This is an email I sent to several people:
I am doing some research and would like your definition of hell. If you have the time
and don't mind, please type out what you think hell is and who goes there. Also, list
your denominational affiliation if you have one.
Here are the responses I got. I will continue to add them as long as they come in.
Send your opinion on the feedback page if you like.
1. I believe hell here on earth is a really bad day at work, a car wreck, the effects of hurricane Katrina,
starving people all over the world, etc; Hell is also a city in Michigan. As for our after life, and where
lost souls go, I believe there is a place at the center of the earth that is made up of fire, brimstone, and
the worst things one could imagine. As far as who goes there, I can not say, my Bible tells me not to sit
in judgment of others so I don’t think it is my place to say who will go there and who will not.
My religious affiliation is Baptist. As to how I worship God, I do it my own way, everyday.
2. all i can tell you is what the Bible says... a lake of fire for eternity for all those who do not believe or
accept the fact that Jesus died and rose in 3 days for forgiveness of all our sins before we even
sinned. i think it's a shame that people will be there and burn for eternity, when it's so easy to believe
on Jesus Christ and spend an eternity walking streets of gold. non denominational
3. I believe that hell is a place that God created for the devil and his angels. I believe all who do not
call on the name of the Lord will go there. I am torn between whether I think it is an actual place of fire,
or if it is just a place of total separation from God, for all eternity, which would be hell in itself. Non
4. Hell is Torment.
Unsaved people go there. Calvinistic Southern Baptist
5. A place of eternal torment and eternal separation from God.
Those who have not received the grace of God through salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
6, Hell is a temporary place unbelievers go to when they die. It is not eternal.
The Lake of Fire is eternal. Hell will be cast into it.
I am a Christian. My church affiliation is Baptist.
7. Most of what we know about Hell comes from Dante, a catholic.
8. I think hell is just a life without knowing God pretty much. I don't think that you will burn forever even
if you don't believe. Jesus died for every ones' sins already, so we do not have to worry. The people
who don't know God, in my opinion, are living in hell on earth. That’s my story and I'm st..st...stickin to
Greg (my son)
P.S. I am Bapticatholicostal ;)
9. Hel is the name of a Nors Goddess.
10. In general, I believe that hell is where the damned are sent to be punished for all eternity.
11. I believe that hell is a place of darkness, deepest sorrow, and unquenchable fire, which was not
prepared for man but for the devil and his angels; yet it will become the place of eternal separation
from God for all who reject Christ as Savior. ﾓ41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will
weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into
the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.ﾔ Matthew 13: 41 42. I belong to
the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. www.foursquare.org All who reject Jesus as Savior
will enter hell.
12. A children's Sunday school class was having a discussion on hell and it was going rather
gruesome with God throwing people in hell to be being burned alive with a literal fire and undergoing
intense pain and torment--when one little girl looked at her teacher and said: 'I think God needs to
become a Christian".
Hell does not exist in the strictest since of the word. The word was derived from the Hebrew word
"sheol" and the Greek word "hades" and both mean the grave or the place of death or the state of
death. The other words such as "gehenna" WAS a literal dumping place outside Jerusalem which is no
longer there and the other word "tartarus" was a Greek mythological place where gods were held in
prison and Peter was using this fable as a teaching tool similar to how we would use Aesop's Fables to
teach a truth. The translators changed the four words (sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus) to the
English word "hell" and in no case does either of the words they are translated FROM depict unending
torment for men.
All go to sheol, or hades, or death when their heart stops beating but there is no eternal torment. If
Jesus took our place and paid our penalty and if that penalty was eternal torment in hell--then that is
where Jesus should be now--but He is not, He is at the Father's side which is where we will all one day
Is there hell to pay? No. Does sin have consequences? Yes, but in this life only for when we are dead
we are freed from sin. That is the power of the blood of Christ. Universal Reconciliation.
13. Hell is having Easter Sunday dinner with the in-laws. Baptist/Catholic
14. If you want my honest opinion, I'll say I don't know. I don't want to be dogmatic about what may or
may not be figurative in scripture. I just know that it's bad. If God wants to surprise us by announcing
universal restoration at the judgment seat, then hallelujah. However, I would never risk someone's soul
with such speculation.
On the other hand, I don't want Hell to be my primary motivation for living a Christian life. I let my
thoughts shift in a more Arminian/conditional security direction at one point, and it was miserable. I
literally lay awake at night almost shaking at some points. I want to trust my heavenly Father to
progressively sanctify me, and I want to learn more and more to serve him out of love and gratitude.
