Will Hell be EMPTY?


#1

Over in “Ask an Apologist,” Peggy Frye writes…


The teaching that the punishment of Hell lasts for all eternity is a dogma of the Catholic faith. Catholics must believe it by faith.

Excerpt from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott:

The punishment of Hell lasts for all eternity. (De fide.)

"The Caput Firmiter of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declares: “Those (the rejected) will receive a perpetual punishment with the devil.”

Further reading:

Hell

List of dogmas

God bless you!


I feel compelled to add, however, that I am not yet comfortable with rejecting the proposition of Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthazar that it is possible that Hell will be EMPTY at the end of time.

The logic of Cardinal von Balthazar’s opinion is this: Will the bloody sacrifice of the New Testament Adam, Christ, be less potent than the evil wrought by the sin of Adam?

To put it another way, Wouldn’t Christ be clever enough to effectively confront ALL of the manifestations of evil?

I do not yet ascribe to von Balthazar’s thesis, but I am still hestitant to reject it.

–BIBLEREADER


#2

[quote=BibleReader]I feel compelled to add, however, that I am not yet comfortable with rejecting the proposition of Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthazar that it is possible that Hell will be EMPTY at the end of time.

The logic of Cardinal von Balthazar’s opinion is this: Will the bloody sacrifice of the New Testament Adam, Christ, be less potent than the evil wrought by the sin of Adam?

To put it another way, Wouldn’t Christ be clever enough to effectively confront ALL of the manifestations of evil?

I do not yet ascribe to von Balthazar’s thesis, but I am still hestitant to reject it.

–BIBLEREADER
[/quote]

Here’s my issue with this idea. That requires that, basically, God is forcing people to come to Him. Forcing them to believe and accept. That, in effect, takes away from a man’s free will.


#3

[quote=tkdnick]Here’s my issue with this idea. That requires that, basically, God is forcing people to come to Him. Forcing them to believe and accept. That, in effect, takes away from a man’s free will.
[/quote]

Force or coercion is not necessary. It could be the case that everyone freely chooses God, at the end of time, thus resulting in an empty Hell.


#4

[quote=Ahimsa]Force or coercion is not necessary. It could be the case that everyone freely chooses God, at the end of time, thus resulting in an empty Hell.
[/quote]

wishful thinking. Seems to me that those that Jesus spoke about in His parable that said, “Lord I cast out demons in your name” and so forth, Jesus still told them “I do not know you” and sent them to Hell.


#5

Unless Jesus was making idle threats, joking, lying or had no idea what he was talking about, I seriously doubt Hell will be empty.


#6

Well hell is not empty because we know that the devil and his minions will end up there for sure. The Church does not name anyone who is in hell and so theoretically it is possible that all who would have gone there repented at death. But as someone already said, then it seems that God is forcing men to love him and further, God, I do not believe is a bluffer. Who is in hell? How in hell do I know. :).


#7

I appreciate that you bring this up in a respectful manner. Cardinal von Balthasar was one of the greatest intellects of the 20th century. I have seen him dismissed on these forums for the very statement that you cite.

First, let me say that theologians are allowed to speculate outside the bounds of Catholic dogma, as long as they don’t teach it as dogma. Without intellectual freedom, there would have been no Origen, no Augustine, no Thomas Aquinas, and no von Balthasar.

St. Augustine held some fairly radical views of the book of Genesis - indeed, some that would make even modern Christians cry heretic. But they are not heretical because we allow our intellectuals some slack in their speculation.

As to the validity of von Balthasar’s argument, I don’t know because I haven’t thought much about it. I do know that von Balthasar believed very much in the reality of the demonic in the world. He pointed out that the first signs of Christ were to expel demons, and this was a new aspect in salvation history. Previously, sin was present, but was mundane - murder, adultery, etc. But when the Messiah arrived, the Evil One Himself knew the significance, and squealed in anguish. He knew the confrontation had come.

Thus, if the intent of von Balthasar’s critics is to paint him as a creampuff liberal who didn’t believe in the reality of the domain of Satan - and that seems to be the implication when they sneer at von Balthasar - they are as factually wrong as they can be.

That’s my contribution. But mostly I again thank you for your spirit of decency in the way you brought this topic up. He was a good, Godly man.


#8

[quote=BibleReader]Over in “Ask an Apologist,” Peggy Frye writes…


The teaching that the punishment of Hell lasts for all eternity is a dogma of the Catholic faith. Catholics must believe it by faith.

Excerpt from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott:

The punishment of Hell lasts for all eternity. (De fide.)

"The Caput Firmiter of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) declares: “Those (the rejected) will receive a perpetual punishment with the devil.”

Further reading:

Hell

List of dogmas

God bless you!


I feel compelled to add, however, that I am not yet comfortable with rejecting the proposition of Cardinal Hans Urs von Balthazar that it is possible that Hell will be EMPTY at the end of time.

The logic of Cardinal von Balthazar’s opinion is this: Will the bloody sacrifice of the New Testament Adam, Christ, be less potent than the evil wrought by the sin of Adam?

To put it another way, Wouldn’t Christ be clever enough to effectively confront ALL of the manifestations of evil?

I do not yet ascribe to von Balthazar’s thesis, but I am still hestitant to reject it.

–BIBLEREADER
[/quote]

Jesus clearly told us that wide is the path that leads to destruction and MANY will take it.

David


#9

Read somewhere that at death God gives you the choice between him and Hell. I know this is pure speculation. But, its certainly nice to think of it like that, and if you truly want to reject God, then into hell you go. Also, i think for sure hell will not be empty. Too many people living in sin ( if you ignore what i said above :o ).

