I came across a wonderful article written by Ross Douthat a New York Times columnist in the Dallas Morning News newspaper. In this article Ross Douthat makes an excellent case for the necessity of Hell as related to the consequences of our human choices. He states "...to believe in God and not in hell is ultimately to disbelieve in the reality of human choices...the doctrine of hell, by contrast, assumes that our choices are real and that we are the choices that we make. the miser can become his greed, the murderer can lose himself inside his violence, and their freedom to turn and be forgiven is inseparable from their freedom not to do so." What great point! In other words, to take away the existence or even the necessity of hell is make humans unaccountable and inculpable for their actions and decisions. If there is no punishment for wrong doing then how could their be a reward for doing the right thing? It can't be both. Contradications are non-existence in a rational world.
But I guess it was seemingly impossible for Ross Douthat to write about the subject of hell without in some way referencing Pastor Rob Bell's recent heresy Love Wins, a book about whether hell really exists or if its an ideological state of existence. In reference to Bell's book Douthat writes "Bell's book begins with a provocative question: Are Christians required to believe that Gandhi is in hell for behing Hindu?" This question is absurd because it assumes that people will be a candidate for heaven based on their good works. The truth of the matters is God sees good works as smelly towels or dirty rags. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.."-Isa 64:6 Good works means nothing to a holy, all-seeing, all-knowing God. Our "righteousness" (righteousness relative to the individual, based on subjective humanistic standards) will never equate to the righteousness God desires and has made clear demands of in scripture. If Gandhi is in hell, its not because he was a Hindu but because he failed to make Christ Lord of his life and accept his sacrifice for salvation.
It is not illogical to believe that if there is reward for doing good that there will also be punishment for doing wrong. The issue is we live in a society that doesn't want to be punished for their wrongdoing. Due to the post modern movement and relative standards of right and wrong, people have created an idea of the afterlife that is neither Biblical, rational or consistently coherent. People like Rob Bell fail to admit that the Bible is the final court of appeals when it comes to what people are to believe in. Pluralistic pedantic pondering yields to more questions than answers and often the wrong answers. Hell is a literal place. The "idea" of hell reminds people that there are consequences to the choices that we make and it should move people to chose wisely and consider all that God has to offer in Jesus Christ. Rob Bell is giving hell a false image that attempts to indict God as a childish tyrant bent on vengeance. But Biblically, God is quite the contrary. God is the Father of humankind and is depicted simultaneously as a loving and chastening Father. He has rules and will not put with sin. Those that disobey his rules are put in "time-out", only God's "time-out" is an eternal place of torment. Rob Bell is a falsifier of Biblical doctrine, a wolf in sheep's clothing and a son of Belial. His view of hell is mistaken at the least and it should be weighed in accordance to God's word. Don't be deceived, there is a literal hell, and through Christ, God has provided a way to escape its damnation.