Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hell and the Glory of God

Jim Hamilton asks the question, "Would Rob Bell rob God of glory?" The question is appropriate for anyone who dismisses the biblical doctrine of hell.

Dr. Hamilton writes:

If there’s no hell, God can’t be trusted because he doesn’t keep his word and therefore doesn’t do justice, and if there’s no justice, mercy has no meaning.

If you don’t understand what I just typed: “if there’s no justice, mercy has no meaning,” keep thinking about it. Look the words “justice” and “mercy” up in a dictionary (click them and read the definitions on

In addition, if there’s no hell, the Bible’s big story doesn’t make sense.

How does hell glorify God? Glad you asked: let’s take a narrative look at hell.

Here’s the conclusion to the short piece linked above:

“In sum, hell glorifies God because

■ it shows that he keeps his word;
■ it shows his infinite worth, lasting forever;
■ it demonstrates his power to subdue all who rebel against him;
■ it shows how unspeakably merciful he is to those who trust him;
■ it upholds the reality of love by visiting justice against those who reject God, who is love;
■ it vindicates all who suffered to hear or proclaim the truth of God’s word;
■ and it shows the enormity of what Jesus accomplished when he died to save all who would trust him from the hell they deserved. If there were no hell, there would be no need for the cross.”


Mike said...

I am not sure how to present this idea without coming off as arrogant but you have to trust me on that one, not my intention

When you read these reasons don't they come off as pretzel logic? even a little? and if we say that only those with a Spirit to understand these will, that's a tough sell too. how to we bridge the gap?

Todd Pruitt said...


Harley A. said...

It's not our job to sell anything. We are to tell the truth and urge people to repent and believe. Jesus explained to the Pharisees that they wouldn't believe even if he performed signs and wonders - and oddly enough, they didn't. A masterfully constructed apologetic treatise on the doctrine of hell will likely not bridge the gap either - primarily because it will not be read. But, a book like Bell's is devastating because it denies hell and is packaged for the masses - it tickles the ears of those who don't believe the gospel into thinking maybe they do...

Todd Pruitt said...


In contemporary evangelicalism it seems the only heresy left is believing that there is heresy.

All this fawning over Rob Bell is a bit nauseating. We know exactly what Rob Bell believes based upon the "questions" he asks in this well produced and widely marketed video. He is actually not asking a single question in his video. He is making statements that end with question marks.

Anyway, his book will unfortunately comfort the lost in their lostness and further distort the gospel. I seem to remember that Jesus had words about a millstone and the depths of the sea.