Does Hell Exist and Is it Eternal?

Introduction

Flames of Hell

The question is sometime asked, “Does hell exist?” When answered in the positive, there is usually a follow up question the impugns the character of God.

“If God is a kind, loving, and merciful god, how is it possible that He could possibly allow man to suffer eternal condemnation in hell? How could He allow man to be separated from Him for eternity?” The best way to answer the question is by doing a word search on the word “hell” and other related words. Then we can draw conclusions based on the sum of these verses. Of course, each verse must be interpreted consistently in its context. Therefore, the goal of this article will be to collect and study some of the more conclusive and relevant passages regarding hell. Specifically we are going to look at the ones which relate to the question of hell’s existence and duration.

What Is “Hell”?

Most people are familiar with the idea of hell being a place of eternal punishment, reserved for the wicked. However, it is essential that we turn to the Bible to refine this idea, because the Bible truth is the ultimate reality.

Jesus spoke of the danger of “hell fire” (Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:43-48), which condemnation is depicted in the symbolic account of Judgment Day:
“And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12-15).

One of the many points gleaned from these passages is that hell, vividly illustrated as a “lake of fire”, is an undesirable, tortuous place to spend eternity. A second observation is that the basis for this judgment was how they lived their lives – “his works”. However, this passage does not speak of the duration of this punishment. Is it possible that this judgment is temporary? Is the condemnation eternal?

The Duration of Hell

Once again, we should turn to the pages of God’s message for us to learn the answers to our questions.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:41, 46).

“…in flaming fire,dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

Also, the account in Revelation speaks of the “lake of fire and brimstone” as being a place of eternal torment (Revelation 20:10). Although some of these verses speak of the fire being eternal or everlasting, other verses, such as Matthew 25:46, clearly speak of the punishment itself being eternal. Therefore, it seems that if condemned to hell, one’s judgment would be forever. A natural question would be to wonder if a kind and loving God could sentence any man to eternity in hell. Would God actually do this? Would He issue an eternal condemnation to hell and everlasting separation from Him?

The Possibility of Eternity in Hell

Although it seems clear that God has constructed a place of eternal torment and punishment, the question may yet arise, “Is it possible that God would actually condemn someone to hell?” The answer is provided in the verses that we have already observed. Jesus warned of the danger of “hell fire” (Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:43-48). One necessary inference is; there must be a real possibility each of us could be condemned to hell, else there is no real danger. Would God make empty threats? Would a divine and loving Father warn of things that pose no danger? Clearly, No! The danger is real, unless we are willing to second-guess everything that Jesus said, including the promise of heaven (John 14:2-3).

Sadly, not only does the Bible outline the possibility of condemnation in hell, but it further states that the majority of people will end up there!
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Once we reach the unseen realm of the dead, there is no way to “cross sides”. In fact, the Bible symbolically speaks of a “great gulf” that separates the two realms of the dead (Luke 16:19-31). After we die, the next fate-determining event is judgment day (Hebrews 9:27). And as we have previously seen, that judgment is final and the majority of people will find themselves condemned.

Yet someone may ask, “But, how can God let this happen? How can He be a kind and loving god and let any member of His creation spend eternity in hell?”

A Kind and Loving God

It is not God’s wish for anyone of his creation to be lost because of their sins:
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Elsewhere, we are told that the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering is leading us to repentance (Romans 2:4) . Therefore, God is kind, loving, and does not want anyone to be perish. Consequently, He is diligently seeking the repentance of all of mankind over all time. Sadly, as we have already seen (Matthew 7:13-14), many have and will reject His gracious opportunity to repent and be forgiven.

“The LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, until there was no remedy” (2 Chronicles 36:15-16).

Despite our desires and the will of society that such a judgment scene not occur, we cannot change it. And we should we ignore that a “separation” will occur upon that day (Matthew 25:31-46). This division of all people will be based upon our actions (2 Corinthians 5:10). On that day, the Lord will bless many with eternal life in heaven with God. But He will also reward many more with eternity in hell (Matthew 25:31-46).

