Skip to comments.What does Jesus Mean by the Fire of Hell?
Posted on 05/21/2014 3:55:37 AM PDT by markomalley
In the Churchs Liturgy of the Hours, in the Office of Readings, we are getting close to the great culmination of the Book of Revelation where the victorious Christ is united with his bride forevermore. Penultimate to this great victory, is the casting down of Satan into fiery hell the sealing over the great abyss.
Central to the imagery of the Hell, is fire, along with some other unpleasant things such as worms that never die etc. We do well to ponder these images, but also to be careful about them. For while many take them literally, they are probably meant to be understood more richly. To be sure, most of the Fathers and tradition understand the fire of Hell to be an actual, a physical fire, it remains a question as to what effect would physical fire have on fallen angels who have no physical bodies? And while fallen human souls will eventually have their bodies, it seems hard to imagine how physical fire can affect their souls prior to the resurrection of the bodies of the dead. Hence, fire and other physical descriptions most likely speak also a to deeper spiritual realities.
Lets take a look at the excerpt from the Book of Revelation, and also some other descriptions of our Lord regarding Hell. Perhaps we can ponder what some of the images are trying to teach us of the nature and reality of Hell, for those who choose to live there by rejecting the Kingdom of God and its values.
Next I saw a large white throne and the One who sat on it. The earth and the sky fled from his presence until they could no longer be seen. I saw the dead, the great and the lowly, standing before the throne. Lastly, among the scrolls, the book of the living was opened. The dead were judged according to their conduct as recorded on the scrolls. The sea gave up its dead; then death and the nether world gave up their dead. Each person was judged according to his conduct. Then death and the nether world were hurled into the pool of fire, which is the second death; anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the book of the living was hurled into this pool of fire. (Rev 20:11-15)
A Pool of Fire is a dramatic metaphor. So dramatic in fact that it causes many moderns to reject the teaching of Jesus on Hell outright. Even many who are otherwise believers in Jesus reject his consistent teaching on Judgment and Hell by either conveniently forgetting it or by some artful theories that deny he said it or that he was just trying to scare people who live is less mature times. Some who do not believe in God say this teaching is one of the reasons they do not believe. I have addressed many of these objections elsewhere. But for our purposes here lets keep the focus on what the metaphor is likely teaching us.
First to be clear, the metaphor of fire and also or worms is a very consistent feature of Jesus descriptions of Hell. For example:
Allow these to suffice. Jesus in his description draws rather heavily from Isaiah wherein God says of those who are unrepentant: And they [the faithful] will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)
But though traditional does largely see the fire as indeed a physical fire, we must still ponder the deeper reality of this fire. For fallen angels without bodies (and for whom the fire was prepared) do experience its pain. But how? And so too for fallen human souls (at least before the resurrection of the body), how is the fire experienced and to what does it point?
Perhaps a remark by Origen can assist:
Wonder not when you hear that there is a fire which though unseen has power to torture, when you see that there is an internal fever which comes upon men, and pains them grievously. Origen (quoted in the Catena Aurea at Mat 25:41)
And thus we gain some insight into the inner fire that rages in the fallen angels and the souls of the damned. For even now we often speak metaphorically of how our own passions can burn like fire. We speak of burning with lust or of seething with anger, or being furious (fury being related to the word for fire). We speak of the heat of passion, and of boiling over with anger or seething with envy. Even good emotions like love can burn like fire if they are not satisfied. How our passions can rage like fire in us if they are not slaked and satisfied by the only One who can truly satisfy us.
And as for worms, worms that die not, according to Jesus, we often speak of being devoured by our passions or consumed by them. There is less consensus on the worms being physical, but surely here too, physical or not, they speak to a deeper spiritual reality as well.
And thus the fire of Hell, though physical, speaks also to deeper spiritual struggles. We were made for God, and God alone can satisfy us. To choose anything less than God is to remain gravely unfulfilled and to be burning with a longing that has finally refused to seek its proper goal. Thus one burns (whether fallen angel or fallen soul) with desire but has rejected the one thing necessary to satisfy that desire. The fire seethes and the fury grows.
Bishop Sheen once told a parable of frustrating Hell must be since the one thing necessary was lacking:
There is not a golfer in America who has not heard the story, which is theologically sound, about the golfer who went to hell and asked to play golf. The Devil showed him a 36-hole course with a beautiful clubhouse, long fairways, perfectly placed hazards, rolling hills, and velvety greens. Next the Devil gave him a set of clubs so well balanced that the golfer felt he had been swinging them all his life. Out to the first tee they stepped, ready for a game. The golfer said: What a course! Give me the ball. The Devil answered: Sorry .we have no golf balls. Thats the hell of it! (Three to Get Married, Kindle Edition, Loc. 851-57).
