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Mark Sanguinetti

The Myth of Hell

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The Myth of Hell

Here is an article that does not promote ancient Greek or Roman mythology and their pagan gods. Instead this article promotes Jesus Christ as the savior of mankind. 

 

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There are three Greek words that are sometimes translated as hell in the New Testament. And one Hebrew word which mostly only is translated as hell in the Old Testament in the King James or New King James Versions. From the Old Testament ancient Hebrew language, when researching this word it is the word translated to English as “sheowl” or “sheol”. Since the actual ancient Hebrew letters were each written with picture or graphic imagery they would need to be drawn or hand written for its 22 characters. They are all consonants written from right to left. This language is therefore challenging and reference using translated to English letters to sound like Hebrew words along with the Strong’s Hebrew dictionary or accordance using numbers to represent words for this Hebrew Old Testament language is needed. For “sheowl” this is Strong’s number 7585. Even in the KJV, this is often translated in agreement with the Hebrew definition of “the grave”. Other than the KJV version, other translations have a very high majority of “the grave” used as the translation of the Hebrew word “sheowl”. The grave is where the dead are often buried. Either that or the dead are cremated or burned into ashes. Next is the first usage of “sheowl” from Genesis.

Gen 37:35
35 And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave (sheowl) unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him. KJV

“Sheowl” in the Old Testament was not seen as eternal torment. It was seen as the grave of death or an unseen burial. Using the King James Version the Hebrew word “sheowl” is translated as “the grave” 31 times. It is also translated as “hell” 31 times and “the pit” 4 times. In all usages in looking at the context this can be seen as the grave or a word describing the state of death. And “the grave” is the primary translation of other biblical versions. For example, the New International Version (NIV) does not have any usages of the word “hell” in the entire Old Testament. It almost always translates “sheowl” as “the grave”. Of the 66 usages for “sheowl”, 62 are translated as “the grave” in the NIV. One usage is translated as “dead” from Deuteronomy 32:22. One usage as “the depth below” from Job 11:8. One usage as “of the realm of the dead” from Job 26:6. One usage is translated as “death” from Proverbs 15:11.

Here is this definition from Strong’s Hebrew dictionary of “sheowl” using Strong’s number 7585.
she'owl (sheh-ole'); or sheol (sheh-ole'); Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates: the underworld, grave, hades, pit

Unfortunately for our minds and thoughts, we also have Greek mythology that has crept into the New Testament for biblical doctrine. This is through the mythology of “hades” the pagan Greek myth of the god of the underworld. And from this Strong’s word definition above #7585 we see the Greek word “hades” even added to the Hebrew word “sheol”. Even though unlike the Greek word for “hades” this Old Testament word “sheol” with 66 usages in the Old Testament is more often stated as “the grave” with death.

Here is the Strong’s Greek dictionary for “hades” seen in the New Testament with Strong’s # 86. There are ten usages of this Greek word in the New Testament.

  1. a proper name, Hades, Pluto, the god of the lower regions;
  2. an appellative (name), Orcus, the nether world, the realm of the dead
  3. (from Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

 

In addition to true scriptural and godly understanding, some ancient Greek and Roman mythology was added to the above Strong’s definition. For example, Orcus was a god of the underworld, punisher of broken oaths in Roman mythology. In Roman mythology his name came to be used for demons and the underworld monsters. As the god who punished evildoers in the afterlife. In addition Pluto was seen as the Roman god of the underworld and the judge of the dead. Should Christians today learn from mystic Roman theology and see this as truth? With no usages of the words “Orcus” or “Pluto” in even the King James Version of the bible this would mean replacing some of the bible with Roman religious myths. A myth is a traditional story, especially concerning the early history of people that typically involves supernatural beings or events. A myth is also a widely held but false belief or idea.

The Greek word “hades” began with Ancient Greek religious mythology and not Christianity with Jesus Christ. In prior years before Christ’s birth, according to ancient Greek mythology, Hades was someone who was born as a son, but later became the lord of the underworld. Hades drew lots with his brothers Zeus and Poseidon to decide which part of the world each would rule. Zeus received the sky, Poseidon the seas, and Hades the underworld. Hades ruled the dead, assisted by others over whom he had complete authority. He cared little about what happened in the upper world, as his primary attention was ensuring that none of his subjects ever left his rulership. He strictly forbade his subjects from leaving his domain and would become very angry when anyone tried to leave death that was under his control. If they did he would punish them as he did with a mystical character named Pirithous.

2 hours ago, Raf said:

If you do say so yourself.

