Hell

The scriptures speak of Heaven being a place of ‘eternity’ and it will also pass away. That needs to be looked into a little more. But here’s my point and it derives from Today’s apologetics question concerning hell. There are religious teachings (non-Catholic) that say there are “hells” that are so cold when the cold wind blows the skin “cracks open”. Well there are “hot” hells too. But CCC 1035 speaks of hell as “a state” I believe. If you are without God you are “in a hell”. Maybe…a hell on Earth. When one dies I don’t believe you go to a trash dump out side of Jerusalem. As the scriptures say, Gahenna. We all go to “Sheoul” the place of the dead ,even breifly before going to Heaven perhaps. What is “Eternal punishment”. Being without God for as long as your choosing I would think. And that could be like an “eternity”. God’s mercy is forever. And if you call Hell as place, God’s not limited to places or realities. “Purelands” or “Heavens”. Is this idea of Hell being a place and you being and having “no hope” where’s it from? Protestantism?

Sheol, to our knowledge, was the “place” where the souls of the dead waited prior to Jesus breaking the bonds of death. To my knowledge, we do not go there now.

Some of my own thoughts: Hell is being eternally without the beatific vision, excluded from communion with God. Punishment is appropriate to a person’s deeds. Some who don’t make it to Heaven may exist eternally but without any real punishment. Hell seems to be more of a state than a place. The soul continues to exist, unchanging, forever as it was at the time of death. We should not think of there being a passage of time as in our common experience. Some people say that Hell is the complete absence of God. That I do not think is possible, given that God sustains all existence, and he would have to sustain the existence of the immortal soul/mind as well. But that soul would otherwise not be in communion with him.

Here’s the full Catechism section on Hell for reference:

IV. HELL

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."612 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.613 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.”

1034 Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

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."617 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.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:621

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.622

Are you suggesting that hell is just a temporary state of being and not eternal, that eventually everybody will get out and enter Heaven?

If so, that’s a heresy called Apocatastasis. The church certainly teaches that hell is eternal…

A wise one once said, “That which has a beginning, has a middle, and an end”. Only that which has no beginning nor end can be eternal. I believe there is a belief of Hell beginning at some point. Jesus said “I go to prepare (not there before) a place for you.” Heaven was created, it will end. There’s a lot to be done after leaving heaven and moving on to the next state.

But then does eternal mean time doesn’t apply as we know it. Many old writing said something was eternal meaning…large vast amounts of time.

If Gehenna is eternal (Hell in KJV) then there must still be fire there as was in Roman times as well as the bodies of criminals and dead animals. The Valley of Hinnon had a beginning.

The belief that Hell is eternal comes from Christ’s own words.

This page has an entire segment devoted to the question of Hell’s eternal nature.

newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm

In short, our souls are eternal. That is how God created us. If he were to destroy us then we would no longer be eternal, which would violate His will. Since it would be logically inconsistent for God to violate his own will, then we can rationally conclude that he would not. Therefore, souls are eternal. This is true regardless of if they are in Heaven or Hell.

As for Heaven “passing away”, I’m not sure where you get that from. I believe you’re drawing that from the bit which talks about the Heavens and the Earth passing away. If this is the case, it is clear from surrounding context that “Heavens” refers to the sky, and the statement is meant to imply all of creation. It is true that the current creation will pass away eventually, and it will be replaced by a new creation. This new creation will be inhabited by all the souls of the dead, reunited with their physical bodies. Not only the saved, but also the damned, will experience this new creation. For those who chose God and are in Heaven, it will be a state of both physical and spiritual fulfillment. For everyone who chose against God and went to Hell, it will be a place of both spiritual and physical torment.

No matter how unpleasant it may sound (that’s kind of the point…), the fact remains clear that wherever you wind up, Heaven or Hell, you’re there forever.

I’m sorry, but this is greatly mistaken.

#1: While that is a fun colloquialism, it is not necessarily accurate when applied to things which exist outside of physical reality.

#2: Heaven was not created because God was not created. Heaven is, ultimately, the state of being in the unfiltered presence of God (otherwise known as the Beatific Vision). It has always existed because God has always existed. Likewise, Hell was not created because it is not so much a place as a state, the complete separation from God. In the new creation it will be a “place,” because it will house the physical bodies of the resurrected damned, but for now it is not.

#3: There is not state “after” Heaven. There will be a new physical creation, but it will be a continuation of Heaven, not something apart from Heaven.

Eternal may have different meanings in common usage, but it has a very specific meaning when it comes to theology and philosophy. Something which is eternal has no beginning or end. Only God (in the Trinity) is eternal. What we are is immortal, which means that we have a beginning, but have no end.