Yes, thats the hell of it, to lack the one thing most necessary. And oh the fiery fury and the seething indignation it must bring to have definitively rejected the only One who could ever satisfy the fire of our desire.
Finally St. Thomas, or the Thomistic tradition adds the insight of the fire as burning in the sense that it limits the fallen angels and fallen souls:
But the corporeal fire is enabled as the instrument of the vengeance of Divine justice thus to detain a spirit; and thus it has a penal effect on it, by hindering it from fulfilling its own will, that is by hindering it from acting where it will and as it will .that as the instrument of Divine justice [fire] is enabled to detain [a spirit] enchained as it were, and in this respect this fire is really hurtful to the spirit, and thus the soul seeing the fire as something hurtful to it is tormented by the fire. (S.T. Supplement, Q 70, art 3, respondeo)
In other words there is a seething indignation that must come from a fallen spirit who is hindered and can no longer live the lie of following its own will in order to find satisfaction. Such apparent satisfaction is a lie for it is rooted in will rejection of God and the values of Gods Kingdom. The fire is a limiting fire that truthfully attests to the fact that nothing outside God will satisfy, and that roaming about seeking satisfaction in anything other than God must now end. The fire burns and is unquenchable for only God can quench it. But the fallen souls and fallen angels have forever refused Him.
And thus the fire of passion forever burns, unsatisfied, and like worms their desires devour and consume them. In a word, Hell is to be forever unfulfilled as one burns with desire but has rejected the only one who can satisfy that desire.
Msgr Pope ping
What did Jesus mean by the Fires of Hell? Uhhhh, the fires of hell?
It seems most obvious to me these are metaphors.
Being of the natural world, we only have natural pain to use as a reference point when describing a world of nothing but agony. It is obvious therefor we would use the strongest images of torture we could muster when describing such a place and for a long time, burning has been considered one of the worst ways to die.
This being said, burning cannot accurately describe hell. Burning is a transformative process through fire by which some element changes state.
Defined thus ~ “to undergo rapid combustion or consume fuel in such a way as to give off heat, gases, and, usually, light”
During burning, said element is consumed through combustion to its greatest possible degree into heat lost to surrounding elements, gases given off, light energy, and more often than not some after product which can withstand the flame but is unrecognizable from the original element.
Notice the finite nature of such a process. Nothing burns forever, for this is almost a contradiction in terms. Even suns do not burn forever. They eventually die and are no longer considered suns.
I take it to mean then, that when we are told of burning in hell, it is merely a dramatic metaphor for a world we are unable to describe accurately in any way due to our limitations of understanding in this natural world. All of this must be understood in the context of what God is, the source of all good in existence. Hell is a world emptied of His presence. We can have no idea what such a world would be like, but you can guarantee it would make the torture of burning feel like a walk in the park. Hell is void. A void for the spaceless and timeless entity, be it angelic or disembodied soul.
Do not be dismayed however, for it works both ways. In the same way as the Biblical description of hell is certainly an understatement, so is its description of heaven. We cannot comprehend the richness and glory of the coming Kingdom of God, and that should make you very happy and eager to be of the Word, follow the Son, and love the Lord your God will all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.
Precisely. It is a location by which we have absolutely no concept, so the Master put it into terms that the Jews of the day would begin to understand, the valley of Hinnom (Gehenna).
Umm, as you might suspect, we Jews have clear, precise tradition and understanding of Gehinom. If you were curious, it more literally translates to ‘purgatory’ and good news-it’s temporary (for Jews... Sorry, you just knew there was a catch right?)
We appreciate your concern however. Thanks.
Jesus gave an account of a rich man, and a begger named Lazerus. The details of this story (which was not a parable) contradict the notion that hell is without fire.
From what I learned, during the first three centuries of the Church, “hell” was a warm place but not eternal. Its “eternity” came later.
Hell is a place eternally without God.
We mustn’t think of this fallen state as if it’s the same as the eternal state. In the eternal state, the Second Law of Thermodynamics will no longer be operative. How else is eternal life possible? God will supernaturally uphold our lives in the eternal state we’re judged to enter. Just as Christ created additional bread ex nihilo, He’ll create perpetual, eternal fire.
