2 Thessalonians 1.8 observes, with flaming fire He will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
The next verse says that God will then send to eternal punishment all of these same people. In a word Christianity defines this place of eternal separation from God and eternal suffering as hell. Hell is no longer an accepted place among people.
It is disbelieved by many who conversely believe in God and in heaven. This is amazing but not surprising in an era when people deny and seek to remove negative consequences for their choices. Hell is that place where all those who have chosen to reject God and His ways will have their eternal way; they will be without God forever since they want nothing to do with Him currently.
This is true of people and angels. Just as this earth is full of people and angels, just as heaven will be full of people and angels, so too hell will have both people and angels among it’s constituency. Why is God considered the bad guy in this scenario? People everyday make choices that are destructive to themselves and others.
Hell is that place of perpetual suffering because God is no longer present with His love, grace and mercy. This is why earth contains both bad and good regardless whether people acknowledge God or not. God is still here and daily provides His general grace, mercy and love to the world. Because this is true, good things happen to both the evil and the good. Because people still make bad choices here bad things still happen here to both the evil and the good.
In heaven there will be no rebels against the will of God and therefore bad choices creating bad consequences wont exist. In hell where God will no longer provide an element of His grace only suffering and misery will exist. The fundamental issue people have today is their unwillingness to suffer the consequences of their poor choices.
This desire to keep from having to pay the penalty for our rebellion against God wont keep God from enforcing His penalty. Do we really think God will change His mind when we tell Him our displeasure with His ways? God determines the rules of the game. We either play by those rules and win or refuse to play and lose but we will all meet God and we will all be held accountable to God for our obedience to His commands.
Fortunately His commands are not burdensome because He is humble and gentle among us. And what is His command? That we believe in the One God has sent. This belief in Jesus means our absolute surrender to His Lordship and recognition of our absolute dependence upon Him for obtaining God’s pardon to live with Him forever in heaven.
Not complicated. Not hard. Just humbling that we need a Savior to get into heaven. The choice is ours but so is the consequence of that choice.