The prevalent concept of hell in the churches is not biblical. The question begs another question; when anyone dies, does the spirit (in Hebrew "breath") that was in him go to a conscious state in heaven or a conscious state in a place commonly called "hell?"
I don't believe either. I believe that the breath we were given (the essence called "life") goes back to our Creator when we die. Eccl 12:7 (NIV) and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit ["breath" Heb.] returns to God [the "Mighty Ones" Heb.] who gave it.
The common concept of "hell" is not biblical, but came from Greek paganism and the work of Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, in the 13th century. The idea was adopted by Christianity and used by the Roman Church to put fear into the people and obtain more power and influence over the masses (see references below). I believe the Scriptures show that when we die, we have no consciousness until the resurrection. The first resurrection is of the elect; so for them judgment/reward has already occurred. The second resurrection is followed by a judgment that separates righteous and unrighteous individuals; the righteous to everlasting life and the unrighteous to destruction (no further existence or consciousness).
"A Matter of Death and Life"
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