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Who Created Hell?

Discussion in 'Historical Debates' started by Sunstone, Aug 18, 2006.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    The concept of Hell is pretty much absent from the Old Testament, but is very much present in the New Testament. So, how did the notion of Hell come about between the OT and the NT? What were the influences that created it? Did Zorastrianism have a hand in the creation of Hell?
     
  2. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Figured this would be of use:

    The Latin infernus (inferum, inferi), the Greek Hades, and the Hebrew sheol correspond to the word hell. Infernus is derived from the root in; hence it designates hell as a place within and below the earth. Haides, formed from the root fid, to see, and a privative, denotes an invisible, hidden, and dark place; thus it is similar to the term hell. The derivation of sheol is doubtful. It is generally supposed to come from the Hebrew root meaning, "to be sunk in, to be hollow"; accordingly it denotes a cave or a place under the earth. In the Old Testament (Sept. hades; Vulg. infernus) sheol is used quite in general to designate the kingdom of the dead, of the good (Genesis 37:35) as well as of the bad (Numbers 16:30); it means hell in the strict sense of the term, as well as the limbo of the Fathers. But, as the limbo of the Fathers ended at the time of Christ's Ascension, hades (Vulg. infernus) in the New Testament always designates the hell of the damned. Since Christ's Ascension the just no longer go down to the lower world, but they dwell in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1). However, in the New Testament the term Gehenna is used more frequently in preference to hades, as a name for the place of punishment of the damned. Gehenna is the Hebrew gê-hinnom (Nehemiah 11:30), or the longer form gê-ben-hinnom (Joshua 15:8), and gê-benê-hinnom (2 Kings 23:10) "valley of the sons of Hinnom". Hinnom seems to be the name of a person not otherwise known. The Valley of Hinnom is south of Jerusalem and is now called Wadi er-rababi. It was notorious as the scene, in earlier days, of the horrible worship of Moloch. For this reason it was defiled by Josias (2 Kings 23:10), cursed by Jeremias (Jeremiah 7:31-33), and held in abomination by the Jews, who, accordingly, used the name of this valley to designate the abode of the damned (Targ. Jon., Gen., iii, 24; Henoch, c. xxvi). And Christ adopted this usage of the term. Besides Hades and Gehenna, we find in the New Testament many other names for the abode of the damned. It is called "lower hell" (Vulg. tartarus) (2 Peter 2:4), "abyss" (Luke 8:31 and elsewhere), "place of torments" (Luke 16:28), "pool of fire" (Revelation 19:20 and elsewhere), "furnace of fire" (Matthew 13:42, 50), "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12, and elsewhere), "everlasting fire" (Matthew 18:8; 25:41; Jude 7), "exterior darkness" (Matthew 7:12; 22:13; 25:30), "mist" or "storm of darkness" (2 Peter 2:17; Jude 13). The state of the damned is called "destruction" (apoleia, Phil., iii, 19, and elsewhere), "perdition" (olethros, 1 Timothy 6:9), "eternal destruction" (olethros aionios, 2 Thessalonians 1:9), "corruption" (phthora, Galatians 6:8), "death" (Romans 6:21), "second death" (Revelation 2:11 and elsewhere).

    In short, many things in the OT don't make much sense or are unclear until it's full flowering in the NT. There is tons of examples of this. God seems to be quite fond of things developing along with his people.
     
  3. Faint

    Faint Well-Known Member

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    It might be from "Hel" in Norse Mythology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hel_%28realm%29

    "In Norse mythology, the realm Hel, shares a name with the Hel who rules it. As described in Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda it is a place thronged with the shivering and shadowy spectres of those who have died ingloriously of disease or in old age. Hel is also home to dishonourable people who have broken oaths. Hel is cold and low in the overall order of the universe. It lies beneath Yggdrasil's third root, near Hvergelmir and Náströnd. It is uncertain if Hel and Niflheim are completely different places, if one is part of the other, or if both are names for the same place.
    Hel is said to be a hall with a roof woven from the spines of serpents which drip poison down onto those who wade in the rivers of blood below. The people who dwell in the halls are given nothing but goat's urine to quench their thirst. The doors of the hall are said to be set in the south, away from Asgard which lies to the north.
    The hall is surrounded by a river called Gjoll, which is freezing cold and has knives flowing in it.
    The only way across the river is over a bridge guarded by the giantess Modgud. If a living person steps on the bridge, it rings out as if a thousand men walk across it, yet the dead pass without a sound."

