Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany has become the 20th Century icon for hell. Intelligent, educated people in a scientific age perpetrated horrible atrocities upon their fellow humans. It was a slice of hell. The concentration camps. The death squads. The gas chamber showers. The sweet smoke of the ovens. The mass graves.
Horror, nightmare, monstrous evil. Hell! It stalks us. It breaks out again and again. Libya, Sudan, Palestine, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria; terrorism, genocide, murder, rape, preying on the innocent to make a political statement, like the attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Like the silent screams of the dying infants in countless abortion clinics.
Let’s quit pretending. Hell is already here. It’s in us. We create it with our choices. All God has to do is place those who reject His Kingdom in a sealed location and the reality of hell will inevitably arrive. Selfishness generates pain the way the HIV virus generates the breakdown of the immune system. When injured people take their rage and revenge out on others, it always causes pain. The Palestinian and ISIS suicide bombers may have suffered personal losses, but so have billions of others around the world. The reality is that these fanatical young people have been groomed by their leaders. Their adolescent minds have been callously programmed with hate and revenge so that they could be deployed as the ultimate “smart bombs.” As a people group they see their “sacrifice” as necessary, even inevitable. The logic of terrorism and the logic of hell are close companions.
Galatians 5 lists different categories of behavior within the “acts of the sinful nature.” There is raunchy self-indulgence, demonic spirituality, and the abuse of addictive drugs. But right in the middle of this list is the smoke and flame of hell.
Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy.
The coals of eternal fire smolder, right in our hearts! We’ve already seen in Romans 1 that the wrath of God shows itself as the release to act out the desires of the sinful nature. Hell then is profoundly logical. Our out-from-under-God choices start the fires and then fan the flames.