The Resurrection of Christ is the central theme of Christianity. Without this miracle, the Christin faith is merely another human invention to understand the divine. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and because of this, Christians are able to proclaim Christ’s Divinity. Through the Resurrection, the Son’s sacrifice is accepted by the Father and through the Resurrection, all are reminded that their temporal bodies will one day rise too.
This video analyzes the theology behind the Resurrection and defends it against various criticisms and challenges from non believers.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals looking to earn a four year certification in Christian Counseling.
Christianity focuses on the death of Christ as a focal point to redemption. Christ is sacrificed for the sins of the world. The ugliness of sin is witnessed in this death. The Stations of the Cross capture the ugliness of sin in the horrendous suffering of Christ. The Stations are widely seen as a Catholic tradition but in reality are a cherished meditation for all of Christianity if all Christians take the time to walk with Christ and this journey.
It originated in the early centuries in the Holy Land and was brought West by St Francis of Assisi. Some of the stations have direct biblical reference while others are implied from Scripture. During Lent, consider walking the journey to Calvary with Christ through this powerful prayer and meditation. Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification as well as AIHCP’s Christian Grief Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The programs are online and independent study and open to qualified professionals.
The Rosary has always been connected to Catholicism but it is far than a mere Catholic prayer if one looks deeper at its origin. The prayers and meditations are Scripturally based and open the mind to meditate on the life of Christ. It its essence, it is a very Christian prayer that many non-Catholics can adopt and adjust to their own traditions.
Many ideas of Marian worship which are false prevent many from exploring the power and beauty of this prayer. The video below looks at the meditations and prayers of the Rosary and how they have many Scriptural themes.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Christian Counselor.
Christian Counseling is based off Biblical teachings and morals. In fact, the word Biblical Counseling is many times used with the term Christian Counseling as the same word. Individuals who utilize the Bible then must have a strong understanding of it. Study, education and faith are all required in properly utilizing Scripture in helping others. Hermeneutics looks at ways the Church has always interpreted Scripture and its passages. It looks to properly define and understand a particular teaching. Furthermore Scriptural literal criticisms help the student of Scripture understand the language and context and history of the text itself.
When studying Scripture, one must understand while written by men across the centuries it is still one masterful work by the Holy Spirit. In this a proper understanding of themes that are interwoven throughout the whole must be comprehended and believed while also acknowledging the human element at work. This is why the use of Scripture can be misused by others when not properly trained in theology and history of the Bible. Christian Counselors and Biblical Counselors hence must have a strong study of the Bible.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals who wish to utilize the Bible in counseling.
Many Christians lose their faith because of scandal and abuse in the Church. Those of high standing and public view hold a far greater responsibility before Christ to live by a code of good moral conduct. Hierarchy, pastors, priests, leaders and counselors need to represent the best the faith has to offer but unfortunately on many occasions, they fail to display those standards. As human beings, anyone is subject to error, mistakes and sin, and one cannot judge others short comings but when the face of the faith is on display, these individuals should be examples of virtue not vice.
The Church as the Bride of Christ can be seen in two ways. From a spiritual sense and metaphorical sense, the Church is perfect. The Church is inspired and fueled by the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is protected and guaranteed through the words of Christ that the “gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”. Yet, it is also a Church that exists on Earth. The Church Militant on Earth is comprised of sinners and imperfect beings. The Church on Earth is comprised of sinners for sinners. It is a society of saints and sinners and everything else in between.
Some of the worst human beings bore the name Christian at one time, while some of most saintly persons professed the faith with equal vigor and love for Christ. Yet the Church at times fails throughout history. It always finds a way, through the Holy Spirit, to find reform, but it shows the reality of human beings and the temporal world. Satan looks to destroy the Church from without but finds special delight in corrupting it from within in his attempt to capture souls.
Divine and Human Institution on Earth
It is important to realize that the Church is founded by Christ. It is energized and fueled by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Its foundation is the blood of Christ. In this, it is Divine. Although, it always exists as the Church Triumphant in Heaven, it also exists albeit imperfectly as the Church Militant. The word militant is fitting. On Earth, the Church is an constant war with the evil one for souls. The Church as the face of Christ on Earth, looks to bring truth and the Gospel to nations, but within this war, Satan looks to destroy and corrupt it. He can never truly corrupt the faith itself, but he can distort it and corrupt individuals who profess it but ultimately, he can never prevail.
