Where Will Unbelievers Spend Eternity? In hell, or in the lake of fire? And, where are these places?
In the article “Do Believers Spend Eternity in Hell?” we learned that hell is not where Satan, fallen angels, demons, and unbelievers will spend eternity. That place is called the lake of fire.
The location of hell is probably the center of the current earth. Whenever people died prior to Jesus’ ascension, they are said to have gone down. The only place down from the earth’s surface is under the earth. The earth’s core is molten, fitting the description of flames.
The Scriptures do not say where the lake of fire will be. It will probably have to be in a completely different place than the new earth and the new universe, since those new places will be completely free from sin and its remnants.
However, I can propose a new possibility. We know from the Bible that both hell and the lake of fire are places of suffering and torment (Revelation 14). We also know that those there have no rest day or night, from which we get the familiar saying, “No rest for the wicked.” This speaks to their inability to escape the continual (daily) suffering. Also, there will be fire, brimstone (sulfur–a nonmetallic element), and smoke there. We also see that people in hell will mock new arrivals, and probably mock each other daily (Isaiah 4:9-11). This behavior causes emotional pain to the ones being mocked and it causes a measure of sadistic delight for the ones doing the mocking.
Well, what place do we know of that has these things–fire, sulfur, smoke, and sin? I propose that the lake of fire (for eternity) could be the current earth. Revelation 21:1 says that a new earth is where believers will live with Christ forever, and the first earth passed away. Maybe that doesn’t mean that it is destroyed. Perhaps it means that the current earth (and the sin upon it) will continue to exist, but then in complete separation from God, good, and believers.
Due to the fall of man into sin, the current earth is already a place of suffering and torment. Much of the population of the earth works all day, seemingly to no peaceful end, and has trouble sleeping at night. And, we cannot escape it. We already have fire, sulfur, and smoke, and perhaps those forces will be magnified due to the earthquakes and volcanos in the book of Revelation, bringing the molten center of the earth to the surface. We certainly already see how detestable sinful people treat each other, mocking each other and inflicting emotional pain upon others, and taking delight in doing so.
Perhaps hell is currently at the center of the earth, and in eternity, that hell (physical, mental, and spiritual) will explode and be expanded to the earth’s surface, eternally separated from God.