What the Hell?


In this Sunday’s message (Sept. 24, 2023), Brother Dave tackles the second question in our series, Revangelical: Proclaiming the Good News after Deconstruction—namely, “Does scripture support literal fire and torture? If it isn’t literal fire and torture, then what is it? Is it an actual place or more of a metaphor? Would God send a person made in God’s image to hell? Where’s the line between Christianity, universalism, and other religions and worldviews as far as salvation and heaven and hell?” He begins with Jesus’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31) and suggests that the point isn’t to teach about the metaphysics of the afterlife. He goes through the historical development of the doctrine of hell and various understandings of the meaning and models of hell before concluding that hell is best understood as the fire of divine light that burns away all impurities (drawing from the Eastern Orthodox tradition).


To go deeper on this question, check out the following resources:


David Bentley Hart, “The obscenity of belief in hell

David Bentley Hart, That All Shall Be Saved

David C. Cramer, “How to Talk about the Afterlife (if you must) 1

David C. Cramer, “How to Talk about the Afterlife (if you must) 2

Brother Dave