    Anyone know which came first, Hel or Hades?
     
  4. Green Gaia

    Green Gaia Veteran Member

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    There was a show on the History channel about the origins of Hell... I wish I'd paid closer attention.
     
  5. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    If I had a dollar for everytime I said that...:D
     
  6. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    Perhaps they came around the same time because they are talking of the same place or state. That's my guess.
     
  7. darkpenguin

    darkpenguin Charismatic Enigma

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    couldn't the concept of heaven and hell hae been thought up as a form of propaganda to control and conform people on a very large scale?
     
  8. darkpenguin

    darkpenguin Charismatic Enigma

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    personaly my view of hell is various hard times in our lives that we have to overcome, as i believe life is relived over and over after death until mistakes/hard times are passed and ultimate knowlege is gained, thus why some of us are smarter than others, they have simply 'lived' more times than a less developed being! just my thoughs though!
     
  9. uumckk16

    uumckk16 Active Member

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    Oh! I saw that! Although it was 2 hours long and I only caught the last 45 minutes (I turned on the TV for a quick channel-surf and ended up getting caught up in it :eek:). The part I saw was just discussing Hell in the major world religions, as well as the Church of Satan. It was very interesting, but doesn't help in this discussion...

    Now this is what you call a pointless post :)
     
  10. Ciscokid

    Ciscokid Well-Known Member

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    If there was ever a boogeyman in my life it would be the idea of "hell". I'm a skeptic, I don't believe in much when it comes to the spirit world etc. But occassionally I wonder if hell exists.

    I was raised in a Christian family, we went to church all the time...after a while...it takes a toll.
     
  11. Willamena

    Willamena Just me
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    According to Barbara Walker's Encyclopedia of Myth, "Though Christian theology gave its underworld the name of the [Norse] Goddess Hel, it was quite a different place from her womb of regeneration. The ancients didn't view the underworld as primarily a place of punishment. It was dark, mysterious and awesome, but not the vast torture chamber Christians made of it."

    The Christian idea of Hell was based on many different ideas: the Greek Hades (Erebus, Tartarus) where souls waited yearning rebirth; the Egyptian place of the sleeping god (Amenti or Neter, or the Tuat), both a hell and paradise, where souls were judged not for their sins, to be saved from torture, but from death itself; and the Zorroastrian concept of torture after death for those who were disobedient. It wasn't until Christianity that the blend of these ideas became an "eternal punishment" ruled over by God's antithesis.

    Oddly, Jewish tradition adopted this idea from Christianity. "The female creation-river Gihon was converted into Gehenna, the Jewish hell's river of fire, whose name was sometimes applied to the whole land ...Gehenna was 60 times as large as the world."

    "One of the most interesting dissertations on hell was Johann Weyer's Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, published in the 16th Century when Weyer served the Duke of Cleves as a healer and diviner. Weyer said there were exactly 7,405,926 demons, divided into 72 companies. These figures had already been reported in the Talmud."

    Parts of the book were replicated and imitated down through the years, but "what Weyer's solemn imitators never understood was that the Pseudomonarchia was really an elaborate joke, invented as a caricature of earthly heirarchies. Humour and skepticism were equally foreign to the Age of Faith, when the core of learning was credibility. It was a childlike age. Generations of would-be Magi soberly studied Weyer's mockery in search of demonic names to use in magic charms."

    "The story of a sinner's sweat was often told throughout the Middle Ages. It may have been inspired by a passage from Mahabharata:
    'As the lord of gods, whose energy is inifinite, became angry, a terrible drop of sweat came out of his forehead; and as soon as that drop of sweat had fallen to the earth, an enormous fire like the fire of doomsday appeared.'"

