Problems with Hell/Sin


#1

I’ve recently begun to see holes left and right in the Catholic understanding of sin and Hell, or at least holes in my understanding of what the understanding is. Please try to address these.

First, it’s always said that God doesn’t condemn us to Hell but we choose it freely. However, in all of the parables and descriptions in Scripture we see God (or whatever represents Him in the parables) commanding sinners (or whatever represents them) to go to Hell. For instance we have the master telling his servants to throw people outside where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and in Matthew 25 we have Jesus saying, “Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” I understand that it’s symbolism, but it still needs to correspond.

Similarly, the picture of Jesus in Matthew 25 doesn’t fit with the God is Love idea, at least as it is taught. As opposed to the image we are taught of God standing at the gates of Heaven beckoning, even begging us, to come in, we see Him harshly commanding us to depart from Him, calling us cursed. Now of course this does fit well with the idea of God is Love and Love requires justice idea, but that isn’t what is taught. For instance, I recently read a work, with imprimatur and nihil obstat, which states that God does not punish us for our sins on earth. This seems to be contradicting what has traditionally been taught, correct?

This ties directly into the problem with what sin is. I have always heard it taught, by very educated and orthodox Catholics, that sin is not simply breaking a set of laws, but is rather truly and deeply nothing more or less than the act of falling short of true happiness. In other words, we are made for a certain purpose, and acts are sinful because they work against making us what God designed us to be and make us something else. This makes a lot of sense, but it seems to create problems when we think about temporal punishment. If we’re breaking God’s rules, I can see punishment being necessary. If we’re just sortof… not being what we’re supposed to be, then I don’t see why there is a punishment for that other than what comes naturally from that. In other words, I don’t see why God needs to do it.

Lastly (but what is troubling me the most) concerns the actual “definition” of Hell. It is taught all the time that Hell is best seen as the state of being without God, and often taught that it’s not really a place at all. My concern is that it says in Matthew 25 (and is taught) that Hell was created for the Satan and his angels. Two things then. 1) If Hell was created, how can it simply be the state of being without God? 2) WE as humans were designed to be with God, so therefore the state of being without Him would be terrible for us. Angels were not, which is why it says and is taught that it is an eternal fire created for them. In other words, there’s got to be a pain aspect to it aside from the state of it. How do these things get reconciled?


#2

First, it’s always said that God doesn’t condemn us to Hell but we choose it freely.

Do we not freely choose to sin? Is not that willful free choice to sin what sends us to hell?

…we are taught of God standing at the gates of Heaven beckoning, even begging us, to come in, we see Him harshly commanding us to depart from Him, calling us cursed. Now of course this does fit well with the idea of God is Love and Love requires justice idea, but that isn’t what is taught. For instance,

I don’t know where you were taught this, but it’s flat wrong… Look at the whole context of Matthew 25:31-46 and see the focus on doing what God wants us to do, not just moseying along through life in some sort of self-assured (and deceived) euphoria of faith alone getting us into the Kingdom of God.

God DOES love us each very much, but he is both perfectly loving and perfectly just. Only He can reconcile those two things.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

I recently read a work, with imprimatur and nihil obstat, which states that **God does not punish us for our sins on earth. **

This seems to be contradicting what has traditionally been taught, correct? If this wasn’t true, then all bad guys would be suffering all the time. Is that the case? Obviously not. Read Job.

If we’re breaking God’s rules, I can see punishment being necessary. If we’re just sortof… not being what we’re supposed to be, then I don’t see why there is a punishment for that other than what comes naturally from that. In other words, I don’t see why God needs to do it.

Isn’t it obedience to God’s commandments that make us into the people that God wants us to be? Consider these passages…(as always be sure to check them in context.)

John 14:15 If you love me, keep my commandments.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me. And he that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father: and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; as I also have kept my Father’s commandments, and do abide in his love.

1st John 5:2 In this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God, and keep his commandments.

