Why is Hell Eternal?

The greatest torment of Hell is to be deprived of God. It is not possible for us to be happy without Him, because being with Him in heaven is what He made us for.

To say you can commit a mortal sin without meaning to reject God is like saying you can punch your mother in the face and call her a whore and then say, “I didn’t mean anything by it!”

Why shouldn’t hell be forever? Heaven is.

Victorious, I can understand Heaven being eternal, but that isn’t a horrible punishment. And if someone commits a sin that they have heard is mortal but can’t understand why it is considered a sin, or they don’t really mean it towards God, but another person, then how can they be directing it towards God?

Another thing about sin: Satan was in Heaven and tried to overcome God so he could control Heaven. Here on Earth, many people sin because they don’t even believe God exists. We can’t even see God or the devil or directly see how our actions will affect us in eternity. So I don’t understand why our actions on earth will warrant eternal punishment.

I’ve been reading the Diary of St. Faustina. In it she writes how she experienced within her soul the feeling of being rejected from God, and how horribly painful it was. It was strictly a spiritual pain, though, of course. I think she hinted or maybe said outright that hell must be something like that, but for eternity. Of course after everyone is reunited with their physical bodies, the pains of hell will be physical, too.

But I think the worst pain would be the feeling of being separated by God. An object is made to act according to its nature. As humans, we are made to be in communion with God. That’s why heaven is eternal happiness and bliss, while hell is eternal pain and suffering.

The thing is, God never sends anyone to hell; they send themselves by rejecting Him. He gives us every grace to come to the truth and to have a relationship with Him.

Why someone would reject God, I have no idea. But the sad thing is that I think I can think of some people who, if standing before the judgment seat, would still reject Him. Even the love of God can’t penetrate the hearts of some people if they don’t allow it to. It’s really a sad thing, but what else is to be done?

Why can’t there be a third option besides Heaven and Hell? Maybe just the Satanists and all around evil people could go to Hell, those who didn’t die in mortal sin can go to Heaven, and those who led good lives here on Earth and were kind to other people but still died in mortal sin could live immortally here on Earth in its present state. This way, everyone gets exactly what they choose. Those who wanted hell could go there, those who chose God over themselves could go to Heaven, and those who served others but not God could be with other people on Earth. Has God revealed why he did not make the third option possible or even mentioned something similar to it?

Yeah, God says he desires it, and I’m sure the people in Hell will want out at the moment they arrive there. I just hope I will be saved and that everyone I know (whether they are atheist, agnostic, Catholic, or whatever they are) will be saved. I just can’t take the thought of never seeing some of my friends and family again. It is just scary that it is a possibility…

People do get exactly what they choose. Those who choose God go to heaven, while those who choose themselves choose hell. There is no other choice.

Those who serve others but not God, if they are ignorant of the truth, are in their hearts still serving God, following the moral law. I don’t know about those who serve others and consciously reject God.

The thing is, how can you question the justice and mercy of God, who is infinitely more knowledgeable and powerful than us? How can you suggest to God what you think to be a better way? It’s like a little ant trying to figure out the motives of a human. How can we know or understand the ways of God? All we can do is trust that He is infinitely just and merciful, and loves us infinitely, even those who reject Him over and over and over again.

But what you can be sure of is that everyone gets exactly what they choose, after death. For those who put God before all other things, they will be with Him in heaven. For those who put the things of this world above God, they will not be with Him in heaven.

The severity of the punishment of Hell is the main part that bothers me. It is so horrible and permanent that no one can describe it.

I think of it as this: Your family and friends are moving to a beautiful tropical Island (Heaven). On the way to the Island, you look lustfully at someone. Suddenly, the car yopu are riding in is stopped and your parents throw you down an empty mine shaft (Hell). You are now alone and in complete darkness. Suddenly, you are doused with gasoline and are engulfed in flames. You will never escape the isolation and pain of the mine shaft. You say you wish you could take your actions back, but it is too late.

I probably shouldn’t be asking these questions. This has just been weighing on my mind lately and I don’t understand it.

