Hell in Christian beliefs: Wikis

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Hell, in Christian beliefs, is a place or a state in which the souls of the unsaved will suffer the consequences of sin. The Christian doctrine of Hell derives from the teaching of the New Testament, where Hell is typically described using the Greek words Gehenna or Tartarus. Unlike Hades, Sheol, or Purgatory it is eternal, and those damned to Hell are without hope. In the New Testament, it is described as the place or state of punishment after death or last judgment for those who have rejected Jesus.[1] In many classical and popular depictions it is also the abode of Satan and of Demons.[2]

Hell is generally defined as the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners after this life.[3] Hell's character is inferred from biblical teaching, which has often been understood literally.[3] Souls are said to pass into Hell by God's irrevocable judgment, either immediately after death (particular judgment) or in the general judgment.[3] Modern theologians generally describe Hell as the logical consequence of the soul using its free will to reject the will of God.[3] It is considered compatible with God's justice and mercy because God will not interfere with the soul's free choice.[3]

Only in the King James Version of the bible is the word "Hell" used to translate certain words, such as sheol (Hebrew) and both hades and Gehenna(Greek). All other translations reserve Hell only for use when Gehenna is mentioned. It is generally agreed that both sheol and hades do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the underworld or temporary abode of the dead.[4]

Contents

Jewish background

In ancient Jewish belief, the dead were consigned to the underworld, or Sheol, a shadowy existence to which all were sent indiscriminately (cf. Genesis 37:35; Numbers 16:30-33; Psalm 86:13; Ecclesiastes 9:10).[5] However, by the third to second century B.C.E. the idea had grown to encompass separate divisions in sheol for the righteous and wicked (cf. the Book of Enoch).[6]

The Hebrew word Sheol was translated in the Greek Septuagint as Hades, the name for the underworld and abode of the dead in Greek mythology. The realm of eternal punishment in Hellenistic mythology was in fact Tartarus; Hades was rather a form of limbo where the unjudged dead dwelled.

In later Jewish belief, the place of punishment was Gehenna, a place of unquenchable fire (cf. Assumption of Moses, 2 Esdras).[7] The term is derived from ge-hinnom, a valley near Jerusalem originally used as a location for human sacrifices to the idol Moloch, and where refuse and the bodies of executed criminals were later burnt.

Hell (on the right) is portrayed in this 16th century painting.
And he defiled the Tophet, which is in the valley of Ben-hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech. 2 Kings 23:10
And they built the high places of the Ba‘al, which are in the valley of Ben-hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech; which I did not command them, nor did it come into my mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. Jeremiah 32:35

Hell in the New Testament

The New Testament depicts "Hell", the place of eternal punishment, in a variety of ways. The most common term used for "Hell" in the original Greek is γεεννα (gehenna), a direct loan of Hebrew ge-hinnom. The term is, however, found almost exclusively in the synoptic gospels.[8][9][10] Gehenna is most frequently described as a place of fiery torment (e.g. Matthew 5:22, 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-49) although other passages mention darkness and "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (e.g. Matthew 8:12; 22:13).[9]

Besides this teaching in the synoptic gospels, the concept of Hell is found in other parts of the NT when the term gehenna (translated as Hell in all English translations of the bible) is not used. The Johannine writings refer to the destiny of the wicked in terms of "perishing", "death" and "condemnation" or "judgment". St. Paul speaks of "wrath" and "everlasting destruction" (cf. Romans 2:7-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:9), while the general epistles use a range of terms and images including "raging fire" (Hebrews 10:27), "destruction" (2 Peter 3:7), "eternal fire" (Jude 7) and "blackest darkness" (Jude 13). Most biblical scholars believe this to be a symbol of eternal separation from God and God's presence. The book of Revelation contains the image of a "lake of fire" and "burning sulphur" where "the devil, the beast, and false prophets" will be "tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10) along with those who worship the beast or receive its mark (Revelation 14:11).[11]

The New Testament also uses the Greek word hades, usually to refer to the temporary abode of the dead (e.g. Acts 2:31; Revelation 20:13).[6] Only one passage describes hades as a place of torment, the parable of Lazarus and Dives (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus here depicts a wicked man suffering fiery torment in hades, which is contrasted with the bosom of Abraham, and explains that it is impossible to cross over from one location to the other. Some scholars believe that this parable reflects the intertestamental Jewish view of hades (or sheol) as containing separate divisions for the wicked and righteous.[6][11] In Revelation 20:13-14 hades is itself thrown into the "lake of fire" after being emptied of the dead.