  1. If Hell was created, how can it simply be the state of being without God? 2) WE as humans were designed to be with God, so therefore the state of being without Him would be terrible for us. Angels were not, which is why it says and is taught that it is an eternal fire created for them. In other words, there’s got to be a pain aspect to it aside from the state of it. How do these things get reconciled?

Hell was created. However…the worst of all torments of hell will be the knowlege that we rejected the love of God and by our own selfish & immoral choices have been consigned to the same state as the fallen angels for all eternity… As with a great many things Catholic it is not an either/or, but a both/and. You are, BTW, wrong when you say that the angels were not created to be with God. That idea is not supported anywhere in the Word of God. As for that “pain aspect”, are there not both mental, and physical (and even perhaps spiritual) sufferings?

Jude 1:6 And the angels who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, he hath reserved under darkness in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day

I hope I have helped to clear that up for you some.
Pax tecum,


#3

Isn’t it obedience to God’s commandments that make us into the people that God wants us to be?

Yes, it is, however I know that it is taught that the ACTUALITY of sin is that which lies beneath the mere fact that it’s prescribed by law. Think about when Paul writes that he would not know sin if it weren’t for the law.

Basically, the teaching is that sin is truely nothing more or less than straying from the path that makes us into that which God intended us to be. God only prescribed the law so that we would know what these things were so we could do them. In other words, He didn’t just go ahead and give us the (moral) law to test us and see if we’d be obedient. He gave it to us so that we would know what to do to be formed into His intention for us.

I guess what I’m getting at is - if the Church teaches that God does inflict temporal punishment for sin I have a problem. If it teaches rather that temporal punishment results naturally from sin without God actually “pushing the button” then I have no problem.

Also, does anyone know of any documents which assert the idea of Hell as both a place with actual suffering and a state with suffering from loss of God?


#4

The CCC on hell:

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."617 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.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”:621

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.622

CCC on the punishment of sin and merits of sacramental confession:

1471 The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.

What is an indulgence?

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.”

“An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” The faithful can gain indulgences for themselves or apply them to the dead.

1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain.

1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the “new man.”

Very important to understand:

1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:

  • reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace;
  • reconciliation with the Church;
  • remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
  • remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
  • peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
  • an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.

1497 Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.


#5

More CCC on this topic:

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul’s progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God’s grace it is humanly reparable. “Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness.”

Where I found my references

The CCC online I like that one because it’s got a search engine feature. :slight_smile:
Pax tecum Bother,


#6

I have a catechism. Unfortunately the catechism is incredibly incomplete on this topic in my opinion. It does a good job of teaching the very basic surface understanding, but it doesn’t go any deeper than that. It does this on a lot of topics in fact, but especially this one.

For instance, I am discussing the deep and fundamental nature of sin. The catechism addresses sin only on the basic level of it being a violation of God’s commands.

Also, it addresses the idea of temporal punishment but it does not clearly define it. In reading the various passages you have cited, for instance, one can become confused as to whether “temporal punishment” refers to an actual punishment in the sense of a parent punishing a child, or if it is just a comment on the overlying nature of sin. In the case of the latter, it would be noting the outward appearence of punishment (the pain associated with purgation) without addressing the underlying cause. In other words, purgation is really the purification of the soul so as to remove attachment to sin. This is what is really going on. This purification involves pain, and thus outwardly is a punishment, though as the Catechism states, it is not a punishment in the traditional definition of the word. However, the catechism is very vague and could result in confusion on this point.

Similarly, this creates a question to which I have as of yet been unable to find a satisfactory answer. The only result of venial sin which does not have bearing on this life is the requirement for more purgation. Of course, by confessing venial sins we are able to obtain the graces to avoid mortal sin and to control the venial sins. However, speaking in terms of the afterlife, venial sin has no consequence. Imagine a man who is baptized and lives his entire life without mortal sin. He sins venially quite a bit, as do we all, however he goes to confession for these sins. If he confessed every venial sin he ever commited (difficult, but say he did), would he go straight to Heaven? Consider these two statements of the Catechism:

1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:…
remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;

The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains.

