I’ve been getting asked about Sheol and the afterlife a lot recently, so I thought I’d return briefly to the topic. (I had blogged about this in relation to ghosts in the OT). Specifically, here is the question: does the OT contain the idea of either a blissful afterlife or eternal punishment — as opposed to just teaching that we go to the grave or “realm of the dead” without respect to either “heaven” or “hell”? It seems to be a favorite web question aimed at making people think the two testaments of the Bible disagree.
I’d like readers to download this file for consideration. It is all the occurrences of the word “Sheol” in the OT and the corresponding translation in the ESV. I’d like you all to tell me what you think — do you see a blissful afterlife or eternal punishment?
Natrually, there’s more to the issue than this file, but we need to start here.