Etymology of Hell

does hell really exist Sheol is the original Hebrew word in the Bible. This word was replaced with Hades when it was translated into Greek. Then replaced with Hell when translated into English.

Sheol means grave or common grave in Hebrew (1). It is not the same as the modern meaning of hell. Hades is actually the name of a Greek god, the god of the underworld. All souls went to Hades after death. Hades had different segments depending on how you lived your life.

When the Bible was translated into English, the word “hell” was used instead of “sheol.” The odd thing is, 28 times (depending on the version) the word “sheol” appeared, it was translated into English as “grave” (1). Why wasn’t it translated every time as grave is a mystery. Seemingly random, the word “hell” is used and also “pit.”

There are so many versions of the English Bible, it’s flat out ridiculous and confusing. Sometimes hell is used, sometimes it isn’t. Here’s an example:

Deuteronomy 32:22 (KJV) – For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Deuteronomy 32:22 (NIV) – For a fire will be kindled by my wrath, one that burns down to the realm of the dead belowIt will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains.

This is the silliness that is the English Bible. The English Bibe in no way shape or form is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) as it claims. You could argue that the Hebrew Bible is God-breathed, the English Bibles are loose translations. A lot has been lost in translation.

No Hell…Yet

painting of hellThe way Christians teach hell, the fiery place where your soul will reside for eternity, is not taught in Jewish scripture. The Tanakh does not talk about life after death much at all. It was not a big part of their religion, but was later “developed.”

There was no punishment after death in the Jewish scriptures nor was there an evil guy named the Devil. All disastrous acts were claimed by God himself. After all, God is all-powerful and the creator of everything. Of course, God is responsible for disasters.

God will tell you himself:

Isaiah 45:7 – I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord, do all these things.

Amos 3:6 – When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?

When Cain killed Able, why did God not send him to hell? When Adam and Eve started eating apples and shit, why didn’t they go to hell?

In the Old Testament, people were punished on earth. God would force them to eat their kids or whatever else his mood dictated that day.

Leviticus 26:29You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.

That was how God controlled his people. He didn’t scare them into worshiping him by claiming they’ll burn in hell forever, he wreaked havoc on their lives on earth.

If someone doesn’t want to worship you, so you smite their whole family until they do, that would be ruling by fear, obviously.

It wasn’t like God just loved his creation harder until they started loving him back. Nope, God was too jealous for all that sweet shit. God scared people until they obeyed him. This is why Christianity is a fear-based religion.

Exodus 20:5I, theLord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.

Well, that’s fucked up.

Okay, back to the devil. So the only way that the devil eventually came into existence is if he was created. Because it’s quite clear that there was no Devil in the beginning. There was only God, the author of good and evil. God handled all of the dirty work himself. The question is, did God create the Devil or did man?

The Truth About Hell

Let’s look and see what others have to say about who invented hell. Keep in mind that eternal damnation is not mentioned in the Jewish scriptures.

It’s the new testament, that was put together by clergymen and politicians, that introduced the idea of a bottomless burning pit of eternal damnation.

Now that we have examined the origins of the word “hell” and looked at the opinions of a couple of historians, have you come to a conclusion on whether you think hell is real or not?

Drop a comment below and let me know what you think!


  1. Graves, Kersey, and Marshall L. Gauvin. The Biography of SatanChicago, IL: Research Associates School Times Publications, 2000. Print.