As a kind and loving God, He has desperately tried to help mankind repent. But as a just God, He cannot allow willfully, disobedient, and unrepentant people to populate His holy abode. Eventually, His mercy reaches a limit, until there is no longer a remedy – by man’s choice.

Conclusion

The idea of hell is a powerful motivating force that encourages us to obey God. It is not the most noble motivation. However, it reaches the most selfish heart and makes it receptive to the high and transcendent motivations of love and gratitude. We should never deceive ourselves into believing the common notion that we are in no danger of “hell fire”. As we have seen, hell is a real danger and an eternal punishment that awaits the disobedient. Sadly, many people will find themselves there. Dear reader, please do not let this fate befall you. Continue your quest for truth and learn God’s will for you, so that you may be saved from hell.

  • For further study: Please read more passages regarding the danger and duration of hell:
  • Proverbs 27:20
  • Matthew 10:28
  • Mark 3:29
  • 2 Peter 2:4, 17
  • Jude 6-13

Grace! Is It Possible To Fall

Most of our friends in the religious community want to tell us that when God decides to bestow His grace upon us, we have no choice in the matter. And once a man has entered God’s favor (been saved), his continuing to receive God’s grace is not conditional at all upon man’s teaching, actions or will. Article 9 of the Methodist Discipline states, “Justification by faith alone is a most wholesome doctrine and full of comfort.” I can see where “faith alone” would be a very comforting idea, can’t you? If that were true, you wouldn’t have to worry about anything you might do. In fact, it would leave you the option of doing anything you might desire. Things such as cheating, lying, committing sexual immorality (and all that it implies) or even murder might be engaged in without fear of any repercussions from God.

God’s Grace is Conditional

We see conditions placed on man’s continued salvation all the way through the Bible. In 2 Peter 1:10, Peter says, “…for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble…” In this verse never falling is conditioned by the word “as long as you practice.”

It seems somewhat strange that people believe this, in that we have so much evidence in the Bible, of God placing conditions on mankind. In Gen. 2:16-17 God told Adam, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” Is this not a command from God that Adam and Eve were required to keep? Because they transgressed that command (sinned), Adam (and Eve) were driven out of the garden and man was separated from God.

Grace must be Guarded

In Acts 8:13 Simon obeyed the gospel (called gospel of God’s grace in Acts 20:24). Yet after entering into a saved state he fell into sin as to be (1) doomed to parish, (2) having a heart not right with God, (3) needing to repent, (4) being guilty of wickedness, (5) poisoned by bitterness and (6) bound by iniquity. Some will tell us that he was not really saved, but the scriptures do not support such statements. Here is a man who entered the grace of God then turned to his own will and committed sin, refusing to abide by the conditions of the Lord and thus falling from grace. Either that, or with all the things mentioned here against him, he still goes to heaven. But in Revelation 21:27 we read, “nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it.” That means sin cannot enter heaven.

Also in Heb. 6:4-6 we read, “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.” The writer here is speaking to those who need to go beyond the first principles of Christ (Heb. 5:12-14). It could not be the alien sinner since the sinner needs to obey the first principles not go beyond them. The writer is speaking to those (1) once enlightened, (2) who have tasted the heavenly gift, (3) partook of the Holy Spirit and (4) tasted the good word of God. Not one of these can apply to the alien sinner because the alien sinner has not tasted nor partaken of any of these and certainly not been enlightened, as the Bible throughout speaks of his state as “darkness”. Instead this is describing the child of God who has not born the proper fruits, with the warning he can fall away.

Letters are Addressed to Saved

Peter addressed his second letter to those who have already obtained faith of the same value (just as strong) as the apostles (2 Pet. 1:1). Would I be wrong in assuming that they were saved? After saying that they can pursue the course that will cause them to never fall (2 Pet. 2:10), he then points out that they can be “carried away by the error of unprincipled men” (2 Pet. 3:17). Surely it is clear that remaining in God’s favor (grace) is conditioned on continued obedience to Him. Either these spoken of could fall and be lost or Heaven will have some who have left faithfulness and embraced the error of the wicked. God knew that man would attempt to tamper with His will, so he left us clear statements to disprove these human theories. Read 1 Tim. 4:1-2 and Gal. 5:4.

