Do you believe in Hell? Are you really comfortable with your answer? Some people say that a loving God could never create a place like Hell, but there is much evidence that Hell actually does exist. In this brief article I will show you evidence from three sources - 1) various religions 2) near death experiences 3) the Bible. When the evidence is in, you must decide for yourself if you are convinced.
Evidence from various religions
In monotheistic religions, Hell is often ruled by demons who torment the damned.
Lots of Hellenistic Neopagans believe in Tartarus, which is a version of Hell. There is a story of a man called Sisyphus (founder and king of Corinth), who was both a thief and murderer; his sentence in Tartarus is to push a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down at the top. This is repeated all through eternity. The Romans also believed in Tartarus as the place where sinners are sent. Virgil called it a gigantic place which is surrounded by the flaming river Phlegethon. He described it as having triple walls to avoid sinners escaping.
The traditional Catholic teaching on Hell is found in the Baltimore Catechism - "Those are punished in Hell who die in mortal sin; they are deprived of the vision of God and suffer dreadful torments, especially that of fire, for all eternity...The souls in Hell are beyond all help...The souls in Hell do not have supernatural faith. They believe, however, the truths revealed by Almighty God, not with divine faith, but because they cannot escape the evidence of God's authority...The punishment of Hell is eternal."
According to the Qur'an, those who are damned to Hell are not damned forever. On Judgement Day the damned will be judged as to whether or not they may enter into Paradise.
In Hinduism it is taught that people who commit 'paap' (sin) go to Hell. Many types of punishments await them there, such as dipping in boiling oil, burning in fire, and torture using various weapons.
Buddhism also has many beliefs about Hell. Actually they acknowledge several Hells, which are places of tremendous suffering for those who have committed evil actions. They have both cold Hells and hot Hells. To the Hindus Hell is temporary for its inhabitants. If one has sufficiently negative karma they are reborn there, and will stay until their specific negative karma has been used up. Eventually they may be reborn in another realm. They may become human, ghosts, animals, or demons all according to the individual's karma.
So, you see, many religions teach some kind of Hell.
Near death experiences
Many people have experienced Hell during near death experiences. Here are some quotes from a few of these people.
Example #1 - "I am in Hell!" the patient kept screaming at the doctor trying to resuscitate him. As the doctor described the scene, "I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling -- he looked as if his hair was "on end". Then still another strange thing happened. He said, "Don't you understand? I am in Hell. Each time you quit I go back to Hell! Don't let me go back to Hell!"
Example # 2 - I gave my heart to the Lord and was born again the very first night I became bedfast. That was Saturday, April 22, 1933 at 7:40 p.m. in the south bedroom of 405 North College Street in McKinney, Texas. Earlier that evening, my heart had stopped beating and the spiritual man who lives in my body had departed. When death seized my body, my grandmother, my younger brother, and my mother were sitting in the room. I had time only to tell them "goodbye." Then the inner man rushed out of my body and left my body lying dead, with eyes set and flesh cold. I went down, down, down until the lights of the earth faded away. I don't mean I fainted - I don't mean I was unconscious - I have proof that I was actually dead. My eyes were set, my heart had stopped beating, and my pulse had ceased.
The Scriptures tell us about the lost being cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 25:30). The farther down I went, the blacker it became, until it was all blackness - I could not have seen my hand if it had been one inch in front of my eyes. And the farther down I went, the hotter and more stifling it became.
Finally, far below me, I could see lights flickering on the walls of the caverns of the damned. The lights were caused by the fires of Hell. The giant, white-crested orb of flame pulled me, drawing me as a magnet draws metal to itself. I did not want to go, but just as metal jumps to the magnet, my spirit was drawn to that place. I could not take my eyes off of it. The heat beat me in the face. Many years have gone by, yet I can see it just as clearly today as I saw it then. It is as fresh in my memory as if it just happened.
