At the end of January, I posted some of my thoughts on hell. There I argued that hell is not the separation from the presence of God. I wrote that hell is the “separation of people from the majestic, glorious presence of the Lord.”
To help flesh this out, I think Wayne Grudem’s thoughts from his book Sytematic Theology might help.
The idea of God’s omnipresence has sometimes troubled people who wonder how God can be present, for example, in hell. In fact, isn’t hell the opposite of God’s presence, or the absence of God? This difficulty can be resolved by realizing that God is present in different ways in different places or that God acts differently in different places in his creation. Sometimes God is present to punish. A terrifying passage in Amos vividly portrays this presence of God in judgment:
Not one of them shall flee away,
not one of them shall escape.
Though they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
though they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search out and take them;
and though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And though they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall slay them;
and I will set my eyes upon them for evil and not for good.