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The Lake Of Fire


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In my attempt to be rid of the fear of hell once and for all, I spent the most of today researching it. I came to the conclusion that 'hell', translated gehenna, and hades on the O.T, among others, means simply the grave, or (in the case of gehenna), the refuse pit located just outside of Jerusalem. I'm convinced now - that's not an issue anymore.

 

However, the Lake of Fire is.

 

Because the Lake of Fire is separate from hell/gehanna/grave etc. The LoF is where, after the second resurrection in front of the great white throne, in Revelation, the 'wicked' are desposed of. Revelation also mentions that their torment will be forever and ever.

 

Now this may not even register with most of you, but because of my rapidly failing belief, and my very real fear of burning in flames forever, it's causing me a bit of anxiety.

 

I cannot find anythng anywhere - other than it's written in Revelation which is a symbolic book, so it too must be symbolic - that the Lake of Fire isn't just what it is said to be. A lake of fire where the unsaved are thrown to burn forever in utter agonies.

 

Anyone have any info on this?

 

Thing is, I can tell myself why worry, the bible isn't true, but the problem is, I'm not entirely convinced yet, and this is turning out to be a major stumbling block in my journey.

 

Thanks either way

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Whether you call it hell or the lake of fire, being afraid of burning forever if you're wrong is a pretty standard part of the deconversion process. I found it faded with time; others researched it away by examining the overall framework (Christianity) of which eternal damnation is a part. Either, bottom line is that it is normal and temporary. During deconversion, what we feel about various doctrines tends to lag a bit behind what we think. You've trained yourself for years to respond emotionally to things like hell, so it takes some time for your new thought patterns to take hold.

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I cannot find anythng anywhere - other than it's written in Revelation which is a symbolic book, so it too must be symbolic - that the Lake of Fire isn't just what it is said to be. A lake of fire where the unsaved are thrown to burn forever in utter agonies.

 

Anyone have any info on this?

I'm assuming you're talking about:

Revelation 20:10 BBE

 

And the Evil One who put them in error was sent down into the sea of ever-burning fire, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their punishment will go on day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 21:8 BBE

 

But those who are full of fear and without faith, the unclean and takers of life, those who do the sins of the flesh, and those who make use of evil powers or who give worship to images, and all those who are false, will have their part in the sea of
ever-burning
fire which is the second death.

This is the only place in the text where it mentions "to the age of ages" (as I recall) or "for ever and ever" (written here) with the sea/lake. All other places (translations notwithstanding) have whatever being tossed in just being done away with as opposed to being burned or tortured forever. The point would be that these three are getting a special treatment in the sea/lake as opposed to everyone else. Modern times would have someone like Hitler getting a special place in hell for all he had done whereas his soldiers, or the larger part of them at the very least, would get off with the lessor penalty. He burns forever and they get to burn up in an instant.

 

The second verse I chose, from the same translation, just to demonstrate that the "ever-burning" doesn't exist in the Greek but is present in some translations. It doesn't belong there and only serves to upset people in your position.

 

mwc

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Good points mwc

 

Only thing I will say is that the terms aeons and aeons, whilst not donating forever and ever, are also used in relation to God, who is eternal

 

(Rev 4:9) And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

 

So I'm thinking there's 3 possible answers, either [1] it does mean forever and ever, or [2] it teaches God is not eternal and immortal, or [3] the term aeon can mean both eternal and also 'a very long time'. Which entails more research.

 

Obviously 2 is wrong, so that leaves 1 or 3.

 

Definitely feel like I'm getting there though

 

Thanks all

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It is true that "hell" and the "lake of fire" are two different things in the bible, but I would bet money that the majority of christians don't know that.

 

At any rate, if this "lake of fire" is so important to gawd, then why would it have been completely overlooked throughout the entire Old Testament and even the earliest writings of the New Testament? Why wait until toward the last phase of biblical writings to reveal such an important doctrine? Why was the OT punishment for wickedness said to be death and the OT reward for righteousness said to be long life and prosperity if hell (er, I mean the "lake of fire") and heaven (er, I mean the "New Jerusalem") are the real punishment and reward?

 

This is just an example of evolving religion. Over time, new ideas were incorporated into the shell of older ideas. Religion is influenced by the culture(s) it develops in, plain and simple. No gawd wrote the damn bible, it's just the works of ancient superstitious men.

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Only thing I will say is that the terms aeons and aeons, whilst not donating forever and ever, are also used in relation to God, who is eternal

 

(Rev 4:9) And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,

 

So I'm thinking there's 3 possible answers, either [1] it does mean forever and ever, or [2] it teaches God is not eternal and immortal, or [3] the term aeon can mean both eternal and also 'a very long time'. Which entails more research.

