Does God love those in hell?


It seems that God loves all of us … no matter what we believe.
I tend to think those that are in hell chose their separation from God.

Does God, who is defined as love, still love those that have eternally turned away from Him?

Just wondering.



Good question. Personally, I believe that once they are in hell, the link between them and God is severed completely since He no longer knows them as they are now under a new master and a different dominion.

Perhaps in the final moments of the judgement, it really pains God to be sending the person to hell, and a part of Him (out of love, not weakness or uncertainty) doesn’t want to do it (as up until this point they still belong to Him), but after He does it, He moves on from His attachment to that soul since theres nothing He can do for it anymore.

Perhaps He doesn’t love them so much as He feels a great, unending sorrow for them, if even that. I don’t think you can call it love, because now they are everything He is not, and they’re that way forever now. There’s nothing left FOR Him to love. They’re eternally dead and cursing His name- a mirror image of Satan.


God’s love is unconditional. If we were to say that God no longer loves us when we were in hell - then God’s love would be conditional.

Does a parent no longer love their child when they are no longer connected to their child? No! Seperation is not a condition for a parents love for thier child and then so much more for God’s love for us.

His love does not cease when we are in the state of mortal sin…it is our loss of love for Him not His loss of love for us.

God loves us no matter what…that is what we need to learn about love for others and especially those who are near and dear to us. A lesson learned.


I would completely agree with you on every point there, if only I didn’t find it difficult to believe that a soul changes to such a degree in hell that it no longer reflects anything that can be loved, not because God doesn’t want to, but because there’s literally nothing left to love. Yes, God loves the damned and the gravest sinners, but I think it’s while they’re alive, since He can still work with them. When they’re down in the abyss however they become something to hate if He chose to hate them.

You know, we like to believe God is all loving to the point of fault (ie- He loves people we think He shouldn’t), but I don’t think so. He knows His love and when and where to give it. The Bible mentions how He hates certain things. The Bible demonstrates to us that while God is all-loving, He’s capable of loathing something as well. A lost soul in hell has no redeeming value to God any more, so why should He love it, other than we like to think that because it makes us feel warm and fuzzy? I think it’s entirely possibly when a soul is in hell, He no longer has any regard for that soul because it is no longer His and will never be His again. That is part of why it is a torment to be in hell to begin with- not just the sufferings and attacks by the demons, but the knowledge that you will never feel His Love again.

I don’t see this entirely as an issue of love or hate. I think we need to ponder on another possiblity- that God is neutral in regards to the damned in hell. He neither loves nor hates them. They’re beyond His help, and that possibly saddens Him, but they’re getting what they deserved in His Eyes, so there’s no reason to love them as much as someone who is still redeemable. They’re pitiful, not lovable, and perhaps that is how God sees them too.


If rain were love and I put up an umbrella that would eternally cease my contact with the rain, does it stop raining??


Is this a question to me or the topic starter?


It appears to be a rhetorical question that provides teachccd’s answer to the topic of the thread.

As to my answer, “Love”, as we understand it, is not quite what it means to say that God “loves”, so it’s difficult to grasp. I don’t know how theologically correct this part is, but I’ve heard it expressed that “love”, for God, is best described as an action than an emotion - the outpouring of his grace. Though those in Hell can no longer benefit from such an outpouring (the umbrella is up, so to speak), it would seem to imply that the action of love has ceased. However, with God being outside of time, his relationship with us while we are alive happens simultaneously (from his perspective) with his relationship with us while we are dead (Hell or otherwise). So God “loves” us even when we are in Hell because even though we are closed off from his grace at that point, we are simultaneously receiving grace (at least sufficient grace) during our life.

But God does not love us all equally. And I would think, following from that, it is a safe bet that he has a greater love for those in Heaven than those in Hell. As Aquinas would say, he “loves more the better things” (not loving them more because they are better, but rather they are better because he loves them more).