John 10:28-29 reads, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” Some will raise the question, “doesn’t this prove that one cannot fall?” The forces of error will use many passages to try and lull people into security. What is said in John 10:28-29 is true; no man, no force, not even Satan himself, can forcibly remove a child of God from God’s care. No one who hears the voice of the Lord and follows Him is going to fall. And no power can remove such from God’s hand. But in the points, we have already made God’s Word speaks of those who decide to refuse to hear, refuse to follow, and willfully persist in entering a sinful way. No one snatched them from the Lord’s hand: they willfully departed. There is no doubt that one who abides by the conditions of God is enjoying God’s grace and will be saved eternally. Conversely one who decides to not continue in God’s Word will fall from grace (favor) and be eternally lost. Remember Peter’s admonition: “as long as you practice these things.”

Also See:

HOMOSEXUALS AND LESBIANS:

Sanctified or Sinners?

by Ted J. Clarke

Introduction

On the ABC Television Network’s ‘Turning Point,’ November 7, 1996, Elizabeth Vargas did a report entitled, “Same Sex Marriages, For Better of For Worse?” Toward the end of the piece an Episcopal priest led a procession carrying a cross. There were two men hand in hand, and two women also walking hand in hand. The priest said a ceremony of “union” for the two men and the two women. As the men looked at each other and the two women did the same, in unison they repeated the words, “I will be your partner, your lover, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” These people claim that the Bible does not condemn same sex relationships and marriages, that it only speaks out against homosexual and lesbian relationships when they are “abusive,” not when they are committed monogamous relationships. When two homosexual men or two lesbian women are in such relationships, we are told, God accepts them completely and so should we. Does the Bible teach that God approves of these relationships? It does not!

When Alfred Kinsey did his infamous research on the sexual habits of the human male, he concluded that 10% of the population were homosexual. Kinsey’s study is known to be severely flawed, since part of his sampling used men in prison where normal sexual relations of men with women were not an option. The National Opinion Research Center says that its surveys between 1989-1992 showed 2.8% of the men surveyed were exclusively homosexual and 2.5% of the women were exclusively lesbian. The National Survey of Men reported that only 1.1% had been exclusively homosexual in the previous year. This one to three percent is well below Kinsey’s erroneous data on the subject.

However, it is certainly true that these small percentages are vocally loud! They have influenced the President to implement a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military; they have influenced large corporations like AT&T and Disney to give them the same benefits as legally married men and women; they have influenced some state legislatures to give them preferential treatment, claiming to be a minority which is discriminated against like blacks and women. Of course, one cannot help being born black or a woman, but it has not been proven that one cannot help being homosexual or lesbian. How do you think the government or these corporations would respond to me (a white male), if I went to them and said, “I want you to consider me as a black woman. I just can’t help but think of myself as a black woman and I want all the minority rights you would give to her.”? Well, they would usher me right to the nearest exit, and rightly so. Saying I feel black and feel like a woman wouldn’t make me a black woman. Neither does someone saying he or she feels like loving someone of the same sex mean that God made them that way. In fact, this is a watershed as to whether or not one believes the Bible, since it condemns all homosexual/lesbian relationships; and it will determine whether or not the God of the Bible is truly the God He claims to be. If homosexuals cannot help being what they are (they claim God made them that way), but yet the Bible condemns homosexuality and says they will be eternally lost, then God is not a just God and the Bible is not worth following.

Is There A “Gay” Gene?

One researcher named Simon LeVay, looking into the possibility of being “born gay, pointed in his studies to a section of the brain in homosexuals which seemed to be smaller in “gays” than in heterosexual men. Since this area of the brain was known to house the sexual stimulus of a man toward a woman, this researcher decided this indicated some people are born to be homosexuals. However, other scientists said, “Wait a minute.”‘ Perhaps this area of the brain is smaller, not because it was so at birth, but because this part of the brain was not used as intended, in developing social relationships with women. God’s law in all creation is use it or lose it. Other parts of the brain show similar types of shrinkage from non-use, so this claim of LeVay does not prove homosexuals are born that way.

