- Christian views on Hell
Different Hebrew and Greek words are translated as "hell" in most English-language Bibles. They include:
- "Sheol" in the Hebrew Bible, and "Hades" in the New Testament. Many modern versions, such as the New International Version, translate Sheol as "grave" and simply transliterate "Hades". It is generally agreed that both sheol and hades do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the grave, the temporary abode of the dead, the underworld.
- "Gehenna" in the New Testament, where it is described as a place where both soul and body could be destroyed (Matthew 10:28) in "unquenchable fire" (Mark 9:43). The word is translated as either "hell" or "hell fire" in English versions.
- The Greek verb "ταρταρῶ (tartarō)", which occurs once in the New Testament (in 2 Peter 2:4). It is almost always translated by a phrase such as "thrown down to hell". Exceptionally, the 2004 Holman Christian Standard Bible uses the word "Tartarus" and explains: "Tartarus is a Greek name for a subterranean place of divine punishment lower than Hades."
Hell is generally defined as the eternal fate of unrepentant sinners after this life. Hell's character is inferred from biblical teaching, which has often been understood literally. Souls are said to pass into Hell by God's irrevocable judgment, either immediately after death (particular judgment) or in the general judgment. Modern theologians generally describe hell as the logical consequence of the soul using its free will to reject union with God. It is considered compatible with God's justice and mercy because God will not interfere with the soul's free choice.
- 1 Jewish background
- 2 Hell in the New Testament
- 3 Eastern Orthodox concepts of hell
- 4 Roman Catholicism
- 5 Protestantism
- 6 Teachings of other groups
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes and references
- 9 External links
In ancient Jewish belief, the dead were consigned to Sheol or the grave, to which all were sent indiscriminately (cf. Genesis 37:35; Numbers 16:30-33; Psalm 86:13; Ecclesiastes 9:10). Sheol was thought of as a place situated below the ground (cf. Ezek. 31:15), a place of darkness, silence and forgetfulness (cf. Job 10:21). By the third to second century BC, the idea had grown to encompass separate divisions in sheol for the righteous and wicked (cf. the Book of Enoch), and by the time of Jesus, some Jews had come to believe that those in Sheol awaited the Resurrection of the dead either in comfort (in the bosom of Abraham) or in torment.
By at least the late rabbinical period, Gehenna was viewed as the place of ultimate punishment, exemplified by the rabbinical statement "the best of physicians are destined to Gehenna." (M. Kiddushin 4:14); also described in Assumption of Moses and 2 Esdras. The term is derived from ge-hinnom, a valley near Jerusalem originally used as a location for human sacrifices to the idol Moloch:
"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
In the Greek Septuagint the Hebrew word Sheol was translated 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 a form of limbo where the unjudged dead dwelled.
Hell in the New Testament
Three different New Testament words appear in most English translations as "hell":
Greek NT NT occurrences KJV NKJV NASB NIV ESV CEV NLT ᾅδης (Hades) 9 hell (9/10) Hades (10/10) Hades (9/9) Hades (7/9 or 4/9) Hades (8/9) death's kingdom (3/9) grave (6/9) γέεννα (Gehenna) 11 hell hell hell hell hell hell hell ταρταρῶ (Tartarō̂, verb) 1 hell hell hell hell hell hell hell
The most common New Testament term translated as "hell" is γέεννα (gehenna), a direct loan of Hebrew ge-hinnom. Apart from one use in James 3:6, this term is found exclusively in the synoptic gospels. Gehenna is most frequently described as a place of fiery torment (e.g. Matthew 5:22, 18:8-9; Mark 9:43-49); other passages mention darkness and "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (e.g. Matthew 8:12; 22:13).
Apart from the use of the term gehenna (translated as "hell" or "hell fire" in most English translations of the Bible; sometimes transliterated, or translated differently ), 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). 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).
