Can one make good decisions in Hell?

This question has been bugging me for quite some time so here it is:

I’m not a heretic, of course I believe in the eternity of Hell. However let’s look at this situation. Lets say an atheist went to Hell. After being there for about a year or two, they repent. What happens then?

Just a hypothetical question, I don’t think it has really any impact.

There is no possibility of repentance in Hell, just as there is no possibility of sin in Heaven. One’s decision for or against God is irrevocably made at the moment of death and judgement, once one has reached Purgatory, Heaven or Hell it is not possible to change.

Yes, of course I know that, but an atheist can’t go to Purgatory, can they?

If God is all powerful, and if God wants us to follow Him and to be in heaven, then why couldn’t God deliver us from hell just as Jesus was delivered from hell?

Because Hell is eternal, look it up. :smiley:

But God delivered Christ from hell. I thought Jesus came as fully man ? If God delivered Christ from hell why couldn’t He deliver us from hell?

First of all Jesus IS God, no-one delivered Jesus from anywhere, he Himself did all the delivering. “Freely I lay down my life, and freely I take it up again” as He says in the Gospels.

Secondly, Jesus made clear that damnation is indeed forever. In the Gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus Our Lord made clear that the rich man was irredeemably damned in spite of his pleading, and separated by ‘an impassable gulf’ from Abraham, Lazarus and all the souls of the righteous.

Thirdly, Jesus never went to hell of the eternally damned. The original word used simply means ‘afterlife’, not ‘hell’ in the sense we understand it.

He DID go to ‘the dead’ (as some translations of the Apostle’s Creed put it) - but only the righteous dead. They, as opposed to the damned, were living in what is called the ‘Bosom of Abraham’, a limbo state, where they awaited Christ’s passion ad resurrection to redeem them. Again the story of the rich man and Lazarus shows this.

As for atheists - we can only leave them, as we leave all souls of whose fate we are uncertain, to the mercy of God, who alone completely knows their minds and hearts well enough to judge righty.

Good point, However this was the Hell of the Old Testament, and was not the eternal Hell of the New Testament. Back then almost everyone went to Hell. Christ went to Hell to teach the New Covenant and save the souls there. After this Hell was and always is eternal.

Yes, true.

Secondly, Jesus made clear that damnation is indeed forever. In the Gospel story of the rich man and Lazarus Our Lord made clear that the rich man was irredeemably damned in spite of his pleading, and separated by ‘an impassable gulf’ from Abraham, Lazarus and all the souls of the righteous.

True as well, The only people that we can assume went straight to Heaven in the Old Testament is Enoch and Elijah.

Thirdly, Jesus never went to hell of the eternally damned. The original word used simply means ‘afterlife’, not ‘hell’ in the sense we understand it.

He DID go to ‘the dead’ (as some translations of the Apostle’s Creed put it) - but only the righteous dead. They, as opposed to the damned, were living in what is called the ‘Bosom of Abraham’, a limbo state, where they awaited Christ’s passion ad resurrection to redeem them. Again the story of the rich man and Lazarus shows this.

True, I forgot about that the rich man did ask to go to Heaven. I guess that pretty much clears up my question, however it is difficult to grasp. But yes I agree.

there is nothing to decide in hell because there is nothing to choose from

Ok, but could you be per say kind to others in Hell, trying to make the best of your punishment. Could you try to rebel?

Absolutely not. There is in Hell the absolute opposite of Heaven - pure hatred vs. absolute love. Read what some of the saints have seen in visions of Hell. There is no kindness or any other good. Secondly, those who are there know that’s where they belong. They cannot even fathom being with God in Heaven; they are too filled with evil and hatred. It’s eternal; that is what the Church teaches.

Good point, thank you for clearing that up for me. I guess it’s just hard to fathom. :thumbsup: :smiley:

From “Who Can Be Saved”, by Avery Cardinal Dulles

firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6126

Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given.

Wow.

-Tim

Too late. Time for repentance is before earthly death. If the contrary were possible, wouldn’t most everyone in hell change their ‘tune’ upon reaching their destination? Hell is not a time of decision; it is what it is: time and plenty of it.

True, and perhaps people who did have some good in them would go to Purgatory.

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