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29th July 2019
Chalke Talk 83: Has the Church misunderstood the afterlife?

What made Paul think what he thinks about hell?

This week Steve ventures on to a new topic with Chalke Talk: the afterlife. More specifically, what was the context for Paul's understanding of it and how have we come to understand it. Or rather, misunderstand it. 

Steve explains that the Hebrew word for Hell is Sheol. And that when the bible was translated from Hebrew to Greek the word Sheol was replaced with Hades. A quick trip through greek mythology is that Hades is, stereotypically, what we think of as eternal damnation. Sheol, however, was a place of immense hope, one where people although temporarily separated from the presence of God believed in a reunion. The ancient Jews understood the afterlife through this lens, which begs the question: how have we come to misunderstand hell so badly?

You can read much more about all this in his latest book –The lost Message of Paul – and we’ll pick things up again in coming editions of Chalke Talk – but for now, here's a question.

If, as the Bible insists, ‘God is love’, why do you think that so many people worry that God will eventually turn out to be less good than we might have hoped for?

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