If people in hell are suffering forever, doesn't that mean they have eternal life too?

So whether you believe in Jesus or not, you will have eternal life? Either eternal life of happiness or eternal life of suffering.

Even though Jesus said:

Truly, truly, I tell you, he who believes has eternal life. ( John 6:47)

“Continuing to exist forever” is not the whole of what Christians mean by “eternal life.”

Damnation is considered a form of eternal death, not eternal life.

The Beatific Vision (Heaven) is the eternal life that Jesus promised to believers.


Those who are saved will be raised from the dead. They will get their bodies back and physically live, with God forever.


But don’t you need eyes to weep and teeth to gnash in hell? i.e. you need your body there? I guess you could say weeping and gnashing of teeth in hell is just metaphorical.

Great question. This is my understanding.

The phrase “weep and gnash their teeth” or similar appears 14 times in the Bible. It appears seven times in the Old Testament. Matthew uses the phrase six times and Luke uses it once.


Gnashing teeth means grinding your teeth together or biting down in pain. It is a metaphor. It is also “setting your teeth on edge.”

Weeping = sadness
Gnashing = pain

Jesus is using the phrase to bring to mind the many Old Testament references to the wicked who wind up gnashing their teeth in the end.

For the wicked shall be cut off;
but those who wait for the LORD shall possess the land.
Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look well at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall possess the land,
and delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
The wicked plots against the righteous,
and gnashes his teeth at him;
but the LORD laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.

(Psalm 37:9-13)**

I would welcome any input.


Eternal life = beatific vision = Heaven

Eternal damnation = Hell

The worm does not die in hell. The worm must eat something to live.

That’s the gist of it.

According to the dictionary, eternal means, lasting forever, but when the Bible refers to eternal life, it is usually means being with God in Heaven forever. However, in my humble opinion, there are two eternals here. In the end, God will raise ALL our bodies from the dead to be reunited with our souls. Those destined for Heaven will be given a glorified body, free of all defects and incapable of pain and suffering and experience unfathomable happiness and joy while those destined for hell will receive their earthly bodies but will be grotesque, repulsive and disgusting with constant pain and suffering.


Eternal Life" in Scripture does not just refer to having a physical, living body forever, it has a very specific meaning. Specifically, it is to be in the presence of God for eternity. We characterize damnation as death because it is the complete separation from God. You can’t just look at the two words that are being used to come to an understanding of what’s intended, you have to look at scripture as a whole, and also at the original language.

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.