I have my own ideas on how to respond to this statement by a friend of a friend. But what would you say to someone who speculates that there can be no hell because “God is everywhere so how can a person be totally separated from Him???”
God’s love is a burning fire and it takes being on fire with that same kind of love to exist in the presence of God and not get burned by it. If you heart is ice cold the fire would feel all that much hotter. Perhaps hell is being in God’s presence when we are not equipped for it.
Or maybe not.
Your friend’s argument starts from a false premise. “God is everywhere” is an incomplete statement of the truth. God is everywhere He wishes to be. Who are we to say where God wishes to be?
However, this is not the only approach you could take with this logic. I believe the Catechism defines Hell as separation from God’s love, not merely separation from God. So, it would be conceivable that even present in Hell, God could honor our wish to withhold His love from us.
Or, you could employ some deductive logic of your own.
A. God is always present in our lives.
B. We do not feel God’s presence in some times of distress (although it is present).
C. Therefore, it is not God’s presence that is lacking, but our inability to feel His presence, or our choice to ignore it.
So, since those in Hell are there by a conscious separation from God, in Hell they continue to choose to not recognize His presence and love - not that He is not present, or not loving.
Hmm? Since God is existence itself, how can anything exist apart from its existence? So saying God exists only where he wishes to exist does not make sense because if he were not there it would not exist.
or maybe not
Where do you infer that God is existence? God is Creator, but are you saying that as creation, you, I, and our shoes, are all God?
Article 1. Whether God is in all things?
Article 2. Whether God is everywhere?
I’ve read this several times over the past few months and even discussed it with my pastor, who has PhD in Philosophy. But I still have difficulty wrapping my mind around it.
One aspect of hell is that there is absolutely no fellowship with God or anyone else there. It is thus a desolate place of eternal suffering and damnation.
Your friend’s question “God is everywhere so how can a person be totally separated from Him???”. I believe the answer is that a person has the free will to **choose **to separate himself from God, and that choice can have everlasting consequences.
no I am not saying that anything in creation is God. I am saying that all created things have their existence in God and apart from God nothing exists.
Hell is the state we are in when WE, as an act of will, turn away from God and his Love. When we turn away from Him it does not mean He or His Love does not exist, but we are not willing/able to receive it.
An analogy is a teenager and a parent. The teenager might reject his parents love and help but that does not mean that love and help does not exist and always there for him.
The difference with God is that if we reject him when we die, it is permanant and eternal. That is what life is all about: constantly rejecting and returning to God until,hopefully, we realize that we should turn to God and accept his Love and forgiveness.
GodAllahYHWH is everywhere where He wants to be. GodAllahYHWH existed even before heaven or hell were created by Him, so His powers are everywhere, but He does not have to be literally or physically there as He is not a physical being.
God’s presence may indeed reach into hell. But even if this were the case, hell only pains those who have sinned-- therefore God’s sinless presence would not be in pain. Likewise, even if his presence reached into the depths of hell, this wouldn’t necesarilly mean that those in hell could perceive him either.
My particular definition of God’s omnipotence is not that God can do everything. My particular definition of God’s omnipotence is that God can do everything good. And an all-holy, all-good being dwelling in hell suffering eternal torment would not be good. It would be a perversion of God’s very essence. Therefore, God can’t do it.
Do the Ahmadi/muslims believe God created evil or hell? Christians believe these things are created by us humans (and angels,i.e. satan) and our actions of free will. God is pure Good. Everything created by God is good. It seems if God created evil or bad things you are placing human aspects onto God.
All men desire the good, and God is the ultimate good, therefore all men desire God. Perhaps hell is not divine punishment but rather we create hell when we have rejected God and thus destroyed any possibility we have of fullfilling that which we desire most. Is Hell divine punishment or something we ourselves have chosen when we reject God?
Hell does exist for it is a place of our own choosing when we reject God. You could say that hell is an actual place or an actual place than an individual creates with their rejection of God. Human beings desire the ultimate good and not being able to achieve that desire may be a hell of its own.
