E know that the scriptural word translated "hell" has more than one meaning: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell" (Ps 15:10) meant that God would not let the Psalmist remain as good as dead; and the verse in Acts 2:27 [is applied] to our Lord's resurrection. 'hell" could be personified—"Death and Hell" are to be thrown into a lake of fire (Apoc., 20:24). But we cannot deny that our Lord preached a doctrine of hell which the Church continues to preach. Perhaps the most cogent passage is the parable of the Sheep and the Goats, in Mt. 25: 31-46. "Come, you blessed by My Father. take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world . Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels " "And these shall go into everlasting punishment. but the just, into life everlasting".
The sentences are accurately balanced. Should we wish to water down what is said about hell, so must we wash away the everlasting heaven.
Before going further, let us be sure that this doctrine is revealed not simply as a terrifying threat, but as an act of love. If we had been left to think that whatever we did it would all come right in the end and that there could be no such thing as everlasting punishment. we might well have been far more happy-go-lucky about our behaviour.
But now we know two facts about our soul—or one great fact, which is, that so amazing is this soul (which is what makes us Irian) that it is capable of reaching two extremes.
One is, a union with God such that human reason could never have argued it out; and the other, as total a separation from God as is consistent with the soul not being annihilated.
Few people, we fear, think of their destiny in these tremendous terms, or even that then actions have "enduring consequences" at all. But. as I said, I am all the time making myself be something, and that is what will finally he acceptable, or will have to he rejected. and for ever.
So awe-ful it is to be a man; and to be so. everlastingly.