The Church as a human institution on Earth consists of the baptized who become part of the Mystical Body of Christ. As a human institution, it possesses human qualities. The Church possess a human organization of things. It is structured to deal with human issues in a fallen world. It is made of imperfect people trying their best to preach the Gospel. In this as a human institution, people can make mistakes. Individuals can disagree, splinter and divide. Through Satan’s cunning, the Church itself is divided into Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant pathways. The Great Schism between East and West and the Protestant Reformation are all glaring examples of the human side of the Church. It shows the division and hate that can be utilized between brothers and sisters of Christ.
The history of the Church Militant is beyond mere grievances but also horrible atrocities and corruptions. Many evil church leaders used the Church and Faith as a way to galvanize the people against others. Horrible crimes against Jews spread throughout Europe since the Middle Ages. Others through the Inquisition, executed heretics or other Christians who viewed aspects of the faith differently. Witch hunts in Europe and America sought the death of so many women. In times of war, the image of Christian nationalism was invoked. Propaganda through Christ to commit the most un-Christlike crimes were authorized in the Wars of Religion which scarred Europe between Catholics and Protestants. In all probability, like the Pharisees before them, these type of “Christians” would have also crucified Christ if He spoke against them.
Beyond atrocities, corruption within the institution of the Church have also been rampant throughout history. Religious offices for sale, or religious leaders fighting for power and wealth within a religious institution have occurred throughout history. The Papacy during the Dark Ages and Renaissance Periods was one of the most corrupt offices in Europe. The Popes of his era behaved more like princes and war lords resorting to killing and bribing for office. Many scandals involved mistresses and various worldly pleasures over the austere life and love of the poor demanded by Peter and his successors. One can still witness today these scandals within the Church but also so-called Mega-Churches where “men of God” are later found to funnel money or have side mistresses at their call.
The most grievous offense is seen today as well with the corruption of the priesthood in the Catholic Church. In the Latin and Western Church, this offense spread through the seminaries and led to various pedophile priests preying upon children. To make matters worst, Bishops downplayed or hid these corruptions for fear of marring the image of the Church and their power and office. Bearing in mind that the percentage of bad to good priest was nonetheless low, the damage still was in the thousands to numerous young children forever traumatized by these evil men posing as pastors. Again, the most unforgivable element was the cover up and fear of loss of power, prestige and money over the care of souls.
Role of Heresy
Satan also looks to corrupt the human side of the Church through corruption of doctrine. Many “isms’ counter to the teachings of Christ, claiming to be Christian, have emerged from within Christian communities. Many heresies have dealt with the nature of Jesus Christ as both God and man. Other heresies deal with other doctrinal issues that deviate from Scripture, Church Councils, or teachings from the Apostle’s Creed.
While free will is essential, corruption of the soul through false teaching is a dangerous death to the soul. It is important to proclaim the true Gospel of Christ and warn others of false and untrue teachings. Unfortunately, throughout the history of the Church, individuals have been cruelly tortured and executed over the matter of heresy. Satan was able to corrupt even the defense of truth to violate human rights. This is an extreme that can never be taken. In defense of truth, Christians are called to correct others without judgement and hate but only with love and compassion. The moment forceful conversion and change is exhibited upon another human being, one commits an even greater sin that any heresy can hope to become.
The Inquisition and Wars of Religion all showed the dark side of justified opinion of truth. In defending Christ, Church authorities become the most un-Christlike. It is hence important to live a truthful life to the doctrine of Christ but also a respectful life of the views of others. Christian charity demands defense of the truth but in such a gentle way it is seen as love and exhibited more through good example.
Reactions to Corruption
Christian Counselors will see many individual reactions to this type of corruption within the Church. Many victims of abuse especially will have anger and hate in their hearts. This type of scandal destroys faith and turns many away from the Church. This scandal is a great scar on the Church and Christ will certainly proclaim justice over the evil, but in the meantime, the faithful and laity face uncertain times. Many suspect leadership, others abandon services or Mass, others utterly walk away from the institution.
The biggest problem is many associate the sins of humanity within the Church with the Faith itself. Those who proclaim the Gospel but are hypocrites turn many away from the Faith to other religions or secular life styles. For some it may be an excuse to exercise religious laxity, but for others, who are truly mortified by the corruption, or traumatized personally, the choice to move on from the Faith is a painful and personal choice. These individuals lose faith in Christ or any moral teachings. This type of ad hominem view where one hates not only the messenger but also the message is a large problem in the modern Church. Repairing these breaks will take generations.
