“Traditional” View of Hell

The traditional view essentially states that those who die without accepting Christ in this life will suffer eternal and conscious separation from God in hell.

You can access resources that argue for and against this view in the blog posts that are categorized on the right side of this page.

Within this view there are at least a couple of broad variations

Inclusive vs. Exclusive

  • Exclusive is the claim that one must specifically say yes to Jesus Christ.  Those with no saving knowledge of him specifically will suffer in Hell eternally.
  • Inclusivity is the claim that God may show mercy to those who were ignorant of Christ specifically but responded to God’s light in whatever way they comprehend.  It is possible to have never heard the name of Jesus and not be sent to hell.  A more general revelation can result in salvation.

Literal vs. Metaphorical

  • Literal Text regarding Hell in scripture would lead one to believe in a physical place of literal burning where one spends eternity.
  • Metaphoric There is a Hell, but exactly what it will be like we don’t know.  The descriptions of fire, darkness, etc are metaphors for an unspecified eternal existence separated

Some of the Arguments for the Traditional View.

  1. The majority of Christian history (at least since the reformation) has viewed Hell this way.
  2. A sin against an infinite being is deserving of infinite punishment. (if you slapped a king it would mean more jail time than slapping a beggar)
  3. God is Holy and Just and cannot not allow sin to go unpunished while maintaining those attributes.
  4. The Bible overwhelmingly teaches that there are consequences after this life for those who are not penitent.
  5. To take away Hell would be an attack on the work of Christ on the cross.  What is atonement/salvation if there is no hell to be saved from?
  6. If everyone goes to heaven then there is no free will.  If one can’t say no God’s offer of unconditional love and salvation then they are not free. (**note this is not an argument all defenders of the traditional model will make, depending on their understanding of freewill vs. determinism)

Some scriptures used to support traditional model of Hell

Other possible resources for study of this view.

  1. Edward William Fudge & Robert A. Peterson Two Views On Hell
  2. Crockett, Gundry, Walvoord, Hayes, Pinnock Four Views on Hell
  3. Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment
  4. Robert A. Peterson, Hell On Trial
  5. Anything listed in the category “Pro-Traditional View” in the column on your right

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