Therefore, when this fellow goes to confess his venial sins, does he receive a remission for only part of their temporal punishment? If so, how can we say he is forgiven? “The forgiveness of sin… entail[s] the remission of the eternal punishment of sin…” Venial sin does not have eternal punishment. In it’s entierty, eternally speaking, it is nothing more than temporal punishment. Therefore, if the confession of venial sins does not remit their full temporal punishment, we cannot say that the sin is forgiven. When a sin is forgiven, by it’s very nature the punishment is remitted. However, if temporal punishment remains for the venial sins which are confessed, then this seems to present a problem. If, on the other hand, the fellow confessed every venial sin and required no purgation, then there does not seem to be such a problem.


#7

Sin is separation.

Knowledge is the reuniting of that which has been separated.

I think the whole effort to define sin behaviorally, with all kinds of added caveats about the state of mind the person is in, is fine for confessors maybe but when it comes right down to it, it’s all subjective – even the “culpability” for sins, which to me sounds like fancy code words for splitting hairs.

Let our hearts and minds be transformed, and then the law will be written on our hearts.

Alan


#8

Hi, Lazerlike.

Ordinarily, one must be careful in theology because we are talking about things with “one foot in the ineffable” – in the incomprehensible.

Considering “the problem of evil,” which you do in your opening salvo, poses a second problem, too: Broca’s Theorem: No machine – including the human machine – can fully understand itself.

Grace gets around the problem. With the assistance of grace, we can be, and do, more than the human machine is capable of.

Yet, while we are in a state of mortal sin, we are “grace rejecters,” right? So, no damned person ever has total insight.

So, discussing what you do is very difficult.

First, it’s always said that God doesn’t condemn us to Hell but we choose it freely. However, in all of the parables and descriptions in Scripture we see God (or whatever represents Him in the parables) commanding sinners (or whatever represents them) to go to Hell. For instance we have the master telling his servants to throw people outside where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and in Matthew 25 we have Jesus saying, “Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” I understand that it’s symbolism, but it still needs to correspond.

God condemns us to Hell AND we choose it freely. BOTH are true. This is because outside of grace Original-Sin-tainted human beings are raging God haters. So, at the end of time, once the flow of grace which has been beating at the mental doors of the damned during their lives, trying to break in, while they determinedly reject the grace, is turned-off, the damned will become consummate God-despirers, enraged by His presence, and march to Hell, flags flying.

Bu-u-u-u-u-u-t, at the same time they won’t like their new home. It will be populated by disgusting, hateful, vile beings like themselves, all preying on one another, making Hell hellish for each other, whiile they helplessly, hopelessly rage against God – while the clock on the wall tick, tick, ticks, hour upon hour, week upon week, month upon moth, year upon year, millenium upon millenium, trillions of millenia upon trillions of millenia.

So, the damned will be both.

If we’re just sort of… not being what we’re supposed to be, then I don’t see why there is a punishment for that other than what comes naturally from that. In other words, I don’t see why God needs to do it.

Here you’re “leaning on” the concept that when God damns us, the damned march to Hell flags flying. When we mortally sin, we consciously opt for away-ness from God.

When God damns us, He really is giving us what we opted for, and what we, in our mortally-sinful state, really will still want – away-ness from Him.


#9

Similarly, the picture of Jesus in Matthew 25 doesn’t fit with the God is Love idea, at least as it is taught. As opposed to the image we are taught of God standing at the gates of Heaven beckoning, even begging us, to come in, we see Him harshly commanding us to depart from Him, calling us cursed. Now of course this does fit well with the idea of God is Love and Love requires justice idea, but that isn’t what is taught. For instance, I recently read a work, with imprimatur and nihil obstat, which states that God does not punish us for our sins on earth. This seems to be contradicting what has traditionally been taught, correct?

Remember that God is ineffable – not fully comprehensible. The reason is simple: We are “down here”; He is “up there.” We’re just digits on a number line. He’s the number line which goes to infinity, so that we can’t see the end of it.

