Do those in hell know their punishment is just?

I seem to have picked up this idea through “cultural osmosis”, but can’t think of an official source on it. Then some questions came up in a debate that seemed worth considering. The idea is that at their judgement, when God lists to them their offenses, people feel compelled to acknowledge each one with a “yes”. They know each one wrong and deserving of hell. This in spite of all the excuses and defenses one comes with in life for their sins.

Also people are acutely aware that their purpose in happiness was to be found in God. This is what makes separation from God the primary torture of hell. So now someone who has always hated God suddenly longs for Him. If so, wouldn’t the possibility of such a radical change make repentance possible too? If not, couldn’t they find hell somehow “satisfactory” with a misotheistic “good riddance”?

People in Hell (possibly excluding the fallen angels) will know their punishment is just. Jesus says there will be “gnashing teeth” (Luke 13:28) in Hell. “Gnashing teeth” demonstrates regret, and someone can only regret if they themselves believed they were morally culpable for their actions. After all, how can you regret something if you aren’t to blame? So people in Hell know their punishment is just.

Of course! You dont “suddenly” long for him. The soul always longs for God. Which is why it’s called punishment. It is not a change of heart. You see yourself as God does and know you are filthy and for what reasons. Just as it is natural for the soul to long for God, it is as much that the soul cannot present itself to God with ANY stain of sin or remains of it. When you die in the state of (mortal) sin, God vanishes from you. He judges you and if he finds sin he departs from you. He is gone. You are in the land where Christ is not with you. AT ALL. God cannot hear your cry’s any longer. Thus you find yourself in Hell with the company of Satan. Hell is the absence of satisfaction in every regard. God is the satisfaction of the soul and when He is not present, not even in an invisible spirit, you know why because of the intellect of the soul. Your sins are written on your soul. You want to repent, you want to love, but cannot. This is part of the torture. God also does not have a change of heart because YOU are the one who shut the door in his face by your own free will. His mercy was offered in the first life but you did not accept. Even the suffering souls in Purgatory know God is with them. They are saved. They have an incomplete satisfaction. Part at peace part suffering. A soul in damnation however, is void of any love and knows only hate. Why cant you love but have the want to? Why when the soul cry’s out Mercy! when falling into hell God does not change his heart? Or why cant you say fine, i didnt want you anyway! Its simply because God is the eternal satisfaction of the soul and by your own free will you chose to disobey him in your first life.

I think I understand a little better now. The soul always yearns for God even while one is actively, explicitly choosing to hate God.

What exactly is the mechanism that allows us to see ourselves as God does when it can be so ambiguous while on Earth? And is this explicitly stated somewhere, such as in Aquinas?

You’ve got it. St. Thomas, Greggory, Jerome all say more or less the same. Summa is relatively easy to understand, take a look at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. All of the doctors have a form of philosophy regarding justice but it is more of a truth of faith. Kind of like Angels. There’s no dogma for them except that they are a real truth of faith. A more or less logical deduction they have made. It’s very important to understand as you stated, the soul always wants God. This mechanism comes from God and is the architecture of the spirit. If the soul was indifferent to God then there would be an ability to cope. No matter how minuscule of a form of coping, this means if you had literally one second of a feeling of peace, it contradicts scripture which reads, “without relief”.

On Earth this want of God is exhibited by the body in several forms. Grace, love, truth, faith, hope, and charity. But it must be by your own free will. You must will to serve God. Once the soul leaves the body, its like a magnet. It is constantly and always wanting to be in full communion with the Holy Trinity. My my…just imagine the plain horror of simply knowing the wall between you and God was built by your own hands and is impenetrable. Not even Satan can tear his down. The heart ache of loss would most definitely kill a human. It is too strong a pain of loss and hopelessness of ever having the beatific vision. One suffers this loss in Hell over and over. The stakes are high!

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