Heresy, or no? If so, what is the correct position?
In the afterlife, there is no 'river of fire'. -
"There is no "place" of torment, or even a "place" apart from God, because there is no "place" at all; you are outside of time and space. The "place" is actually a condition of either punishment ("hell") or paradise ("heaven") depending on how you experience the presence of God and His Uncreated Engergies.
Consider a person who hates God, and anything to do with religion, and has done nothing but pursued his own self-centered desires all his life. It would be far more terrifying, and painful, to spend eternity in the fiery embrace of God's almighty and divine love with no escape, than to be far from Him.
Experiencing God's presence and His in-filling transforming Energies in glory or in torment, as Paradise or as Punishment, is the heaven and hell of the Bible. Not something God did to us, but rather something we did to ourselves. God unconditionally pours out His love on all, WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, whether we are ready for it or not, when we enter the afterlife. This is why the Gospel or "good news" of Jesus Christ should be shared with all people, of all nations, in all tongues. For there is nothing to fear from God's perfect love, since love casts out all fear.
However, it is not totally wrong to understand the after life as "type" of Heaven and Hell. Because from each individual's perspective, it will not be perceived as the same "place", but rather as either torment and darkness you can not escape, or as the paradise you have always longed for. For those judged, they will experience God's presence as eternal darkness and torment. Though it is very important to keep in mind what is the cause of either of these conditions, or one could reach very wrong conclusions about the nature of God, as they have in western theologies. To misrepresent the nature of a loving God would cause one to conclude that it was God's intention to punish his creation. Indeed, one blasphemes the reputation of the God of the Bible when you make him into an angry vengeful god that punishes His creation. The cause of the torment is the poor choices that we make, not God. If one thinks of these two different "places" as conditions that we choose to be in, rather than "compartments" God puts us in, it would be more accurate.
And it will certainly be "paradise" to finally experience His Divine Love up close and in person for those who seek it. It is all in the perception.
Such is the nature of a loving God. For God is God."http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html