How the Pagan Words, Hades & Hell, Obscure God’s Justice
TWO TIMELINES COMPARED
PART 1 A Just God & Ultimate Justice
A TIMELINE OF BIBLICAL REVELATION
The Scriptures reveal that God is a just God and one of the central themes of the Scriptures is the truth that humanity, and every human being, will give an account to God. Ultimate justice is essential to Christian doctrine.
How this ultimate justice unfolds is open to interpretation, however, and there are several valid alternatives in the Christian tradition. That is, how ultimate justice unfolds is a non-essential and a matter of conscience. One is free to settle on a viewpoint that best harmonises with one’s view of God’s nature.
However, pagan mythology has so muddied the waters of ultimate justice that many sincere believers don’t know that other valid options exist in the Christian faith.
PART 2 The Influence of Pagan Mythology
A TIMELINE OF MUDDIED WATERS
The concept of the afterlife had long fascinated the ancient pagan mind. Ever mindful of their mortality, human beings have always pondered over what lies beyond death.
In contrast, the Old Testament offered no complex picture of the afterlife, and God’s people were encouraged to trust God’s just and merciful nature for ultimate justice beyond death.
Sadly, the more elaborate pagan concepts of the afterlife began to seep into the Christian worldview through three waves of influence. These waves and their implications are included below in red.
Views on Post-Mortem Judgement
So, now what?
What is the Bible’s view on the post-mortem judgement of unbelievers?
The Bible does not have one single dogmatic viewpoint on how post-mortem judgement unfolds.
As mentioned above, The Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed state only that Jesus will return to “judge the living and the dead”. They don’t even distinguish between believers and unbelievers.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean the doctrine is unimportant. To the contrary, the doctrine that every human being will face their Father and Creator after death is a first principle of Christianity on par with repentance, faith and the resurrection (Hebrew 6:1, 2). Ultimate justice is a core theme throughout the Scriptures.
However, the question of how this judgement unfolds is secondary and a matter of conscience.
There are at least five different viewpoints within Christian tradition. And we are free to settle on how it unfolds based on our understanding of God’s nature.
God’s ultimate justice is one of the central themes of the Scriptures and it’s essential to Christian doctrine.
What ultimate judgement looks like, or how it works, is not. It’s a matter of conscience.
We are free to settle on a viewpoint that harmonises best with our understanding of God’s nature. And yes, we are invited to be fully convinced in our own minds about our choice on non-essential matters. However, we are exhorted to extend the same freedom of choice to others (Romans 14:1-12).