Coming out of my funk, songs like "Rock of Ages" and "There is a Fountain" had a whole new meaning
for me. They still make me teary sometimes. What a savior! I am really, really, really unworthy. Baptist
15. I'm not quite sure how to respond to your request, but I'll give it a try: Conventional Christian
orthodoxy has attached to the English word, "hell," a meaning that is far removed from its original
usage. The word originally simply conveyed the idea of a hidden place, especially, but not always
involving hidden beneath the earth.
So in places in the British Isles, folks would speak of "helling" their potatoes, that is, storing them
underneath the surface of the ground to be kept cool and dry. Long ago, a young man might speak of
"helling" with a young lady, that is, going to a hidden spot where they could be alone.
As the doctrine of a place of eternal torment for those who died unrepentant took root in the early
stages of the intitutionalizing of Christianity, soon the word, "hell," came to be used to describe that
imagined place. The great majority of believers in, at least the first three centuries of Christianity, did
not hold such a belief, but believed that Christ would finally win all souls to Himself, if not
during this lifetime, then beyond our earthly life. What I'm telling you is historically factual.
The Nicene Creed, which still stands as somewhat of a benchmark of Christian theology does not
affirm the doctrine of eternal torment. But, the question does properly arise as to the matter of the
consequence of sin, and the nature and duration of divine punishment.
When the scriptures are accurately translated in the Greek of the New Testament, the passages that
are most often quoted to support that pagan-based invention arising from the darkest regions of the
fallen mind begin to take on a different meaning, especially as scripture is
compared with scripture, and scripture is allowed to explain scripture.
There are two, primary, different Greek words that some conventional translations capriciously
translate as "hell." One is "hades" and the other, "Gehenna." The KJV doesn't bother to make any
distinction between the two, neither do some others, but some our more recent, more accurate
"Hades" simply speaks of the out-of-sight abode of the dead, the place of death, and it is the Greek
equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew word, "sheol." "Gehenna" is the other main word often
translated as "hell." No real justification for that, really. "Gehenna" was a valley outside of
Jerusalem that came to be used as the city's garbage dump. Not only was the city's general garbage
thrown into that valley, but also those people who died in disgrace.
Considered shameful, worthless, and to be despised, they were not afforded a burial with any dignity.
Their bodies were unceremoniously thrown into the valley where fire continually burned to consume
everything thrown into it, and Jesus made use of its existence to metaphorically warn people of the
possibility of their lives ending in dishonor and worthlessness, or of being perceived as such. His
warning pertained to the "leaven (doctrine) of the Pharisees who taught people from a spirit of
accusation, condemnation, and disqualification.
Jesus wanted people to be aware of how spiritually dangerous the Pharisees legalism was, how it could
leave you in a state of self-perceived worthlessness and disgrace, or being branded as such by
the influence of such teaching.
As to the Old Testament, very Interestingly, there is NO teaching any- where within its pages regarding
after-this-life punishment or bliss; all the promises and warnings in the Old Testament pertain to our
earthly life. If one pre-supposes a place of eternal torment, they could project that pre-supposition
onto some O. T. texts, but there is no clear statement to the effect that "the lost," who don't avail
themselves of Yahweh's salvation will suffer horrible agony for all eternity. No such clear statement,
and you would think the divine record of four thousand of God's dealing with His people and man in
general would give a clear warning re: the possibility of such a horrible destiny.
The teaching of scripture re: punishing fire clearly refers to God's purgative, cleansing, corrective
judgments. To equate, for instance, the Book of Revelation's picture of "the Lake that burneth with fire
and brimstone," with an eternal place of torment for the vast majority of mankind is ludicrous, and
committs an awful sin of misrepresenting the nature of God, and pushes literalism to an irrational
All God's judgments are corrective, not vindictively retaliatory. The fire of the Lake of Fire, is the Fire
of God. Paul wrote that our God is a consuming fire. John the Baptist heralded One greater than he
who would come and baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. The Holy Spirit infuses us with God's life in
Christ when He brings us to Himself, and that same Spirit consumes away all that clings to us as alien
to Christ, our life.
So, to try to specifically answer your question: The Fire which God is is the Love that God is. God is
love, and God is a consuming fire. To be exposed to God's love is to have all your carnality burned off,
and God's Way to accomplish that is the cross of our Lord, by which He conquered death for us, for
death is the all-inclusive enemy that includes within its bowels everything that holds us in bondage.
If you want to call that fire "hell," go ahead----but that really is linguistically stupid. But, if we must make
a concession to the common use of the word, then I have to say that, as necessary, people have to
pass through "hell" in God's salvific (saving) dealings with them. No one goes to a place of everlasting
punishment. God is not such a God.
