Once in Hell...


Simple question: If someone is in hell, would they want out if they were offered a ticket out and back to God? I know there are no tickets out of hell, but once they get there, do the damned actually prefer it to heaven and God?



Well, the damned are in hell precisely because they preferred separation from God to being in Heaven with Him forever. They spent their whole lives preparing for eternal separation. I rather doubt, then, that, as horrible as hell is, they even want to go to Heaven.

So I hope all those who are on their way there change their minds, before they reach the point of no return!


**1057 **Hell’s principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

**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.” 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.

**1056 **Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the “sad and lamentable reality of eternal death” (*GCD *69), also called “hell.”

I’d say that according to the CCC those in hell will never achieve happiness. If they were aware of heaven upon arriving in hell and still had the ability to long, I would think they would long for happiness. Hell as I understand it is not really a place, but rather a state of being, so they may not even realize they are in hell or that there is an alternative. All they may know is that they are eternally unhappy.


No, they would not want out because they become part of hell. In one of the apparitions (don’t recall if it was of the Blessed Virgin Mary or maybe Jesus to St. Faustina) but it was reveiled that if the gates of hell were opned, not a single soul would leave.


This is my understanding. Hell must exist because God allowed us to choose to refuse his life in order to prefer our own wills, and because to refuse God’s life is necessarily a torment. It is not that God gives up on us. It is that we give up because we will not (or get to the point where we believe we cannot) let go of our own will in order to submit to the demands of Real Life.

Hell, then, is rooted in wishing that reality is other than what it is.


Thanks. I would like to believe this. It would help me reconcile the problem of people in heaven can remain happy if they know of loved ones in hell. I never heard a satisfactory explanation of that, even one that appeals to justice. However, to think that a loved one would never even want out to rejoin God and myself, now that would make it easier to accept and understand.



It seems to me that hell would not be much of a punishment if folks there didn’t realize they were there or if they wanted to stay there. My guess is that they may long for the suffering to end (otherwise torment is not much of a punishment), but would refuse to leave hell and enter Heaven because they reject and hate God.

Odds are, anyone that we really cared about are more than likely to be in Heaven or at worst be in Purgatory. IF we really cared about them, they would be in our prayers and thus avoid eternal damnation. Our Lady tells us that many souls go to hell because no one prays for them, while some folks barely made Purgatory solely because someone holy did pray from them.


This is a weird thread.

If the damned don’t wish to leave Hell, do they enjoy it? Is it Paradise to be separated from God in such a manner? I would hope not!


Yeah, it is a weird thread, I admit. Maybe I could explain better. I am thinking that perhaps a person in hell does suffer tremendously, and hates it immeasureably BUT… they hate God and goodness even more - so much more that they prefer to remain even if it had an “unlocked door”. After all, in life they did definitively choose hell to the alternate option of God. So no, I am not saying they enjoy hell. True “enjoyment” for them would be for the impossible to happen - for God and goodness to be defeated.

I am not saying I believe this. I am just wondering if is possible, or even sound theology.



Possible? It is what we do every time that we choose sin!

Obedience isn’t something God requires of us in order to get a job done. It is something required for us to be aligned with reality. We are made to love. If we don’t love fully, if we are not united to God fully, we cannot be fully happy. Yet we cling to our own wills and pursue the lies of the world, the flesh, and the devil, which are the ultimate in unreality.

Take what you know about your own propensity to sin, to be wrapped up in yourself, and calcify that as the choice of a being that exists not in time, but in eternity. Hell.

Hell is the logical extension of what we know in our own lives to be true. The Gospel is Good News because God is telling us that to listen to Him, to love Him, and to love as He loves is not servitude, but the fulfillment of our deepest longings and our most profound needs, the manifestation of the deepest truth about who we are and what place we are meant to have in God’s creation.

It is a real choice, though. When our lives go from existing in time to existing in eternity, we will have that choice, too.


I don’t know about this moment, but after the final resurrection hell will definitely be a* place* because its human inhabitants will have their bodies.



I would say they know of heaven and want out of hell because:

The Parable of
The Rich Man & Lazarus
Luke 16:19-31 "Now there was a certain rich man, and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, living in luxury every day. A certain beggar, named Lazarus, was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table. Yes, even the dogs came and licked his sores. It happened that the beggar died, and that he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried. In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his bosom.
He cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue! For I am in anguish in this flame.’

"But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that you, in your lifetime, received your good things, and Lazarus, in like manner, bad things. But now here he is comforted and you are in anguish. Besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, that those who want to pass from here to you are not able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’

He said, ‘I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house; for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, so they won’t also come into this place of torment.’

"But Abraham said to him,
‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

"He said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded if one rises from the dead.’”



Anyone there is preoccupied with trying to cope with pain in the midst of chaos. They would definitely like to leave.



I believe it was C S Lewis who said “the gates of hell are locked from the inside”


Of course they would like reality to be other than what it is. If they willed to live in keeping with reality as it immutably is, though, they’d be in Heaven. The question is, would they accept that they must submit themselves to the demands of reality in order to change the pain of their reality…one of which is that you can’t choose to serve God as a backdoor way to get yourself what you want?

That is the thing. Eternity is when we must face the facts. On earth, we can indulge in the fantasy that you can have your cake and eat it, too. In the case of hell, it is the desire to have God “love” you as you love yourself, and not as you were made to be loved. What you want isn’t love at all, so God does not give it. God does not sell anyone a false bill of goods.

(It is pointless to argue “cannot” vs “will not” when speaking of God. God cannot do what God doesn’t will to do and God’s will is to love. To say that an all-powerful and all-wise being should be able to do what the being does not will to do is silly.)


The premise is that one would want to get out of hell yet stay because they hate God too much to go to heaven?

To H*&^ with what that person feels. They obviously need to be there and suffer for their lack of reason.


I wish I could remember who said it, but I read or heard somewhere once that to the sinful man, heaven is hell.

And this makes sense, doesn’t it? Consider all the people who think virtue is stupid at best. Imagine what hell it would be, say, for a promiscuous person to stop having illicit sex, or for a drug dealer to quit selling dope, or for a thief to quit stealing.


Interesting…C S Lewis wrote a book called “The Great Divorce” about this topic…
Now, it was written as a novel, so I would not take it as being literal at all, but in the book, people from hell are constantly being given bus trips to Heaven, and none of them want to stay…
What I came to believe after thinking about this, after reading it, is that, yes, indeed, people do choose to be in hell, rather than following God. They hate God, you see, more than they fear the suffering of hell…

And then, a former pastor once told us, in a Bible study, that someone once asked him, “If people repented of their sins in hell, could they get out of hell”?
He said, “The tragedy is that the real reason people are in hell, isn’t because they **haven’t **repented of their sins; it’s because they **won’t **repent of their sins”…
So, you see, they don’t want to get out of hell…I think we maybe need to pray more for people to experience true sorrow & remorse for sin, so that they don’t go to hell when they die…


isn’t this just a way of avoiding that hell is a punishment. God has punished them for not loving him, by creating hell as the only alternative. Would they want to be free of eternal pain? uh-ha I think so.


Not according to Origen! hahaha What a silly head.

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