The New Testament also uses the Greek word hades, usually to refer to the abode of the dead (e.g. Acts 2:31; Revelation 20:13). 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 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. In Revelation 20:13-14 hades is itself thrown into the "lake of fire" after being emptied of the dead.
Eastern Orthodox concepts of hell
Basic Orthodox teachings on hell
- Eastern Orthodox views
The Eastern Orthodox church teaches that Heaven and Hell are being in God's presence which is being with God and seeing God, and that there no such place as where God is not, nor is Hell taught in the East as separation from God. One expression of the Eastern teaching is that hell and heaven are being in God's presence, as this presence is punishment and paradise depending on the person's spiritual state in that presence. For one who hates God, to be in the presence of God eternally would be the gravest suffering. Aristotle Papanikolaou  and Elizabeth H. Prodromou  wrote in their book Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars that for the Orthodox: "Those theological symbols, heaven and hell, are not crudely understood as spatial destinations but rather refer to the experience of God's presence according to two different modes." Some Eastern Orthodox express personal opinions that appear to run counter to official church statements, in teaching hell is separation from God.
Contrary to Western Christianity, the Eastern Orthodox church believes in mystery and Apophatic Theology, not in Scholasticism. Because this is so, there is no single official teaching of the church. The Eastern Orthodox doctrine of Hell is derived from the universal sayings and teachings of the saints and Church Fathers. These sayings and teachings are not in agreement on all points, and no Ecumenical council accepted by the Eastern Orthodox church has formulated doctrine on Hell, so there is no single official teaching.
Images of hell
According to Theodore Stylianopoulos, "many Orthodox saints and writers assume the general view of hell as a place of punishment, even by means of material instruments such as fire, whether of the soul after death or both soul and body after the resurrection". Saint John Chrysostom pictured hell as associated with "unquenchable" fire and "various kinds of torments and torrents of punishment".
Eastern Orthodox icons of the Last Judgment often depict the various torments inflicted on sinners in hell. Pages 66–69 of John-Paul Himka's Last Judgment Iconography in the Carpathians provides an illustrated description of some such 15th-century Carpathian icons based on a northern Rus' prototype (p. 193). The depiction in these particular icons, a depiction that may have developed from 12th-century Greek and South Slavic depictions differentiating sinners and their punishments (p. 68), is referred to by Himka as "the new hell", "because various sinners are being punished in a squarish area with torments that did not appear in the standard Byzantine iconography" (p. 42).
Icons based on The Ladder of Divine Ascent by John Climacus show monks climbing a 30-rung ladder to heaven represented by Christ, or falling from the ladder into hell, often represented by an open-jawed dragon.
Nature of hell
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (which, when published in 1992, Pope John Paul II declared to be "a sure norm for teaching the faith",), defines hell as a state involving definitive self-exclusion from communion with God:
- 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." 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. 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."
Catholic teaching has not defined whether hell can be considered a place: "The Church has decided nothing on this subject."
Many have considered it to be a place. Some have rejected metaphorical interpretations of the biblical descriptions of hell, and have attributed to hell a location within the earth, while others who uphold the opinion that hell is a definite place, say instead that its location is unknown.
Other Catholics neither affirm nor deny that hell is a place, and speak of it as "a place or state". Ludwig Ott's work "The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma" said: "Hell is a place or state of eternal punishment inhabited by those rejected by God". Robert J. Fox wrote: "Hell is a place or state of eternal punishment inhabited by those rejected by God because such souls have rejected God's saving grace." The interpretation of official Roman Catholic teaching on the matter given by Evangelicals Norman L. Geisler and Ralph E. MacKenzie is that "Hell is a place or state of eternal punishment inhabited by those rejected by God."
The Catechism published by Pope Pius X in 1908 defined hell by using the word "state" alone: "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."
Pope John Paul II stated on 28 July 1999 that, in speaking of hell as a place, the Bible uses "a symbolic language", which "must be correctly interpreted … 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." Some have interpreted these words as a denial that hell can be considered to be a place, or at least as providing an alternative picture of hell. Others have explicitly disagreed with the interpretation of what the Pope said as an actual denial that hell can be considered a place. and have said that the Pope was only directing attention away from what is secondary to the real essence of hell.
