The Literal Hell

I am ever so excited to feature my very first guest writer! I can guarantee she is a much better writer than I. Meet my little sister Whitney-

a creative soul, deeply compassionate for those who live with unjustice and an overall just a beautiful person. We can scrap it out about silly things like “borrowed” clothes but at the end of the day we are accomplices.

So after I got the highest number of hits from my lastest post “The Jesuses I Reject” and more comments and emails I knew what do do with, I knew I wanted, no, needed to follow up. Many people asked for more scriptural “proof” or backing. So, after one of the comments my sister made on a facebook status (defending me like the loyal sister) I knew that I wanted to have her voice out here for you all to enjoy! Please welcome her by joining in the conversation- leave a comment. You don’t necessarily have to agree but take my Mama’s advice: “If you don’t anything nice to say, shut it“.  Opening up this dialougue is so very important so join in!

The Literal Hell by Whitney Dawbarn-Robinson
And Jesus said,
“Anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell […] It is better to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5
“Be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10 & Luke 12
“It is better for you to enter life with one eye than have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.” Matthew 18 & Mark 9
And in Matthew 25 Jesus confront religious leaders and tells them that when they win converts they make them “twice as much a child of hell.” He then asks the leaders themselves, “How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
So Hell exists. And Jesus makes it pretty clear that its not a place of sunshine and rainbows, but rather a place that’s bit bleak really…it being  a dangerous, firey pitfall that bears the power to destroy you and all.
So Hell is real. It is literal. So where is it?
Where is somewhere that we throws things away to be destroyed and burned up?
….Gehenna. A word used only once in the bible by James, and only again by Jesus in the above mentioned verses provides our answer.
(Bell, 69)
Now Gehenna, or what we refer to as “Hell” was indeed a literal, actual, dot- on- the- map place. It was the city dump of Jerusalem. There was a constant fire that burned to consume the rubbish. Wild dogs would rummage and fight over scraps, hence the expression, “the gnashing of teeth.”
Gehenna was a big stinky, awful dump. Everyone would have known what Jesus was referring to when he talked about the flames and teeth. A dump is an eyesore. Its kind of hard to miss. Its not a good place… you do not want to go there. Jesus uses the epitome of least acommodable places as a metaphor for the discomfort and pain that comes from making poor life choices. You don’t want to go there!
Its like the mother who swats the child’s hand as she is about to touch the hot stove. The swat is a warning. Now the child can still choose the reach and burn herself, but her pain or “punishment” will be instant, momentary; not eternal.
Jesus in this way is warning his children, just like any parent would do. Simply, he doesn’t want to see us get burned.
Jesus or God is not the one banishing us to the licking flames to be gnawed at below the knees. Hell, real Hell is something we will all experience. Sometimes it’s not even of our own missteps or misguided choices, but it manifests from the choices from family members, friends, co workers or perhaps even strangers. Hell can be our own dumping grounds, where life’s baggage  and trash can teeter only so high before it crumbles and consumes us. Sometimes Hell is being the parent watch her child reach out, even after she’s been warned, and watching the child get hurt. 
Somehow we’ve taken the compassionate warning of Christ’s love and manifested a message of condemnation, an icon of misery.
I think what Rob Bell very clearly demonstrates in the mere title of his book, “Love Wins,” is  that no matter what we do as children, even if our parents did tell us so, there will be healing. Would the mother look on at her child and withhold a soothing salve, a warm embrace or a hand to wipe away the tears? We will live and we will get burned and bruised and pummeled, but there will be a compassionate Christ waiting to heal. Sometimes we will have to stop fidgeting first to accept the comfort we so desperately need, but love, because it is so irrevocably intwined with God’s being, has no other option but to win.
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16 thoughts on “The Literal Hell

  1. Based on your interpretation of scripture, why do we need salvation? If there are no eternal consequences, why did Jesus have to die?

