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What Does the Bible Say About Heaven & Hell?

The only certainties in life are death, taxes, and the afterlife. What does the Bible say about heaven & hell, and how do we know where we’re going?

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You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “The only two certainties in life are death and taxes.” It’s certainly true that we all have these things in common. But have you considered the fact that there are two more certainties we can add to this statement? There is an afterlife, and we can choose where we spend it. 

Generally, we can all agree that we probably go somewhere when we die – but how do we know what happens when we die? Do we reincarnate as another person or animal? Do we go to heaven or hell? Do we spend some time in purgatory doing a final round of penance for our sins before we get to enjoy something better? 

The Bible is a reliable source of insight on what happens after we die. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about heaven and hell. 

What does the Bible say about heaven and hell? 

Picture the Bible like your ultimate life instruction manual. In fact, there’s a good chance you might’ve seen the playful acronym that calls the Bible Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. But this actually diminishes the true power and purpose of the Bible.  

The Bible is so much more than a basic manual for how to live life. It’s God’s Word, breathed into real people, given to us exactly as he intended it (2 Timothy 3:16).  

It teaches about God, his character, and his love for the world and all the people in it. And yes, it does teach us about the afterlife. Here’s what the Bible says about heaven and hell: 

What does the Bible say about hell? 

Jesus talked more about hell than he did about heaven while he was on earth. Here’s what we can determine about hell from the Bible: 

It’s a real place, and we’ll be aware of what’s happening to us. | Luke 16:23-24 

It’s a place of torment. | Luke 16:23 

It’s like being lost in pitch darkness. | Jude 1:13 

It’s eternal separation from God. | Matthew 7:23 

It’s a place of destruction. | Matthew 10:28 

There is no hope of escape. | Luke 16:26 

Hell is a place of eternal anguish and regret. | Matthew 13:50 

We should try to avoid hell at all costs. | Matthew 5:29 

God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell. | Ezekiel 18:23 

What does the Bible say about heaven? 

For all the torture and destruction of hell, the Bible paints a very different picture of heaven. Here’s what the Bible says about heaven: 

Heaven is a beautiful place. | Revelation 21:18-23 

God will be there with us. | Revelation 21:3 

We will be with other believers. | 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 

We will receive new bodies in heaven. | Philippians 3:20-21 

There is no suffering in heaven. | Revelation 21:14 

We will experience lasting contentment. | Psalm 16:11 

Heaven is eternal. | 2 Corinthians 4:17 

We can only go to heaven through Jesus. | John 3:36 

How do we get into heaven? 

Where you spend eternity isn’t up to fate – it's your call. You can choose to go to the presence of God in heaven, or be separated from him forever in hell. But here’s the catch: the cost of admission into heaven is a perfect life. That means no mistakes, no sins, no blemishes on your record. 

If that sounds impossible, you’re right. Yes, God requires perfection in order to get into heaven. And the fact is, none of us can meet that standard on our own. That’s why in the Old Testament, we see accounts of people presenting sacrifices to atone for the ways they’ve fallen short.  

But God knew this wasn’t a sustainable system, so he devised a plan. This plan is summed up in Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Jesus is the only person in history to have lived a fully blameless life. He’s the only one capable of earning a spot in heaven. But Jesus bore the punishment for the sins of all humankind when he died on the cross. In doing so, he covered our debt and made it possible for us to go to heaven.  

Like we just read, eternal life in heaven is a free gift. This gift is offered to us through Jesus – all we need to do is accept it. If you’re ready to accept God’s gift, to make the exchange with Jesus, let us know! We’d love to help you walk through that decision and celebrate with you! 


Interested in learning more about heaven? Discover the truth about whether or not we’ll live with our families in heaven

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