December 15, 2011 by Chris French
I really enjoyed this book, plus it’s a super easy read. It’s full of End Notes, Bibliography and a chapter from Forgotten God so it’s not nearly as big as it looks. Obviously Hell isn’t a topic a lot of us like to think about, but Jesus talked about it quite a bit and we need to understand what God has to say about Hell.
The 1st Century Jewish conception of hell was of a place after Judgment where the wicked go to be eternally punished for their deeds. It’s pretty interesting that they had a view of Hell that is this defined because the Old Testament doesn’t talk a ton about Hell. What’s even more interesting is that if Jesus disagreed with this understanding about Hell He would have had to speak very clearly and often against it. Instead time and again He agrees with this conception of Hell. He doesn’t spend very much time talking about the duration of Hell, but He does emphasize repeatedly how awful Hell will be. He warns almost every time He speaks about Hell to do everything to stay out of it.
What did Jesus’ followers think about Hell? Paul never once mentions Hell specifically, but he does reference it more than he talks about God’s forgiveness, mercy or Heaven COMBINED! Jesus talks quite a bit about Hell, the apostles talk about it a lot, but not one time do you hear that Hell is corrective. It wasn’t meant to change anyone’s mind about God. It was meant to punish them for not obeying Him in the first place.
I really liked this book because Chan takes the Bible at its word. If the Bible says it then that is the way it is. He comes back to the mind numbing pain of Hell several times. Believing that anyone will suffer that kind of pain makes me uncomfortable, to say the least, but I’m not God and my sense of justice is no where near as finely tuned as His. Chan brings up a great point when he says that there are several things that God does that he, or I for that matter, would never do. I would never wipe out every person on earth, with one family being the exception. I would not commission the genocide of an entire race of people. I would never send my son anywhere knowing He would die there. The clay doesn’t get to question the potter though (Jeremiah 18.1-6). His ways are higher than mine, his thoughts are different than mine. He says that Hell will last forever, that it is to punish the people who disobeyed Him, and that the majority of people will go there. It’s not mine to question whether He’s right or not. It’s mine to hear and obey. I really liked the spirit that Chan came from in writing this book. It was a plea to go back to exactly what the Bible says, whether I agreed or liked it or not. I highly recommend Erasing Hell. It’s the truth!