Questions on Hell and Satan

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Is hell an actual, physical place or just a state of being, as a certain pastor claims?

The Bible describes hell as real.  Rather than being a geographical location that people can point to, theologians refer to hell as a “somewhere.”  It is where people are forsaken by God and punished for their sins forever. With no disrespect to your question by any means, the words of Chrysostom in the fourth century Continued.

How can I show from Scriptures that hell is forever (eternal)? A friend I met insists God loves all people and wants them to be saved; that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world; and that if some spend eternity in hell, Jesus would not be an effectual Savior of all people.

Before proving scripturally that hell is forever, it’s wise to make sure your friend knows where you agree with him. When he says God is love, and that God loves all and desires all people be saved, he is correctly summarizing 1 John 4:16, John 3:16 and 1 Tim. 2:4. We not only agree that Continued.

How do you explain to someone the idea of hell who doesn't believe in it?

To explain the doctrine of hell you need to point people to the passages in the Bible that speak about hell. It is described as a place of torment that will never end, prepared for the devil and his angels. There unbelievers will spend eternity. (Isaiah 64:24, Matthew 3:12, Matthew 13:42, Matthew 25:41, Matthew 5:29-30, Continued.

I'm wondering about the extent of the Devil's power to tempt us. I heard once that Satan caused Judas to despair over his sins. Wouldn't Satan have to enter a person's thought process to tempt the person to despair? Could you elaborate on Satan's power/ability to manipulate our thoughts and enter our minds to tempt us in our areas of weakness. Thanks!

There is so much we don’t know about the spirit world of angels and demons and how it all works. All we can do is look at what Scripture reveals to us. It is true that Satan does not have the ability to read our thoughts the way God does. He is not all-knowing. However, Continued.

Who is Satan?

Have you ever seen the Loch Ness Monster? How about Sasquatch or Big Foot? These are only a few of the imaginary creatures we hear about. Their “sightings” make front page news in the tabloids. There is a city in Northern Wisconsin that calls itself “The Home of the Hodag.” According to Eugene Sheperd, who Continued.

Is it possible for a person actually to make a deal with the devil?

The concept of making a deal with the devil or selling one’s soul to Satan in exchange for something is rooted in secular literature and folktales, but has no Bible basis. Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s fictional Dr. Faustus made such a deal with the devil. Other fictional stories are based on that premise, notably short stories Continued.

I am baptized, confirmed and an active member of WELS and want to know how would a Christian such as myself be prepared to never follow or worship this beast as told in book of Revelation? Certainly this beast and its image will be masqueraded and I'm not certain I would know it if I saw it. I do not want to fall victim to it nor worship it. Thank you!

Revelation chapter 13 speaks of two beasts. There is a beast that John saw “coming out of the sea” (verse 1) and a beast that the apostle saw “coming out of the earth” (verse 11).  Lutheran commentators have seen the first beast representing secular governments that are anti-Christian in nature, being in league with Satan.  Continued.

A friend was abused sexually as a child by both male and female. Now it seems that there are memories beginning to surface of satanic ritual abuse. My friend feels like his 'soul has been sucked out of him.' He feels like he is possessed. He does attend church and is in therapy with a wonderful therapist who deals with severe trauma. I remind my friend of his baptism and the love his Savior has for him. How does he get over the feeling of being 'soul-less?'

It is good that your friend is receiving the kind of help you described.  Hopefully he is seeing a Christian therapist who can offer biblical guidance.  And hopefully the church he is attending is rock-solid in its teachings, and its pastor can provide counseling as he is able. What you can do is remind your Continued.

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