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


#21

It isn’t always hell. But it depends on the context with which one is using hell.

Hell has many meanings.

  1. As a variant of the word, “sheol”, it is the place of the dead. In that sense, Purgatory is part of hell.
  2. It is also considered by some, the place of the damned. In that sense, it is not.

When the ancient Creed says that Jesus, “descended into hell”, it does not mean that He descended to the place of the damned. It means He descended to the people who were in the Limbo of the Patriarchs. A place which is now designated, Purgatory.

But where Scripture says, “the gates of hell will not prevail”. It is a reference to Satan’s abode.

Every soul there is Heaven-bound.

Agreed.

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)
[/quote]

Agreed.

St. Thomas Aquinas says:
http://www.newadvent.org/summa/7001.htm

so that it is the same fire which torments the damned in hell and cleanses the just in Purgatory;


#22

Whenever this question is asked, the issue always gets down to what we really understand by “hell.” I think that we only think eternal hell is unjust because we have certain ideas in mind, usually a combination of the following:

  1. Hell is an arbitrary, external punishment inflicted by God (think images of physical fire and demons, etc.)
  2. One can easily slip into mortal sin, and therefore casually die and “go to” hell.

As for the first, the New Testament and historic Catholic imagination has conceived of hell with horrific external torments (think fire, wailing and ghashing teeth, where the “worm does not die,” demons in torture chambers, and so on). This is even true with popular Catholic apparitions and visions, say the children at Fatima. But there’s good reason to think these images cannot be literally true, for (1) the soul is not physical and so its suffering is not bound to external torments and (2) even in the bodily resurrection, there must be a way for the body to endure and yet not be actually destroyed, as physical fire would, and so on.

This has led for Catholic theology to emphasize hell as a state more than anything. It is not arbitrary punishment: Instead, it’s a natural result of rejecting God. It’s a rejection of God’s love, our source of fulfillment.

And then there’s this false idea that people just slip into mortal sin (much to the psychological torment of adolescent boys everywhere…). People may easily commit grave acts, which are inherently wrong. But a mortal sin is a different thing altogether. We don’t just resolutely fall into rejecting God, who is our true end and ultimate desire. That would be unreasonable indeed! Sinful acts are almost always conditioned by our passions, personalities, psychologies, experiences, situations, mental states, addictions, and so on.

And so YES, it seems very unfair for God to eternally punish someone for committing a mortal sin, if by mortal sin we mean a casual act one falls into through passion or so on. But as the catechism says, the only sin deserving of hell is a DELIBERATE act against love of God, whereby one remains UNREPENTANT until the end. In that sense, we all make a “fundamental option” for or against God. We will either choose to be with Him or against Him. We will choose love or not, we live love neighbor and be selfless or hate our neighbor and exalt ourselves.

That hell is eternal is a natural result of God fully respecting the individual’s choice to finally, once and for all, live without Him.


#23

Because if God only created beings that would love Him, or if he annihilated any being that rejected Him, he wouldn’t be all loving… He would be a tyrant and a monster. For us to be able to truly love Him eternally as a free choice, we also have to be able to reject Him eternally as well. Love is not forced; love is a free will choice.

When we choose God and to love Him, we say to Him, “Thy will be done” and in return He says to us, “My will be done.” What is God’s will for us? To come to know Him, Love Him, and serve Him in this life so as to be eternally happy with Him in the next.

On the other hand, when we reject God, we say to Him, “No… My will be done.” and in return, God loves us so much that He restrains Himself and His power and control; He refuses to overwhelm our free will choice with His grace and says to us in return “Thy will be done.”

God loves us so much that He draws back into Himself. He allows for there to be a “not Him”; for there to be a deafening, eternal silence apart from Him where we may eternally persist in our own self-righteousness and selfishness.

Hell is a door locked from the inside.

