Is it true that all people who do not believe in Jesus are destined for hell?

The issue surrounding hell is a very sensitive and emotional topic. Though the Bible is quite clear in the message of salvation, there are some teachings, like the doctrine of hell, that are difficult for our human minds to resolve.   

Heaven and hell are biblical truths. Even though the comprehension of a hell terrorizes us, it is a fact and a certain reality whether we like it or not. A person may think that the unmistakable proof of the law of gravity is unfair.  Since they don’t agree or understand this truth, the person will determine that they can fly and jump off a skyscraper with disastrous consequences. We may consider this foolishness, but God also considers foolish those who deny the fact of hell and live according to their own understanding. 

Hell is the place of God’s wrath and judgment for those who reject his love in Jesus. God is not only loving, but he is also fair and just. There are only two sides of a coin. There is no middle ground. On the Day of Judgment, a person will either spend eternity in heaven or hell. Jesus says, “the person who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who doesn’t believe will be condemned.” If someone deliberately rejects God’s love in Jesus, then they choose the eternal consequences of hell knowingly or unknowingly. If people go to hell even though we don’t think they should be there, it may be because our perspective is much more limited than God’s. 

We have to be mindful of one vitally important truth of the Gospel. God is most decisively revealed in Christ Jesus. There is no salvation outside of Jesus. Nobody can go to God the Father except through the Son. We can be judged righteous and innocent before God by living a perfect life or through the sacrificial death of Christ. The fact is that nobody can come to God on their own. We are all sinners. God will judge people according to their relationship with Jesus and how they have responded to the truth of the Gospel. It is a certainty that all who reject Christ are damned and those with a sincere faith are assured of salvation.   

Since God is fair and just, people will not go to hell “by accident.” In difficult cases, only God knows the true heart of a person. The question you should really be asking is what will happen to you and your family. Your only concern should be that you and your loved ones are not among those who reject Christ. Receive him as your Lord and Savior! Let hell be God’s problem, not your problem. 


** This question and answer was inspired from the book, “Letters from a Skeptic” by Dr. Gregory A Boyd and Edward K. Boyd, Chariot Victor Publishing, 1994. 

17 Comments on “Is it true that all people who do not believe in Jesus are destined for hell?

  1. If there is a Hell then I’ll go gladly. I’d rather be in “eternal pain” (haha what a silly concept) than spend “eternity” worshipping a supposed “God” that does not share my values…

  2. As you probably know, “Hell” is not a concept found in the OT, which simply consigned all the dead to a a place called Sheol. So Hell, like the notion of Satan, is a late development, biblically speaking.

    As for Heaven, Christians seem to hold quite different views as to what it is and where it is and who goes there. If it is considered to be the dwelling place of the deity, then in biblical terms it is just up in the sky a short distance, beyond the solid firmament that holds up that waters above the firmament. That is the OT view. A similar view seems to be held in the NT, in which the sky is “torn open” at the baptism of Jesus, and the voice of God is heard; and of course Jesus, going there, just ascends from the earth, overlooking the fact that the earth is a globe, so that an ascent made from any point on a globe will ultimately led the ascender to quite a different destination, astronomically speaking.

    So what is your view? Is heaven a literal place in the sky? If so, just where? If it is a spiritual, not a physical place, why did Jesus have to ascend into the sky to get there?

    Personally, I think the biblical view of the universe is completely mistaken and based on pre-scientific notions, and I think one can demonstrate that both from Genesis and from the rest of the Bible.

  3. God appointed his son over the entire earth and the heavens. He is the King!

    Matthew 28:18
    18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

    In order to accept Jesus Christ as your King you have to be baptized exactly according to the way he commanded above.

    There are consequences around this baptism which were mentioned by John the Baptist who when question said;

    Matthew 3:11
    11″I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

    Being baptized exactly as according to his commandment will make a difference.

    Differences and divisions will occur over how this is to be done.

    Jesus himself is looking forward to the time when these differences are manifested in regard to his commanded baptism;

    Luke 12:49

    49″I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

    If you don’t obey Jesus Christs command then you have manifested that you don’t really want him to be your King.

    This is what Jesus Christ has to say about it in the Bible

    Luke 19:27
    27But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.”



  4. Thank you, hokku, for your insightful remarks.

    To answer your questions regarding heaven. To be honest, we really do not know what heaven will be like. There is a reference to a new heaven and a new earth. That all things will be made new. What we do know is that heaven will be perfect, because we will be in the presence of God.

    As far as Jesus ascending into heaven, this was done more for the benefit of the disciples — to physically show that he was leaving them. However, he also gave them the promise that he will always be with them — through the power of the Holy Spirit given at Pentecost. At least, that is my view.

