It's going to be 41 degrees Celcius in Melbourne today... which roughly translates in Fahrenheit as utterly unbearable.
I'm getting my car serviced today. After dropping off my car I will take a short walk in the sun to the nearby shopping centre / movies to enjoy an oasis of airconditioned comfort... a walk in which my children and I will probably achieve a well-developed state of dehydration.
There are many metaphors of God's judgment in scripture... outer darkness, being shut out of the banquet, being left behind, imprisonment, a garbage heap (Gehenna)... but the metaphor that sticks most in the mind (perhaps thanks in part to all those Looney Toons cartoons) is that of fire.
At the risk of offending some readers, my opinion is that this is no more "literal" fire than the streets of heaven are paved in "literal" gold. Nonetheless, these images are to be taken seriously... God's justice will be accomplished, and those who have rejected Christ will suffer eternal regret.
The metaphor of heat and fire is a sobering one... for unrelieved heat is a terrible thing. As is smoke / burning sulfur. As are burns... even sunburn can hurt like mad.
Just as I do all I can to avoid excessive heat (airconditioned spaces, the pool or anywhere wet), I probably avoid even thinking about God's judgment. It's unpopular with preachers... probably for good pastoral reasons. No-one likes to terrorise people, or deal with those poor sensitive souls who have convinced themselves they've committed the unforgivable sin and are going to be tormented forever. Other people are universalists... they believe Christ died for all and all will be saved in the end (perhaps after a period of purification.) Perhaps our tendency in the Western world to avoid all unpleasantness and pain is behind our avoidance of reflection on God's judgment. Perhaps it's a reaction to "hellfire and brimstone" preaching that failed to emphasise grace and mercy and love.
Perhaps you'd like to share with me your thoughts on judgment... or your thoughts on why God's judgment seems to be somethjng of a taboo subject. Or you might just want to let me know how you keep your cool when it's "flamin' hot".