Where Is Hell?

One of our kids always wanted to debate with me about the location of heaven.  His contention was that if I pointed up towards heaven and someone on the opposite side of the earth was pointing up to heaven, we would be pointing in opposite directions.  I’ll leave you to figure it out from there.

The location of hell may not be so complicated.  If it is beneath our feet in the center of the earth, then individuals on opposite sides of the earth would point in the same direction.  

There are many references in Scripture which speak of going down into the pit or into hell.  Some of them are merely references to the grave and some are references to a literal hell into which one would descend.  

Hell is described as a place of fire and darkness.  There are also references to a lake of fire.  Hell is described as a place from which there is no escape.  Each of these descriptions is compatible with a center of the earth location.

There is a passage in Scripture that says, “Hell hath enlarged itself.”  I often think of this verse when I hear of volcanic eruptions and I wonder if hell is indeed enlarging itself under our feet.

Another consideration for hell’s location could simply be a black hole.  This frightening cosmic phenomena reminds one of an oceanic whirlpool which sucks everything within reach down to destruction.  The black hole pulls in everything including light. There would certainly be no escape from such a thing as that.

Hell is more frightening than a black hole because it is eternal (unending) and it is able to confine that which is of a spiritual nature.  Satan and his demons are spiritual creatures.  Man is a spiritual creature who will live somewhere forever when his physical body expires.  The hell of Scripture has the ability and capacity to contain, confine, and restrain spiritual beings.  

We could engage in endless debate and speculation about hell’s location, but we can only rely on what the Scripture reveals to us. A piece of literature from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago contains a simple but profound description of where hell is.  It says simply this: “Where is hell?  Hell is at the end of a Christ rejecting life.”

Suffering, God’s Timing and His Control

Most parents do not want their children to experience suffering.  I have always prayed for our children’s protection and safekeeping. I have prayed for them to have wisdom and to make good decisions.  I have prayed that God would deliver them from temptation and evil.  I have prayed over the years for their testimony of salvation to be genuine and for them to grow spiritually, but I have never prayed for them to suffer.

My wife and I dedicated each one of our four children to the Lord before they were born, but somewhere along the line I took them back.  It is interesting that we can trust God for so many things, but not our children.  We are very specific with God about what can happen and what cannot happen in their lives.  It’s as if God is an authority on everything except knowing what is best for our kids.

I want our children to grow spiritually.  I want to see evidence in their lives that they are genuine believers.  I want them to be strengthened with His power and might.  I want them to be able to encourage others and to lift up the fallen, but I was not willing to let God use suffering to bring it about, even though that is His way.

In May (2015), I was praying for our children on the way home from work, and I wrestled with God.  I realized that I was asking Him to do things in our children’s lives that were diametrically opposed to each other.  I was asking for growth and fruitfulness,  without the pruning.  I was asking for evidence of ownership without the burning of the brand.  I was asking for purity  without the fire.

When one wrestles with God, it is about control and surrendering to Him.  I wept as I drove and as I gave them back to Him.  I surrendered my children, because in reality as believers they are really His, and He knows what they need so much better than I.

On the Friday of that very same week, our daughter found that she had a mass in her chest that was completely blocking the superior vena cava (vein) that serves her upper body.  She is in her late twenties with a 2-1/2 year old and a one-year-old.  The initial prognosis was not encouraging.   We were crushed.

The following week our daughter and her husband traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for tests and consultation.  Her condition was extremely rare and she would become only the sixteenth individual to be operated on for this condition between the Mayo Clinic and one other research hospital. The condition was brought about by her body’s auto-immune system reaction to a probable respiratory infection she had approximately ten years ago.

Our daughter and son-in-law’s church helped them to move in with us until she recovers and they can regain their financial footing.   She has gained some and lost some physically.  The damaged portion of her superior vena cava has been replaced.   Her hands and feet have been warm for the first time in years.  The nerve controlling her right diaphragm was lost.  She lost twenty per cent of her right lung.  She probably doesn’t have asthma after all.  She grapples every day with pain control, but every day there is improvement and healing.

We have bonded even more so with our grandchildren and have also realized why God gives children to younger people.  Now you know why my posting has grown quiet for the past two to three weeks.

One may be tempted to question why anyone would turn their children over to God for something like that?  On the contrary, I think that God was waiting for me to surrender to His will concerning our children.  The tragedy would have been in waiting longer or in not surrendering at all.  As it was, He gave her back to us, just somewhat repackaged.

God says in His word that He will do whatever we ask, but for what are we asking?  Are we asking for our will or for His will to be done?

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” I Peter 4:19