Worse than hell?

In another thread BlainTog said this:

Could anyone please expound on what could be worse than being tortured for an eternity? Without even the hope of merciful oblivion? I am really curious…

There is nothing “worse than Hell”, the person who spoke either mistyped or was trying to emphasize how bad hell was. It shouldn’t be taken as an actual description.

I think that in Hell, even the worst of sinners are punished mercifully, less than they deserve. If Hell were merely of justice, and not also of mercy, then its sufferings would be greater still.

I don’t believe there is any mercy in Hell. Satan is not capable of mercy. Mercy comes only from God and God does not intervene in Hell.

I think there is a misconception here. Satan will be punished in hell and not be in charge of it.


Hell is the complete and eternal separation of one from God. Since God is the source of everything that is good and since damnation removes one from God, there can be nothing worse. The comment made in that other thread appears to be an attempt to emphasize the magnitude of how offensive we have rendered ourselves before God, the mere mention of Hell having lost its shock value through endless repetition.

In addition, I am discerning an odd sort of ethic in this room which pits God’s mercy against His justice. The idea seems to be that one cannot be fully satisfied in the presence of the other. For those who insist that those who have suffered damnation are punished in a manner less befitting than what they deserve, I would remind such people that the damned have freely rejected any form of God’s mercy and so receive none.

Satan has a certain dominion over humans in this world but you contend that he has no dominion over them once they die and go to hell?

Actually, St. Thomas disagrees with this: newadvent.org/summa/5089.htm#4.

He’s not infallible, but he is a very powerful source.

Note that this particular question was compiled by his associates from his work after his death, so it may be less weighty. Nevertheless, it still more than likely reflects Thomas’ thoughts very accurately.

Sin is worse than Hell, for if there were no sin, there would be no Hell.

Hell is a good thing, because it is the just punishment for the evil of unrepented sin - & unrepented sin is even worse than sin committed; for not all sin committed stays unrepented. What’s wrong with punitive justice ? It may not be pleasant to undergo - that does not make it anything less than the righteous action of a Righteous God.

The damned deserve infinite punishment, but their punishment is finite because they are finite, so they cannot be punished as heavily as they deserve. So Hell is a mercy to them. It is a mercy to the rest of creation as well, because it acts as a tourniquet. Besides, no creature could be as merciful as God, let alone more merciful. The damned receive nothing they do not deserve.

As for eternity - eternity has no duration, so the word “everlasting” is inapplicable. “Hope of” something implies being in the present & looking to the future: so it is also inapplicable.

I find it helpful to think of one in Hell - oneself, for instance; hell is in oneself first - as like someone in a photograph. The people in a photograph are caught in it, for as long as the photo exists - but the people themselves change. A child who is photographed can grow & mature & die many years later - but in the photo she remains as she was. IMVHO - for this is only a guess - the damned is like someone in a photo: death is like the shutter of the camera that captures the photo; it “freezes” the damned in the sinfulness they died in. And that, for them, is eternity. That is only my guess, & there are several other pictures: such as that of Hell as a rubbish-heap.

That said, I don’t believe it is possible to make any real sense of hell or of damnation unless one sees them in their true context: Heaven, & the God Whose Presence make Heaven Heavenly.

I easily could be incorrect, since I am a fairly recent convert. Although I finished RCIA about three years ago, RCIA is really only basic things and there is a lot that I do not know. And much of my thinking is still influenced by my Protestant upbringing.

Thank you for the link to St. Thomas Aquinas.

[quote=St. Thomas Aquinas]I answer that, The Master in the text of Sentent. iv, D, 47 mentions two opinions on this question, both of which seem consistent with Divine justice, because it is just for man to be subjected to the devil for having sinned, and yet it is unjust for the demon to be over him. Accordingly the opinion which holds that after the judgment day the demons will not be placed over men to punish them, regards the order of Divine justice on the part of the demons punishing; while the contrary opinion regards the order of Divine justice on the part of the men punished.

Which of these opinions is nearer the truth we cannot know for certain. …

And following this are his own opinions where he leans one way but it seems plain that he is uncertain.

If we are fortunate, may we be uncertain as well in eternity and not find out the answer. In heaven, I do hope we will not want to think about hell because there will be much better things to contemplate.

However, my own opinion (largely formed before thinking more Catholic) is that since the demons rebelled before man, God created hell for their punishment before he created man. And yet God knew all of what would happen from before the beginning of time. I suppose that those who receive sentence of punishment in hell will be punished in hell. And yet it is obvious that angels and all those deserving eternal bliss in heaven will be in heaven and not sent to hell.

Man is now capable of making artificially intelligent computers and computers that can control robots or machinery. Such machinery in itself is not capable sinning or making moral decisions using a conscience. God is quite capable of making much better things than man can imagine. Perhaps both men and demons in hell will be tormented by merely physical or spiritual phenomenon. Or minimally created devices of some intelligence which are in themselves incapable of knowing God or feeling any punishment in hell. Some of which is temperature, molten brimstone. Some of which might be automated voices reminding the damned of their sentences and of the justice that they deserve.

I suppose that men and demons may be eternally tormented without requiring any one them to be in any contact with another. In our western human jails, the worst offenders have solitary confinement. I do suppose that in hell solitary confinement is the norm. That no demon will gain any contentment or pleasure from being able to do anything to another demon or man. And same with the damned humans.

I also suppose that St. Thomas Aquinas’s leaning towards one opinion may be because he was more familiar with man than with demons. Or that in being a man he was more influenced by fear of punishment of humans than by fear of the punishment of demons.

Perhaps one of the greatest punishments in hell (a result of being in solitary confinement) is that the damned entity knows they will never again be heard by anyone. Nobody will listen. Nobody will console or even pretend for a moment to understand.