There is yet another reaction to the corruption. Instead of rejecting the faith, one seeks to reform it. The seed of faith within the individual is so strong that the love of Christ and His message can never be stolen. Instead of hating the message, these individuals look to punish the wicked. Many work for reform within the Church and found organizations that watch those in power. This is nothing new. Throughout the history of the Church, reforms and counter reforms have occurred. The grace of the Holy Spirit encourages saints of the time to rise up against the evil within the Church. Numerous religious orders and movements have existed within the Church which have turned against the corruption. Orders have revitalized spirituality within the world through their example and preaching. Individual reformers from the local level to the global level throughout the history of the Church have also risen to reform institutions. Great councils of the Church have been called and reformed evil practices and corrected false ideas.
Church leaders need to address corruption within the faith, whether thousands of years ago or yesterday. One should not deify the Church or condemn the Faith, but one cannot put one’s head into the sand and ignore historical realities. In understanding that many evil individuals have sabotaged the Church in the past, then only then can one find ways to prevent future sabotage. Good Christians should never allow the face of Christ to become nationalized, or used for secular propaganda and should hold individuals accountable for their crimes and sacrilege.
It is hence important for Church leaders to apologize for past errors and offer reparations for these sins. The hierarchy needs to realize that while its purpose is to teach it can also learn from the laity. While the ministers teach and lead, they must also acknowledge their own weaknesses and seek mutual guidance when in doubt. While authority is God given by Christ, one must be accountable for that authority. Hence Church leaders must acknowledge short comings, expose corruption and hold themselves accountable to God and their flock. In lieu of Christ, the Good Shepard, the ministers, priests and bishops hold a high standard to Him. It is a fearful position to hold and they should recognize this grave responsibility in correlation with their own salvation.
Christian Counselors can help others through this abuse and corruption by explaining that the Church is both human and divine and laying down the differences in these two paradigms. Christian Counselors can also help others find justice and healing of trauma. Counselors need to address trauma, condemn the action and individuals but also re-direct the justified anger to the corrupters not the message of the Faith itself. Those who corrupt the faith cause so much scandal and pain, but one cannot allow them to also steal one’s treasured faith. Instead, one should fight for their faith and like a reforming saint proclaim the Gospel and expose the wolves in sheep’s clothing.
The Church is both human and divine. On Earth it is open to corruption and has been corrupted numerous occasions but Christ foretold that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. Individuals can reject the faith due to the hypocrisy of others or fight for its purity.
Every person within the Church has a particular talent and it is up to that individual to best serve the Church. Allowing human corruption to destroy one’s faith and turn one against it is ingenious way Satan steals souls. It is hence important to hold to one’s faith, to fight corruption within the Church, and to spread the Gospel of Christ.
If you would like to learn more about Christian Counseling and helping others through trauma, then please review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification as a Christian Counselor.
“Medieval Church Corruption”. June 6th, 2017. World History. Access here
“How Can We Help Victims of Clergy Abuse?”. Romeo Vitell, PhD. February 27th, 2019. Psychology Today. Access here
“Popes Behaving Badly: 8 Dreadful Papal Scandals From the Middle Ages”. Stephanie Schoppert. March 26, 2017. History Collection. Access here
“When Religion Promotes Violence”. Andy Tix, Ph.D. January 31st, 2018. Psychology Today. Access here
“Top 10 Heresies in the History of Christianity”. J. Patrick Hornbeck II. October 24th, 2011. Fordham News. Access here
Fooling the world into thinking he did not exist is the Devil’s greatest triumph. Many individuals deny the existence of Satan and Hell. Through this denial, individuals play through life without fear of consequence or offending God. It is important to understand Hell exists and one sends oneself to Hell through a life of self love and immoral behavior. It is not some scary bed time story but a dire warning from Heaven from a God who loves us.
The video on the Reality of Hell reviews the theological aspect of Hell from Christian tradition stemming from Scripture and Tradition. The video also discusses what Hell is, the torments one could possibly expect and how to avoid Hell.
Christian Counselors can help individuals live better moral lives and avoid Hell.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.
Unlock Your Potential Through Christian Counseling: A Guide to Spiritual Growth!
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Christian counseling is a type of counseling that combines psychological and spiritual approaches to help people navigate the challenges of life and their spiritual journey. It is a specialized form of counseling that uses Christian teachings and terminology to help people make sense of their struggles and find healing and inner peace.
Introduction to Christian Counseling
Christian counseling is a type of counseling that combines psychological and spiritual approaches to help people navigate the challenges of life and their spiritual journey. It is an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to address the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—in order to promote healing and personal growth.
