Hell, what does it mean that it is for all eternity?


John Bosco has described Hell as a place with flames and torture. When we read his description of it, it is as if we can feel the everlasting pain. To day we learn that Hell is separation from God. The questions I hope that we can discuss are the following (together): 1) Will separation from God be painfull? 2) Will it last for all eterninty? 3) What does Catholic Tradition teach us about the eternity of Hell?

G. Grace


Ever been heart-broken and hopeless? Felt like there was no beauty in anything, yourself or otherwise? Feeling alone and worthless, and not even wanting to experience the outside world because it’s just as worthless as you are. Wanting to sob but knowing that it doesn’t bring any relief, so you just lay there in the fetal position hoping everything goes away, but it never does. Even sleep just brings horrible dreams of fading beauty and loss that cut deep well into your waking hours, so you drift back and forth between the ways you want to suffer, each time being worse than the last.

THAT is what I believe Hell is, and yes I believe it’s an eternity. Eternity, in my understanding, is not like an infinitely long time, per se, but it also encompasses the idea that all time is a constant “now”. So all of this eternal suffering is condensed into a single, constant moment that never gets easier because it doesn’t change. It’s all the suffering of trillions of years in a single minute that feels like a trillion years.
Anyone who’s suffered from severe, clinical depression knows what I’m talking about with my description. It’s the worst experience and pain I’ve ever felt, or can even imagine, and that’s with my limited human understanding of suffering; Hell is likely on a scale I can’t imagine. You don’t cut yourself off from God, from everything that is love, everything that is healthy, without deep internal torment AT LEAST on the level I described. I’ve been burned, and I would honestly rather feel constant flames engulfing my body than feel the hopelessness I described. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons people with severe depression self-mutilate is so that they can feel something different from the pain I described above. I used to cut and burn myself for relief, so I my mind could be tricked into focusing on an easier pain for a few moments.

Hell is a scary, scary place for me.


I came across this passage on hell, it is not the place to be that is for sure.

And I said: Lord, who will be the first to be questioned, and to receive judgment? And I heard a voice saying to me, The unclean spirits, along with the adversary. I bid them go into outer darkness, where the depths are. And I said: Lord, and in what place does it lie? And I heard a voice saying to me: Hear, righteous John. As big a stone as a man of thirty years old can roll, and let go down into the depth, even falling down for twenty years will not arrive at the bottom of Hades; as the prophet David said before, And He made darkness His secret place



A few of the Near Death experiences where folks admit to being damned before God brings them back confirm one of the visions of Hell – that it is like a Bedlam of crazed sharks gnawing on each other, who in their hopelessness hate God’s presence even more. Here is my favorite account…

**In 1985, Mr. Storm, 38, and his wife, Beverly, were in Paris on the last day of an art tour. Buckled over by searing pain in the middle of his stomach, he was rushed to the hospital. Awaiting emergency surgery, he knew he was dying. He said good-bye to his wife and drifted into darkness. **

**Standing up, he realized he was between two hospital beds. He looked at Beverly, who was motionless, staring at the floor, sitting in the chair next to his bed. He spoke to her, but she didn’t seem to hear. **

**As he bent over to look at the face of the body in the bed, he was horrified to see the resemblance that it had to his own face. But he knew that was impossible because he was standing over the person and looking at him. **

**Off in the distance, outside the room in the hall, he heard voices calling him. They were pleasant voices, male and female, young and old, calling to him in English. **

**“Come out here,” they said. “Don’t you want to get better?” **

**He stepped out into the hall, full of anxiety. The area seemed to be light but very hazy, and he couldn’t make out any details. **

**He followed them shuffling along in his bare feet with the memory of pain in his belly, yet feeling very much alive. The fog thickened as they went on, and it became gradually darker. **

**Overwhelmed with hopelessness, he told them he would go no farther and that they were liars. He could feel their breath on him as they shouted and snarled insults. **

**Then they began to push and shove him about, and he began to fight back. A wild frenzy of taunting, screaming and hitting ensued. As he swung and kicked at them, they bit him. **