    In regards to hell, you are right in that there is no direct reference in the Old Testament. There are just referrals in that “to die in sin” is a bad deal (Ezekiel 3:18) and there is another OT reference of to people being sent to a place of “shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2). But that’s about it in the OT. Ofcourse, in the NT, we definitely get the message that hell is a place we want to avoid at all costs.

    I don’t know of Satan being a late development– for he is quite prominent in the first chapters of Genesis and in Job.

    Thanks for your contribution.

  5. To ablebodiedman comment:

    I think you are encouraging everyong the importance of baptism. For that, I would agree.

    However, I know there is a zealous group of well-meaning Christians who feel that there is only one way of baptism– immerson. And all other forms are not valid. To this end, I would caution that there are several valid means regarding the how to of baptism — and we have the Christian freedom to make our choice in that matter — whether it being immersion or springling of water on the forehead. There is no command in Scripture otherwise — except to baptize for which you comment on.

    To be honest, I’m far more interested in bringing as many people to heaven as possible. My zeal is in bringing souls to heaven rather than how a person is baptized.

    Thanks for your contribution.

  6. You wrote:
    “I don’t know of Satan being a late development– for he is quite prominent in the first chapters of Genesis and in Job.”

    Not precisely. Satan does not appear in Genesis at all. The identification of the serpent in Eden with Satan was a much later development not found in Genesis itself.

    A Satan does appear in Job, but he is not the figure of cosmic evil found in the NT, and God is perfectly happy to make a deal with him to test Job.

  7. Actually Hokku,

    I did some research myself which involved looking for evidence of Satan’s Fall Like Lightning as prophecied by Jesus Christ himself. What I found was truly amazing.


  8. merganzerman,

    Its not so much the water sprinkle or immersion issue which I think will cause divisions.

    Baptism is essential in order to enter the temple.

    In most religions the one officiating over the ceremony makes a vow to the “name of the father” instead of to the name of the father.

    Consider the following scripture:

    John 8:44

    44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    If you are being baptized in the name of the father then which father are you really referring to?

    If you are not using God’s actual name then your baptism is invalid with no hope of entering the temple in the first place.

    The divisions I am refering to go beyond this simple straightforward issue to somthing which requires more discernment.


  9. If you have carefully considered the post above regarding the name of the father then Psalm 83 begins to become more stringent.

    People really will be confounded over this issue.

    Psalm 83

    16Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.

    17Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish:

    18That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.


  10. Thank you for your comments, ablebodiedman.

    I checked out your blog and saw that you are a member of the Jehovah Witnesses (JW). The fact that you are JW member would be a debate in itself and one I have shared with several JW’s who have knocked on my door.

    Thank you for your contributions.

  11. Hokku:

    Back to comments regarding Satan.

    I think we are just getting too technical. When you read passages in the OT (Gen. 3:1-7, Numb. 22:22; 1 Sam 29:4, 1 Kings 11:14, Job 1-2, Zech. 3:1-2, etc..) there clearly an Adversary (“Satan”) to God, a chief of the fallen spirits, devil, an opponent of evil — however name you want to use.

    And, it is the one and same Adversary that we find extensivley in the New Testament.

  12. You wrote:
    “I think we are just getting too technical. When you read passages in the OT (Gen. 3:1-7, Numb. 22:22; 1 Sam 29:4, 1 Kings 11:14, Job 1-2, Zech. 3:1-2, etc..) there clearly an Adversary (”Satan”) to God, a chief of the fallen spirits, devil, an opponent of evil — however name you want to use.”

    Actually it is precisely by examining the OT accounts that we see the OT notion of Satan is not at all the same as the NT concept of Satan. The NT concept is a later development.

    Let’s look at the examples you gave to see if and how they might apply:

    1. Gen. 3:1-7
    This says nothing at all about “Satan” and does not apply. It refers to a talking snake, and it is an origin story accounting for why snakes crawl on their stomachs and have no legs, and why humans and snakes are antipathetic.

    Numb. 22:22
    This also does not apply. It has nothing to do with the NT Satan, but simply speaks of the Angel of the Lord as standing in the way of Balaam as opposer (Heb. le’shatan).

    1 Sam 29:4
    This again has nothing whatsoever to do with the NT Satan. It just says that the Philistine commanders asked to have David sent back because they did not want him to turn against them and act as opponent (Heb. le’shatan) in battle.

    1 Kings 11:14
    This also has nothing to do with the NT Satan. It is talking about Hadad the Edomite, which Yahweh made an adversary or opponent (Heb. shatan) against Solomon

    Job 1-2
    This says that the Sons of God presented themselves before Yahweh, and the “adversary” presented himself with them. This implies the “adversary” is one of the Sons of God, again not the NT Satan. The same thing is repeated at the beginning of Job 2. This Son of God, whose job is being an adversary like a trial lawyer, is friendly enough with God and the two of them make a bet. Not the Satan of the NT.