He's the God who sent His Son to be the Savior of the world, and God doesn't make that kind of
investment to only end up with a tiny minority of the planet's population being saved. "Behold the Lamb
of God THAT TAKETH AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD." See, that's what the Lamb of God
does. That's not what the Lamb of God TRIES to do; that's what He DOES.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw (Greek: drag) all men to myself." Those are Jesus' very
words, and then John adds his editorial comment: "This he spoke concerning the manner of death He
should die." The love of God that sent Christ to die for us, will through His death finally bring every
person who ever lived to His Son, for "the pleasure of God shall prosper in His hand," and "He shall see
the travail of His soul and be satisfied."
Can you Imagine Jesus seeing the travail of His soul, and that travail only producing the salvation of a
comparative few, and Him being satisfied? I don't think so. Christ is not a failure. He will accomplish
all that the Father sent Him to do, and will not be satisfied until He does. We know what the Father
desired and purposed for the scripture is most clear on that point: "God is not willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance."
If man's will can ultimately resist God's will, then man ends up being the sovereign in the matter most
precious to God's heart. What nonsence.
In His grace,
John R. Gavazzoni
16. You are asking what we think 'hell' is and who goes there...as well as a bit about our
background....well Mur See(mercy)...here goes.... ...this gal's from the South...deep South :)
So what denomination am I? I grew up Baptist...have been Methodist and Charismatic as well...but
now, I just choose to say 'I'm a believer.' (In God's Word). I no longer say 'Christian' because it's
assumed that you hold to their doctrines, one of which is the subject you're inquiring about, Hell.
My definition of 'hell'....I haven't really thought about that Debbie...maybe because everything I
thought I knew about 'hell' was wrong. One thing I do know from my study about 'hell' is that it is not a
place of unending fire and torment like I was taught in the traditional church.
I have to admit, it was shocking to discover there were four different Hebrew and Greek words that
had been translated to our English word 'hell'; The Hebrew words, sheol and hades, and the Greek
words, Gehenna and tartarus. I was aghast when my research proved that not a single one of those
words from the ORIGINAL language mind you, meant a place of eternal torment and burning fire. I
smelled deception and yet if all is of God then Father allowed it to happen... Why would the translators
purposely do such a thing??? And why would Father allow it? Maybe so He could slowly and in His
timing awaken us to the fact that He will do abundantly, exceedingly MORE than we could ever hope
for or imagine....and like opening a gift we'd continue to grow in the knowledge and revelation of Who
Christ is, getting better the more we learned.
I will not be answering like a theologian; of course that could be a good thing, right? But off the top
of my head without searching through the numerous books I have on the subject, I think I'd define 'hell'
as the unseen place where those who have died in the earth life have passed onto. So, in that sense,
we all will go to the unseen place. David wrote that if he made his bed in 'hell', God was there. If our
Father God is everywhere...omnipresent, then that is absolutely true. I also have come to believe that
whatever lessons we were unable to learn while here in our earthly bodies will be learned in the
unseen place. If that is paradise as Christ told the thief/robber who died next to Him, all the better.
Dr. Harold Lovelace once taught about the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus and brought out the
fact that the rich man became satisfied with a lot less and grew compassion and concern for others
while he 'suffered' in hell/the unseen after passing from this life. I think ,in that sense, Father will see
to it that we all 'grow' home to Him. Father can redeem everything, no matter how horrible or terrible,
in His hand. I do believe, however, that all healing originates from Christ Jesus having suffered and
died for the sins of the whole world. He was resurrected so we no longer have to fear death now. In
scripture, it says that Christ holds the keys to Heaven and 'hell'. If the key holder to 'hell' reconciled
the World back to the Father, what is there for us to dread? As Paul once asked, 'Who will save me
from this wretched 'earth' body?' and went on to thank Father for the Victory in and through Christ.
The victory is a done deal...we just walk it out in our own order, in the time Father has chosen for us.
I have complete and total trust in whatever further preparations I may need in the unseen/hell before
Christ subjects creation to Himself and then Himself to God. Since I've found that the word 'fire' actually
is from the Greek (I believe) word 'pur' and means to purify, I no longer am afraid or frightened of it.
Also with our Father being described as a consuming fire and His mercy for us being His driving force, I
believe that any punishment we may go through in the unseen/hell will be for our benefit and lead us
closer to the place where we ALL willingly bow and confess Christ as Lord.
This place 'hell' is emptied and casts into the Lake of fire according to the book of Revelation. This
is called the Second Death. Paul wrote that NOTHING could ever separate us from the love of God,
death included; first death and second death. And we know that scripture also teaches that 'death will
be no more'. I once heard 'death' defined as separation from God. Since I've learned that God will
one day be all in all, separation from Him would be impossible and we'll all know and see that the last
enemy, death, has been defeated. Death has left the building. Christ was sent to be the Savior of the
World. He IS triumphant because Father's love, CANNOT fail.
Hope that's sorda kinda what you were lookin fer...?
Your Opinions On Hell And Who Goes There