Christian counseling is based on the belief that the Bible is the source of God’s truth and that it is the ultimate guide for living a life of faith. Christian counselors use the Bible and its teachings to help individuals understand their struggles and seek out the path to healing. The goal of Christian counseling is to promote spiritual growth and emotional well-being.
Christian counseling may be used to address a wide range of issues, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, grief, relationships, and more. It can also be used as a tool to help individuals gain a better understanding of themselves and their faith. It is an effective form of therapy for those who are seeking spiritual growth and healing.
What is Faithful Counseling?
Faithful counseling is a form of Christian counseling that is based on Biblical principles and teachings. It is rooted in the belief that the Bible is the source of God’s truth and that it is the ultimate guide for living a life of faith. Faithful counselors use the Bible and its teachings to help individuals understand their struggles and seek out the path to healing. The goal of faithful counseling is to promote spiritual growth and emotional well-being.
Faithful counselors focus on helping individuals gain a deeper understanding of their faith and how it impacts their lives. They use scripture and Biblical principles to help individuals make sense of their struggles and find healing. They may also incorporate prayer and spiritual exercises into their sessions in order to help individuals connect with God in a deeper way.
Benefits of Christian Counseling
Christian counseling can be beneficial for individuals who are struggling with mental health issues, addiction, grief, and more. It can also be beneficial for individuals who are seeking spiritual growth and healing. Here are some of the benefits of Christian counseling:
It can help individuals navigate difficult circumstances and make sense of their struggles.
It can help individuals gain a better understanding of their faith and how it impacts their lives.
It can provide a safe and supportive environment to process emotions.
It can help individuals develop healthy coping skills and strategies.
It can provide individuals with spiritual guidance and direction.
It can help individuals find healing and inner peace.
How to Find the Right Christian Counselor
Finding the right Christian counselor is an important step in the process of Christian counseling. It is important to find someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in the field of Christian counseling, as well as someone who is a good fit for you personally. Here are some tips for finding the right Christian counselor:
Do your research: Research different Christian counseling centers and counselors to find one that is right for you.
Ask questions: Ask questions about their approach, experience, and qualifications.
Get referrals: Ask trusted friends and family for referrals to Christian counselors who they have had good experiences with.
Schedule a consultation: Schedule an initial consultation with a Christian counselor to get a better understanding of their approach and to see if it is a good fit for you.
How to Prepare for Christian Counseling
Preparing for Christian counseling is an important step in the process. It is important to be prepared and to take the time to think about your goals for counseling and what you hope to gain from it. Here are some tips for preparing for Christian counseling:
Be honest: Be honest with yourself and with your counselor about your struggles and goals.
Set goals: Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and your counseling sessions.
Do your homework: Do any homework assigned by your counselor, such as reading scripture or writing in a journal.
Bring a Bible: Bring a Bible to your counseling sessions so that you can read and discuss passages together.
Pray: Pray and ask for God’s guidance before, during, and after your counseling sessions.
What to Expect from Christian Counseling
Christian counseling is an individualized approach that takes into account your unique needs and circumstances. Each session is tailored to the individual, so you can expect a different experience each time. Here are some things to expect from Christian counseling:
Scripture: Your counselor may use scripture to help you understand your struggles and gain insight into your faith.
Prayer: Your counselor may incorporate prayer into your sessions to help you connect with God in a deeper way.
Confidentiality: Your sessions are confidential and your counselor will not share any information with anyone else.
Professionalism: Your counselor will be professional and respectful of your beliefs.
Support: Your counselor will provide a safe and supportive environment to help you process your emotions.
Biblical Counseling Techniques
Biblical counseling is a form of Christian counseling that seeks to address the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—in order to promote healing and personal growth. Biblical counselors use a variety of techniques to help individuals make sense of their struggles and find healing. Here are some of the techniques that are commonly used in biblical counseling:
Scripture study: Bible study is used to help individuals gain insight into their struggles and faith.
Prayer: Prayer is used to help individuals strengthen their relationship with God.
Reflection: Reflection is used to help individuals gain an understanding of their thoughts and feelings.
Listening: Listening is used to help individuals process their emotions and gain insight.
Guidance: Guidance is used to help individuals make sense of their struggles and find healing.
Christian Counseling Resources
Christian counseling is a specialized form of counseling that requires a trained and experienced counselor. Here are some resources to help you find a Christian counselor:
Christian Counseling Centers: Look for local Christian counseling centers in your area.
Online Directories: Look for online directories that list Christian counselors in your area.