The gruesome Knoxville crime the Pastor references in this sermon are the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.
Thank God that He sent Jesus to save me, so I don’t have to be terrorized by thought of hellfire and eternal damnation! It is in my daily morning prayers to thank Him for His grace and mercy to me, a poor miserable sinner.
The problem is not necessarily the fire, it is the ‘burning’. I cannot see anything burning outside space and time in the sense we understand what ‘burning’ is. Those in hell presumably do not have physical forms (they are not given resurrection bodies for example). It seems farfetched to imagine God giving the dead eternal bodies and creating a physical world with eternal fire for them to suffer in.
I would find the idea of simply suffering beyond our human comprehension outside time and space to be a more likely truth when it comes to the reality of hell, and it was written as burning to communicate the highest form of suffering to the Ancient Jews of this period. God could have made a word for this suffering, but it would have been lost on human beings who had no way of experiencing it in their physical reality.
“In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.”
I find this to be inconclusive, though it is the best argument for literal fire. However, the rich man is using words to convey his pain, and thus is limited to his lexicon. It is possible that burning in fire is the closest description one can use to describe the agony of hell.
I understand the request to have a water-dipped finger pressed to his tongue to indicate some kind of heat, but in this lies a clue that we are not talking about somebody burning as we understand it. The request itself is strange. On fire, a simple drop of water would have zero effect on your temperature, so why does the rich man ask for a wet finger to be pressed to his tongue? Even this sounds like some kind of metaphor. Why not request a bucket of water to be tipped over him? I find it likely the rich man is grasping in a deluded state, overwhelmed by the pain he is in and trying desperately to draw strings between the world he resides in, and the world he knows.
Years ago at the seminary I had a priest take the exact opposite view. He said that these are so opposed to God that being in His presence would burn more than anything else.
An interesting take on it, but I believe God is not malicious and would not force His love/presence on anyone who did not want it unconditionally. On a side note, David wrote in the Psalms about the presence of God being everywhere, including Hell.
Psalm 139:8 "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."
It’s clear that Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet are all thrown into the “lake of fire” and tortured forever, and those whose names are not found in the book of life are thrown into the same place after the Great White Throne judgment.
You’re correct that it might be some sort of unknown torture, but the “rich man” in Luke 16 was wanting Lazarus to bring a drop of water to cool his tongue from the “phlox” (flame) he was experiencing. So it felt like torturous flames to him.
Also, the dead “stand before,” “histemi enopion,” God.
Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Rev 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
Rev 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Rev 20:15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
This may be a slightly more nuanced view that warrants some thought.
I would take issue with the idea that people can be ‘so opposed to God’. How can we define this? Is there a level of disobedience to God’s Word, or is this simply the rejection of his grace through Christ? We must bear in mind that in the face of God’s judgement, we all deserve to perish in hell. It is by grace alone we find salvation.
God is the locus of all good, and he is undeniably omnipresent in our world. No matter how much a human being suffers in this universe, he is surrounded by God. This is what makes it hard to imagine a place without God’s love, because we have no way of experiencing such a place in this life, no matter how terrible the world may seem.
I think it therefor plausible that the ultimate state of bliss would be as close to God as possible, and the ultimate state of suffering would be as far from God as possible. Note that this doesn’t necessarily interfere with God’s omnipresence, since we are talking and spirit states rather than locations here. The reason why it is logical not to capitalize heaven or hell is because they do not possess the properties of actual ‘places’ as we understand that word. Heaven and hell do not have county lines where they end, neither in space nor time, whereas you can actually leave the location of ‘New York’, and New York has a finite existence in time, ceasing to exist at the end of the world or sooner.
Now, while I would say I have a problem with believing we humans are burned in Gods’ presence, there may be merit to that applying to fallen angels. We simply don’t know enough about these angelic realms to say definitively, but notice that Michael in the Book of Jude responds to satan by saying “The Lord rebuke you!”. We can only conclude God has a definite negative effect on these entities.
Here is a most interesting verse to look at in Matthew. Jesus sends the 12 disciples bearing his message to ‘the lost people of Israel’, with the power of miracles as a sign of the Son, the prophetic savior.
“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.”
This is very telling. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in an act of divine judgement for their sins. Sins so grievous, there had been an outcry against them in the land. The people there were undoubtedly the worst on earth. God’s punishment upon them is described as such.
“Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, toward all the land of the plain, and he saw dense smoke rising from the land, like smoke from a furnace.”
The cities have been burned to nothing, vaporized. Why, after such absolute destruction in response to great sin, does Jesus say that the judgement for those who will not hear His message will be even more unbearable than the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why is rejecting the message of the Son worse than the egregious acts of the cities God laid waste to?
I think what this is telling us is that God’s judgement for our sins could take the form of all manner of horrible fates, from being burned with fire to being swallowed by the earth. However if grace is offered by God and rejected, our judgement is even less bearable, for we have turned our backs on God, and chosen to be without Him. The worst fate one can face is an eternity removed from God because we refused to hear the message of the Son.
Actually, this says that those who take the mark of the beast will be tortured before/in the sight of the angels and the Lamb, and their torment is “to perpetuity perpetuity,” “eis aion aion.”
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
And again I think these references to lakes of fire can be explained as metaphorical imagery that the people of the time could understand, the torture of being burned. It is not a randomly occurring singular metaphor either.
“Rev 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Now, I sincerely doubt such a place as hell would have a sun that it orbits around to create what we know as ‘day and night’. There would be little purpose for God to create such celestial objects in this realm, less need for anyone in hell to need a day or a night. This is poetic license.
Or the book of life. Humans read books for reference and instruction. Would God need to have books be opened to have people’s works listed? He is omniscient. This is not a literal opening of books that God will have done at the time of Judgement, but a metaphor for people’s works being of focus at that time.
These verses are instructive and indicate the punishment before God and the angels, but do they necessitate a continued presence of the divine for the “for ever and ever” spoken of? Or is it that they pass into the state of judgement before all present as they enter hell.
Be careful with Psalms. They are a compilation of Hebrew hymns and prayers, and therefor are much more shrouded in their meaning than almost all other sections of the Book.
Oh, I am well aware. David was probably using hyperbole but his point was that God would be with him always.
Yes, and I am very much in agreement with what you said about God not forcing anyone to be with Him. This is an idea I first heard listening to William Lane Craig’s commentary on hell. I think it gels well with God’s dedication to free will as a ultimate good in humans for it allows the choice between good and evil, far more valuable than the programed state.
When discussing hell with non-believers, who often take issue with the concept as some kind of coercion or unfairness, I always point out that since the coming of Jesus, God has given the choice of hell to you as another alternative to being with Him for all eternity.
Their common response is “that’s not fair! So I have to love God or I suffer for eternity?!”
To which I tell them that God cannot help his nature, that He is the locus of all good, and you have to accept that a world apart from him cannot logically be a good place. It is void of good.
It is like choosing a world void of heat, and then complaining that its too cold.
Agreed that in that context “day or night” means there’s no respite. Agreed there’ll be no celestial objects in the eternal state to give light. (Rev. 21:23 and 22:5)
I don’t think the “Book of Life” is for God’s reference, but for ours. He’s omniscient and records everything, including any events we hope are hidden. This is a trial for the ultimate destination of our eternal souls and that’s His evidence.
The term/phrase is used too many times for me to not believe it’s an actual document, or will be perceived by us as an actual document.
An actual document we can touch and feel, though we lack form?
The bible is a timeless book, for all generations...The biblical explanation for Hell is not hard to understand...What's difficult is to believe it...
Interesting but I wouldn’t put my faith in that tradition. Abraham believed God, this was his saving grace.
And you believed him???
After these people get a taste of hell, there is not a single person who would chose hell over heaven/Jesus...
Have you ever read Dante's "Inferno" or the contemporary version by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle? This jibes with those very well. The type of punishment is based on the nature of your sin.
He was expressing an opinion, here in America we are allowed to do that.
I wouldn’t believe what you believe about Abraham....not that I saw what that might be. Is it your/Christians’ position that Abraham our patriarch is somewhere other than in the Spiritual Garden of Eden, loosely translated as Heaven?
Where in G-d’s creation isn’t He found? If He created it, and is not found there, is he separate from it? (ie, the Hell you speak of?)
With full warning that it’s (only) the Jewish viewpoint of the Jew King David, but it literally means, to Jews, that G-d is everywhere. We are ‘within’ Him, and He encompasses all realms/worlds.
BTW, the Psalm you quote means that we (Jews) are always obligated by G-d’s commandments for us. (and Non-Jews by their 7 commandments.) In the highest heights the righteous are still obligated, and in the lowest depths the sinners are still obligated to perform the commandments.
