Is the Idea That Hell Is a Place of Solitary Confinement in Conflict with Scripture Saying the Unsaved Will Be Thrown Outside?

Question from a reader:

In his Heaven book, Randy describes hell with Scripture quoting Christ as saying, “The unsaved will be thrown outside, into the darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Then he says, “I don’t believe hell is a place where demons take delight in punishing people and where people commiserate over their fate. More likely, each person is in solitary confinement.”

These statements seem to be in conflict. Can you shed some light on this, please?

Answer from Randy Alcorn:

I see no conflict or inconsistency in the statements. I believe both of them.

I think when the unsaved are thrown outside, they are each thrown into solitary confinement. (The verse does not say they will be together, just that they will all be outside.) 

I was speaking against the popular notion that hell is a place where demons torture people. On the contrary, we see no demons in power positions in hell. In fact, they themselves all have been or will be put under the punishment of God. 

I say that I don’t think they will commiserate, because commiseration requires people being together. I cannot prove it, but I believe isolation is part of hell. One suggestion of this in Luke 16, where Abraham and Lazarus are depicted together in paradise, but there is no mention of anyone else being in the presence of the rich man. I think he was all by himself.

Photo by Samuel Berner on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries