Thursday, March 05, 2015

An Eternity In Hell - It's Not As Much TIME As You Think

God is eternal, and with that, we understand that "time" is an anomaly. Time is something that God created in which the universe, including mortal man, would exist. Time is temporary and will be done away with at the end of the millennial reign of Yeshua.

When we think about eternity, whether it is in reference to spending eternity in heaven or in the lake of fire, our mind perceives eternity as a length of time. The concept of eternity is difficult for us to comprehend because we're creatures who have always existed in a universe where time exists... where there is a beginning and end to everything. "Forever" means a future which is never ending, but eternity encompasses more than just future time. There is no adequate explanation of what eternity is.  Many brilliant men have attempted to understand the vastness of what eternity encompasses, but they have come up short.

Have you ever wrestled with the thought of people spending eternity in hell where they will experience never-ending suffering without the possibility of reprieve? The concept of someone suffering not for a hundred years or a thousand years, not for a million years or a billion years, but suffering forever and without end makes us uncomfortable and can cause us to question how God could put someone through that much pain for so long a period of time. If it's difficult for born again believers to comprehend, it's no wonder that Atheists and agnostics don't understand this and use this as a defense in rejecting the existence of the Judeo-Christian God of the bible.

Ahhh, but there we go again trying to reconcile the concept of eternity with the only thing we know...time. We know that eternity has no beginning and no end. God has always been and always will be. He has no beginning and no end. No one created Him because He has always been. 

"Hast thou not known? has thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary..." Isa 40:28  
"But thou, O LORD, shalt endure for ever; and thy remembrance unto all generations." Ps 102:12  
"Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth or the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." Ps 90:2

Surely eternity had a beginning, no? No, and because we can't possibly comprehend that, it's no wonder we are having difficulty grasping the concept of an eternal hell. Eternity is a state to which time has no application. In other words, in eternity, time just doesn't exist. Whether we're talking about eternity in heaven or eternity in hell, the concept of time has no meaning. To equate spending eternity in hell with spending all future "time" in hell would be erroneous. Our experience of a time based existence has distorted the meaning of the word eternity in reference to God. How many times have we said, or heard others say, "This is taking an eternity," when time seems to be moving as slow as molasses? Eternity, in our human minds, is referring to time. That is not what eternity means when we refer to God, who transcends time, but who exists both inside and outside of time.

When we're thinking about an eternity of suffering, we're talking about a level of existence that we have no experience with. How do we explain and come to terms with that?  What is eternity in hell? It's as difficult to explain as eternity in heaven.  If we can even partially comprehend one of these, then we should be able to apply that knowledge to the other. Eternity in heaven is existence without having a concept of time. You won't be thinking, "Gee, I wonder how long I've been here," because eternity doesn't operate that way.  You and I will be living in an eternal state without the limitations of time. The same is true of eternity in hell. The individual experiencing judgment will have no concept of time because it will no longer exist for them. They too will be in an eternal state. Their thoughts will not be consumed with how long they have been suffering because time will not pass for them just as time will not pass for those in heaven.

Living in eternity is living in a state of being that is not constrained by the concept of time. When we question the existence or concept of an eternal hell, we need to apply our limited understanding of what eternity actually means. It is an existence that just is and exists without the passing of time and that has no end.

Although we may be grateful knowing that time will not seem to pass for those who will exist for all eternity in the lake of fire, it doesn't lesson the grief we feel for those who will never believe, repent, and spend eternity in heaven. Only by God's grace have you and I been given the opportunity to receive such a wonderful gift... the forgiveness of our sins and the promise of our salvation.

Praise be to God who was, and is and is to come... the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever! 

I hope that this article is a blessing for those struggling with the concept of an eternal punishment. Although this article may not answer all of your questions, we may be confident in knowing that His ways are perfect and that once we have been released from this fleshly body and can see past the veil that covers our eyes, we will understand.  

The Lord laid this on my heart and I thought I'd share it. Please leave your questions and comments below. God Bless!

Repent and be forgiven! Believe and be saved!

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