Referrals: Ask trusted friends and family for referrals to Christian counselors.
Professional Organizations: Look for professional organizations that specialize in Christian counseling.
How to Make the Most of Your Christian Counseling Experience
Christian counseling is an individualized approach that takes into account your unique needs and circumstances. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Christian counseling experience:
Be honest: Be honest with yourself and your counselor about your struggles and goals.
Set goals: Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and your counseling sessions.
Do your homework: Do any homework assigned by your counselor, such as reading scripture or writing in a journal.
Come prepared: Come prepared to your counseling sessions with any questions or concerns that you may have.
Follow through: Follow through on any suggestions or recommendations made by your counselor.
Christian counseling is an effective form of therapy that combines psychological and spiritual approaches to help individuals navigate the challenges of life and their spiritual journey. It is a specialized form of counseling that uses Christian teachings and terminology to help individuals make sense of their struggles and find healing and inner peace.
Christian counseling can be beneficial for individuals seeking spiritual growth and emotional well-being. It is important to find the right Christian counselor who is knowledgeable and experienced in the field of Christian counseling, as well as someone who is a good fit for you personally. It is also important to prepare for and make the most of your Christian counseling experience.
If you’re looking for spiritual growth and healing, Christian counseling may be the right choice for you. Take the time to explore your options and find the right Christian counselor for you. With the right counseling and spiritual guidance, you can unlock your potential and find the healing and inner peace you’re looking for.
AIHCP offers a program for qualified professionals in ministry, counseling and academia looking a four year certification in Christian Counseling. The program is online and independent study and offers the basic important topics to confidentially help others from a Christian and Biblical view. If qualified, please review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals
“The Nature of Biblical Counseling”. Dr. Dale Johnson and Dr. Samuel Stephens. July 20th, 2020. Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Access here
“The Need and Imperative of Self-Counsel”. Kevin Carson. January 3rd, 2020. Biblical Counseling Coalition. Access here
“Four Purposes of Scripture When Counseling Others”. Brady Goodwin. July 12th, 2019. Biblical Counseling Coalition. Access here
“Biblical Counseling and a Theology of Scripture”. David Murray. April 8th, 2016. HeadHeartHand. Access here
Many Christians can face a crisis of faith. It is bound to happen sometime in life. Traumatic events or deaths can all shake one’s life and push to one to ask existential questions. In fact, even evil as a force in the world can sometimes create questions in one’s mind. “Where is God?” or “Why is God doing this?” can all emerge.
In spiritual life itself, one can enter into arid moments where the relationship with God is not as fresh or easy. Desolation can occur where the soul feels left behind and abandoned. Working through this is critical in spiritual life. A strong foundation will hold any storm. So it is important to validate one’ s feelings and then diagnose them. Through emotional and intellectual reflection, but most importantly unceasing prayer, one can find some hope.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification.
Hell is one of the most feared and dramatized places discussed in human history. It teases the imagination, terrifies the soul and entertains the thrill seeker. It is seen by some as a metaphysical reality while to others a mythical place. It serves as a source of conformity for others but also a deterrent to many others. It is described in countless accounts in literature creating a place that may sometimes be more fantastical and mythical than plausible and real. Through all of these feelings and interpretations, one thing can be known, it is real and that is terrifying enough.
Ideas of Hell as a physical place have existed in humanity’s imagination for centuries. The attempt to understand a metaphysical reality in human terms. These attempts are equally as difficult as to explain Heaven. The human mind cannot comprehend the darkness and putrid evil of such a place but it attempts to do so with illustrations and comparisons to the most horrid deeds of Earth. From these depictions, humanity has created numerous visions of Hell, through Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost to even ancient Greek mythologies of Hades.
Scripture and Tradition on Hell
Scripture too paints a physical description of Hell. Like many other texts, Scripture prompts one to the image of fire and brimstone. This appears to be one of the chief characteristics of Hell found throughout Scripture and all of its books both in the Old and New Testament. In the book of Mark, the evangelist states, “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43)”. Matthew points out regarding the wicked, that they will be thrown into And thrown “fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42)”. Revelation 20:13-15 proclaims “And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
The early Christian Church Fathers also held a concrete idea of Hell as a place of torment for the wicked. Again, the characteristic of fire is a main theme. In his Letter to the Ephesians, St. Ignatius of Antioch declares, “Corrupters of families will not inherit the kingdom of God. And if they who do these things according to the flesh suffer death, how much more if a man corrupt by evil teaching the faith of God for the sake of which Jesus Christ was crucified? A man become so foul will depart into unquenchable fire: and so will anyone who listens to him.”