As to whether or not those in Heaven will love those in Hell (not that you asked), I don’t know. I do know we will rejoice in their suffering. But I don’t know if that is necessarily contradictory to having love for them, though any love we would have would not cause us sorrow, even if it were a dear loved one in Hell.


I think that God continues to love them and this is a part of their punishment. They have rejected that love and find it painful. Sort of like being out in a bright tropical sunshine with no sun blocker. They try to find a rock to hide under.


I think God loves those in Hell. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Hell was created by God out of love for those who don’t love him: they don’t want to go to Heaven, so God creates an alternative place for them. It’s a place from which he is absent. That absence is the cause of the pain those in Hell experience.

In another way, I think that all creatures, the good and the bad, gaze upon the Divine Countenance. The good are filled with the happiness such a vision gives, but the bad are selfish and want to possess it for themselves. Not being able to have it causes them great pain. So God draws a screen in front of them. They writhe in pain at having the vision cut of from them, but it is the lesser pain. Such is the mercy God shows those he loves.

Another way of looking at: it’s like walking through a geothermal park. If you stay on the path you’re all right, but if you step off the path you fall into boiling mud. The wicked are those who step off the path God has laid down for us. God doesn’t punish us for stepping off the path; Hell is simply the consequence of straying from the path.


I would put aside what we “think” or " believe" … but go to Scripture.

Psalms 5:5 “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

Romans 9: 10 - 15 “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? **Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.” **

Psalms 11:5-6 “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. **Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.” **


The Scriptures tell us that Hell is a bad place just incase one does not think so.

2 Thessalonians 2:12 “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

Luke 16:22-24 “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in HELL he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame

Revelation 20:15 “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE.”

John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Mark 16:16 “…he that believeth not shall be DAMNED”

Matthew 25:41 “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye CURSED, into EVERLASTING FIRE…”

Isaiah 66:24 “…for their WORM shall not die, neither shall their FIRE be quenched…”

Proverb 27:20 “HELL and DESTRUCTION are NEVER FULL; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.”


If God doesn’t love those in Hell, what does He “feel” for them (“feel” being in quotations, as the Love of God is an act of will, and not an emotion)?

Indifference? Hostility? Is it possible for God to manifest either?

Certainly He doesn’t forget about them, for we know that if He ever stopped thinking about us, even for an instant, we would cease to exist, and Hell doesn’t entail nihilism (though I’m sure those there wish it did).


As you expressed, “love” for God is not the same thing we know as men. It isn’t a warm feeling inside God’s bosom. It is an act of the will and the distribution of grace, which is no longer beneficial in Hell. So just as God doesn’t “feel” love, he doesn’t “feel” hostility. He no long distributes grace to those who are eternally damned.


I suspect God might feel sorrow for them…but I doubt that He can love evil…God is only goodness…He couldn’t love evil


God doesn’t feel sorrow. Nor will we in Heaven. In fact (as I’ve written earlier), when we perceive those in Hell, we will rejoice in their sufferings. It could be a close relative (or a child for that matter).


Speak for yourself…I don’t rejoice in any suffering…it is contrary to Christs teachings…we are to return good for evil


The mind recoils in horror. I don’t suppose you have any Church teachings to back this “awful thing” up?


On earth. But Scripture tells a different story about the relationship between those in Heaven and on Hell. Will we not rejoice in these individuals as signs of God’s perfect justice and power? Will we not see the inherent love of sin and evil within them (even a close family member) and rejoice that God’s justice has answered it? See below for Scripture references.

Why would you suppose I don’t? That’s a bit presumptuous, isn’t it? I suppose you’re assuming (based on the pun on my screen name, which is often misunderstood) that I’m just trying to insert some dark and unsubstantiated thoughts, but here is what Scripture and the Church Fathers, doctors, etc. (as well as a few Protestants) say on the matter. I don’t suppose you have any Scripture or Church writings that counter it?


