If there is an eternal hell (as the Bible describes), then Christian Universalism is a lie. Much of what we know about hell comes from the lips of Jesus. That is why it is difficult to defend universalism from a biblical perspective. If you doubt this, consider the words of an atheist. English philosopher Bertrand Russell in his book, Why I Am Not A Christian, writes, “There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that he believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment.” Not only does Russell show that Christ believed in hell, he establishes the fact that the Christ or Christian perspective of hell is everlasting punishment.
A few passages from the words of Jesus, there are plenty more.
Matthew 13:40-42 says, “Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41
“Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Matthew 22:13
The best description of hell is the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Jesus provides a vivid picture of the torment of hell, for the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the end of finger in water to cool his tongue. This story demonstrates exactly what hell is, an eternal torment in fire.
Revelation 20 tells us that the Devil, the beast and false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire where they will be “tormented day and night forever and ever” (vs. 10). It goes on to say, “if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (vs. 15) This leaves all doubt aside about the biblical view of hell.
In the final analysis, absolutely no scriptural references validate the doctrine of universalism. If hell is real and eternal, then universalism falls flat and can be seen as a false and unbiblical view of salvation. Just because we want something to be true does not mean that it is. God is sovereign. John Calvin in his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, writes, “it is perverse to measure divine by the standard of human justice.”