You would have to read the biblical article in order to see what is said. Here is the first page. There are many biblical quotes in this article comparing them to Greek and Roman mythology. 

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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I'm gratified that you are very proud of you. I would be too.

  • Like 1

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Bart Ehrman, the famed agnostic, agrees with your interpretation. So you're in good company as far as I'm concerned.

I don't think the original Christians believed in a fiery hell of eternal torment.

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The Myth of Hell 
by Mark Sanguinetti 

Page 2

There should be no reason to learn from Greek and then Roman mythology. And for a warning, the God of this world, Satan, who is a spiritual entity, is very good at deception and promoting myths of falsity. The first and primary example of this is seen in Genesis chapter 3:1-6. Here Satan the spiritual being is symbolically referred to as a serpent, which is a crawling reptile or snake. In Genesis 2:16-17 after creating the world including agriculture, animals and mankind God told Adam that he was “free to eat from any tree in the garden”. However, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die”. This commandment by God was given as a test to Adam of his obedience to God the creator with proof that Adam was dependent of or needing God the creator.

Later in Genesis 3:4 the serpent says to the newly created woman called Eve that you won’t die when you do something that God said not to do. The woman did not agree with the serpent at first. However, Satan was and is a master of deception and got her to ignore the Word of God, while instead following what the serpent said to do. Then Eve talked Adam into following the same deception. As a result as worded in Genesis 3:17-19 we have some pain in life today that physically ends with decay and deterioration or as the bible says humanity physically returning to dust. Figurative language is used, but a simple explanation of humanity is no eternal life for our physical bodies. Instead working to live and survive with the eventual death of our physical bodies which biblically is seen as being buried in “the grave”. As this relates to this myth of hell being eternal torment, this would also mean that death does not exist. Only a much worse, no death, never ending eternal existence of torture. In contrast, God has warned us that death or the grave does exist. However, God has also provided a means to eternal life through Jesus Christ our loving savior.

Genesis 3:17-19
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. KJV

There is no reason to promote ancient Greek or Roman mythology as the truthful word of God for either the Old or New Testaments. With regard to actual biblical quotes of the New Testament for the Greek word “hades”. Two of the ten usages are seen in Acts chapter 2, verses 27 and 31. From verse 27 we see that this is a quote from Psalms 16:10. Here are the two verses from both the New International and New King James Versions.

Acts 2:27
27 because you will not abandon me to the grave (hades), nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
NIV 
Psalms 16:10
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave (sheowl), nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
NIV

Acts 2:27
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
NKJV
Psalms 16:10
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. NKJV

The above renders the New Testament Greek word “hades” having the same meaning in the bible as the earlier Hebrew Old Testament word “sheowl” or “sheol”. With the Old Testament word “sheowl” or “sheol” meaning “the grave” or “the state of death”. This means the Greek word “hades” when used in the New Testament should also be viewed as “the grave” or “the state of death”. This is seen with the death of Christ. When He died, the Old Testament from Psalms 16:10 and the New Testament from Acts 2:27 using the New International Version says that Jesus Christ will not be abandoned to the grave.

Jesus was placed in the Hebrew “sheowl” or Greek “hades” or grave after his death, but was not left there to decay. Jesus Christ was left in his grave (hades) for three days as stated by scriptures (Matthew 12:40, Matthew 27:40, Matthew 27:63, Mark 8:31, Mark 9:31, Mark 10:34, John 2:20-22). Then as we read in the New Testament, for example 1 Corinthians chapter 15, Christ was raised from the dead not from among the living.

A primary myth of hell after death is relating death to fire with torment. There were certainly no fires inside of Christ’s tomb while He lay there dead for three days. His grave clothes were not scorched (John 20:6–7) nor did His body show any evidence of burns. The hades where Christ was, was simply "the grave" (or tomb), and that is what hades or sheowl means in the bible.

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Sounds fine to me.  There is so much mythology, not just Greek or Roman mythology, that has become entangled with Christianity; not just about heaven and hell (whatever they may actually be), but those are what we might call biggies or eternal, long-term, questions. The RC church chose to take old myths and channel or direct them into their own PoV - after all, it was a useful way to control people.

The idea of a loving God consigning human beings (souls? spirits? that's a whole nuther debate) to eternal torment doesn't fit well with a loving God that wants people to love Him for who he is, and that wants people to repent of evil ways.  It does fit well with a tyrant who bullies people into doing his will.  

