Q. In your article entitled “Saved From The Worst But Kept From The Best” you said, “I have no problem with there being a certain amount of inequality in the Kingdom.” I heard one Bible teacher say, “if you believe there are levels in Heaven, you have to consider that there are levels in Hell.” My question is, do you believe in this rationale?
A. I don’t accept the rationale that Hell has to be a reverse image of heaven beyond the basic distinctions that believers go to Heaven and unbelievers go to Hell, and both are eternal destinies.
The Bible supports the idea that beyond salvation, which every believer receives, there are additional rewards available to Church believers who qualify. The Lord also encouraged us to store up treasure in Heaven (Matt. 6:19-21), and our knowledge of human nature tells us some will store up more than others.
But the only similar statement for unbelievers is that they’ll be judged according to their works (Rev. 20:12-13). The only works God requires is belief in the Son (John 6:28-29). Even if He does consider other works of unbelievers, would He not make His judgment on the basis of their motives like He does with believers? What is the motive behind the good works of an unbeliever? It’s certainly not pleasing God or expressing gratitude to Him. Even for believers, good works done with impure motives will be burned up in the fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15). Would it not be the same for unbelievers? To me the whole idea of levels in Hell is an attempt to make the ways of God compatible with human ideals.