[...] the traditional teaching on hell is in fact a sign of the genuineness of Christianity, and it is therefore a cause for hope. Liberal Christianity is largely a human construct; it is what happens to a revealed religion after human beings finish redecorating it to modern tastes. H. Richard Niebuhr summarized the liberal gospel: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.” However, the darker parts of the Gospels are a sign of their genuineness, because they are not what we would have made up if we were inventing a religion to satisfy our desires. Promises of comfort on this earth, yes; promises of eternal bliss, yes; even viewing earthly troubles (whose existence can scarcely be denied) as an educational tool to discipline us and to make us grow spiritually, yes; but threats of eternal punishment, fires that are not quenched, and worms that do not die—no, no, no.
The fires and worms have been eliminated to make Christianity less dark, but the darkness guarantees that the Faith is a divine Word, and not a human construct. The gospel is good news, evangelion, like the imperial proclamations, not because it makes us comfortable but because it is an announcement from the innermost heart of a reality that is itself beyond our comprehension, a message we could never have dreamed of ourselves, even though creation contains hints and foreboding and dark promises.
God can be nothing else than Love, even if that creating and sustaining love becomes unendurable to those who reject it. Hell is not something we would put in a universe we constructed according to our human desires, but that is only because our understanding and our love are both weak. We do not see the depths of the human soul and the mysteries of love that endures beyond all rejection. The revelation of salvation and damnation does not have the sentimental sweetness of human wish-fulfillment, but the astringent and sobering taste of reality.- Excerpts from an article by Leon J. Podles, senior editor of touchstonemag.com - a Journal of Mere Christianity (CS Lewis).