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I understand what you're asking...

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Published: 17 years ago
This is a reply to # 407,294

I understand what you're asking...

I have had the same kind of internal turmoil that it seems you have. I have come to understand that in order to be the best Christian possible, it involves a lot of work on my part to actually seek and understand the "truth," just because there is a lot of controversy out there. All in all, researching language and the origins of words has helped to clear up a lot of my questions.

For example, when examining multiple different versions of the same "Bible," it is no wonder there is such heated debate over things--just look at how the wording differs. Translation of passages into English from their original language can get really, really messy if the English word chosen does not adequately reflect the true meaning of the original word/words used. It is extremely important to study the Bible with the understanding that words are simply an approximation used to encompass a CONCEPT, and when translating from language to language, several words may be acceptable, though the meaning will be changed slightly. I could say "shelf" and "mantle" and still convey a similar meaning to you--yet "mantle" is much more descriptive and RESTRICTIVE than "shelf" is.

Back to your question...I have done a little bit of research on Hell--the actual etiology of the English word Hell--and have learned that this word has been used as the translation of the following words found in the original writings:

1. SHEOL (Hebrew)-Literally a "pit" or a "grave," or simply the state of being dead--the unseen. The original Hebrew word Sheol never had connotations associated with eternal punishment or torment.

2. HADES (Greek)-Like Sheol, the original concept that this word represented was simply "the abode of the dead" or the "unseen."

3. GEHENNA (Greek)-This is actually a place, the "Valley of the Son of Hinnom," where in Jesus' day, a community trash dump was located. Fires were burned here constantly in order to consume the constant influx of trash as well as to cut down on the stench. It is this literal place that Jesus refers to in his parable--not an abstract realm.

4. TARTARUS (Greek)-This word means the "pit of the earth"--the belly of the earth, if you will. Again, an accurate English translation for "Tartarus" would simply be "pit," "hole in the ground."

Imagine, now, if no version of the Bible contained "Hell" as a substitution for any of the above words? How or why would anyone ever come to the conclusion that eternal torment is Biblical? I am really concerned about that teaching, myself, and whether or not it is truly God's message.

Like you, I really want to be sure that the concepts that I am relaying to others are from God...otherwise, I could be playing for the "other team" without even realizing it, if you know what I mean. Thanks for starting this topic--I think it's wise to be relentless in the search for real Truth.

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