As Hamlet's last words say: "The rest [grave] is silence."  And this, from a man who was deceived by a spirit impersonating his father, in the beginning of the play, setting in motion the tragic events that followed.  (Yeah, I know Hamlet is a work of fiction.)

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Likewise, I don't find much reason to believe in some sort of eternal torment, as fire eventually consumes whatever is fueling it.  However, I do read that at, or after, the end (i.e., the great white throne judgement), those that are not saved or "whosoever is not written in the book of life" are cast into the lake of fire.

What do you suppose that means, Mark?

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5 hours ago, TLC said:

Likewise, I don't find much reason to believe in some sort of eternal torment, as fire eventually consumes whatever is fueling it.  However, I do read that at, or after, the end (i.e., the great white throne judgement), those that are not saved or "whosoever is not written in the book of life" are cast into the lake of fire.

What do you suppose that means, Mark?

I do not have time to write an article now on the “lake of fire”. However, I can give some brief information with the help of my biblical study software. The only usages of the phrase “lake of fire” using the same Greek words are at the end of the often symbolic and figurative book of Revelation. These verses are Revelation 19:20 (one usage), Revelation 20:10 (one usage) and Relevation 20:14-15 (three usages). The context of these verses is the judgement of mankind. The outcome of this judgement is not stated in these verses. The word “lake” was not seen in a negative manner. Instead it was seen with positive imagery. As an example, the “sea of Galilee” was a fresh water lake fed by the Jordan River, which was closely connected to the ministry of Jesus Christ. A fishing industry thrived on the “sea of Galilee”. Jesus called his first disciples Peter, Andrew James and John from that industry. On and around the “sea of Galilee” Jesus performed 18 of His 33 recorded miracles and issued most of teachings to His disciples and the multitudes that followed him. 

The Greek word "fire" is sometimes only thought of negatively. In reality this word for fire is the Greek word, “puros”. This is the Greek word that we get our English words “purify” and “purification”.  In the first century before electrical power was invented and generated to use for lamps and light bulbs to help see. One of the things that fire was used for was to see at night and for warmth at night. Here are some of the other usages of this same Greek word “puros”, translated to English in the New Testament as “fire”.  

Luke 3:16
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire (puros):
KJV

Acts 2:3-4
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire (puros), and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
KJV

1 Cor 3:13-15
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire (puros); and the fire (puros) shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (puros).
KJV

 

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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10 hours ago, Twinky said:

Sounds fine to me.  There is so much mythology, not just Greek or Roman mythology, that has become entangled with Christianity; not just about heaven and hell (whatever they may actually be), but those are what we might call biggies or eternal, long-term, questions. The RC church chose to take old myths and channel or direct them into their own PoV - after all, it was a useful way to control people.

The idea of a loving God consigning human beings (souls? spirits? that's a whole nuther debate) to eternal torment doesn't fit well with a loving God that wants people to love Him for who he is, and that wants people to repent of evil ways.  It does fit well with a tyrant who bullies people into doing his will.  

As Hamlet's last words say: "The rest [grave] is silence."  And this, from a man who was deceived by a spirit impersonating his father, in the beginning of the play, setting in motion the tragic events that followed.  (Yeah, I know Hamlet is a work of fiction.)

Thank you for your comments Twinky. As a reward to me, may I pet your cats? Also hopefully your cats will get along with the dogs that are sometimes around me. A loving union of mankind with the future return of Jesus Christ. While also a union of dogs with cats. Yea!

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1 hour ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

I do not have time to write an article now on the “lake of fire”. However, I can give some brief information with the help of my biblical study software. The only usages of the phrase “lake of fire” using the same Greek words are at the end of the often symbolic and figurative book of Revelation. These verses are Revelation 19:20 (one usage), Revelation 20:10 (one usage) and Relevation 20:14-15 (three usages). The context of these verses is the judgement of mankind. The outcome of this judgement is not stated in these verses. The word “lake” was not seen in a negative manner. Instead it was seen with positive imagery. As an example, the “sea of Galilee” was a fresh water lake fed by the Jordan River, which was closely connected to the ministry of Jesus Christ. A fishing industry thrived on the “sea of Galilee”. Jesus called his first disciples Peter, Andrew James and John from that industry. On and around the “sea of Galilee” Jesus performed 18 of His 33 recorded miracles and issued most of teachings to His disciples and the multitudes that followed him. 

The Greek word "fire" is sometimes only thought of negatively. In reality this word for fire is the Greek word, “puros”. This is the Greek word that we get our English words “purify” and “purification”.  In the first century before electrical power was invented and generated to use for lamps and light bulbs to help see. One of the things that fire was used for was to see at night and for warmth at night. Here are some of the other usages of this same Greek word “puros”, translated to English in the New Testament as “fire”.  

