Why don't God punish people in hell for a finite time and then destroy them?


Why don’t God punish people in hell for a finite time and then destroy them? Is it necessary to punish people in hell forever?


Because we are eternal creations, with finite beginnings and infinite endings. That is His promise and He will not go back on His promises.


But why have God made such a promise, which can turn out to be very tragic? Isn’t it better if he don’t let all people exist forever, but only let saved people exist forever?


In the economy of faith the eternity of hell is part of God’s Justice and Mercy. Besides, people in hell chose their fate. Consider these excerpts from the Catechism…

1056 Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the “sad and lamentable reality of eternal death”, also called "hell."
1057 Hell’s principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; 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”:


But why have God made such a promise, which can turn out to be very tragic? Isn’t it better if he don’t let all people exist forever, but only let saved people exist forever?

God is INFINITE … in EVERY way.


Because we are eternal creations, with finite beginnings and infinite endings. That is His promise and He will not go back on His promises.

AND … HE left us a written legacy in terms of the Old Testament and the New Testament.


I know hell exists, other then that don’t know what it’s like down there and pray God I never will. Those souls that are there must be in total anguish, first to be separated from God forever, the pains of hell is all to much to comprehend. Two things I always wondered about, 1. the final judgement when God separates the good from the evil and pronounces their fate, would the evil just hear His voice? 2. When the damned souls go to hell will the devil still be there with them or is he to be destroyed as we have learned God Bless::butterfly::butterfly::butterfly:.


We are creatures born of eternity; to die is to step out of time.

In short.


He does. It’s called, Purgatory.

and then destroy them?

That’s called the Lake of Fire.

Is it necessary to punish people in hell forever?

It is difficult for human beings to comprehend that there is no time in eternity.

Here’s the way I understand it.

First, God creates us in time.
Second, we choose whether to obey God and be saved. Or disobey God and be condemned.
Third, during our lives, we can choose to change our minds because of the existence of time.
Fourth, but, once we have passed into eternity, there is no more “time” to change our minds.
Fifth, we have, effectively, chosen our own destiny by the choices we made in our lives.


Because by doing so he would be doing them a HUGE favor. …by shorting time in pain and suffering



Is it necessary to punish people who died with mortal sin in hell forever? Isn’t it too cruel?


I read in a book about hell that even if people were released from hell, they would eventually go back to their old ways. So if they were put back on earth to see if they made the same mistakes, they would. Maybe it is that “dedication” that send one to hell, that and not repenting of course.

Here is a link with excerpts:


Maybe. But, why don’t God eventually destroy them, that is, make them no longer exist? That is my question.


That is a question that no one will ever have an answer for. The best one there is has already been posted in this thread earlier.


Psalms 73:16-20 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.18 Truly you set them in slippery places;you make them fall to ruin.19 How they are destroyed in a moment,swept away utterly by terrors!20 They are like a dream when one awakes;on awaking you despise their phantoms.

Psalm 59:11 Do not kill them, or my people may forget;make them totter by your power, and bring them down,
O Lord, our shield.12 For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,let them be trapped in their pride.
For the cursing and lies that they utter,13 consume them in wrath;consume them until they are no more.
Then it will be known to the ends of the earth that God rules over Jacob.
Deuteronomy 32:35 Vengeance is mine, and recompense, for the time when their foot shall slip; because the day of their calamity is at hand, their doom comes swiftly.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Hebrews 10:30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment;
2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
2 Peter 3:12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.


I’ve thought that maybe it’s because they want to exist. That existence is the only good of God they will. God not violating their will, sustains them. Just a thought


Jesus did say not to worry about ppl who can only kill your body…but to worry about He who can kill both body and soul.

Not direct quote…


The souls in Hell serve as lessons to us all.

Think about the lesson of Lazarus.

Luke 16:19-31King James Version (KJV)

19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:

20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.

25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:

28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.

30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.

31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.


Purgatory isn’t hell…

Every soul there is Heaven-bound. There are some who mistakenly believe that purgatory means a “second chance”, but that isn’t correct, either. It’s more like Heaven’s mud room, where the sins on our souls that are NOT deadly, will be purged from us. (1 John 5:17; 1 Corinthians 3:1-15)


God is ruled by logic. He cannot step outside of the realm of logic that He created.

God created us as eternal beings, thus our souls live forever.

That’s really it.

Also, those who commit mortal sin knowingly go against God. They know what they’re doing and are in a sense predetermining their fate when they decide to commit mortal sin.

God would not destroy a soul He created to be eternal because

a.) It would go against logic
b.) He gave us free will to do as we wish, to love Him, or not love Him
c.) Justice demands that those who go against the Laws of God be punished, and since God is infinite, justice demands infinite punishment. And since pain cannot be infinite, the duration must therefore be infinite.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.