[quote=Gerry Hunter]Here is the teaching of the Church, from the Catechism:
1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
So no, there is no restoration according to revealed truth, God’s reputation not withstanding.
Note the nature of the punishment in the passage above. C.S. Lewis put it this way (to paraphrase). In the Lord’s prayer, we pray “thy will be done.” If that is not our wish, God simply says, “Very well, thy will be done.” It’s quite respectful of Him, actually.
Thank you Gerry for your post.
What I have come across in Scripture is that the doctrine of eternal punishment is not to be found in the Old Testament at all. The words translated “hell” in the OT are “sheol” and “hades”. Both places are described simply as “place or abode of the dead” with no respect to eternality or fire.
In the New Testament, the word “hell” is used for the words “hades”, “gehenna” and “tartaros”. Gehenna refers to a valley, the Valley of Hinnom spoken of in the OT. This is where people reportedly sacrificed their children to Molech. In the time of Christ, this “gehenna” was a garbage dump where trash was continually burning. So, when the word gehenna was used He was figuratively referring to this area. That area does not continually burn together. It is not on fire.
I believe the New American Bible, along with other translations, such as Young’s Literal Translation do not have the word “hell” in them. They use the actual word, because in reality their names are proper names and not to be used generally. Hades is a specific place and so is Sheol. The same is true for Gehenna and Tartaros.
If you notice, the KJV english Bible has the most instances of the word rendered “hell”. In subsequent translations, the number of times was reduced and now is to the point that many translations do not use the word hell at all.
This is food for thought. If we understand properly the words and concepts of hell, we begin to see the bigger picture of the restoration of all mankind to God.