I grew up irreligious and became an atheist around 2007. I had found out about this former Communist turned NeoCon and a self-proclaimed antitheist named Christopher Hitchens.
Watching Christopher’s videos led me down a YouTube rabbit hole into the new reality of atheism. I spent hours and hours online devouring everything “rational” and eventually evolved into reading books by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Hitchens.
Reading “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” solidified my belief that religious people were not only extremely superstitious but also dumb. I wanted to be like Hitchens. Quick, witty, a natural contrarian and confident in my intellect. Fast forward to 2014, depressed, miserable and purposeless, I lay on my couch crying out – asking/begging for help. From whom? I was not sure but I knew something was missing. Jesus Christ answered that cry and it changed my life forever.
The Bible is the unchanging word of God. All Scripture is inspired by God. These are basic commandments every Christian abides by.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (NIV, Luke 21:33)
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (NIV, 2 Timothy 3:16)
I woke up Thursday, one day before Good Friday, to read that Pope Francis, the bishop of Rome as head of the Roman Catholic Church, said in an interview that Hell does not exist. Wait, hold on, what did he say?
In another interview with his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis claims that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just “disappear.” This is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.
The interview between Scalfari and the Pope was published March 28, 2018 in La Repubblica. The relevant section on Hell was translated by the highly respected weblog, Rorate Caeli.
Scalfri says to the Pope, “Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?”
Pope Francis says, “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.” CNS News.com
So we have heard what The Pope has to say about Hell but what does the Bible say? The Bible tells us that Hell is a literal place of real torment.
Compiled from GotQuestions.org:
We know that Hell was originally intended for demonic spiritual beings, not people (Matthew 25:41). The experience of being in Hell is compared to burning (Mark 9:43; 9:48; Matthew 18:9; Luke 16:24). At the same time, Hell is compared to darkness (Matthew 22:13) and associated with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 8:12) and horror (Mark 9:44).
Hell could be a physical location like “the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:10) or something possibly like a black hole, black holes being a place of great heat and pressure from which nothing, not even light, can escape. Whatever the case, the location of Hell is far less important than the need to avoid going there.
In fact, Jesus spent more time warning people about the dangers of Hell than He did in comforting them with the hope of Heaven. The concept of a real, conscious, forever-and-ever existence in Hell is just as biblical as a real, conscious, forever-and-ever existence in Heaven. Trying to separate them is simply not possible from a biblical standpoint.
The Bible does make it clear that Hell is real, eternal, and to be avoided at all costs:
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. (NIV, Matthew 5:29–30)
Yes, Hell is real. Yes, Hell is a real place of torment and punishment that lasts forever, with no end. Praise God that, through Jesus Christ, we can escape this eternal fate.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV, John 3:16)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. (NIV, John 3:36)
Come follow the real King, His name is Jesus.