Who Deserves to be in Hell?

Bonald of the Throne and Altar blog posted Who Deserves to be in Hell? here: bonald.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/who-deserves-to-be-in-hell/

I wanted to post it full here because I’ve noticed a tendency among Catholics to defend the existence of Hell, but try to soften it by suggesting that “God’s hands are tied” and that going to Hell is entirely the will of the sinner. For the edification of anyone interested:

Apologists nowadays usually avoid the question and just say that unrepentant sinners simply can’t enjoy beatitude. It’s logically impossible. The impression left is that God would like to send everyone to heaven but those who refuse to repent just make it impossible for Him. He doesn’t want to punish, but His hands are tied. He’s off the hook. I think the main point here is true: embracing sin makes it impossible to enjoy the vision of God, not just as a matter of divine decree, but by logical necessity. It’s not clear how well this works as a defense for God, though, since the will to repent is itself a divine gift, and we very quickly find ourselves in deep waters, with either Pelagius or Calvin waiting for us at every turn.

I would not like to speak exclusively like this, though, for this sort of talk is not that of Our Lord, or Saint Paul, or the Fathers of the Church. They were all quite comfortable saying that God, at least by his consequent will, wills the punishment of sinners. He does so because He is just, and they deserve it–no other argument needed. We also should be comfortable in this, because to reduce sin to a sort of disease or misfortune is to rob moral life of its seriousness; it fails to do justice to the reality of our freedom. We have not only interests, but also duties. God is not solely interested in our happiness. He responds to us as free agents, with approval and disapproval, reward and punishment.

Who would I send to hell if I were God? Would I really throw someone in hell just for missing Sunday Mass? Imagining oneself in the place of the Almighty is never a useful exercise, but since everyone is implicitly doing it when they talk about God seeming “cruel”, let’s do it anyway. I myself respond very differently to sins of weakness as opposed to sins of outright defiance. I have nothing but pity for cowards, and I feel no anger but great sympathy for people who engage in sexual sins in a proverbial moment of weakness. That ****** in the CDF who’s demanding the Church alter her teaching to accommodate his vice is obviously a different case–a man satanically defiant against God and His law. On the other hand, torturing him for eternity does feel extreme. So does torturing for eternity the fellow who skipped Church, or even the adulterers. Then again, I wouldn’t even torture for eternity with fire child molesters or serial killers, or for that matter even any of history’s great perpetrators of genocide. Punish them severely, sure, but hell just seems in excess of what anyone could deserve for a mere one lifetime of wickedness.

Do I feel this way because I am more merciful than God?
No, I feel that way because I lack His justice, His understanding of the severity of sin. My inclination for an empty hell is a defect of my imagination, not something to be proud of. Certainly not something to boast of before the Almighty.

Maybe its just me, but I see a bit of non sequitur in this position.

Saying that “God wills punishment for the sinner” is not the same as saying either: 1. God wills a particular person to go to hell; or 2. God chooses to send people to hell.

I don’t see a contradiction between saying that God “wills punishment for the sinner” and also espousing the view that sinners go to hell due to their own poor choices.

God created a moral universe. God created human beings to inhabit this moral world and work out their salvation with the assistance of His Grace but not by His forcing us to accept salvation. His love for us is so great that He allows us to use our free will even to our own disadvantage.

Until we die there is always hope even if it was only in a moment that we were sincerely sorry for our sins I think no matter the sins they would be forgiven. I think that once our soul departs the body and passes through the mortal barrier we are deprived of free will. The state we are at that time is the one in which we will be judged immediately.

If there is even one mortal sin remaining on our conscience then God in His Justice casts you, throws you, spews you whatever way you like to say it, into Hell. First he takes away from you any semblance of goodness from your soul and your personality including sanity. Then He sends you off with a list of all your personal un-forgiven sins so that your tormentors will be authorized to punish you forever for each individual sin on a regular basis these would be added to the general punishment of the damned

God is not squeamish about condemning the spiritually dead to hell. You get what you deserve because you deserve it. God knows all things he knows what it took for you to commit each of your sins and he knows exactly your culpability. God is just so in justice he hates both the sin and the sinner.The fact that God hates the sin and the sinner does not detract from the love he has for his creature. Hell is called God’s last mercy because God’s justice is infinite and so is His Holy Anger. He does not punish each person with infinite pain eternally as they deserve. God’s wrath is poured out so that each person is punished in general for sin that cost them salvation, and they are punished regularly for each individual sin they had on their conscience in addition to the general punishments. The greatest pain in Hell is the eternal knowledge that you have lost God forever.