In Second Clement, St Clement warns that “If we do the will of Christ, we shall obtain rest; but if not, if we neglect his commandments, nothing will rescue us from eternal punishment”. St. Irenaeus also warns in his work, “Against Heresies” that “[God will] send the spiritual forces of wickedness, and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, and the impious, unjust, lawless, and blasphemous among men into everlasting fire” In his “Catechetical Lectures”, St Cyril of Jerusalem remarks, “We shall be raised therefore, all with our bodies eternal, but not all with bodies alike: for if a man is righteous, he will receive a heavenly body, that he may be able worthily to hold converse with angels; but if a man is a sinner, he shall receive an eternal body, fitted to endure the penalties of sins, that he may burn eternally in fire, nor ever be consumed.
The idea of Hell pre-dated Christian concepts in Scripture as well. The idea of the second death and the place for the cursed is clearly indicated before the coming of Christ. Deuteronomy 32:22 states, “For a fire is kindled by my anger, and it burns to the depths of Sheol, devours the earth and its increase, and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.”. Sheol is the Jewish word describing Hell and this term is referenced throughout the Old Testament. Isaiah declares, “But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit”. Psalm 116;3 cries, “The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish”. Job laments, “It is higher than heaven—what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know (Job: 11:8)”.
From this small sample source of numerous writings in Scripture and the Early Church, one can come to some basic conclusions about Hell. First, Hell is eternal and forever. It is the second death for the wicked. It consumes individuals in darkness, gnashing of teeth, despair and fire. One enters into Hell by rejecting the gift of Christ of eternal life, by rejecting His commandments and choosing wickedness. It is place for murderers, immoral souls, blasphemers and those who choose the “beast”.
In one’s attempt to understand Hell, writers over the centuries have attempted to describe it. Many times these descriptions are based upon humanity’s greatest fears and torments, but all ideas point towards an intense picture of fire. Fire seems to be the central concept of Hell. There is also an idea that many are sent to Hell and that within Hell there is an order under the demons and Lucifer. The concept of Hell as a kingdom. For it is said “better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven”.
From a theological perspective what can one honestly expect from Hell despite these vivid images?
Despite literature and images, from a theological perspective, what can one expect from Hell? First, it is important to strip the element of human imaging that attempts to compare human torment to Hell. Hell is something far more grave and intense than any depraved imagination can ever imagine. No horror movie can capture the terrifying nature of Hell. Hell is something a real place but for purposes of finite human nature it avoids complete human comprehension. Is there fire? There is obviously some form of physical pain in Hell–Scripture alludes to it. Scripture may be utilizing a more poetic description or a physical description. With so much description throughout so many texts of the Bible regarding the fire of Hell it would be difficult to discuss this description as a metaphor, but beyond this, what can theology teach one about the nature of Hell without being over indulgent in describing it to its walls or the types of torments awaiting?
First and foremost, Hell is the absence of God. The human will seeks the greatest good. Throughout life this elusive happiness is refused to humanity in the temporal fallen world. One can find brief moments of happiness, but ultimately, death or loss tears the good away from the person. Those who see the through the illusion of this world understand that the ultimate good is God but even so fail to grasp the perfection of God.
Once the soul is fully exposed to the grandeur of God, it cannot look away, it sees the perfect good for what it is. God is the perfect good. He is perfect love. He is perfect happiness. The soul is overloaded with an immense joy that it cannot exist if not for the grace of God. When this perfection is presented, one is made worthy through the blood of Christ. All are unworthy, but those who loved God, who loved Christ, will accept the invitation. Those who rejected Him in this world, cannot accept. There will has been made, but they have also seen. They wish to accept, they know they must accept, but their corrupted will prevents them from accepting.
The simple reality that they now know what God is and cannot have God thrusts them away from His glory. With the hate they held on Earth, now magnified, they fall into the abyss with Satan and his fallen angels. There the greatest pain of Hell is separation from God and the refusal to accept His mercy.
From this separation, exists a darkness from the light. A terrible darkness of the soul consumed with every vice imaginable. Pure hatred and scorn for everyone and everything ever known. The souls are thrown into a death pit of pure hate and malice for each other. Souls tear upon souls, predators prey upon weaker, but all are predator and prey. There is no joy for the demons even. The demons themselves are tormented by the same separation. They tear upon each other and a chaotic survival of the fittest erupts. There is no order or true Lord of Hell, but only hate and vice consumed with the lack of God’s presence.
