The Reality of Hell

In previous articles we tried presenting a more spiritual picture of heaven, minus the harps, angel wings and fluffy clouds. This begs the question, could the reality of hell also be different than what many of us grew up with? The classic imagery of fire and brimstone appeals to our bodily senses but is that the reality or is it just a flesh oriented deterrent? There are many who will reject the non literal understanding of hell but for centuries now, the notion of hell being a physical place of fiery torment has been questioned. If heavenly bliss is a spiritual state of existence in sync with God, why could hell not be the exact opposite; a spiritual state of existence against God rather than a place of fire and brimstone? But if hell isn’t a place of fire, why does the Bible describe it that way?

The fiery torments we read of in the Bible may be flesh oriented deterrents intended to drive home the eternal, unchanging agony of living out of harmony with God. Hell is described in terms of agonizing torments of the flesh because that’s what gets the attention of fleshy creatures like ourselves. We of the flesh are woefully inept at perceiving the things of the spirit. We are fallen, fleshy brutes of a lower realm reaching upward to a God we know but cannot comprehend. Fortunately for us, God reaches downward too, most dramatically in the world changing advent of Jesus Christ but in other ways too. The Biblical descriptions of hell as a place of eternal flame are one of those other ways.

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Hell is described as the separation or the absence or loss of the Beatific Vision, theVision of God for eternity We were created for it. Our souls were created to have this union with God, which is produced by the Beatific Vision, to know God is to be united with Him. When we are in the state of Hell, our intelligence was created for the Truth, we will remain in darkness. Our wills were created to possess the Good, and the Good will never be had. Our souls thirst for this Happiness, this Union. to know that we will never have this Union, and Happiness for an eternity causes the most excruciating pain. Fire causes excruciating pain to the human body. An unfulfilled and intense desire causes excruciating pain of a spiritual nature. The devils are subjected to physical fire as a humbling punishment, coupled with the absent of the beatific vision which is the worst, its like a most intense desire and thirst that will never be satisfied There will be both physical pain and spiritual pain. Hell is a state of existence, separation from the Eternal Good. Heaven can be call" A state of perpetual ecstacy one of Love",. Hell can be called a" state of hatred, a place of no hope, where love and truth do not abide." Hell is an eternal state of darkness, where there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

In the Nicene Creed at Mass, we profess a belief in the resurrection of the body. Heaven and Hell are places we inhabit with a body (though in a way undreamed of).

Human beings are creatures of mind, body, and soul. Although there is spiritual agony to Hell, there will be bodily agony as well, as well as psychological agony. When our Lady provided a vision of Hell to the children of Fatima, it was a lake of fire, with the human souls and demons that are presently trapped within on fire and floating like translucent embers, with the same imagery that is used in scripture concerning the place of the damned. St. Therese, St. Faustina, and St. John Bosco (among others) all likewise experienced visions of Hell being a fiery place.

It is fitting that these visions, as well as the public miracle at Fatima, would come precisely at the age of modernism when the doctrine of Hell would be so challenged. That is one of the reasons why Mary appeared.

I’m reminded of an old episode of the show “The Twilight Zone” called “A Nice Place to Visit”.

Spoiler alert; :slight_smile:

In that episode, a criminal dies and is transported to a place where his every desire is satisfied: money, sex, winning in casinos, cars, etc. It’s all given to him by a being that he thinks is some kind of angel. At first, he thinks he’s in heaven. However, after a short time of celebrating, he gets bored. He ultimately gets so painfully bored and dissatisfied with this life that he says something to this “angel” along the lines of, “If this is heaven, send me to the other place.” The “angel” then says to him, “This is the other place.”

I remember the story of a man being shown both heaven and Hell as being banquets of food of an exquisite nature, but with both dinner tables equipped with eight foot long chopsticks that had to be used. In Heaven people fed each other using these lengthy implements whereas in hell, no one would feed anyone else and all starved in front of all the food.
Silly but exemplifies that Hell will be worse for the company one would keep.

