John Shore has been writing a little bit about hell lately. He has written a response (reaction?) to a promo video by Francis Chan about his new book Erasing Hell. Hmmm, a quick, public response to a promo-video about a book about hell. Sound familiar? (Funny how people criticize others for doing the same thing, but when the ball is in their court…)
In another article on his personal blog, Shore writes about if hell is real. In typical liberal fashion, he avoids the answer and claims the Bible does as well:
Asking whether or not hell is real is like asking your teammates in a football huddle during a game whether or not they think it’s possible, from your guys’ current position on the field, to sink a three-point basket.
Missing the point.
Here’s something I hate: conversations that ostensibly are about answering a question to which, in fact, there is no knowable answer. Getting stuck in a conversation like that transmogrifies my medulla oblongata into a crack-snorting hamster on a wheel. I instantly become a crazed prisoner surreptitiously searching for a hole in the fence he can slip through and run.
So, to state something so obvious I should be embarrassed to type it: No one has any idea — none, zero, zilch, nada, void, total blank — what happens to anyone after they die.
Could be heaven awaiting. Could be hell. Could be a Dairy Queen; could be a dentist’s waiting room; could be a six-room ranch-style igloo; could be interplanetary pinochle tournament.
No. One. Knows. It’s. Not. Knowable.
And if at this moment you’re inclined to grab your Bible, stop yourself. It’s not in there. You can pretend the Bible tells you what happens to people after they die, but you wouldn’t be fooling even yourself. Paul enjoins us to give up childish things, and you can’t get more childish than pretending the Bible is a magical window that lets you see beyond life. It isn’t. It doesn’t. You can’t. Trying to use the Bible as proof of what happens after we die is like trying to use a telescope to row a canoe. Wrong instrument. Wrong purpose. Only results in you still haplessly floating about.
The only thing we know for sure about what happens to us after we die is that in this life we don’t, can’t, and won’t have any idea what happens to us after we die.
Later he writes,
I refuse to pretend to take seriously the question of whether or not hell is real. I think entertaining the question of what happens in the afterlife is an insult to God and all that he has given us in this life. When we need to know, we’ll know.
The problem is, if that’s the approach you take, you won’t know until it’s too late.
The truth is that the Bible does tell us what happens after people die. Jesus talked about hell more than he talked about heaven. Rick Warren said recently in an interview with John Piper, “If hell is not real, then Jesus is a liar.” So what does the Bible say? Here are but a handful of verses.
‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matt. 25:45-46)
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matt. 10:28)
You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? (Matt. 23:33)
They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. (2 Thess. 1:9)
And perhaps the most vivid, from the Apostle John:
And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15)
Look for more to come on this next week.