Who created hell and why?

| September 6, 2008 | 74 Replies

If you’ve ever read the book of Genesis in the Bible, and exercised at least a little bit of skepticism, you might have noticed that the Official Creation Story contains several conspicuous omissions. I’ve already discussed one of them — the strange case of the Tree of the Knowledge — and now I’m going to discuss another one: who created hell and why?

Why doesn’t the book of Genesis discuss this? The holy text goes to considerable length to credit the god-of-the-Bible with creating everything else in our universe — the sun, the moon, the stars, our planet, every living thing, etc. In fact, the authors of the Old Testament were so enamored with this story that they included a second version of it in Genesis chapter 2. So, why doesn’t the Bible mention who created hell? Indeed, why doesn’t the Bible mention who created *any* of the Bad Stuff — the Serpent who supposedly tempted Eve and forever tainted the entire human race, the demons who supposedly serve the Serpent, the burning hellfires of damnation where they all live…? Obviously, if the god-of-the-Bible created everything in our universe, then he *must* also have created the bad stuff, but why doesn’t the Bible ever mention this?

And, more to the point, why did the god-of-the-Bible create this stuff? Why did he create the Serpent, knowing (because he knows the future) that the Serpent would eventually cause humanity to fall from grace? Why did he create demons, knowing their sole function would be to spread turmoil and strife? And why did he create the burning pit of hellfire, knowing that its sole purpose would be to torture humans who, for whatever reason, didn’t get his message? If you were the Supreme Creator of the Universe, and you had infinite love for all the humans you created, would you create all this bad stuff? Do human parents arrange such things for their disobedient children? Really, was it necessary for the god-of-the-Bible to create eternal torment just to punish people who didn’t sufficiently worship him? Why not condemn heretics to eternity in, say, a sports bar, or a lukewarm Jacuzzi, or a casino in Vegas? You know, something bad but not really that bad. Why hell?

I don’t know about you, but it makes no sense to me that any infinitely loving god would create hell. It’s obviously a self-contradiction: an infinitely loving god would never have created that stuff; therefore, if the god-of-the-Bible created that stuff, as the Bible implies, then the god-of-the-Bible either doesn’t exist or is not infinitely loving.

Maybe that’s why the Bible doesn’t discuss it.

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About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (74)

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  1. cynthiya says:

    Bible does tell about hell…in Matthew 25:41 it says……“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:'' but those who do not follow him but follow satan take themselves there with him. God created humans to be with him in heaven but he has to separate good from evil.

  2. cynthiya,

    This would make perfect sense if Satan were cast as a separate creator and it was his creations (disguised as humans) that need separating out. But this god created everything, so it ends coming across as a shop boss with quality control issues, overproducing parts and tossing out the defective ones at the end of the day. It's a stupid, inconsistent, cruel paradigm depicted and frankly exhibits the morality of an untrained four-year-old brat. The problem is, humans themselves are more moral than the god depicted in the bible.

  3. Karl says:

    Back to this Biblical topic of epic proportions.

    Death has always been around since shortly after the beginning of human recorded history. Death is the last enemy of man because it is the punishment for sin. This enemy has already been swallowed up in victory by Jesus, but much of mankind is not convinced that death has already been defeated. They believe no one gets out of this physical life with hope for any consciousness afterwards.

    Not many people are anxious to have their lives end unless they somehow believe they are already in a living “hell” of some sort. The fear of the unknown after death is the basis for the entire concept of what hell is all about.

    Who created hell? Who created the “Lake of Fire,” and are they the same thing? Many people somehow believe God desires to scare people into "loving and submitting to God." They take out a “life insurance policy” by their relationship to God.

    This is not the kind God seen in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

    Because of willful poor decisions, God has been working at showing man the way back to a right relationship with God. Satan has always been fairly on the “loose” to mess with peoples thought processes and one of the biggest lies in the Bag of deceit is to use the imagination of man against God. Since Satan has existed under some form of punishment for as long as humans have recorded history, we can safely say that the punishment upon Satan and the “Lake of fire” are linked together.

    The crux of the lie is whether people will be subject to the same eternal destiny of Satan or not. Hell and hell "fire" are often seen as synonymous terms.

    Unending eternal purging of sin is Satan's destiny.

    This is not the same fate of people unless they also believe Satan's lies about God.

    Most religions and people would agree that the belief of what happens after death can be a great motivator for what people do or don’t do in life. Even the Christian will need to have their sinful past removed, and the only way possible for this is have it purged from their being.

    The Christian will welcome the “fire” that will refine them. They will let the sin be shed like an overcoat comes off. However, the sinner who does not want to be rid of their sinful nature will always see the “fires” as an eternal punishment.

    Satan is the one who welcomes people to his same fate by helping them to believe lies about God.

    Sin is never an acceptable thing to God and fire will one day purge and purify both the material and spiritual world of sin. In this sense, eternal fire will always be God’s eternal judgment upon sin.

    It is those who have linked the elimination of sin with the ongoing punishment of sinful creatures that have the wrong understanding. Yes, God has and will continue to carry out judgments against sin in temporal human settings to teach the truths about the spiritual world in ways physical human beings can understand to one degree or another.

    However, the purity of a fine metal is brought forth by the refiners fire.

    • Xtech says:

      “Most religions and people would agree that the belief of what happens after death can be a great motivator for what people do or don’t do in life…”

      I call you on this one. I see no difference between Christian and non-Christian in terms of what they do in life; both commit crimes and both do good deeds. They are indistinguishable. Except of course the mental games that Christians play with themselves.

      My evidence? Prisons. They are full of God-fearing Christians. Atheists are way under represented.

      Either Christians don’t take seriously the threat of hell, or they rationalize away their criminal behavior feeling they have correctly played the mind game of being saved (or believing in the correct God, or Jesus, whatever flavor they feel is the right one for ‘salvation’).

  4. George says:

    I seriously dislike when Atheist answer questions about God and the bible, because if you don't believe there's no reason for you to give a reasonable explanation, keep out of what is not your area, "faith" -___-

    • Erich Vieth says:

      This reminds me of the saying: I'll keep my science out of your church if you keep your religion out of my science class.

    • Ted says:

      Most of us really WANT to believe. We’re just searching for something to grab onto, but the whole concept is as unsubstantial as sand that sifts through your hands.

  5. George—

    We live in a culture largely informed and molded by religious beliefs, so whether or not one believes in them is beside the point—they affect us all, therefore we have a perfect right, even a duty, to demand that that which impacts our lives conform to some species of reason.

  6. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    George,

    Some atheists dislike being dissed by by true believers theists calling us amoral when they refuse to understand the precepts of our non-belief. At least we try to be knowledgeable on the subject.

    • Ted says:

      The sad thing is that MOST believers know less about their own religion than most atheists. Ask them a question about actual text from the Bible and most can only recount hearsay, not the actual text or even a close paraphrasing. It’s sad in a way, the naivete is painful to me.

  7. G says:

    Well, great topic and answers. Maybe god created a universe of just good before and it didn’t work. You need to have a balance in order for life to prosper and grow. So instead of thinking as heaven and hell as a place you’ll end up it’s more of a reference to the balance of life. God is merely a creator of life and we beings have twisted the facts over time. So just live your life to the fullest and stop wasting your time worrying about religion and anything else.

  8. michelle says:

    GIVE ME SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN…

  9. Mike M. says:

    michelle: OK..how about Yourself?

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