Hell not a last thing?

That’s what I was thinking lol. You scared me a little bit in thinking you might be forgetting things :wink:
Don’t have multiple windows open Br. BTW do you mind putting your input on this topic?

My input on this topic is very simple.

There is not enough information in the OP to give a genuinely scholarly response from a Catholic perspective. In my opinion, it is a major error to bring up such topics in undergraduate classes, because the students lack the necessary philosophical and theological equipment to understand the issue, much less to understand the answer to the question.

The question was, “Is hell eternal? If so, how can a merciful God wish this or allow it?”

This question was poised as part of Systematic Theology during the 1980s, not to undermine the eternal truth revealed to us about heaven and hell, but to answer a very confused society of the time. This question and its answer were a common topic of discussion in theology classes, but never lower than the 500 level, which would be a Master’s level.

The question is still addressed in theology classes in graduate and post graduate Sytematic Theology.

The answer is very simple. Hell is eternal, not because God mae it so, but because those who go to hell mae it so. Those souls that go to hell do not want to go to heaven. Hell is their choice, not God’s choice for man.

God can no more force a soul to desire the Beatifici vision than he can sin. To impose his will on man is as contrary to God’s nature as is sin itself. Those souls who are in hell don’t want to go to heaven. Therefore, it is impossible for them to leave hell. They have made their final choice to live eternally in the absence of God. Karl Rhaner correctly called this “the fundamental option.” What he meant by this is that man by his own free will chooses his eternal destinity.

St. Faustina tells us that she learned from Christ that he (Christ) offers man every possible opportunity to ask for mercy and that Christ is williing to give it even to the worse sinner or the best sinner. I guess worse or best are not quite clear here. Worse sinner sounds like an oxymoron. It would imply that you don’t know how to sin. We know that’s not true. Man certainly knows how to sin. I guess the more sinful, the better you are at it.

The point is that the person who rejects this final offer of mercy makes a fundamental option that decides his eternal present. Therefore, hell is his eternal reality, by his own choice, not God’s choice. Since there is no time beyond this life, that choice becomes an eternal present. Therefore, one is eternally choosing to live in darkness.

As I said, this question was formulated by Systematic Theologians to answer the question about God’s mercy, because many people erroneously believed that God sent souls to hell for eternity. The truth is that God only tolerates man’s free choice to go to hell. Once we step outside of time and space, that choice cannot be changed, because there is no future. There is only an eternal present. That choice becomes an ongoing reality that never ends. It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

My input on this topic is very simple.

There is not enough information in the OP to give a genuinely scholarly response from a Catholic perspective. In my opinion, it is a major error to bring up such topics in undergraduate classes, because the students lack the necessary philosophical and theological equipment to understand the issue, much less to understand the answer to the question.

The question was, “Is hell eternal? If so, how can a merciful God wish this or allow it?”

This question was poised as part of Systematic Theology during the 1980s, not to undermine the eternal truth revealed to us about heaven and hell, but to answer a very confused society of the time. This question and its answer were a common topic of discussion in theology classes, but never lower than the 500 level, which would be a Master’s level.

The question is still addressed in theology classes in graduate and post graduate Sytematic Theology.

The answer is very simple. Hell is eternal, not because God mae it so, but because those who go to hell mae it so. Those souls that go to hell do not want to go to heaven. Hell is their choice, not God’s choice for man.

God can no more force a soul to desire the Beatifici vision than he can sin. To impose his will on man is as contrary to God’s nature as is sin itself. Those souls who are in hell don’t want to go to heaven. Therefore, it is impossible for them to leave hell. They have made their final choice to live eternally in the absence of God. Karl Rhaner correctly called this “the fundamental option.” What he meant by this is that man by his own free will chooses his eternal destinity.

St. Faustina tells us that she learned from Christ that he (Christ) offers man every possible opportunity to ask for mercy and that Christ is williing to give it even to the worse sinner or the best sinner. I guess worse or best are not quite clear here. Worse sinner sounds like an oxymoron. It would imply that you don’t know how to sin. We know that’s not true. Man certainly knows how to sin. I guess the more sinful, the better you are at it.

