The Good News !   and also   The Bad News?
What will happen in Hell?  –  Will it be
eternal misery, death, or healing?

 

Are you confident that God loves you? and loves other people?   Do you believe that He will always love, both now and later, in Life and Afterlife?

I'm asking these questions because it seems to me that everyone (both Christians & non-Christians) will have rational reasons to doubt God's love,  IF we think the Bible teaches us that the final fate of most people, including many people we love, will be Eternal Misery in Hell, because this misunderstanding-about-God converts His Good News into Good News plus Bad News.*

 

 

I.O.U. — The rest of this page is a very rough outline for some of the ideas that (after they are developed-and-revised) probably will be in this page later, maybe in July 2018.

 

GENERALLY,

In the big page — written mainly for Bible-believing Christians, to show that the Bible does not teach Eternal Misery — a detailed Table of Contents will give you a quick overview of the main ideas, and help you decide “what to do next.”

This page is mainly for non-Christians, but I think Christians will find it interesting and useful.  I'm hoping it will stimulate every reader to think carefully for themself, and to have productive discussions with others.  I'm trying to write in ways that will appeal to non-Christians, that will reach their hearts and minds, so they will be able to love God and will say YES to God.  In one way to do this, later I will share more stories (based on history & analogy) to show how horrible claims that "God will cause Eternal Misery" seem, and how this claim doesn't accurately describe the actual character of God, as He has revealed Himself to us in the Bible.

 

and MORE SPECIFICALLY, ...

 

• a result worthy of praise:  A divine process of Purgatorial Universal Reconciliation (PUR) — that would occur if, near the beginning of Afterlife for an unsaved person, God will use UR-Hell to purify them in a painful process-of-purging that produces educational corrective healing (with divine spiritual surgery to remove sin) — would let God save them, and achieve Justice-with-Love.  When lovers-of-God think about this result of PUR, we can give God our SINCERE PRAISE for “what He will do for people in Hell” because He will achieve praiseworthy Justice-with-Love for victims and sinners with His temporary process of UR-Hell that produces permanent UR.

 

• But... some critics of Bible-based Christianity will object, by claiming that we should not praise God if He will use use "a painful process" in Hell, even if this process produces an extremely good result, a result that is permanently beneficial (and thus is loving) for unsaved people who will feel the temporary pain.  Are the means justified by the ends?  Would some temporary pain be justified by lots of permanent joy?

Yes.  Although I understand the objection (by claiming that a causing-of-pain is not a loving action), I believe the Bible,* and I think the Bible clearly teaches us that some people (certainly those who were unsaved at the end of their Life, and maybe everyone) will have some suffering in their Afterlife.  And when all things are considered with a long-term perspective, I think that with PUR the ends (permanent Eternal Joy) would justify the means (temporary painful process), when judged by our common human standards of weighing gain versus pain.  When we compare PUR with Eternal Misery, we see that God temporarily “does things FOR people” in UR-Hell (for the purpose of eventually helping them), but He eternally “does things TO people” in EM-Hell (with no apparent purpose except to hurt them);  due to this extreme contrast, I sincerely think that a Christian can honestly praise God for UR-Hell, and they can honestly feel ashamed of EM-Hell.

* Some critics will say “I don't care what the Bible teaches, instead I want to decide how-things-should-be without reading the Bible.”  Of course, they have a right to think this, and to express their opinion.  But they cannot claim to speak for mainstream Bible-based Christianity (as I am trying to do), they are just stating their preference, are just saying “I don't like it.”

 

• Also, I am arguing against Eternal Misery, and for “either Universal Reconciliation or Final Annihilation.”  If the final result of Hell for unsaved people will be non-existence (after Annihilation) instead of Eternal Joy (after Reconciliation), a claim that “I don't like it” is more likely and is more justifiable.  Although I'm hoping for Universal Reconciliation and would like to declare that “yes, this will happen,” I'm only optimistic (not confident) that it might happen.  I think the Bible is ambiguous when we ask “will the final result be Reconciliation or Annihilation?”, although I'm biblically confident that the final result won't be Misery that continues forever.  I'm frustrated by the ambiguity — re: the biblical evidence (and its logical evaluation) when we compare Reconciliation versus Annihilation — but I want to be honest about the ambiguity because...