Thomas Aquinus said by sinning 'one offends God Who is infinite. Wherefore since punishment cannot be infinite in intensity, because the creature is incapable of an infinite quality, it must needs be infinite at least in duration. Quoted by John W Wenham, The goodness of God, IVP, 1974, p31 see also Summa Theologia, Part 3. So then if a finite creature sins against an infinite God, then the punishment is be finite pain for an infinite time. The issue of justice is settled.

Are there any saints who, after receiving visions, have described in detail God’s judgement after death on individual souls?

Certain saints have seen souls falling into hell but I am not aware of any that described the actual judgement. This would be consistent with Church teaching since the first judgement is a private one between God and the soul being judged.

Which saints? I would like to learn more about what happens when a person dies.

Nothing about God’s judgment of a soul, but about hell itself:

From [The Life of St. Teresa of Avila, Chapter XXXII](http://www.catholicfirst.com/thefaith/catholicclassics/stteresa/life/teresaofavila8.cfm#CHAPTER XXXII):

A long time after the Lord had granted me many of the favours which I have described, together with other very great ones, I was at prayer one day when suddenly, without knowing how, I found myself, as I thought, plunged right into hell. I realized that it was the Lord’s will that I should see the place which the devils had prepared for me there and which I had merited for my sins. This happened in the briefest space of time, but, even if I were to live for many years, I believe it would be impossible for me to forget it. The entrance, I thought, resembled a very long, narrow passage, like a furnace, very low, dark and closely confined; the ground seemed to be full of water which looked like filthy, evil-smelling mud, and in it were many wicked-looking reptiles. At the end there was a hollow place scooped out of a wall, like a cupboard, and it was here that I found myself in close confinement. But the sight of all this was pleasant by comparison with what I felt there. What I have said is in no way an exaggeration.

My feelings, I think, could not possibly be exaggerated, nor can anyone understand them. I felt a fire within my soul the nature of which I am utterly incapable of describing. My bodily sufferings were so intolerable that, though in my life I have endured the severest sufferings of this kind – the worst it is possible to endure, the doctors say, such as the shrinking of the nerves during my paralysis[18] and many and divers more, some of them, as I have said, caused by the devil – none of them is of the smallest account by comparison with what I felt then, to say nothing of the knowledge that they would be endless and never-ceasing. And even these are nothing by comparison with the agony of my soul, an oppression, a suffocation and an affliction so deeply felt, and accompanied by such hopeless and distressing misery, that I cannot too forcibly describe it. To say that it is as if the soul were continually being torn from the body is very little, for that would mean that one’s life was being taken by another; whereas in this case it is the soul itself that is tearing itself to pieces. The fact is that I cannot find words to describe that interior fire and that despair, which is greater than the most grievous tortures and pains. I could not see who was the cause of them, but I felt, I think, as if I were being both burned and dismembered; and I repeat that that interior fire and despair are the worst things of all.

In that pestilential spot, where I was quite powerless to hope for comfort, it was impossible to sit or lie, for there was no room to do so. I had been put in this place which looked like a hole in the wall, and those very walls, so terrible to the sight, bore down upon me and completely stifled me. There was no light and everything was in the blackest darkness. I do not understand how this can be, but, although there was no light, it was possible to see everything the sight of which can cause affliction. At that time it was not the Lord’s will that I should see more of hell itself, but I have since seen another vision of frightful things, which are the punishment of certain vices. To look at, they seemed to me much more dreadful; but, as I felt no pain, they caused me less fear. In the earlier vision the Lord was pleased that I should really feel those torments and that affliction of spirit, just as if my body had been suffering them. I do not know how it was, but I realized quite clearly that it was a great favour and that it was the Lord’s will that I should see with my own eyes the place from which His mercy had delivered me. It is nothing to read a description of it, or to think of different kinds of torture (as I have sometimes done, though rarely, as my soul made little progress by the road of fear): of how the devils tear the flesh with their pincers or of the various other tortures that I have read about – none of these are anything by comparison with this affliction, which is quite another matter. In fact, it is like a picture set against reality, and any burning on earth is a small matter compared with that fire.