The point is that the person who rejects this final offer of mercy makes a fundamental option that decides his eternal present. Therefore, hell is his eternal reality, by his own choice, not God’s choice. Since there is no time beyond this life, that choice becomes an eternal present. Therefore, one is eternally choosing to live in darkness.

As I said, this question was formulated by Systematic Theologians to answer the question about God’s mercy, because many people erroneously believed that God sent souls to hell for eternity. The truth is that God only tolerates man’s free choice to go to hell. Once we step outside of time and space, that choice cannot be changed, because there is no future. There is only an eternal present. That choice becomes an ongoing reality that never ends. It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Thank you, Brother JR.

I appreciated your answers in both threads.

take care,
amsjj :slight_smile:

+++
Jesus, God and man,
imprisoned by love in Thy most holy Sacrament,
have mercy upon us.
– Blessed John Henry Newman, December 22, 1851

Tú y yo sabemos por la fe que oculto en las especies sacramentales está Cristo,
ese Cristo con su Cuerpo, con su Sangre, con su Alma, y con su Divinidad,
prisonero de amor.
– San Josemaría Escrivá, 1 junio 1974

This is total nonsense I’m afraid (to put it charitably). The church is clear on this matter, those in heaven will be there forever, those in hell will be there forever. St Thomas Aquinas (whose authority no one can doubt) offers a succint explanation on the matter, a summary of his teachings is provided by the Catechism of the Summa Theologica which states '**Is there a place of eternal damnation?

Yes, and it is called hell.

What is hell?

Hell is a place to which are condemned all those who by their sins have revolted against God and have remained in their sins.

Who are these?

Among the angels all those that sinned and among men those who die in final impenitence.

Since the damned are rooted in evil, in such wise that they never repent what is the consequence?

The consequence is that the torments which they have merited by their sins will last forever.

But could God not put an end to these torments?

Yes, he could do so by his absolute power, but according to the order of his wisdom he will not do so,for according to this order those who arrive at the term of their life are fixed for always either in Good or in Evil, and since the evil always remain so must the punishment always remain’**

Lest anyway doubt the authority of the catechism or St Thomas Aquinas, Pope Benedict XV in a brief to the creator of the catechism states ‘** Beloved Son,
Greetings and Apostolic Benediction,
The manifold honours paid by the Holy See to St Thomas Aquinas exclude for ever any doubt from the mind of Catholics with regard to his being raised up by God as the Master of Doctrine to be followed by the church through all ages…Much praise is therefore due to you first of all because you have undertaken to write a commentary in your mother tongue upon the greatest work of the Doctor (the summa)… and secondly because you have recently published the Summa Theologica in the form of a catechism. Therein you have aptly accomodated the riches of the great genious to the understanding of the less instructed as well of the learned, briefly and succinctly you have expounded the doctrine, and in the same luminous order as that of the Angelic Doctor whoe treatise is more lengthy and more detailed. We congratulate you on this fruit of your labours which show your masterly knowledge of St Thomas’ doctrine. We hope, therefore, through your love of Holy Church that this work will bring many souls to a sound knowledge of Christian Doctrine…**

The Authority of both the Catechism and St Thomas Aquinas is therefore unquestionable.

I hope this helps answer your question somewhat.

Indeed - I do not know if they will repent. Nor would I accept or teach another what has not been revealed through the Church.

If I may - and I am not proposing but only speculating - there is the story Jesus tells of the Rich Man and Lazarus. In this story the Rich man apparently displays a repentance and desire that others not meet his fate.
How this might fit into any discussion is sort of…:shrug:… and I don’t wish to start a debate about it here…but it does seem to point to a “repentance” after having met God face to face…

It also has to do with the fact that heaven and hell are not “eternal” as in time goes on and on. Heaven and Hell are eternal in that time does not exist at all because god and the angels exist outside of time. What I am getting at is a decision made in eternity is eternal, our material world is the only place where we can convert and accept god because its the only place where decisions are not eternal.