When the body resurrects, an added torment emerges, where the same body on Earth shares in the same torment of the soul. No doubt, this is the fire spoken of in Scripture.
Aquinas and Hell
From a deeper theological perspective, St Thomas Aquinas taught 7 ideas from a philosophical point regarding Hell. He teaches that despite their fall, God still loves every soul in Hell. Aquinas teaches that some suffer more than others in Hell, albeit completely. He teaches also that the souls cannot repent but only see the error in their ways. Aquinas continues that the punishment hence is eternal. In regards to hatred towards God, Aquinas points out that the souls know what God is, so directly they cannot but they can be hateful since their will does not meet God’s will. He also teaches that the soul in Hell cannot wish non existence for it fundamental against the will to exist, hence all the more torture of their unfortunate fate. Finally, Aquinas points out that while before the final judgement, those in Hell may see the blessed in Heaven, afterwards, there will be an eternal separation
Who Goes to Hell?
Scripture clearly lists the types of sins and vices that send a soul to Hell. Ultimately, God is seen as a judge, but the prosecutor is oneself. One chooses Hell, God does not send one to Hell. In Revelation, Christ separates the sheep from the goats, but souls have already chosen their nature. As judge, Christ merely presents the evidence.
Sin and vice are only one aspect of going to Hell. The other is the heart of the human being. A human being must literally choose to hate God, hate his neighbor and refuse any sign of remorse. Like Abraham and God in the story of Sodom, God is more than merciful to save even one, if one shows remorse. The soul that goes to Hell not only commits evil and immoral actions but becomes those actions himself. The soul fully rejects God and refuses to repent.
As for souls who are not baptized or Christian, these souls can find mercy. Many live in ignorance of the truth in this world. They may live good lives but not know or fully understand the good news of Christ. Through their good action and true heart, God’s mercy and the sacrifice of Christ can save these souls but they need prayers. It is also important to note, these souls are accountable for what they knew. Imagine how much more accountable a Christian will be before Christ?
The classical theological question has always been can God forgive the devil? The answer is yes. If Satan himself, his demons and all souls in Hell, begged for mercy, God would grant it. However, due to the corruption of their natures and the complete hate that has possessed their very nature, one who chooses Hell chooses it eternally. They are so proud, so full of contempt, that the spirit or soul will never kneel before God.
Many believe that Hell cannot be forever, but it is. They believe that a good God would never allow everyone to suffer forever. This false belief is based on the fact they erroneously believe God sends a soul to Hell. When one understands the deformity and evil of a corrupted being and its free will, then one can see God is merciful but cannot change the heart of a creature.
Hence one can expect from a theological perspective that Hell is a place devoid of God and love. This is the primary pain and torment of Hell. Besides that, Hell is forever by choice and a place for the wicked who reject God. Later one’s body is re-united with the corrupted soul to share in the pains, which are described in Scripture as fire. Everything else is secondary and speculative. There are theories and descriptions, great literature and stories, but they are merely human attempts to grasp the horrendous nature of such a dark place.
If one wishes to avoid Hell, accept Christ, accept His commandments and love one’s neighbor as oneself. Everyday tell God that you love him and ask for the grace to never fall into such a horrible place. If you love God, if you choose God, there is a very high chance you will never reject Him and find yourself in such a terrible spot.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling.
Scripture is God’s written word. The Bible provides a deposit of faith and a foundation for God’s communication with His people. It relates the story of humanity’s fall, God’s love, humanity’s redemption and the future. It provides guides, commands and stories. Some books are separated by hundreds of years and relate to different audiences. Some stories are historical, others are parables, while still even others present poetry and prophecy. While humans wrote it, it is nevertheless a guided work by the Holy Spirit with the intention of brining humanity closer to God.
However, when misinterpreted, misused, it can bring pain and suffering to the world. Individuals can use the words of the Bible to misguide, misdirect and lead others astray. When Scripture is not properly interpreted and presented to the believing community, it can lead many towards the road of heresy. While some can take individual inspiration from the Word of God, it is important to understand the nature of Scripture and its purpose.
Scripture can be a great resource in Christian Counseling, but Christian Counselors, pastors, ministers and priests must be well versed in Scripture and its essence to properly guide and preach it to others.