Mainstream church teachings

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Orthodox Christianity

Detail of Hell in a painting depicting the Second Coming (Georgios Klontzas, late 16th cent.)

The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches teach that Heaven and Hell are within the same realm, which is in the presence of God.[12][13] Some theologians have compared the Eastern view of Hell with the Western view of Purgatory.[citation needed]

The Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches teach that both the elect and the lost enter into the presence of God after death, and that the elect experience this presence as light and rest, while the lost experience it as darkness and torment.[14] The Orthodox see this doctrine as supported by Scripture and by the patristic tradition.

The afterlife for the damned is dreadful anticipation of Judgment Day, while the elect happily await the resurrection of the dead. Orthodox Christians pray for the dead, and believe that such prayers are beneficial for the dead. Some have misunderstood the Orthodox Church to teach that sometimes a lost soul can be saved after death through the prayers of the living. Rather, the Orthodox teaching is that the souls of the living who were destined for Hell may be prayed out of Hell whilst they are still alive on earth. That is, the prayers of Christians may lead a sinner to repentance so that a soul which would have otherwise gone to Hell is spared such a fate.

The Concept of Hell

Some Orthodox theologians see another example of distinction between East and West in the teaching of Hell as a created place[15][16][17][18]. For the Orthodox, Heaven is not a place in the sky, it is being with God.[19] Salvation in the East, is not salvation from the wrath of God,[20] as St Isaac teaches that the love of God is the Tree of Life.[21] According to Eastern Christianity people are not sent down to Hell by an angry God.[22] Hell as professed in the East is not the absence of God nor the separation of one from God but rather the opposite both are being with God in the presence of God.[23][24][25] Finally the theological concept of hell or eternal damnation also via theoria is expressed different in the West,[citation needed] than in the East.[26]

"A Monster from Hell". A 19th-century Russian hand-drawn lubok.

The Orthodox Church holds that both Heaven and Hell are a condition of relationship with God that is either theosis or perdition, both of which are often spoken of as the effect of being in the presence of God. The Orthodox Church teaches that eternal damnation in the lake of fire and heaven occur within the same realm, which is being with God; God is Heaven, God is the Kingdom of God and Heaven.[27] For one who hates God (as existence, as Life for example called Misotheism) such a place as in the presence of God, will be eternal suffering.[28][29]

The Orthodox Church teaches that Heaven and Hell are in the same realm, and that Hell is not separation from God symbolically or physically,[30][31]

Hell as taught in Orthodoxy is a place chosen.[32] The Western understanding of Hell (called inferno or infernus) can be understood from the works of Augustine as being a place possibly located under the earth.[33] Saint Gregory of Nyssa argued that Hades (the place "which serves as a receptacle for souls after death" not the place of Hell per se) is a subterranean locale.[34]

The West too teaches that God does not cut off anyone off from himself, and that the non-physical separation from God of those in Hell is only a self-exclusion on their own part.[35][36]

As the Church both Eastern and Western teaches, there is no place where God is not, and God's love is for all human beings, including sinners. Hell is described as self-exclusion from communion with that universal love,[37] as cutting oneself off from love,[38] or but as an enemy of God.[39] Only of a human heart that excludes God can it be said that, in a sense, God is not there, and so Eastern Orthodox Bishop Kallistos Ware wrote that Hell is "the place where God is not" (emphasis in the original).[40] In his review of the Bishop's book Hieromonk Patapios criticized this expression as unorthodox.[41]

Roman Catholicism

Medieval illustration of Hell in the Hortus deliciarum manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg (about 1180)

Hell is defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 1033):

We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."610 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self- exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "Hell."

The Catechism of Saint Pius X, an earlier Catechism still used by Traditionalists, is much more literal :

Hell is a state to which the wicked are condemned, and in which they are deprived of the sight of God for all eternity, and are in dreadful torments. (Question 1379) [42] The Catholic Encyclopedia also states: that "theologians generally accept the opinion that Hell is really within the earth. The Church has decided nothing on [the location]; hence we may say Hell is a definite place; but where it is, we do not know."[43]

Presently the Roman Catholic Church teaches that neither Heaven nor Hell is, in the proper sense, a place, created or uncreated, and that each is a question of one's personal relationship with the Trinity.[44].

