Many wonder how a God of Love could condemn anybody to an everlasting hell. They think of paradise up above where the saved enjoy eternal bliss, while the lost are tortured in the manner of mediaeval paintings; pricked by the three pronged forks of demons that make fun of them. Therefore some argue that when you die, you do not leave the body, but you enter a state of sleep. The human does not have a soul, so they argue, but is a living soul. They quote all kinds of bible texts in support of their belief. Such as that the dead do not praise God and do not remember. Of Lazarus it was said by the Lord Himself that he slept. And so on, and so forth.
Some argue that the souls of the lost will be punished temporarily. Others believe that unbelievers will suffer the pains of hell till time is transformed into eternity and we all will be saved; even Satan. All these ideas originate to soften or to discard the warnings the bible sounds into our ears.
First of all I would like to say that demons themselves will be punished. Christ states that the lake of fire has been prepared for the devil and his (fallen) angels. Satan will not reign in hell. Further the Lord Jesus Himself warns us about a place of pain, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth and where the (soul) fire is not extinguished and where the worm (of our conscience) does not stop gnawing. Also He states that those that did not know the will of the Master, will be punished with few stripes and those that did know His will, with many stripes. This means there are just degrees of suffering in hell. Of those that accepted the sign of the beast it is written that they will be tortured for ever and ever. This holds also for Satan himself and the beast and the antichrist. It does not apply to most people.
How can this be squared with the idea of a God of Love? Well, the God of Love gave His dear Son to die for us. If you reject that offer, then all hope fails. We are by nature enemies of God and when you mock the only solution, the ultimate sacrifice of Love, then you are indeed lost for ever. There is only One Name through which you can be saved. And that is the Name of the Lord Jesus.
Also the Lord warns that you might gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of your soul. This does not mean that the human being is not a living soul, but that you go lost spirit, soul and body. The rich man and Lazarus are in a place of soul fire (not literal coals of course) and bliss, respectively. The rich man did not ask for nothing that Abraham would send Lazarus back to earth, to warn his brothers; so they would not suffer the same fate.
Yes, earth is a place where the most awful things can happen (because God has given us the responsibility), but your eternal fate is the most serious matter. Sow a thought and reap a deed. Sow a deed and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow a character and reap an eternal destiny. Be warned, therefore, that it is only the body that sleeps. And even when your DNA has been destroyed in a cremation, God has the astral side of you that can take on its material equivalent any time He wants to.