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Hell PowerPoint Presentation


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  1. Hell Why talk about it in a ‘reasonable’ way? It is a hot topic that fires up the imaginations of people- but it is not a game. It should not be Dante’s Inferno or the producers of shock value t-shirts and the song lyrics that go with them or the makers of edutainment videos that play loose with the ethics of fair communication that determine our beliefs.

  2. Two objectives of tonight's talk: • outline the three main traditions of understanding concerning Hell within ‘Bible believing’ Christianity, namely: • Everlasting conscious torment • conditional mortality/ annihilationism • Universal salvation • alert us to the ways that imagery, which often side steps the normal expectations about truth telling, have the power to suppress truth.

  3. Our Evening: As per usual for our RF meetings, after I present my talk we will have tea or coffee and snacks followed by a forum for open discussion on the topic. Hopefully it will be warm but not too fiery.

  4. Talk structure • Briefly review the three main paradigms • Discuss the meanings of key words used in the bible • Read the Scriptures highlighted in the debate and review how they are interpreted • Briefly review the history of the idea of hell • Review a critique of the recently released video as an example of how multi media can be used to side step truth telling standards and communicate powerfully.

  5. Where would you place your opinion on this three way continuum? Of course we hope we ourselves won’t be placed anywhere in this triangle.

  6. Traditional everlasting torment The traditional view is that the suffering is corporal and inflicted from without. This is what St. Augustine taught. The modified traditional view is that the fires and worms etc are metaphorical and refer to psychological suffering. Billy Graham said of hellfire “I have often wondered if hell is a terrible burning within our hearts for God, to fellowship with God, a fire we can never quench” (Crocket 1996:44).

  7. Conditional immortality/ annihilationism This is the view that those who are not saved will be annihilated, that is they will be destroyed, perish, die, cease to exist, vanish like a bad dream, be no more... Conditionalists usually argue that people are not inherently immortal and that apart from God can not survive in any sense for very long.

  8. Universal Salvation Universalism is the belief that ultimately all are saved. Universalism treats ‘hell’ as purgatorial- that is reformative. Suffering is disciplinary. Either that or it is a warning only. For example Karl Rahner: “What scripture says about hell, in conformity with the eschatological discourses, is not to be read as an anticipatory report on something that will happen sometime, but as unveiling the situation in which the man who is addressed truly finds himself now” (in Blotcher 1992:p290).

  9. Where would you place your opinion on this three way continuum? Of course we hope we ourselves won’t be placed anywhere in this triangle.

  10. Key Terms Hell Sheol Hades Aionios Death/ perish/ destroy Core to interpretation, as it may readily pointed out, are grammatical relationships and textual contexts (Osborne 2006:82), however looking at the words, and the meanings they are said to hold is a good start.

  11. Hell • The punishment and place of the unsaved in common understanding • Gehenna: the valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem • Child sacrifice to Canaanite god (2 Chron. 28:3, 33:6; Jer 7:31; 19:2-6) • Burning rubbish dump • Place of torment in IT apocalyptic literature Questions: • How long is forever? • Can we maintain our existence if fully separated from God? • In the end is death the complete disintegration of the being?

  12. Sheol & Hades • Sheol is an OT Hebrew word often translated into English as hell or as the grave • The place of the righteous and the unrighteous dead • In earlier OT times the hope of communion with God, or conscious existence at all was very faint but as time went on more prophetic hints about life after death were recorded • Hades is a Greek term for the underworld and the god of the underworld in Greek mythology/ religion • The two concepts are not the same but are often assumed to be the same

  13. Aionios • Often translated eternal or everlasting • Has qualitative and quantitative meaning • Qualitative meaning age as in this age and the age to come • Quantitative as in lasting ‘forever’ / for the full time “whenever we come across the adjectives ‘everlasting’ and ‘eternal’ we must get their meaning from the noun they describe and whenever we come across the adjectives ‘for ever’ and ‘for evermore’ we must get their meanings from the verbs they qualify. This means, for example that ‘everlasting’ need not always mean something lasts forever; nor need ‘for ever’ always mean never- ending” (Blanchard, 1993: 242,243).

  14. Death, perish and destroy Do these words imply a total end or do they imply a continued existence apart from God? In the Garden death came as a separation of God and perhaps as a fear of total death. Ecc 9:5 says “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.” “[Froom quoted in conditionalist faith]says ‘the OT uses 50 different Hebrew verbs to describe the final state of the wicked and notes that they all signify different aspects of destruction’... never that of immortal life in endless suffering” Fudge: p 47

  15. Key Scriptures Relevant Scriptures are everywhere in both the old and new testaments. Fudge does the most thorough inventory of them I have read, but there are other even more detailed works referenced here and there in the readings that I was not able to get my hands on for this study. Never mind- we don’t have all week anyway we will just review a few of the most relevant ones.

  16. Genesis 6-9 (flood- example of judgement) Gen 6:5-8 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord. ... 21-24 And all flesh died... Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing.

  17. Genesis 19:24-29 (burning of Sodom & Gomorrah- example of judgement) Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulphur and fire from the Lord out of heaven... So it was ... God destroyed the cities of the valley. Jude 7: “Just as Sodom and Gomorrah... Serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”

  18. Isaiah 66:24 (worm not die- torment quoted by Jesus in Mark 9:48 and parallels) 24 And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” The unquenchable fire and undying worm are two of the main images of everlasting (aionios) torment. These can easily be understood as referring to an un-consolable condemning conscience.

  19. Daniel 12:2 (Everlasting shame and contempt) And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Clearest OT picture of the resurrection The contempt is “everlasting”, the shame as well?

  20. The rich man and Lazarus; or the parable of the 5 brothers (Luke 16: 19-31) “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, 23and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame’. 25 But Abraham said ‘child remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus bad things; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us’. 27 And he said ‘then i beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house- 28 for I have five brothers- so that he may warm them, lest they also come into this place of torment’. 29 But Abraham said, ‘they have Moses and the Prophets; let them here them’. 30 And he said, no father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent’. 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

  21. Mathew 25:31-46 (the sheep and the goats- exclusion) When the Son of Man comes in his glory, in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me’. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink, or see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and cloth you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit me’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you? 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

  22. Revelation 14:9-11 (no rest day and night- torment) “And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “if anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night” This certainly sounds like conscious everlasting torment.

  23. Revelation 20:10, 14-15 (lake of fire= second death) “And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they were tormented day and night forever and ever... Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

  24. Summing up so far • Identified three streams of understanding concerning those who die in their sins: • Traditional everlasting torment • Conditional immortality • Universalism • Reviewed words (Hell, Sheol, Hades, Aionios, Death, Destroy, Perish) and Scriptures (Gen 6-9; 19; Is 66; Dan 12; Luke 16;Mat 25; Rev 14; 20)

  25. “Hellbound” video Play trailer Display website with critique

  26. Thanks for listening: Don’t forget to put your sticker on the chart. 