CHAPTER VII — WHAT CHRIST TEACHES CONCERNING FUTURE RETRIBUTION
BY REV. WM. C. PROCTER, F. PH., CROYDON, ENGLAND
There are four reasons for confining our consideration of the subject of Future Retribution to the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ:
(1) It limits the range of our inquiry to what is possible in a brief essay. There will be no occasion to examine the 56 passages in the authorized version of our Bible which contain the word “Hell,” (most of which are the translations of the Hebrew “Sheol” and the Greek “Hades,” meaning “the grave” and “the unseen state,”) and we can concentrate our attention on the ten passages in which our Lord uses the word “Gehenna” (which was the usual appellation in His day for the abode of the lost) together with those other verses which evidently refer to the future state of the wicked.
Satan’s encounter with Eve in the Garden is fascinating and very important for us to understand. His temptation of Eve, recorded in Genesis 3, represents several firsts:
It is the first instance of an epistemological alternative to God’s design. Satan offers to Eve a different way to have God-like knowledge. Satan argues that God is actually deceiving Eve into ignorance by keeping her from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan’s plan was both clear and appealing: Be like God by the assertion of your own will, and be free from God’s restrictive design. Declare your independence from God by doing it your own way—the result will be the same.
Satan’s temptation of Eve is also the first instance of a hermeneutic alternative to God’s design. Satan’s temptation of Eve was the first recorded instance of a non-literal interpretation of God’s word. Satan asks Eve, “Has God said … ?” and then proceeds to distort what God had actually said (3:1). In contrast, Genesis 1-12 represents roughly 2,500 years of history, and during that time, of the roughly 31 references to God speaking, this is the only instance (besides Eve’s fumbling in response to Satan’s challenge) in which God’s word isn’t taken at face value.
"Two thirds (67 percent) of Americans believe heaven is a real place, according to the survey....Just under half of Americans (45 percent) say there are many ways to heaven... Catholics (67 percent) and Mainline Protestants (55 percent) are most likely to say heaven's gates are wide open, with many ways in. Evangelicals (19 percent) and Black Protestants (33 percent) are more skeptical." Survey: heaven, hell & a bit of heresy