From Divine Mercy in my soul. The Diary of Sister Faustina Kowalska, Notebook I, Page 2:

One day, 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.

because the soul is. Those in hell will never love God.

Ally of Christ,

What you have to understand is that it’s not just a sin you haphazardly commit, that sends to directly to hell. When you commit a sin, it must be grave matter, you must know it is a grave sin, and you must commit it with an act of your will (i.e., it can’t happen accidentally). So if you know something is a grave sin, and that such a sin cuts your soul off from the sanctifying grace of God, and that if you would die at that very moment, you would go to hell, why would you commit it?

Venial sin offends God too, but it does not cut off your relationship with God, but only injures it, which of course isn’t desirable either.

If you are having trouble with grave sin, go to the sacrament of penance frequently, and God will give you the grace to overcome it.

I think the most important thing to do in relation to this, is to guard your every thought, word, and action. Let no thought be thought, word be said, or action be done, that you do not deliberately intend. In that way can you guard yourself against grave sin.

The answer is there is no anwser. What God does with each individual soul that comes before Him is up to Him and Him alone. WE can only speculate.Remember alone God knows the soul.,the heart,how and why of people.I’m sure Gehenna exists but where it is and how it operates and who goes there is in the hands of God.The albsolute distance from God must be hell indeed.
Dwelling on hell and sin is not a really healthy thing. That you consider it at all shows that you have a well formed conscience.If you didn’t think about sin-then I would be worried.First step with a closer relationship with Jesus is your acknowledgement of your own sinful nature.You’ve gone through this-time to move to the next step.Reconciliation and the knowledge that God loves you totally ,without boundaries and is with you always.That you are loved and you are loving.As HE loves you so you love Him and all His creatures.Rest in Him .Rely on Him. Completely surrender to Him.Youdon’t have to be a saint to be loved by God - or even a great person.Jacob springs to mind.God loved him even in his sneakiness and worked on Jacob giving him trails and tribulations which evenyually made him a better man-that is why Jacob became Israel. God was training him to become a nation.Good Luck and Bless you on your journey.

But if you don’t ask, then who will?
Your story about the mine shaft is a scary one.
I have had thoughts similar to yours, but usually it is a loved one in the mine shaft
I don’t want to leave behind. Yet Jesus says one who loves their family more than
Me is not worthy of Me.
What happens then is I wake up and it’s a new day. God has decided that I should
wake up and live this day. He has something important for me to do today, and if
I don’t pay attention, I will miss it.
We can’t let ourselves be overcome by fear, because it won’t help anything. What God has planned for us to do today, will help.
Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are running away from something
scary, but your legs are like lead weights and your voice is a whisper? I used to,
years ago. But one time, I made myself not look back. Even though I went as slow
as a snail, I kept going. When I didn’t hear anything, I looked back, and it was
far, far behind. After that, I never had that dream again.

The reason I bring this up is that there is something you know to do. There is
something you know is right. Even though you know it is not enough to save you,
if you know it is right, do that thing. Keep on doing it.

And above all, rely on God’s mercy more than on your own powers. Pray the Rosary every day, meditating on the mysteries.

Well, I’d qualify that. Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven are the Four Last Things that the Church proffers for our consideration, meditation on which should spur us to do all we can, with the help of God’s grace, to avoid the third item and win through to the last.

The saints (e.g., St. Alphonsus Liguori) tell us that we need to spend our whole lives preparing for a good death, since we are bound to die the way we lived. It’s a bad idea to do as we please in the expectation of being able to repent on our deathbeds. St. Alphonsus compares this to facing a court trial upon which your whole life depends, and waiting until the night before to prepare. It is necessary to choose NOW to spend eternity with God, and to act accordingly.