You mean to tell me Christians look at it otherwise? ;)
I believe in a literal heaven and hell. If I’m wrong - I lose nothing - if you’re wrong - you lose everything. Choose wisely!
.......In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire”......
This does no doubt indicates great suffering....however I find it interesting the description of a physical body...”sight” is clearly evident, the ability to “identify people known” and distance from them, the idea he looked “Up”...and he has a “voice” where he calls out to Abraham.
Additionally “asking for pity” would indicate he finds no relief from his suffering.
Also...It appears to me “he has memory” of what life once was and that he is no longer in that place....a keen awareness of surroundings via his senses as well.
So in my opinion possible “the body” in life may very well be the one also in hell..”without dying” as is now.
I think the Jewish/Christian viewpoint is indeed likely different, though I am no scholar on contemporary Jewish views of the covenant and which laws are in effect.
Obviously Jews under the Mosaic Covenant were bound by moral, civil, and ceremonial laws, listed not only in the Ten Commandments, but beyond them as well in special revelations to Moses. Most practicing Jews today still recognize the moral law, but a lot of the civil laws and ceremonial laws seems to have been abandoned (offering animal sacrifices for example).
The Christians takes the ceremonial laws to have been fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice, and the civil laws to have been rendered null and void upon the destruction of Ancient Israel at the hands of the Romans.
We are bound only by the moral law which tells us what sin is, and it has been made clear to us we are incapable of keeping this law, which is why we require the saving grace of Christ.
As to your first question, this does get technical with regards to the meaning of omnipresence, and how that works outside of space and time. Hell is understood to be outside space and time, but I would not view it as a place, more a state of being apart from God, that in hell, you have elected to be separate from the Creator and He will oblige you by transforming you into this state of separateness. Whether that means you are merely feeling an absence of His love or an absence of Him entirely, I cannot say.
You raise an interesting point which is beyond by theological expertise with regard to our obligation once we pass from this world into the next. There is a wealth of Christian scholarship on the topic of obligation in heaven, with the only view I have studied at any length being that there is no need for obligation in heaven, because we will lose a lot of our free will at that time. Having elected to be in the presence of God, we will simply be unable to do evil, or the situation we are placed into will have no option for evil. Without evil, there really is no use for obligations since there is no sin to avoid.
Now, I would consider those who are in hell to lose obligation altogether on my worldview. They have rejected God’s grace and fall upon his judgement, apart from him, separated for eternity. They lose all free will and only know suffering for their state becomes void of God’s love. Interesting to note that William Lane Craig in his commentary on hell proposes a cyclical theory of torment that does rely on obligations still being in effect. This theory goes that once in hell, a soul enters a perpetual cycle of being unable to fulfill obligations, hence why hell is eternal rather than temporary. I’m not sure I’m convinced on that score though.
So you do not believe the Torah? Abram believed the Lord and it was credited to him righteousness, this is found in Genesis. Also I am not sure where you get this notion that we believe Abraham is not in heaven?
While not a parable, it is elements like that which make me question the story’s literal intent. The idea he looked “up” is especially unusual.
Check out this verse.
In John 6:40 Christ declares that the resurrection will happen on the last day: “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”
So, here we are talking about the Resurrection Bodies we receive, which will be as our natural bodies are but spiritual, imperishable, and awash in glory. However Jesus is said to raise those who ‘Behold the Son and believe in Him”. The fact that He excludes those who do not indicates to me they will not receive such bodies and remain disembodied entities, much like the demonic entities that are also condemned.
Yes, I believe.
RE: Abraham, my bad— I see/saw the quote with Abraham and Lazarus but now I see that the fellow in Hell was “looking up” at them. I mistakenly took it to mean they were in proximity...
Carry on with the Heaven/Hell
**In other words there is a seething indignation that must come from a fallen spirit who is hindered and can no longer live the lie of following its own will in order to find satisfaction. Such apparent satisfaction is a lie for it is rooted in will rejection of God and the values of Gods Kingdom. The fire is a limiting fire that truthfully attests to the fact that nothing outside God will satisfy, and that roaming about seeking satisfaction in anything other than God must now end. The fire burns and is unquenchable for only God can quench it. But the fallen souls and fallen angels have forever refused Him.**
Worth remembering and striving for an eternity of life with God in heaven.
