After reading the letters by Timothy Fellows Jr. (June 29) and Grady Daniel (July 2) I repeat my words in the June 22 letter: "Is it any wonder so many are confused about this subject ("hell")?
Then, like a ray of light shining through the clouds, there came the July 10 letter by Carl Young. Mr. Young stated most of the ancient Greek philosophers, whose conclusions came from human reasoning rather than God's revelation, believed that the soul was immortal.
Socrates would sometimes straddle the fence on the subject, while Plato, like others, also believed in reincarnation. That the influence of such ancient mythological teachings remained alive and well into later generations is evidenced in Dante's Divine Comedy, written in the late 1200's and early 1300's.
Pathetically, such books are taken as "gospel truth" in their stories about heaven, purgatory and "hell" by many. The alert mind cannot help but realize that the Bible translators of those years (not the original, God-inspired writers), could have been influenced by those traditional doctrines they were brought up with.
The solution is simple, yet requires a little work: Restore the original meaning and usage of such God-approved words as sheol, hades, Gehenna and Tartarus (even the lake of fire, all of which are age- or eon-lasting), and the confusion of "eternal hell-fire" will disappear. Remember: the wages (rations) of sin is death not "hell," or "life without a body" (Romans 6:23).
No erroneous concept of hell can deprive the cross of Christ. Its deserved intent and ultimate achievement; the reconciliation of all (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).
J.F. Rodgers, Clearwater