I highly recommend two of Alphonsus’ works: Preparation for Death (which I believe is now being published under the title Attaining Salvation) and “The Power and Necessity of Prayer.” Here is an excerpt that pretty much sums up the latter item (the text of which is online):

He who prays is certainly saved. He who prays not is certainly damned. All the blessed (except infants) have been saved by prayer. All the damned have been lost through not praying; if they had prayed, they would not have been lost. And this is, and will be, their greatest torment in hell, to think how easily they might have been saved, only by asking God for His grace; but that now it is too late, – the time of prayer is over.

=Ally of Christ;5522154]I don’t understand why hell is eternal. I know God is good and just, so I am not trying to question Him, but I don’t understand why people are punished eternally for actions committed here on Earth since the actions don’t last for eternity. Also, if a person has lived a good life, but dies in a single mortal sin, why would he go to hell since he wasn’t completely evil? Would it be possible that God would still allow the person to come to Heaven after a long stay in Purgatory?

***One can see that you have given the matter considerable thought. Good for you.

You have actually answered you’re own question by recogonizing that “God is all and only all good perfectly.” That necitates that God be both fair and just perfectly.

Because God is all good, God MUST offer every person sufficient grace to know Him, be in a personal relationship with Him and be given the opportunity to choose Salvation.

That last part is key. It is me and you, NOT GOD who decide to sin, so it is me and you and NOT God who determines eternal Hell or eternal Heaven [perhaps after time in purgatory?] It is NOT God who condems us, it is our persoanl choices. God as JUDGE only affirms what we ourselves have decided for ourselves./*I]

***God’s self-like gifts of Mind, intellect and freewill are all that are necessary for us to make proper decissions. But in Divine Mercy Christ founded His Church to guide, lead, teach, protect and correct us. Christ also instituted the Seven Sacraments to pour additional unwarranted graces upon us.

Five of the Seven Sacraments have signifiant roles in our possible Salvation.

Baptism***: removes all sin and effects of sins and grants us entry into the community of believers.

Confirmation: Confers massive amounts of grace to enable us to a level of Christian mautrity and understanding not otherwise available to us.

Confession /Reconcillation: The Sacramnet of KNOWN forgiveness. More than just necessary [1 John 5:16-18, John 20:21-23, Mt.16:19 and Mt. 19:16] for the forgiveness of our sins, it is a CERTITUDE that God has forgiven us, granting us evential access to heaven.

The Eucharist: The Gift of the Living Jesus, the greatest source of grace needed to not sin, to obey the Commandments, to Love God, Love neighbor, to be chairatable, and only in His Catholic Church.

The Last Rites: ***if correctly administered and receoved the effects are like a second Baptism! All sin, all effects if sin are errased forever! Pray for a happy death!

I list these as evidence that God is Good, is Merciful and Just. God affords many opportunities for us to say “yes to God” and NO to Satan! So many opportunities that it would offend Gods Divine Justice and Fairness, NOT TO ALLOW US TO DESIDE FOR OURSELVES where we will spend Eternity***:thumbsup:

***Everyone needs to know about MORTAL SIN 1Jn. 5: 16-18.] The term “Mortal” means “unto death.” They are way’s of saying NO TO GOD that are so gross, so offending, so signifiant and meaninful that they actuallu sever ones personal relationship with Christ. Only a valid Confession, Baptism or the Last Rites have the power to restore one to relationship with Christ again. “Repent and Convert.” Be truly sorry anf committed to not sinning this way again with the grwace and help of God!

To further show Gods justice and fairness He [through His Church] make commiting a MORTAL sin conditional on three points. ALL THREE must always be present for the act to be “a Mortal Sin.”

  1. Serious matter: Examples;*** murder, abortion, sex outside marriage, contraceptive sex,

***2. One must know that it is a MORTAL SIN before doing the act.

  1. One must knowing its a Mortal sin and understanding the consequences desire to do the act anyway. NOTE: Desire to do it, is the same as doing it!

Clearly God provides a mutitude of opportunity for every human being. Denial of God, His Commandments, His Sacraments and His graces do not excuse one from their personal judgement.***

Hope this is of some help to you:thumbsup:

Love and prayers**

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