I have a friend who claims that the Bible says everyone will eventually go to heaven, and that hell doesn't exist. This isn't what I was taught as a boy in Sunday school, but is this what the Bible says? — A.T.
No, this is not what the Bible says. Just as the Bible teaches the joyous reality of heaven, so it also teaches the terrible reality of hell. Jesus warned that at the last judgment God will say to those who have rejected Him, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).
Those are solemn words, and we ignore them at our peril. They tell us that someday all who lived evil lives will be judged, and will pay the price for their rebellion against God and their violence against others. They knew what was right -- but they failed to do it. They also knew what was wrong -- but they still did it. They are without excuse and will have no defense when they stand before God. The Bible warns, "It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).
The Bible doesn't answer all our questions about hell, but one thing is absolutely clear: You do not want to go there. I've heard people say they look forward to hell, because all their friends will be there. But the Bible paints a much different picture, calling it a place of absolute despair.
The good news about hell, however, is that we don't need to go there! By His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ conquered sin and death and Satan and hell. Don't be deceived, but put your life into Christ's hands -- both for now, and for eternity.