Evil, the Devil and Hell: Damnation Considered in the Case of Israel Keyes
ANCHORAGE - Was Israel Keyes pure evil? And is he burning in hell?
Those kinds of questions are not typically explored in local newscasts, but many have been talking about those issues since Keyes' family's pastor spoke out Thursday on where the serial killer might be right now.
The concept of hell has endured through the ages, from classic paintings to modern movies.
Fire and brimstone are less invoked as an image than at one time. But when it comes to the serial killer Israel Keyes, plenty of people seem willing to envision eternal torment, at least in online postings.
Even the pastor from Texas who will preside at Keyes' funeral in Washington state said he's burning. "We are not glad that Israel Keyes is in hell, we believe he is, but we are not glad at that," said Pastor Jake Gardner of the Church of Wells.
But a couple of Anchorage ministers look at it differently.
"I think the pastor's wrong. I don't believe in hell because I don't believe that God eternally punishes anyone for anything," said the Reverend George Blair of First Congregational Church.
Blair said God permits evil and Keyes certainly was that.
"I don't believe in demonic possession, but I do know that there are some people whose brain is wired in such a way that they have no moral conscience."
But Blair cautioned against wishing for Keyes' damnation.
"If the thing we want most is for God to somehow take revenge on Israel Keyes and punish him through some kind of eternal torture, that we become too much like that which we despise."
For the Reverend Jerry Prevo of the Anchorage Baptist Temple, it's a matter of whether the self-professed atheist Keyes, even while killing himself, truly repented and accepted Jesus Christ as his savior.
"Well, if he did change his mind, of course we know the grace of God is able to forgive him, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and that even one of the thieves in his dying hour, as he was being crucified, cried out for salvation and Jesus told him ‘today thou shalt be with me in paradise.’"
Where is Israel Keyes now?
It’s a hell of a question.
Serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer reportedly converted to Christianity before their deaths.
A Christian rock band, Room Full of Walters, recorded a song titled, “Jeffrey Dahmer Went to Heaven.”