Probably one of the best ways to view God is “extremely everything.” He "loves extremely." He is “just extremely.”

So, He desperately loves all, including the damned, including while they are in Hell. But, any exercise of His justice gives God joy! From our limited perspective, God is BOTH deeply saddened by, AND deeply pleased at, the damnation of the damned to Hell!

Lastly (but what is troubling me the most) concerns the actual “definition” of Hell. It is taught all the time that Hell is best seen as the state of being without God, and often taught that it’s not really a place at all. My concern is that it says in Matthew 25 (and is taught) that Hell was created for the Satan and his angels. Two things then. 1) If Hell was created, how can it simply be the state of being without God? 2) WE as humans were designed to be with God, so therefore the state of being without Him would be terrible for us. Angels were not, which is why it says and is taught that it is an eternal fire created for them. In other words, there’s got to be a pain aspect to it aside from the state of it. How do these things get reconciled?

It is BOTH a state of being and a place. I believe that the near-death experiences are real. (I had one, maybe thirty years ago, when I had a stroke. The experience was more real than life here on Earth. Words for the “real-ness” of the near death experience don’t exist, so I invent words like “real-ness.”) Experiencers who get to experience Hell clearly seem to describe a place.


#10

In all of the parables in Matthew 25, the key figures had free will to choose how they responded to their situation. It was those who did not choose wisely that excluded themselves from the reward of each particular story.

[quote=Lazerlike42] This ties directly into the problem with what sin is. I have always heard it taught, by very educated and orthodox Catholics, that sin is not simply breaking a set of laws, but is rather truly and deeply nothing more or less than the act of falling short of true happiness. In other words, we are made for a certain purpose, and acts are sinful because they work against making us what God designed us to be and make us something else. This makes a lot of sense, but it seems to create problems when we think about temporal punishment. If we’re breaking God’s rules, I can see punishment being necessary. If we’re just sortof… not being what we’re supposed to be, then I don’t see why there is a punishment for that other than what comes naturally from that. In other words, I don’t see why God needs to do it.
[/quote]

I’m not sure I agree with your defininition of sin. While you are correct that sin is not just breaking God’s rules (though if one is determined to sin, that would certainly get the job done,) you seem to imply that we are innocent victims of our own nature and therefor should not be accountable. This is a very Protestant way of looking at things in that it places all of the burden of salvation on Christ’s sacrifice. In essence we are innocent bystanders in His dying for us and are saved regardless of our works as long as we accept that Christ has paid the price for us. That line of thinking is not born out in scripture, tradition, or the teachings of the Church.

[quote=Lazerlike42] Lastly (but what is troubling me the most) concerns the actual “definition” of Hell. It is taught all the time that Hell is best seen as the state of being without God, and often taught that it’s not really a place at all.
[/quote]

Where is this taught? Scripture doesn’t support the lack of a Physical hell. The private revelations on Hell reported by some saints all describe a place. The Church teaches that Hell is physical place. Did you learn this in a Catholic class? Was it a Catholic author? Please, I’m not berating you, I’m just very curious where this misinformation is coming from. As far as God being present in Hell, I’ve heard it described that He is there, but a person in Hell is repulsed by His presence, which is part of the damned souls suffering.


#11

The definition of sin I provided is from a very orthodox fellow who is very faithful to the magesterium of the Church who has just completed as of last Spring his 7 years in Seminary (an extremely faithful and orthodox seminary). When he says this, believe me: he knows exactly what he is talking about. I don’t quite see how I’m implying that we’re innocent bystanders, as it is the farthest thing from my mind or from the idea that I presented. What I’m getting at is actually key to Catholic understanding of sin and reconcilliation and is actually key to one of the differences that we have with Protestants.

