Would it be a real lake of fire or is this lake a figurative expression? If it were a real lake, it would have to accommodate billions of people, sinners of all times; real lake and real physical people. They would stand in the shores of the lake, not in the middle of the lake, because they would be drowned there. If you think of yourself in such a lake, you probably think that you should get food and drink every now and then. How could this service be arranged? For billions of people. How would the flames of the lake be regulated so that they would torture suitably, but not completely burn the people there? It feels a bit crazy to even think of the existence of such a lake, but without any doubt, the Bible speaks of it with clear expressions, repeating the message several times. This doctrine has been in the churches for nearly two thousand years. There are, of course, some other kinds of hells in literature and art in which the sinners are languishing.
What if the fiery lake is figurative language of God’s spiritual punishment? People who receive it will be in the spirit body after their resurrection. Spiritual bodies are not affected by actual flames. Therefore, they should be in the spirit body and the flames should be spiritual. God is a consuming fire! (Heb 12:29 “Our God is a consuming fire”) And God is a spirit. I am sure that the spiritual fire of God may be punishment just as painful as the right one.
In this chapter I have pointed out factors which support the interpretation that the words aion/aionios and owlam not really mean eternal, infinite. Better translation of words would often be time, time span, period, era. This interpretation would also allow us to interpret the spiritual content and duration of the fiery lake in a new way. It is certainly a difficult place for many. For me as well, when I long believed in a literal interpretation of this fiery lake. But, if that were the case, a new vision and hope would open to sinners, to forgive sins and to be saved among the righteous. Then would God’s will be fulfilled – that all will be saved.