This much I am quite sure. Hell is a place where not one comfort in the prayer of St. Francis can be found.

Hell is:
where there is no peace;
where there is hatred and no love;
where there is injury and no pardon;
where there is doubt and no faith;
where there is despair and no hope;
where there is darkness and no light;
where there is sadness and no joy.

Hell is:
where there is no consolation and no place to even seek it;
where there is no one to listen and understand;
where there is no love and no one available to love;
where there is no one to give anything to;
where there is no one to receive anything from;
where there is no death available to take the damned away
and no birth possible of something new.


Gottle of Gear, up to this following point I think I agree with what you wrote.

And in the above, I think there is much truth in what you wrote. The concept of time does not exist apart from the ability of things to change. Every clock that man has invented measures quantity of change in something that is thought to change in a consistent way. Whether it is a pendulum that swings back and forth (changing states) or drops of water or particles of sand to fill an hourglass. Whether it is wavelengths of light, laser, or radioactive decay. All of the measuring devices observe some change. When death comes, we are incapable of changing anything more about our lives. It is the fixer. The shutter door has closed.

In the absence of time – there is no more changing. Perhaps I really don’t disagree. Maybe I’m just telling you the same thing that you already think.

Once while I was in college years ago, I sat at a table with some other Christians (at that time I thought I was “born again” and was in Campus Crusade for Christ Bible studies). And the topic of hell came up.

I supposed to others at the table that the punishments in hell such as the fire and brimstone were perhaps merciful. Because the physical torments are like an anesthesia for the mind and the soul. They distract from the real terror of hell – in being eternally apart from God and in being eternally apart from love and all the eternal spiritual punishment that results from sin.

After talking awhile like that, I noticed that some at the table had turned a bit pale and walked away. Apparently, they weren’t Christians [yet].


I would contend that there is no enjoyment of any kind in hell – for anyone being punished therein. There is no reward for any work done there. There is no incentive available to anyone. There is nothing to do to reduce punishment or to receive a reward.

As one leaves this world (dies) they take nothing with them. If a damned king in this world dies, they are no longer a king. When a damned judge in this world dies, they are judged but they are no longer a judge. So when Satan and demons and all that die the “second death” they cannot take anything with them. The damned possess nothing of any good value. They get no comfort from whatever they acquired. They are worthless. They don’t even get to play games for cigarettes. Even a Nazi concentration camp had perhaps a few situations of some comfort or pastime, but hell does not. Just imagine no music, no poetry, not even any ability to imagine anything almost pleasant. No Springtime and no flowers. No Autumn and no leaves. No Winter and no snow. Not even “Big Brother” slop to eat and no drop to drink. Nothing at all to laugh about and no ability to laugh.

That is what I suppose. But I consider that am still quite ignorant of many things.


Based upon the visions of St. Don Bosco (which ARE approved by the Catholic Church as worthy of belief) …

… I looked up in terror and saw in the distance someone racing down the path at an uncontrollable speed. I kept my eyes on him, trying to identify him, and as he got closer, I recognized him as one of my boys. His disheveled hair was partly standing upright on his head and partly tossed back by the wind. His arms were outstretched as though he were thrashing the water in an attempt to stay afloat. He wanted to stop, but could not. Tripping on the protruding stones, he kept falling even faster. “Let’s help him, let’s stop him,” I shouted, holding out my hands in a vain effort to restrain him.

“Leave him alone,” the guide replied.


“Don’t you know how terrible God’s vengeance is? Do you think you can restrain one who is fleeing from His just wrath?”

Meanwhile the youth had turned his fiery gaze backward in an attempt to see if God’s wrath were still pursuing him. The next moment he fell tumbling to the bottom of the ravine and crashed against the bronze portal as though he could find no better refuge in his flight.

“Why was he looking backward in terror?” I asked.

“Because God’s wrath will pierce Hell’s gates to reach and torment him even in the midst of fire!”
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… It would appear that God’s wrath is worse than hell itself.

You mean the wrath of the “loving” God? The wrath of the “merciful” God? Who hates the sin, but “loves” the sinner? Something does not jive here…

God is not a man. God is God. And God is Love - therefore, there is a Hell for impenitent sinners. To sin, is to choose a lie; it is a lie. If sinners want the lie of sin, they cannot be forced to love the truth: & if God did that to them, it would destroy them. God is not cruel - the cruelty is with those who would have people believe that God forces, compels, coerces the impenitent to love Him.

God is Love - people who deny Hell want a God Who is amoral, a God Who does not make any distinction between good & evil.

My friend, I started a thread some while ago and asked if simply “not to love God” is a sin, and if it is a sin, then is it a venial or mortal one. The unanimous “vote” was that it is mortal sin - which deserves eternal damnation.

After all God “wants” to be loved, and commanded us to love him, and therefore disobeying this command is to disobey God, therefore it is a sin.

The funny thing was that the posters refused to understand that such a command is a coercion, and therfore the love offered to God (if any) is not given freely. Naturally, this is not the first or the last time when the apologists refuse to accept that their assertions are self-contradictory.

Moreover, they asserted (in other threads) that one can never be sure if any particular person will end up in hell or not. Then they cheeerfully assert that having an unrepented mortal sin will assure your place in a warm and fuzzy hell, where there is fire and brimstone and where there is eternal torture but not by fire and brimstone, where there is separtion from God, the very same God who is omnipresent - and therefore present in hell, too.

And when I asked if it would be more merciful to simply obliterate the sinners, the apologists said that God is not able to do that, after all he is “only” omnipotent and to render the souls nonexistent is a too large a task for him.

And then the same apologists are surprised if they are dismissed as spouting nonsense.

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