Six common myths about hell

From illustrations in "The Far Side" comics and TV’s "South Park," to centuries-old books like "Paradise Lost" and Dante’s "Inferno," humanity has always wanted answers about hell. Lots of people have theories, some based in fact and some based on fiction.

Six Common Myths About Hell

1. Hell doesn’t really exist.

If hell was not a literal place, why did Jesus talk about it like He did? Hell is a real place, just not the kind most of us imagine. Hell is not a city you can drive in and out of. It’s not a furnace beneath the surface of the earth. It’s an eternal destination of suffering and separation from God for those who reject Jesus (Matthew 7:21-23).

2. Hell is a party and the devil is your wingman.

There’s more evidence in the Bible that heaven will be a party, not hell (Matthew 22:2, Luke 15:7). The Bible describes hell as a place of suffering and disconnection from God. Satan isn’t your friend; he’s an enemy who tries anything to destroy you and your relationship with God.

There’s more evidence in the Bible that heaven will be a party, not hell.

3. Satan rules hell and God rules heaven.

God controls heaven and God controls hell. Satan does not run hell, but he will be imprisoned there when God makes the final call for those who obey Jesus versus those who oppose Him. Jesus is the highest authority over all things and all places (Colossians 1:15-18, Psalm 139:7-8).

4. Hell is only for really bad people.

One sin is enough to deserve hell. Sin is so bad because it’s destructive to us and other people. God takes sin seriously because He doesn’t want us to be harmed, and sin separates us from Him.

We’d all go to hell if it weren’t for Jesus. Everyone is bad because everyone has sinned. Because of God’s grace, Jesus offers salvation from all sins and a way to live with Him forever in heaven. What matters is not how evil our deeds are, but how we respond to Jesus’s offer of forgiveness (Romans 6:23).

5. People go to different levels of hell based on how bad of a person they were.

There’s no evidence in the Bible that there are different levels of punishment according to how bad a person is. What it does make clear is that we are all bad people who’ve rebelled against God, but Jesus took our place and accepted the punishment for sin we deserved (Isaiah 53:6).

6. God would never let a “good” person go to hell.

Since everyone has sinned, there are no inherently good people, just forgiven people changed by Jesus. When people reject Jesus and don’t want to be connected to God, He allows them to make their choices and experience the consequences of the life they choose. But God never stops pursuing us because He wants us to spend eternity in heaven with Him (John 6:40).

Hell and heaven are both eternal destinations. Throughout our lives, God graciously gives us countless opportunities to choose Him over sin. He’s patient enough to keep His offer open all the time (2 Peter 3:9).

Following Jesus isn’t only about avoiding hell, but being with Him both now and for eternity. There’s no reason to wait; you can decide what you’ll do with Jesus today and it will change the rest of your days.

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