Physical existance of Heaven and Hell?

Hi I am very confused, I had heard a Priest once say that the Church does not actually believe in the physical reality of Hell, I guess that goes for Heaven too, and I raised the question in Mariology yesterday when I said if Jesus ascended to Heaven and Mary was Assumed into Heaven then it must be a physical reality, but that I had heard that Catholics don’t believe in the physical reality of Hell so I had assumed that is the same for Heaven. I heard that Catholics believe it is more so a state of being???
I looked in the Catechism and this type of thing was not explained. Does anyone know the Church teaching on this or is there not one? A girl in the class was outraged at my opinion and she said it is a physical reality and pointed me to some writings by a Father on the Dogma on Heaven and Hell. I thought it was a Protestant view to believe that there is actually a place where people go and burn that is I dunno say in the middle of the earth or whatever, I come to recall actually that even in RCIA we were taught it is not a physical reality… ugh confused…maybe I will just ask my spiritual director

Ah its ok I just found this talk by JPII on this

Jesus didn’t go into the sky and into outer space until He reached Heaven. He merely appeared to ascend into the sky because that was the most culturally comprehensible imagery.

hahah Marcus you are absolutely right.

I guess that is kind of infantile thinking to think that Heaven is up and Hell is down.

Hell is real. Heaven is real. They are spiritual places not physical. However during the resurrection of the body our bodies will be in one of these places (or purgatory). I guess you can say that heaven and hell are like another dimension so to speak.

Priez pour pape Francois

Another dimension sounds about right to me.

The afterlife cannot be anywhere we think of as space, else Heaven and Hell could be seen. But they must be extensional in some way. Else when we have our pneumatikon soma, we couldn’t be there.


Did you read the link about what JPII said? Sorry not being rude but he said it’s not a physical place and I’m not sure it is in a dimension either, he wrote it is a state of being. I believe though when the resurrection of the dead happens there will be a new Heaven and earth. It mentions about that in the Bible

Interesting…A girl got “outraged”:confused:
People are said to have visions of hell( eg:Fatima children)So I would naturally assume its a physical place:confused:
Wat was the conclusion that the class agreed on?

Can you please read what JPII said in the link I posted in the original post.

Read the part about hell.No mention of the people burning in an eternal fire.So still confused.If thats the case why would some people have visions of hell where creatures are shown to be burning and of fire

From the fatima vision
“Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.”

I guess the visions are symbolic of the internal agony

That’s nonsense. Jesus physically ascended into heaven as His disciples watched. Angels told them the following:


Heaven is a real place and so is hell. Jesus spoke of a heaven that was a place and about hell that is prepared for those who were separated from Him.


Nobody disputed that.

There is no such thing as a spiritual place in this context; a place by definition is physical.

However during the resurrection of the body our bodies will be in one of these places (or purgatory).

Nope. This contradicts the fact that heaven, hell, and purgatory, are not physical.

I guess you can say that heaven and hell are like another dimension so to speak.


For people such as your self, he would need to speak of them as places, since you would not understand otherwise.

Wrong. There is no planet called heaven. He didn’t go into outer-space. God did give us permission to use our brains, you know.


That’s a good question. “Hell is physical”, is not the answer.

Would be quite something if unknown to us people are burning and screaming below our feet.

I’m also interested in why Jesus bother going upwards or he will descend to judge the living and the dead, coming at the clouds.


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