Heaven and Hell: Eternal or Terminal?
In the name of The God, The Most Gracious The Most Merciful.
NOTE: THIS ARTICLE IS NOT FINISHED. I AM STILL RESEARCHING, CHECKING AND DOUBLE CHECKING ALL OF MY INFORMATION. I AM STILL STUDYING AS CAREFULLY AND THOROUGHLY AS I CAN, WITH THE HOPES THAT I MAY, INSHALLAH, SUFFICIENTLY ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS I AM ADDRESSING IN THIS POST.
In this post, I’m going to go over whether or not God’s Scriptures teach that Heaven or Hell is terminal or eternal. The majority of people following Abrahamic religions, be they Christian, Catholic, Muslim, or other, believe that Hell is eternal. It seems to me that in order to answer the question of whether or not Hell is eternal or terminal, we must also ask what Hell is.
Hell as a Being:
In many ancient cultures, long before the time of AlQur’an, Hell was both a place, and a being of the same name who governed the place. For example, the Greeks called the place Hell “Hades,” but at the same time, Hades was the god of Hades. In the Old Testament, one of the names for Hell is “Sheol,” and while Sheol in general is described as an underworld, it is also described as having anatomy – a mouth, a throat, legs, et cetera – as if it is also an entity (Job 26:6; Canticles 8:6; Jonah 2:3; Psalms 49:15; 89:48; Hosea 13:14; Isaiah 5:14; Psalms 141:7; Isaiah 5:14). And in AlQur’an it says that when GOD asks Hell “Have you had enough?” Hell will answer, “Give me more!” (Alqur’an, 50:30).
Akkadian plates mention the name shuwalu or suwala in reference to a deity responsible for ruling the abode of the dead.
Names of Hell:
In The Old Testament
- Sheol (“Graves”) ( Genesis 42:38, Isaiah 14:11, Psalm 141:7, Daniel 12:2, Proverbs 7:27 and Job 10:21,22, and 17:16)
- Tehom (“Abyss”) (qn)
- Be’er Shachath (“Pit of Corruption”) (qn)
- Bor Shaon (“Cistern of Sound”) (qn)
- Tit Ha-Yaven (“Clinging Mud”) (qn)
- Dumah (“Silence”) (qn)
- Sha’arei Maveth (“Gates of Death”) (qn)
- Tsalmaveth (“Shadow of Death”) (qn)
- Gehenna/Gehinnom (“Valley of Hinnom,” “Purgatory”) (qn)
- Abaddon (“Ruin”) (Psalm 88:11, Job 28:22 and Proverbs 15:11)
- Bor (“Pit”), ( Isaiah 14:15, 24:22, Ezekiel 26:20)
- Shakhat (“corruption”), (Isaiah 38:17, Ezekiel 28:8)
Sheol is either portrayed by means of human qualities (ערום, Job 26:6;קשה , Canticles 8:6 נפשה desire isaiah 5:14) or attributed with the elements of human anatomy: womb (בטן, Jonah 2:3), hand (יד, Psalms 49:15; 89:48; Hosea 13:14) and mouth (פה, Psalms 141:7; Isaiah 5:14
In The New Testament
- Hades (Mat 11:23; 16:18; Luke 10:15 and 23; Acts, 2:27, 31; 1 Corinthians 15:55 though an alternate version has “thanatos;” Revelations 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14)
- Tartaros (2 Peter 2:4)
- Gehenna (Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6 )
Please understand, that Hades is supposedly used in The New Testament as a Greek word for the Hebrew “Sheol.”
Read more at: http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/hades.html
In The Recitation (AlQur’an)
- Jahannam (Compare to the Hebrew “Gehinnom,” “Valley of Hinnom”) 78:21;
- Latha 70:15-16;
- AlHutamah 104:4-7;
- Sa’eer 42:7;
- Saqar 74:26-29;
- AlJaheem 26:91;
- AlHawiyah 101:8-11;
We’ll start with a few points:
- In most ancient cultures, the oldest ideas of Hell are morally neutral underworlds. Even in the Torah, Sheol is morally neutral; people don’t go there because of their sins, it is simply the underworld into which all the dead souls go.
- The Recitation calls Hell “Gehenna,” just as the Old Testament did. The Hebrew-Arabic word “Gehenna” means “Valley of Hinnom,” and was the valley surrounding ancient Jerusalem where the Baal worshipers used to sacrifice their children (Jeremiah 19:2-6). They used to perform human sacrifice by burning people there, as well as in other ways. This may explain why AlQur’an also refers to Hell as “An-Nar,” “The Fire,” and why it describes Hell as a fiery place of burning. In one verse it even mentions the souls of the disbelievers being herded to sacrificial altars in Hell (AlQur’an 70:43 – note that the Arabic word used tends to refer more to stone altars).
- The Recitation says it confirms the previous Scriptures (5:48). Some may argue that the reason why it may present a concept of Hell that is different and conflicting with the concept of Hell presented in the Torah, is because GOD changed those teachings. But I don’t see any reasons to assume that. The Qur’an says it confirms The Torah, and at the same time, they both mention “Gehenna,” so it seems most logical to conclude that The Qur’an is confirming The Torah’s concept of Gehenna.
