What is Hell? (sermon)



Icon of the Resurrection. The picture is of Christ defeating death, and liberating the OT saints from the realm of death. My favorite icon

Here’s another audio from a series I’m going through with some of my students about tough questions of the faith. This questions considers hell, what it is, what happens to people who go there.



God created the world to be his temple. He designed it so that His presence would dwell here on earth (think of the Lord’s Prayer: “Your kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven”). When Adam sinned, God’s presence left his earth-temple, and chaos and death enslaved humanity, turning earth into a type of hell.

But God so loved the world, that he sent his Son; in Christ, God came into our condition to reclaim earth as his holy temple. In his death, Christ swallowed up the power of sin and death into himself, and in his resurrection, Christ defeated the power of hell by rising in power over it. Christ brought God’s life back into the world.

Nonetheless, humans must say “yes” and freely enter into this new life. For those who do, they are resurrected with Christ; made new; given eternal life. However, for those who don’t, they are left to live for all of eternity “outside of the city”, outside of God’s life, in the misery of their sin. This is hell. Living outside of God’s life.

What happens to people who live on their own terms, outside of God’s life? It’s a mystery, but they live in a state of aloneness, death, corruption, self-destruction, left to their own self.



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