People have often tried to tell us what Hell is like. We know it’s not a good place, but what exactly is it?
The Bible uses terms like “lake of fire” to describe Hell. Jesus describes Hell as a place of darkness with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Revelation says there will be people “tormented with fire and brimstone” with “the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever.”
So, undoubtedly, the way most people read their Bibles, Hell is not torment in fire that lasts forever.
These are pretty much the details the Bible gives about Hell. This leaves a lot to the imagination. Our imaginations get more use than our intellects in such circumstances.
I just finished reading Dante’s Inferno. In all honesty, I didn’t follow it very well. I picked up some things, most of which was pretty gross involving names of people I don’t know. Apparently, if I had followed what Dante was saying, the Inferno is broken down like this:
Dante’s Inferno has nine layers of Hell. The first layer is Limbo reserved for the unbaptized and virtuous pagans (such as Homer, Ovid, and Socrates). The second circle is for the Lustful, the third circle is for the Gluttonous, the fourth for Avarice, the fifth for Wrath and Sloth, the sixth for Heresy. The seventh circle is for violence and has three layers: 1. violence against people and property 2. Suicide 3. Violence against God. The eighth circle is for fraud and is broken up into 10 bolgie (ditches). The ninth and worse layer is for treason and has 4 zones: Caina, Antenora, Ptolomaea, and Judecca.
Most of his punishments were quite unique and fantastic. You can tell Dante’s moral code quite well from reading this.
People have been getting visions of hell for many years, most of which are quite silly. The classic red devil with horns on his head, a pointy tail and a pitchfork laughing away over his minions in hell comes to mind.
What we can clearly gather from Scripture is that Hell is a nasty place you don’t want to be in. Trying to give more details about what has not been revealed will only make you look ridiculous. It is best not to tread in waters God has not opened for swimming.
Take Jesus’ word for it:
“fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”