I am going to take a different tack on this chapter to see how it works. I am going to bite off some fall chunks, a few paragraphs at a time, that are important, and take them on in the hopes that they will be easier to follow and much shorter in length. I will try not to get real wordy (cross your fingers!). So let’s begin.
This chapter is written by Douglas Moo, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School. He begins the chapter by saying the following:
“In most English versions, the word “hell” never appears in the letters of Paul (he gives a footnote that the NLT uses it in Rom 8:38). And for good reason: Paul never uses the Greek words usually translated “hell” (geenna and hades). But this book is not about the word “hell” but about the doctrine of hell. If that doctrine is defined as teaching about the ultimate destiny of the wicked, then Paul says much about it.”
Moo divides this chapter into three sections. The three sections are: The Reality of Hell, The Eternality of Hell, and The Nature of Hell. I will take on each section, most likely dividing each section into subsections so the posts don’t get too long.
So, let’s talk about this opening statement. The first thing that came to my mind was, “If hell was such an important doctrine to Christ, and He taught Paul for three years in the Nabatean desert personally, and since Jesus used that term, according to Yarbrough from Chapter 3, emphatically in relation to eternal punishment (ECT), why would Paul not use the EXACT same word as Jesus?” Would you want to misquote the Lord of the Universe? Would you want to have your hearers guess at what you meant by not using the word “hell” consistently, since from our reading in this book, that term was known by EVERYONE, and known that it was eternal punishment?
And, since there are only two places one can go after this life (according to the authors of this book), heaven or hell, and after the last breath is drawn in this life, your state, whether in heaven or in hell is sealed for all eternity, wouldn’t you, as an apostle of Christ make it known that nobody should want to go to hell?
And, as you defined your terms with everyone (all the apostles, the earliest disciples, etc. supposedly knew what “hell” was and that the word “hell” was the only one Jesus used to describe the place of ECT) for say 30 years, this is heaven and this is hell (describing or defining these terms to the unaware), if Paul came to you with a letter and was describing the doctrine of hell, or the place of eternal punishment or the eternal destiny of the wicked, wouldn’t you ask the question, “Paul, are you talking about “hell,” and if so, why don’t you just say it!!!!!!” PLEEEEEEEASE! You seriously want a thinking human being to believe that even though Paul never used the word hell (ECT) he still went on to describe the place without calling the place what it has been called for at least 30 years, if not thousands of years (according to the authors in this book)?
And, if you had no concept of hell nor ever heard the word “hell” before, and Paul began describing this wicked place and how sealed and eternal it was, would you not ask the question, “Paul, what is the name of this place, what is it called?”
This is about as silly as Glenn Beck and his cast on his radio show not using the president’s name because they don’t like the president. Every time one of them says “Obama,” they must pay $20.00 into the “swear” jar.
I will stop here for now. Why? Mainly because as I have read this now 6-8 times, I am almost on the verge of giving up on this review because of the absurdity that this statement has brought forth in my mind that I am having a hard time getting past! I will take some time to work on that. Pray for me.
Until our next episode, blessings to you!
P.S. I feel a bit snarky right now, after writing this, but I will let it stand as is. Write to me and let me know if I went over the top or not far enough! Thanks!