Hell is NOT a Place of Conscious, Eternal, Physical Torture

1st Century Ancient Near East concepts of “hell” (see also these posts) will show that Jesus referred to mortal judgment as any 2nd Temple, Hellenized Jew of his day:

  • the grave (Sheol: lifelessness, knowing nothing, cut off)
  • a mythical realm of the dead (Hades/Tartarus: an underworld, permanently separated from the living by an impassable river)
  • a parabolic afterlife of pain & suffering, opposite the pleasures & comforts & selfishness one indulges in life … and separated by great expanse from Abraham’s Bosom / Paradise: the peace & pleasures to be had with faithful Abraham, friend of YHWH, for those who suffered in life
  • a memorial of heinous atrocity (Valley of Hinnom: a humiliating & detestable historical allusion to ancient Israel’s having sacrificed their children to Molech).

Furthermore, original Christianity was never about “going to Heaven instead of Hell”

(See also NT Wright)

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