Well, do you? If so, how could you?
When you’re directly challenged by such an emotive question, it can be helpful to serve things back in the same direction. “Hey, I hear you, but can I ask what you believe about hell?” Among the popular suggestions may be…
Option 1 – No one is going to hell and everyone is going to heaven!
When heaven is described in different ways, the first problem is people going in different directions don’t end up in the same place. The second problem is what you do with people who don’t want to go to heaven. Some will say with a smile, “I don't mind going to hell.” If everyone is going to heaven some people are not going to be happy, and that means heaven isn’t so heavenly after all.
Option 2 – Only the really bad people are going to hell!
Here’s where people start drawing lines to decide who’s in and who’s out. The trouble is there’s no cultural consensus about the grading scale or what heavenly pass-mark is acceptable. As a result, we establish our own boundaries (curiously we always seem to end up on the right side), and in the end, heaven and hell say more about our likes and dislikes than anything else.
Option 3 – No one is going to hell because no one is going anywhere!
Those who believe we’re going nowhere – apart from six feet under – ought to be unmoved by others who claim some people are going to hell. If this belief bears no resemblance to reality it really shouldn’t matter. So it’s worth asking why it does matter to so many, and why do people around the world, throughout history believe there’s more to life than this – if there isn’t?
Option 4 – Only those who trust in Jesus Christ are going to heaven!
When people are hurt by this claim there are a few things to point out. First, Christians don’t judge anyone. Christians only point to the biblical standard that reflects the justice and judgment of God, sharing the truth with love, gentleness and respect. Second, God’s word says no one deserves to get into heaven, so we all start out in the same place with the same problem. Third, the Bible clearly teaches there is eternal separation between heaven and hell, and we are guaranteed to spend eternity in one place or the other. Fourth, Jesus came into the world to bridge the gap between heaven and earth. He died on the cross to pay for everything that ought to separate us from a holy God, so he brought heaven within reach when he rescued us. Finally, God welcomes all who are willing to humble themselves enough to ask him for forgiveness and trust in the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. Spiritual death leads to hell but spiritual life leads to heaven, and Jesus said I am the way, the truth and the life.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
Author and speaker.