Wednesday, January 24, 2018

4 Views of Hell by Various Authors


This was quite an educational read as I had only one view of hell. I didn't even know people had other ideas of what hell could be, so this book was a must-read.

Each chapter is followed by responses from the 3 other authors so that it provides a more balanced view as the others analyse what might possibly be wrong about that particular view.

So the book opens with Denny Burk defending the traditional view of hell, also known as "Eternal Conscious Torment" where people live forever, being tortured by hellfire and such. This is my understanding of hell so nothing was new except for the fact that the author used 10 different verses to back up his claim that this is what hell truly is. I thought it a was rather thorough explanation and wondered how the other authors could fight against this.

The second chapter is titled "Terminal Punishment". This is a more palatable view of hell where the damned just disappears after being thrown into hellfire. He uses some biblical texts to support his claim which I thought were pretty reasonable.

Next, the third chapter deals with "Universalism", which was once known to be heresy, but is essentially the claim that by the blood of Jesus, God saves everyone in the end. He surprisingly does an interesting exegesis of relevant texts from the holy book, so no one can say he spun out this theory from thin air.

Finally, the last chapter deals with Purgatory. This is strictly not hell, as some claim that it's an anteroom to heaven, a place where people are sanctified before entering the presence of God. This chapter unfortunately has woefully little Bible verses to back its claims, so I thought it fell a little flat. It's interesting to see what C. S. Lewis had to say about Purgatory though, which is what the author referenced to a lot.

The book closes with a conclusion by Preston Sprinkle who evaluates each chapter and tells us where it shines and falls short. I thought it was a reasonable end to a very informative book. Pick up this book if you'd like to learn more about the various conceptions of hell Christians have.