Apologetics exercise: Why we know some are in Heaven but not who's in hell


The thread below asks a question which has logical answers as to why we can not know for certain if someone is in hell. However, it seems that the same logic applied to us knowing for certain some people are in Heaven does not apply.


Here are some responses to that thread:

[quote=OP]So who has the right to say someone is going to hell or not?


The answer is, of course, only the almighty knows.


Only God.

Nobody can say.

Nobody has the right to say this if you ask me.

Mat 7:1 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged.

Only God knows who actually goes to Hell but we objectively know that anyone who dies in a state of unrepented mortal sin will go to Hell. We just don’t happen to know the state of anyone’s soul at the time of death.

I agree no one, but God, can say who is in hell. But we can point out that certain types of behavior is sinful.

nobody, and that is why The Catholic Church does not presume to say who is in hell.

Scripture clearly says that Jesus Christ will judge the living and the dead. The right is reserved to Him by the Father.

For the record, the Catholic church has never declared a single person to be in hell.

It seems to me that for Catholic apologists to respond effectively to why we can’t say for certain someone is in hell, we need to effectively explain why it is we can not say for certain someone is in hell. The responses given in the “hell” thread gave a logical answer (only God can make this determination) without answering the question effectively enough because we do know for certain that saints such as St. John the apostle, St. Augustine, and St. Theresa of Avila among others are in heaven.



The Saints “throw stuff over the wall” so to speak (miracles) to let us know that they are in Heaven. The damned, who have lost all use of their will, cannot “throw stuff over the wall” to let us know that they are in Hell, however.


The Church certifies Saints as models for us to imitate; so that we too may reach Heaven. She has no mission to show people how to go to hell; they must find that way for themselves. :wink:


True and all saints must have at least 2 miracles in order to be even considered a saint for canonization.


Im just curious–How exactly does the church know without a shadow of a doubt that these particular people have performed 2 miracles?

Honestly, how do you really know:confused:



The people in charge of this stuff have ways of knowing that are very scientific and exact. Me personally, I don’t have any idea, really, but I also don’t know how all those little people get into my TV set, either. :wink:


I think a definition of time should be in order. We exist on this linear time frame, man’s time, God’s time frame is different though, so to say anything is happening simotanously, we are in error, for we cannot know these things while in this mortal coil.

Clearly, there are individuals you can say “absolutely most likely” are in heaven or hell based upon their actions in this world, and at the same time, keep a bit of reservation as shown above that the final denomination is between God and that individual. I guess it’s the grey areas we wonder about, from lost loved ones to people we clearly would rather not have to spend eternity bumping into due to their actions in our lives, knowing full well of the fruits they bore, even to the end. This is human nature, yet with the latter element, we must strive to listen to what Jesus talks about along forgiveness, and refrain from becoming judges, no matter how much you might want to…


They are thoroughly scientifically investigated, at least these days. And not in terms of ‘there’s no current scientific explanation for this’ (after all, there may be one tomorrow), but in terms of ‘this runs totally counter to everything we know scientifically’.

What I’m talking is the equivalent of water flowing uphill - plenty of diseases, for example, are now incredibly familiar to science, and it’s very easy to predict how and how quickly they progress and whether a remission is totally beyond and contrary to the pale scientifically speaking.


Two posthumous miracles – that is, two miracles attributed to their intervention after they died. You don’t need to have performed miracles during your eartlhy life to be canonized a saint after you die.


We cannot know whom is in Hell because we were not present at their judgment and have received no divine revelation as to its outcome.


The thing is that many saints have seen persons in heaven but none, as far as I know, have seen someone with a name in hell.


Until a saint brings back a heavenly roll call, we won’t be able to deduce a thing about who’s consigned to the pit.

Dante had his suspicions, though.


Yeah, but wasn’t one of the people whom Dante described as being in hell later canonized as a saint?


Even Homer nods, which is why he’s not the judge.


We can only speculate, it seems. But just as the saints who are made known to us are the most outstanding examples of Christian lives, would not those made known to us to be in hell be especially evil? And wouldn’t the natural tendency be to say “Heck, I’m nowhere near as bad as that person! I must be A-OK!” and stop being suitably concerned with our final destination?

There is a benefit to give us examples of those in heaven, but I can see no benefit for God to give us examples of those in hell.


Unless the example was the exact opposite. Someone who was pretty good, but didn’t reach heaven for whatever reason. That could certainly be helpful.


1 Corinthians 6:2
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?

Basically, one can only look at the fruits of people to determine where they most likely went. I do not know if one repents on their deathbed. But, if one hates their brother, John tells us plainly that that person does not Love God and is therefore going to hell.

1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

Also, one must take into account Redemptive Suffering. Most likely if a person as a chrisitan experiences RS, then most likely they went to heaven. I would place cancer, health problems, perscution, beatings, etc., on the level of RS based on the book of Job. see also II peter 1 on RS.


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