Pope John Paul II declared that, while Scripture uses the image of place in relation to eternal damnation, what is really involved is a state of self-exclusion from God.[45]

In the words of Pope John Paul II, "The images of Hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather than a place, Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy".[46] Pope Benedict XVI, a theologian, stated that "Hell really exists and is eternal".[47][48]

Purgatory and Limbo

Catholic tradition and catechisms assert the existence of purgatory, a state of existence where the saved are purified after death before entering into the presence of God. In theological terminology, "purgatory" is a separate and distinct term from "Hell".

In the Catholic translation of John 3:5, Jesus says "unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God". This statement is interpreted to mean that those who are not baptized (which in Roman Catholic tradition removes the stain of original sin) cannot go to Heaven. In Roman Catholic tradition, Limbo is the afterlife for those who die unbaptized but are not guilty of mortal sin. Those righteous souls who died before the Crucifixion were thought to have remained in the Limbo of the Fathers until "He [Jesus] descended into Hell" to take those souls to heaven (as stated in the Apostles Creed). This teaching is also known as the harrowing of Hell.

Both before and after the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church has claimed that it is possible for the non-baptized to go to heaven if the reason for their not having been baptizes is "invincible ignorance" (not their own fault) and if they follow the moral law written in their hearts. It is assumed that, had they understood the necessity of baptism, they would have chosen to be baptized. This notion has been called baptism of desire.[citation needed]

Protestantism

Hell as depicted in Hieronymus Bosch's triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights (cca 1504).

In most Protestant traditions, Hell is the place created by God for the punishment of the devil and fallen angels (cf. Matthew 25:41), and those whose names are not written in the book of life (cf. Revelation 20:15). It is the final destiny of every person who does not receive salvation, where they will be punished for their sins. People will be consigned to Hell after the last judgment.[49]

The historic Protestant view of Hell is expressed in the Westminster Confession (1646):

"but the wicked, who know not God, and obey not the gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (Chapter XXXIII, Of the Last Judgment)

Traditionally, the majority of Protestants have held that Hell will be a place of unending conscious torment, both physical and spiritual,[11] although some recent writers (such as C. S. Lewis[50] and J.P. Moreland [51]) have cast Hell in terms of "eternal separation" from God. Certain biblical texts have led some theologians to the conclusion that punishment in Hell, though eternal and irrevocable, will be proportional to the deeds of each soul (e.g. Matthew 10:15, Luke 12:46-48).[52]

Another area of debate is the fate of the unevangelized (i.e. those who have never had an opportunity to hear the Christian gospel), those who die in infancy, and the mentally disabled. Some Protestants agree with Augustine that people in these categories will be damned to Hell for original sin, while others believe that God will make an exception in these cases.[11]

Conditional Immortality and Annihilationism

A "significant minority" of Protestants believe in the doctrine of conditional immortality,[53] which teaches that those sent to Hell will not experience eternal conscious punishment, but instead will be extinguished or annihilated after a period of "limited conscious punishment".[9] Prominent evangelical theologians who have adopted conditionalist beliefs include John Wenham, Edward Fudge, Clark Pinnock and John Stott (although the latter has described himself as an "agnostic" on the issue of annihilationism).[11] Conditionalists typically reject the traditional concept of the immortality of the soul.

Universalism

Some Protestants (such as George MacDonald, Karl Randall, Keith DeRose and Thomas Talbott), also, however, in a minority, believe that after serving their sentence in Gehenna, all souls are reconciled to God and admitted to heaven, or ways are found at the time of death of drawing all souls to repentance so that no "hellish" suffering is experienced. This view is often called Christian universalism—its conservative branch is more specifically called 'Biblical or Trinitarian universalism'—and is not to be confused with Unitarian Universalism. See universal reconciliation, apocatastasis and the problem of Hell.

Teachings of other groups

Seventh-day Adventism

Seventh-day Adventists do not believe the wicked will suffer for eternity in Hell, but instead teach conditional immortality. Adventists believe that depictions in the Bible describing punishment for the wicked by fire describe the final fate of sinners after the second coming of Christ. In addition, they believe in the doctrine of soul sleep.