I highly suggest you get a copy of Father Mike Schmitz’s CD The Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven, and Hell which excellently explains these concepts:

I also recommend watching the following video:


#24

No and here’s why

God can be defined as ALL GOOD THINGS PERFECTED

From this we ask: ARE being fair and just GOOD things; to which we reply; OF COURSE they are.:thinking:

Hence we CAN know that in an absolute and PERFECT in Divine Justice way; God’s way is not ONLY “Best”** BUT also good, fair and just

Consider this:
Isaiah 55: 6-4
"Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found: call upon him, while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unjust man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God: for he is bountiful to forgive. For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord."

Also consider this fact: In the entire UNiverse with its BILLIONS of things [all God created] Only One; only Humanity is RATONAL

To Be rational requires a mind, intellect and freewill; all which are HOW we emulate God: “Made in HIS Image” Gen 1:26-27, precisely so that we could chose for ourselves by our freely selecting by our Life Choices; eternal hell OR HEAVEN. It’s OUR choice; NOT God’s who dare I say “only” affirms OUR choice.

So it is we who choose hell or heaven and BOTH are ETERNAL because God’s Perfect Justice demands such.

Hope this clarifies it for you
Patrick


#25

If your question is; doesn’t god care? Then the answer is yes.

For if he did not; there would be no choice at all. People like to attribute God with qualities that declare he has no emotion. Which is illogical and completely contradictory to the old and New Testament. He more than cares and has great sorrow.

Hell, is for want of a better description the anti-good. A seperation from God’s nature at its core.

And so that is one more thing; A choice.

You aren’t being sent to hell by God to suffer. You choose to go there yourself.

And by free-will and love alone, he cannot contradict himself or you. Your choices are your own. Even if they bring him immense sadness.

Eternity is forever indeed. But you get a very long time to make up your mind.


#26

[quote=“ErraticFaith, post:25, topic:457372, full:true”]
You aren’t being sent to hell by God to suffer. You choose to go there yourself.
end quote

The God the RCC professes is a God of Perfection. All God is perfect. One attribute of God is that God is just. Perfect justice. And perfect justice is giving you what you ask for. There is no cruelty in that fact.
I once heard a good quote. It goes; “we say to God when we pray, 'Thy will be done.” At our judgment God will say to us, 'thy will be done.;" Or maybe better, “you asked for it, you got it.” God isn’t cruel, He merely gives one what one asks for.
Simple as that.


#27

We can go one step further and pray: " Lord, Make me the way You want me to be".


#28

Thank you for your reply, but I cannot agree your opinion. You say that perfect justice is giving you what you ask for. But is it just to give people others’ money if they ask for? Besides, you seem to say that people who go to hell ask for going to hell. But does anyone literally ask for going to hell? At most, you can say that they ask for sinning, which results in going to hell.


#29

I love the irony of this. I mean, Jesus knew that he would rise from the dead. And that even then, people would disbelieve. I’d say He had a good sense of humour.


#30

You are defining the word ‘ask’ as verbally requesting something. I use the term ‘ask’ in the sense of living in such a way so as to require an appropriate response. If you drive 75 mph in a 35mph zone, you are ‘asking’ for a speeding ticket. But no, you didn’t stick you head out the window of the speeding car and yell a request to a state trooper manning a radar gun. You asked for that ticket.
Semantics.
Live a life of lust, greed, gluttony, hatred, murder, theft and a few other no-nos, refusing to live in charity, love, and obedience to the Law of God, a life that makes the inherent statement that you do not want God or His Law in your life, and God, in the end, will “reward” you with a life in which God doesn’t exist; the bottom line definition of Hell.
You say to me, "thy will be done; yet you don’t do My will. So I say to you, “thy will be done.” Frightening? words one may hear at judgment.


#31

There is no limit to the number of ways that words can be manipulated.

Like the “other Lazarus”, I take comfort in allowing the dogs to lick my wounds … and I pray for everyone … and I do the best I can.


#32

I wonder about this myself at times. The other issue is the relative severity of people’s sins and their punishment. For example, the sins of a serial adulterer are not the same as those of murderous tyrant like Adolf Hitler. So do they both merit the same level of punishment?

