A real picture of hell
Following are some excerpts from Perriman’s, The Coming of the Son of Man (I made mention of the book before, here), on the subject of hell and its nature, purpose and such like. He reaches some rather different conclusions from many (including our friends from last nights blog), and they are provocative enough to not only generate serious consideration, but also thoughtful critique. But criticism is for another time. First, to the citations.
“There is no question that there is a lot of “hellish” language in the Gospels (87) … It is far more likely that his audience would have heard the echoes from the Old Testament and reapplied the ancient stories to their own circumstances than that they would have found in these statements the nucleus of a systematic and universalised eschatology. When he warned them that they will perish (apoleisthe) if they do not repent, he means that they will be killed (88)By the way, do you want to see a real photograph of hell, without the Russian drillers and Fundie Visions?
It seems quite likely …that what Jesus for taking place in this “outer darkness” [cf. Matt 8:11-12] was the wailing of Jews under the judgement of God, while the gnashing of teeth refers to their hostility towards the righteous. In any case, we appear still to be in the real world of national crisis, not in some final metaphysical state of hell (90-91)
By the first century, the Valley of Hinnom (in Greek geenna, Gehenna),… had become the city’s refuse dump in you, where slow fires smouldered day and night (92)
The judgement of Gehenna that God will bring upon the nation will mean death without any prospect of vindication (93)
Hades in which the rich man is tormented is not the conventional Hades of the Old Testament, which, as we have seen, is not a place of punishment. Nor is it the traditional “hell” of popular Christian belief. Rather it is an image of the destruction that would come upon the “wealthy” in Israel, who despite the riches and glories of the religious heritage failed to understand that, in the words of the beatitude, the kingdom of God would be given to the poor’ (96-97)”
Well, here is a recent picture of the Hinnom Valley: