Perhaps you've heard of
the ontological argument for the existence of God. If not, I've written
here. But this time, I'm not speaking of the existence of God, I'm speaking of a corollary necessary truth:
the ontological argument for the existence of hell.
I should dispense with a
technicality up front. "Hell" is actually the holding place of torment
for unbelievers until the final judgment (Luke 16.23, Rev 20.13 KJV).
Unbelievers are held in hell until the final judgment at the Great White
Throne Judgment (Rev 20.11), whereupon those who have not believed God
and trusted in Christ for salvation, but instead have repeatedly
rejected God's gift of salvation, will be tossed in the Lake of
Fire (Rev 20.15), there to spend eternity in torment. Since both are
places of torment, for the purposes of this article, I will call both
"Hell", though technically, the final, eternal destination of the lost
is the Lake of Fire.
Why, you might wonder, would you ever
want to prove the existence of hell - that most feared place among those
who truly understand it? There are two simple reasons:
- Hell is a stumbling block for many
unbelievers. You've no doubt heard the objection "How could a good,
loving God send people to hell?" They can't believe that a good God
would do that, so they conclude either there is no God, or there
is no good God - one not worth worshipping.
The other reason:
- Many answers that I've heard, seem unsatisfactory. For example: one explanation: God doesn't
send people to hell, unbelievers send themselves to hell. In a sense
that's true, in that God has given everyone an opportunity to avoid
hell, yet those who go there do so because they have rejected God's
salvation and all his overtures, all his offers, all his pleadings
to accept it. (And yes, God has literally pleaded with us to
"Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I
take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they
turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why
will you die, O house of Israel?'" )
And yet, with all his offers and
pleadings, many (possibly most - Matt 7.13) have continued on their way alone apart from God - which
leads to hell. But at root, I find the "people send themselves" answer
unsatisfactory, because it doesn't really explain what I think is the
real question. And that real question is this:
Why is there a hell at all? If people don't want to be with God, why
can't God just leave them alone to do what they want to do? That is an
existential question - a question of existence, a question of ontology.
Thus this ontological argument for the existence of hell. (Ontology
deals with matters of, and relating to existence.)
What has become clear to me is hell
is a necessary consequence of rejecting God. There can be no other
option for those who reject God except hell. It is a logical and
existential necessity. But such a truth, such a conclusion - hell must
exist, it's necessary - flies in the face of those wishfully thinking
hell does not exist. But it most surely exists. It must necessarily
exist. Let me give you an example of the rock solid reasoning behind why
it exists before I lay out the clear, irrefutable reasons why it
What Happens if you Reject the Truth?
For those accustomed to thinking
logically, the answer is obvious: If you reject the truth you will
necessary accept and believe a lie. There is no other option. Given a
particular matter - and it doesn't matter what, this is a general
principle - once you reject the truth concerning that matter all you're
left with is a lie. But notice - while there is only one truth, there
are many ways things can be untrue. Put another way, there are many lies
that can be accepted once you reject the truth. Let me give you a simple
There is one answer to this question:
What is 2 + 2?
The one answer is four. But notice how
many ways you can be wrong. You can pick any number besides 4. There's
an infinite array of wrong answers there. Or you can pick nonsensical
answers: 2 + 2 = red; 2 + 2 = the moon; 2 + 2 = Gandalf the
Grey. I could go on forever like this, so there's another set of
infinite, nonsensical answers. But that should illustrate the point for
you: once you have rejected the truth that 2 + 2 = 4 you are left with a
But notice you are not only left with a
lie, you're left with an infinite set of lies. So many that everyone can
have their own "Lie" for an answer and call it "truth." That's why you
hear people like Oprah talking about living "your truth."
 That's why
so many think reality is bendable to their will: because they've
rejected both the truth (that which is correct and accords with reality)
and the Truth (John 14.6) and have accepted a lie, and in their
folly, they actually begin to believe the lie.
That's why we're seeing so many people
spouting so many lies; lies that were once universally considered false. Things
- Men can become pregnant
- People can change sexes
- Marriage can be between any two
- Humans are the real problem (for
overpopulation, global warming etc.) and like Mr. Smith, the agent
antagonist of "The Matrix", the belief that people are really
a virus on the earth that should be exterminated. (In contrast to
God's command to fill the earth (Gen 1.28))
The list goes on, but the point should
be clear: once you reject the truth, any lie you care to embrace is not
so outrageous that it is beyond belief for someone (or some people) to
Likewise if you reject God, what are you left with? All that is not God
- all of which is evil.
The Necessity of Hell : Three
So once you reject the truth, all
your left with is a lie. What happens when you reject God? You're left
with a reality, an existence without God. You're left with people who believe Satan's lie
that like him, they think they can be their own God (Is 14.14), or do whatever they
want, however much it opposes the will of God, and can do so without
consequence or punishment. Such people are sadly and thoroughly deceived (Gal 6.7-8).
You're left with only
evil since all that is good has been rejected with God. The
necessary existence of hell can be proved from three different
1. The Nature of God - and the
necessary conclusion if his presence is hidden
2. Corollary to the Ontological Argument for the existence of God
3. Direct Statements from scripture
All three of these approaches, followed
to their logical end, lead to the inescapable conclusion that not only
is hell real and exists, it must necessarily exist. Let's look at them
1. The First way:
The Nature of God - and the
necessary conclusion if his presence is hidden.
First, it should be noted that God
exists everywhere. That is a necessary conclusion of the Ontological
argument for the existence of God, as well as the proclamation of
If I ascend up into heaven, thou
art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
Ps 139.8 KJV
"Am I only a God nearby," declares the LORD, "and not a God far
Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?" declares
the LORD. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD.
Jer 23.23 NIV
First let's observe that as in Gen 1.1,
"heaven and earth" is a merism to convey the idea of everything - every
place in existence. That includes hell. Another observation: These
verses clearly state that God is omnipresent - he exists in all places
at all times. (In passing, that is also a conclusion from a proper
understanding of the Ontological argument's proposition of a
"maximally great being.") So ironically, God exists even in hell. The
difference is, in hell, God has hidden himself, while in heaven he is
gloriously visible to all heavenly inhabitants providing the very light
they see by.
I don't need to prove that God can hide
himself from people. That is the argument of every atheist: that they
can't see God, and there's no evidence of him. But there is plenty of
evidence of God (as this site proclaims), so the better argument is the
scriptural one that clearly proclaims God can and will hide his face
from the wicked - he makes it so they are totally unaware of him though
he is present:
On that day I will become angry
with them and forsake them; I will hide my face from them, and they
will be destroyed. Many disasters and difficulties will come upon
them, and on that day they will ask, 'Have not these disasters come
upon us because our God is not with us?'
And I will certainly hide my face
on that day because of all their wickedness in turning to other
But if he remains silent, who can
condemn him? If he hides his face, who can see him? Yet he is over
man and nation alike,
When you hide your face, they are
terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to
But for those who dwell with him in
heaven, his presence is clear by the shining brightness of his glory,
visible to all heavenly dwellers:
The city does not need the sun or
the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and
the Lamb is its lamp.
The necessary conclusion:
Existence without the Goodness of God
Now that the proper ground work has
been laid, let's look at what existence without God entails. Notice I
used the word "existence," not "life." That's because "life" implies a
goodness to it, a wellness about it. But people who are separated from
God are in no way "alive." The clear proclamation of scripture is that
such people are "dead" (Ep 2.1, Col 2.13). Notice the death in view here
has nothing to do with whether the physical body is alive or dead.
Whether the physical body lives or not, those separated from God are
"dead." Those separated from God and whose physical body has also
died face judgment and a certain destination: hell. In hell, not only
is God hidden, but any goodness that is a result of God's goodness is
also hidden. (Remember those in hell have rejected all that.) Thus hell
is existence totally apart from both God, and any of the goodness of
God. This is a glimpse of what such a hell will look like:
- Nothing good will ever happen
to you, or for you again
That's because every good and every perfect gift is from God (James
1.17). And you have rejected that. That means:
- No fun (You will be in
torment, not having fun 2 Thess 1.9; Rev 14.11)
- No laughter (You will have
nothing to laugh about)
- No friends (You will feel
loneliness all the time)
- No comfort (likely the
"torment" of flames part of hell refers to this Luke 16.23-24)
- You will be in Darkness -
alone, unable to see others
That is because "God is light" (1 John 1.5), but that light will be
hidden from you. You'll be cast into "darkness" (Matt 22.13) So all those supposing you'll be partying with
friends, dispense with that notion. You'll neither be able to see
them or find them, much less have anything to be happy about. (see above.)
If anything, the only beings you'll be aware of are demonic
tormentors. (1 Sam 16.14, Acts 5.16) And there will be no messiah to
come cast out or cast away the demons as he did when he first came.
(Mark 1.39) You've already told him you don't want him or anything
to do with him.
- You will feel unloved
That is because you will be unloved. The temporary object lesson that
Hosea made of God calling his people not my people, and not loved (Hos
2.23) will be a permanent one. That will be your permanent state.
(Not God's and not loved.) Because you have rejected God
who is love (1 John 4.8) , and his the ultimate sacrifice of his
son, Jesus (John 3.16) a sacrifice made to save you from this eternal, loneliness,
torment and pain. But since you have rejected it, you will have consigned yourself to a loveless,
- You will have a physical body
(it will be resurrected (Dan 12.2)), but it will feel as though it
is decaying, and be without healing.
Because you have rejected the God of all healing (Ps 147.3), the
healing leaves of the
Tree of Life, will be abundant for
those in heaven (Rev 22.2) but will not be available for those in
the torment of hell. Though you'll have a resurrected body, it will
still feel pain. And you'll feel every jab of every tormentor, every
burn of every flame, with no balm to heal any of it, and no hope of
any end to the pain.
- All Splendor, Majesty and Joy
will be gone
No more will you see beautiful things, gaze upon beautiful people or
mountains or seascapes. No more will you take joy in the
wonders and pleasures of God's creation since you have rejected the
creator. All splendor, majesty and any joy that could have been
derived from it will be denied you. Because all splendor, majesty
and joy are reflections of, or emanate from God (1 Chr 16.27) whom
you have rejected.
- You will be in a place prepared
for Satan and rebellious angels
Humans were not the first to rebel. Satan and his angels were.
So hell was actually prepared for them. (Matt 25.41). But for those
who follow the rebellion, sin and arrogance of Satan, such will
receive the same punishment.
- In Short you will be in eternal,
torment, with no hope of it ever changing.
Dante was correct:
"Abandon all hope all ye who enter here."
The scriptures are clear on the eternal nature of the punishment,
with no hope of change:
He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel
of our Lord Jesus.
They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the
presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power
2 Thess 1.8-9
And perhaps the most telling verse of all: Those who reject the
truth of God and the Life Jesus offers, even when Jesus proves the
truth of what he is offering by
rising from the dead, have nothing to expect but eternal torment:
"...for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they
will not also come to this place of torment.'
"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them
listen to them.'
"'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead
goes to them, they will repent.'
"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the
Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the
The Second way:
Corollary to the Ontological Argument for the existence of God
The ontological argument for the
existence of God begins by stating what qualities God, a perfect being,
God is the maximum being in every
aspect. He’s maximally great in knowledge, power, perfection,
So God is the maximum in every respect.
This would include in justice. So God's justice is maximum, or perhaps
better understood as God is perfect in justice. How could a God, or any
person, be perfect in justice if he allows sin or evil to go unpunished?
He cannot - those are contradictory. That is why God must judge
all sin. How then can a God perfect in justice allow any sinner into
heaven? That is the miracle of the gospel, that God can both be just,
and justify those whom have accepted his provision for salvation:
"he (God) did it to demonstrate
his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who
justifies those who have faith in Jesus."
In the gospel we see God truly can do
all that he pleases (Is 46.10) - even when those things appear
contradictory. The final question that remains then, is one of time -
temporality. Time, as even Big Bang scientists will tell, is a created
thing. It did not always exist. Since God created time, he exists
outside of time, and thus we know he is eternal. Ultimately all that God
does, he does for an eternal purpose and effect. God lives for ever, and
those who would live with him will also live forever, humbly and with
purity. (Is 57.15) God will allow no sin to enter in his holy eternal
city. Speaking of his eternal city God says:
Nothing impure will ever enter
it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only
those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
What then to do with those who insist on
living in deceitful lies and practice shameful conduct? They of course
will remain outside his perfect, eternal dwelling. For how long? God is
eternal. At the resurrection, people are raised either to eternal life
or to eternal condemnation (Dan 12.2).
Thus the answer is
obvious - they will remain outside for an eternity. What we do now, in this life is
preparing for an eternal state - either one of glory (2 Cor 4.17) or one of
condemnation and torment (Dan 12.2). It makes sense that the God
of eternity prepares things for eternity - either with him, or apart
from him. Amazingly enough, he has left the choice of whether to be with
him or apart from him for an eternity - to us. (Here are the
echoes of the argument that we send ourselves to hell. This, I hope,
explains better why it is both our choice and why the destination
eternal. It can be no other way since God is eternal will allow neither
sin, nor unforgiven sinners into his perfect, sinless eternal dwelling place.)
At this juncture of
temporality is a good place to also the answer the question, how can God
send people to an eternity of hell, for the temporary, temporal sins
they've committed? Two responses: First: what makes you believe the sins
are temporary? Consider the people during the tribulation who never stop
sinning, though they know the punishments are from God:
The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not
repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons,
and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols that cannot see
or hear or walk.
It is entirely
likely the people in hell likewise never stop sinning either - even if
it's to blame (wrongfully) God for their destiny, when it was their
choice to continue to disobey and disbelieve God.
Second: As already
noted, God is ultimately interested in preparing things for eternity.
This is no surprise to anyone because scripture tells us that God has
placed "eternity in the hearts of men" (Eccl 3.11). In other words
everyone know eternity waits each individual. It is foolish to claim you
didn't know either about eternity or a moral, eternal God who will judge
sin. God has placed both in the heart (Rom 2.15, Eccl 3.11). So for
those claiming, "this was a temporal sin, how can you pronounce judgment
for all eternity?" It seems reasonable that God will look at them and
say words to the effect, I placed both eternity and the law in your
heart. I am the eternal God, my acts are for eternity. You elected to
pretend neither exist, and even now are unrepentant, so you are without
excuse. Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire
prepared for the devil and his angels.
The Third way:
Direct Statements from scripture
Already in this article, I have
listed a number of scriptures that clearly teach the reality of an
eternal hell for those who refuse God's gift of salvation. But that list
bears repeating (for those scriptures already given) and augmenting (for
key scriptures that have not been yet listed.) This is not meant to be a
comprehensive list of the teaching of hell in scripture, just thorough
enough so there can be no doubt that hell, eternal condemnation and
separation, is clearly taught in
The Clear Teaching of Eternal
Separation from God (Hell) in Scripture:
Multitudes who sleep in the dust
of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame
and everlasting contempt.
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens,
and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever
"Then he will say to those on
his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire
prepared for the devil and his angels.
"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to
And if your eye causes you to
sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God
with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,
where "'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.'
In hell, where he was in
torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his
(Luke 16:23 NIV)
"I tell you the truth, whoever
hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will
not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the
dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in
their graves will hear his voice and come out--those who have done
good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be
(John 5.24-25, 28-29)
Consider therefore the kindness
and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to
you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also
will be cut off.
Do you not know that the wicked
will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the
sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes
nor homosexual offenders
nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor
swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Cor 6.9
They will be punished with
everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord
and from the majesty of his power.
(2 Th 1:9 NIV)
If we deliberately keep on
sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no
sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of
judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
A third angel followed them and
said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image
and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand,
he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured
full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with
burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb.
Then death and Hades were thrown
into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was
thrown into the lake of fire.
But the cowardly, the
unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those
who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place
will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second
Scripture predicts many will scoff (as
they have) at
both Jesus' return (1 Pe 3.4) just as they scoff at the idea that God
judged the world through a global flood (1 Pe 3.6). But the apostle
Peter makes an apt analogy: Just as God judged all people through the
flood of Noah's day; there remains a second judgment that awaits
the wicked. This time it will be destruction by fire, not water:
But they deliberately forget
that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was
formed out of water and by water.
By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and
By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for
fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly
2 Pe 3.5-7
As sure as God
judged the world in Noah's day, he will both judge it again, and each
of us individually - either for rewards or punishment.
I make the same appeal to you now that the
apostle Paul made below: Don't put off having your name written in the
Lamb's book of life. For tomorrow is not promised to you. Today is the
day of salvation:
For he says, "In the time of my
favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell
you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.
2 Cor 6.2
Do you want to be saved? If so, here's
Repent from your unbelief. Jesus said:
"The time has come," he said.
"The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Even now, through this message, God is
reaching out to all who still do not believe. Stop holding back. Believe in what Jesus has done for you:
that he died for your sins, and rose again:
Jesus said to her, "I am the
resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even
though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe
And make this your lifelong confession:
9 That if you confess with your
mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised
him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and
it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
- Start asking God how you can begin
living a life to please him. (Finding a Bible believing church to attend
would be a good place to start.) Because for those who do not know God,
and continue to refuse his gracious gift of life, it is not without
reason that God is called a "consuming fire." (Is 33.14, Heb 12.29)
Duane Caldwell | August 23, 2021
1. D. Caldwell, "Should Christians Believe in
a multiverse? 7 Reasons Against", Rational Faith, 9/5/2016
2. D. Caldwell, "Multiverse thinking: though magical
doesn't exclude God's existence - it proves it", Rational Faith,
3. D. Calwell, "Atheist Meme Misake - We take
atheism one god further", Rational Faith, 1/14/2019
4. Here's an example of Oprah pushing "Your Truth":
Ryan Saavedra "Oprah says Having 'Your Truth' Is The Most Powerful Tool,
Ben Shapiro Dismantles Her Statement", Daily Wire, Jan 8, 2018,