Moloch mentioned in The Recitation:
“Indeed, the criminals will be in the punishment of Gehenna, abiding forever. Not will it subside for them, and they in it will despair. And they will call, “Oh Malik, let put an end to this your Lord.” He will say, “Indeed, you will remain” – The Recitation, 43:74-77
The triliteral root of “Malik” in Arabic consists of the Arabic letters meem, lam, kaf, equating to M-L-K. “Moloch” in fact comes from the exact same triliteral root in ancient Hebrew. Now, according to 2 Kings 23:10 and Jeremiah 32:35 of The Bible, the people of Judah used to sacrifice their children to Malik, (or “Moloch”), by burning them at the site of Topheth in Gehenna.
Gehenna is “Jahannam” in the Arabic of The Recitation, and is “Gehinnom” in the Hebrew of the Bible. It means “Valley of Hinnom,” and is also referred to in The Bible as “Valley of the Sons of Hinnom.” So here in The Recitation, we have both the Valley of Hinnom in Ancient Israel, which was a literal place of burning, and then we have the name of the Mesopotamian deity Malik/Moloch, both described directly. It is saying in The Recitation directly, that the criminals will burn in the Valley of Hinnom, and that they will call out to Malik, but that Malik will not help them.
Compare this to the fact that The Recitation says the disbelievers will eternally abide in Hell “for as long as the heavens and the Earth endure” (see below). This makes sense, if Hell is actually a physical place on Earth, rather than some other universe or dimension; it could not outlast the Earth, if it is in fact ON the Earth. By the way, please note: in Arabic the words for “sky” and “land” are also the words for “heaven” and “Earth.”
“As for those who were wretched, then in The Fire. For them therein is sighing and wailing. Abiding therein as long as remain the skies and the land, except what your Lord wills. Indeed, your Lord is All-Accomplisher of what He intends” – The Recitation, 11:107.
Malik/Moloch was an ancient Mesopotamian deity. And his idol was built in Topheth, and was the vessel in which the disbelievers would burn their children as offerings to Malik. According to the Yalkut Shimoni, an aggadic compilation on the Old Testament books that was compiled sometime in the 11th. or 12th. century, the idol contained seven chambers, each for a different type of offering ( attributed by Moses Margoliouth, A pilgrimage to the land of my fathers 1850:125). If that is true, then it is possible that The Recitation might be referring to the Topheth Malik idol in 15:42-45 when it says:
“Indeed, my slaves not have you over them any authority except those who follow you, of the ones who go astray. And indeed Gehenna is the promised place for them all. For it, seven gates, for each gate is among them a portion assigned.”
Kings historically sacrificed their children inside the idol of Moloch on Topheth, in Gehenna. Therefore I think it is interesting that Moloch, or Malik, literally means “King.”
The Qur’an mentions the Zaqqum tree. It describes it in 37:62-68 as a tree located at the bottom or root of AlJahhem, with spathes shaped like the heads of the “devils,” (the adversaries). It also describes that when the sinners in Jahannam consume these spathes from the Zaqqum tree, it will be like they have boiling water in their stomachs. It also says that they will return to AlJahheem after they eat the Zaqqum spathes. There is a type of tree called “Euphoribia” which matches this description. This is a type of Euphoribian spathe or cyathium:
It looks like a devil’s head to me. It looks like it has horns and a long snout. The fruits of these trees can also be thorny, depending on the variety. Variations of this tree have been known to grow in the area of ancient Jerusalem, as well as Africa, Arabia, India, and other areas. Thus, if they are “returning” to the fire after eating this plant, it could be because they have to travel to get this tree for food. It mentions in The Qur’an that in Jahannam, whenever their skins are burnt off, their skins are replaced and burnt off again. That could easily be an allegory for the fact that when the fruit of Euphoribus is harvested, because of it’s naturally occurring latex, and other properties of the plant, the plant can cause severe burns and boils on the skin. And as The Qur’an says that when they eat it, they experience the sensation of boiling water in their bellies, similarly, due to the toxins and carcinogens in this plant, if eaten, it will induce burning sensations in the body.
The Zaqqum Tree is clearly a real tree; it is the Euphoribus. This is further evidence that “Hell” is in fact a physical place on Earth; Jahannam is the Valley of Hinnom located in the middle east.
The word for “Eden” in The Qur’an is “Jannah,” which means “Gardens.” According to The Torah, the rivers Tigris, Gihon, Pishon and Euphrates all split from a river that flowed from Eden to water it’s gardens. These rivers, two of which are dried up, actually source from (flow down from) the Tarsus Mountains in Turkey. Thus, Eden is a physical place located in the Tarsus Mountains, and it’s gardens sprawled out therefrom, throughout the ancient Fertile Crescent. Jannah was and is, a physical place. Note how The Qur’an says the righteous shall inherit the Earth, when they are resurrected. Jannah is on Earth.
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