 

Obviously 2 is wrong, so that leaves 1 or 3.

An "aeon" or "age" denotes a period of time. Its usage varies so it's difficult to just say "it means exactly this." Often times, however, you will find the usage follows a pattern that is somewhat cyclical and we even use that same pattern today. There was once a "golden age" way back at the "beginning." Then things fell apart somehow. And over time this pattern repeated. Over and over. Since history rhymes/repeats it's obviously a series of "ages" repeating. The trick is to break this cycle and "return" to the original "golden age." Once this happens, this "trigger event," whatever it is, then from that point on then we'll live "happily ever after."

 

In xian terms you have the creation/garden. The "fall." The series of obvious events in history, especially Jewish history, that "repeat" even with the same names being involved. The final "conflict" between good and evil that leads to the destruction of evil and the return to the "garden" resulting in the end of the cycles and the permanent "golden age." The age that continues forever. An endless summer. Whatever you want to call it. It may not be exactly like the original garden but that's not the point. The point is to break the cycles and have the last cycle last forever and be a steady state. Something totally reliable and predictable. The xian god is in control and their country is the one that is respected and powerful. For all time.

 

This is why, even in this "perfect world" of the Revelation, there are still people that worship idols and do all sorts of sins. They're not abolished. They still exist in the population. This is about Israel moving to the top of the social order in place of Rome or anyone else and then "stopping" things so they keep their place forever.

 

mwc

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Somedays I'm in awe of the juvenile core beliefs of xtianity. We all know it is, but somedays it just seems so much more obvious to me. Mwc, your last post was one that framed for me yet again just how infantile religion really is. It is the security blanket our species is too old for, but just isn't quite ready to give up and become a "big boy/girl" yet...

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Somedays I'm in awe of the juvenile core beliefs of xtianity. We all know it is, but somedays it just seems so much more obvious to me. Mwc, your last post was one that framed for me yet again just how infantile religion really is. It is the security blanket our species is too old for, but just isn't quite ready to give up and become a "big boy/girl" yet...

But for some Marty, it can be a terrifying mental time. Like it is for me right now. I've just spent the whole day desperately trying to find 'proof' that the lake of fire is not literal but figurative. I've hardly thought about the concept that it isn't real at all.

 

When you start thinking that not even suicide will help, because that could be simply hastening matters toward the most terrifying thing that could ever happen, then you know you are in a very dark place.

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But for some Marty, it can be a terrifying mental time. Like it is for me right now. I've just spent the whole day desperately trying to find 'proof' that the lake of fire is not literal but figurative. I've hardly thought about the concept that it isn't real at all.

 

But if it's not real (and I'm certain it's not), then what difference does it make whether it was meant literally or figuatively?

 

Anyway, check this out:

http://www.godvsthebible.com/chapter13

 

When you start thinking that not even suicide will help, because that could be simply hastening matters toward the most terrifying thing that could ever happen, then you know you are in a very dark place.

 

Bro, if you're having suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help immediately!

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But for some Marty, it can be a terrifying mental time. Like it is for me right now. I've just spent the whole day desperately trying to find 'proof' that the lake of fire is not literal but figurative. I've hardly thought about the concept that it isn't real at all.

 

But if it's not real (and I'm certain it's not), then what difference does it make whether it was meant literally or figuatively?

 

Anyway, check this out:

http://www.godvsthebible.com/chapter13

 

When you start thinking that not even suicide will help, because that could be simply hastening matters toward the most terrifying thing that could ever happen, then you know you are in a very dark place.

 

Bro, if you're having suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help immediately!

That's ok Citsonga, I'm not actually having any suicidal thoughts, I just thought I can see why some people take their lives because I could see the despair, etc.

 

As for the website, thank you. But that's the subtle difference with my issue. It's not 'hell' which is the issue, it's the 'lake of fire', which is I believe different. Of course if it is different, then you have the Old Testament Sheol, and the New Testament Gehanna/Hell, and the Lake of Fire. So how many locations are there, one, two or three?

 

Of course if the Gehenna Jesus describes is the Lake of Fire, then that leaves just two places. And if the two places are the same, then the Old Testament Sheol was added to in the New Testament.

 

Quite an issue

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As for the website, thank you. But that's the subtle difference with my issue. It's not 'hell' which is the issue, it's the 'lake of fire', which is I believe different. Of course if it is different, then you have the Old Testament Sheol, and the New Testament Gehanna/Hell, and the Lake of Fire. So how many locations are there, one, two or three?

 

Of course if the Gehenna Jesus describes is the Lake of Fire, then that leaves just two places. And if the two places are the same, then the Old Testament Sheol was added to in the New Testament.

