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The Bad Place

Or, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Hell, But Were Afraid to Ask

Hi <<First Name>>,

What happens on the other side of the veil?

Biblical scholar J. Webb Mealy offers this detailed but accessible study of the Bible’s teaching on the final fate of the stubbornly unrepentant—what most people call “hell.” Many believers, former believers, and would-be believers have been wounded by the idea that if they believe in God, they must believe that God has a plan to torment, literally without end, those who do not love and obey him. They know inside that there simply has to be something wrong with that, but they don’t know how such a doctrine can be avoided.

This book, by an expert on the Book of Revelation, looks at every major final punishment passage, explaining each in context of the living stream of revelatory words and imagery of the OT and NT prophets, especially Isaiah and John. Properly understood, the final perdition passages threaten not literal everlasting torment, but unstoppable and irrevocable destruction. The surprising truth is that God’s grace follows, and calls out to, the unrepentant right up to the very last moment, the very last choice, as Isaiah prophesies:

I have no wrath in me—
Will someone bring me briers and thorns in battle?
I will meet them and and set them all on fire.
Instead, let them come to me for refuge!
Let them make peace with me,
yes, let them make peace with me!
—Isaiah. 27.4-5

The Bible has no story of a jilted creator who is endlessly and implacably enraged at those who do not love and obey him. On the contrary, the Bible’s story of the end of the unrepentant is a story of a God of grace and second chances, whose love for all is the very thing that forbids him from allowing the persistently harmful among his created ones to continue existing forever. They prove, in the last judgment (Isa. 26:10-11, 20-21; 27:1-5; 66:22-24; Heb. 10:26-27; Rev. 20:7-10, 13-15), that they are adamant in using the gifts and powers of life to do harm to their fellow created ones.

If you're ready for a uniquely biblical approach to redemption and hell, one that doesn't neatly fit into contemporary, polarized boxes, The Bad Place is for you. 

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About the Author

J. Webb Mealy is trained as a scholar of New Testament and biblical studies and discovered his passion for biblical translation as an undergraduate at Westmont College, where he translated the Gospel of John. After completing undergraduate degrees in Religious Studies and Philosophy at Westmont, an MA in Humanities at Western Kentucky University, and a PhD in biblical Studies (emphasis in New Testament) at the University of Sheffield in England, he became Senior Biblical Studies Editor at Sheffield Academic Press, which during his tenure was the leading academic biblical studies publishing house in the world. There he commissioned three series and numerous individual titles, and edited numerous articles and technical books involving biblical Greek. In 1995 he left Sheffield in order to participate in the development of an experimental Christian community in Oakland, California. Since then, Webb has focused on translating the New Testament, writing on theology and biblical intepretation, teaching Christian lay people, and building spiritual community.

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