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QUESTION: Has Hell always existed?

 

 

ANSWER: No, Hell has not always existed.  Matthew 25:41 tells us that everlasting fire was prepared by God “for the devil and his angels.”  God never intended man to go to Hell.  In fact, in order to keep man out of Hell, God provided a way – and only one way, to escape and that is through faith in the death of His only Begotten Son, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  Notice clearly that the way of salvation is not through baptism or church membership, but rather through the forgiveness that is found in and through Christ alone.

 

The next question that might come to mind is, how can a good God even allow a place like Hell to exist? Well, there is also a very good explanation for that.  God’s holiness demands justice (a penalty for sin).  Put yourself in a court room situation where you stand on trial and are awaiting a verdict.  If you asked your lawyer to appeal for mercy he would say, “not yet.”  It is inappropriate and in fact impossible to ask for mercy until after you have been declared guilty.  The appeal process, mitigation and mercy only kick in after guilt has been declared.

 

Now, if a man who is condemned desires mercy, it is normally a good idea for that man to give some indication that he is sorry for what he’s done.  The man who refuses to accept responsibility is very unlikely to receive mercy.  The same thing is true with God with one slight caveat: a judge can be fooled, but God can’t be.  The Bible says that God knows our heart (Gen 6:5; 1 Sam 16:7).  He knows whether we are sincere or not, whether we are sorry for what we did or simply sorry that we got caught.

 

Only after a person admits they are guilty of sin (transgression against God) has he any right or need to ask for mercy.  And God, who is willing and anxious to extend His mercy, will only do so when a man is truly repentant.

 

When granting mercy, God doesn’t ignore or forget about sin like we do.  The Word of God says that Christ took our sin upon Himself.  The Bible says Jesus became sin and, because the “wages of sin is death,” He had to die – and willingly did so, in our place.  Only after we agree that the guilty verdict against us is righteous, will God see our repentant heart and extend the mercy He so desires to offer.

 

Christ died for us because He loved us.  And He loved us long before we loved Him (1 John 4:19).  Christ had to die because sin is so corrupt and vile.  God hates sin because even the “little” sins declare man unjust and deserving of God’s eternal judgment.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).  “Amazing love! How can it be, that Thou my God shouldst die for me?”