Another claim for homosexuals being “born” that way comes from some work done by J. Michael Bailey and Richard C. Rillard. These men said they discovered that 52% of identical twin brothers are both gay, while only 22% of non-twin brothers are gay. This, we are told, means that if homosexuality has a genetic basis, many of the second twins should also be gay.” But again, “Wait a minute.”‘ If homosexuality has a genetic basis and identical twins have identical genetic makeup (and it is identical), then 100% of the second twins should be gay, not just 52%. If nearly half are not gay then there is no genetic factor making someone gay. The fact that there is an unusual closeness between most twins, along with other environmental and developmental factors, could account for the high percentage of gay identical twins. Don’t blame God. Additionally, if being homosexual was genetic, then one could not change that any more than one could make his blue eyes brown or his black skin yellow. Yet many who have been practicing homosexuals or lesbians have changed their sexual orientation to heterosexuality, simply by their own will to do so. Homosexuality is “want to,” not “have to.”

Old Testament Condemnation of Homosexuality

Early in Scripture the Bible discusses the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 13:13, saying, “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly.” Before going further, remember the natural state in which God created mankind “male and female,” telling them to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [literally=fill] the earth” (Genesis 1:27-28). It took a male and female to multiply, and it still does today, the natural way God created and intended for all time. The account is expanded in Genesis 2:18-24 as it discusses the “one flesh” relationship of the man and woman. Trying to become one flesh in any other way is unnatural and sinful.

Genesis, chapter 19, clearly condemns homosexuality. The angels who came in the “form” of men to rescue Lot before God destroyed Sodom, were sought out by the men of Sodom, who did not know that they were heavenly messengers. Lot persuaded the angels not to stay in the street that night, aware that the men of Sodom would sexually attack them. Even in Lot’s own house the men of Sodom came to take them out of Lot’s care, that they might “know them” (Genesis 19:1-5). The word for “know” is a common Hebrew word used hundreds of times in the Old Testament for “to get to know, become familiar with.” However, there are times when it has a definite sexual connotation, as it does here. It is used of Adam’s sexual relations with Eve in Genesis 4:1, 25, and of Cain with his wife (4:17). This use of “knowing” someone sexually was also common in the language of the New Testament. Joseph “knew not” Mary until alter Jesus was born (Matthew 1:25). We use the word “know” in the same sense today, when we speak of carnal knowledge, meaning things sexual.

The fact that Lot offered his virgin daughters to these Sodomite men illustrates the extreme vulgarity with which Lot viewed this sin. The men rejected Lot’s offer, showing the depravity of mind they possessed (Genesis 19:7-9). We do not claim that Lot was right in what he did. Not at all! He had placed himself in a wicked environment and had stayed in that area to maintain his wealth, in spite of the horrible sins of the people which vexed his own soul (2 Peter 2:6-7). He was now desperate to show the Lord his concern for the heavenly messengers. Jude 7 answers the argument of some homosexuals that Sodom’s sin was simply being “inhospitable.” Jude writes, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. “The word “fornication” means all illicit sex, specifically “going after strange flesh,” here meaning the unnatural desire of men to have sex with other men.

Leviticus 20:13 clearly states, “If a man also lie with mankind (other men), as he lieth with a woman, both of them hath committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Homosexuals who seek God’s approval for their wicked deeds say this verse merely prohibits homosexual rape, not a loving relationship between two consenting members of the same sex. However, “both, they, them” have committed an abomination worthy of death under Old Testament law. This is not speaking of forced rape, but mutually consensual sex. That is why “both” were condemned! What about verse 15 which says, “And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.” Does that mean this verse is a law against raping a beast? If the man had a “loving relationship” with the beast, would that be all right? Ridiculous? Yes, and so is the idea that the Lord was only prohibiting homosexual rape. Rape is prohibited, both in Leviticus 18 and chapter 20, and distinctions are made between rape and homosexuality. Just as rape is wrong in every case and sex with animals is wrong in every case, so it is wrong in every case for a man to lie with another man, or a woman to lie with another woman. It is an “abomination!” (Leviticus 18:22)

