The members of Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville, Tenn., may sing about heaven . . . but over the years, their pastor, Charles Lawson, has often warned them about hell.
"Deeper and deeper and deeper you go into the bottomless pit," he preached. "The horrors rise up beside you, the sound and the screams and the smell and the fire, all encompasses you. Because you're dropping down into the land of the condemned."
Where did those images come from? Well, for starters, not really from the Old Testament.
Dale T. Irvin, president of the New York Theological Seminary and a professor of World Christianity, says that in the Old Testament, "Hell is a shadowy place. It's a place of sleep."
It was not the place of eternal damnation we think of today. Instead, it's a vision shaped by Hades, the underworld of Greek mythology.
Irvin says initially, in the Old Testament, hell was not about punishment -- that came later, with interpretations of the New Testament.
"What about the Biblical references to heaven?" asked Teichner.
"Heaven, for the Bible, is the place that's over our heads," Irvin said. "It's the sky, and it's a place where God lives."
From the earliest times, heaven has been up -- and that other place, down.