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Was Adam condemned to hell?

“And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’” (Genesis 2:16-17) 

We know that Adam disobeyed God’s direct command and ate of the tree, thereby condemning himself and all of his progeny to death, NOT eternal torment. 

“The soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4) But since the “father of lies,” Satan, contradicted God, “Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4), he had to devise a cover-up to hide the fact that the human race was actually dying. Throughout human history Satan has been very successful in perpetuating the lie that man does not really die but lives on in an afterlife—one of bliss or torment. So, the world’s religions have all carried on Satan’s lie in one form or another until our day. 

Where did the traditional concept of hell originate? Nowhere in the fifty three passages of the Old and New Testament where “hell” is used in the King James Version, is there support for the idea of torture (punishing) of people by a merciful Creator. 

Instead, the scriptures repeatedly support a reward of eternal life, or death, a one-time event for eternity (punishment). As the scriptures say, “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) not torture. 

The Western religions from Roman times through the Middle Ages borrowed the doctrine of eternal torture from the pagan philosophers. Certain writers of the Middle Ages had such tremendous influence on the Christian-professing world that their writings and teachings came to be generally accepted and believed, until it became the doctrine of the Christian-professing world. 

Our belief is that hell is not a scriptural concept and that salvation is available to all of humanity, including Adam, but that availability exists on two levels, heavenly and earthly. The subject of the two parts of salvation is basic and crucial for understanding God’s beautiful plan of the ransom for all. 

When Jesus died, he paid the price once for all, redeeming Adam and the entire human race. God has a place for everyone in either his heavenly or earthly kingdoms and Jesus’ sacrifice included all of humankind, regardless of when a person lived or whether he has accepted Jesus as his Savior now or not.

 “This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given at its proper time. (1 Timothy 2:3-6) 

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) 

These scriptures tell us that Jesus came to provide a ransom for Adam and all his offspring, some now, who are following Jesus and sacrificing their wills, and some later. Those who are sacrificing now have been called by God and look forward to a heavenly reward mentioned in John 13:33-36; 14:1-4; and 17:24. 

Although there is definitely a heavenly destination, it is only for a very select few who, if faithful, will have a change of nature from human to spiritual (Romans 6:5; 2 Corinthians 5:1-2; Revelation 3:20-21). 

However, the vast majority of humankind will be awakened on earth to a period of judgment, or decision, in which they will have an opportunity to willingly follow God’s laws of righteousness and perfect their characters. Jeremiah speaks of this future time. 

“No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) 

God’s purpose was not to have millions be born and die in this present evil world with no chance of salvation. Nor was it God’s purpose to destroy those who knew of Him, but sinned in this present life. When humankind is awakened on earth, there will be a period of judgment, the purpose of which will be to destroy sin and evil and bring everyone by his own free will to salvation. 

Although this will be a time of pruning, it will also be a time of great joy, in which everyone will understand God’s plan. (See Isaiah 11:1-9.) God does not wish to destroy those who have sinned in this present life, but to destroy sin and evil and bring everyone to salvation. 

Would Jesus instruct us to pray for a kingdom to come on earth if there wasn’t going to be one? (Matthew 6:6-13) 

Was Adam condemned to hell? Adam was condemned to death. Adam awaits his reawakening in the future Day of Judgment where everyone who has ever lived will also be awakened and granted the opportunity for everlasting life on earth. Hell is the grave or the sleep of death and not a place of eternal punishment. 

To learn more about hell listen to our series, “Is the Hell of the Christian Tradition Taught in the Bible?”

To learn more about God’s plan for mankind listen to our series, “Did God Make Heaven and Hell Humanity’s Destiny?”