Many people see God as a hard, harsh and vindictive judge. He is perceived as aloof and eager to hurl people into an everlasting hell of torment and agony.
Do the wrong thing and “zap” – a thunderbolt of judgment on your way to hell!
These perceptions of God have developed through the centuries as Christian preachers frightened their congregations with vivid descriptions of the horrors of hell.
If hell can appear scarier than a horror movie, avoiding a billion years of agonising pain and torment becomes an attractive option.
Attention grabbing signs in front of churches reinforce the terrors of hell.
One giant sign states, “How will you spend eternity – smoking or non smoking?” Another says “turn or burn”.
In his sermon, “Sinners in the hand of an angry God”, preacher Jonathon Edwards said this,
“The wrath of God burns against them, their damnation don’t slumber, the pit is prepared, the fire is made ready, the furnace is now hot, ready to receive them, the flames do now rage and glow … the God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you and is dreadfully provoked … He will crush you under His feet without mercy; He’ll crush out your blood, and make it fly, and it shall be sprinkled on His garments so as to stain all His raiment” (Quoted from Jonathon Edwards Centre, Yale University).