Is there love in hell?


For a couple weeks now, I cant stop thinking about this
question. There won’t be sin in heaven, and yet there are
people who want to sin who also love others. If they’re not
sorry, how can they make it to heaven? But they love people,
and how can there be love in hell? Is there love in hell?
If there was love there, then how could it truly be hell? It would
be like God was there.


No, because there is no God. And He alone is the source of love. If one doesn’t have love for the Lord, he cannot love others, for there is no higher calling of love than salvation.


If I were literally burning for all of eternity, I would find it difficult to love anyone.


Exactly. What a scary place.


“Love” is a catch-all kind of word. I could ‘love’ my husband or wife, for example, by wishing them ‘well’, even caring for them in a physical way, while still indulging in all sorts of sin. The ‘love’ I have does not negate those other sins. And further, once one has chosen hell, anything that ever was ‘good’ in us will have already been twisted into evil.

In C. S. Lewis’ book, “The Great Divorce”, one of the people whose lives is studied is a woman who ‘loved’ her son obsessively, exclusively. Surely that is a ‘good’–actually, no it was not. She loved, not her son, but the ‘god’ she made her son into who himself was merely a ‘reflection’ of the god she made herself into–‘I am mother who loves’. She neglected her husband and her other children on earth when the ‘loved’ one died. She used none of her ‘love’ for others.

Until that woman could reject that spoiled and twisted love she could not really experience love as love truly is. She used her ‘love’ as a chain to ‘absorb’ the object of love, and as a weapon to ‘deny’ her love to others.

So, there will be no ‘love’ in hell. There will be twisted, warped, and evil distortions of love (remember, any and all evil never exists in and of itself but only how it ‘denies’ God’s goodness) but no real love.


There’s something in this thought. Most sin is a product of selfishness - in other words someone who sins loves themselves at that moment above rather than alongside their fellow man, and even above God himself.

Such a one, whose primary focus in life is themself, then reaches hell and sees how wretched they really are - and probably finds that most of the others who they loved or admired during their time on earth are equally wretched alongside them in Hell.

Nothing like seeing yourself and your sins, and the sins of others, as God sees them, to make you lose your self-love and your love of others too! Not to mention eternal despair. You’d hate yourself, you’d hate those sinners who helped influence you to follow their example, and if you see those in heaven you’d probably hate them too out of pure envy or jealousy at their happiness.


Nope, no love. :frowning:


Fr. Gabrielle Amorth’s book “An Exorcist Tell His Story” has an interesting bit in it where a demon talks about what hell is like; you might want to check it out!
It’s basically as Lily said there- Hell is a place where the inhabitants are so twisted up in themselves that love doesn’t exist.

I’ve read that another theory would be that when we die we go to purgatory (unless we’re sinless, which most of us aren’t) and then we get to choose for God or not. Simple choice. As the beatific vision is the perfection of community (the Holy Trinity), a choice against God is a choice for utter isolation-- utter absence of love. Hell.


I know what you mean, but the rich man asked that lazurus be
sent to bring him a little water. If I was literally burning, I
wouldn’t be able to think of this. Also, he asked that someone
from the dead be sent to warn his family of this place. If he was
only thinking of himself, why could he think to warn his family?
I know the rich man and lazarus was only a story that Jesus
made up, but it was to teach us what it’s really like there.

I saw an interview of Anna-Nicole somebody famous who died of
drugs and her son had died earlier of drugs. She said she had
dreams of her son who died, that he was scared and that he
needed her. I don’t believe it’s like the twisted description that
was mentioned here by c.s. lewis. I believe that this mother
and son have loved others and are they in heaven then? The
bible tells us it is wrong to ask this question of who goes to
heaven or hell, so I formally withdraw it. However, I still want to know if there is love in hell. I do agree that God alone is the
source of all love.


Thank you for the book title, but I’m afraid of the devil. I don’t
like to read anything about him. I know he wants to kill me, and
you too! I don’t want to become de-sensitized to evil, this is the
devil’s first foothold. Have you read the story of the rich man
and lazarus?


Well, I can’t blame you for that. The book is a bit scary too! But also very interesting and a good read for Catholics because it demonstrate the essential role of the Eucharist and all the sacraments in our lives.

Luke 16:19-31? I am familiar with it, yes. I think it is an important lesson about wealth and about your grounding- is your grouding in the material? Or is it in God?

The story was aimed at the Jews, who saw material wealth as a gift from God, but Jesus teaches us that the way we see things and the way God sees things is not the same. We might think that the Rich man is blessed and Lazarus must be paying the price for his laziness or some such sin.
The parable exposes our values as it now considers Lazarus from an eternal perspective. Some time has passed–how much is not said. The rich man and Lazarus have both died. Each has a ticket for a permanent destination, one that money cannot buy. Who is blessed and who is paying the price now, and why?

