Jeremiah 7:31, Hell Never Crossed God’s Mind

They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.

//Today in Christian circles, a great debate rages about whether God plans to banish the majority of his creation to the fires of hell. Along these lines, here is a fascinating verse that I never paid any attention to, until Crystal St. Marie Lewis, in her little booklet about hell, happened to mention it.

The verse is about the tribe of Judah, which, says God, has done evil, setting up idols, and had even begun sacrificing sons and daughters in the fires of Ben Hinnom.

Do you know where Ben Hinnom is? It’s the valley of Gehenna, south of Jerusalem. It was a perpetually burning garbage dump in the first century, and had become a symbolic figure of speech by Jesus’ time. Today, some versions of the Bible translate the word Gehenna into hell, thinking the symbolism describes God casting sinners into fiery torment.

However, God says something very interesting to Jeremiah. Read today’s verse again. God says it never crossed his mind to cast anyone into the fires of Gehenna! Indeed, he condemns those who do such a thing. What are we to make of this?

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