**Even though he couldn’t see anything in the darkness, he was aware there were dozens or hundreds of them all around and over him and that his attempts to fight back only provoked greater merriment. **

**They began to tear off pieces of his flesh, and he realized that he was being taken apart and eaten alive, methodically, slowly, so that their entertainment would last as long as possible. In that wretched state he lay there in the darkness. **

**Suddenly remembering a prayer from childhood Sunday School class, he said, “Yea though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” **

**To his amazement, the cruel merciless beings were incited to rage by his prayer. They screamed at him, 'There is no God! Nobody can hear you!" But at the same time they were backing away. He realized that saying things about God was actually driving them away, and he became more forceful. They became more rabid, cursing and screaming against God, but in time, they retreated back into the distant gloom beyond his hearing. **

**Alone, destroyed, and yet painfully alive in this horrible place, he yelled out into the darkness, “Jesus, save me.” **

**Far off in the darkness, he saw a pinpoint of light like the faintest star in the sky. The star became brighter and brighter. As it came closer, he realized that he was right in its path, and he might be consumed by its brilliance. **

**This was a living being approximately 8 feet tall and surrounded by an oval of radiance. The brilliant intensity of the light penetrated his body. Ecstasy swept away the agony. Tangible hands and arms gently embraced him and lifted him up. He slowly rose up into the presence of the light, and the torn pieces of his body miraculously healed before his eyes. **


Hi Ghosty! :slight_smile:

I think that your definition of Hell as some kind of everlasting NOW is very good (like being in a clinical depression for ever). Some people says that to be cut of from God means to be destroyed, to stop to exist. For some that is not scary because not to exist is like sleeping forever some says.

I think it is important that we all understand that once given a life means that there is no way we can stop to live. Life is for all eternity, after death we will continue to live in either Hell of Heaven (some in Purgatory first).

I think this is content with CCC:
“To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called hell.” (CCC 1033)

CCC 1033 do not mention anything about being destroyed or to stop to exist, it says: “**separated from him forever **”.

When people laugh about Hell like it’s nothing to fear, they forget that the Bible says: “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” (Luke 12:4-5)

:gopray2: God bless! :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown:



Separated eternally from God means being separated eternally from all that is good and all love. That means you’d experience pure bad, so to speak, as bad as possible. I think this would be everlasting torture. I think the Fatima children were shown Hell and there were flames.

I mean just think about it. Being completely separated from God would just be utter agony. This is why I think it’s much worse than depression or physical pain. Being separated from God eternally with no hope at all with be worse than anything we could ever imagine.





these’re the words written on the gate of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy


i remember reading a saint (i think it was a saint) say that the damned would much rather feel the fires of hell and see god, than suffer no pain and be without Him.

personally, i’m terrified of an eternity of torture at the hands of inconceivably frightening beings in a place of unimaginable darkness and fear and hatred.

but i am also afraid of losing god.

i wouldn’t be surprised if hell was both torture and loss, but i also wouldn’t be surprised if there was no actual burning or rending of flesh, and hell was just an eternity with the staggering and indescribably excruciating knowledge of what you could so easily have had, but now never will. forever.


I am open for the possibility that it might be both, too, but we can’t know that for sure. The CCC says it’s to be separated form God (and don’t say anything about the surroundings for the separation). The Bible use very strong language about Hell. Perhaps that is not to be taken literal, but are only words to describe that being outside of Gods love for all eternity is so terrible that we can’t imagine.

Here is something I found when surfing Internet about St.John of Boscos vision of Hell:

Visions and dreams can be disturbed with the dreamers own perception of the topic. But what realy is important is that people of to day starts thinkining about what it means to be let out of Gods love for all eternity.

We live in a seculare world that tell us that Hell dosen’t exist. But if Hell dosen’t exist for all eternity Heaven can’t exist for all eternity either. It can’t be so that when we find the word eternity in the Bible attached to Heaven it is to be taken literally, but not when it is attached to Hell.

G. Grace

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