Seventh-day Adventists believe that at the second coming, Christ will resurrect the righteous who have died and take them to heaven with the living righteous. God will kill the unrighteous leaving only Satan and his fallen angels on earth. After a millennium, Christ will again return to earth together with the righteous and the "Holy City" (the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:10). Christ will then resurrect the wicked, who will surround the New Jerusalem along with Satan. At this point God will permanently destroy Satan, his angels, and wicked humanity by fire. The Adventist view of Hell is often referred to as annihilationism.

Christian Science

Christian Science defines "Hell" as follows: "Mortal belief; error; lust; remorse; hatred; revenge; sin; sickness; death; suffering and self-destruction; self-imposed agony; effects of sin; that which 'worketh abomination or maketh a lie.'" (Science and Health with Key to the Scripture by Mary Baker Eddy, 588: 1-4.)

Latter-day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the word Hell is used in scripture in at least two senses. To correctly understand these concepts the context of each is relevant.

Mormons believe in a concept of Hell as a state of punishment. Those who reject Christ and His Atonement ultimately will be accountable for their choices and the resulting sin(s). Righteous people, whether Latter-day Saint or not, will be resurrected and live with Christ on earth after His return.[54] In the interim period between death and resurrection those who rejected the Gospel message and those who had no opportunity to be taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ reside in a spirit prison (see sheol from Oral Torah) awaiting teaching and judgment[citation needed]. This concept aligns with second century Jewish Oral Torah tradition[citation needed]. It also describes a status separate from Hell as a permanent state of punishment[citation needed].

Further it is believed that during the millennial reign of Christ both mortal and immortal peoples will coexist. The mortal will continue to minister and teach those who have not received the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The work of teaching and ministering to those in the spirit realm continues.[55]

After the 1000 years, the individuals in spirit prison will also be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body.[56] The LDS Church explains biblical descriptions of Hell being "eternal" or "endless" punishment as being descriptive of their infliction by God rather than an unending temporal period; Latter-day Saint scripture quotes God as telling church founder Joseph Smith, Jr.: "I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—Eternal punishment is God's punishment. Endless punishment is God's punishment."[57] It is in this sense of the word "Hell" that David prayed to the Lord, "thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell".[58]

Latter-day Saints also believe in a more permanent concept of Hell, commonly referred to as outer darkness. It is said that very few people who have lived on the earth will be consigned to this Hell, but Latter-day Saint scripture suggests that at least Cain will be present.[59] Other mortals who during their lifetime become sons of perdition—those who commit the unpardonable sin—will be consigned to outer darkness.[54] It is taught that the unpardonable sin is committed by those who "den[y] the Son after the Father has revealed him".[60] However, the vast majority of residents of outer darkness will be the "devil and his angels ... the third part of the hosts of heaven" who in the pre-existence followed Lucifer and never received a mortal body.[61] The residents of outer darkness are the only children of God that will not receive one of three kingdoms of glory at the Last Judgment.

It is unclear whether those in outer darkness will ultimately be redeemed; of outer darkness and the sons of perdition, Latter-day Saint scripture states that "the end thereof, neither the place thereof, nor their torment, no man knows; Neither was it revealed, neither is, neither will be revealed unto man, except to them who are made partakers thereof".[62] The scripture asserts that those who are consigned to this state will be aware of its duration and limitations.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Bible presents "Hell", as translated from "Sheol" and "Hades", to be mankind's common grave for both the good and the bad (Ecclesiastes 9:10), whereas "Gehenna" signifies eternal destruction or annihilation (Matthew 10:28), and that the idea of a place of eternal torment is something detestable to God, inconsistent with his love. (1 John 4:8; Jeremiah 32:35) [63]

Jehovah's Witnesses reject the traditional concept of "hellfire". They consider doctrines like particular judgment, the doctrine that one is judged and either punished or rewarded immediately after death, to be an innovation of the early Church.[64] They understand Revelation 20:13 -"And death and Hell gave up the dead in them." - to mean that those in Hell do not remain there indefinitely. Hades is emptied during the judgment of Revelation.[65]

A particular difference that affects their belief regarding Hell is their belief regarding the soul. Unlike religions that believe the soul is something immortal that lives on after death, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the soul is the body itself, referring to the literal translation of the verse that states that God made Adam a living soul, therefore the soul is the body. (Ezekiel 18:4; compare Genesis 2:7, 3:19) To Jehovah's Witnesses, obedience to God is a matter of eternal life or death rather than that of heaven or Hell. (Genesis 3:3; compare Romans 6:23)

Unity

The Unity Church considers the concept of everlasting physical Hell to be false doctrine and contradictory to that reported by John the Evangelist.

