People have some odd ideas about hell. They picture little devils throwing parties that involve torturing individuals. But there will be no party in the lake of fire. A better description might be, “The place where you get everything you ever craved…. without the satisfaction.”
C.S Lewis wrote in The Great Divorce,
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’
In saying this, Lewis did not mean that God gives up the reigns and puts us in charge. He meant that if our deepest longings are our lusts, greed, envy, vengeance and self-absorption we will, in the end, get what we longed for and that is all we will be left with.
But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)
Hell, on this count, is not a window looking out on the abyss but a room full of mirrors where all you ever see is yourself. You, you, you. Nobody but you and no way of turning away from you.
What is it that you feed on now? Envy? Bitterness? Hate? Hell will be those things turning on you in order to consume you.
There will be no transition to a new thought. No looking away. Just the unrelenting view of your own mind and body in its final destruction. It will be you looking yourself in the face with no option to turn away. It will be the decay of you, fuelled by all of the things you spent your life chasing.
Chains, chains and more chains. Eternal separation. Shut out from all light and life and consumed by all the things you thought you had to have.
But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5:15)
Hell does not happen suddenly. It is the slow, gradual, soft-under-foot path of grumbling, complaining, blaming and biting at those around us.
It is the growing sound of our own voice and the diminishing of the voices around us until there is only one, fanged and raging voice left – our own.
God will not force us into His Eternal Kingdom. It is a gift given to those who want to be delivered from the chains of self-absorption. It is sunlight. It is the voice of Jesus offering undeserved mercy and saying,
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”