Is hell lost opportunity: the damned are happy there but those in heaven see misery by comparison?

Is it possible that hell could be giving the person the life they want, even if it involves separation from God – and the damned are happy with their condition, whereas, from the perspective of those in heaven, their condition is miserable by comparison – i.e., those in heaven have so much more and realize what the damned are lacking, even though the damned don’t?

Think for example of sinners on earth who say they’re happy: Those with drug addictions, or living promiscuously in fornication. For example, I recall protesting a porn store and a patron taunted us declaring his love for porn. By contrast, a happily married man has so much more – a real relationship, not fiction, and so forth.

To be clear, according to this conception, hell is definitely to be avoided and the damned are to be pitied: Like someone preferring a $100k car instead of a $1 billion lottery prize (okay, the porn v marriage analogy was better – but I think you get my meaning).

Jesus describes darkness, wailing, grinding of teeth, parched tongue from flames (though in this parable, the wealthy man who neglected Lazarus might be in purgatory?), but couldn’t this be to help us understand hell from the perspective of heaven? Or again, it could be by comparison: Public transit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is filthy compared to public transit in Japan, but the people living there are accustomed to it and don’t mind. They even brag to new people about it as a good thing (it’s cheap, convenient, sophisticated, etc).

Nowhere does it say that people get the life they want in Hell.

-Tim-

So get a perspective. Here on Earth the human race is a mix of good people and bad people. Right?

Some really bad people do a lot of harm to good people.

Try imagining a place where 100% of the population is constituted of bad people. No one has the minimum of compassion for his fellow damned.

How can you imagine any of them could be happy?
No one to unload their evil as they would receive just as much evil back.
Nah there is no happiness in hell, believe me.

Let’s look at it this way. There are people who kill and that’s a sin I would say people who kill are much worse then those who lie. Lieing if I am correct is also a sin however it is by far not as bad as killing. A kind person can lie once in a while and still might end up in Hell. That person would be much nicer then the one who killed.

I don’t think so.

The people in sin who claim to be happy are, in fact, mistaken. (Oh, they think they’re happy, all right, and they might not realize that there’s greater happiness at stake and therefore not realize their peril, but objectively speaking, it’s only transitory happiness.) At the judgment, when they come face to face with Jesus, they will realize their mistake. They’ll get what they want – that is, what they’ve shown they wanted through the way they lived their lives – but, having seen God, they’ll realize that they were mistaken. Hell will not be a party; it will be the place where people – finally realizing their errors in thought and action – will spend eternity realizing what they could have had, but rejected.

I’m of the belief that the suffering in hell is so great, that any sufferings you will ever experience here on earth would pale in comparison to it. There seems to be a rash of threads on here of late that appear to “soften” the torments of hell. My question to them would be; how can spending eternity with Satan be anything but ***tremendous ***misery and agony?

Peace, Mark

I’ve heard and read a few conflicting things about Hell, but never once was there any mention of anyone there being at all happy…I have read though (and this was conflicted by something I had heard so I don’t know who’s right; there seems to be no official teaching on it) that those in Hell do not want to go to Heaven because then they would suffer worse in their damned state from being in the Presence of God than from Hell fire.

I’d take Bishop Sheen’s approach to this.

On one occasion, some heckler asked him about what would Darwin think about a certain situation. He explains that he doesn’t know, perhaps he’ll ask him when he gets to heaven. The heckler shouts back, what if he’s in hell? Bishop Sheen quickly remarks back, “then you’ll be able to ask him yourself”.

The people I know who are pro-porn, sin, vulgarity, you-name-it, are the first to cry about the injustices in the world. I hardly doubt they will enjoy hell.

Jesus describes darkness, wailing, grinding of teeth, parched tongue from flames (though in this parable, the wealthy man who neglected Lazarus might be in purgatory?), but couldn’t this be to help us understand hell from the perspective of heaven? Or again, it could be by comparison: Public transit in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is filthy compared to public transit in Japan, but the people living there are accustomed to it and don’t mind. They even brag to new people about it as a good thing (it’s cheap, convenient, sophisticated, etc).

