Where Hell Exists

It utterly amazes me how the majority of religious people don’t know the facts behind their own religion.  I can completely understand when they don’t know about science but to have blocks of information missing from their own belief system is a strange concept to me.  The history behind the religion is particularly interesting and today I’m going to examine Hell and its roots.

As most people already know, Christianity is a religion made up from borrowing other parts of mythology.  Hell is no different.  The idea of the underworld is borrowed from several earlier beliefs.  Even the name is directly taken from Norse mythology.  The name “Hel” comes from both the goddess and the realm in which she lives.  There are varying descriptions of Hel as there are with most myths but they all essentially describe an underworld where people dwell after death.

Mark 9:43: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:”

There are many mentions of Hell, like the one above but I chose this one on purpose because it not only mentions Hell but also an eternal fire.  There is a rational explanation for this quote and as far as Biblical quotes go, this is a decent life lesson.

First of all, what word would be in there if Hell is Norse?  Before the Bible was translated, it was written in Hebrew and Greek so the word ‘Hell’ would never have appeared.  The word used would have been ‘Gehenna’ in the Greek scriptures or ‘Gehinnam’ in the Hebrew scriptures.  We can now alter the quote slightly so it makes more sense and doesn’t refer to anything supernatural.  In fact the quote now has historical and geographical facts to back up its existence.

Mark 9:43: “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into Gehenna, into the fire that never shall be quenched:”

Now the quote has some meaning.  Gehenna refers to a place outside of Jerusalem.  It was often referred to as ‘Valley of the Son of Hinnom’ in the Hebrew Bible.  This was a place initially used as a sacrifice grounds and eventually became where all dead bodies were burned.  When Jesus described Gehenna, he was referring to this place.  Around the times where Jesus was said to have existed, execution was quite common, even for small crimes.  The destination of anyone sentenced to death would eventually be Gehenna where the fires never ceased.

This idea of eternal torment was thought up as nothing more than a scare tactic.  The Bible even says that when people die they return to dust on several occasions.

Job 34:15: “All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.”

Hell/Gehenna never even enters the scriptures until after Christ’s birth.  The reason for that is simply the location of where the scriptures were written before the mention.

Bob Crofts is a self-published author and critical thinker, and focuses on the philosophical issues of religion within every-day situations.