Conversely you might say that in the end you got what your really wanted, life without God.

Peter Kreeft wrote that he’ll is populated with people singing the song “I Did It My Way”.

From your posted article:

“He doesn’t want to punish, but His hands are tied. He’s off the hook. I think the main point here is true: embracing sin makes it impossible to enjoy the vision of God, not just as a matter of divine decree, but by logical necessity. It’s not clear how well this works as a defense for God, though, since the will to repent is itself a divine gift, and we very quickly find ourselves in deep waters, with either Pelagius or Calvin waiting for us at every turn.

The will to repent is itself a divine gift… we find Pelagius or Calvin waiting…

Not really. The will to repent is like any other gift:
It’s offered by someone
But you have to open that box and accept it.
It is your free will to accept or refuse the gift.

Fran

:thumbsup:

I don’t even understand it as God willing the punishment of the sinner.

I understand it more as God being so pure that He just can’t be in the presence of sin, which is why catholics believe in purgatory and protestants believe you are to “cloak yourself” with Jesus. In catholicism you’re purged, in protestantism you’re covered.

Fran

Hell exists because God is not willing to let His own home be polluted by neer-do-wells and troublemakers.

All through a persons life they make choices, adopt opinions. These choices and attitudes make the person “what” they are. At death there are a very limited number of places to move onto. “What” you are determines where you move on to. If you are in league with the damned, they are more than willing to accept you. If you are a friend of God, He will escort you home.

C.S. Lewis put it well (paraphrasing here) - "At the end. there are those who say to God “Thy will be done.”, and those to whom God must say “thy will be done”.

I hate when people say that…I’m a big fan of Frank Sinatra. I believe the song is not about defying God.

In the music business, there are always people telling you, “don’t sing that”, “play at this club, not that one”, “if you don’t follow my advice, you’re fired” , etc.

Frank Sinatra didn’t listen to the nay- sayers. He did it his way…and although he had a few regrets, he was successful!

Question for the proponents of hell:

Are you OK with the idea that someday your family and your friends will all be in hell?

Because, statistically, they’re more likely than not to end up there, according to the opinion of all the greatest Catholic saints in history.

Let’s say God neglects to give your family and your friends the “grace of final perseverance.” The reason why is a “mystery.” But, nonetheless there they are, all of them: in hell forever. Some of them because they weren’t baptized, some of them for failing to believe the Marian dogmas, and some of them for various kinds of common and banal sins.

What is your intuition about this? I submit that you should rejoice! :extrahappy:

For, if it is happening, it is God’s will right? Whether antecedent or consequent (specious distinction though it is) God is willing hell for your friends and family in the “eternal now.” If God’s will is good by definition, then their damnation is good! Hooray! As you become more and more saintly, you should feel more and more joyous about the damnation of your family and friends, correct? If not, why not? Because it isn’t God’s will? Well, if it happens, and God is omnipotent, how can it not be his will?

How many of you feel like this?

Funny all the comments seem that you have created for yourselves a pacifist God. That is not the Catholic God neither the God of the Bible or the God of our Catechism.Nor the God of the early Church.

God who sits with his armies in Battle array. In his presence the angels tremble at His awesome power.

God sends into punishment those who have sinned and been forgiven into purgatory. So that they may expiate those sins that have been absolved. Nothing imperfect shall enter Heaven.

There is somewhere where it say that at Jesus second coming he will have his enemies slain in his sight. “And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill him with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming,” (2 thes 2:8}

God is not a wimp or a pacifist He is God. He has given us every chance every piece of knowledge and encouragement plus the church the sacraments saints etc those who will be lost deserve what they get and God will always be just as well as merciful.

There will be no end for the damned because they suffered enough and God feels sorry for them because God’s Justice is infinite also and so His Holy Anger.God feels no sorrow for those that he must damn. God cannot regret perfect acts of Justice any more then He could regret the creation even of those that will be Damned. It is enough to know that hell is God’s last mercy. Some say that God will take away from all of us even the memory of the damned so that we cannot suffer either.

The lukewarm he will spew from his mouth and lukewarm does not mean a person not in a state of grace. God is not driven or compelled in any way to create us to save us or to forgive us.if He does it is by His Goodness and our cooperation and proper use of our free will.

God is offended by sin and the sinner. This is a consistent theme throughout the bible though it even uses hates on some occasion of both the sin and the sinner this has to do with a combination of absolute knowledge and absolute justice.

