The stubborn fact is that Scripture is richly polyphonic on the topic of hell and judgmentâ€”as if by design. Thus, if we become dogmatic about any one position, we reduce ourselves to reading selectively or doing interpretive violence to those verses that donâ€™t fit our chosen view.
Mercy triumphs over judgment; it does not skirt it.
Rather than acknowledge the variety of terms, images, and concepts that the Bible uses for divine judgment, the KJV translators opted to combine them all under the single term â€œhell.â€
Between the covers of our Bible, the authors plainly teach infernalism, annihilationism, and universalism.
By way of analogy, when the children of Israel fled Pharaohâ€™s army, the presence of God stood between them as a pillar of fire. To Godâ€™s people, he was warmth, light, and comfort. To his enemies, he was darkness and terror. The same is true of the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel. To Danielâ€™s friends, the fire served to burn only the ropes of their bondage. Meanwhile, it incinerated their captors. In the end, the glory and love of Christ is that fire.
God deals with sin through correction, not punishment.
If the Cross is about love and mercy rather than Godâ€™s need to satisfy wrath with punishment, what becomes of hell? Is there a need? Is it punitive? Is it eternal? Or could even hell be swallowed up in the Lordship of Godâ€™s eternal love?
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