Allow me to explain. Protestants look at sin as breaking some law of God. Through Christ, we are forgiven and God “lets us in” to Heaven in spite of our sin, because Christ sortof drapes Himself over us so God can’t see our sin. That is the common Protestant understanding. The Catholic understanding is that God created us to be something. Through original sin, we became disordered so that in our lives we tend to sin, or in other words, we tend to stray far from the path through which we will be made into what God intends us to. God’s forgiveness is not simply pretending the sin, the disobedience, didn’t happen and “letting us in” to Heaven. Rather, to be united with God in the beatific vision, we must become (or rather be made into by and through Christ) what God intended us to be. Christ does not just come to drape Himself over our sins, but to transform us so that we will truly be righteous and truly be on the path to becoming that which we were intended to. He sanctifies us and literally sets us on that path (initial justification) and helps us to continue on that path so that we may fully be transformed into that which God designed us for.

Now, if not for the fall, we would preternaturally be on that path. However, along with the fall came our concupiscence, our disordered nature which causes us to naturally go along other paths and become other things. Sins are those things which we do which are intrinsically against the proper orientation of man and which intrinsically transform us into something God did not intend for us. However, because we are disordered, we don’t know by nature what we ought to do and what is the right orientation for us. The purpose of God giving the law and giving His various commandments is so that we will know what is intrinsically and naturally correct for us. Through Christ and the Holy Spirit, God takes this a step further and writes the “law” on our hearts. That means literally that He restores what was originally that preternatural understanding of our proper orientation to us, but He does it through supernatural means.

This is why Protestants get confused about works and the law. It is correct that the law is abolished. This is because Christ is the fulfillment of it. Remember, the purpose of the law is to help us to understand what our proper orientation is. Through Christ, that proper orientation is made our nature through Christ and the Holy Spirit. The law really is not binding in the sense that we needn’t follow some law just for the sake of following it and being obedient (although that is a good thing). However, because what we really need is to follow that right path through our proper orientation, the principles that the law conveyed are still valid: they are intrinsic of course. We need still orient ourselves to what is intrinsically correct, however it’s not a matter of following a law. This is why St. Paul writes “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial.” There is no law strictly speaking. However, to enter the Kingdom of Heaven literally is to become what God intended us to be, and to become that is to be oriented correctly. Being in the state of Grace is literally being oriented correctly and following that path of transformation into what God intends of us. This is why mortal sin requires full consent of the will: it’s the only way to break that state of Grace. Once we are oriented correctly, we know in our hearts what is right and wrong. Mortally sinning is the act of turning toward the disordered, random orientations of concupiscence. However, by us being oriented correctly (in a state of Grace), to actually change that orientation toward transformation into something else requires a full act of the will.

As a sidenote, the concept of looking at Hell as a state as opposed to a place is from the same source, thought I believe that the answer is that it is both.


#12

Looks like I might have misunderstood your original post. (Woudn’t be the first time for me.:slight_smile: )As I re-read it, I think you may need to keep in mind the context and audience this scripture was originally written for. Christ had just told his followers in Matthew 24 that big changes were afoot in their life time. He wanted them to be prepared for what was coming. In Matthew 25 there was a real sense of urgency in these parables…a real sense of getting prepared…a real sense of living the word in the present. IMHO This dovetails perfectly with Mat. 24. Taken as a stand alone passage, I could see where you might perceive the contradictions, but taken in context of the events unfolding, it may appear less contradictory.

Great explanation of sin. I think is was Luther who said we appear as dung covered with snow before our Lord as a way of describing how Christ covers us with His grace. I much prefer the Catholic understanding.

I also agree that Hell is a place and a state of being. Hopefully, when my time on earth is over, I’ll discover the answer from afar in Our Father’s kingdom.


#13

****Saint Faustina Kowalska. Today she is known world-wide as the Saint of the Divine Mercy who in her Diary recorded the revelations given to her by Jesus Christ. As it is written in the Diary, the hell is „a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is. The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it – a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned.\

When we die we are fully aware or in full conscience of our state. good or bad. Sara
** ** .


