Hell exists BECAUSE God loves us!

[LIST=1]
*]Would you rather be a human being, who is able to make intellectual choices guided by reason, or an animal which is not?
*]If you would rather be an animal, why?
*]If you would rather be a human, why?
*]In either case…congratulations! You just made an intellectual choice, which you would not be able to do as an animal. :wink:
[/LIST]

For the sake of this argument, I’ll assume that most of us are happy being humans and wouldn’t choose to give up our intelligence and freedom of choice. This is one of the greatest gifts (although not the greatest of all) that God has given us - to be created in His image as a rational, thinking being.

God loves us enough to grant us complete control over our lives, giving us the final say on every decision we make. God does not force us to do anything, because to love us completely demands that level of respect. He gives us our lives and sustains them continuously through the act of loving us…even as we commit sins and even if we decide that we don’t love Him in return. If God withdrew that love from us, even for an instant, we would literally drop dead. What an incredible act of humility and love on God’s part to show us such patience and to keep us alive while we insult Him constantly and repeatedly!

So how does this show that Hell exists as a natural consequence of God’s love for us? Simply because God gave you and I the freedom to do anything, even to run away from Him and hide forever. To question the doctrine of an eternal Hell, separated from God’s presence, is to argue that God is trying to trick us when He claims that we have free will. To say that God should bring us to Heaven, even when we knowingly and willingly sin, is to say that God should pretend to offer us a completely free choice but then ignore our ultimate decision and force His eternal presence on us against our will.

In other words, Hell is something God allows us to choose freely - even though He hopes that none of us will make that choice - because He loves us infinitely.

:signofcross:

An even simpler answer is: Hell exists because you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.

Amen! He gave us a choice because He loves us!

What if the square peg is thinner than the radius of the hole?

All jokes aside, I wish people would be more willing to accept this, rather than “God sends us there becuase we don’t follow his particular set of rules.”

It’s so tiring arguing with non-believers because the lack any understanding at all of what we actually teach. :shrug:

Hell: God is Good
Free Will

 God doesn't force Himself on any of us.  He gives us free will to decide whether we want to love Him or not.  He wants nothing more than to see us all around the wedding feast table in Heaven with Him.  Yet if we don't show that we love God here on earth, why would we want to be with Him forever?  It's similar to a young woman not wanting to marry a guy who she never went out with, and never had a conversation with.

**
But if God is so good…**

So if God loves us so much, and wants to see us all in Heaven, why does Hell exist?  How could He send His own children to Hell?  The answer is this:  He doesn't.  He does not send his children to Hell, in fact, we send ourselves there.  Our life shows separation from God's love, and our choices choose our final destination.

Hell: Vacancy

 God would love to see Hell empty.  When original sin entered the world, God sent the promise of a Savior, His own Son, to come to earth and open the gates of Heaven for us.    Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, there is not one sin that cannot be forgiven by God.  Our debt is forgiven by the Lamb's perfect sacrifice - and when we accept this, we can enter into God's mystical body here on earth, and eventually in Heaven.  

**
The Beauty of the Cross**

 The cross is the sign that God loves us!  He wants us to be with Him, and He has given us all the tools to get there.  St. Rose of Lima said, "Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder to Heaven."  

(from my blog post on 9/6/12)

God bless you all,

Chloe M.

If this were true then the alternative to heaven would be nothingness. Instead god has established a system where those who use there free will to reject him suffer for all eternity in a fiery pit.

Sorry but I must disagree with the original thread title.

Hell isn’t a firey pit, it’s a state of separation from God. At the end of our lives, we’ll be given a choice, to accept God’s love or to reject it. Because God is love, that means that we’d be rejecting God. The choice is ours, God wants us to be in Heaven, but we reject Him. He’s sitting there with open arms but we turn away. In a way, Hell is nothingness, but that’s because God is everything.

God isn’t going to sit there with a list of all the mistakes you made in your life, it isn’t a case of needing a certain number of “points” to get into Heaven. If someone who has not had the opportunity to lead a Catholic life goes before God, as long as they’ve led a good life according to their conscience, they’ll get into Heaven. If someone who has appeared to lead a good Catholic life goes before God and rejects Him, then they’d go to Hell. The reason for needing to live a good life is because it makes us able to say that “Yes” to God.

That doesn’t mean that we can just forget the Catholic Church’s teachings. If I were to stop going to Mass or confession and to do whatever I wanted, I wouldn’t be following my conscience so it would make it much harder for me to say “yes” to God. If someone feels an attraction towards the Catholic Church but doesn’t follow it because it would mean having to stop doing something sinful, or because they don’t like the priest or the other parishoners or the Pope, they wouldn’t be following their conscience either.

I hope you can accept that Hell is very different from your ideas of it, so therefore God must be very different from your ideas of Him/Her.

Haha, I thought of that while I was typing.

The best analogy I’ve heard is that of a hot stove. Your parents tell you not to touch a hot stove. If you do you get burned. It would be silly to say that the stove or your parents punished you with a burn for disobeying. It’s just what happens when you touch a hot stove. God (either through the prophets or Himself Incarnate) tells us not to touch the stove. If we do we get burned. It’s not that He punishes us, it’s just what happens. That’s God’s judgment. His mercy is to heal the burn and love us even after touching the stove over and over again.

Nothingness, or annihilation-ism is a popular suggestion, but it falls short logically for several reasons, and therefore I thank you for giving us a chance to examine why it doesn’t make sense.