In a homily that he gave on 25 March 2007, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "Jesus came to tell us that he wants us all in heaven and that hell, of which so little is said in our time, exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to his love." Journalist Richard Owen's interpretation of this remark as declaring that hell is an actual place was reported in many media
Nature of suffering in hell
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire", and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire". The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
Although the Catechism explicitly speaks of the punishments of hell in the plural, calling them "eternal fire", and speaks of eternal separation from God as the "chief" of those punishments, one commentator claims that it is non-committal on the existence of forms of punishment other than that of separation of God: "Even the Roman Catholic church, which has long maintained the existence of "pains of sense" in hell, seems of late to be heading in a separationist direction. The recent Catechism is ambiguous, neither denying nor confirming the existence of physical torments." Another interpretation is that the Catechism by no means denies other forms of suffering, but stresses that the pain of loss is central to the Catholic understanding of hell.
Saint Augustine of Hippo said that the suffering of hell is compounded because God continues to love the sinner who is not able to return the love. According to the Church, whatever is the nature of the sufferings, "they are not imposed by a vindictive judge"
"Concerning the detailed specific nature of hell ... the Catholic Church has defined nothing. ... It is useless to speculate about its true nature, and more sensible to confess our ignorance in a question that evidently exceeds human understanding."
The varying Protestant views of "hell", both in relation to Hades (i.e., the abode of the dead) and Gehenna (i.e., the destination of the wicked), are largely a function of the varying Protestant views on the intermediate state between death and resurrection; and different views on the immortality of the soul or the alternative, the mortality of the soul. For example John Calvin, who believed in conscious existence after death, had a very different concept of hell (Hades and Gehenna) to Martin Luther who held that death was sleep.
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.
Eternal torment view
One 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)
According to the Alliance Commission on Unity & Truth among Evangelicals (ACUTE) the majority of Protestants have held that hell will be a place of unending conscious torment, both physical and spiritual, although some recent writers such as Anglo-Catholic C. S. Lewis and J.P. Moreland have cast hell in terms of "eternal separation" from God. Certain biblical texts have led some theologians[who?] 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).
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. According to ACUTE some Protestants[who?] 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.
View of conditional immortality and annihilationism
- "It is enough for us to know that souls do not leave their bodies to be threatened by the torments and punishments of hell, but enter a prepared bedchamber in which they sleep in peace".
According to the Evangelical Alliance U.K. (ACUTE) a "significant minority" of Protestants believe in the doctrine of conditional immortality, 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".
Prominent evangelical theologians who have adopted conditionalist beliefs include John Wenham, Edward Fudge, Clark Pinnock and John Stott (although the last has described himself as an "agnostic" on the issue of annihilationism). Conditionalists typically reject the traditional concept of the immortality of the soul.
Seventh-day Adventists hold a conditional immortality and annihilationism viewpoint: that the wicked will perish. They do not believe the wicked will suffer in hell as a place of conscious eternal punishment, but instead teach conditional immortality. Adventists believe that the soul ceases to exist upon death and that Biblical depictions of punishment for the wicked by fire describe the final fate of living sinners after the second coming of Christ.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that at the second coming, Christ will come for the righteous who have died along with the living righteous. The second coming of Jesus Christ marks the beginning of the millennium, and the righteous dead will be resurrected (the "first resurrection", Revelation 20:5), and both they and the righteous living will be taken to heaven to reign with Christ for 1000 years. God will kill the rest of humanity (the wicked, or unrighteous) leaving only Satan and his fallen angels on earth, with earth devoid of human life.
