AQA GCSE “Hell is a real place.” Discuss. (12 marks)

Colour Code:

  • Blue – Your argument 
  • Red – Argument against 
  • Purple – Response

Hell could be best described as an eternal separation from God after we pass away from this current life. How this separation is understood is up to debate and is the focus of this discussion.

On the one hand, it might not be best to describe Hell as a real place since that might imply a realm where we retain our physical bodies and experience pain in a similar fashion to how we feel currently. Instead, some Christians might argue that Hell should be viewed as spiritual disassociation with God, either for eternity or until we are worthy of being in God’s presence. This view was adopted by the theologian John Hick who believed that life was a process of “Soul making” where we must overcome our struggles and grow into better people. If we fail to overcome these issues in our current life, Hell is where this process continues until we have finally rejected sin. This proposal gives a robust theological description of God’s plan while not accepting that Hell is a “real” place.

On the other hand, fundamentalist Christians would reject the aforementioned description of Hell because it does not have any Biblical grounding. In its place they might appeal to the book of Revelation which states “their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death”. This amongst other passages describe Hell in graphic detail and, if taken literally, must be considered to be a real place.

However, since Revelation is prophecy one might take various issues with what is being claimed. The account could simply be viewed as a prediction which may very well be proved false and, perhaps more importantly, is it seems to go against the loving God given to us in the New Testament. If Jesus has love for all humankind, how could it be justifiable to condemn misguided people to an eternity of real and physical torture?

In conclusion, without even considering the question from a scientific point of view, it is still valid to claim that Hell should not be considered a real place because it raises many questions which compile into what many would call the problem of evil.

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