I came to the entrance of Hell. People ask, "What does the entrance of Hell look like?" I cannot describe it, because if I tried, I would have to have something with which to compare it. (Similarly, if a person had never seen a tree in his life, it would be impossible to tell him what a tree looks like.) Coming to the entrance, I paused momentarily, because I did not want to go in. I sensed that one more foot, one more step, one more yard, and I would be gone forever and would not come out of that horrible place! Upon reaching the bottom of the pit, I became conscious of some kind of spirit being by my side. I had not looked at him, because I could not take my gaze off of the fires of Hell. But when I paused, the creature laid his hand on my arm to escort me in.
At that same moment, a voice spoke from far above the blackness, above the earth, and above the heavens. I don't know if it was the voice of God, Jesus, an angel, or who. I did not see him, and I do not know what he said, because he did not speak in English; he spoke in some other tongue. When he spoke, his words reverberated throughout the region of the damned, shaking it like a leaf in the wind, and causing the creature to take his hand off my arm. I did not turn around, but an unseen power, like suction, pulled me up, away from the fire, away from the heat, and back into the shadows of the absorbing darkness.
(Above two examples from www.testimonies.com.au)
Example # 3 - While I was getting electrocuted crucifixion style the electricity was flowing right through me, I saw my spirit leave my body. Instantly, I was in Hell! At that time, I didn't know anything about the Bible. I wasn't a religious person or a Christian and didn't know any Christians. I just know that I was cast into outer darkness. I heard the most horrifying, tormenting screams imaginable. I heard these time and time again, and although I never saw who was screaming, I, myself, would scream because of the fear of those frightening screams.
My sins were tormenting me while I was in Hell, January 27, 1977. I saw my sins pass from my right to my left down to the age of five. Now here I am a young man of 27 years, seeing all my sins pass before me in living color. It was like watching a motion picture screen! I saw my very first sin committed at the age of 5. The sin of disobedience, and not honoring my mother and my father. My mother said, "I don't want you boys to eat those marshmallows. We are going to roast them over the fire in the back yard with the family tonight." Well, my mother caught my brother, Cliff, and I, hiding behind a stump, in our back yard in Farmington, Michigan, eating those marshmallows. This wasn't a sin of murder, or rape, or what ever the world considers a horrible sin, but a simple sin of disobedience. It was the last of a long line of sins shown to me. I saw sin, after sin, after sin. For every sin, there was a scream! Screams from me!
People have asked me, "How long were you there?" Well, it felt like eternity! It was that long! I couldn't tell you how long I was there, but I don't want to go back.
Besides the screaming there were also demons. Yes, there really are demons. Indescribable and most ugly things you had ever seen. They came up to me and taunted me. Yelling in my face, "We got you now!" Laughing at me saying, "We fooled you!" "We fooled you!" "We got you now!" Followed by hideous laughter...
While I was there I realized there was no hope of every seeing God. I cried out to God during this time saying, "Oh God help me!" Again, "God, Help me!" One of the amazing things on my last scream, was my plea for God to help me. I felt God's hand reach down and touch my shoulder. He is everywhere. In the Bible you will read it. He is in Heaven, and earth and Hell. He heard my plea. The right hand of the Lord touched me, I felt his fingers and thumb on my shoulder and He pulled me out of Hell. He set me free from that electricity! (Third example from www.christrevealed.com)
What does the Bible say about Hell? Here are a few sample verses.
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, ' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:22
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. Matthew 5:29
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Matthew 23:15
"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Matthew 23:33
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. Luke 16:23
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment... 2 Peter 2:4
So what have we learned? First of all, the doctrine of Hell is not just a Christian invention; it is taught by many religions - I've listed several. We have also learned of the experiences of people who have died and gone to Hell only to be rescued just in time to live again and tell about their experiences. I've only listed a few, but there are many more that could be told. I also gave you examples where the Bible mentions a place called Hell. Does all this evidence prove the existence of Hell? Perhaps not, but it sure is convincing if you have an open mind. Hell is a real place, and not a nice place to visit - let alone spend eternity there.