Saying that God cannot bring himself to damn an impenitent sinner is like saying a person should feel guilty for flushing the toilet.

Heaven is “Perfect Happiness.” There is to be no sorrow…Jesus said there will be no marriage in heaven, so maybe we will not know the destiny of our loved ones. If we DO know, we will see the ultimate justice of God!

To answer the title question: in a sense, everybody, because Hell is primarily the separation from the Eternal Good, and none of us deserve to be in its presence - not only because we have all sinned, but also because it is literally impossible for us to deserve it.

To the OP: the paasage you quoted has a lot of the common misconceptions in it. That the will to repent is a gift from God is an ambiguous phrase, for example. The ability to repent, the desire to repent, all of that is a gift from God (which can be rejected), as is the ability to exercise the will in such a way as to actually repent, but the actual act in which we repent, while an acceptance of and response to various gifts from God, is a choice that we make.

The “would I send someone to hell for missing Mass” is another common card. People go to hell because they reject God, and missing Mass can be a sign of and act of that rejection. Various levels of ignorance or what have you can mitigate the guilt and so turn what is a gravely wrong act into a venial sin, but whether or not that happens in a particular case does not affect the principle: If we choose ourself over God so much so that we think our own personal desires take precedence over God even to the point where we aren’t willing to give him ~1 hour in a week, that shows that we have not put Him first.

Then there’s the whole “torture them for eternity seems kind of extreme.” Well, yeah, except for a person in Hell, being in the presence of God would be worse. They get theirs, sure, but it’s also really the best that can be done. If a person chooses to hate all that is good, and taking into account goodness is the fundamental truth, existence itself, then the best that can be done for them is to separate them from it as much as is possible. They’re still not gonna have a good time, they will have nothing good whatsoever aside from their own existence, which they will hate because they hate what is good, but at least they won’t be surrounded by the Eternal Source of all that they have chosen to reject.

And so on.

Obviously not, but what happens and what I’m ok with are not the same thing.

Because, statistically, they’re more likely than not to end up there, according to the opinion of all the greatest Catholic saints in history.

One can hope they are wrong, but this hope does not give us the ability to say so with certainty, especially not to the extent of saying that there is no one there.

Let’s say God neglects to give your family and your friends the “grace of final perseverance.” The reason why is a “mystery.” But, nonetheless there they are, all of them: in hell forever. Some of them because they weren’t baptized, some of them for failing to believe the Marian dogmas, and some of them for various kinds of common and banal sins.

Nope. Not gonna happen. Everyone is given the graces they need to make it, some just choose not to act on them. The reason why is because they choose not to. That choice does not make sense, but because it originates in a free being, it does not have to. No one goes to Hell just because God decided not to give them what they need to go to heaven.

What is your intuition about this? I submit that you should rejoice! :extrahappy:

For, if it is happening, it is God’s will right? Whether antecedent or consequent (specious distinction though it is) God is willing hell for your friends and family in the “eternal now.” If God’s will is good by definition, then their damnation is good! Hooray! As you become more and more saintly, you should feel more and more joyous about the damnation of your family and friends, correct? If not, why not? Because it isn’t God’s will? Well, if it happens, and God is omnipotent, how can it not be his will?

How many of you feel like this?

Simplistic. It is God’s will that we have the choice. It is God’s will that our choices are real and affect us. It is not God’s will that people make the wrong choice, but our choices are ours.

Let me put it to you like this: some people, through their own free choice, react to the options that God gives them in such a way that when they die and meet Him face to face, they are filled with revulsion and agony, for they know that what they see is perfection and that what they prefer is in every possible respect worse and evil, but they still freely choose to prefer their evil. In this way, the mere sight of Goodness itself is torture.

Would you rejoice more if they were held in that torture, to experience this thing that is really and truly good, yet which they refuse to accept and so suffer endless agonies over, or if they were able to flee to a relatively dark mode of existence, which is still agony because they have rejected all that is good, but is a lesser agony because they do not feel the full force of that which they hate at all times?

Do you want those who reject God to be held eternally in His presence, experiencing at all times everything they hate to its fullest extent possible?

But…if hell is good and just, why wouldn’t you want to know? :hmmm: Wouldn’t you want front row seats to watch the endless torture of your family and friends? Wouldn’t the blessed in heaven rejoice and revel and the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the damned if it is all part of God’s good plan? If not, why not?