When one speaks the word “everywhere” we are talking about an aspect of creation. Before creation and heaven or any other dominion we have no human knowledge of God existed in His own Name as the great “I Am”.
Therefore from simple logic anything that exists does so only because it was permitted to do so as a conscious act of God’s will. Therefore, even in Hell (be it a state or a place) anything that exists by virtue of its sentience or its existence knows God at least as its creator. Therefore God exists even in Hell in the impression of his original will to manifest the soul that later elected of its own free will to seperate itself from God’s beneficence grace. Note that the logic thus prevents the notion that anything can of itself spontaneously will itself to self annihilate to escape punishment either. So God exists in binding his created creature to the eternal damnation it elected onto itself to suffer separation from God’s beneficial grace - but NOT God’s wrath. Therefor I conclude that God exists in Hell through the obvious condition that souls exists there and suffer by the presence of His Holy and Profound Justice. I personally believe that God also administers a personal justice on each of the damned through projections of the images of His visions for what He created them for but which they elected to seperate themselves from for all eternity.
Can anyone imagine the dimension of the despair of Hell? My God save us from ourselves! Suicide is not possible in Hell and no one can escape God - not even in Hell!
God can not exist in hell for hell is not a creation of God but rather a consequence of the rejection of God. Similiarly, God can not exist in sin because sin is our rejection of God. God does not exist in murder but may exist in the one who creates the act as long as they have not rejected God in themselves but merely in their actions.
God can not exist in our action to freely reject Him. This would be contrary to freedom of will.
God is present hell but in a unique way. Where as God is present everywhere in his mercy, justice, grace, etc. In Hell, the only experience of God is his justice.
[quote=Matthew 25:21]Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which **has been prepared **for the devil and his angels;
Trust me - I am not trying to sell you or anyone on Hell. But its very clear that it was “prepared”.
You are making a non-sequitur to infer that rejection becomes the “place” of sin. While sin separates us from God’s beneficial grace it does not seperate us from memory of God nor the consequences of Sin nor God’s election to choose too actively assert his personal wrath. We know unequivocally from scripture that God’s dominion is over all things above, below and on earth. That implies that God actively administers and governs in all dominions; perhaps at a distance with a long handled paddle but perhaps as likely in a more personal way.
I agre with you E&W. I also think that even in Hell He tempers His Justice with a measure of Mercy in permitting the dammed to even exist and suffer.
While I see your point, then that would mean that God is indeed present in evil as well. The presence of God in hell you speak of is not a presence but a lack thereof. It would almost like feeling someone’s presence by their absence.
God is not in hell, but I guess He could be present in His absence because that is possibly the only place that He could not be.
Sin is a rejection of God and His will. That is not to say that the sinner themselves rejects God and His will but merely the action. An action that rejects God can not have God present in it, and since a rejection of God’s will is evil then an evil action does not have God’s presence. Hell may be the ultimate rejction of God from ourselves by freedom of Choice. It is not to say that God does not have dominion over hell but merely that he can not be present in a place that is a rejection of Him by choice. Hell seems to be more of a choice of freedom of will and as a result a punishment from choosing freely to do what is wrong and thus accept the consequences.
God is everywhere is not “good” Theology. God could be everywhere if He so chose but he has given us the freedom to choose to do evil and as a result a being of the ultimate good can not be present in evil or evil action. If God were present in evil or evil action, that would be part of His nature and essence. Since God is not evil nor is it part of His nature, it would stand to reason that he can not be part of it as well.
I think the second poster is spot on.
God is everywhere, sinners find Him unbearable, & to die in that state is hell.
God “is a devouring fire” Who consumes those who hate Him, refines those who are justified but not yet fit for His unveiled Presence , & is the Life of those love Him. So the Fire is one and the same for all, but is differently received.
Or something of the kind.
God is His own Place - He is even called “the Place” in Hebrew. Place is something that He causes - not something we have to “fit around” Him. In any case, it applies to us in our three-dimensioned experience of the world - it may be meaningless for talking about God, because God is the Reality “behind” all created phenomena, & is not one of them.