Yet, it is even worse in Lewis’ depiction: Hell is also moving further and further away from each other. Isolation becomes the destiny of Hell. Dante picks up a similar track with his depiction of the circles of hell, in that the lowest, furthermost away from God, the last and most inner circle of hell is not one of fire, but of ice, a frozen lake where the rays of God’s love are completely gone.
This is truly a masterful depiction (from both Lewis and Dante) of what Hell is like. So often, people with very shallow understandings of Christianity like to say of hell, “Well, at least my friends will be there.” There is a problem with this: if heaven and hell are best explained by the gospel and of heaven where the gospel will be revealed in its fulness, hell, then, is just the opposite.
The church, a local church in a place, is the picture of God come in Christ, which is a way of seeing and experiencing heaven on earth, even if only in part. Fellowship matters. Church matters. If you are trying to live a Christianity apart from church, there is no way around it, you are in a living hell (living totally the opposite of the gospel). On a path of isolation and separation from God. Sounds harsh. Certainly. But this notion that a Christianity apart from a local body of Christ is a false, hellish notion. No wonder the writer of Hebrews (which I believe was Luke) says:
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (10:23-25).