#14

[quote=sara888]****Saint Faustina Kowalska. Today she is known world-wide as the Saint of the Divine Mercy who in her Diary recorded the revelations given to her by Jesus Christ. As it is written in the Diary, the hell is „a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is. The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it – a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned.\

When we die we are fully aware or in full conscience of our state. good or bad. Sara
**** .
[/quote]

:eek:


#15

[/quote]

scary right? :stuck_out_tongue:


#16

Is it bad that the part that worries me most is the smell?


#17

First, it’s always said that God doesn’t condemn us to Hell but we choose it freely. However, in all of the parables and descriptions in Scripture we see God (or whatever represents Him in the parables) commanding sinners (or whatever represents them) to go to Hell. For instance we have the master telling his servants to throw people outside where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and in Matthew 25 we have Jesus saying, “Depart from me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” I understand that it’s symbolism, but it still needs to correspond.
Yes, you are right, there is an actual judgement where God tells the unjust they are unjust and the just they are just, but we do choose to go against God in this life and sin. We live every day of our lives for either heaven or hell.

Similarly, the picture of Jesus in Matthew 25 doesn’t fit with the God is Love idea, at least as it is taught. As opposed to the image we are taught of God standing at the gates of Heaven beckoning, even begging us, to come in, we see Him harshly commanding us to depart from Him, calling us cursed. Now of course this does fit well with the idea of God is Love and Love requires justice idea, but that isn’t what is taught. For instance, I recently read a work, with imprimatur and nihil obstat, which states that God does not punish us for our sins on earth. This seems to be contradicting what has traditionally been taught, correct?

Matt25 is not in contradiction with God being love as it is taught. God calls us to salvation not on our own terms, but on His terms. Salvation involves the sacrificial life and love of neighbor. If we do not include love in the relationship then we do not gain salvation.

What book was it you read? That is not in agreement with Catholic teaching. Catholic teaching is that all suffering on earth is punishment for sin and all punishment is for correction. We are punished on earth for our sins.

This ties directly into the problem with what sin is. I have always heard it taught, by very educated and orthodox Catholics, that sin is not simply breaking a set of laws, but is rather truly and deeply nothing more or less than the act of falling short of true happiness. In other words, we are made for a certain purpose, and acts are sinful because they work against making us what God designed us to be and make us something else. This makes a lot of sense, but it seems to create problems when we think about temporal punishment. If we’re breaking God’s rules, I can see punishment being necessary. If we’re just sortof… not being what we’re supposed to be, then I don’t see why there is a punishment for that other than what comes naturally from that. In other words, I don’t see why God needs to do it.

There is temporal punishment. Take for example the teaching on purgatory is a place where we recieve temporal punishment for what occured on earth. For sins that are forgiven but we have not properly be seperated from them. The ordinary place of temporal punishment is earth. The Catholic Church teaches, pick up your cross and bear it as Christ bore His. We are meant to suffer in order to be justified.

Lastly (but what is troubling me the most) concerns the actual “definition” of Hell. It is taught all the time that Hell is best seen as the state of being without God, and often taught that it’s not really a place at all. My concern is that it says in Matthew 25 (and is taught) that Hell was created for the Satan and his angels. Two things then. 1) If Hell was created, how can it simply be the state of being without God? 2) WE as humans were designed to be with God, so therefore the state of being without Him would be terrible for us. Angels were not, which is why it says and is taught that it is an eternal fire created for them. In other words, there’s got to be a pain aspect to it aside from the state of it. How do these things get reconciled?

Let me ask you, is there a place between heaven and hell that the dead could live? Or is it either heaven or hell? Traditional teaching is that there is heaven and there is hell and there is no other place. Hell is what is not heaven and heaven is union with God. There is a pain aspect to it, but that does not mean it is a physical fire with flames. Pain could be torment of the conscience or the soul or physical or all of them together. Traditional Catholic teaching is that there is a physical ressurection of the body and that you will be either in heaven with God or in hell being tormented. Hell is worse than any place we can imagine.