This is a good point. These ideas can be difficult to get our heads around which is another reason why it is good to have the Church to clarify.

It sounds like the people talking about people in hell being forgiven are confusing hell with purgatory.

This is certainly a possibility.

Peace
James

But that is not the way that theology answers the question. To answer the question you must first lay it out as it was originally presented. Then you must go back to the philosophical principles that help us explain the Church’s theology of hell and lay those out. For that, you must go into metaphysics and explain the eternal present moment. You use those principles to sustain the Church’s position that hell is eternal. Finally, you must conclude by addressing the nature of God himself and the anatomy of his eternal will. Otherwise, your response, while correct, lacks the complimentarily between reason and faith.

When Pope Benedict was Cardinal Ratzinger, we took a theology class with him on Theology of History. He addressed this question. He explained that we cannot answer this question intelligently without the use of philosophical reason. Because reason helps us understand the concept of history in time and beyond time. Without this rational approach, we’re simply making statements based on faith that cannot be explained. He taught us that all faith can be explained using the language of reason. Reason is the tool for answering these questions. The questions in fact are necessary, because they help us explain what we believe by faith.

As Dr. Ratzinger, at that time, would say, “Such a question is a reasonable one and deserves a rational answer.” We must explain why the Church says so, calmly and rationally. He always pointed us to the systems of St. Augustine and St. Bonaventure to answer these questions.

He always say, that it’s too easy to say, “This is nonsense.” It is much more credible to say, “This is a very good question that has a very rational answer.”

Go for the the rational answer. But always begin by putting the question into its historical context. That’s what Theology of History does for us. It places the question into historical context and then proceeds to show how God answers it through history.

Remember, this is a question being raised in a university classroom, not a CCD class. They need to be given the tools to answer the question, not just the answer. Aquinas gives you the answer. It is Bonaventure and Augustine that explain that show you why Aquinas’ answer is correct. They show you the tools that he used to arrive at his answer.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Br Jr

I apologise for not posting a more detailed answer. My concern was on the error being preached not necessarily teaching theology as such. If the OP wants a more detailed and perhaps more helpful answer they can read what the Summa has to say on the subject here

That would show them how St Thomas Aquinas got to the answer and why, that is after all one of the joys of Thomism it is easy and clear to understand how St Thomas Aquinas got to the answer he did.

As for referring to other theologians I should perhaps put a disclaimer, that yes I am a Thomist, a bad one but one nonetheless :wink:

There is no possibility of Hell not being forever as that would mean Jesus lied.

Matt 18:8 If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or crippled than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into eternal fire.

Matt 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Also remember that it is a clear and unambiguous Church teaching (backed by the authority from God) that Hell is forever.

CCC 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.

The apostle Paul warns us about these false teachings and likens the speakers of such heresy to …‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. Furthermore he predicts that people will ‘want to have their ears tickled’. That is there are those amongst us that want a more user friendly version of Gods laws and will shop around for that message. You can be wrong about a lot of things don’t want to be wrong where your eternal soul is concerned.

The red is mine.

Now, that’s funny. :stuck_out_tongue:

Though I’m very familiar with Thomas, I’m much more Bonaventurian and Augustinian. They actually go well together.

When I was a student, I had the privilege and opportunity to take what we would call a mini-course with then Cardinal Ratzinger. The Europeans call them seminars, but they last for four weeks. In my mind a seminar is a day or two. Different labels for different cultures.

Anyway, I was blown away by his knowledge of theology and I knew that he was Bonaventurian and Augustinian. I went down that path. Being a Franciscan made it even easier, because we spend a lot of time on Bonaventure and Augustine during the M.Div. program. They’re actually saying the same thing, but starting from different points.

