the permanence of death in this world or he might have been pointing out that resurrection was out of his control. At Job 14:10 there is some variation between the Masoretic Hebrew texts and the Septuagint. The former says "Where is he?" and the latter says "he is no more." Compare Job 14:10. But, interestingly, at Job 20:7 there is no such variation. One thing is sure, Job believed in the possibility of resurrection. (Job 14:13-15)

Psalm 6:5; 31:17; Psalm 88:5; 115:17; Ecclesiastes 3:19-21; Ecclesiastes 9:2-6; Isaiah 38:18 all have to do with death and the grave. In the case of hell, it is really easy to sort the theological - the pagan influenced apostate Christian doctrine - from the scriptural truth.

First, the wages of sin are death, not a literal torment in hell. (Romans 6:7) The soul is mortal/destructable so it can't be tortured literally forever in hell. (Ezekiel 18:4 compare; Matthew 10:28) The Biblical soul is the life/blood of any breathing animal or human. The Hebrew word translated soul literally means "breather." The immaterial soul of pagan origin, (Socrates/Plato) as well as spirit creatures - Satan and his demons - wouldn't be harmed by literal fire. (Exodus 3:2) Hell and death are thrown into the figurative lake of fire which is symbolic of everlasting destruction. Meaning they are no more. Destroyed. (Revelation 20:14) The meek inherit everlasting life on earth. (Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5)