This anonymous article came into my inbox. – Barry Kearns
HELL DOES IT EXIST?
Does "Hell" really exist? Is there a "Hell" in the Bible?
Hell no! There is no "Hell" in the Bible!
Name withheld- an editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and a "recovering fundamentalist"
Hell is child abuse, pure and simple. We need to end the emotional, psychological and
spiritual abuse of millions of innocent children by their pastors, Sunday school teachers and
parents, today. And as I intend to prove, there is no reason for adults to threaten children
with hell (children grow up, a fact that continually eludes Christian theologians who insist
that Jesus loves the little children, and yet may turn his back on them when they reach the
mysterious "age of accountability," which was never mentioned in relation to salvation by
Jesus or any apostle or Hebrew prophet).
Would it surprise you to know that the God of the Bible and his prophets never condemned
anyone to "hell" at any age? Here is a simple proof that there is no reason to believe
in "hell," according to the Bible itself:
• There is no mention of "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death anywhere in the
Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament (OT).
• The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave," not "hell." This can easily be
confirmed because if Sheol is translated as "hell" the Christian dogma of hell as an
inescapable place of suffering where God is absent is immediately refuted. This is true
(1) King David said that if he made his bed in Sheol, God would be there with him;
(2) Job asked to be hidden from suffering in Sheol;
(3) The sons of Korah said that God would redeem them from Sheol; and
(4) The prophet Ezekiel and the apostle Paul agreed that all Israel would be saved, and
yet Israel himself said that he would be reunited with his son Joseph in Sheol. How can all
Israel be saved if Israel himself is in "hell""? In each case Sheol clearly means "the grave"
and cannot be interpreted as "hell" unless "hell" is heaven!
• This has been confirmed by conservative Bible scholars because there is no mention of the
word "hell" in the OTs of the NIV (the best-selling Bible), the NABRE (produced by the
Roman Catholic Church), the HCSB (published by the famously literal Southern Baptist
Convention), and most other modern translations of the Bible.
• Furthermore, in biblical chronologies spanning thousands of years, the God of the Bible
and his Hebrew prophets never mentioned any possibility of punishment after death.
Nothing like "hell" was even remotely suggested to Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Job,
Moses, David, and Solomon, at all.
• In fact, "hell" was never mentioned even to the worst people at the worst of times.
"Hell" was never mentioned to Cain (the first murderer), nor to the people guilty of the
wickedness that led to the Great Flood, nor to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, nor even
to the Pharaoh who enslaved the Hebrew tribes and defied God repeatedly.
• We can further verify this because there are no Old Test. warnings about the need to
repent in order to avoid suffering after death. In the OT, people were being warned about
the need to repent in order to avoid suffering and death here, on this planet, in this life.
• Of course it makes absolutely no sense to only warn people about temporal (earthly)
punishments if they face eternal suffering. Therefore according to the Bible, "hell" clearly
did not preexist.
• But there is no mention of the creation or purpose of "hell" in the New Testament (NT).
Nor is there any verse in the entire Bible that ever announced that the penalty for sin
changed from death to "hell." Why would God clearly announce the penalty of death before
it was enacted, but never once mention the far more serious penalty of hell before it was
enacted? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
• A loving, compassionate, wise, just God could not create an "eternal hell" and fail to
immediately warn the whole world about it. But obviously the whole world was not warned
about the creation of "hell." Native Americans knew absolutely nothing about hell before
1492. Billions of people have lived and died never having heard anything about hell or Jesus
Christ. Would anyone who had never read the Bible consider God to be just if he died and
woke up in hell? Of course not!
• An eternal hell would make God monstrously unjust, but according to the Bible
itself, "hell" did not preexist and was never created. From beginning to end, the Bible is
absolutely silent about either the preexistence or creation of "hell."
• Furthermore, the Greek word "Hades" does not mean "hell." As with Sheol, everyone
went to Hades when they died: both words clearly mean "the grave."