The OP is not very clear whether someone is trying to teach a falsehood or trying to get the students to answer a question. We studied this in the 1970 and 80s. It was a very proper question. In fact, it was a wonderful question. It forced us to find the answer, not in prepackaged materials, but by using the systems of the masters. They had us study the Scripture, the Fathers, the great doctors. Once we knew what they said, we had to use philosophy and rhetoric to unwrap what they were saying. It was a wonderful exercise in systems, while at the same time, we learned how the Church’s teaching could be proven using pure reason.

If this is a question for a theology class, it’s very appropriate. Instead of rejecting the question, the students need to fasten their seat belts and get ready for the ride of their lives. This is not one of those things that you answer by saying, "St. Thomas said . . . " You have to show that St. Thomas was right. That’s the beauty of Systematic Theology. You learn theology by challenging the answers. It’s almost like engaging in a dialogue with the Masters, very much like Augustine, Bonaventure and Aquinas did.

I believe that there is a tendency in some students to freak out when they hear these kinds of questions in a theology class, not realizing that this is exactly what makes theology very fascinating. Theology tries to make you think like a theologian, not just memorize what previous theologians have said. You have to know what they said, how they said it, and how they sustained their positions. You also have to know why they addressed the question in the first place. Having said that, I do believe that this type of exercise is not appropriate for undergraduate students. You really need a lot of philosophy, scripture and fundamental theology in order to grapple with these questions without losing your faith.

I will never forget a similar question that I had on a Christology examination. It was a one sentence question. I can’t remember the exact wording. It was over 30 years ago. Basically it asked us to prove that Jesus was the God-Man. You were not allowed to say, “The Bible says so.” or “St. Thomas said so.” They gave you one of those little blue books. They don’t use those anymore. I remember filling up two of those. You had two hours and two questions. When you finished, you knew that you knew your theology.

As my mother would often say, “It’s too bad that no one else understands what the heck you’re talking about.” :shrug:

At the end of the day, sanctity is not based on this kind of knowledge, but on faith, hope and love. As St. Paul said. The greatest of these is love.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

hell is eternal, I’ve heard that Loyola University is getting more and more liberal. Do not listen to those that teach against the faith, because you don’t want to find out the hard way that hell is eternal, satan’s greatest trick is making you think that he doesn’t exist.

you made a grammar error. thank God its just grammer. and also i am boasting of hypocracy cause i can see the error even when it was done in Grace and is not a mistake entirely nor wrong, and here i am i cant spell and i dont like to check my interent grammer or edit my internet typos. haha thank God we dont have to worry about everything, some things we can say arent our fault or God’s and its pretty cool to Depend on Him. i hate suffering too. i wihs people in hell could be forgiven, and not hate and possess thier wrath but love but i cant worry about all the details of everything. not everything is for me to understand, its easier knowing i am a hypocryte than knowing if God can eleiminate Hell. perhaps if it were possible it were not able to know til we are in His heaven and glory he shares with us in Jesus after this world passes away. i dont know what it means Jesus said “not one letter of the Law shall pass away til the professies are completed” i believe him. i dont understand. i am so blind even with salvation. i really am not someone you’ll benefit from posting i guess. i am trying to learn and contribute. i think hell is separation from God. i think they go there for blasephemy more than anything else. but we dont want people using that as an excuse to kill people they dont understand and martyr them and end up in worse sorrow than when they were afraid it was all the sins they didnt see jesus died for. i will ask some questions another time. this is as much as i think i can participate till i get healthier.

Sounds very much like some older Byzantine Theology. Hell being separation from God, and the understanding of the second coming as the destruction of the unworthy and the unity of those made worthy with God.

Also, note that Hell, in Byzantine theology, especially amongst the Orthodox, includes both the place of purification of those who will eventually be united to God (known to Romans as Purgatory) and the place of the eternally damned; some older western sources also treat hell as including both the place of purification and the place of eternal punishment.