During the millennium, Satan and his angels will occupy the desolate earth; the "binding" of Satan described in chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation. The millennium will also be the time when the wicked will be judged. Satan and his angels will be loosed at the end of the millennium, when the wicked, or unrighteous are brought back to life to face judgement. At the close of the millennium, Christ will again return to earth together with the righteous and the "Holy City" (the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:10). He will then raise the wicked (the "second resurrection"), who will surround the New Jerusalem along with Satan. At this point God will permanently destroy Satan, his angels, and wicked humanity who will suffer annihilation in the lake of fire ("the second death", Revelation 20:8). Finally, after the wicked perish in the lake of fire, God will create a new earth where the redeemed will enjoy eternal life free of sin and suffering.
Teachings of other groups
Though a theological minority in historical and contemporary Christianity, some holding mostly Protestant views (such as George MacDonald, Karl Barth, Hans Urs von Balthasar, William Barclay, Keith DeRose and Thomas Talbott) 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.
Christian Universalism teaches that an eternal hell does not exist and is a later creation of the church with no biblical support. Reasoning by Christian Universalists includes that an eternal hell is against the nature, character and attributes of a loving God, human nature, sin's nature of destruction rather than perpetual misery, the nature of holiness and happiness and the nature and object of punishment.
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.)
Jehovah's Witnesses believe the Bible presents "Hell", as translated from "Sheol" and "Hades", to be humanity'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)
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. 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.
A particular difference that affects their belief regarding Hell is their belief regarding the soul. Unlike religions that believe the soul is something immortal (or "conditionally immortal") that lives on after death, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the soul is a living body itself, referring to the literal translation of the original language terms. (Ezekiel 18:4; compare Genesis 2:7, 3:19)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that the word Hell is used scripturally in at least two senses. The first is a place commonly called Spirit prison which is a state of punishment for those who reject Christ and his Atonement. This is understood to be a temporary state in which the spirits of deceased persons will be taught the Gospel and have an opportunity to repent and accept ordinances of salvation.
Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) believe that righteous people will rise in a "first resurrection" and live with Christ on earth after His return. After the 1000 years, the individuals in spirit prison will also be resurrected and receive an immortal physical body. 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." It is in this sense of the word "Hell" that David prayed to the Lord, "thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell".
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. Other mortals who during their lifetime become sons of perdition, those who commit the unpardonable sin, will be consigned to outer darkness. It is taught that the unpardonable sin is committed by those who "den[y] the Son after the Father has revealed him". 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. 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". The scripture asserts that those who are consigned to this state will be aware of its duration and limitations.
Notes and references
- ^ New Bible Dictionary third edition, IVP 1996. Articles on "Hell", "Sheol".
- ^ noted(RSV mg. "Gehenna": in Mk. 9:47)
- ^ 2 Peter 2:4
- ^ a b c d e "Hell." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
- ^ What the Bible says about Death, Afterlife, and the Future, James Tabor
- ^ a b c New Bible Dictionary 3rd edition, IVP Leicester 1996. "Sheol".
- ^ New Bible Dictionary 3rd edition, IVP Leicester 1996. "Hell".
- ^ Hades
- ^ : Mt 11:23; 16:18; Lk 10:15; Ac 2:27,2:31; Rev 1:18; 6:8; 20:13-14. Some late Greek manuscripts, which are followed by KJV and NKJV, have ᾅδης in 1 Cor 15:55
- ^ The King James Version translates "ᾅδης" 9 times as "hell" and once as "grave" (in 1 Cor 15:55)
- ^ The ©2010 New International Version translates "ᾅδης" 7 times as "Hades", and 2 times as "realm of the dead"; the ©1984 NIV translates it 4 times as "Hades", twice as "depths", twice as "grave", and once as "hell".
- ^ The English Standard Version translates "ᾅδης" 8 times as "Hades" and once as "hell".
- ^ The Contemporary English Version translates "ᾅδης" twice as "hell", once as "death", twice as "grave", once as "world of the dead", three times as "death's kingdom".
- ^ The New Living Translation renders "ᾅδης" once as "place of the dead", twice as "the dead" and six times as "the grave".
