Man’s present day condition
A) The fallacies
1. Man is dirt and therefore cannot be saved.
2. Man is divine and therefore need not be saved.
B) The facts
1. The natural man
1 Corinth 2:14
All unsaved men (natural) are spiritually depraved.
A) Negative aspects of depravity
1. Depravity does not mean that all unsaved men and women are as depraved as they can become.
2. Depravity does not hold that a sinner has no sense of God or good and evil.
3. Depravity does not teach that an unsaved man can’t admire the noble, or even perform noble acts.
B) Positive aspects of depravity
1. Depravity means that all sinners are capable of all wicked things.
2. Depravity teaches that no sinner has the power to please God.
2. The carnal man
1 Corinth 3:1-3
Here Paul describes a Christian who is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but who still allows himself to be controlled by the passion of the flesh.
3. The spirit indwelt man
1 Corinth 2:15
6. His destiny
There is more to this life than life itself
Mankind has asked 3 questions through the ages.
1. Where did I come from?
2. Why am I here?
3. Where am I going?
A) False views concerning the destiny of man
An Oriental Hindu philosophy that has moved its way into Christianity at times.
This philosophy teaches that at death a man ceases to exist personally and is absorbed by a great life giving principle in the universe.
The small ripple in a large ocean principle
The Bible clearly refutes this
1. Man does not cease to exist – Matt 17:3
Moses dies 2,000 years earlier and Elijah had departed over seven centuries back and they both appeared on the mount of transfiguration.
2. Man has a destiny – 1 Corinth 15:12-20
3. Saved men have a different destiny than the unsaved men – 1 Corinth 15:42-49, luke 16:19-31
2. Restorationism or universalism
This belief states that in a future life all men will be given a second chance to make the choice for God that they did not make during their life.
This is refuted by
1. man has a choice – Prov 29:1
2. The choice is clear – Job 3:3
3. God gave us this choice – John 3:16-21
4. His Son Jesus Christ is the only way – John 14:6
An atheistic belief that man, upon death, forever ceases to be and quietly rots into nothingness.
This has been described as knowing the price of everything but the value of nothing
Man can have victory over death – 1 Corinth 15:50-57
This belief teaches that all the ungodly will someday litterally be uncreated or annihilated by God.
Example: Jehovah’s witnesses
This is refuted by
1. Man will exist in the afterlife – Matthew 25:46
5. Soul sleep
This belief states that the soul sleeps between death and the resurrection
This is refuted by
1. We are absent from the body – 2 Corinth 5:6-9
2. We are with Christ – Phil 1:23-24
3. We could possibly have a temporary body in heaven – Revelations 6:9-12
The Roman Catholic belief that all those who die at peace with the church but are not perfect must undergo partial and purifying sufferings. However this is only for those who die in venial (lesser) sins because all who die in mortal sins are condemned to hell. this teaches that ones stay in purgatory can be shortened by the gifts or services rendered by their loved ones to the church in their names
This is refuted by
1. man does not need the gifts of a priest – Heb 9:11-14
2. Christ is our one and only High priest – Heb 9;24-28
3. Christ paid the price for our sins – Heb 10:12-17
Another aspect of Roman Catholic theology which teaches that all unbaptized children and the mentally incapacitated upon death proceed to a place of natural happiness but not heaven
Children and the mentally challenged go to heaven – Matthew 18:1-10
The belief in the rebirth of the soul. this is fundamental to most beliefs in India. As one sows in this life he will reap in the next life. Good deeds result in a better state of rebirth and bad deeds result in a worse state of rebirth.
B) man’s destiny according to Scripture
1) Before the cross
Where was the abode of the dead prior to Calvary?
Most scholars believe that before Christ’s death all men’s souls descended to an abode located somewhere in the earth, usually in its core known as Hades in the New Testament and Sheol in the Old Testament.
There were two sections of Hades, one for the saved and one for the lost. This separated saved section was known as Paradise and at times referred to as Abraham’s bosom. The two sections were separated by a great gulf.
