‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…"
Do I detect a twinge of panic in the goats’ reply?
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
Not so sure these folk want to experience the eternal fire…
You might be right, but since it would be inconvenient to surrender such a nice little argument, I shall mount a spirited defense.
Hades (the place of the dead) lies beneath the earth, just as heaven (the place of the living) lies above, somewhere beyond the sapphire Sky. The earth herself lies precariously in-between celestial light above and satanic darkness below, resting on unfathomable pillars in the midst of the primeval sea. This sea is restless, formless, void, dark, chaotic, empty of God’s light and life. It is uncreation, an evil space where death reigns, the haunt of the chaos monster, the Dragon of old, teeming with its demonic offspring. The creative power of God has been pouring into this darkness since the second day of creation, wresting order from chaos.
As in the beginning of the Age of Days, so too in the end. God speaks a mighty word into the chaos. Christ is that word. Christ descends into deepest darkness, taking with him the light and life of God, transforming the chaotic sea into a sea of glass, glowing from within. The Dragon is destroyed. Isaiah even suggests we will dine on Dragon flesh at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.
This is the mythological context in which we’re told “Christ holds the keys to death and hades”. To me it promises much more than a general resurrection, but the utter victory of the good God over evil, the complete vindication of his wisdom in creating the world.
"Then I heard every created being in heaven and on earth and under the earth (Hades) and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”