Will those who have done greater evil on earth receive greater punishment in Hell?
I think so. Luke 12:47-48 seems to lend some justification to this view.
"That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."
And consider Matthew 11:21-24:
"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you."
Of course, there is no reason that anyone need be sent to Hell. Even the most vile sinner can be cleansed and forgiven through genuine repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:16, etc.).
But for those who reject Christ and persist in their sin and disobedience, there does seem to be a biblical basis for believing that there are gradations of punishment in hell—just as there are different levels of reward in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, etc.).
Hope this helps.
Shalom in Him,
© 2008 Probe Ministries
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
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