 

Quite an issue

 

Don't forget Hades. ;)

 

But, yeah, Hades (translated "hell" in the JKV) clearly isn't the "lake of fire," according to Revelation. Gehenna (also "hell" in KJV) was a garbage dump fire pit, though. But Sheol (also "hell" in KJV) was the grave.

 

Regardless, it wasn't until the last phase of writings that made it into the bible that the concept of burning forever in a lake of fire showed up. What we have is evolving religion, that's all, and an evolved religion has no real authority.

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As for the website, thank you. But that's the subtle difference with my issue. It's not 'hell' which is the issue, it's the 'lake of fire', which is I believe different. Of course if it is different, then you have the Old Testament Sheol, and the New Testament Gehanna/Hell, and the Lake of Fire. So how many locations are there, one, two or three?

 

Of course if the Gehenna Jesus describes is the Lake of Fire, then that leaves just two places. And if the two places are the same, then the Old Testament Sheol was added to in the New Testament.

Have you ever looked at the preterist view on the Revelation? If not you might want to track it down for a different take.

 

mwc

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Guest Valk0010

Hell is a dumb man's attempt at a lazy vengeance.

 

Religion is a developed thing, some person when our species realized it could die, or a bit later not sure, it started to ask the question where would we go, the idea of and afterlife developed out of that. Now think about it, how fair does it sound if both good and bad people go to heaven, that is where the idea of hell, in its various incarnations come from.

 

Sorry I know its not the christian specific answer your looking for, but its food for thought.

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Somedays I'm in awe of the juvenile core beliefs of xtianity. We all know it is, but somedays it just seems so much more obvious to me. Mwc, your last post was one that framed for me yet again just how infantile religion really is. It is the security blanket our species is too old for, but just isn't quite ready to give up and become a "big boy/girl" yet...

But for some Marty, it can be a terrifying mental time. Like it is for me right now. I've just spent the whole day desperately trying to find 'proof' that the lake of fire is not literal but figurative. I've hardly thought about the concept that it isn't real at all.

 

When you start thinking that not even suicide will help, because that could be simply hastening matters toward the most terrifying thing that could ever happen, then you know you are in a very dark place.

 

Im sorry Bro, I didn't mean to belittle your struggles. I have been out of the church for a long time, and when I look at doctrine with these eyes sometimes the stupid just pops out.

 

I can say that with time it will get better. I personally never wrestled with a fear of hell or damnation, because while still an adolescent I was deconstructing the bible and realized very early on it was purely the work of man. All I can recommend to you is to keep reading, not just about hell or the lake of fire, but everything. Religion, other religions beside the 3 Abrahamic ones, politics, science, etc. The more knowledge you cram into your brain the sillier xtian beliefs will seem to you.

 

One book I would like to suggest is "A History of the Devil". I dont have it with me to give you the author or ISBN, but it goes through history and shows the development and evolution of the devil, hell, evil, etc.

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Somedays I'm in awe of the juvenile core beliefs of xtianity. We all know it is, but somedays it just seems so much more obvious to me. Mwc, your last post was one that framed for me yet again just how infantile religion really is. It is the security blanket our species is too old for, but just isn't quite ready to give up and become a "big boy/girl" yet...

But for some Marty, it can be a terrifying mental time. Like it is for me right now. I've just spent the whole day desperately trying to find 'proof' that the lake of fire is not literal but figurative. I've hardly thought about the concept that it isn't real at all.

 

When you start thinking that not even suicide will help, because that could be simply hastening matters toward the most terrifying thing that could ever happen, then you know you are in a very dark place.

 

Im sorry Bro, I didn't mean to belittle your struggles. I have been out of the church for a long time, and when I look at doctrine with these eyes sometimes the stupid just pops out.

That's ok Marty, no harm done :)

 

I can say that with time it will get better. I personally never wrestled with a fear of hell or damnation, because while still an adolescent I was deconstructing the bible and realized very early on it was purely the work of man. All I can recommend to you is to keep reading, not just about hell or the lake of fire, but everything. Religion, other religions beside the 3 Abrahamic ones, politics, science, etc. The more knowledge you cram into your brain the sillier xtian beliefs will seem to you.

 

One book I would like to suggest is "A History of the Devil". I dont have it with me to give you the author or ISBN, but it goes through history and shows the development and evolution of the devil, hell, evil, etc.

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll be sure to look it up

 

EDIT: Is it this one by Paul Carus: History of the Devil?

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For those who read this and are also afraid of hell, while coming out of Christianity, this article might be helpful to read. It shows how Christianity and the Bible is not true (or couldn't be true). And if it's not true, then there is no reason to believe hell idea...and be scared of it...

 

http://spirituality.freeforums.org/disassembling-christianity-part-one-t12.html

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