What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment?

What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment?

The Bible’s answer

Some Bible translations use the word “hell” for the Hebrew word “Sheol” and the matching Greek word “Hades,” both of which refer to the common grave of mankind. (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:​27) Many people believe in a fiery hell, as shown in the religious artwork accompanying this article. However, the Bible teaches otherwise.

  1. Those in hell are unconscious and so cannot feel pain. “There is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol.”​—Ecclesiastes 9:​10.

  2. Good people go to hell. The faithful men Jacob and Job expected to go there.​—Genesis 37:35; Job 14:13.

  3. Death, not torment in a fiery hell, is the penalty for sin. “He who has died has been acquitted from his sin.”​—Romans 6:7.

  4. Eternal torment would violate God’s justice. (Deuteronomy 32:4) When the first man, Adam, sinned, God told him that his punishment would simply be to pass out of existence: “Dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:​19) God would have been lying if he were actually sending Adam to a fiery hell.

  5. God does not even contemplate eternal torment. The idea that he would punish people in hellfire is contrary to the Bible’s teaching that “God is love.”​—⁠1 John 4:8; Jeremiah 7:​31.