Question: Are there degrees of pain and suffering in Hell?
The sad reality is that hell is a condition of eternal suffering in a lake of fire designed for the devil and his demonic horde of fallen angels (Matt. 25:41).
While hell was not prepared for mankind, all humanity is born into Satan’s rebellion against God since Adam and Eve:
Ps. 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Consequently, unless we are rescued from this predicament, we all face the same fate in hell as the devil and his angels. This will take place on the great Day of Judgment when all rebellious mankind will be judged “according to what they had done” in life (Rev. 20:13).
There, at the Great White Throne of God on the Day of Judgment, people will experience varying levels of judgment:
Matt. 12:36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
Imagine you had been jailed for reckless driving resulting in a fatal car accident. Jail itself is terrifying enough as you encounter lifetime criminals also awaiting their day in court and the judgment they will receive.
Your day before the judge finally arrives and you are confronted with the charges against you. Your actions leading to the tragic car accident are replayed in front of a whole courtroom of strangers and the loved ones of the person who died. You are filled with remorse and anguish over the death caused by your reckless behavior, but you can do nothing to make things right again.
This is like the Day of Judgment where your sins and the judgment of “guilty” are announced throughout the universe. The public sentencing before the judge is greater for some than others because of the degrees of crime committed:
Matt. 11:22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
Nevertheless, all who are guilty face the same punisnment:
Rom. 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
But at that moment of public judgment it is only your shame, your guilt and your fate that matters to you, even though others that same day will face far worse judgment for far worse sins.
God’s Day of Judgment confronts human beings with their sinfulness according to the level and understanding and responsibility they possessed while alive on the earth. Then, all that is sinful will be sent to hell, ridding the universe of sin’s contamination.
Hell is the eternal destination of all who die in their sins, having never accepted God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ.
John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.