What is gehinnom, i.e., hell, like? A very unbearable description about it can be found in a book by Maurice Rawlings, MD, titled To Hell and Back (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1993, p. 75). This excerpt quotes George Godkin of Alberta, Canada discussing a near-death experience that occurred during a prolonged illness, as recorded in On the Other Side by Marvin Ford (Plainfield: Logos International, 1978, pp. 93-94)--I myself have added different font appearances for emphasis:
"I was guided to the place in the spirit world called Hell...I not only saw Hell, but I felt the torment that all who go there will experience.
The darkness of Hell is so intense that it seems to have a pressure per square inch. It is an extremely black, dismal, desolate, heavy, pressurized type of darkness. It gives the individual a crushing, despondent, feeling of loneliness.
The heat is a dry, dehydrating type. Your eyeballs are so dry they feel like red hot coals in their sockets. Your tongue and lips are parched and cracked with the intense heat. The breath from your nostrils as well as the air you breath feels like a blast from a furnace. The exterior of your body feels as though it were encased within a white hot stove. The interior of your body has a sensation of scorching hot air being forced through it.
The agony and loneliness of Hell cannot be expressed clearly enough for proper understanding to the human soul; it has to be experienced."
That sure looks like an overwhelmingly torturous situation. Do you really want to gamble your eternity on this one?
There are at least two likely reactions to this description of hell. One is of fear. An eternity of non-stop, unbearable pain certainly is a good reason to be afraid. Another is of anger, such as raging at a G-d who could possibly inflict such a very cruel punishment. But is venting your anger at G-d going to make you feel better in the long run? Won't a gehinnom-free eternity make you feel even much better than that? If you knew that G-d was, in fact, loving enough to offer not only a way out of gehinnom but a way into a blissful eternity in heaven, perhaps you would consider raging against G-d to be not so valuable.
But if G-d is actually a loving G-d, then why does He include gehinnom as a form of punishment?? The ultimate answer to this question may be too hard to be sufficiently explained to the simple human mind. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the intensity of G-d's hatred of sin--disobeying Him--may surprise you.
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