    1. To answer this question you first would have to assume that I believe Jesus had to die to save us. I like to think that Jesus LIVED to save us, to give us hope to show us there is a better life. I actually do believe in an eternal life. That the earth will reconciled to pureness where no fear, pain, hate etc. will exist. That is why Jesus constantly showed that we had the choice to create heaven here and now so when that day is to come, we will be better prepared for the completeness and purity to come. Some who chose to live in Hell during their life will have much difficulty accepting this Heaven but it isn’t out of reach, because God is a big God and nothing is impossible with God. No child of God’s is unredeemable. Now, am I fired? Lol!

      1. No way are you fired! You are an amazing lady, and we see things differently. I do agree that we need to focus on how Jesus lived his life. There would be a much different experience for all if we lived by the passage “if you claim to live in Him, you must walk as Jesus did.” Just out of curiosity, why do you think Jesus died? And yes, Heather, you should be proud of your strong, intelligent daughters.

      2. I think Jesus died because he was one radical man that ruffled the feathers of many, he was wrongly accused and killed because of his “out there” ways of living and teaching. Out of his profound love for you and I and every other human being on this earth, he died a most cruel death-what a witness to how much he loves us. Glad to know I still have a job 😉 Thanks for posting!

  2. I am feeling like the most blessed mother on the planet Earth! I am so proud of my two gorgeous inside and out young ladies! It just makes me glow to read the love, compassion and hope you both breathe and live. It just doesn’t get any better. Keep pushing the barriers and grow closer and closer to the Light and Truth is my constant prayer for you both. I am so excited about you both serving as Co-Pastors with me!
    Love MOM

  3. First let me say that I in know way feel differently about you Sydney or Whitney for your stated beliefs I love you with the love of the lord & that of family. I am not here to attack or convert only to learn. Learning starts with questions I have two more may follow depending on the answer 1st by your writings can I assume that you do not believe any kind of hell after death 2nd do you believe in satan or demons if the answer to the above is yes
    Then do they go to hell when Christ returns if not then where do they go these are honest questions from a seeker I am simply curios

    1. Joesph, thanks for joining this dialogue. I love questions- in no way was your comment offensive. Thank-you though for being thoughtful in how you posed your question. To answer, I do not believe in a literal Satan or demons. I do however believe in metaphorical “satans” and “demons” that cause is Hell on earth. Sometimes theses demons and satans are ourselves and sometimes others or having inducing habits. I hope that answers your question!

      1. I believe in angels much like I believe in demons. Evil, however is very real in the hearts of many, hence the giant amount of literal Hell on earth we witness everyday.

      2. So will hitler go to “heaven” or do you subscribe to the theory that evil people who complete reject Christ /God will A:not exist or B: will go to a place void of God or C: none of the above ?

      3. None of the above, if you see my reply to Angie’s question below it might give you insight into this questions.

      4. Thank you for your honest answers I still respect you will have to agree to disagree on some of what have related however the fact that you are willing to discuss without getting angry is impressive and fun again I feel no differently toward you and I hope you can say the same I would like to talk with you about this in person at some later date I am always interested to learn what others think and believe 🙂

      1. Sydney, I don’t understand your viewpoint? If Satan and demons are metaphorical, who tempted Jesus in the wilderness?
        If angels are metaphorical, how does that explain reports of them being seen, especially occasions when several people saw the same thing?

      2. Karen, I realize ny viewpoints will be very difficult for those who uphold a fundamental view of the Christian story. I will try my best to explain my theory, which is just that. I do not claim to have “answers” because that shuts down the opportunity to grow and learn. Through this process of sharing how I believe I have experienced an emotional beating which I anticipated. However, I have grown so much closer to Jesus because I caught a small fraction of what he must have gone through and felt like when he introduced his radically ways of thinking. He must have been so exhausted by “fighting the Good fight”. Always having to explain and defend himself. Always having to wade upstream through everyone’s defined beliefs. Constantly being challenged, judged…I know that I would be tempted to run away and give up during his life. So when he was tempted in the wilderness perhaps Satan was referring to his own frustration and doubts.
        As far as angels go, the bible was written by people who believed in the power of imagery because so many were illiterate. They used the images to draw listeners in and capture their hearts and minds to better understand the lessons or concept better. As far as sightings go, you could use that same argument for UFO and alien sightings, ghosts, etc. People yearn for something else besides this life and if you yearnbfornit enough it can become very real to that person.

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