A number of extremely interesting conclusions may be derived from Luke 16:19-31
A) The activities of angels in carrying believers to their reward.
B) The possibility of a temporary preresurrection body for the saved and unsaved.
C) The irony of an occupant in hell wanting to become a soul winner
D) The nature od the rich mans request to send Lazarus to testify to his lost brothers. This request was denied because it simply would not work.
Christ did raise a man named Lazarus a few months later after telling this to the people and it did not cause anyone to be converted. Actually the Pharisee planned to kill Jesus all the more and if necessary to also murder the resurrected Lazarus.
Many think this situation was changed after Christ had made full payment for believer’s sins at Calvary. Many believe that He descended into Hades and depopulate Paradise to bring the Saints to be with Him before their resurrection.
1 Peter 3:18-32
2) After the cross
The situation of the unsaved dead remained and remains the same (Rev 20:11-19)
Unsaved man will remain there until after the millenium (Rev 20:5)
There is a glorious change concerning the state of those who follow Christ
2 Corinth 5:8
According to these verses both Stephen and Paul are now in the heavens along with all other believers who have died and all are with Christ.
This place is referred to as the third heaven
2 Corinth 12:1-4
Man is headed for one of two places in the future.
Heaven – Revelation 21-22:1-5
1) The saved can look forward to a better place – 2 Peter 3:10-13
2) Heaven is the place where:
A) Christians will enter into His rest
Hebrews 3:7-19, 4:1-10
B) There are many mansions prepared for us
C) As Christians we are already citizens
D) We have an inheritance reserved for us
1 Peter 1:3-5
1) The worldly person is headed for a place of doom – 2 Peter 2:4-11
2) Hell is a place:
Of utter darkness – Matthew 25:30
Of everlasting fire and brimstone – Matthew 25:41, Revelation 21:8
Of everlasting punishment – Matthew 25:46
Of everlasting torment – Luke 16:19-31, Mark 9:43-48
Where the fire is never quenched – Revelation 21:8 (sulfur – such fire is never ending)
Where the darkness is never lightened – Matthew 25:30 (Imagine complete darkness. No contact with anyone or anything except weeping and gnashing of teeth, no form to your surroundings no end and no sides)
Where the anguish is never relieved – Matthew 13:41-42 , Luke 16:24
Where the condition is never changed – Matthew 23:33
Where guilt is never canceled – Luke 16:25-26
Gehenna is defined in rabbinic literature. It is sometimes translated as “Hell”, but this doesn’t effectively convey its meaning. In Judaism, Gehenna is not hell, but rather a sort of Purgatory where one is judged based on their life’s deeds. The Kabbalah describes it as a “waiting room” (commonly translated as an “entry way”) for all souls (not just the wicked). The overwhelming majority of rabbinic thought maintains that people are not in Gehenna forever; the longest that one can be there is said to be 12 months, however there has been the occasional noted exception. Some consider it a spiritual forge where the soul is purified for its eventual ascent to Olam Habah (heb. עולם הבא; lit. “The world to come”, often viewed as analogous to Heaven). This is also mentioned in the Kabbalah, where the soul is described as breaking, like the flame of a candle lighting another: the part of the soul that ascends being pure, and the “unfinished” piece being reborn.
Another source for the modern idea of ‘Hell’ is the Greek and Roman Tartarus, a place in which conquered gods, men and other spirits were punished. Tartarus formed part of Hades in Greek mythology and Roman mythology, but Hades also included Elysium, a place for the reward for those who lead virtuous lives, whilst others spent their afterlife in the asphodels fields. Like most ancient (pre-Christian) religions, the underworld was not viewed as negatively as it is in Christianity
The Muslim belief in jahannam (in Arabic: جهنم) (similar to Hebrew ge-hinnom and resembles that of other Abrahamic religions). In the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, there are literal descriptions of the condemned in a fiery Hell, as contrasted to the garden-like Paradise enjoyed by righteous believers.
