It seems to me that a lot of us take the descriptions of Heaven to be symbolic (there won't actually be streets of gold) but the descriptions of Hell to be literal (there will be flames). I'm just curious as to why this is? Why couldn't the descriptions of Hell also be symbolic? Just to clarify: I am not denying Hell, nor am I trying to downplay the horror which it is. Scripture is very clear that there is a Hell and that it is a place that will be horrible. I'm just curious if there is a double standard in how we interpret the texts that deal with each reality and if there isn't a double standard what makes there descriptions different? * I guess you could put the question the other way and ask why we don't take the heaven texts literally but it seems to me that heaven talk is very symbolic. But maybe I am wrong about that.