Chapter 3 - HELL
Chapter 3 is much like chapter 2. Its full of definitions, translations, scriptural references, and stories. Again, to properly dissect this chapter, I think the reader must first determine if what Bell is defining and translating is correct. If so, then lets move forward and discuss the concepts he proposes.
[I also will add that 3 weeks into this discussion, no one has argued that Bell's historical facts, translations, and scriptures have been faulty or stretch the truth. Most commentary has been more focused on the broader implications of him writing this book, being a universalist, etc. But in order for accurate and healthy debate to take place, I think the chapter-by-chapter approach is necessary and vital.]
So, lets answer my first questions...are Bell's definitions, translations, historical analysis, and scriptural references correct, or lies?
Next, he doesn't say what most thought he was going to say, that hell doesn't exist. In fact, Bell writes, "There is hell now, and there is hell later, and Jesus teaches us to take both seriously" (79).
He is of course referring to the biblical posturing(s) of hell, not necessarily the Left Behind (dispensationalist) versions.
Bell discusses the usage of "eternal," "forever," and "eternity," again; calling to question our Western/English understanding versus what "aion" and "olam" really meant. Foul?
This chapter is all about how we've been taught to read things and re-learning original meaning and intent..."So when we read "eternal punishment," its important that we don't read categories and concepts into a phrase that aren't there" (92).
Please discuss and debate, but please try and keep it focused on Chapter 3, hell.