Could Heaven and Hell be the Same Place?


#1

I was just curious as to the Churches teaching explicitly on Hell. I only thought about it a little bit. I was thinking about how heaven could be unbearable for certain people. For example if you had not forgiven those who had committed terrible crimes in this life and then you had to spend eternity with them. That was kind of my line of thought. I’m not sold on the idea but I would appreciate your input. Thank you.


#2

CCC 1024 : Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.

So, no. What you propose is impossible.


#3

I think the OP is asking whether the place could be the same, but the states of mind can be hell for some, heaven for others.


#4

I understand how you are interpreting that but…
If heaven and hell are the same place heaven would still be the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness (especially for human beings) and absolutely hell for Lucifer who hates humanity and all of it’s desires. Again just an observance and a curiosity I mean no offense. Could you provide Church teaching or biblical passages that would directly oppose the notion such as that hell is a separate place?


#5

Ah, I see now what you’re saying.
I agree with you in not being sold on the idea, but what you posit certainly is interesting.


#6

Could Heaven and Hell be the same place?

No.

I’ve never seen evidence to support that theory.

Luke 16:26

And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

Matthew 25:41

Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.


#7

I don’t see how that could work out, when you get right down to it. But it’s certainly an interesting thought.


#8

C. S. Lewis wrote a fantasy called The Great Divorce, which is about a busload of the damned taking a day trip from Hell to Heaven. They look around paradise and talk to some of the saved souls, some of whom they knew on earth, and are free to stay or to return to Hell. Many choose to return, as they find Heaven intolerable for one reason or another. That sounds like what I think you’re asking about. Of course, it’s not part of Church teaching, and Lewis is not pretending that it is, but it is at least an entertaining read, and provides some food for thought on salvation and damnation.


#9

I appreciate your feedback but couldn’t the chasm be their state of being. It’s interesting because there is still communication between heaven and hell. How massive is this chasm in terms of space if those who are in heaven can communicate with those who are in hell?

I wonder as to whether direction is metaphorical in these two verses. Consider that in that verse from St. Matthew the damned stand at His left and yet, God resides in heaven and evil can not enter into heaven so how do the damned find themselves to the left of God?


#10

Ephesians 1:10

In the dispensation of the fulness of times, to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in him.

Apocalypse 20:15

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the pool of fire.


#11

On first reading Revelation, I understand how hell appears to be described as another place altogether. However Revelation is full of metaphor and symbology to the point that one must be very careful to posit a literal interpretation to it’s writings. Some parts are defined literally by the Church and some parts are yet to be interpreted at all. I am still hoping for straightforward teaching from the Church on this matter as she has the authority to correctly interpret Sacred Scripture.


#12

CCC 1033 , hell is “[the] state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed.”

"And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any one worships the beast and its image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also shall drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured unmixed into the cup of his anger, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Revelation 14:9-11


#13

Keep in mind that there is, after the restoration, both a new heaven and a new earth, both established in Christ.


#14

There’s an old Jewish joke: we all go to the same place when we die, it’s just heaven for some and hell for others. What’s the difference? Moshe Rabbeinu and Rav Akiva teach Talmud all day. To some this is heaven, to others, hell! Haha!


#15

I sometimes consider things along these lines. My family will talk about heaven and I will say that it is being at mass for all eternity. Some of them do not like this idea. I still think it true, if you do not like mass, you will not like Heaven. The next step is, if you do not like Heaven and are dead, are you not in Hell?

Maybe Heaven is mass for all eternity, Heaven to some, and Hell to others.


#16

This was a topic of conversation when I was working on my Theology degree.

Here is an interesting take (and don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger…Theology is an academic and not spiritual pursuit, and not for the weak of heart):

Heaven and Hell, until the Resurrection and the recreation of Jerusalem (the New Jerusalem) which will be the abode of the sainted, is not a geographical place, but rather a spiritual place.

So, until the General Resurrection, if our human paradigm requires a geographical place, then it could, conceivably be a huge room filled with the souls already judged in the Particular Judgment, both the saved and damned.

This is possible, if we believe “Hell” is the complete and utter separation of the soul from the mercy and love of the almighty, and not necessarily the “Hell” pictured in art and literature.

Thoughts?


#17

I think there was a couple Fathers who held this idea and it has become quite popular among Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Christians in modern time. Basically the idea is that the fire of God’s love blissfully transfigures those who are open to it and turned toward God and torments those who cling to their sins, turned away from God.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with this idea, as long as we acknowledge the permanence of it.


#18

Could you tell me more about the recreation of Jerusalem please. Also what do you think about the verse I shared Revelation 14:9-11, where it says, “he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb”?

Specifically it appears to be saying that the damned will be tormented in the presence of God forever. I am wondering how that would coincide with the recreation of Jerusalem. I am unfamiliar with that topic.

Thank you for your response.


#19

In The Great Divorce, heaven and hell are in the same place, the difference being that those in heaven are solid and glorious and those in hell are insubstantial and petty. The difference between them in that story is their state, not their location.


#20

Their states are certainly different, but so too, as I recall, are their abodes. Remember that the insubstantial beings — the ghosts, as Lewis called them — were visitors from Hell, which was depicted as a dreary, drab town, quite different from the sunlit forests and plains where the saved dwelt. Remember also that they’d traveled by bus from one place to the other, which implies physical distance between the two, and that they didn’t have to go back if they didn’t want to. Finally, remember that Hell, far from being coterminous with Heaven, was infinitesimal next to it — that in fact it fit in a crack in the ground of Heaven, not even noticeable to those outside it. All this seems to show that they were separate places, not one and the same.


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