The Last Four Things
The Hell There Is A Homily for the 26th Sunday of the Year
Are most Catholics in America going to hell? [OPEN THREAD]
Pope: it's wrong to think our enemies must go to hell
Jesus, Who loves you, warned of Hell A Catalogue of Jesus Warning texts
Vatican corrects infallible pope: atheists will still burn in hell
Where is Jesus After He Dies? A short Reflection on the Harrowing of Hell
"To Hell With It" - Dorothy Day (Kinda interesting article from the *bad* NCR)
The Hell of It. A Short Teaching on Hell
Dream of Saint John Bosco: to Hell and Back
Archbishop Chaput addresses the reality of Satan
Letter from Beyond
Catholic Word of the Day: GEHENNA (Hinnom, 10-17-11
To hell with Hell?
Hell Has to Be
The eternity of hell
Hell Is Not Empty and Pedophile Priests Will Go There" (Why Preaching on Hell is Salutary)
The Eternity of Hell
The Four Last Things: Hell
Catholic Caucus: HELL EXISTS AND WE MIGHT GO THERE!
John Calvin’s Worst Heresy: That Christ Suffered in Hell
Natural Calamities Divine Threats & Four Gates of Hell The four Principal Gates of Hell : I Hatred
Pope speaks with priests from his diocese about Heaven and Hell
Whatever Became of Hell? (HAS THE UNQUENCHABLE FIRE BEEN QUENCHED )
One Man's Visit to Hell
A Brief Catechism for Adults - Lesson 11: Hell
A Question Of Hell (One Minister Questions Its Existence)
Pope says hell and damnation are real and eternal
The fires of Hell are real and eternal, Pope warns
The Early Church Fathers on Hell - Catholic/Orthodox Caucus
IS THE NEW MASS ‘SOFT ON HELL’?
Heaven and hell seem to be forgotten
Which circle of Hell do You belong in?
"To Hell with Hell!": The Spiritual Dumbing Down of the Generations
Reflecting on Hell: Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent
The Reality of Satan and the Victory of Jesus and Mary (an Exorcist speaks out)
Beware the Serpent’s Promises
Americans Describe Their Views About Life After Death(Only One 1/2 of 1% Think They Are Hell-Bound)
Sister Faustina's Vision of Hell
Torment is not torture. It is to be separated from God’s love and goodness for an eternity. Today before one is saved from their sins they are already separated from God in relationship, but not in certain respects from his goodness or grace. Those who will be there will become acutely aware of their creatureness and fallen state. They will know their sin and its effect on themselves as they are self afflicted. They will understand their selfish ways and self idolatry and will gnash their teeth. They will understand there is a God and experience eternal judgment for their sins. Their whole consciousness will be engulfed in their sinfulness and they will not be able to get away from their nature. It will be like an itch and not being able to scratch it. It will be a mental and emotional torture that they will not be able to be removed. It will be darkness with no relief .
....”God knows that no one who goes to eternal separation and punishment would really change their mind, they are bent on their own way... Only those who are unretrieveable, unrepentant, unredeemable, those who have their one way decision, with an irreversible mind set will be there.
Yet hell is more than just eternal separation from God! Everyone who is a sinner, the devil and his angels are presently separated from God and they enjoy it... They are in this state now and not in hell..... While hell is separation this is only one aspect of the consequences of going there. ........Hell is not the absolute final punishment for those who refused to turn from ruling and ruining their own lives with their own sin nature....
In Rev.20 we find the small and great from all time standing before the throne resurrected in the bodies they committed their sins in only to face a greater terror. What they received prior in torment in their spirit will be even more..... Luke16 tells us about a chasm that was wide enough that neither one from either Abraham’s paradise or those from hell could cross. ....But then after Christ raised the chasm became even wider where they could not view each other. .....So it will be to those who are eternally separated. “
Doesn't sound much like a metaphor to me. The rich man was suffering physical agony.
Why should it not be literal? Jesus warned enough about it. Why would He warn about a metaphor?
A good homily by Msgr. Pope on “What does Jesus Mean by the Fire of Hell?” I’ll need to save this one.
And a thoughtful discussion afterwards.
I haven't yet read the article (I will) but to me the "Fire of Hell" refers to a preternatural analogue of fire in this physical world. It is not really a metaphor -- it is actual hellfire as it exists in that demonic space where the physical laws of this world are not applicable. Those souls who have had the favor or misfortune of visiting hell or purgatory in near death experiences describe it as hot, burning, consuming...well....fire. The difference seems to be that corporal tissue is continuously replenished, only to burn again.