- ^ Gehenna
- ^ Mt 5:22, 5:29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 23:33; Mk 9:43, 9:45, 9:47; Lk 12:5; James 3:6.
- ^ ταρταρόω (uncontracted form of the contracted verb ταρταρῶ used in the New Testament)
- ^ 2 Peter 2:4
- ^ New Bible Dictionary 3rd ed., IVP, Leicester 1996. Article "Hell", pages 463-464
- ^ a b c New Dictionary of Biblical Theology; IVP Leicester 2000, "Hell"
- ^ Evangelical Alliance Commission on Truth and Unity Among Evangelicals (ACUTE) (2000). The Nature of Hell. Paternoster, London. pp. 42–47.
- ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2012:5&version=PHILLIPS
- ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2012:5&version=AMP
- ^ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke%2012:5&version=YLT
- ^ http://www.watchtower.org/e/bible/mt/chapter_005.htm?bk=mt;chp=5;vs=22;citation#bk22
- ^ a b c d e Evangelical Alliance Commission on Unity and Truth among Evangelicals (2000). The Nature of Hell. Acute, Paternoster (London).
- ^ 
- ^ Having reached this point, we will turn our attention to those aspects of differences between Roman and Frankish theologies which have had a strong impact on the development of difference is the doctrine of the Church. The basic difference may be listed under diagnosis of spiritual ills and their therapy. Glorification is the vision of God in which the equality of all mean and the absolute value of each man is experienced. God loves all men equally and indiscriminately, regardless of even their moral statues. God loves with the same love, both the saint and the devil. To teach otherwise, as Augustine and the Franks did, would be adequate proof that they did not have the slightest idea of what glorification was. God multiplies and divides himself in His uncreated energies undividedly among divided things, so that He is both present by act and absent by nature to each individual creature and everywhere present and absent at the same time. This is the fundamental mystery of the presence of God to His creatures and shows that universals do not exist in God and are, therefore, not part of the state of illumination as in the Augustinian tradition. 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. One can see how the Frankish understanding of heaven and hell, poetically described by Dante, John Milton, and James Joyce, are so foreign to the Orthodox tradition. This is another of the reasons why the so-called humanism of some East Romans (those who united with the Frankish papacy) was a serious regression and not an advance in culture. Since all men will see God, no religion can claim for itself the power to send people either to heaven or to hell. This means that true spiritual fathers prepare their spiritual charges so that vision of God's glory will be heaven, and not hell, reward and not punishment. The primary purpose of Orthodox Christianity then, is to prepare its members for an experience which every human being will sooner or later have. EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 
- ^ a b 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.EMPIRICAL THEOLOGY VERSUS SPECULATIVE THEOLOGY by John S. Romanides part 2 
- ^ Thus it is the Church's spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God's splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light. ... those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God ... But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (St. Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises) The Orthodox Church of America website 
- ^ For those who love the Lord, His Presence will be infinite joy, paradise and eternal life. For those who hate the Lord, the same Presence will be infinite torture, hell and eternal death. The reality for both the saved and the damned will be exactly the same when Christ "comes in glory, and all angels with Him," so that "God may be all in all." (I Corinthians 15-28) Those who have God as their "all" within this life will finally have divine fulfillment and life. For those whose "all" is themselves and this world, the "all" of God will be their torture, their punishment and their death. And theirs will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:21, et al.) The Son of Man will send His angels and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of sin and all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. (Matthew 13:41-43) According to the saints, the "fire" that will consume sinners at the coming of the Kingdom of God is the same "fire" that will shine with splendor in the saints. It is the "fire" of God's love; the "fire" of God Himself who is Love. "For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29) who "dwells in unapproachable light." (I Timothy 6:16) For those who love God and who love all creation in Him, the "consuming fire" of God will be radiant bliss and unspeakable delight. For those who do not love God, and who do not love at all, this same "consuming fire" will be the cause of their "weeping" and their "gnashing of teeth." Thus it is the Church's spiritual teaching that God does not punish man by some material fire or physical torment. God simply reveals Himself in the risen Lord Jesus in such a glorious way that no man can fail to behold His glory. It is the presence of God's splendid glory and love that is the scourge of those who reject its radiant power and light. ... those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God ... But love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed! (St. Isaac of Syria, Mystic Treatises) The Orthodox Church of America website 
- ^ "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."
