Hell must be empty "For to know all is to forgive all"


Excuse me for the brash phrasing of my title, but it seems the best way to provoke discussion. That settled…

Aren’t we all the products of our environments and mental capacities? Doesn’t everything we do have a cause – in that no atoms can disobey the laws of physics – so that free will is merely an illusion?

I’ve tried to get answers to such questions before without any fulfilling response to such determinism, so I thought I’d phrase it this way:

How can anyone thus willingly commit evil, turn away from God, or simply refuse to believe…on their own accord? Perhaps I wasn’t specific enough in a similar thread, but I’m not just mentioning mental disorders, I’m mentioning ALL brain functions. Specifically, our every moral and belief systems hinge on our brain’s willingness and ability to accept that information and act accordingly. The whole reason I bother to write this so late at night for me is that my brain is hard-wired to want to have an answer. There might be someone just as skeptical as me, but because he/she doesn’t possess the chemical motivation to seek an answer, they’ll go on believing their own point of view blindly. Would I really be any better than that person???

Everyday more and more secrets are being unlocked about the brain to the point where no harm or disbelief caused by anyone can really be blamed on their “free will to decided” so much as their chemical makeup.

So if hell really existed, and no one is trully responsible for anything they do, how can anyone be there??? :confused:

“To know all is to forgive all” – French Proverb (this might soon be my signature)


I was troubled by this as well. Taking things down a bit smaller than the atom, we find that things tend to get a little weird. Not so predictable.

There is a lot of science out there that shows that you can’t “wind back the clock”; in that I mean I can’t tell you where an electron is going to show up one second to the next, so there for, you wouldn’t be able to plot its course in reverse. It all gets kinda funny at that scale.

You are right in saying that the laws of physics are set and cannot be circumvented, however, at the sub atomic level, you can’t predict what is going to happen. Could this be God at work in an invisible fashion, rather than a clockwork style universe? Does this finding give us room for free will?

In any case, I go back to Adam, or even Lucifer. There were choices there. God has it fit somewhere in there. We probably will never find it, seeing as when we drill down to the tiniest parts, all we see is chance.


I am not at all convinced that science has provided much to go on when it comes to free will or the lack thereof. Much of what science says seems to be theoretical fluff masquerading as fact. This may appear to be an over confident and harsh evaluation on my part…afterall, I am capable of being extremely opinionated.

Since I’m not always extremely opinionated, I’m not sure if that is merely an innate trait or if it is something I merely choose to do depending on a myriad of other factors that I might be consciously taking into consideration. I like to think it’s the latter.


We just don’t know.

Hell is as empty as possible.

On the flip side, would you say all will be in heaven?


If you believe what Jesus said in Mat, 7:13 there must be at least one person in hell.

13 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. 14 How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

A liberal reading may conclude that from Jesus perspective one person may be “too many.” Even a liberal reading must conclude that there must be at least one person in hell since there are “too many.” A more rational reading may conclude that there are many more then one person in hell. It is a reality that we need to be VERY concerned about.


The best “deterministic” counter that I can think of to your position would be identical twins. Identical twins, being divided in two after fertilization, have the same genetic make-up. One would assume that if your position is true then if we get the population of identical twins raised in the same household and given the same opportunities, there would be NO incidence of one being better than the other, nor “one good and one evil,” etc.

And yet, there are. Refer to this list of famous twins from Wikipedia. At the beginning there would be lists of famous twins with the same interests, same physical and mental capacities, and comparable (if not the same) achievements. But look at the latter portion below. You will see celebrities with twins (some are fraternal, some died, but some have identical twins) that gain prominence while their twins did not. Which means even though theoretically they would have the same brain chemical make-up by virtue of the same genetics and environment, those identical twins were NOT the same. And I would ascribe that to the free will of the twins to choose paths different from each other.

And there are anecdotes of parents all over the world of
identical twins going in different ways of life, although there are also numerous anecdotes of twins going on to the same paths in life. It really depends on their choice, on their “free will”.


oops, forgot the link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_twins


No. That is the heart of Christian belief about human nature (that we are made in God’s image and have a free will that transcends materialistic determination). I don’t know why someone who believed that we are simply the products of chemistry would want to call themselves a Christian. In fact, it would be hard for me to see the point of living at all if I believed that. It would certainly be hard to live a moral life.

This is nothing other than the new barbarism prophesied by Chesterton’s King Alfred:

"But though they bridge St. Mary’s sea,
Or steal St. Michael’s wing–
Though they rear marvels over us,
Greater than great Vergilius
Wrought for the Roman king;

"By this sign you shall know them,
The breaking of the sword,
And man no more a free knight,
That loves or hates his lord.

"Yea, this shall be the sign of them,
The sign of the dying fire;
And Man made like a half-wit,
That knows not of his sire.

"What though they come with scroll and pen,
And grave as a shaven clerk,
By this sign you shall know them,
That they ruin and make dark;

"By all men bond to Nothing,
Being slaves without a lord,
By one blind idiot world obeyed,
Too blind to be abhorred;

"By terror and the cruel tales
Of curse in bone and kin,
By weird and weakness winning,
Accursed from the beginning,
By detail of the sinning,
And denial of the sin;

"By thought a crawling ruin,
By life a leaping mire,
By a broken heart in the breast of the world,
And the end of the world’s desire;

"By God and man dishonoured,
By death and life made vain,
Know ye the old barbarian,
The barbarian come again–

"When is great talk of trend and tide,
And wisdom and destiny,
Hail that undying heathen
That is sadder than the sea.

If you are right, then hell is not empty. We are all in it, even God (such a pitiful God as could exist on your principles).



DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.