Revelation 16:5-7 - “And I heard the angel of the waters saying, ‘Righteous art Thou who art and who wast, O Holy One, because Thou didst judge these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink. They deserve it.’ And I heard the altar saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Thy judgments.’”

Revelation 18:20 - “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her”

Revelation 19:1-3 - “‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for he has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and has avenged the blood of His bondservants on her.’ And a second time they said, ‘Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever’”

Proverbs 21:15 - “The execution of justice is joy for the righteous.”

Exodus 15:1-12 - Moses rejoiced and sang God’s praises when he saw God’s glory manifested in the destruction of Pharaoh and all his forces

Church Fathers:

“The blessed in the heavenly kingdom will see the torment of the damned so** they may even more thoroughly enjoy their blessedness**” - St. Thomas Aquinas

Peter Lombard, the Master of Sentences
"Therefore the elect shall go see the torments of the impious, seeing which they will not be grieved, **but will be satiated with joy at **the sight of the unutterable calamity of the impious ." Sent. Iv 50, ad fin


“.the Blessed will see their friends and relations among the damned as often as they like but without the least of compassion.

Andrew Welwood

(speaks of the saints as being) “**overjoyed in beholding the vengeance of God **,” and their beholding of the smoke of the torment of the wicked as “a passing delectation.”

Samuel Hopkins
**“This display of the divine character will be most entertaining to all who love God, will give them the highest and most ineffable pleasure. **Should the fire of this eternal punishment cease, it would in a great measure obscure the light of heaven, and put an end to a great part of the happiness and glory of the blessed.”

Bishop Newcomb

“The door of mercy will be shut and all bowels of compassion denied, by God, who will laugh at their destruction; by angels and saints, who will rejoice when they see the vengeance’ by their fellow-suffer the devil and the damned rejoicing over their misery.” Catechetical Sermons


**“At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; **so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish then ever before from applause.”

"What a spectacle. . .when the world. . .and its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? What my derision? Which sight gives me joy? As I see. . .illustrious monarchs. . . groaning in the lowest darkness, Philosophers. . .as fire consumes them! Poets trembling before the judgment-seat of. . .Christ! I shall hear the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own calamity; view play-actors. . .in the dissolving flame; behold wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows. . .What inquisitor or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favor of seeing and exulting in such things as these? Yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination." [De Spectaculis, Chapter XXX]


"They who shall enter into [the] joy [of the Lord] shall know what is going on outside in the outer darkness. . .The saints’. . . knowledge, which shall be great, shall keep them acquainted. . .with the eternal sufferings of the lost." [The City of God, Book 20, Chapter 22, “What is Meant by the Good Going Out to See the Punishment of the Wicked” & Book 22, Chapter 30, “Of the Eternal Felicity of the City of God, and of the Perpetual Sabbath”]

Thomas Aquinas

**In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. **. .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned. [Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, “Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned,” First Article, “Whether the Blessed in Heaven Will See the Sufferings of the Damned. . .”]

“The same fire” (which he decides to be material) " torments the damned in hell and the just in purgatory.The least pain in purgatory exceeds the greatest in this life." Summa Theo. Suppl. Qu. 100, acts. 2, n. 3.

Jonathan Edwards
“The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardour of the love and gratitude of the saints of heaven.” **

The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever. . .Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell. . . I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.

“The Eternity of Hell Torments” (Sermon), April 1739 & Discourses on Various Important Subjects, 1738]

Thomas Boston, Scottish preacher, 1732

“God shall not pity them but laugh at their calamity. The righteous company in heaven shall rejoice in the execution of God’s judgment, and shall sing while the smoke riseth up for ever.”

St. Anthony Mary Claret

"Once [a soul] is condemned by God, then God’s friends agree in God’s judgment and condemnation. For all eternity they will not have a kind thought for this wretch. Rather they will be satisfied to see him in the flames as a victim of God’s justice. (“The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge . . .” Psalm 57:11) They will abhor him. A mother will look from paradise upon her own condemned son without being moved, as though she had never known him."-- “The Pains of Hell,” Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, consisting of thirty-five meditations from The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius as explained by St. Anthony Mary Claret. St. Claret’s “explanations” were written in Spanish in the late 1800’s.


