Recently, I watched a TV episode of “Bull” (that’s the name of the show, not a disparaging description of TV programming). In that episode, the main character, Dr. Jason Bull, flippantly admitted to a priest that he knew full well that he (Bull) was going to Hell. I’ve also heard that same flippancy used by real people as they carelessly expressed the same idea - as if it’s no big deal, really. But, on the other hand, if real, Hell actually presents itself to be the absolute biggest deal for human beings.
I suppose most who approach the subject of Hell in this careless way must simply think that Christians have it wrong. Either that, or they just don’t think at all. They don’t think about the emotional agony which would certainly attend that very last, life and death moment which could only be characterized as A Moment Too Late, when the creature stands before the Governing Creator.
In that moment, even the best among us would surely be terrified by the knowledge that, in one more instant, whatever utterance comes from the mouth of the Almighty will determine our immutable destiny – whether for better or worse. And, that terror would be all the more gripping if, indeed, one knew that, in their flippancy, they had made no serious attempt to discover His requirements or to walk humbly before Him.
Nevertheless, if, as Christians purport, this final divine decree is to be, it will, indeed, be for every soul, whether good or bad, serious or flippant. And, for those souls who are finally consigned to Hell, surely the incomprehensible magnitude of this fate would almost certainly wash over them like some merciless tidal wave.
And, no doubt, with that mental and emotional assault, would come the most terrified cries of raw fear. And many, if not all, would crumple under the weight of this instant and seismic shift in their reality. But, if the Christians have it right, no amount of regret or tearful pleading can defer the next moment – the first moment of eternal agony in that place called Hell - if it is real.
And, after a thousand years have passed, Christians believe that the agony will be exactly the same. And, after ten thousand years have passed, still it will not have abated one whit. And after a million years, still they believe it will be as it always was, and always will be. If there is a Hell, the pain of that place is one thing. But, coupled to eternity, that pain becomes the most horrific thing which could possible befall a human being.
But, maybe the Christians have it wrong. These days, many seem to think so. And I’m sure they have come to that conclusion only after a very careful study of the Christian faith and a humble pursuit of the God behind that faith.
Thus, when each of us find ourselves in that final and completely inopportune last moment, and we all will, whether in death or in the end of time – perhaps then we will know with absolute certainty, for good or ill, whether there actually is a God of judgement and a Devil’s Hell, as the Christian Bible teaches. But, for now, it seems many are just very content to “dance flippantly on” in the mindset of Dr. Bull.