The rich man still sees Lazarus as his pawn, his social inferior. Having learned nothing in his new situation, he begins trying to negotiate his way to relief. There is now no drop of water for him, just as there had been no food for Lazarus before. The measure by which the rich man had lived was now being measured to him. Irony abounds. The wealthy man had not even acknowledged Lazarus in his earthly circumstances, but here he knows his name. Maybe he had seen the poor man all along and had ignored him. Lazarus had been good for nothing to him, only the object of a casual uncaring glance. God sees the potential of the poor very differently.

This parable’s lesson is clear, a voice of one who has seen God’s judgment: Be warned–wealth does not mean spiritual health.


You are an excellent writer! But don’t you think that rich man
loved his family? He probably ate and enjoyed his wealth with
them daily, and now he wants to warn them. It really reminds me
of the time Jesus was busy dying and said, “forgive them”. Who
could think to say that in the middle of suffering? Maybe after,
when you are safe, but in the middle of it? If the rich man
were busy suffering in a horrifying way, how could he think to
warn his family unless he loved them?


The Rich Man is an allegorical figure. The idea that he has regrets and wants to help his family is used to demonstrate that it’s too late when you die and that we should know better because we have the benefit of the prophets wisdom. The man’s request that a messenger be sent to his brothers is denied for a crucial reason. Abraham simply declares that Moses and the Prophets are good enough.


If you have not already heard it, listen to Fulton Sheens message on hell:

It’s an absolute chilling portrayel of hell and I think it’s spot on. Hell is a place of ‘self consumption’ and the loss of God who is love. He talks about several torments, the greatest being the loss of God. He describes it as one playing blind mans bluff, he expects to take off the mask and see again but rather when he removes the mask he is blind, he has really lost his sight. So the loss of God is the greatest torment and God is love so it’s the loss of love. There will be an eternal dispair that will never cease and an eternal hatred toward God.

He speakes of being tormented for ever by those things which held us captive, whatever we allow ourselves to be enslaved by tortures us for all eternity. He describes this as the ‘worm that never dies’ constantly gnawing forever.

The saints also describe an internal burning although it’s completely black. This fire burns from the inside yet never consumes, it’s a spiritual fire I believe, like a burning black hole that no light can penetrate.


What about the parable of the rich man & Lazarus? The rich man is in hell, but he still has enough love (or maybe fear, or affection) for his children that he asks God to send Lazarus to them to show them the error of their ways. That seems to imply that it’s still possible to love something, or at least long for it.

If there is no love at all in hell, then how can its inhabitants love the life they have lost, or the God they have missed out on spending eternity with? If they don’t love their own lives or God, or even long for the beatific vision, then how can the punishment of hell have any effect on their emotions.


Please see this:


Something to note: This parable took place before Jesus’s death and resurrection. If the rich man really had ‘love’ enough to think of others, perhaps then he is in purgatory. But again, note that he may not ‘want’ his brothers (not his children, BTW) there because it will ‘increase’ his pain. IOW, he may not ‘give a darn’ for them for their own ‘eternal judgment’ but having them come there might make him feel even ‘worse’. Again, it is all about “MY will be done” instead of “God’s will be done”. The rich man is still attempting to ‘buy’ his way out, to assuage his OWN suffering even if Lazarus would be burned to ‘give me a taste of water’, or if Lazarus were ‘deprived of the heavenly vision’ in order to be sent as a lackey to the rich man’s brothers.

Again, while mercy is certainly something we all desire, it is a false mercy that would be held to the tryanny of those whose self-love only sees others as how they relate to ‘them’.

C.S. Lewis’ writings you don’t have to agree with, but to call his view twisted is pretty over-the-top.

I am sure Anna Nicole loved her son, and her son loved her. But all love, all real love, has God for its source. The farther one goes from God, even if he or she still ‘thinks’ that the feeling he/she has is ‘love’, the less likely that feeling really is love.

Just because we call it ‘love’ or just because to our limited human vision it looks as though ‘love’ would do something other than what we are told (so many of us think that a person who wilfully chooses hell should be saved anyway because otherwise God doesn’t REALLY ‘love them’), does not make something love which is not.


I didn’t want to read it either, but did so at a my mom’s insistence.

I was amazed that I felt safer after I read it! It is a very reassuring book. :slight_smile:


You seem to be the only one who is thinking this way, besides me. Did you always think this way, or did it slowly creep up on
you? I used to firmly believe there was no love in hell. It’s only
recently that I’ve been questioning.


You should also consider that the hell of Lazarus may not be the hell of eternal damnation (Gehenna).

Jewish belief held that the abode of the dead (hell, prison; where forth Jesus went to preach the gospel while His body lay in the tomb) was separated into two parts by a great chasm. You had the bosom of Abraham (referred to Paradise by Jesus to the thief on the cross), which was as well as you could do without being assumed into heaven, and you had the other-half for the less fortunate (suffering!). Where each would await judgment from the Messiah.

I may be off a bit, it’s been a long time since I’ve studied it, but I don’t think I am. We forget that the word “hell” has only taken on the “Gehenna only” reference in recent times.

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