If you go back to the context (two consecutive questions in the ST, as I recall) of what was quoted from Aquinas, you will see that those in heaven rejoice in God’s perfect justice and power (as you correctly stated in a later post), but not in another’s sufferings (as you incorrectly stated in the earlier post). Dawkins also makes the same mistake, and persists in it despite having been corrected.

It is a sin for a Christian to rejoice in the suffering of another…

If anyone cares to look it up, I would recommend a wonderful essay by Eleonore Stump called “Dante’s Hell and the Love of God.” God doesn’t love sin or what is evil, but anything in existence, including those in Hell, at least possesses the good of existence, which God can love.


That Dawkins might have twisted Aquinas to further is own evil intention is little consequence to me. We do rejoice in God’s perfect justice and power (you and I both have stated that), but the sufferings of the damned are evidence of that.

I never said that we rejoice in suffering for suffering’s sake, as if we are all vegged out watching an eternal version of a blood-porn film in Heaven. But we do rejoice in the sufferings none-the-less, as the Scripture I quoted and Aquinas’s treatment of the concept support. The suffering is, to us, a sign of God’s justice. I never said more than that.

Here is the second of the two consecutive question in the ST (as you suggested) expanding on the point:

Article 3. Whether the blessed rejoice in the punishment of the wicked?

Objection 1. It would seem that the blessed do not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. For rejoicing in another’s evil pertains to hatred. But there will be no hatred in the blessed. Therefore they will not rejoice in the unhappiness of the damned.

Objection 2. Further, the blessed in heaven will be in the highest degree conformed to God. Now God does not rejoice in our afflictions. Therefore neither will the blessed rejoice in the afflictions of the damned.

Objection 3. Further, that which is blameworthy in a wayfarer has no place whatever in a comprehensor. Now it is most reprehensible in a wayfarer to take pleasure in the pains of others, and most praiseworthy to grieve for them. Therefore the blessed nowise rejoice in the punishment of the damned.

On the contrary, It is written (Psalm 57:11): “The just shall rejoice when he shall see the revenge.”

Further, it is written (Isaiah 56:24): “They shall satiate [Douay: ‘They shall be a loathsome sight to all flesh.’] the sight of all flesh.” Now satiety denotes refreshment of the mind. Therefore the blessed will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked.

I answer that, A thing may be a matter of rejoicing in two ways. First directly, when one rejoices in a thing as such: and thus the saints will not rejoice in the punishment of the wicked. Secondly, indirectly, by reason namely of something annexed to it: and in this way the saints will rejoice in the punishment of the wicked, by considering therein the order of Divine justice and their own deliverance, which will fill them with joy. And thus the Divine justice and their own deliverance will be the direct cause of the joy of the blessed: while the punishment of the damned will cause it indirectly.

Reply to Objection 1. To rejoice in another’s evil as such belongs to hatred, but not to rejoice in another’s evil by reason of something annexed to it. Thus a person sometimes rejoices in his own evil as when we rejoice in our own afflictions, as helping us to merit life: “My brethren, count it all joy when you shall fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2).

Reply to Objection 2. Although God rejoices not in punishments as such, He rejoices in them as being ordered by His justice.

Reply to Objection 3. It is not praiseworthy in a wayfarer to rejoice in another’s afflictions as such: yet it is praiseworthy if he rejoice in them as having something annexed. However it is not the same with a wayfarer as with a comprehensor, because in a wayfarer the passions often forestall the judgment of reason, and yet sometimes such passions are praiseworthy, as indicating the good disposition of the mind, as in the case of shame pity and repentance for evil: whereas in a comprehensor there can be no passion but such as follows the judgment of reason.

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