Honestly, here is my guess: you are about 15-16 years old. Please don’t reveal, but if I’m right I think your bluster will resolve as you meditate upon this problem and read the bible more carefully and prayerfully. Best wishes!

If you aren’t 15 or 16 years old, then you may want to consider questioning yourself about why I would get that impression from your post above.

God is above the categories of “wimp” and “warmonger.” God is neither pacifist nor bronze-age desert warlord. God is above hate and anger, these are anthropomorphic understandings given to us by the Jewish people.

God is God, he rules this universe alone and has total control. I agree with you that he will totally destroy those who absolutely and obstinately refuse to obey him. We should not fear. He destroys them not out of hate or anger, but because they desire it. May none of us ever desire this!

Wouldn’t annihilation be “separating them from existence as much as possible?” Indeed, wouldn’t it be the fullest and most complete separation possible? Can’t God do anything that is possible?

Well, why not? Are there some things that happen that are not God’s will? How is that possible if he is omnipotent? Are you not OK with God’s will? (That’s ok, we’re all like this I think). But, in heaven, don’t you think you would be OK with God’s will fully and completely? In that case, wouldn’t you not only be OK with the damnation of your friends and family, but actually celebrate it as God’s good plan for them?

Oh, I see. Everyone has the grace of final perseverance but some just reject it and go to hell anyway. Wait a minute…what does it mean for the grace to be “of final perseverance” if it doesn’t necessarily bring about…final perseverance? :hmmm:

Right, and since God infallibly knows our choices in the “Eternal Now” then he ratifies them by either his action or inaction. If he didn’t want them to make the wrong choice, and he is omnipotent, then he could have prevented it. By choosing to do nothing, he chooses to allow sin. I’m OK with that, but not if it leads to endless punishment when our own existence in the first place is not within the scope of our choices.

No, I’d rather that those who totally reject and hate God be granted final and total freedom from him: permanent and total annihilation. He can punish them first if that helps. I’d rather that they feel “no force” of the person they have rejected. This seems more logical. God is the ground of being. If we break our relationship totally and completely with being itself…then we cannot exist!

The problem here is that you are assuming hate and anger in God are emotions like in us and they are not they are living essence of God as is love or Holiness. To pretend God does not destroy with anger is to not have read of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lots wife was destroyed because she disobediently looked upon God’s Holy Anger that He used to destroy Sodom. The Jews had to be warned about the blood on the lintels when God sent His destroying angels.

The bible is not just rhetoric all had a purpose to create a more complete picture of God. Not a lopsided one.

I think your in error to state that the damned wanted to be damned. They just didn’t want God’s expectations like obedience, purity, transformation, sacrifice they, like the devil, chose selfish agendas.

When you make yourself an enemy your really are an enemy. God will not bat an eyelash when He casts the damned into Hell. He will have to damn them as a judge at trial…

Unfortunately I do think God is a harder judge, although infinitely just, then almost anyone thinks Him to be. Punishments will be worse them almost anyone will guess them to be. This is ;not from my youthful age but from study,meditation, reading the lives of the saints and personal encounters with Our God.

If you believe in God’s mercy pray daily for those who will have to suffer their individual judgement today.

What Sarcastic statement! :rolleyes: Think before you write! :hmmm:

You know that is not what God intends for the people in Heaven. Like I said, “maybe we will not know the destiny of our loved ones. If we DO know, we will see the ultimate justice of God!”
We won’t gloat over their damnation, ( that sounds like sin ) or be made sad because Heaven is “perfect happiness.”

If you get a chance to see The Christians, a play now in NYC, you’ll find 90 minutes (no intermission) of well acted discussion on this subject. The story line: A mega church pastor decides that his church no longer believes in hell. The associate pastor leaves immediately with a small portion of the flock. Eventually, someone asks if Hitler is in heaven. The answer is yes since God is loving and wants to redeem everyone. At that point the rest leave. The play gives no answers to the heaven/hell questions. It does provide opportunity for thought on many subjects, including the problem of self-interpretation of the scriptures and what authority should be trusted. The Catholic Church is not without priests who head off in strange directions, but they have no authority to independently change the beliefs stated in the CCC.

In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned … So that they may be urged the more to praise God … The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens … to the damned.

  • Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Third Part, Supplement, Question XCIV, “Of the Relations of the Saints Towards the Damned,” First Article

Yes, you are right, I apologize for my sarcasm. Sometimes it is difficult for me to awaken people to the horror in which they claim to believe. Making it personal usually wakes everyone up. I’ll stop.

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