What is Hell?


#1

I have two questions in which I am going to ask each in a different thread. This one is for Hell. What do you perceive Hell to be? Is it a physical place? Is it a state of being? There are a lot of different ideas about what Hell is, I would like to know what you think…


#2

[left]Sister Faustina’s Vision of Hell

[/left]


#3

I believe what the Church teaches. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

IV. HELL

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. **This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” **

**1034 ** Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

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

612 1 Jn 3:14-15.
613 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
614 Cf. Mt 5:22,29; 10:28; 13:42,50; Mk 9:43-48.
615 Mt 13:41-42.
616 Mt 25:41.
617 Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG § 12.
618 Mt 7:13-14.
619 LG 48 § 3; Mt 22:13; cf. Heb 9:27; Mt 25:13,26,30,31-46.
620 Cf. Council of Orange II (529):ds 397; Council of Trent (1547):1567.
621 2 Pet 3:9.
622 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.

In other words, it isn’t necessary to think of hell as a piece of real estate, another planet, or a geographical place. For those who are there, that will be the least of their worries. :eek:

One of the great things about being Catholic is that, on the really important questions, you don’t have to speculate or guess. :slight_smile:


#4

‘A Case for Faith’ by Lee Strobel has a lot of good points in it concerning Hell and has made me think a lot about people’s perceptions of God and all that He brings with Him to the table… The chapter has different points that it discusses and I thought I would bring some of the questions here to discuss them… Such as…

**#1. How can God send children to Hell?
#2. Why does everyone suffer the same in Hell?
#3. Why are people punished infinitely for finite crimes?
#4. Couldn’t God force everyone to go to Heaven?
#5. Why doesn’t God just snuff people out?
#6. How can Hell exist along side of Heaven?
#7. Why didn’t God create only those He knew would follow Him?
#8. Why doesn’t God give people a second chance?
#9. Isn’t reincarnation more rational than Hell? **

These are some of the very good questions that the author brought up in the interview with Moreland. If you have a chance I would love to explore these with everyone’s opinions. Thank you!


#5

We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves

This is something that I have been thinking about for a while. I don’t think that God views us sinning as evidence that we do not love Him. A child may disobey their parents but does that mean that they do not love their parents? No. Us sinning is not us saying that we don’t love God… it’s our nature to sin. We must show how much we love God in trying NOT to sin but when we do it’s not telling Him that we actually don’t love Him. Does this make sense?


#6

[quote=Singinbeauty]This is something that I have been thinking about for a while. I don’t think that God views us sinning as evidence that we do not love Him.** A child may disobey their parents but does that mean that they do not love their parents? ** No. Us sinning is not us saying that we don’t love God… it’s our nature to sin. We must show how much we love God in trying NOT to sin but when we do it’s not telling Him that we actually don’t love Him. Does this make sense?
[/quote]

The difference, of course is the One who is being sinned against.There’s an immensely *qualitative * difference between sinning against our earthly parents as opposed to sinning against the All Holy God of the Universe. That is why the price that was paid to reconcile man and God --the life of his only begotten Son-- was so great. But where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more.


#7

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