When was Hell created?

Question
When was Hell created?
Answer
The Bible does not tell us when Hell was created. While the Bible states that Hell was made for the Devil and his angels (Greek, aggelos, meaning, "sent ones") it does not specify a particular time (Matt 25:41).

"O Day Star" (Isa 14:12), fell and was cast out of heaven. While literally this refers to a king in Babylon (Isa 14:3-4), most theologians also agree that it also metaphorically refers to the fall of Satan ("the evil one" [Matt 13:19], "the ruler of this world" [John 12:31], "the god of this world" [2 Cor 4:4], and "the prince of the power of the air" [Eph 2:2]) from Heaven (Luke 10:18; 2 Cor 11:14; Rev 12:7-9; cf. 2 Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6). While Isaiah 14:1-27 is placed within the framework of "time" and "space," we know that God is not constrained by either (Isa 57:15; cf. Gen 1:1; Psa 90:2; Rev 1:8). Since the Devil existed before the creation of this world (Job 38:7; cf. Luke 10:18; John 8:44; Rev 12:7-9) - then Hell could have been created outside of time, as we know it. As previously stated though, we don't know the time.

What we do know is that Hell is eternal (continuous, day and night [Rev 20:10], forever and ever [Rev 14:11]) in nature. It is a place of separation from God (Matt 25:41). This does not mean that God is not omnipresent (cf. Job 26:6; Psa 139:7-8; Prov 15:11; Amos 9:2), but only that God's love, mercy, grace, kindness, compassion, and his common grace, etc. is not present in Hell.

Hell is also a place of conscious eternal punishment (Matt 25:41, 46). If you don't know Christ, then

if you did the crime,
you will do eternal time

As a former Homicide Detective, I have seen lots of crime scenes; blood, guts, beheadings, mutilations, splattered brains, and the gross slice and dice of complete autopsies, but nothing compares to what we read concerning Hell. Hell is a horrible place; it is described by such words as "unquenchable fire" (Matt 3:12), "destruction" (Matt 7:13), "outer darkness" (Matt 8:12), "condemnation" (Matt 12:36-37), of being "burned by fire" (Matt 13:40), a "fiery furnace" (Matt 13:42), an "eternal fire" (Matt 18:8), "hell of fire" (Matt 18:9), "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt 25:30), "eternal punishment" (Matt 25:46), "where their worm does not die" (Mark 9:48; Isa 66:24), "flaming fire, inflicting vengeance" (2 Thess 1:8), "the punishment of eternal destruction" (2 Thess 1:9), separation from "the presence of the Lord" (2 Thess 1:9), "a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries" (Heb 10:27), "a punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7), "the gloom of utter darkness" (Jude 1:13), a place eternally "reserved" or watched over (Jude 1:13), "the bottomless pit" (Rev 9:1-2), a place of "torment with fire and sulfur" (Rev 14:10), "smoke of torment" (Rev 14:11), "no rest" (Rev 14:11), "the lake of fire that burns with sulfur" (Rev 19:20), a place of "torment day and night forever and ever" (Rev 20:10), and "the lake of fire" (Rev 20:14-15).

As we have seen, Scripture describes Hell in the most awful language imaginable. Needless to say the final wrath of God will consist of horrible indescribable pain(s) that will last forever and ever. No matter if we interpret the above images "literally" or "metaphorically" they bring dread, not relief, to the soul. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10:31; cf. Matt 10:28; Heb 10:29).

As recorded in A Puritan Golden Treasury, Thomas Watson once said:

The torments of hell abide forever ... If all the earth and sea were sand, and every thousandth year a bird should come, and take away one grain of this sand, it would be a long time ere that vast heap of sand were emptied; yet, if after all that time the damned may come out of hell, there were some hope; but this word EVER breaks the heart.

Related Topics:

An Eternal Hell is for Real - The Heresy of Annihilationism?
Annihilationism Error: Hebrew Word Definition Charts
Annihilationism Error: Greek Word Definition Charts
How can God exact infinite punishment for a finite sin?
Is Purgatory Biblical?
What is Reprobation?
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God
A Gospel Summary

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).