Luke 3:16
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire (puros):
KJV

Acts 2:3-4
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire (puros), and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
KJV

1 Cor 3:13-15
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire (puros); and the fire (puros) shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire (puros).
KJV

 

So, you've said absolutely nothing about what you believe, or that makes any sense whatsoever.

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2 hours ago, TLC said:

So, you've said absolutely nothing about what you believe, or that makes any sense whatsoever.

It sounds like you do not want to read my post. Perhaps you are here only to argue. Do at least the usages of the Greek words lake and fire make any sense to you? Obviously, the phrase "Lake of Fire" relates to the word "Lake" and the word "Fire". Many people think that this results in the eternal torment of most of mankind?  In contrast I see the "Lake of Fire" at least having a goal of the purification of man's sin nature. And this is through the Lord Jesus Christ who even prayed to God right before he was murdered for no crime committed. He asked God to even forgive those people. Should a person that during his lifetime was never even introduced to Jesus Christ and did not know that he even existed. Yet the person did not start any wars and never murdered anyone, nor stole from anyone. The "Lake of Fire" as eternal torment could mean that  person also would receive eternal torment. 

Quote

 Luke 23:32-34

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

 

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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21 minutes ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

Many people think that this results in the eternal torment of most of mankind?

Well, so happens that I don't.

22 minutes ago, Mark Sanguinetti said:

In contrast I see the "Lake of Fire" at least having a goal of the purification of man's sin nature.

But neither do I agree with that.  However, allow me to ask this of you... If you suppose that it can or will purify man's sin nature, do you likewise suppose that it can or will purify the devil? If not, why not?

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As a follow up to that last question, what does the destruction of a soul mean to you?

Or what do you make of the destruction of "brute beasts" spoken of in 2Peter 2:!2?  Do they "utterly perish," or not?  

Edited by TLC

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Interesting article in Wikipedia about Lake of Fire.  Not that Wikipedia is authoritative, but it does bring together some interesting ideas, not least about the Egyptian Book of the Dead.  I wonder how that imagery might have crept into the thinking of the tribes of Israel after the long captivity there, in much the same way as ancient Greek and Roman mythology has crept into the Christian church?

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http://www.christian-universalism.info/myth-of-hell-pg5.html

The question of TLC regarding the devil has already been addressed on this page. 

Quote

In Revelation 20:10, the deceiving devil will be thrown “into the lake of fire (puros)”. This will be the devil along with the demons under his rulership. There they will experience torment. However, God the creator will not need to do this. The thieving devil with demons will instead be able to torture each other. And since according to John 10:10, “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy”. In the future when they are thrown into the lake of fire they could steal from, kill and destroy each other. As long as they have this attitude this is what they will want to do. Also as seen in 2 Peter 2:4 which is quoted on the next page, the demons can be bound by chains of darkness so that they cannot see to deceive humans. Then they would be blinded so that they would instead torture each other. However, this Greek word “puros” is even used for their future location. Will God the creator be able to get even them to change????? I do not know. It would certainly take a long time. However, God did originally create all angels. With their original creation they were perfect and holy. However, before God created the world some of the angels rebelled, sinned and became evil. For this information see Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekial 28:11-19. Later with the writings of the New Testament and a few Old Testament scriptures they are called demons or devils. For the New Testament usage of devils or demons this is the Greek word “daimonion” using Strong’s #1140

 

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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All the successful religions have BIG time punishments for 1) Not accepting the religion and 2) leaving the religion. Hell gets used a lot..

jesus.jpg

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that's a good one Sudo,

it's always "look how great this is" then comes the enslaving fear narcissistic based doctrines

and some kind of "future" event that is supposed to scare us into doing things

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Aaaaaaaand Sudo's back.

Ooh, and he's armed. Wait, lemme grab the popcorn...

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1 hour ago, Raf said:

Aaaaaaaand Sudo's back.

Ooh, and he's armed. Wait, lemme grab the popcorn...

I thought the expression was "hold my beer." LOL And I agree with cman, that IS a good one, Sudo. 

