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  #1  
Old 1st July 2007, 11:53 AM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Default TS 8a: Hell

[Matthew]
{25:41} Then he shall also say, to those who will be on his left: ‘Depart from me, you accursed ones, into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels.'

Heaven was prepared for us by Christ and is fitting for us. Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. Those who go to Hell are in a strange place, not fit for human persons.

Hell is beyond ordinary place and time. However, it is not Eternity. To dwell in Eternity, one must dwell with God, who is Eternity. Nothing is truly and completely eternal except God, who alone has always existed.

Hell is not the timelessness of Heaven. It has its own kind of time, in which its residents are trapped forever. Hell is eternal in the sense of neverending, but not eternal in the sense of timelessness. This is one of the sufferings of Hell. So, when they suffer, because it is within time, their sufferings are even changing. It is not a constant suffering of one kind and intensity, but a suffering of going from one punishment to another.

Many persons imagine that Satan runs Hell, or that he is in charge of torturing its residents. Not so. If Hell is compared to a prison without bars, then Satan and his angels are fellow prisoners, not the guards or warden.

It is one of the sufferings of Hell to have devils as fellow inmates. Seeing them and knowing the horrors of their complete sinfulness is a neverending suffering for the human beings there. However, the devils do not directly torture the residents of Hell; instead, they are powerless. It would give the devils some perverse enjoyment to torture fellow residents of Hell; but this is denied them.

Many persons imagine that Hell is filled with the most extreme tortures for everyone there. Artistic depictions of Hell often portray this feature, along with a great chaos. But this is not true.

Hell is an act, not only of the Justice of God, but of His eternal Mercy. Everyone in Hell is punished according to the nature and extent of their unrepentant sins. This is justice. But everyone in Hell is also punished less than their sins deserve. This is Mercy. God is merciful even to the persons in Hell.

Many persons in Hell may well also have some sins from which they repented in life, but for which they did not complete the temporal punishment due. They cannot go to Purgatory to atone for this punishment. So they suffer in Hell for the temporal punishment due. But then the punishment for those repented sins ends. So their suffering decreases at that point in time.

Many persons in Hell may well have done some truly good acts in their lives. They shall not lose their reward for such acts. Lets compare two souls in Hell. Both committed murder and did not repent. But the first did much good in his life before he fell into that sin; the second did not. So the first will suffer less, in that he will have a neverending consolation in the good that he did, along side his neverending punishment. The sufferings of the first are less in that they are tempered by this consolation; whereas the sufferings of the second are not. Nevertheless, as concerns the punishment itself, both are punished equally for the same kind and extent of sin.

No one in Hell sins there. Like the souls in Purgatory, and in Heaven, they are prevented from sinning, lest they offend God and his faithful forever. Hell is God's place, and although He is not present to its residents in the sense of the Beatific Vision of God, He is nevertheless present everywhere as concerns His power and knowledge. God runs Hell, not the devils. So it is a place of order, justice, and mercy. And God prevents them all from sinning.

All the souls and angels in Hell are tortured by truth. They do not continue in the lies of their lives. God reveals the truth to them about their sins. They fully realize and cannot deny, even to themselves, that they are guilty and are punished justly and mercifully. This is one of the sufferings of Hell.

In Heaven, each resident of Heaven gives the other residents a unique kind of joy forever. But in Hell, each resident is a unique source of bitterness forever:
[Luke]
{16:27} And he said: ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers,
{16:28} so that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torments.’

This man in Hell wanted his brothers to avoid Hell because they would affect his suffering there, not so much increasing it, but changing its quality. The kind and degree of suffering in Hell is related to the kind and degree of unrepentant sins. But the quality of the suffering is affected by the kind and degree of the sins of the other residents, just as in Heaven, each residents virture and good deeds are a source of sweetness to the residents there.


Ron
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  #2  
Old 1st July 2007, 01:31 PM
DiAZ216
 
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Ron,

Is it correct to say that the only people that go to Hell are those who choose it, those that reject God?

Also, Ive never read Dante's Inferno (but it's on my "to read" list). Have you read it? And is it a good portrayal of Hell?

Darrell
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Old 1st July 2007, 02:00 PM
Joey Joey is offline
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I must say that I have never read a description of Hell quite like yours, Ron. What would you say to the visions that paricular saints and blesseds have had that seem to describe torments that are,well, sort of 'physical'? I have in mind the descriptions of Josefa Menedez and the children of Fatima. Didn't Anne Catherine Emerich see Hell also? Your description does sound so just and merciful. Is this your theological opinion or is it based on Scripture and/or Tradition?
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Old 1st July 2007, 02:52 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiAZ216 View Post
Also, Ive never read Dante's Inferno (but it's on my "to read" list). Have you read it? And is it a good portrayal of Hell?