• Gehenna is not "hell" either, but a physical location in Israel known in Hebrew as
Gehinnom, or the Valley of Hinnom.
Today Gehenna is a lovely park and tourist attraction. Wonderful archeological discoveries
have been made there, such as the healing pool of Siloam and the oldest Bible verses ever
discovered, inscribed on small silver amulets. Those verses are the benediction "The
LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make his countenance to shine upon thee and
be gracious unto thee." Those are wonderfully comforting words to have been discovered
in "hell," don't you think?
• What does all this mean? If you believe in a loving, compassionate, wise, just God, you
might conclude that "hell" has always been either an error of translation or an outright
human fabrication. Why would human beings invent hell?
Well, as ancient Greek philosophers like Celsus pointed out, hell was a good way to control
the unwashed masses. Hell was also a handy way to increase church attendance and
But perhaps the best reason not to believe in hell is this: If at any time God, Jesus, the
Hebrew prophets, or any of the apostles were aware of the existence of an "eternal hell,"
they should have immediately warned human beings never to have children, because the
risk of giving birth was too terrible to imagine.
But of course there are no such warnings in the Bible. Rather, Hebrew prophets like Ezekiel
confidently predicted that all Israel would be saved in the end, along with Sodom and other
Gentile nations that were historically enemies of Israel, such as Samaria. Samaria is now
home to millions of Palestinians, many of them either enemies or fierce critics of Israel.
Most Jews and Palestinians have never believed in Jesus, so how can all Israel and Samaria
be saved, if only Christians are saved?
How did "hell" enter the Bible? Ironically, the only Jews who believed in "hell" at the
time of Jesus were the Pharisees. We know this from the Jewish historian Josephus, a
contemporary of Paul. The Pharisees undoubtedly "borrowed" the concept of "hell" from
the pagan Greeks after Alexander the Great conquered the Middle East during the "silent"
period between the writing of the Old Test. and New Test.
But the Greek hell was Tartarus, not Hades. As we will see, there is one verse only, in the
entire Bible containing a word that actually means hell, but that hell is not for human beings,
nor is it eternal. To note: 2 Peter 2:4-6)
Chad Holtz is a Methodist pastor who was recently asked to resign by members of his rural
North Carolina congregation after he questioned the Christian dogma of an "eternal hell."
Holtz had made positive remarks about the bestseller book Love Wins, written by Rob Bell,
another pastor who questions the existence of "hell." (Bell was the focus of the cover of the
April 25, 2011 issue of TIME Magazine, captioned "What If There's No Hell?")
Holtz agreed to leave his church in what he termed a "divorce." In an interview published
online Holt said, "We do these somersaults to justify the monster god we believe in ... Am I
really going to be saved just because I believe something, when all these good people in the
Mind you, Holtz is not saying that God is a monster. Instead, he's simply pointing out that
orthodox Christianity makes God seem like a monster by claiming he'll condemn billions
of people to an "eternal hell" for not "believing" in Jesus, when he could have saved them
by grace. But how can a God who chooses to remain hidden demand human belief? That is
If a man refused to introduce himself to other people, then started torturing them for
not "believing" in him, we'd lock him up and throw away the key. But as I intend to prove,
if you will bear with me, that the Bible itself contradicts the idea that God ever said that
anyone would go to an "eternal hell." In fact, if we read the Bible chronologically from the
beginning of Genesis to the end of the book of Acts (the self-recorded history of the early
Christian church), we will not find a single verse in which God or any Hebrew prophet or
Jesus or any apostle ever mentioned a place called "hell."
This is true because the words Sheol, Hades and Gehenna do not mean "hell." The Hebrew
word Sheol clearly means "the grave" or "the abode of all the dead, good and bad." The
Greek word Hades also means "the grave" or "the abode of all the dead, good and bad."
Gehenna is a valley, not "hell."
According to the Bible "hell" clearly did not preexist and just as clearly was never created.