The article, “3 tips to help you read the Bible well” by Chris Goswami looks closer at understanding Scripture from avoiding a few basic mistakes. He lists how others have used past books no longer relevant to the message of Christ as justification for physical violence, as well as understanding that while Scripture is written by God alone, certain books have certain audiences and certain messages for particular times. These messages cannot be taken out of context, unless one looks to go astray. He states,
“Paul sometimes offers an instruction that made sense in that day but may no longer apply to us. This one is tough. It’s really hard to distinguish between cultural norms and eternal truths, and churches have disagreed and split on these topics. They include the lengthy debates churches had first on divorce, then the role of women, and now sexuality.”
“3 tips to help you read the Bible well”. Chris Goswami. 24 October 2022. Premier Christianity.
As pointed out Scripture can be confusing. It teaches one common objective and eternal law, but it can be misinterpreted, misquoted and put out of context for different people and different times. It is because of this many individuals can misused Scripture and utilize it for propaganda. This was seen throughout the history of the Church and even today, as extremist groups use the Sacred Word to promote hate and division.
Literary and Textual Criticisms of the Bible are Important
While personal interpretation is a freedom for many believers, one should never assume such vanity and pride but look to those better trained in Scripture and those who represent orthodox teachings on the faith. Scripture represents the bed rock of the faith and is the primary deposit of the faith. Sometimes, with some review and understanding of the teaching of Jesus, one can clearly see when Scripture is being misused.
It is important to realize that various literary criticisms of Scripture are utilized to better understand the human element of its authorship. These literary criticisms can help others better understand the human author, his or her intent, and his or her audience. These types of themes then can be understood within their historical context. This is not to assume morality changes within history but it does help individuals understand the social norms and history of the time and how the words relate to the time and audience.
It is also extremely important to understand what type of book in Scripture one is reading. While it is true, Scripture is a collection of divinely inspired authored texts by one divine author, it is also true that the books span thousands of years, and deal with a variety of situations. Obviously the books before Christ and the books after Christ have a different message in human redemption history. Many books have different purposes as well. Some books may be poetic or moral, while others historical, or others relating to prophecy. Understanding the various natures of the books help one also understand what type of literature one is reading and how to properly digest the words.
Those who hold to literal quotes also should be very careful. Scripture, as it is handed down, is in itself a miracle. For it to have maintained such integrity is inspiring but if one considers that the printing press did not exist until the 15th Century, then one can see the numerous copies upon copies that were handed down. In fact, no original of any book exists to this day. Hence, one relies upon the copying abilities of the ancients in replicating the Sacred Word of God, as well as their abilities to collect and put together and edit books.
In addition, beyond even the element of copying, is translating. Scripture has been translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek to Latin and to numerous romance languages. With so many translations, some words can lose power. It is hence important to understand the message of a verse, but to also understand certain elements of it can be lost. This type of textual criticism and history of the text itself can lead to many resounding discoveries about original intentions of the various books.
When interpreting, it is important to understand that the words we have come from this long and arduous process. Still even so, the words themselves must be studied within context. How was the particular word understood then, how is it different now, or how was it applied throughout the entirety of not just the book but the collection of the books themselves. Understanding precedence of the use of the word and its utilization is key to applying or not applying to today.
Discernment and personal prayer are key in understanding Scripture. While one must keep one’s interpretation in line with the authority and tradition of the faith, discernment as a process helps guide the believer to avoid false pretenses and ideas about one’s understanding of Scripture.
Receiving the Bible as we have it today is a miracle in itself even beyond its Divine Inspiration. While it’s primary source and authorship is from the Holy Spirit and tells a certain story and communication between God and humanity, it still nonetheless is a collection of communications through human hands. Through this, interpretation and translation can be difficult.
While Scripture is a beautiful gift that presents to humanity the story and love of God through Jesus Christ, it can equally be misused by individuals with their own intentions. This is why Christians must not only know Scripture, but also know its history, its meaning and interpretation. Listening to good Church leaders is a key way to avoid the pitfalls of false prophets who can misuse the Bible.
Please also review AIHCP’s Christian Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Christian Counseling. Christian Counselors can play a pivotal role in properly utilizing Scripture and helping others interpret it properly. The Bible can be an immense tool in helping others live good lives according to the will of God.
“What is textual criticism?”. Compellingtruth.org. Access here
“Hermeneutics: The Eight Rules of Biblical Interpretation”. Apologetics Index. Access here
“Interpreting Scripture’s divine element”. ADAM RASMUSSEN· APRIL 27, 2021. Unpacking Dei Verbum. Access here
“Interpreting Scripture: A General Introduction”. Jason S. DeRouchie. The Gospel Coalition. Access here
“Divino Afflante Spiritu”. Pope Pius XII. 1943. Access here