New Testament Condemnation of Homosexuality

In discussing the horrible sins of the Gentile world, Paul did not neglect homosexual and lesbian activities. Speaking of these sexual sins in Romans 1:24-27, Paul noted that “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet [fitting].” These acts of sexual immorality did not come from minds which God made to be that way or being born that way, but “through the lusts of their own hearts.” Notice also that Paul is not describing homosexual rape, but all homosexuality! These men were not raping one another, they were “burn[ing] in their lust one toward another.” This is mutual reciprocal lust, not rape. Men do not have any God given inclination nor right to burn in lust for other men, nor women for women. Such is “uncleanness, unnatural, and unseemly.”

First Corinthians 6:9-11 also speaks out against homosexuality (and lesbianism) when it says, ‘Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind… shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Sexual sins will keep one from heaven, whether fornication, adultery, or homosexuality. The “effeminate” are men who “play” the more passive role of a woman in a homosexual relationship, while the “abusers of themselves with mankind” are the more active aggressors “playing” the role of a man. I say “playing” these roles because neither is truly being what God created them to be. A homosexual man may “play” the role of the woman, but he is not a woman. The homosexual man only “plays” the role as a man, because he is unnaturally making love to another man and that is not what God created man to do sexually. Both will be lost unless they repent through faith in Christ and obey the gospel. After naming an entire list of sins, sexual and otherwise, Paul said of the Corinthians, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). While some of the Corinthians had been homosexuals, they had to quit practicing those acts when they became Christians, just like the thieves had to quit stealing and the drunkards had to quit drinking. If they did not, they could not enter God’s kingdom, receiving forgiveness of sins.

Conclusion

In addition to sexual perversion, homosexuals and lesbians who strangely seek to have the approval of God for their abominations commit another type of perversion. They pervert the text of the Scriptures to justify their perverted acts of sex. Believers in the Bible and the God of the Bible cannot surrender what the Scriptures teach on this topic without removing all hope for the salvation of homosexuals and lesbians. Unless they are taught the truth on these matters and give up these ungodly sexual acts; coming to God through faith in Christ (Hebrews 11:6), repenting from past sins (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized into Christ to have their sins washed away (Acts 2:38; 22:16), they will not, they cannot be saved!

While the Bible shows the unnatural status of homosexuality, it is a sin no greater than many others which will keep us from heaven. Other sexual sins will also keep us out of the kingdom. To speak out against homosexuality is no worse than speaking out against idolatry, stealing, lying, adultery, etc. One is not being homophobic (afraid of homosexuals) when one objects to their often-obscene public behavior and tries to teach them the truth of the gospel, encouraging them to repent and change their ways. Still, this is not just another type of illicit sexual activity; it changes the very nature which God created in us into something so unnatural that it cannot fulfill the purpose for which God originally made us male and female and gave the institution of marriage (Genesis 1 & 2). It can destroy souls, families, and nations. Love the souls of homosexuals and seek to convert them to Christ, but do not surrender one particle of biblical truth in your approach to them. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), wielding the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

Gambling (Part 1)

