May 10, 2013 4 Comments
OK, now we’re getting to the good stuff! In Chapter 3 Bell offers his Biblical interpretation of hell. A summary of (my interpretation of) his main points:
1. Whenever Jesus uses the word “hell,” he uses a word referring to the town garbage pile. The “gnashing of teeth” was the wild animals fighting over scraps of food. (This is interesting, though Bell curiously does not explain the “weeping”.)
2. The other references to “eternal” punishment use a word that could be translated as something more temporary.
3. The references to such punishment are also always in the context of redemption and correction – for example, in 1 Timothy when Paul hands people “over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”
In conclusion, “When we read ‘eternal punishment’ … Jesus isn’t talking about forever as we think of foreer. Jesus may be talking about something else, which has all sorts of implications for our understandings of what happens after we die…”