First of all, it doesn’t line up with Christ’s teachings about Hell. Christ teaches that Hell is a form of eternal existence, not annihilation:

“Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out – the ones who have done what is good to the resurrection resulting in life, and the ones who have done what is evil to the resurrection resulting in condemnation.” John 5: 28-29

“And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:46

“And the smoke from their torture will go up forever and ever, and those who worship the beast and his image will have no rest day or night, along with anyone who receives the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:11

Second, you claim that God established a system of punishments for us…which is not accurate. God gives us the choice to exist with Him or to escape from Him, but He also created us in His image, and one aspect of that image is immortality. So whichever choice we make will be our experience after death for eternity. The first option obviously results in Heaven, the second option results in being away from God completely…which is the principle torment of Hell - knowing that we could have been happy forever and chose otherwise. That’s the meaning when Christians correctly say that God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, we send ourselves there.

And the best argument against annihilation-ism is the one I’ve already given. If God simply destroyed the bodies and souls of everyone who chose to live apart from Him, then He wouldn’t be truly honoring their choice. People who die apart from God’s grace aren’t choosing not to exist, they’re choosing to exist…but they want to exist apart from God. They’re saying “I don’t need you God, so leave me alone.” That’s Hell.

And here’s a related thought…

If God didn’t love us infinitely, why wouldn’t He just allow us to go to Hell the first, second, third, or even the tenth time we screw up? Most of us get far, far more chances than that. I know that I have. Eventually, God has to ring the final bell and tell us to put our pencils down and hand in our tests :wink: but He’s extremely forgiving in the meantime.

So why doesn’t He give us an infinite amount of time to decide, or enough time for each person to make the correct decision? We can’t know that, but it seems logical that God gives each of us way more than a fair amount of chances. Perhaps once we’ve hardened our hearts against God to such an extent that He would have to violate our free will in order to change our minds (and He won’t do that), then He finally allows us to receive our unfortunate reward…?

I think it’s a bit conceited to say that animals lack reasoning and intelligence. Communication is often the barrier between humans and animals, and if humans were intelligent enough they would have found a way to properly understand the many languages of species’. It’s apparent through interaction that many animals have a cognitive agility surpassing most humans, shown through quick learning, memory, and reactions. For them not to be able to contribute to conceptual conversations is merely an assumption based on us lacking knowledge of their vocabulary and perhaps even them not having an extensive vocabulary, though it is difficult to discern how many species communicate complex thoughts, some of which seem to be almost telepathic or maybe out of hearing frequency. Either way there are many possibilities and to jump to the one that says they have no reasoning is a bit demeaning to human intelligence. I like to think people are capable enough to explore possibilities before forming opinions, which I’m sure many are. Just wanted to add that, one mammal to another.

How do you KNOW that nothingness is more loving that existence outside of the presence of God (the definition of hell)?

Although some animals can reason to a certain degree, I think it’s a wild exaggeration to say that they “have a cognitive ability surpassing most humans”. There are a relatively tiny number of tool-using species, and those are only the most basic tools. If animals were as intelligent as you claim, why have they never advanced beyond the very basics needed for survival?

We may not know what animals are saying…but do you really think they’re making philosophical observations like we are right now? Where’s the evidence for that kind of thinking?

No, God gave us a very special place in His order of creation. Besides the angels, we are the only creatures on (or associated with) this planet who have enough brain-power to make the choice that God requires to freely enter Heaven or Hell. And that comes from Jesus Himself, BTW:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26

I have no idea where that dividing line for eligibility to eternal life is though…perhaps animals aren’t able to even conceptualize infinities the way we are, so it wouldn’t be fair to ask them to choose where they want to spend eternity?

mgoforth

In reply to your post:

I don’t understand why you are choosing to quote and paraphrase incomplete excerpts from my post. I suggest you read again and return with an argument that is in context to what I actually said.

My concern about Hell is the point at which you go there. Lots of mortal sins? One mortal sin? Only willful murder, rape, theft and the like? I pray God that is not my fate. Of course in the Protetant faith just having received Christ as savior is escape from hell.

Does only a Hitler go to Hell or those who refuse to believe in Christ?

This is one of the worst arguments I have ever heard. In no way does giving us free will require a hell to exist.

This doesn’t make sense. Why would we want to be with God if we don’t show that we love God on earth? Well heaven is paradise and never ending bliss, right? So you are asking why someone would want that instead of never ending torment? I don’t know, seems logical that someone who rejected God on earth would certainly want to be eternally tortured. Wait, no it doesn’t.

In no way does free will mean there has to be a hell. That is absolute nonsense.

Since when is this the definition of hell? I know for a fact that this has not been the church’s teaching throughout history.

The whole concept of what sends you to hell is illogical. If you are in a state of mortal sin when you die you will go to hell, right? And masturbation can be a mortal sin. So someone who lived a life of charity and righteousness can die after masturbating and go to hell, but hitler can ask for forgiveness right before he dies and goes to heaven. Seems fair, right? No, sorry, not at all.

Those who turn away from God through their disobedience are the ones who go to Hell. So yes, that could be one mortal sin or one hundred. In both cases, the sinner has chosen to abandon God’s friendship.

The Protestant interpretation has an element of truth, but not the fullness of truth. Yes, receiving Christ as our savior is what clears the way for us to enter Heaven, but we are still free at any point before we die to change our minds and decide we no longer want to be His follower. The idea of “once saved, always saved” is not logical.

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