The word Hell is not translated with clearness sufficient to represent the various meanings of the word in the original language. There are three words from which "Hell" is derived: Sheol, "the unseen state"; Hades, "the unseen world"; and Gehenna, "Valley of Hinnom." These are used in various relations, nearly all of them allegorical. In a sermon Archdeacon Farrar said: "There would be the proper teaching about Hell if we calmly and deliberately erased from our English Bibles the three words, 'damnation,' 'Hell,' and 'everlasting.' I say - unhesitatingly I say, claiming the fullest right to speak with the authority of knowledge - that not one of those words ought to stand any longer in our English Bible, for, in our present acceptation of them, they are simply mistranslations." This corroborates the metaphysical interpretation of Scripture, and sustains the truth that Hell is a figure of speech that represents a corrective state of mind. When error has reached its limit, the retroactive law asserts itself, and judgment, being part of that law, brings the penalty upon the transgressor. This penalty is not punishment, but discipline, and if the transgressor is truly repentant and obedient, he is forgiven in Truth. - Charles Fillmore, Christian Healing, Lesson 11, item eleven.

Swedenborgianism

See: Swedenborgianism

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Biblical Reference: John 3:18
  2. ^ hell - Definitions from Dictionary.com
  3. ^ a b c d e "Hell." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  4. ^ New Bible Dictionary third edition, IVP 1996. Articles on "Hell", "Sheol".
  5. ^ What the Bible says about Death, Afterlife, and the Future, James Tabor
  6. ^ a b c New Bible Dictionary 3rd edition, IVP Leicester 1996. "Sheol".
  7. ^ New Bible Dictionary 3rd edition, IVP Leicester 1996. "Hell".
  8. ^ New Bible Dictionary 3rd ed., IVP, Leicester 1996. Article "Hell", pages 463-464
  9. ^ a b c New Dictionary of Biblical Theology; IVP Leicester 2000, "Hell"
  10. ^ Evangelical Alliance Commission on Truth and Unity Among Evangelicals (ACUTE) (2000). The Nature of Hell. Paternoster, London. pp. 42–47. 
  11. ^ a b c d e Evangelical Alliance Commission on Unity and Truth among Evangelicals (2000). The Nature of Hell. Acute, Paternoster (London). 
  12. ^ These things mean that men's experiences of God will be different. "To each by himself the Master will give according to the measure of his excellence and his worthiness. “For there the order of those who teach and those who learn will cease, and in each will be the ardent love of all. “Thus there will be one who will give His grace to all, that is, God Himself, but men will receive it according to their capacity. The love of God will fall on all men, but it will act in a twofold way, punishing the sinners and giving joy to the righteous. St. Isaac the Syrian, expressing the Orthodox Tradition on this subject, writes: "The power of love works in two ways: it torments sinners, even as happens here when a friend suffers from a friend; but it becomes a source of joy for those who have observed its duties"10. [1]
  13. ^ This interpretation concerning Paradise and Hell is not only that of St. Isaac the Syrian and St. Basil the Great, but is a general teaching of the Fathers of the Church, who interpret apophatically what is said about the eternal fire and eternal life. When we speak of apophaticism we do not mean that the Fathers distort the teaching of the Church, speaking abstractly and reflectively, but that as they interpret these themes they try to free them from the categories of human thought and from images of sensory things13. On this point too one can see how the Orthodox-Greek Fathers differ from the Franco-Latins who considered these realities as created14. [2]
  14. ^ Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife According to the Bible, an Orthodox account
  15. ^ This is an analogy to how the presence of God is light and warmth to those who love him, and pain and destruction to those who oppose him, yet it is the same "fire." It's also useful to consider the ancient Greco-Roman pagan understanding of the heavens and Hades. Though it was not fundamental to Hebrew theology, the Greek view was still sometimes referenced or borrowed, because these ideas were familiar and prevalent in the culture.This is not the way traditional Western Christianity, Roman Catholic or Protestant, has envisioned the afterlife. In Western thought Hell is a location, a place where God punishes the wicked, where they are cut off from God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Yet this concept occurs nowhere in the Bible, and does not exist in the original languages of the Bible. [3]
  16. ^ "Paradise and Hell are an energy of the uncreated grace of God, as men experience it, and therefore they are uncreated. According to the holy Fathers of the Church, there is not an uncreated Paradise and a created Hell, as the Franco-Latin tradition teaches". [4]