I feel so depressed that people go to hell, and that there is NO way out. I wish that there was some really hard way for them to get out. Everytime I start thinking about Hell, it pulls me back into saintly mode, maybe i should get a band to wear that says remember hell on it. :smiley:


#10

[quote=Magicsilence]Read somewhere that at death God gives you the choice between him and Hell.
[/quote]

That choice is true, but it must be made during life. Once you’re dead, it’s too late.

David


#11

[quote=Magicsilence]Read somewhere that at death God gives you the choice between him and Hell.
[/quote]

The choice is true, but it must be made during life. Once you’re dead it’s too late.

David


#12

I’m not familiar with Balthazar’s thesis, but is sounds like the *apokatastasis *(universal restoration) taught by Origen, and was condemned as error in AD 400 in Alexandrian Synod, and again in an AD 543. “The doctrine was formally condemned in the first of the famous anathemas pronounced at the Council of Constantinople in 543: Ei tis ten teratode apokatastasis presbeuei anathema esto [See, also, Justinian, Liber adversus Originem, anathemas 7 and 9.] The doctrine was thenceforth looked on as heterodox by the Church” (see CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Apocatastasis).


#13

For this theory to be true means that St. John’s Revelation of “the end” is false. The thesis requires and amendment to St. John’s revelation and another chapter that says, “after forever and ever is over with, everybody will be in heaven.”

Another problem I have with this thesis is Judas. He is said by Jesus to have been better off not being born. Yet, if he’s eventually destined to be in union with Almighty God after “forever and ever” is over with, then this statement is absurd.


#14

First, let me say that theologians are allowed to speculate outside the bounds of Catholic dogma, as long as they don’t teach it as dogma. Without intellectual freedom, there would have been no Origen, no Augustine, no Thomas Aquinas, and no von Balthasar.

They may be allowed to speculate outside the bounds of Catholic dogma, but they can never contradict Catholic dogma. Nobody has the freedom to profess a thesis contrary to that which was revealed of God and expect impunity.

The proper task of the theologian is to reflect upon revealed doctrine in order to increase our understanding of it, not to re-evaluate the veracity of revealed doctrine. Speculative theology is most certainly accepted and necessary for strengthening our faith and understanding of God’s will. However, what is allowed and is not allowed in speculative theology for Catholic theologians is described well by the Holy See, in this instruction to theologians, signed by Cardinal Ratzinger and approved by Pope John Paul II:

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Instruction on the ecclesial vocation of theologian:
vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19900524_theologian-vocation_en.html

"…the theologian must foster respect for [the People of God] and be committed to offering them a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith…Freedom of research, which the academic community rightly holds most precious, means an openness to accepting the truth that emerges at the end of an investigation in which no element has intruded that is foreign to the methodology corresponding to the object under study.

In theology this freedom of inquiry is the hallmark of a rational discipline whose object is given by Revelation, handed on and interpreted in the Church under the authority of the Magisterium, and received by faith. These givens have the force of principles. To eliminate them would mean to cease doing theology…

The pastoral task of the Magisterium is one of vigilance. It seeks to ensure that the People of God remain in the truth which sets free. It is therefore a complex and diversified reality. The theologian, to be faithful to his role of service to the truth, must take into account the proper mission of the Magisterium and collaborate with it.

the theologian is officially charged with the task of presenting and illustrating the doctrine of the faith in its integrity and with full accuracy.


#15

Well then if this thread is to drag Cardinal von Balthasar through the mud, do you all think it would be fair to Cardinal von Balthasar, who was appointed by Pope John Paul the Great, for one of his persecutors here to post the exact language of his heretical thesis, and to argue precisely in what sense he committed heresy?

By the way, since you’re smearing Cardinal von Balthasar and his patron John Paul the Great, be sure to include Ignatius Press in your smear because they publish von Balthasar’s collected works in their entirety.

I’m certainly willing to be convinced the man is a flagrant heretic. But so far I am merely appalled at how this man is being tried, judged, and sentenced without formal charges here.

Sad.


#16

adnauseum,

My, aren’t you easily agitated. :rolleyes:

If you could take a deep breath and re-read what I wrote, you’d see that I didn’t call Balthazar a heretic. I explicitly said I had no knowledge of his particular thesis, then went on to explain what was condemned as error, NOT BY ME, but by the Catholic Church was apokatastasis. If Balthazar’s thesis is apokatastasis, it was already condemned by the Catholic Church, NOT BY ME.


#17

[quote=DavidB]Jesus clearly told us that wide is the path that leads to destruction and MANY will take it.

David
[/quote]

Many will take the path. The wording almost seems to deliberately stop short of saying many will follow the path to the end.

Many take the path and turn back.


#18

[quote=DavidB]The choice is true, but it must be made during life. Once you’re dead it’s too late.

David
[/quote]

Do we know this absolutely?

We DO know that Jesus preached to the souls in hades after His crucifiction. I know most people think that that was a special event that is not open to us anymore, but I’m not so sure…

Just speculating…


#19

[quote=wcknight]Unless Jesus was making idle threats, joking, lying or had no idea what he was talking about, I seriously doubt Hell will be empty.
[/quote]

I do not know if hell is empty, but according to the Scriptures is probably full and in progress.

Some bullets: Theologians, specially the liberal and modernists ones, love delirium. There is a thread on the Apokatastasis “How is Origen a heretic?” Luke 18:8: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”. The answer, of course, is: No, He will not. It is really hard to believe, and it is clearly against the common sense, that those hard hearted sinners repent the last second of their lives. They die as they live, resisting God. It is also unreasonable to considerer that someone who does not desire God can be saved. Nobody is saved against its own will.


#20

The end of Matthew 25 makes it pretty clear that Hell will not be empty.

Matthew 25:31-46
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Lord Jesus, have mercy on all of us.

Eric


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