    Zech. 3:1-2
    Here the high priest stands in front of the Angel of the Lord and the adversary (Heb. ha-shatan) stands at his right to accuse him, and Yahweh rebukes the adversary — and nothing more is said of him. This again just depicts the adversary accuse someone, and Yahweh thinks in this case he should not be accused. This “adversary” is no cosmic ruler of evil opposed to God as in the NT.

    So really none of the quotes you give support your contention. The NT Satan is a very late development, and that is why he is nowhere found in the OT as he is depicted in the NT.

  13. how grieving, its like having a million dollers in an old box and telling someone all they have to do is open it, yet they reason in themselves based on ther own experience that there is no way money in it…so they never open it…people spend their whole life securing their financial future for their “retirement” yet are content drawing their own conclusions on what lies on the otherside of death.
    please just for a second forget everyone that calls themselves a christian and all their wrongs, just cause people are off(yet claim to be spokes persons for God) doesnt mean you can hide behide their sin…dont decieve your selves… you will know and experience eternity with the absence of any light, any comfort, anything good because all those things came from our creator.
    jesus took the pain and paid the price for our sin, please consider this fact just between you and Him, ask him honestly if it and he are real.
    i speak to you, and weather u believe this or not…you WILL remember this pleading for you to turn to Christ with all regret that you rejected the only way 2 life eternal.
    and that is what is so grieving to me who has walked both roads… its real… dont kid yourself…it is reality.. if not why are you spending your time trying to prove to yourself and grasp at self justification that it is not or your way is the way?
    truth being relitive? even you know that just is just silly. for truth to be truth by definition means that there is A truth

  14. I have to think something dramatic happened to God somewhere between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Before, he was burning cities and flooding villages. Afterwards, he was a kind, loving Person that would condemn you to eternal flames if you did not believe in him.

    My point here is that these books were written by man, not God. We can never know what God was thinking. To presume so would be pure ignorance. I equate it to a ladybug knowing what a human thinks. Any ladybug that presumes to know what a human thinks is simply ignorant.

    Granted, God may have put the ideas in a person’s head to write the book, but how do we know if we got all of it (or any of it, for that matter) right?

    Just take a look at the (many) paradoxes within the Bible. Some will argue that the paradoxes are there because multiple people wrote the bible, or that it was translated incorrectly. This is exactly my point. The exact Word of God is nothing we can understand, and it is ignorant to assume we can.

    Heaven and Hell may just be metaphors for whatever happens after this life. I seriously doubt there is a place filled with eternal flames waiting for everyone. In fact, I seriously doubt it is anything we can currently understand at all. More likely, Hell is a re-envisioning of all your regrets, your guilt and your anguish.

    I think it is more important to understand the MESSAGE within the Bible. Jesus preached about love and humanism. I also believe he wanted everyone to practice religion how they saw fit, as long as they abided by the basic laws of love and humanism. Understand this and you will live more happily, and perhaps have a long (perhaps eternal?) and happy afterlife.

  15. I think it was Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote that we should not concern ourselves either with the furniture of heaven or with the temperature of hell. The implication (from my limited understanding) is that we have other fish to fry – as merganzerman points out, we can leave the other stuff to God.

    Nathan, I totally agree with you that the message in the Bible is the important thing to grasp and that doctrines (of things like heaven and hell) are secondary, but God wants us to know what we believe and why we believe it rather than to act on blind faith. In an ironic twist, that means that you shouldn’t accept what I just said, but rather that you ought to look to the best resource we have of what God intends.

    That resource happens to be the Bible. If you read it, you’ll see that Jesus distinctly did NOT preach humanism (there’s a difference between humanism and humanitarianism, and there’s also quite a gulf between humanitarianism and loving/serving one’s neighbor).

    Furthermore, it’s quite clear that he did not want “everyone to practice religion how they saw fit.” That’s what the Pharisees, for example, were doing, and he called them a brood of vipers.

    No, the various books of the Bible, and the Bible as a whole, clearly points to God’s sovereignty and to God, not humans, as the correct focus. Human self-focus is one of the root problems.

    God also doesn’t promise us that we’ll live happily. That’s one of the main things that – for me – point to the Truth of Christian discipleship. You’ll see a lot of empty promises of easy street- especially in some of the prominent forms of American christianity – but you won’t find Jesus offering that message. He tells us that people will spit on us because of Him, but that he will give us rest. Recognition of suffering and oppression, yet Hope.

    We just have to accept it.

    In Love,


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