  17. ^ Besides this, the biblical concept of heaven and Hell also becomes distorted, since the eternal fires of Hell and the outer darkness become creatures also whereas, they are the uncreated glory of God as seen by those who refuse to love. Thus, one ends up with the three-story universe problem, with God in a place, etc., necessitating a demythologizing of the Bible in order to salvage whatever one can of a quaint Christian tradition for modern man. However, it is not the Bible itself which need demythologizing, but the Augustinian Franco-Latin tradition and the caricature which it passed off in the West as Greek Patristic theology. [5]
  18. ^ "The Orthodox Church understands Hell as a place of eternal torment for those who willfully reject the grace of God" (The Orthodox Church: Teaching)
  19. ^ This is an analogy to how the presence of God is light and warmth to those who love him, and pain and destruction to those who oppose him, yet it is the same "fire." It's also useful to consider the ancient Greco-Roman pagan understanding of the heavens and Hades. Though it was not fundamental to Hebrew theology, the Greek view was still sometimes referenced or borrowed, because these ideas were familiar and prevalent in the culture. The ancient pagan Greek view, later adopted by the Romans, was that heaven was a physical place up in the sky. The word for heaven is used interchangeably with the location of the objects of the sky, as in "heavenly bodies", and for the dwelling place of the gods. That is why the Greek word for heaven and sky is the same; there was no distinction made between them in the earliest writings, but eventually they were also understood to be more as a metaphor for the spiritual heaven. [6]
  20. ^ As Saint Isaac the Syrian says: "He who applies pedagogical punishments in order to give health, is punishing with love, but he who is looking for vengeance, is devoid of love. God punishes with love, not defending Himself — far be it — but He wants to heal His image, and He does not keep His wrath for long. This way of love is the way of uprightness, and it does not change with passion to a defense. A man who is just and wise is like God because he never chastises a man in revenge for wickedness, but only in order to correct him or that others be afraid" (Homily 73). So we see that God punishes as long as there is hope for correction. After the Common Resurrection there is no question of any punishment from God. Hell is not a punishment from God but a self condemnation. As Saint Basil the Great says, "The evils in Hell do not have God as their cause, but ourselves."
  21. ^ Saint Isaac the Syrian says that "Paradise is the love of God, in which the bliss of all the beatitudes is contained," and that "the tree of life is the love of God" (Homily 72).
  22. ^ The idea that God is an angry figure who sends those He condemns to a place called Hell, where they spend eternity in torment separated from His presence, is missing from the Bible and unknown in the early church. While Heaven and Hell are decidedly real, they are experiential conditions rather than physical places, and both exist in the presence of God. In fact, nothing exists outside the presence of God. [7]
  23. ^ Augustinian Christians, both Vaticanians and Protestants, are literally unbalanced humans, and had been indeed very dangerous up to the French Revolution and are potentially still quite dangerous. They were never capable of understanding that God loves equally both those who are going to Hell and those who are going to heaven. God loves even the Devil as much as He loves the saint. "God is the savior of all humans, indeed of the faithful" (1 Tim. 4:10). In other words, Hell is a form of salvation although the lowest form of it. God loves the Devil and his collaborators but destroys their work by allowing them to remain inoperative in their final "actus purus happiness" like the God of Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica, Prima Pars, De Deo Uno, q. 26./ [8]
  24. ^ So Hell is the torment of the love of God. Besides, as St. Isaac says, the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against the love of God, "is more poignant than any fear of punishment"8. It really is a punishment when we deny and oppose anyone's love. It is terrible when we are loved and we behave inappropriately. If we compare this to the love of God, we can understand the torment of Hell. And it is connected with what St. Isaac says again, that it would be improper for a man to think "that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God"9. So even those being punished will receive the love of God. God will love all men, both righteous and sinners, but they will not all feel this love at the same depth and in the same way. In any case it is absurd for us to maintain that Hell is the absence of God.[9]
