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Which Hell Will You Go To?


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I find it weird that the fear of hell holds any grip over anybody anymore, since the concept of hell is probably the least consistent of Christian ideas.

 

The New Testament discusses four different types of Hell. Jesus often referred to "Hades" in some Gospel of Matthew speeches, talking more about "outer darkness" than fire (Mt. 22:19). In Greek Mythology, "Hades" was the place that everybody went, good or bad, and they existed there as a shadow ruled by the god "Hades" until they were forgotten and disappeared. In the "Old Testament," or Hebrew Bible as it should be called, the place called "sheol" was used to describe the "grave." Even "King David" the Psalmist expected to go to "sheol" when he died, if not for a little while (Ps. 16:10). "Sheol" and "Hades" are probably conflated in Jesus' thought. In other passages, though, Jesus talked about "Gehenna" (Mark 5:21), which was a burning trash heap valley on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

 

Anytime Paul mentioned "hell," the word he used was "hades" which is synonymous with death/grave. And he only mentioned this to say that Christ had defeated it!

 

In the letter of 1 Peter (3:19) it says that Christ preached to the "spirits in prison," which KJV translated "hell." The actual word here is "tartarus," which is the place where Zeus imprisoned the Titans after he defeated them in his bloodthirsty and cannibalistic rise to theocratic supremacy.

 

Not until the book of Revelation (20:15) do we get our classic "lake of fire" where people are tossed and presumably are never consumed to suffer forever. "Hades" is eventually thrown into this lake... so "hell" gets thrown into "hell."

 

All of the early Fathers of the Church thought of hell as a temporary state, eventually the Latin word "purgatory" was applied to the concept so Augustine and Jerome (who could not read Greek too well) imagined Hell as we know it and love it today. The Medieval church waged it as a powerful weapon. Dante and Milton immortalized the imagery in literature.

 

So I'm asking, which hell is it exactly that I'm going to?

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I'm going to the one with the beer and the chicks.

That would be the one with the hot chicks of course.

 

mwc

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Seems to me like the book of "Revelations" caused a lot of trouble. Not only the whole "lake of fire" crap but also ends times BS. I beleive that the people who put the bible together weren't even sure if they should add it to the canon. Wonder what the theology would be like without it?

 

Jesus often referred to "Hades" in some Gospel of Matthew speeches, talking more about "outer darkness" than fire (Mt. 22:19). In Greek Mythology, "Hades" was the place that everybody went, good or bad, and they existed there as a shadow ruled by the god "Hades" until they were forgotten and disappeared.

I thought the greek hades was a place of torment that everyone went to. Where can i get more information on the greek hades theology?

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I thought the greek hades was a place of torment that everyone went to. Where can i get more information on the greek hades theology?

No, "Hades" was the general underworld. Most souls just wandered around aimlessly there, while the evil were sent to Tartarus, and the virtuous were sent to the Elysian Fields.

 

And you can learn quite a bit about Greek mythology, if you just have the motivation to look it up, either online or off. Your local public library would probably be a good place to start. Or just use Google.

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Guest J Thomas

Does anyone know the details of how and when the Christian hell (e.g. Rich man and Lazurus/lake of fire) was invented? I have read various things on this that it was the Zoroastrians or that it was the greeks around 400 BCE. It would be interesting to know. It is shocking to Christians to realise that it is not even in the OT.

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a good historical source is Alan Bernstein's The Formation of Hell (Cornell, 1994)

 

the classical greek view of hades was distilled from many myths like Odyssey, Hymn to Demeter, Theogony. The Canaanites, Assyrians and Sumerians wrote of "sheol," which is also most like a mass grave. In Hades and Sheol the spirits wander aimlessly in starvation, unless the living offer them sacrifices... Halloween is a pagan throwback of this belief.

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in the rich man and Lazarus there is "a great gulf fixed between them," a true hallmark of the genre called "apocalypse." I'd say Norman Cohn is a good historian of the genre. His The Pursuit of the Millennium is about Medieval apocalyptics, but he traces them historically back to Zoroastrians. His more recent book Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come is more about the deeper roots of apocalyptic faith in ancient Egyptian and Babylonian cosmology, but also includes a chapter on Zorastrianism.

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What about Mal's "Special Hell," the one reserved for child-molesters and people who talk during movies?

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