For a large minority of westerners, this—our current sojourn on planet earth—is all there is. Perhaps their mantra should be: “Life is hard, then you die.” No “pie in the sky when you die” for these folks! The idea of oblivion after expiration is their comfort, for we all fear judgment.
The idea of no final court denies any of us real justice. We are all aware of the rough justice, mostly no justice, this world affords. For disbelievers in life beyond death, this is the best we’ll get. Little motivation for compromise on the road to personal glory if there’s no reward.
All this leads to the idea of hell as well as heaven if there is to be any final, real and lasting justice. But only half of those who believe in heaven also believe in hell. An interesting concept, that we will all make heaven on our own terms if there is no hell! Not much improvement over this life!
It seems to me experience on earth should warn us there is both heaven and hell. After all, some already live in one, many in the other; clear evidence that we live in the overlap of two worlds—good and evil, or adjusting the spelling a little, God and the Devil.
Not only is the concept of heaven and hell available to us, we actually experience the balm and blasts of both. Any future heaven and hell are simply the two being untangled leaving us in one or the other according to our choice.
If we are honest, both places already reside within us; we fail in what we desire, and do what we despise. Life is full of addictions beyond the obvious, all symbols of the evil that binds us. If we wish to be free, Christ has provided the way; heaven can be our choice.
So hell is simply the heaven of those whose goodness is good enough. Because a repeat of this earth, but without the ameliorating presence of God, is all that remains once heaven is isolated from hell. Light, truth, justice, love, and joy, characterize heaven; hell retains all the opposites.