Hell Help Us! (Why You May Love Hell More than You Realize)
Quite a few people today don’t like the doctrine of hell, but, as you’ll see, they actually do. In fact, they love the doctrine of hell, but, ironically, they don’t even know it.
Famously, Keith Giles outlined the six pillars of deconstruction. Giles argues once a person gets rid of these six areas of belief, he or she is well on the way to deconstructing faith.
His second ‘pillar’ is the doctrine of hell, which he rejects–God, that’s funny! He says he doesn’t believe in the doctrine of hell, that there’s no such thing as a God who banishes people to eternal torment and condemnation. Many people struggle with the doctrine of hell, maybe for obvious reasons, for we can’t imagine rejecting, condemning, and punishing a person.
But, can I point out the HUGE pink elephant in the room? (And this is the funny part.) They are doing the very same thing. And, I don’t blame them, because you can’t avoid behaving according to how God fabricated reality.
Here’s what I mean: hell is everywhere and we operate according to the ‘hell' pattern all the time. From the moment we wake up in the morning, we live according to the principles of ‘hell.’ What do I mean? Just like Jesus (in speaking about hell, in fact), brings the sheep closer to Him and sends the goats away, we do the same thing. We bring good things close and send away (and condemn) bad things.
For instance, I bring ‘good’ food close to me and I reject rotten food. I bring good music close to me and I reject lousy music. I bring good pleasures close to me and I reject whatever makes me feel uncomfortable. I put on good clothes and get rid of bad clothes. At work, I select the good data and reject the bad. I keep good files and throw away bad files. I applaud good behavior and condemn bad behavior. I keep the flowers and reject the weeds. I keep my dog and throw away his poop. I keep my colon and cut out the cancer. Do you see the ‘hell’ pattern??
Hell simply means ‘separation’ from God, but you can also think of it as separation from the ideal–or separation from the ‘good.’ And, as I illustrated above, we separate things based on an ideal all the time. We bring the ‘sheep’ close to us and we send the ‘goats’ away. That’s how reality works. You could also say, heaven is being close to the 'good' and hell is being separated from the 'good.'
Back to Giles. So, what I’m saying is that even those who don’t like the doctrine of hell, use the hell pattern in order to reject it. Giles is banishing, rejecting, and condemning certain beliefs. He is saying to certain doctrines, “Go to hell!” Can you see the humor behind this? He is bringing certain doctrines close (like sheep) and sending other doctrines away (like goats). He is operating according to the hell pattern. To put it bluntly, Giles is saying, “I am judging, rejecting, and condemning the doctrine of judgment, rejection, and condemnation.”
This is how God set up the world. Just like we are made to eat and we’ll perish if we don’t embrace the pattern of eating, so are we designed to condemn, reject, and banish things. I’m afraid that ‘hell’ is a part of the fabric of reality that none of us can avoid.
Actually, the doctrine of hell isn’t so bad, because there is bad and poisonous food we need to avoid. There are behaviors that harm society that we need to fight against and reject (believe me, I know!). There are beliefs we need to condemn, because they only harm us.
And the belief that is against hell is one of those poisonous doctrines. Does Giles just expect us to swallow every awful, rotten, poisonous, deadly thing we can? I hope not. I would hope he (and other deconstructionists) would learn to love humanity enough to realize there are plenty of things that harm us that we need to reject and condemn.
Again, the whole point of this little article is to show how much those who reject the doctrine of hell actually love it, for in their very rejection they prove it. Every day, we do on a smaller scale what God is doing on a bigger scale. Every day, we are sending things, ideas, behaviors, and people to hell, judging them and separating them from us. This is not just a made-up doctrine, but the way reality works. The image bearers of God act according to the One whose image they bear.
God’s desire is to bring people close to Him for eternity, and the result is that the other possibility exists, too. You cannot reject rejection without accepting rejection, and if you’re accepting rejection, then you’re either accepting that there is a God or that you are Him.