Melissa,

My dear sister in Christ, we should rightly fear our looming punishments. We should take care to attone in this world before while our actions and prayers have greater merit. There a souls bound to purgatory until the end of the world. This much we know. In this I make reference to the aparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

There are souls who are in purgatory, indeed the Gehenna of Purgatory, that Lake of Fire, whose punishments and flames are indentical to the Gehenna of Hell. The Gehenna are identical. The only difference is that one eventual will gradually recognise God’s love, though it might be almost until the end of time, while the others will know only unending pride. Many souls are so in need of God’s Mercy that His Justice demands that they be not even aware of their purgation. These souls, and many they are, think themselves to be in hell for all eternity having only for a moment have been granted a glimpse of His Glory before being cast into the shadow of death.

The Lake of Fire is found in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for even hell for eternity is both an Act of Mercy and a demand of His Justice. These souls depend on Marian prayer and supplication. She is the advocate for those who otherwise have no representation.

I hope this helps a little.

You’re right. The term “hell” is used in different ways between East and West.

Never trust anyone who applies political labels to religion. While it is true that religion speaks to politics, it transcends politics. Terms like “liberal” and “conservative” are used to describe political agendas.

I always tell our people in formation never to describe our community as conservative or liberal. There is always someone to your left and to your right. In every organization, especially one as large as a major university, you’re going to find a diversity of people, worldviews, points of view, opinions and preferences.

What is even more interesting is that a person can be to your left on one issue and to your right on another. It begs the question, is he more conservative or more liberal than you are?

Therefore, these labels don’t work when one tries to apply them as absolutes. One can only apply them point by point. On point A I’m to your left and on point B I’m to your right.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:

Brother JR, I might be one of those people who is a bit freaked out by some theological issues related to salvation and hell. :o Instead of starting a whole new thread, I will ask my question here if you don’t mind. :blush:

When Our Lady appeared to the children of Fatima, she told them that many people go to hell because there’s nobody to pray for them. I know this is just a private revelation, but educated priests wrote books about Fatima, and nobody objected to this alleged statement of Our Lady as being theologically incorrect. But I mightily struggle with the principle, that someone’s salvation or lack of salvation is directly related to my prayers or lack of prayers for them. Yet, I pray for all my family members and friends, and also for my enemies, and I hope that God will help them, especially those who don’t believe or don’t obey God - I don’t want any of them lost, not even my enemies. It’s hard to comprehend that the prayers of a finite and sinful creature like me, L piperatus, could somehow contribute to another person’s eternal salvation, yet I know that this is what the Catholic Church teaches, and I gratefully use this “tool” God gave me, I pray and I hope for the salvation of others (in addition to praying for myself).

I’m not even sure what my question is - perhaps I would appreciate some reassurance from a theological standpoint, is it true that I can make a difference in someone else’s eternal salvation or eternal damnation? Am I doing the right thing by praying for people, will my prayers make a difference towards them finding God and his Church, finding the same inner peace that belief in God and obedience to his commandments gave me, am I not only wasting my time by praying for people?

Haha, I’ve just always admired St Thomas Aquinas and his system of theology even before I converted to the faith and now that I am Catholic and he’s my Patron I guess I’m even more bias :stuck_out_tongue:

That said I would love to study some Bonaventure and Augustine, now if I can just find some time between doing my degree and doing theology…

You’re very lucky, I hear he’s a very good theologian, perhaps one day when I’m at seminary I’ll get someone as good, we can always hope;)

Actually I had a history class where we still used those little blue books :smiley:
You are very correct when it comes to theology. The professor who happens to be a brilliant Jesuit priest told us that we need to abandond our previous knowledge while in his class. He stated that theology ask tough questions, and so we look to the bible, the fathers, and saints and see why they wrote what they wrote. We also must look at the other side and try to also understand why they had contrary beliefs and where did it come from, and why the Church never accepted them. The class I am in is theology of Christ. At this moment we are dealing with the relation between original sin, and the redemption of humanity. the class is tough, I’ve read more scripture than I ever had before.

No doubt about that! There is a lot of influence there by the gay-culture.

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