- ^ 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". 
- ^ "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". 
- ^ Proper preparation for vision of God takes place in two stages: purification, and illumination of the noetic faculty. Without this, it is impossible for man's selfish love to be transformed into selfless love. This transformation takes place during the higher level of the stage of illumination called theoria, literally meaning vision-in this case vision by means of unceasing and uninterrupted memory of God. Those who remain selfish and self-centered with a hardened heart, closed to God's love, will not see the glory of God in this life. However, they will see God's glory eventually, but as an eternal and consuming fire and outer darkness. From FRANKS, ROMANS, FEUDALISM, AND DOCTRINE/Diagnosis and Therapy Father John S. Romanides Diagnosis and Therapy 
- ^ Regarding specific conditions of after-life existence and eschatology, Orthodox thinkers are generally reticent; yet two basic shared teachings can be singled out. First, they widely hold that immediately following a human being's physical death, his or her surviving spiritual dimension experiences a foretaste of either heaven or hell. (Those theological symbols, heaven and hell, are not crudely understood as spatial destinations but rather refer to the experience of God's presence according to two different modes.) Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars page 195 By Aristotle Papanikolaou, Elizabeth H. Prodromou 
- ^ Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov) speaks of "the hell of separation from God" (Sophrony, The Monk of Mount Athos: Staretz Silouan, 1866-1938 (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-913836-15-X), p. 32).
- ^ "The circumstances that rise before us, the problems we encounter, the relationships we form, the choices we make, all ultimately concern our eternal union with or separation from God" (Life Transfigured: A Journal of Orthodox Nuns, Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 1991, pp.8-9, produced by The Orthodox Monastery of the Transfiguration, Ellwood City, Pa.).
- ^ "Hell is nothing else but separation of man from God, his autonomy excluding him from the place where God is present" (the World, of the Church: A Paul Evdokimov Reader (St Vladimir's Seminary Press 2001 ISBN 0-88141-215-5), p. 32).
- ^ "Hell is a spiritual state of separation from God and inability to experience the love of God, while being conscious of the ultimate deprivation of it as punishment" (Father Theodore Stylianopoulos).
- ^ "Hell is none other than the state of separation from God, a condition into which humanity was plunged for having preferred the creature to the Creator. It is the human creature, therefore, and not God, who engenders hell. Created free for the sake of love, man possesses the incredible power to reject this love, to say 'no' to God. By refusing communion with God, he becomes a predator, condemning himself to a spiritual death (hell) more dreadful than the physical death that derives from it" (Quenot, The Resurrection and the Icon (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1997 ISBN 0-88141-149-3), p. 85).
- ^ Orthodox Christianity also rejects such teachings as the Immaculate Conception, purgatory, and other uniquely Roman Catholic doctrines. 
- ^ St George Greek Orthodox Church
- ^ Epistle I to Theodore of Mopsuestia
- ^ Robin Cormack, Icons (British Museum Press 2007 ISBN 0-674-02619-5), p. 20
- ^ "Fidei depositum". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1992-10-11. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_19921011_fidei-depositum_en.html. Retrieved 2011-01-14.
- ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1033
- ^ Joseph Hontheim, "Hell" in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Retrieved 3 September 2010
- ^ "Hell was a place of eternal suffering for sinners.", Flatt, 'Religion in the Renaissance", p. 8 (2009)
- ^ "No cogent reason has been advanced for accepting a metaphorical interpretation in preference to the most natural meaning of the words of Scripture" (Hontheim 1910).