This article was written by a good friend and faithful gospel preacher (J. Clyde Strickland) several years ago. It is as apropos today as it was when first written.
That GAMBLING is very widespread must be admitted by all. Will Rogers is reported to have said, “There is a wide streak in nearly every American man and woman, a fat streak, fat as a prize hog’s bacon’ (WIN OR LOSE, by Stephen Longstreet, Introduction, p. IX). But why do people gamble? And is there anything wrong with gambling? Is it a sin to gamble? These are questions, along with others; I shall endeavor to answer in this article.
The Practice of gambling in its many forms dates back to ancient times. Artifacts of gambling paraphernalia have been discovered in ancient China, India, and in Egypt. For example, ivory dice which date back to 1500 years before Christ were found in the city of Thebes, an ancient city of Boeotia, a region located in central Greece, and gambling is mentioned in still older tablets found in the pyramid of Cheops in Egypt (AMERICANA ENCYCLOPEDIA, vol. 12. p. 264, 1988 ed). Gambling is found in countries and societies from the most civilized to the most primitive; and it is engaged in by the rich and best educated, the middle class, and by the very poor. America, our beloved country, has been called “The gamblingest nation that ever existed,” a dubious honor which no right-thinking people would ever covet.
Definition
Gambling is defined as: “vt. 1. To play a game of chance for money or other stakes on an uncertain outcome (as of horse race or an athletic game); 2. To stake something of value on an uncertain event or contingency. Vt. 1. To risk or lose by gambling; wager, bet (“They’ve all been gambled and lost by her husband this morning”); 2. To expose (something of value) to risk or hazard in hope of advantage or gain” (WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY). Other sources give approximately the same definition. For example, the ENCYCLOPEDIA AMERICANA gives the following: “Gambling generally is defined as the voluntary risking of a sum of money called the stake, wager, or bet, on the outcome of a game or other event” (1988 ed., vol. 12, p. 264). Then too, gambling involves each participant in an effort to take from the other that which he has, or has wagered, without his giving anything in return–an effort to obtain something for nothing.
Chance, Risk, Gambling
Many have argued than many of the things we do, and maybe most things, involve gambling. It is contended that the farmer gambles against the elements, rain, hail, drought, insects, etc., every time he plants seed in his effort to make a crop; that we gamble against other drivers whenever we drive our cars on the highway, and that when we go to bed at night, there is a chance, a risk, and therefore, we gamble that we shall see tomorrow’s sun. But look again at the definition given above for gambling. Gambling is not just a chance; gambling is a wager, a stake, or a bet on a chance! It is an effort to get something of value (money, property, or service) without giving the equivalent in return.
The farmer plants and cultivates his crops; he labors for that which he receives. True, his wages received for his labors sometimes may be small, but he didn’t gamble. Also, a risk is taken when we drive our cars out on the highways, a necessary risk, but in the light of the definition above, it is not gambling. And there is a chance that something could happen (heart attack, etc.) which could prevent our seeing another day. These are but chances we have to take, necessary risk, but do not involve gambling. If we should make a bet or wager against these risks, then we would be gambling. Further, in these risks one does not take to himself; money or property (possessions) which belong to the other. Thus, gambling is not involved.
Why People Gamble
It may seem strange for one who has never gambled to undertake to tell why people gamble, yet, gamblers have given their reasons as to why they gambled. I can report their reasons for gambling.

  1.  Some gamble in the hope of obtaining money without having to work for it–the love of gain without labor! And what started out on this basis for many resulted in their losing great amounts of money and their property.
  2. These losses then gave reason for their continued gambling: Efforts to recoup their losses, thinking: “I just had a streak of bad luck, but I can win it all back!” Many never do.
  3. Some gamble for the thrill it gives them. The thrill of pulling the lever and hitting the jackpot; of making the bet and winning the hand at cards; guessing the number on which your put will land on the roulette wheel, or at some other game. “The thrill of the game brings many back to the table!”
  4. Addiction: Just as experimenting with drugs leads to addition, so the thrill of gambling leads to addiction. One becomes a “compulsive gambler.” And regardless of the number of losses and debts incurred, he returns to the table again and again. In order to learn gambling is addictive, one need only read the testimony of doctors who have treated gamblers for their addiction to gambling. Also, there is an organization called GAMBLERS ANONYMOUS which was established just to treat those addicted to gambling in much the same way that ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS endeavors to treat the alcoholic.

In light of all this, would one still argue there is nothing wrong with gambling?
The gambler is a perpetual optimist. He is just certain that with the next roll of the dice, the next pull of the lever, the next spin of the wheel, or the next hand of cards will win for him the jackpot. The sad thing is, it rarely ever happens that way. It is reported that for the professional gambler, when his year’s losses are totaled he ends up in the minus column with a deficit of from ten to twenty thousand dollars, and if he is not otherwise wealthy, banks will not lend him money. The gambler is a bad risk.
(To be continued)