 

• When we're describing Hell, every Christian has the responsibilities of trying to...   accurately describe what the Bible teaches, so they can   avoid an inaccurate description of God's character (but I think this happens when someone says “God will cause Eternal Misery”), and   avoid giving false hope (by claiming “UR will happen” if UR won't happen in the actual Afterlife-reality for an unsaved person), and also   avoid causing false fear (by claiming “EM will happen” if EM won't happen);*   each "avoid" is important, but (due to biblical ambiguity) it's difficult to be confident that we're doing both.     {claiming “FA will happen” could cause false hope if EM will happen,  or cause false fear if UR will happen.}   {what would be worse, FA or EM?}

 

• I.O.U. -- Later, this section will explain why I think Christians should be kind to each other (in the two ways explained below)* when we're disagreeing about What Will Happen In Hell.  Why?  The basic reasons are summarized in this table of motivations-and-logic:

 Here is the process 
 of logical thinking
 for each person:
 I think EM
 will happen,
and
 I love God, 
so BECAUSE I think
God will cause EM,
 I should defend the morality of the EM caused by God 
 in my effort to lovingly defend the character of God
 I think EM
 won't happen, 
and
 I love God, 
so BECAUSE I think
 God won't cause EM, 
 I should show why the biblical God is not an EM-causer 
in my effort to lovingly defend the character of God.

These ideas are explained with more detail here.

* My section-intro will describe two kinds of loving tolerance between Christians, when we are  1) being loving for defenders of EM, who should not be treated in the way we might treat a parent who defends a soccer coach accused of molesting the children he is coaching, by saying “I guess he did these horrible things, but it's ok because ____”, and   2) being loving for critics of EM, who are analogous to parents opposing child molestation, but defending the coach, by saying “IF he did this it would be horrible, but I don't think he did it because ____ .”   /   I will set up the analogy between two kinds of horrible actions — causing Eternal Misery, and molesting children — (I think one of these is much worse than the other)* and then will show the parallels between actions of EM-defenders & EM-critics and parents who defend & criticize the coach's ethics.  But... this "coaching" analogy doesn't fit perfectly, because it's easy to defend EM-critics (analogous to molestation-critics?), but is tough (impossible?) to defend EM-defenders (analogous to molestation-defenders?).  Therefore, I'll have to think about this analogy more carefully.   /   Also, an "effort to lovingly defend" uses two very different strategies:  those who "think EM will happen" try to defend the morality of God if (as they think will happen) He will cause EM;  those (like me) who "think EM won't happen" try to show why — based on what's in the Bible — EM won't happen, and also explain why we think EM-defenders are saying bad things about the character of God — because we love God so we want to explain why “no, He isn't like that, He won't do these horribly hateful actions” — when He is being falsely accused (we think) of wanting to cause EM.

* What is the worst action, A or B or C, if a dictator makes a prisoner suffer for awhile, and then...  A) releases them to freedom? or  B) kills them? or  C) continues making the person suffer for the rest of their very long life, doing everything possible to keep them alive so they will continue to suffer?   If you think C is worst, and if you think God will cause Eternal Misery and you defend this action, are you forced to use the logical principle that “anything done by God would be good, by definition, because He is God”?     {more about these ideas}

 

 

 

 

SOME PRINCIPLES based on biblical teachings, re: The Character of God (will He achieve Justice-with-Love?)

[ i.o.u. - Later these ideas will be either omitted-from-here, or revised so they will fit-better-here. ]

[[ Overall Existence, with Experiences-plus-Changes:  We should hope for an eventual result that leads every person to say "this was fair" in life-plus-afterlife, and "thank you for creating me, and for all of my experiences." ]]

[[ Moral Luck:  if God uses a purgatory Afterlife-Hell, I think He will consider the Moral Luck of individuals in Life (re: their abilities, life-situations, and life-opportunities) so He can customize their experiences;  this seems consistent with biblical descriptions, by Jesus, of servants who knew a lot (and therefore are beaten with many stripes) and those who didn't know much;  during education in hell God could give special consideration to those with bad moral luck, to "even it out" and as part of the "differing degrees of sorrow" during a painful purging;  I'm speculatively imagining, in this way, how God could "give grace" to those who were unlucky in their life-situations and in their probability of saying YES to God in Life]]  [[iou - I will connect this with binary special situations re: moral luck and other kinds of luck]]   [[ here, I will describe Rawls "veil of ignorance" and empathy-plus-compassion, when we're making decisions about policies for society ]]

[[ also, consider questions about some actions of God in the Old Testament:  justice in life-plus-afterlife could help explain "why" for many questions, by many people, about the Bible -- e.g. the mass killings commanded by God in OT -- many people, in their ethics-based human responses, don't think some of God's actions seem morally justifiable, and think some actions are not consistent with the character of a loving God, IF we consider only Life;  but IF we consider Life-plus-Afterlife, with a General Resurrection (described in John 5:28-29 & elsewhere) of everyone who ever lived, THEN the OT killings were temporary, to be un-done with the General Resurrection of All, when our questions about WWJD (=WWFD=WWHD = WWGD) becomes "then what? will their ultimate fate be everlasting misery (MUCH worse than just killing them during Life, makes questions about "morally justifiable?" MUCH more difficult), or everlasting non-existence (neutral overall change from nothing in initial BeforeLife to nothing in final AfterLife), or everlasting joy? (with a good answer for God's actions being "morally justifiable". ]]