Can hell be different for different people. It may be that the idea of hell that have when we die becomes the actual experience of hell in the afterlife. If we die with a belief that it’s fire, then that belief is what hell becomes. If it’s the scenario you laid out, then that’s what the belief becomes

Hell was actually created SPECIFICALLY for satan and the demons, Ive always thought it strange God would send 2 entirely different beings to the same place…this does not sense imo, angels, fallen or otherwise and humans are completely different beings, nothing similar about the 2, so how could 1 place be suitable for these 2? doesnt seem possible.

I also find it curious that many people will say certain verses are metaphors or symbolic, but when it comes to hell, most think it is a literal description…??? This sounds a bit like too much like someone personal opinion or interpretation versus whats actually true.

I will say though, if Hell is basically an eternal separation from God, then many people living today without God in their lives, it will be an extension of their earthly lives, so some will probably enjoy it, as they appear to be enjoying their earthly lives without God in it, not sure how that is possible, but thats what they claim, so I will take their word on that.

Well, I don’t get why two different beings can’t inhabit the same place. We have all kinds of different life forms on earth, so why not.

To enjoy hell? I don’t think so. These will be people who rejected the things of God for the things of this earth, suddenly denied all those earthly pleasures for eternity.

Those in Hell, a state of eternal damnation, their punishment some have experienced in supernatural vision Just like those who are holy, and exercised individual virtues,more or less, they will be awarded honors corresponding to those virtues. eg. a person exercises Faith, there will be a special honor for the virtue. One may exercise receiving Daily Communion, there will be a special honor, or glory associated with that practice. These honors, I believe are called the “Robes of Glory” One may exercise love, and there is an honor, or glory associated with that virtue. All these virtues are exercised by the saints in various degree.

In Hell, those who are there, have exercised vice, for example, the crime of passion, there will be punishment for that particular vice. Others may have committed sins of pride, there will be a punishment designed for them, it will be the opposite of those in Heaven. You must remember at the Last Judgement, our souls are once again united with our bodies, and the punishment will be designed for both body and soul. The lives of the Saints and their experience shed some light on the punishments in Hell. I do believe that St.Thomas Aquinas covers the topic of Hell and punishment

Then hell and heaven are not the same for everyone, which I agree, may be the case. Part two of the article talks about hierarchies in heaven, somewhat related I think.

hell is a real place. in it your consumed by fire that doesnt end thats all you look at and see

Hell is the same for everyone the loss of the Beatific Vision, and eternal damnation.The suffering will still be suffering, but tailored to each soul perhaps depending on the cause of their mortal sin, selfishness, pride, sensuality, maliciousness etc.lies, heresies, murder, hatred, and so on.

We may be splitting hairs here. Hell may be the same for everyone in terms of being a place of suffering, and at the same time the suffering is tailored to each soul, then you’re kind of back to it NOT being the same for everyone. I get your point though.

I suspect heaven may be tailored for different souls also

Do you realize if this were true there would be trillions upon trillions of ‘personal hells’, there would have to be enough to accommodate EVERY single person that has ever lived and went to hell…on second thought, that would be a larger number than multiple trillions…!

That doesnt sound logical to me.

I agree it’s real.
I don’t know if the classical image of hell is totally accurate though.

You are right, if you look at how hell is described in the bible, it is described that way IMO, to deter people from sin, so they will turn to God and nothing else.

Similar to all the old anti-drug ads, where they showed an egg frying in a pan and claimed this is what drugs did to a persons brain, this was an attempt to scare people away from drug use…problem was, they were not entirely truthful yes, some drugs do harm brain cells, but they left out the fact that these cells grow back, I think there are some things being left out about the truth of hell.

After all, if everyone knew there was absolutely no consequences for anything they do here on earth, how many people would live law abiding lives?

Even if hell is different than the classic imagery, I would not go so far as to say “knew there was absolutely no consequences for anything they do here on earth”

That is precisely why theyre in hell though. Those people knew in their conscience there would be consequences and what they were doing was wrong, but they chose to do whatever they wanted anyway.

Heaven and Hell will be physical places at the end of time though. Could be why you see it as flesh oriented and why they are described as such.

Where does it say that?

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