Yes the angels were designed to be with God but some of them rejected Him. Further, using the angels you mention; angels are purely spirit. They have no physical body, yet they are being tormented just as men in hell.


#18

He sins venially quite a bit, as do we all, however he goes to confession for these sins. If he confessed every venial sin he ever commited (difficult, but say he did), would he go straight to Heaven? Consider these two statements of the Catechism:

1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:…
remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;

The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains.

Therefore, when this fellow goes to confess his venial sins, does he receive a remission for only part of their temporal punishment? If so, how can we say he is forgiven? “The forgiveness of sin… entail[s] the remission of the eternal punishment of sin…” Venial sin does not have eternal punishment. In it’s entierty, eternally speaking, it is nothing more than temporal punishment. Therefore, if the confession of venial sins does not remit their full temporal punishment, we cannot say that the sin is forgiven. When a sin is forgiven, by it’s very nature the punishment is remitted. However, if temporal punishment remains for the venial sins which are confessed, then this seems to present a problem. If, on the other hand, the fellow confessed every venial sin and required no purgation, then there does not seem to be such a problem.

No, temporal punishment would be completely remitted unless he was completely cleansed of the sins. If the man continued to live after his confession and he never committed these sins again, you could say that temporal punishment had been removed because he had grown enough in the love of God that he would not commit the sins again. The point of purgation is the purification of the soul. The temporal punishment is not removed unless there is some kind of purification occurring.

Now, I would say it is beneficial to confess venial sins because it would help to quit those sins. If you are in the process of being seperated from these temptations to sin, then the temporal punishment is being remmitted.

The only way that temporal punishment is related to forgiveness is that temporal punishment and forgiveness both involve the bestowing of grace or virtue upon the sinner. Sins are not forgiven through temporal punishment. Temporal punishment is solely for the purpose of purification. Temporal punishment is given for sins that are already forgiven.


#19

[quote=StCsDavid]Looks like I might have misunderstood your original post. (Woudn’t be the first time for me.:slight_smile: )As I re-read it, I think you may need to keep in mind the context and audience this scripture was originally written for. Christ had just told his followers in Matthew 24 that big changes were afoot in their life time. He wanted them to be prepared for what was coming. In Matthew 25 there was a real sense of urgency in these parables…a real sense of getting prepared…a real sense of living the word in the present. IMHO This dovetails perfectly with Mat. 24. Taken as a stand alone passage, I could see where you might perceive the contradictions, but taken in context of the events unfolding, it may appear less contradictory.

Great explanation of sin. I think is was Luther who said we appear as dung covered with snow before our Lord as a way of describing how Christ covers us with His grace. I much prefer the Catholic understanding.

I also agree that Hell is a place and a state of being. Hopefully, when my time on earth is over, I’ll discover the answer from afar in Our Father’s kingdom.
[/quote]

Don’t worry, I misunderstood his first post too. I read the first post and then his second and it seemed like he said the exact opposite in the second.

I think it was the heidelburgh Catechism that said that.


#20

I have recently been thinking about a similar issue. I have been thinking about the basic definition of sin and how evil is essentially nothing but the lack of grace [or virtue or justice] where there should be grace. I have also been trying to put the mortal vs venial destinction into this perspective in my mind.

I think the best definition for sin that I can think of is ‘the lack of subjection of your free will to the will of God’. This is because free will is the main determinate in sin. We are given one choice in actuality, and that is the choice to preserve the truth. There is no other choice; it is like if you don’t like what your mom made for dinner but she tells you it is not a restaraunt and that is what there is. Either you eat what your mom made or you eat nothing. It is impossible to have this free will taken from you. And knowledge and gravity of sin are basically dependant on the free will.

Sin is not breaking a bunch of roles, it is simply opposing ‘that than which a greater can be thought’ (in other words, God). By being subject to Gods will we grow closer to Him and we recieve more graces as we grow closer.

The will of God leads us to true happiness, so it is in agreement somewhat with the definition you gave.


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