Darrell

Dante's inferno is not a good description of Hell, because it's described according to medieval beliefs. For example Dante describes a Limbo of children just before hell, but we know that such limbo cannot contain infants, this limbo does also contain "virtous pagans", those who refused Christ.
His hell is also guarded by various mythological figures, such as the Minotaur and Cerberus, this ideas have nothing to do with faith for, as Ron's explained, in Hell both devils and men are punished.
Although the idea of having different levels of torture for each sin has merit, I don't think traitors are immersed in ice up to their heads.
Dante's Hell is just a play.
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Old 1st July 2007, 02:57 PM
Rob Rob is offline
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Ron,

In some visions of Hell, the visionaries describe those who dwell in hell as continuously cursing God, so from what you said I assume people are unable to curse there. Correct?
Is there some form of freedom in Hell? For example people in heaven can certainly speak to each other and share in their joy, but can people in hell speak to each other?
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Old 1st July 2007, 03:20 PM
Padraig
 
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I know it sounds strange but I always thought hell is at the centre of the world, in the great ocean of magma down there. The description of the kids at Fatima seems to bear this out. i know this sounds simplistic, but there you are.

"She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear."


Last edited by Padraig : 1st July 2007 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 1st July 2007, 06:57 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiAZ216 View Post
Ron,

Is it correct to say that the only people that go to Hell are those who choose it, those that reject God?

Also, Ive never read Dante's Inferno (but it's on my "to read" list). Have you read it? And is it a good portrayal of Hell?

Darrell

Dante's Inferno makes certain points about society by a fictional description of Hell. It is not theologically sound.

People in Hell choose Hell in the sense that they freely chose to sin seriously and to refuse to repent. However, it is a common and fairly serious error to claim that one literally has to directly choose Hell to be sent there.

Some persons who think themselves holy and think themselves close to God go straight to Hell forever after they are judged by God because they are like the Pharisees, without true love of God in their hearts.

Ron
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Old 1st July 2007, 07:05 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Originally Posted by Joey View Post
I must say that I have never read a description of Hell quite like yours, Ron. What would you say to the visions that paricular saints and blesseds have had that seem to describe torments that are,well, sort of 'physical'? I have in mind the descriptions of Josefa Menedez and the children of Fatima. Didn't Anne Catherine Emerich see Hell also? Your description does sound so just and merciful. Is this your theological opinion or is it based on Scripture and/or Tradition?

It is my theological opinion based on Scripture and Tradition.

Before the general Resurrection, the sufferings of Hell are of the soul, because only the soul is present in Hell. At the general Resurrection, even the unrepentant sinners of Hell are resurrected and given horrible bodies befitting of their sins. Then God makes a new Hell, in place of the old Hell, one with torments for body and soul.

Hell does contain literal fire, and even the devils are harmed by this fire. Just as the devils could affect the physical world with their spiritual powers on earth, so also, in Hell, the physical torments can affect their spiritual nature.

The only two persons who are in the first Heaven in body and soul are Jesus and Mary. The first Heaven is for the souls of the Just. Then, after the general Resurrection, the resurrected just are assumed into a new Heaven, one fit for body and soul.

In the first Hell, the only two persons present in body and soul will be the Antichrist and the false prophetess. The first Hell is for the souls of the unjust. Then, after the general Resurrection, the resurrected unjust are thrown down into a new Hell, one fit for body and soul.

Some of the descriptions of Hell given by the Saints are metaphorical. However, there are physical torments in Hell.
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Old 1st July 2007, 07:08 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
Ron,

In some visions of Hell, the visionaries describe those who dwell in hell as continuously cursing God, so from what you said I assume people are unable to curse there. Correct?
Is there some form of freedom in Hell? For example people in heaven can certainly speak to each other and share in their joy, but can people in hell speak to each other?

Yes, the souls in Hell have freewill to some extent, but they cannot curse God. It is a suffering for them to speak to one another, since they are all completely lacking in grace. But they can speak and act within narrow limits.

Although they are not repentant in the usual sense of the word, they do bitterly realize and acknowledge their own sinfulness and misdeeds and failures.

[Wisdom 5]
{5:1} Then the just will stand with great steadfastness against those who have oppressed them and have taken away their labors.
{5:2} Seeing this, they will be troubled with terrible fear, and they will be amazed at the suddenness of unexpected salvation.
{5:3} Driven toward regret, and through the anguish of their groaning spirit, they will say within themselves: “These are the ones whom we held for some time in derision and in mocking reproach."
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Old 1st July 2007, 07:09 PM
Ron Conte Ron Conte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padraig View Post
I know it sounds strange but I always thought hell is at the centre of the world, in the great ocean of magma down there. The description of the kids at Fatima seems to bear this out. i know this sounds simplistic, but there you are.

No, it is not possible that Hell is literally in the center of the earth. That is a useful metaphor, but it is not literally true.


Ron
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