This extremely helpful little book is part of a series called ‘Questions Christians ask’. The author is primarily writing for Christians, but is also mindful that an enquirer may be reading.
He issues this powerful challenge on p.71: ‘Friend, our sin will certainly be dealt with, God will not compromise his character; either our sin will be punished with hell by Jesus on the cross, or in hell by you forever’.
We are told on p.13 that the precise goal of the book is ‘not to provide an exhaustive treatment on what the Bible says about judgment, hell, and life beyond the grave; instead, I want to understand better what the Bible says about these weighty and important issues, and to be more equipped to answer questions.’
He explores commonly asked questions. Chapter 1 deals with ‘Is hell real?’ and provides a succinct overview of what the Bible teaches about hell. He refers on p.27 to ‘letting God answer our questions’ and, of course, when we read the Bible on this or any other issue, we are letting him do just that.
In chapter 2 he asks, ‘What is hell like?’ and defines it as ‘the literal place where God administers eternal, conscious punishment for those who have sinned against him’. He gives a number of helpful illustrations (as he does throughout the book) to help us understand why the Lord often described hell so graphically. He says on p.34 that it is to ‘lay hold of our senses’. In other words, God wants us to realise that this place is very real indeed.
In chapter 3, the author deals with the exceedingly important issue of ‘the reason for hell’. In doing so, he answers two other fundamental questions: ‘How good is God and how bad are we?’ He rightly says, ‘If we don’t see sin as an attack on God’s infinite worth, then we will not see hell as a just response to it. The punishment does indeed fit the crime’ (p.71). The book finishes with a couple of useful appendices that answer further specific questions about hell.