I have good reason to believe my own father is in Hell. The night he died he appeared (“materialised”) in my room, and he didn’t know where I lived. I didn’t want him to know as I couldn’t stand him. He’d been an absolute mongrel to me (to quote himself as we discussed our past history). At the very end of this peculiar segment he gave this absolutely terrifying scream and then just disappeared. It was also obvious something was coming for him.

I still remember that episode, and that was January 1979, 38 years ago. It’s not the sort of thing you forget.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s still there, 38 years later, and he was only 55 when he died. In another 17 years he’ll have been in Hell as long as he was alive on earth - non-stop terror and suffering.

So why are temporal sins punished eternally? And are they all punished with equal severity?

I don’t really know the answer to either, but since God is eternal, and since He has an eternal view of our sins, then I assume that Hell and Heaven must both be eternal, otherwise one part of eternity is lost. Secondly He’s warned us loud and clear, most harshly through the words of His own Son, whom we crucified and pushed out of the world on a cross.

In that sense we all had a hand in crucifying God. I suppose you might say He has no reason to be particularly thankful to the human race. He might even think He owes us something.

So if we ignore that warning from the eternal God, we have nothing to look forward to but eternal judgment. As Paul wrote, His wrath remains on them (the damned). His wrath is eternal, and it has to go somewhere, and stay there, like a fire that simply cannot go out.

Still, I’m a long way from understanding the severity of Hell, or the need for an eternal Hell, as retribution for temporal, time limited sins.


#33

You say that hell is a natural result of rejecting God. I heard this before. But, I’m doubtful on that. We know there are both pain of loss of vision of God and pain of sense of fire. Perhaps the pain of loss is a natural result of rejecting God. But how can the pain of sense be a natural result of rejecting God? It seems that the fire can only be imposed externally.


#34

Remember the person commit sins, through his or her senses ,the fire of God enters even their bones, they inhale fire and breath fire,which torments the internal organs too ,they are also different stages in hell, they are put there according to their degree or gravity of sins committed,different caravans or pits of torches.there are also souls.who are thrown body and soul, since the gravity of sins commit they don’t need the final general judgement.but others do.

http://www.divinemercysunday.com/vision.htm

Sister Faustina’s Vision of Hell

“I, Sister Faustina Kowalska, by the order of God, have visited the Abysses of Hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence…the devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God, What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: That most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.” (Diary 741)

The Apostle of Divine Mercy
St. Maria Faustina Kowalska
of the
Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy

"Today, I was led by an angel to the Chasms of Hell. It 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 constant 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.

Indescribable 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.

I would have died
There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.

No One Can Say There is No Hell
Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like…how terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O My Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, than offend you by the least sin." (Diary 741)


#36

I know it’s kind of silly that someone be punished eternally over their choices in a 85 year lifespan on average. Some get far less.


#37

" Today, I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It 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 conditional 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 constant 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. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, then offend You by the least sin. (Diary 741).


#38

The following passages are taken from the Diary of St. Faustina and they refer to her visions of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven. Very interesting.
"…I saw two roads. One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end without realizing it. And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell. The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them. And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them. Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness and all these souls entered there. At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings" (Diary 153).


#39

By virtue of our souls, created at our conception by God, we are immortal. We will live forever! The question is where will forever be for each person? HEAVEN OR HELL.

That’s why heaven and hell are forever. At the end of the world, whenever that is, all bodies are resurrected and joined with their soul which was either in heaven purgatory or hell. Purgatory ceases to exist then. All souls that were in purgatory at the time, go to heaven


#40

[quote=“misstherese, post:20, topic:457372, full:true”]
God is ruled by logic. He cannot step outside of the realm of logic that He created.[/quote]

Nothing about God obeys the laws of logic. He and his actions defy the rules of logic in many many ways. He is supposed to know the future, yet he cannot write down what he knows lest someone read it and take steps to make sure it can’t happen as he wrote. God didn’t create logic. Logic would exist even if God did not.


#41

[quote=“clarkgamble, post:40, topic:457372, full:true”]

That’s an illogical statement


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