The meaning of jahannam is to do with hotness (whereas in Hebrew Gehenna is said to mean a narrow deep valley). The word for paradise is jannah which means garden.
In addition, Heaven and Hell are split into many levels depending on the actions taken in life, where punishment is given depending on the level of evil done in life, and good is separated into other levels depending on how well one followed Allah (God) while alive.
There is an equal number of mentions of both hell and paradise in the Qur’an.
The Qur’an also says that some of those who are damned to hell are not damned forever, but instead for an indefinite period of time. When Judgement Day comes, the formerly damned will be judged as to whether or not they may enter into Paradise. In any case, there is good reason to believe that punishment in hell is not meant to actually last eternally, but instead serves as a basis for spiritual rectification.
main article: Di Yu, the Chinese Hell and Japanese Hell
The structure of Hell is remarkably complex in many Chinese and Japanese religions. The ruler of Hell has to deal with politics, just as human rulers do. Hell is the subject of many folk stories and manga. In many such stories, people in hell are able to die again.
See Di Yu for more information on Chinese Hell.
The Chinese depiction of Hell doesn’t necessarily mean a long time suffering for those who enter Hell, nor does it mean that person is bad. The Chinese view Hell as similar to a present day passport or immigration control station. In a Chinese funeral, they burn many Hell Bank Notes for the dead. With this Hell money, the dead person can bribe the ruler of Hell, and spend the rest of the money either in Hell or in Heaven.
Taoism has a slightly nebulous version of Hell. Some claim it has no Hell at all, but – particularly in its home country China – popular belief endows Taoist Hell with many deities and spirits who punish sin in a variety of horrible ways.
In Hinduism, there are contradictions as to whether or not there is a hell. For some it is a metaphor for a conscience. But in Mahabharata there is a mention of the Pandavas and the Kauravas going to hell. Hells are also described in various Puranas and other scriptures.
It is believed that people who commit ‘paap’ (sin) go to hell and have to go through the punishments in accordance to the sins they committed. The god Yama, who is also the god of death, is the king of hell. The detailed accounts of all the sins committed by an individual are supposed to be kept by Chitragupta who is the record keeper in Yama’s court. Chitragupta reads out the sins committed and Yama orders the appropriate punishments to be given to the individuals. These punishments include dipping in boiling oil, burning in fire, torture using various weapons etc. in various hells. Individuals who finish their quota of the punishments are reborn according to their karma. All of the created are imperfect and thus have at least one sin to their record, but if one has led a generally pious life, one ascends to Heaven, or Swarga after a brief period of expiation in hell.
Tour of Vedic universe
As diverse as other religions, there are many beliefs about Hell in Buddhism.
Most of the schools of thought, Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna would acknowledge several hells, which are places of great suffering for those who commit evil actions, such as cold hells and hot hells. Like all the different realms within cyclic existence, an existence in hell is temporary for its inhabitants. Those with sufficiently negative karma are reborn there, where they stay until their specific negative karma has been used up, at which point they are reborn in another realm, such as that of humans, of hungry ghosts, of animals, of asuras, of devas, or of Naraka (Hell) all according to the individual’s karma.
Zen does not really focus or use the idea of Hell. Rather, consider this koan:
A roshi meets two students in the garden. To them, he asks, “where is Hell?”
“In Heaven,” the first student replies.
The roshi humphs, disappointedly. He then looks at the second.
“In the flower by your foot,” the second replies. He then bends down and kisses it. The first student bows, enlightened.
Bahá’ís do not accept Hell as a place, but rather as a state of being. “Heaven is nearness to Me and Hell is separation from Me.” – Bahá’u’lláh
The thing is that it doesn’t matter what man tries to create and speculate to make himself feel better. Hell and the lake of fire are real. One day man will either dwell in heaven or hell and it is man’s choice up until the end of their lives. Unsaved man has no one but himself to blame if he does not end up in heaven.