Research Methods
Heaven is Hotter than Hell
Barney Beins

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The following article appeared in the journal Applied Optics. When you read it, you don't need to worry about the technical terms and equations as long as you understand the point being made. (You can assume that the author was accurate in providing equations and the temperature at which sulphur vapirizes.)

Heaven is hotter than Hell

The temperature of Heaven can be rather accurately computed from available data. Our authority is the Bible: Isaiah 30:26 reads Moreover the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days. Thus Heaven receives from the Moon as much radiation as we do from the Sun and in addition seven times seven (forty- nine) times as much as the Earth does from the Sun, or fifty times in all. The light we receive from the Moon is a ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the Sun, so we can ignore that. With these data, we can compute the temperature of Heaven. The radiation falling on Heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation. In other words, Heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the Earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth-power law for radiation

(H/E) to the fourth power = 50,

where E is the absolute temperature of the Earth--300K. This gives H as 798 K (525 C).

The exact temperature of Hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.7 C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulphur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. A lake of molten brimstone means that its temperature must be below the boiling point, which is 444.6 C. (Above this point it would be a vapour, not a lake.)

We have, then, temperature of Heaven, 525 C. Temperature of Hell, less than 445 C. Therefore, Heaven is hotter than Hell.

Questions to address
  1. What message is the author trying to convey?
  2. Do you believe the conclusion? After you die, where would you rather be?
  3. What does this article tell you about the relation between religion and science?

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Last Modified: August 2, 2005