I’m sure you’re all going to tell me that, when people say this, they don’t mean it literally and I shouldn’t be such a doctrine Nazi about casual sentiments people express.
Yeah. I think there’s more to it than that.
You hear this all the time, and all the more so now that everyone can say everything they’re thinking to everyone all the time on social media (which of course is where you saw the link to this post).
There’s a special place in Hell for:
- People who mistreat animals.
- Women who don’t support other women (whatever that means . . . ask Madeleine Albright)
- People who abuse children
- The 9/11 hijackers
- Your neighbor who won’t clean up his back yard . . .
And on and on it goes. You sure could offer your own entries. People who are so bad (or at least so you think) that it’s not enough that they merely go to Hell. Once they get there, they have to be put in a “special place” where I guess it will go worse for them than it does for the mere run-of-the-mill heathens.
The Onion actually had a lot of fun with this concerning the 9/11 hijackers:
“I was told that these Americans were enemies of the one true religion, and that Heaven would be my reward for my noble sacrifice,” said Alomari, moments before his jaw was sheared away by faceless homunculi. “But now I am forced to suckle from the 16 poisoned leathern teats of Gophahmet, Whore of Betrayal, until I burst from an unwholesome engorgement of curdled bile. This must be some sort of terrible mistake.”
Exacerbating the terrorists’ tortures, which include being hollowed out and used as prophylactics by thorn-cocked Gulbuth The Rampant, is the fact that they will be forced to endure such suffering in sight of the Paradise they were expecting.
“It might actually be the most painful thing we can do, to show these murderers the untold pleasures that would have awaited them in Paradise, if only they had lived pious lives,” said Praxitas, Duke of Those Willingly Led Astray. “I mean, it’s tough enough being forced through a wire screen by the callused palms of Halcorym and then having your entrails wound onto a stick and fed to the toothless, foul-breathed swine of Gehenna. But to endure that while watching the righteous drink from a river of wine? That can’t be fun.”
Who doesn’t feel a degree of satisfaction thinking about how those really bad people (much worse than you!) will get theirs when they enter eternal perdition?
Except that nothing in Scripture suggests that it works this way at all.
Hell is represented consistently as complete and total separation from God, which means the person’s rejection of God in this life manifests in the form of denial of all good gifts from Him. That means no love, no hope, no mercy, no relief from pain, no wisdom, no beauty, no encouragement and no reason to think it will get any better for as long as you’re there. And no hope of ever entering God’s Kingdom.
No one who ends up in Hell gets it any lighter than anyone else. It’s 100 percent bad for everyone because all good things come from God, including mercy, so you don’t get any mercy because some terrorist killed 3,000 people and you just watched porn. In fact, it’s not about who was worse and who was a little better anyway. The 100 percent impact of Hell is on order for everyone as a result of sin, any sin, regardless of how severe or relatively tame in the eyes of man. The grace of Christ gets you out of it, completely. Rejecting the grace of Christ subjects you to all of it, in its full horror.
I realize these are usually sentiments of the moment and not intended to be taken as sound theological arguments, but there’s still something real in people’s assertions that certain really bad people deserve worse punishments than they do. That is not how God sees it. Indeed, God called some pretty awful people to repentance and deliverance so He could use them, despite what might have been the popular sentiment among the people of the day that certain people deserved “a special place in Hell.”
I hate to tell you this, but all of Hell is that “special place,” and you’re not going to reject Christ but just end up in a somewhat tolerable district of Hell while Hitler gets the really bad stuff. You either come to the cross and repent, or you get everything you’re sure the 9/11 hijackers and Hitler got. Their special place is the same one reserved for you unless you come under the authority of Christ, so if I were you I’d focus more on His mercy and less on how much worse than you this or that other sinner is. You think.
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