Did evil-minded men begin damning other people to "hell" in the name of God? Yes, they
did. But they cobbled their hellish verses into the Bible so clumsily that they forget to insert
fictitious verses announcing the creation of "hell"! Such a colossal blunder could only have
been made by fallible men, not an all-wise God.
If we consider the Bible as a whole, from multiple angles, it becomes obvious that "hell"
was created by human beings, not God. The verses that describe suffering after death
are not credible, and the proofs are simple. For instance, a verse in Genesis 3:3) clearly
announced that the penalty for sin was death, as soon as the penalty was enacted. But where
is there any verse in the Bible that clearly announced when the penalty became eternal
Where is there any verse in the Bible that clearly announced the creation or purpose
of "hell"? There are no such verses anywhere in the Bible. Nor are there any verses that
unclearly announce such things. The Bible is completely, absolutely silent about the most
important event in human history (if it actually occurred): the creation of a place called
"hell" and the change of the penalty for sin from death to eternal damnation.
How could a loving, wise, just God create an "eternal hell" yet never once mention its
creation and purpose to any of his prophets or apostles? How could a loving, wise, just God
cause or allow billions of people to suffer for all eternity when they died knowing nothing
about the Bible, Jesus or "hell"? Why would God save "the chosen few" by grace, but deny
any chance of grace to billions of people who never heard of Jesus?
At the time of Jesus and Paul, "the entire world" meant the Roman Empire: a narrow strip
of cities, towns and villages fringing the Mediterranean Sea.
The early Christians knew nothing about vast continents that wouldn't be discovered and
explored for another 1,500 years or more: North America, South America and Australia.
They knew nothing about China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Central and Southern Africa,
Russia, or thousands of faraway islands. When they vowed to preach the gospel to "the
entire world," they had no idea what that really entailed.
So what happened to the billions of human beings who lived and died in the meantime,
knowing nothing about the Bible or Jesus? If God condemned them all to "hell," that would
make God horrendously unjust, and therefore unqualified to judge human beings. But if
people who hadn't heard about Jesus didn't go to "hell," while people who heard about
Jesus and rejected him did, then it would be a terrible crime for Christians to ever mention
the name "Jesus" to non-Christians.
Furthermore, through the centuries Christians have so defamed and blasphemed the name
of Jesus by raping, enslaving and murdering multitudes of non-Christians that it makes no
sense to expect non-Christians to "believe" in him. Should a Jewish girl who was raped,
tortured and murdered by German Christians during the Holocaust be punished eternally
for not converting to their religion? Heaven forbid!
I believe Holtz made a very important point: one that is seldom voiced by Christians. If
Jesus will cause or allow Mohandas Gandhi and Jewish Holocaust victims to suffer for
all eternity, when the Christian Bible clearly says that Jesus is the only savior and human
beings can't save themselves, wouldn't that make Jesus a monster?
If an all-knowing God created human beings foreseeing in advance that many (or any)
of them would suffer for all eternity, wouldn't that also make God a monster? And if
Christian mothers believe in "hell," how can they give life to babies who might end up in
"hell" — wouldn't that make them monsters?
This is the horror of hell-based Christianity: it turns God, Jesus and Christian mothers into
monsters willing to play eternal roulette with the souls of innocent children.
And what about all the mothers who would be forced to choose between Jesus and their
own children? Could good mothers live happily in heaven with Jesus, knowing their
children were suffering forever because Jesus refused to save them, when he was able
to save the thief on the cross with a nod of his head? Surely only the bad mothers would
remain in heaven. All the good mothers would curse Jesus and storm out of heaven to be
with their children. They certainly wouldn't worship or praise the petty egomaniac who
demanded belief without ever bothering to introduce himself to their children personally!
Please keep in mind that I am not calling Jesus a petty egomaniac. It's the "Bible believing"
fundamentalists who turned Jesus into a petty monster with their bizarre theology, not me.