- ^ "Theologians generally accept the opinion that hell is really within the earth" (Hontheim 1910)
- ^ "It is certain from Scripture and tradition that the torments of hell are inflicted in a definite place. But it is uncertain where the place is" ( Addis & Arnold (eds), "A Catholic Dictionary Containing Some Account of the Doctrine, Discipline, Rites, Ceremonies, Councils, and Religious Orders of the Catholic Church: Part One", p. 404 (1903).
- ^ Ott, "The Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", p. 479 (1955).
- ^ Fox, "The Catholic Faith", p. 262 (1983).
- ^ Geisler & MacKenzie, "Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: agreements and differences", p. 143 (1995).
- ^ LESSON THIRTY-SEVENTH: On the Last Judgment and the Resurrection, Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, (Question 1379)
- ^ Pope John Paul II, Audience Talk, 28 July 1999
- ^ "Hell is traditionally considered a literal place of eternal torture, but the Pope has also described hell as the condition of pain that results from alienation from God, a thing of one's own doing, not an actual place.", Burke, Chauvin, & Miranti, "Religious and spiritual issues in counseling", p. 236 (2003).
- ^ "This suggests correctly that although hell is not essentially 'a place' rather the definitive loss of God, confinement is included. Thus, after the general resurrection the bodies of the damned, being bodies not spirits, must be in 'some place', in which they will receive the punishment of fire" ("Heaven, Hell and Purgatory: Pope John Paul II", Eternal Word Television Network).
- ^ "In the common sense of the word 'place', if you were to say 'Hell is not a place', you would be denying that hell exists. Unfortunately, some thought that the Pope, in the statement quoted above, was denying that hell is a place in this sense. He was, of course, doing nothing of the sort. Thus, to return to the Pope’s words again, John Paul II must not be misinterpreted when he said 'Rather than [or more than] a place, hell indicates [a] state….' He certainly was not denying that it is a place, but instead was shifting our focus to the real essence of hell—what the term 'hell' truly indicates—the self-chosen separation from God. The 'place' or 'location' of hell is secondary, and considerations of where it is should not deflect us from our most important concerns: what it is, and how to avoid it" ("Hell: the Self-Exclusion from God").
- ^ Text on the Holy See website
- ^ CiNews of 28 March 2007
- ^ The Times, 27 March 2007, reported "Hell is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, the Pope has said" (The Fires of Hell Are Real and Eternal, Pope Warns). Fox News reproduced the article as published on The Times, under the heading:"Pope: Hell Is a Real Place Where Sinners Burn in Everlasting Fire" (Pope: Hell Is a Real Place Where Sinners Burn in Everlasting Fire). The Australian published Owen's article on its 28 March 2007 issue (Hell is real and eternal: Pope). The Canadian National Post of 28 March 2007, quoting The Times, reported: "Pope Benedict XVI has been reminding the faithful of some key beliefs of their faith, including the fact hell is a place where sinners burn in an everlasting fire" (Hell 'exists and is eternal,' Pope warns). The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette of 3 April 2007, again referring to The Times, reported: "Pope Benedict XVI has reinstated hell as a real place where the heat is always on" (Playing with fire).
- ^ "The Green Catechism (1939-62) said: Hell is a place of torments. God made hell to punish the devils or bad angels, and all who die in mortal sin. No one can come out of Hell, for out of Hell there is no redemption" (Crawford & Rossiter, "Reasons for Living: Education and Young People's Search for Meaning" (2006). p. 192).
- ^ "Hell is the place and state of eternal punishment for the fallen angels and human beings who die deliberately estranged from the love of God" (work by Fr. Kenneth Baker published by Ignatius Press ).
- ^ "What do we mean by "hell"? Hell is the place and state of eternal punishment for the fallen angels and human beings who die deliberately estranged from the love of God. The existence of hell, as the everlasting abode of the devils and those human beings who have died in the state of mortal sin, is a defined dogma of the Catholic Church" (Baker, "Fundamentals of Catholicism" (1983), volume 3, p. 371).
- ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1035
- ^ Charles Steven Seymour, "A Theodicy of Hell', p. 82 (2000).
- ^ "Hell is the natural consequence of a life lived apart from God. The terrible suffering of hell consists in the realization that, over the course of a lifetime, one has come, not to love, but to hate one's true good, and thus to be radically unfit to enjoy that Good. It is this pain of loss that is central to the Catholic understanding of hell. Imagine the predicament of one who both knows that God is the great love of his life, and that he has turned irreversably away from this love. This is what hell is" (J. A. DiNoia, Gabriel O'Donnell, Romanus Cessario, Peter J. Cameron (editors), The Love That Never Ends: A Key to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 45).
- ^ a b Berard L. Marthaler, The Creed (Twenty-Third Publications 2007 ISBN 978-0-89622-537-4), p. 211
- ^ Zachary J. Hayes, in Four Views on Hell Zondervan 1996 ISBN 0-310-21268-5), p. 176
- ^ John Anthony O'Brien, The Faith of Millions: The Credentials of the Catholic Religion, pp. 19-20
- ^ Calvin Psychopannychia
- ^ Luther Exposition of Salomon's Booke etc.
- ^ Bruce Milne (1998). Know the Truth, 2nd ed.. IVP. p. 335.
- ^ C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, 1946
- ^ Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith, 2000
- ^ Millard Erickson (2001). Introducing Christian Doctrine, 2nd ed. Baker Academic.
- ^ Weimarer Ausgabe 43, 360,21-23 (to Genesis 25,7-10): also Exegetica opera latina Vol 5-6 1833 p120; "Sufficit igitur nobis haec cognitio, non egredi animas ex corporibus in periculum cruciatum et paenarum inferni, sed esse eis paratum cubiculum, in quo dormiant in pace."
- ^ Edward Fudge, Robert A. Peterson Two views of hell: a biblical & theological dialogue p122 2000 "When asked his opinion of certain artists' conceptions of hell, Luther replies (in his exposition of Jonah 2:3) that hell's torments will be worse than anyone can imagine. "
- ^ The Nature of Hell. Conclusions and Recommendations. Evangelical Alliance. 2000. http://www.eauk.org/theology/acute/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageid=9164.
- ^ Guild, E.E. 'Arguments in Favour of Universalism'. http://www.tentmaker.org/books/InFavorCh20.html
- ^ What Really Is Hell? - Jehovah's Witnesses Official Web Site
- ^ "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.
- ^ "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."
- ^ True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004, LDS Church. "Hell," p. 81
- ^ Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138
- ^ a b LDS Church. "Chapter 46: The Last Judgment", Gospel Principles, 294.
- ^ Doctrine and Covenants 88:100-101.
- ^ Doctrine and Covenants 19:10-12.
- ^ Psalms 16:10.
- ^ Moses 5:22-26.
- ^ LDS Church, Guide to the Scriptures: Hell; see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:43-46.
- ^ Doctrine and Covenants 29:36-39.
- ^ Doctrine and Covenants 76:45-46.
- ^ "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."
- The Conditional Immortality Association of New Zealand Inc. is a non-profit organization established to promote a Biblical understanding of Conditional Immortality, Soul Sleep and Annihilationism as taught throughout Scripture.
- The Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on hell
Aztec mythology (Mictlan) · Buddhism (Naraka) · Chinese mythology (Diyu) · Persian mythology (Duzakh) · Christianity (Purgatory · Limbo · Hell) · Ancient Egyptian religion (Duat) · Germanic and Norse paganism (Hel · Niflheim) · Greek mythology (Hades · Tartarus) · Hinduism (Naraka · Patala) · Islam (Barzakh · Jahannam) · Jainism (Naraka) · Judaism (Gehenna · Sheol) · Shinto (Yomi) · Turkic-Mongolian (Erlik)
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