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On 10/13/2018 at 10:08 PM, Mark Sanguinetti said:

The Myth of Hell 
by Mark Sanguinetti 

Page 2

There should be no reason to learn from Greek and then Roman mythology. And for a warning, the God of this world, Satan, who is a spiritual entity, is very good at deception and promoting myths of falsity. The first and primary example of this is seen in Genesis chapter 3:1-6. Here Satan the spiritual being is symbolically referred to as a serpent, which is a crawling reptile or snake. In Genesis 2:16-17 after creating the world including agriculture, animals and mankind God told Adam that he was “free to eat from any tree in the garden”. However, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die”. This commandment by God was given as a test to Adam of his obedience to God the creator with proof that Adam was dependent of or needing God the creator. [...]

 

There is no reason to promote ancient Greek or Roman mythology as the truthful word of God for either the Old or New Testaments.

The expression, " there should be no reason to learn from Greek and then Roman mythology..." is a statement (claim) that you made, Mark, without making an argument to even begin to explain to your readers why that should be the case.

Further, you then proceed to approach your apparent thesis (The Myth of Hell) solely from the angle that the only thing necessary to understand the concept at all is to study certain words in original bible languages.

I disagree.

To understand the Myth of Hell, much more background, first and foremost cultural anthropology must be considered. IOW, where did the notion begin and in which cultures and societies. My hunch is it didn't begin with the Hebrew/Israelite people. 

Additionally, some people who take a critical thinking approach to the concept (symbolized in the image Sudo posted earlier) suggest the entire idea is all about social control by way of religion.

My understanding is that a myth is a (not necessarily false) story. Genesis contains the Judeo-Christian origin myth.

As noted scholar of Jewish studies, Jon D. Levenson, puts it:

How much history lies behind the story of Genesis? Because the action of the primeval story is not represented as taking place on the plane of ordinary human history and has so many affinities with ancient mythology, it is very far-fetched to speak of its narratives as historical at all.

 

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The expression, " there should be no reason to learn from Greek and then Roman mythology..." is a statement (claim) that you made, Mark, without making an argument to even begin to explain to your readers why that should be the case.

Rocky, why are you considering learning from Greek and Roman mythology? Does this now add to your view of God and Jesus Christ? Or would you rather learn about Jesus Christ by reading the bible? Before your negative comments have you actually read the article? The article is more than only one page or only one paragraph. My article also covers the most negative worship perhaps in the entire bible. This was the worship of the pagan God Molech that resulted in the murder of children. This is seen in the Old Testament on page 4 of the article. Rocky, the myth of hell did not begin with the ancient nation of Israel according to the entire worded Old Testament as seen in the often read New International Version. There are no usages of the word hell in the entire Old Testament as translated into the NIV. Instead since the Koine Greek language was used for at least most of the original writings of the New Testament, the Greek word Hades was used. This is one of the three Greek words that is translated as hell in the New Testament and the Greek word with the most usages of hell. If you don't want to learn about Hades from me and the article, you can do a simple top of 1st page Google search.  Here it is.

Quote

Hades was the god of the underworld and the name eventually came to also describe the home of the dead as well. He was the oldest male child of Cronus and Rhea. Hades and his brothers Zeus and Poseidon defeated their father and the Titans to end their reign, claiming rulership over the cosmos.

http://christian-universalism.info/myth-of-hell-pg1.html

Regarding Sudo's graphic image. I find it interesting and a good example of religious denominations threatening their followers by saying that if you leave our denomination or join another conflicting doctrinal denomination, it looks like you will be going to hell after you die. I just giggled instead of getting scared. 

Also Rocky, I do not promote the first few chapters of the book of Genesis as being historical. Instead to me it shows spiritual truth.  And as you quoted from my post "...in Genesis chapter 3:1-6. Here Satan the spiritual being is symbolically referred to as a serpent". And doing another Google search, symbolically means: "purely in terms of what is being represented or implied." And in the next paragraph of my commentary of the first chapters of the book of Genesis, I write, "Figurative language is used". Figurative language goes beyond the literal meaning of the words to give readers new insights. And the graphic image that Sudo posted is a very good example of figurative imagery. 

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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The fire of hell, and the fire of love, same fire I think.

I do applaud your effort Mark. It could be the myths, plural, of hell.

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7 hours ago, cman said:

The fire of hell, and the fire of love, same fire I think.

I do applaud your effort Mark. It could be the myths, plural, of hell.

Hi Cman: Thank you for reminding me that I am a workaholic. I did change the article name on my web site from the Myth of Hell to the new article name: The Myths of Hell. Yes, I sometimes make mistakes and need to edit, while I sometimes massage my head. Hopefully at least that was not a major mistake At least I hope. One thing though, I do not see how I can edit to change the name for this forum topic.

Edited by Mark Sanguinetti

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