Life Without Hell – What Now?
When you can finally see that the doctrine of eternal torment is the cruelest deception in the history of mankind, and let it fall away like an ocean-liner sized weight, there will likely be a period of immense relief mingled, perhaps, with some anger and resentment for having been made to believe this untruth, plus an odd sense of disorientation.
You will come to the moment where you say, “Okay…what now?” Because our minds and hearts have been so warped by this diabolical doctrine of man, we actually lose a big chunk of real estate inside our mind that was previously allocated to dealing with the undercurrent of fear and the cognitive dissonance which was permanently locked in place. We all had to perform the same mental gymnastics in order to reconcile the notion that the God of Love would also have to be deemed “just and fair and reasonable,” for his plan (as we understood it) to torture the bulk of his loved, thoughtfully created humanity in unimaginable fiery agony, for all eternity.
There will likely be an advanced state of bewilderment that sets in. There will have to be a reckoning, as you move into a wonderful, and terrible, new freedom. A person might think that life would be infinitely easier after the lifting of such a soul-crushing, psychologically-deforming burden. But the period of settling into your new reality will come with a distinct set of struggles. A recalibration of this magnitude will likely be as profound as any experience in your spiritual journey. It was for me. It amounts to relearning how to perceive who God really is, and what his true, wonderful character is. It’s like relearning to walk.
Accommodating life without hell – this “new” truth that man’s doctrine of eternal torment is, and has always been, the most dastardly lie ever perpetrated on humanity, will test your very relationship with God. You will have never in your your life experienced this much perceived freedom. If you have ever broken a limb, and have had the heavy cast removed after long weeks, you know the sensation of your newly-unencumbered arm or leg feeling so light that it may float off into space, if it were not so well attached. Multiply that sensation times “eternity.”
You will basically lose all fear of consequences for “messing up,” for a period. You will never again experience white-knuckle terror over the prospect of burning forever, should your ardor for God cool, resulting in your falling-away. You may even lose all worry about the consequences of sin, because, hey, what’s the worst that could happen? There’s no never-ending hellfire to dread anymore!
You may also find that this new freedom virtually eliminates your “fear of God,” since hell was always the driving force of our fear of him. After all, what are we saved from, if not the hell he would consign us to for disobedience? You will feel a sense of being un-moored, drifting in unfamiliar waters. And, try as you might, having come out of such deep and abiding fear of the worst possible punishment that could ever be envisioned, you will have to dig deep to learn what the ACTUAL fear of God looks like, in this new reality.
Fear of Hell vs. Love of God
You must understand that this is a natural, even predictable result of rebounding from the damage that has been done to each of us as a result of being twisted into knots for years, or decades, by this hateful and demented dogma, foisted onto us by bible-college educated preachers and New Testament churches for many centuries. And all with a certainty bred through scores of generations having taught this doctrine with the gravest sincerity, to include the entire Who’s-Who of the most famous preachers and most respected theologians in nearly all of Christian history.
It can only be true that myriads of conversion experiences over the centuries were entered into ONLY because of the dread of eternal hell. Many will have convinced even themselves, in their desperate attempt to convince the God who might burn them in fire for all time, that they truly love and adore him, just for “who he is,” and not out of mind-numbing terror.
And if those should learn today that hell is a baseless claim adopted by early religious (and state) powers, from Greek and pagan beliefs, they could very well abandon the faith altogether, proving that their true motivation all along was not love, but this overwhelming fear.
Did Your Love for God Come from Fear of Hell?
So the question for you now, brothers and sisters recently freed from the locked cages in the dark dungeons of unnatural fear, will be: Did you really love God, or were you just coerced, by abject fear and total panic over the possibility that you might be burned forever in excruciating torment? It will be your biggest test, which is more the pity, as it was only ever a heartless, ruthless lie.
I suspect that, if everyone in the church were to suddenly understand that the doctrine of eternal torment was not true–had never been true–life without hell would see churches worldwide folding inside of six months. Forget that building fund, and the mega-church pastor’s new jet. Good luck just paying the electric bill, with the sudden and precipitous drop-off in fear-and-guilt-induced, tax free donations. So great has been the stranglehold of fear of hell over believers worldwide, going back 1500 years. Millions of believers–billions–have paid untold hundreds of billions of dollars, driven consciously or unconsciously by this fear. The church as we know it was built on hell. Not on Jesus being the Christ. Not on love of God. It was built on fear.
As the foundations of the church have been built on fear, so have the structures of our relationships with God been built on this same fear. Coming out of that enduring paradigm unscathed is exceedingly unlikely. Without this terror of hell, what would be the fate of the churches? Of their congregations’ walk with God? “What now?” Indeed.
So… Why Did Jesus Have to Die, If There Is No Hell?
Did Jesus die a horrible death at the hands of cruel and brutish tormentors to save us from eternal torment? No. Then why? This is the question we must all answer – all who come out from under this hideous distortion of truth.
People I have spoken with, in the attempt to show them the fallacious ideas that led to the innovation of eternal torment, have questioned why Jesus even had to be crucified, if not for hell? And what will stop people from committing grievous sins, if not for hell? Within that mindset, these seem like valid questions. But the body of believers in the first few centuries after Jesus died never understood that God’s judgment on unredeemed man meant conscious torment in eternal fire.
To understand life without hell, we have to go back, to return to a pre-hell understanding of the atonement: why it was necessary, why the Creator of Heaven and Earth set his wonderful work into motion a full 2,000 years before Jesus came. To rediscover WHY we are saved, from what, and into what. These questions are at the very heart of both the old and new covenants–they are, in effect, the entire story of the Bible, who God is, why Israel was created, what was God’s very purpose for fallen man.
Historical, Scriptural Support
Think about this: When Jesus died his horrifically cruel death, and was raised in victory over death, and his body of believers turned the world upside down, and gave their very lives by the thousands for their Lord, THERE WAS NO HELL. There was either the reward of eternal life for Jesus’ called out assembly – the mortal putting on immortality, or there was death. Only death.
Believers in Jesus, children of the Most High God, did not willingly face the lions in the coliseum of Rome because they feared hell. There was no hell. They stood before their killers, in Jesus’ name, because it was the Truth, because Jesus died to redeem them back to God for the privilege of being God’s beloved children, for the honor of following their master into a cruel and horrible death, to stand blameless before their Creator, as true friends of Jesus, refined as pure gold in that dread crucible. Following Jesus, led by the Spirit, in gratitude for the grace they had received and the hope of being raised to their promised reward: life eternal with Jesus as their King, and the Living God as their Father. And all of this in spite of the fact that hell was completely unknown to them.
The Truth of Life Without Hell
Hell has blinded us to what true service is, true obedience in gratitude, true worship of the God of Abraham, and true devotion to Jesus. And WHY it matters, why we do it, toward what end, and in what spirit.
Love God for he is MAGNIFICENT above all others, he deserves it, and it is right to do so.
Love Jesus NOT for what we get out of it, but for his wondrous achievement on our behalf, his total obedience to his God and Father, his purchase of us with his dear blood, even unto death on a cross, for us, and because it is right to do so.
If love and gratitude are not the source of our response to the two most glorious Beings over everything in Heaven and Earth, then our response is unworthy of them, and unworthy of reward.
We must all choose between eternal life, or death. Choose life because God is GLORIOUS, the source of all good, and because Jesus is WONDERFUL. And because it is Right to do so.