Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Christian views on Hell

Christian views on Hell generally hold it to be place or a state in which the souls of the damned suffer the consequences of their sins. Different Hebrew and Greek words are translated as "hell" in most English-language Bibles. They include:

"Sheol" in the Hebrew Bible, and "Hades" in the New Testament. Many modern versions, such as the New International Version, translate Sheol as "grave" and simply transliterate "Hades". It is generally agreed that both Sheol and hades do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the grave, the temporary abode of the dead, the underworld.

"Gehenna" in the New Testament, where it is described as a place where both soul and body could be destroyed (Matthew 10:28) in "unquenchable fire" (Mark 9:43). The word is translated as either "hell" or "hell fire" in English versions.

The Greek verb which occurs once in the New Testament (in 2 Peter 2:4). It is almost always translated by a phrase such as "thrown down to hell". Exceptionally, the 2004 Holman Christian Standard Bible uses the word "Tartarus" and explains: "Tartarus is a Greek name for a subterranean place of divine punishment lower than Hades.”

Hell is generally defined as the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners after this life. Hell's character is inferred from biblical teaching, which has often been understood literally. Souls are said to pass into Hell by God's irrevocable judgment, either immediately after death (particular judgment) or in the general judgment. Modern theologians generally describe hell as the logical consequence of the soul using its free will to reject union with God. It is considered compatible with God's justice and mercy because God will not interfere with the soul's free choice.