I'm a recovering fundamentalist who no longer blasphemes the name of Jesus by accusing
him of saving Christians by "grace" while condemning the saints of other religions and
non-religions to an "eternal hell." Ironically, most atheists, agnostics and other nonChristians have much higher opinions of Jesus that Christians who accuse him of being
petty, unjust and inhumanly cruel.
Gandhi and Einstein both admired Jesus, while not "believing" in him in the orthodox
Christian sense. But at least they didn't accuse him of being so petty and cruel that he
would cause or allow billions of souls to suffer for all eternity. Most Muslims believe in
Jesus and have a high opinion of him, but they don't believe he sends people to "hell" for
not "believing" in him.
Ironically, the people with the lowest, basest opinions of Jesus are the Christians who
pretend to "love" and "admire" him in order to "save" themselves, while in effect telling
the rest of the world that he's the Devil. How can anyone "love" a being capable of causing
or allowing their loved ones to suffer for all eternity?
That would be like me pretending to "love" and "admire" Hitler during the Holocaust, in
order to escape torture at the hands of the Nazis. But of course the driving impulse would
be fear, not love. The Bible says perfect love casts out fear because fear produces torment.
Should I believe in the perfect love of God or in a hell that produces nothing but torment?
As we will see together, there are many Bible verses that completely contradict the idea that
God will punish anyone for all eternity, or fail to save anyone in the end. Here are just a few
of them (there are more at the bottom of this page)
truly I say unto you, the tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the kingdom of heaven
before the self-righteous. (Matthew 21:31) Think about it: Jesus had table fellowship with
the outcasts of society, drank wine and ate with them, and reserved virtually all his criticism
for the "religious experts" who failed to be hospitable to "sinners."
Today conservative Christians seem to despise prostitutes, homosexuals, and anyone else
who doesn't meet their "high moral standards," while their self-righteousness makes the
rest of us gnash our teeth. But Jesus clearly said that love and compassion were the real
(The Hebrew prophets and Jesus also clearly said that the "sin of Sodom" was selfrighteousness and a lack of compassion, not homosexuality, which ironically would make
conservative Christians the "Sodomites.") Jesus also said that the first would be last and the
last first. Did he mean what he said?
The verse above doesn't say that anyone will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven in
the end, but it certainly doesn't make moralists the "chosen few" who inherit heaven at the
expense of the people they despise.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces.
Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
(Matthew 16:18) Most of the estimated hundred billion people who have lived here on earth
died without reading the Bible or knowing anything about Jesus. If most of mankind ends
up going to "hell" then the gates of hell will have prevailed and Jesus will be just another
inept, failed Messiah. How can Jesus be the Savior of the World unless the entire world is
For unto this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God,
who is the Savior of all men, especially believers. (1Timothy 4:10) This is only one of many
Bible verses that say all men will be saved, and that God will be all in all (not all in some, or
all in the self-proclaimed "chosen few").
Paul said that all Israel would be saved, agreeing with the prophet Ezekiel, who also said
that the Gentile nations, including Sodom, would be saved in the end, linking their salvation
to Israel's. Paul said that different people would be saved at different times, in stages, with
Jesus being the First fruits of the resurrection. Orthodox Christians ignore the best verses
in the Bible to focus narrowly on the worst. Why is that? If we can't believe the best verses,
why believe the worst?
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive, (1 Corinthians 15:22) We
know that all human beings die; this verse clearly says that the same "all" shall be made
alive, in Christ. There are many such verses in both the Old and New Testaments.
All flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Luke3:6)
I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor
things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)
I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness, as in:
(Jeremiah 31:3) In his epiphany on Divine Love in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul said that Divine
Love never gives up, endures all things, and never fails, which sounds like the love of the
best human mothers. And the Bible insists that the love of God exceeds human love ...
Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has
borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! (Isaiah 49:15) This verse compares the
love of God to the love of a human mother. Would any compassionate mother torture her
child for a second, much less all eternity? No, the only suffering she might permit would
be remedial suffering, such as surgery to correct a birth defect. And even then she would
agonize with her child. Just think about that?