    "John Wesley was so implacable as to maintain that the whole Christian religion depended entirely on the horrors of hell. If there were 'no unquenchable fire, no everlasting burnings,' then all New Testament teaching is a lie, and there is no reason to believe in the revelation of heaven. Yet some theologians disagreed," a sentiment passed on from 2 Esdras 2 millennia earlier, "who demanded why God had bothered to create Adam and Eve if he couldn't restrain Adam from sinning."

    "Though the possibility is seldom recognized, there are many indications that the Christian vision of hell in its sadistic horror was one of the leading causes of disillusionment with Christianity itself. Hell was necessary, otherwise there was nothing for 'salvation' to save us from; yet it often seemed people were sent to hell for no greater sin than being human."
     
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  12. wkpend

    wkpend New Member

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    While i do believe that the concept of Hell is largely concentrated in the New Testament, and for that reason simply the word Hell is said more often in the New Testament, I disagree that the concept or thought of Hell is absent from the OT. What you have to realize to understand my claim is that any mention of the grave, death, or like terms in the OT is a reference to Hell or for that matter "not-Heaven" since the term hadn't been coined yet. In Genesis, when Adam and Eve first sinned, and separated themselves and all humanity to follow from God, the concepts of death and the grave we're introduced, because before this, there was no use of the words. Death and the grave are hell, because in OT context they do not simply mean to stop living but to die in sin, away from God, and thus in Hell. And as for the influences that created it? I would have to point to Lucifer falling from glory, that seems influencing enough.
     
  13. constantine

    constantine the Great

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    the christian religion started this idea of an actual HELL and constantine used it to control the christians...it was brilliant power over people....you know fear.....
     
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  14. Comicaze247

    Comicaze247 See the previous line

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    Human beings. Just like with every other religious concept. All attempts of human beings to understand that which cannot be understood and the attempts to guide people to that attempted understanding.
     
  15. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    Dante' and Milton probably had as much to do with our modern conceptions of Hell as any Religious writings did.
     
  16. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    It's a good question Phil. There's a common belief that the Jews assimilated Zoroastrianism ideas into their own cosmology while in exile in Babylon, but there are a lot of problems with that theory;


    • Zoroastrianism isn't Babylonian in origin, it's Persian, and the Persians were only in control of Babylon for a short while before the Jews were allowed to rebuild the temple/return to Judea. Cyrus allowed all this in the first year of his reign.
    • Zoroastrianism wasn't the predominant belief system of the Persians, it's followers were a small minority.
    But, it's undeniable that the post-captivity Jewish cosmology had adopted what were certainly Zoroastrian influences---the dualistic interpretation of devine influence, the individualistic nature of the angels/demons, the idea of a redeemer (messiah)...

    My (mostly uneducated) interpretation of all this is that, rather than a case of cultural osmosis, these ideas were conciouslly and intentionally incorporated into the dogma by a priestly class that saw definite advantages in an ultimate (and eternal) reward/punishment doctrine that they could use to impose control over their followers.

    Apparently it worked too; if you read the post-exilic prophets you'll see that their admonishments towards the population of Israel differed markedly from their pre-exile predessecors.
     
  17. DallasApple

    DallasApple Depends Upon My Mood..

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    Hell is a garbage pit..where they threw the dead bodies of criminals along with the city's trash.And they burned it.

    Love

    Dallas
     
    #17 DallasApple, Mar 6, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2009
  18. Arthemesia

    Arthemesia Member

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    I thought God create Hell then heven may be Hell was a mistake.
     
  19. bluZero

    bluZero Active Member

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    From what I have been hearing, Hell is the separation from God, and it will be the lake of fire in which man will be eternally destroyed. It is a place that the unsaved live in because they are separated from God, it could be called the grave or death also. But it in reality will not exist until the end of the world when men are forever separated from the heavenly Kingdom.:cool:
    So in essence, one can say it is God that made hell just as man makes an incinerator. To burn garbage.
     
    #19 bluZero, Apr 28, 2009
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
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