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.