  25. ^ This interpretation concerning Paradise and Hell is not only that of St. Isaac the Syrian and St. Basil the Great, but is a general teaching of the Fathers of the Church, who interpret apophatically what is said about the eternal fire and eternal life. When we speak of apophaticism we do not mean that the Fathers distort the teaching of the Church, speaking abstractly and reflectively, but that as they interpret these themes they try to free them from the categories of human thought and from images of sensory things13. On this point too one can see how the Orthodox-Greek Fathers differ from the Franco-Latins who considered these realities as created [10]
  26. ^ Thus Hell is the torment of the love of God. Besides, as St. Isaac says, the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against the love of God, "is more poignant than any fear of punishment"8. It really is a punishment when we deny and oppose anyone's love. It is terrible when we are loved and we behave inappropriately. If we compare this to the love of God, we can understand the torment of Hell. And it is connected with what St. Isaac says again, that it would be improper for a man to think "that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God"9. So even those being punished will receive the love of God. God will love all men, both righteous and sinners, but they will not all feel this love at the same depth and in the same way. In any case it is absurd for us to maintain that Hell is the absence of God. [11]
  27. ^ "Paradise and Hell exist not in the form of a threat and a punishment on the part of God but in the form of an illness and a cure. Those who are cured and those who are purified experience the illuminating energy of divine grace, while the uncured and ill experience the caustic energy of God."[12]
  28. ^ "Those who have selfless love and are friends of God see God in light - divine light, while the selfish and impure see God the judge as fire - darkness". [13]
  29. ^ Man has a malfunctioning or non-functioning noetic faculty in the heart, and it is the task especially of the clergy to apply the cure of unceasing memory of God, otherwise called unceasing prayer or illumination. "Those who have selfless love and are friends of God see God in light - divine light, while the selfish and impure see God the judge as fire - darkness". [14]
  30. ^ Thus Hell is the torment of the love of God. Besides, as St. Isaac says, the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against the love of God, "is more poignant than any fear of punishment"8. It really is a punishment when we deny and oppose anyone's love. It is terrible when we are loved and we behave inappropriately. If we compare this to the love of God, we can understand the torment of Hell. And it is connected with what St. Isaac says again, that it would be improper for a man to think "that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God"9. So even those being punished will receive the love of God. God will love all men, both righteous and sinners, but they will not all feel this love at the same depth and in the same way. In any case it is absurd for us to maintain that Hell is the absence of God. LIFE AFTER DEATH by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos [15]
  31. ^ God himself is both heaven and Hell, reward and punishment. All men have been created to see God unceasingly in His uncreated glory. Whether God will be for each man heaven or Hell, reward or punishment, depends on man's response to God's love and on man's transformation from the state of selfish and self-centered love, to Godlike love which does not seek its own ends. [16]
  32. ^ Hell is not so much a place where God imprisons man, as a place where man, by misusing his free will, chooses to imprison himself. And even in Hell the wicked are not deprived of the love of God, but by their own choice they experience as suffering what the saints experience as joy. ‘The love of God will be an intolerable torment for those who have not acquired it within themselves’ (V. Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 234).
  33. ^ St. Augustine expressed the view that "the nature of Hell-fire and the location of Hell are known to no man unless the Holy Ghost made it known to him by a special revelation", though elsewhere he says: "It is my opinion that the nature of Hell-fire and the location of Hell are known to no man unless the Holy Ghost made it known to him by a special revelation", (City of God XX.16). Elsewhere he expresses the opinion that Hell is under the earth (Retract., II, xxiv, n. 2 in P.L., XXXII, 640).[17]
  34. ^ "St. Gregory then cites Philippians 2:10, 'that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth'; in support of the notion that Hades is a geographical location, namely that the 'things under the earth' would be the beings in Hades" (Saint Gregory of Nyssa On the Soul and the Resurrection).
  35. ^ "Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy" (Pope John Paul II, 28 July 1999
  36. ^ "Vatican officials said that the Pope — who is also the Bishop of Rome — had been speaking in 'straightforward' language 'like a parish priest'. He had wanted to reinforce the new Catholic catechism, which holds that Hell is a 'state of eternal separation from God', to be understood 'symbolically rather than physically'" (The Times).
