The New Testament graphically and horrifically describes hell. And that raises a thorny question: How should we interpret those dreadful images? May we simply label them “metaphors” to soften their bite?
- How does the New Testament describe hell? [five ways]
- How do people interpret the New Testament’s horrific descriptions of hell? [three ways]
- How should we interpret the New Testament’s horrific descriptions of hell? [two of the three ways are plausible]
We may disagree about some finer nuances of our literal and metaphorical interpretations of hell’s darkness, fire, and suffering, but we should agree that, at the very least, the New Testament teaches that hell is eternally miserable, terrifying, and painful. It’s certainly no better than being cast into literal “outer darkness” or being tormented with literal “fire and sulfur.”