“If hell is just ‘separation from God,’ it’s no big deal.”

This perceptive atheist has identified a problem with this popular but unbiblical phrase. Modern preachers often tell a sinner that if he dies without Christ’s forgiveness he will be “separated from God” forever. It’s what I call a “fear of man cliché”—it’s a substitute for the uncomfortable topic of hell. There are a number of other unbiblical phrases the modern church has invented that fall in the same category, such as a “Christ-less eternity” and a “lost eternity.” But since the godless don’t want God in this life, how is the threat of being without Him in the next life going to awaken them? Modern preachers have fed the sinner the lie that there is an alternative to hell, when there is not. It is not easy to say, but if a sinner dies in his sins, he doesn’t go to a “Christless eternity,” but to a place of conscious torment called “hell.” Death is a mere down payment for his sins; hell is his full wages. (For a biblical description of hell, see Rev. 1:18 comment.)

So don’t be guilty of failing to preach “the whole counsel of God” (see Acts 20:26,27) and warning the lost of what awaits them on Judgment Day. They will not be able to get away from the God they so despise. Our God fills the heavens and the earth, and there is nowhere we can go that is outside His presence. He presides even over hell (see Psa. 139:7,8; Jer. 23:24; Rev. 14:10).

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in thell, behold, You are there. 

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5 Responses to “If hell is just ‘separation from God,’ it’s no big deal.”

  1. andydoerksen says:

    I’m a big fan of yours, Ray, but I think you’ve seriously missed the mark on this one – as did the atheist. You’re both making the same fundamental error: you assume that “mere” separation from God is no big deal, because you’ve mentally factored out just how God relates to our current lives on Earth, even the lives of the unsaved.

    But the implications of “mere” separation from God are utterly horrific. God is the source of ALL good things that human beings experience (e.g. James 1:17). The reason we enjoy *anything* good, even in a fallen world, is because God hasn’t entirely cut us off from His presence or His love, despite having kicked humanity out of the Garden of Eden all those generations ago. Anything we enjoy in this world is in fact evidence of God expressing kindness toward us; extending to us the opportunity to be saved, and to experience infinitely *more* of His goodness. As Paul told the people of Lystra, God “did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)

    Now imagine that God finally does shut someone out of His presence (or, more specifically, His goodness) *entirely*, with no hope left. And that condition is *eternal*. What will be that person’s experience?

    The best analogy I can imagine for this awful state of affairs is to imagine what it would be like if someone abducted me from my home, and from all that I enjoy in life (relationships, hobbies, entertainments, food, etc.), threw me into an isolation cell – then threw away the key. That’s only an earthly scenario – but I find it utterly horrific.

    Now extrapolate that to eternity: *zero* input from God into my existence; I’m in His “isolation cell” forever and ever. No material things to enjoy, no alleviation of loneliness, nothing to stimulate my mind other than guilt and regret. UNENDING.

    My friend, there’s simply no question that that’s real torment. The atheist who pitched that shallow argument to you is assuming that, absent God, there might still be some kind of enjoyable existence that he can salvage from his Christless eternity. The unsaved only *think* they desire separation from God, because they *think* the experience will somehow be of benefit to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. Separation from God isn’t just a “big deal”; it’s a MONUMENTAL, unparalleled catastrophe.

  2. Pingback: “If hell is just ‘separation from God,’ it’s no big deal.” | Ray Comfort’s Daily Evidence | Christians Following Jesus

  3. Pingback: “If hell is just ‘separation from God,’ it’s no big deal.” | Ray Comfort’s Daily Evidence | Christian News

  4. John Visser says:

    I am amazed at the way “Christians” continue to water down the gospel of God. It was therefore very good to see your clear and unambiguous posting. Thank you for standing up for our Creator.

  5. Elaine Mason says:

    i PROFESS TO BE A CHRISTIAN AND AS SUCH; APPLAUD THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE AND TO ALSO LET YOU ALL KNOW THAT FROM THE LIPS OF JESUS IN MATTHEW CiHAPTER19 VERSE 17 JESUS STATES ‘WHY CALLEST THOU ME GOOD? THERE IS NONE GOOD BUT ONE,THAT IS, GOD: BUT IF THOU WILL ENTER INTO LIFE, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.

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