Religion Magazine

What If Hell Is Only Temporary?

By Ldsapologetics
I studied the Quran at a Mosque near Trolley Square in downtown Salt Lake tonight for maybe an hour. I learned much I did not know. And I deepened understandings I already had about Islam, Muslims, and the Quran.
One of the new ideas I did not know is that, according to many Muslims, the Quran teaches that Hell is temporary. Once a soul has atoned for their own sins, since Muslims believe Christ was a prophet and not a Redeemer, they are forgiven and reconciled with God and return to Him in Heaven.
But if you sin against another, it is up to them to forgive you, it is out of God's hands. Because Christ is a prophet rather than a Savior and Redeemer, we must each atone for our sins on our own.
The idea of Hell being temporary is not unique or even new. It is well know and well argued.
One idea is that if God is truly victorious over evil then evil, even if it's contained, cannot continue its existence. So Hell must be temporary in whatever form it exists. 
This opens the door to two unique and opposing theological arguments; All souls, Satan included, are reconciled to God in the end or evil souls are annihilated or suffer "The second death" as is stated in scripture.
The former idea is offensive to many because it means that Satan-the father of all lies and evil will one day be forgiven. It also means Hitler would also be forgiven but more heinously, for some, the man who raped and killed your daughter, wife or grandchild would also be forgiven. The man who drove drunk and killed your fiancé or the terrorists that killed your son or brother or battle buddy in Iraq will also be forgiven.
And while within an Islamic framework a soul's damnation is, in part, in the hands of those they've sinned against, within a Christian framework Jesus has Atoned for all sins and so forgiveness is God's alone to give.
If we hold on to our hurt, how ever justified it may be, we hurt ourselves as well. Holding on to anger is like holding on to a hot coal to throw at your enemy, the only one who gets burned is you. Or one could say that hatred is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.
Again, justified as our pain and grudges may be, they still poison us as well. Forgiveness isn't just about others deserving it, but if Christ suffered and died to Atone for you, He also died and suffered for those who have sinned against you as well. So who are we to deny what Christ suffered and died to provide to others with-forgiveness?
Much of the debate about the nature of Hell has to do with the nature of sin and evil. For brevity let's look at sin; Buddha said that "You are not punished for your anger, you are punished by it" if we think of sin in the same way then that describes best what makes a sin a sin-negative, evil, and unhealthy consequences for ourselves and/or others.
This then also illuminates the nature of evil and what God cannot tolerate in His presence. It's not a matter of offense as much as it is a matter of ethos, beliefs and behavior that are in direct opposition to the ways of The Lord. 
Pride is concerned with who is right. Humility is concerned with what is right. And discipleship is concerned with putting it right.If disciples of The Lord are tasked with putting wrong things right, how much more is The Lord Himself concerned with putting wrong right? And if Christ atoned for every one of God's children who are we to condemn, or refuse forgiveness to, anyone?And if Christ Atoned for all of God's children to forgive them of their sins and redeem them, thus the title Redeemer, then how could Hell be eternal?Aren't all souls redeemed?Wouldn't it make sense that Hell would feel everlasting but once we have been purified by the fires we would be reconciled to God and return to Him?The idea of annihilation of souls is that because nothing unclean can be in the presence of God and God is victorious over evil, that souls will be destroyed and suffer what is called in scripture "the second death."I personally subscribe to the idea of reconciliation but that's not beyond debate in the slightest.The larger idea behind reconciliation is tied to all souls being eternal because if God is victorious over evil then evil must either be destroyed, which means all souls are not eternal, or evil souls must be reconciled to God in the end. But then that would mean redeeming and saving every last soul in the end is what God's plan has always been. That Christ's Atonement applies to all, in every land and in every time.Can God really be victorious over all evil if He only contains evil without destroying it? But if He reconciles evil souls so that their hard hearts soften and they turn to God rather than away from Him, that at once rids evil and saves His children.Abraham Lincoln once asked "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?How is Lincoln more compassionate and understanding than our God?I may be wrong in believing this take on the nature of Hell, but it's ok, Jesus has redeemed me.What If Hell Is Only Temporary?

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