Gehenna is not a physical place (well, technically there is physical place which is where people thought Hell was, but in reality it was just an access point to volcanic pool. The real Hell (as it currently exists) has never been on Earth. When the Bible discusses Heaven and Hell it is (mostly) dealing with the spiritual realities that accompany those concepts. (Revelations being an exception, which discusses the physical coming of Heaven and Hell after the Second coming of Christ.)

This is a very deep subject, and while it seems that you have a genuine interest in knowing, I’m afraid you seem to be greatly mistaken on several very important issues. You might do a search on the CA main site for Hell. There are many great articles on the subject available for free.

Indeed it is deep. And I have an interest because I must know my faith. And have to be in communion. But I also seek. And hat comes from many different sources. Can you get lost? Depends on whether or not God is guiding you. Being in heaven is “existence” in order to exist, one must’ve been non-existent. And both the existent and the non-existent are in suffering. But all suffering is self induced. By misconceptions, confusions as to the way things really are. One can see torment all around in any conceivable way and not suffer. That’s hard for us to understand. Jesus himself we read suffered.

Those CCC references are kind of confusing. Is it saying Hell is a place or state? Is everything a state even a “place” ? Well those CCC quotes I need to understand.

:thumbsup: The more I learn about our Faith, the more I discover I do not know; and the more my drive to know increases.

And have to be in communion. But I also seek. And hat comes from many different sources.

All Truth comes from one source, God. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light.” He is not one of many possible sources, He is the only source. Any Truth we find in other religions is a pale reflection of the full Truth we find in Christ through His Church.

Being in heaven is “existence” in order to exist, one must’ve been non-existent.

Incorrect. God, by his very nature, is that which must exist. His nature is existence itself, otherwise He would not exist, and neither would we. We are contingent on God, but God is contingent on nothing. If you’re interested in learning more about this subject, Trent Horn’s book “Answering Atheism” goes into it in a very accessible way.

And both the existent and the non-existent are in suffering.

False. Those who exist may be in suffering, it is not a guarantee. God does not suffer, nor do the angels who serve Him, or the departed souls who accepted His mercy and are in Heaven.

But all suffering is self induced.

Again, incorrect. Much suffering is self induced, true; but there are also natural sufferings, like those that accompany old age; or unnatural sufferings like those inflicted upon us by others. A child who is murdered in the womb suffers greatly, but has not inflicted this suffering on themselves nor done anything which would demand they suffer.

By misconceptions, confusions as to the way things really are. One can see torment all around in any conceivable way and not suffer. That’s hard for us to understand. Jesus himself we read suffered.

Those CCC references are kind of confusing. Is it saying Hell is a place or state? Is everything a state even a “place” ? Well those CCC quotes I need to understand.

True, Jesus did suffer. This is because He chose to take on Human form to elevate humanity. Christ’s suffering was entirely by choice. It was not self inflicted, but rather inflicted upon Him by other. He did it because He loves us and wanted us to understand the depth of that love.

Hell is a state of being. We envision it as a place because we are physical creatures and that’s really the only way we have to understand things. In reality, Hell is a state of being which is the complete and total separation from God’s presence. For now, that state is purely spiritual, and we do not really know about how the separation between those who are in Heaven and those who are in Hell is handled; that is a reality we simply cannot comprehend because we cannot comprehend of existence without a sense of place. It’s a limitation of out human intellects. After the resurrection, however, Hell will take on the reality of both a state of being, and a physical place. We know this from the Book of Revelation, wherein the souls of the damned, reunited with their physical bodies, are cast into the lake of fire. Since our bodies are physical, they require “place” to exist in; so at that time a “place” of Hell will be created in the new existence as a continuation of the spiritual “state” of Hell which exists now.

I’d like to stress that this is my personal understanding from my study, and while I believe it is supported by the Church’s teachings on the subject, my knowledge is not comprehensive, and so I might be misrepresenting something here unintentionally. I hope what I’ve said makes sense, and is helpful to you.

Here is the problem with trying to speculate about hell and eternity, we can only base our theories on what we know right now, and that is time, we have time here on earth, we know how it passes, after we die, there will be no time, so we have no idea what an ‘eternity’ will even be like in this aspect.

Trying to imagine being in a ‘place’ for an eternity …to us would be similar to spending alot of time in one place, but that will not be true in hell or heaven, these places are without time, it will be nothing like ‘time’ here on earth, so there is really no way to even guess how it will be, imo anyway.

That is certainly true for the most part of people. I know some of what happened before being here. But you know what you are allowed to know too.

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