Hell, the absence of God?


#1

I’ve heard that Hell is the absence of God. Could anybody share any information regarding this thought?

Also, supposing Hell is the absence of God, wouldn’t that mean that Souls are willed out of existence (because there is no God there to continue to will their existence)? I’m not sure if that’s a valid question - I may have the fundamentals wrong.

I think I recall that Our Lady of Fatima showed a vision to the children of people suffering in Hell. Considering God can not be in Hell - any thoughts on this?

Anyway, as you can tell, I really don’t know much about this, so any links or info would be interesting for me to read. Thanks in advance.


#2

[LEFT]From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

**1033 **We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self- exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

I would say that the souls of those in hell are held into existence by the love of God. God does not stop loving His creation even when it is in hell. He respects their decision to reject God and so they are no longer in communion with Him.
[/LEFT]


#3

As you can see from the first reply in this thread, hell is about the rejection of God rather than the absence. All of us arrive before God as the scripture repeatedly tells us. The “sheep” array themselves on God’s “right” and the “goats” on God’s “left.” All are still in His presence but one group accepts and the other rejects.

Matthew


#4

But the **rejection **of God leads someone to a place that is the **absence **of God.


#5

The first 2 posts are accurate.

I will catch some flak from some who insist that there is NO grace in Hell but that is not a technically accurate belief. God is actaully present in Hell through the presence of His creative grace that permits the damned soul to exist.

All created beings exist by the grace of God’s will and permission. In Hell the soul has rejected God utterly but that does not impose a status of “non existence” on the damned soul. The soul is in fact created but immortal. It exists because God wills it so. The damned soul retains its creative grace and lacks any power or ability onto itself to “unmake” itself. Thus the creative grace is permitted to be remain in hell.

It is God’s will and His Justice that a damned soul MUST continue to exist to receive its earned punishment. A damned soul is stripped of all sanctifying grace and has no means to love ever again. It can only spiritually sense its depravity and have eternal remorse and self loathing for its pitiful condition. But such a soul stripped of all sanctifying grace would never change its decision to reject God and would consciously remain in Hell if given the choice to leave since it can only relate to itself as its own god.

Since existence is infinitely superior to non-existence it becomes ironic that Hell is actually both an Divine act of Mercy and of Justice. If Hell did not exist an immortal soul seperated from God would cause itself to suffer infinitely greater than it suffers in Hell (as impossible as that is for a human mind to fathom). As unimaginably terrible as Hell is God does govern Hell’s conditions, extents of His punishments. If God had not created the mercy of Hell all of creation would shudder in horror and repulsion at the spiritual screams of despair and loathing that a single human damned soul seperated from God for eternity would emit. The only thing imaginably worse would be the scream of despair of the highest fallen angel.

Basically a soul spiritually dead in hell stands face to face with God in the knowledge that He created it and the soul only exists by the goodness of God’s sustaining created grace. But without sanctifying grace it can never know or commune with God or relate to God except through envy, loathing, hatred and contempt. It is said that those in Hell are given glorious images of God, the saints, their old friends who repented and insights into what God had intended for them in heaven as part of their punishment.

Bottom line: No one ever wants to go to hell.

James


#6

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