Set phasers to kill, Rob Bell doesn’t believe in Hell!

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.

The video clip doesn’t actually define what Rob Bell believes but people are already getting up in arms about it. I’m curious enough I might just pick up the book. I don’t think the biblical case for eternal conscious torment in Hell is as solid as we are made to believe. It is pretty clear that God can get upset about injustice as we all should. The language around Hell is metaphorical, even the word we translate Hell (gehenna), was a physical place outside Jerusalem that came to represent severe judgement. Kevin De Young argues that we need God’s wrath. I don’t follow him on every point.  I do see a distinction between metering out justice, even wrath and putting people in hopeless unending pain.

I like John’s way of framing judgement.

"Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God."
(Joh 3:17-21 NRSV)

  1. #1 by Marc on February 28, 2011 - 7:09 pm

    I love your post title!

    I just skimmed through the De Young post, but I haven’t watched the video.

    I show my hand first: I’m sympathetic to Christian universalism, though not fully convinced (but you probably knew this already).

    Here’s my problem with De Young’s “need for hell”: it means that God *requires* people to go to hell in order for the gospel to really be meaningful and he needs it to motivate us. I don’t see why this is either a biblical or logical necessity.

    In his second point, De Young says, “The only way to look past our deepest hurts and betrayals is to rest assured that every sin against us has been paid for on the cross and or will be punished in hell.”

    Doesn’t this work just as well without the “or be punished in hell”? I don’t mean to do away with the concept of hell or the historical possibility of it, but isn’t the gospel equally powerful even if no one goes to hell?

    I just don’t get the “necessity” bit–especially not for the reasons De Young states.

  2. #2 by Marc on March 1, 2011 - 8:06 am

    It occurred to me this morning that Calvinist predestination doesn’t really fit all of DeYoung’s points, either.

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