  37. ^ "To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'Hell'" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033).
  38. ^ "A detailed study of the Fathers as they handle Scripture on these issues describes the same scenario. Heaven is being with and in God, theosis, divinisation. Hell is separation from God, a self inflicted suffering of cutting oneself off from the Source of life and love itself" (Fr. Gregory's Orthodox Catechism: Heaven and Hell - Pascha Cycle - Love and Judgement)
  39. ^ Paradise and Hell according to Orthodox Tradition
  40. ^ The Orthodox Church, revised edition (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Books, 1993), p. 106
  41. ^ "Without a single citation from the Fathers, His Grace baldly asserts that Hell is 'the place where God is not' (ibid. [emphasis in the text]). He then notes, parenthetically, that 'God is everywhere!' If God is everywhere, as the doctrine of Divine omnipresence entails, then how can there be any place from which He is absent? And yet, Bishop Kallistos reasons, if Christ descended into Hell, He must have descended into the depths of the absence of God. There are problems, here, not only with regard to an Orthodox understanding of Heaven and Hell, but also in terms of His Grace's misuse of terminology; that is, as we shall see, his failure to distinguish between Hell as a place of torment for unrepentant sinners and Hades as the place where death prevailed over man before the Resurrection. These words are used interchangeably, we admit, and the distinction to which we have referred is a subtle one; however, it is one essential to any response to the innovative and theologically troublesome idea that Christ, descending into Hades, supposedly went to a place from which God was absent" (Hieromonk Patapios's review of the book in Orthodox Tradition, Vol. XVI, Nos. 3&4, pp. 30-51).
  42. ^ LESSON THIRTY-SEVENTH: On the Last Judgment and the Resurrection, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven
  43. ^ [18]
  44. ^ Heaven "is neither an abstraction not a physical place in the clouds, but a living, personal relationship with the Holy Trinity. It is our meeting with the Father which takes place in the risen Christ through the communion of the Holy Spirit" (Pope John Paul II on 21 July 1999); "Rather than a place, Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy" (Pope John Paul II, 28 July 1999
  45. ^ "The images of Hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted. They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God. Rather than a place, Hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy. This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the truths of faith on this subject: 'To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "Hell"' (n. 1033)" (Pope John Paul II).
  46. ^ July 28, 1999 statement of Pope John Paul II concerning the topic of Hell
  47. ^ "The fires of Hell are real and eternal, Pope warns - Times Online". London. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article1572646.ece. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  48. ^ "AGENZIA SIR - BENEDICT XVI: MASS IN ROME’S PARISH CHURCH, GOD “WANTS US ALL IN PARADISE” BUT “HELL EXISTS” AND “IS ETERNAL”". http://www.agensir.info/pls/sir/V2_S2DOC_B.quotidiano?tema=Quot_english&argomento=dettaglio&sezione=&data_ora=&id_oggetto=130487&id_session=&password=&quantita=. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  49. ^ Bruce Milne (1998). Know the Truth, 2nd ed.. IVP. p. 335. 
  50. ^ C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 1946
  51. ^ Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, 2000
  52. ^ Millard Erickson (2001). Introducing Christian Doctrine, 2nd ed. Baker Academic. 
  53. ^ The Nature of Hell. Conclusions and Recommendations, Evangelical Alliance, 2000, http://www.eauk.org/theology/acute/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=9164 
  54. ^ a b LDS Church. "Chapter 46: The Last Judgment", Gospel Principles, 294.
  55. ^ Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138
  56. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 88:100-101.
  57. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 19:10-12.
  58. ^ Psalms 16:10.
  59. ^ Moses 5:22-26.
  60. ^ LDS Church, Guide to the Scriptures: Hell; see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:43-46.
  61. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 29:36-39.
  62. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 76:45-46.
  63. ^ What Really Is Hell? - Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
  64. ^ "Is There LIFE After Death?". Jehovah's Witnesses official website. 2001-07-15. http://www.watchtower.org/e/20010715/article_01.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-17. 
  65. ^ "Insight On The Scriptures" -1 p. 1016 Hades "when Revelation 20:13, 14 says that the sea, death, and Hades are to give up or be emptied of the dead in them."

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