I’m beginning to feel this way. After several hundreds of years of weeping and gnashing of teeth, eventually they would probably just get so used to it that at some point, heaven is their hell, and hell is their heaven. I don’t know, just something I’ve experienced that makes me feel this way.

Years? Heaven and Hell are eternal. There is no time there. There is no “getting used to it.”

Look at it this way. Angels are permanently good or permanently bad, depending on one choice they made, to accept or reject God. We will be like them once we die, eternally confined to one place or the other. Eternity isn’t just a really long time, it’s forever and ever, it is outside of time.

No, it is not possible. Jesus said there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 13:42), “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished” (Mk. 9:43).

As to the enjoyment of created things, check out this passage from the *Summa *(Supp. Q. 97, a1):

According to Basil (Homilia vi in Hexaemeron and Hom. i in Ps. 38), at the final cleansing of the world, there will be a separation of the elements, whatever is pure and noble remaining above for the glory of the blessed, and whatever is ignoble and sordid being cast down for the punishment of the damned: so that just as every creature will be to the blessed a matter of joy, so will all the elements conduce to the torture of the damned, according to Wisdom 5:21, “the whole world will fight with Him against the unwise.” This is also becoming to Divine justice, that whereas they departed from one by sin, and placed their end in material things which are many and various, so should they be tormented in many ways and from many sources.

People don’t “just get used to” filth. They may become worn down and accept their situation as hopeless (which hell is), but they are not content.

It was more of a tongue-in-cheek comment. People do get used to sin in this life though. They prefer it. So yes, I would say some people do get used to filth. That’s why we’re told to examine our conscience and go to confession often, avoid occasions of sin if possible, and persevere.

The best analogy I can muster is to imagine an eternity spent eating sweets. If that is what you think you desire, it will seem pleasing at first, but over time it will get less and less so until the very thought of one more bite might cause nausea.

Alternately, given the propensity of the human mind to enjoy novelty, imagine how limited in scope the explorations of the flesh might provide to a person in Hell…at first it might be very exciting to engage in all sorts of varied and assorted pleasures, but over time would not the limits of absolute depravity necessarily be reached? And over an eternity how much more might such things be explored before every action and every movement might become a torment? A dullness so aching in its lack of meaning that it might render the afflicted no pleasure to partake and no pleasure to abstain. An eternity of non-fulfillment would be a hell of one’s worst imaginings…

I think this is an interesting approach, and I do not think it is necessarily at odds with church teaching or scripture.

However, the Faith teaches that, while no one goes to hell without his or her choice in the matter, hell’s pain primarily torment from separation from God. This has usually been described as real torment on the part of the damned, as a natural consequence of their sins – not something externally added by God.

I do think we have to say that those who go to hell are getting what they want. It seems unjust to say hell is simply a punishment, when an individual who goes to hell might have otherwise chosen God and Heaven if he lived in a different place, or hadn’t met this or that person, etc.

Im not sure on where I stand on ‘hell’, but I would imagine there are different levels, surely the person who takes joy in torturing, killing, molesting people will not be in the same place as those whose sins are menial.

I also assume human souls will not be in the same place as Satan/ demons, remember Hell was created SPECIFICALLY for them.

Regarding wailing, gnashing of teeth, many on here claim Satan, demons, souls, are all spirit only, they dont actually have a true form, how can there be any gnashing of teeth, when no one has any teeth? those that will explain this with glorified bodies…keep in mind, we ONLY get those after the second coming happens, right before the final battle at Megido.

I laughed. Probably need to go to confession because of it though!

there is nothing even remotely good about hell. Eternal misery begins from the moment of entrance Hell

Hell will only be eternal misery for me if it is a void of nothing. Hell with fire and suffering is not true pain. Keeping a human way from other humans by force is. We are social creatures and any kind of interaction is better then none.

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