As I said in my previous post...since some folks are interested, for the next four days, I'm going to summarize in 300 words or less the four predominate views of hell: The Literal view, the Metaphorical view, the Purgatorial view, and the Conditional view. Now, you can read entire books on just one of these views...so go easy on me as I try to summarize the view, probably badly, in 300 words or less.
View #1 - The Literal View
The Literal View of hell uses the Hebrew word sheol to formulate its understanding of what hell is like. But, due to the fact that the Old Testament usage of sheol is limited (in some instances, can best be understood as “grave”, or “the place where a dead body is placed") the Literal View takes the New Testament term hades, gehenna and tartaros to shed light on sheol...all that to say, the literal view uses these 4 words in combination to understand hell to be a place of everlasting punishment. So in passages such as Jude 7, eternal life is juxtaposed with “the punishment of eternal fire.” That's the key for the Literal view...hell is eternal conscious torment. And to give more support to the idea of an literal eternal fire, the literal view take the language used in Luke 16: 19-31...shall I say, literally, because it is seems coherent and logical. For example, Lazarus, after dying, is in the agony of fire (hell) and asks for a drink to cool his tongue. Thirst, in this sense, would be the logical reaction to fire, and therefore, due to the inherent logical qualities (among other things) the language can be taken literally (i.e. a literal description of what hell is like).
OK, tomorrow...The Metaphorical View