The Eternity of God, and Heaven, and Hell

“And just as each person is appointed to die once – and after that comes judgment!” Hebrews 9:27

“And they will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous will go into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46

“The state of things after the judgment – is changeless and without end. The misery of the lost, and the blessedness of the saved – are both alike forever. Let no person deceive us on this point. It is clearly revealed in Scripture. The eternity of God, and heaven, and hell – all stand on the same foundation. As surely as God is eternal – so surely is heaven an endless day without night, and hell an endless night without day!”

~ J.C. Ryle

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6 thoughts on “The Eternity of God, and Heaven, and Hell”

  1. I love Ryle, but I think there’s room for disagreement on this topic. The apostles never addressed the subject of Hell in any of their recorded sermons, and I think the church has made a mistake to emphasize it. Of course, most folks don’t realize there’s a good deal of debate on exactly what the NT teaches on the subject, and eternal punishment hasn’t always been the most popular view (not that popularity means anything).

    1. I must respectfully disagree on this point…

      What then do you make of Christ’s repeated references to hell and eternal punishment?

      Matt. 5:22, 29 -30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:33; 25:46;
      Mark 9:43, 45, 47;
      Luke 12:15; 16:19-31;

      Or what of these passages?

      Jude 1:3-13
      Rev. 20:11-15
      2 Thess. 1:9

      1. I don’t believe gehenna refers to Hell, but rather ignoble death, as referred to in Jeremiah 7. I believe that Christ was warning of the judgment of AD70 (destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans).

        The Jude passage refers to eternal fire. Fine. But that doesn’t make the unbeliever immortal (God alone possesses immortality). Ditto the Revelation passage, and the Thessalonians passage refers to eternal destruction, which could be interpreted as annihilationist rather than eternal punishment.

        I’m not saying I don’t necessarily believe in Hell of any kind, but I’m just not certain it’s definitely eternal. It’s a complex topic, more complex than many believe. For reference, I recommend Steve Gregg’s lectures “Three Views of Hell,” in which he expounds the Biblical support for the three traditional views. (http://www.digitalministries.us/page10.html)

        This is one of those issues I’m undecided on, but I’m more and more convinced that Eternal Torment isn’t the most likely answer. But I’m fine respectfully disagreeing on this. I’m just not sure Eternal Torment fits with God’s character.

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