After the last post on hell someone asked, “So did God create Hell just so there could be the cross?” No, the logical connection between the cross and hell assumes that hell already existed and that is why the cross was necessary.
So did God create Hell? Not really. The Bible does say that hell was ‘prepared’ for the Devil and his angels, but I don’t think Hell is created in the same active way that God created the world. instead Hell is a sort of a by product of God’s creation. The logic works like this: God is Love. Love is not only what He is but what He does. Love is not only what He does, but what He is. One of the most important attributes of Love is that it is fruitful. Therefore God is a creator. He creates man and woman in his image. Part of being in God’s image is that we are given a little smidgen of his omnipotence. This is called free will. Within the boundaries of our human condition we can do what we like.
We can therefore reject God. If we reject God then we cannot be in his presence. Indeed if God were to make us go to heaven it would not be heaven for us because in rejecting God we also (ultimately) reject all things good and beautiful and pleasurable and true. If we reject all those things we will end up with all things miserable and ugly and painful and false.
If we are created in God’s image, then we not only have a smidgen of his omnipotence, we also have a smidgen of his eternal life. That means we will live forever somewhere. If we reject God and all that is good, where will we spend eternity? We must spend it in a place where God is not, where good is not, where beauty is not and where love is not. This is the place we call Hell.
Christ died on the cross to save us from this place.
Coincidentally, I just finished a painting of the Last Judgment. I feel like we really need a wake up call to the reality of judgment and last things. You can see the painting here
Good post overall, Father. I would offer up just one point in clarification.When you say that Hell is a place where God is not, I think that this requires more explanation. All that exists, exists because God sustains or keeps it in existence. Another way of saying this is to say that everything that exists is contingent upon God’s necessary existence.This being the case, it follows that God must somehow be present to Hell in order to sustain it; otherwise it would not exist. Thus, in some sense God is present to Hell (though of course not “in” Hell, in the sense that the damned are in Hell). I have heard God’s relationship to Hell as described as Him being “present without care”. I take this to mean that He has hardened His heart to the damned, because the damned have, as you point out, rejected God through the exercise of their free will. Whatever the explanation, I think it is important to recognize that God does relate to Hell in some limited respect, otherwise it would vanish into non-existence.-ELH
Hell is destruction.By living destruction (the act), we will be left destroyed and in destruction (the place).
Great post, Father! I was wondering…why do you think so many people don’t believe in hell anymore? Is that viewpoint unique to the 21st century?
Hell did not exist until Lucifer fell, correct? God made it especially for him, so to speak. Yes?
Good post father. Thanks.
Matt 25:41 says hell was “prepared” for the devil and his angels so I don’t think its quite correct to say God did not create hell. The word prepared requires the understanding of positive action. Hell was not a passive result but a positive work.
It is time to post this link, I think:River of Fire
Another view is that of the Eastern Church. God, being present everywhere, is of course present in Hell. But those who reject Him perceive His love as painful. This is the nature of the fires of hell.
New to this site, first time. Great posts. I read a life-changing book in ’02 that fostered my return home to the true faith that year. I bought it to feed my then-macabre side, and it is called “Tales of an Exorcist Priest”, by Fr. Gabriel Amorth. Little did I know that I was going to get minimal wierd stories and a slamdunk summary of the Catholicism, which I needed at that time (Our Father knows exactly what we need, doesn’t He?).In any case, Fr. Amorth is the chief exorcist of the diocese of Rome, and has written a few books on his experiences. In one instance Fr. Amorth recalls during an exorcism that he (or maybe his mentor, Fr. Candidi-sp?- been awhile since I read it) told the demon(s) to return to the warm place that Jesus prepared for them. The demon(s) responded that he was a fool because while it was there for them, they themselves made/make it the miserable and agonizing place that it is now. They, by their rejection of God, “created” it, that is to say, rejection of God is hell. These demons though seem to give detail on the fact that they are the ones themselves, not God, who fuel the misery and agony and fire that it is because outside of Love/God, that’s all you have left, and sans Love, the only thing you can beget is more fire, and agony, and misery.I recalled that as I read Father’s post and the comments following. Now I don’t place that book above, say, the Catechism! But, it certainly flows with what Father has said. Not to contradict Scripture, of course, I don’t think it does that, either, even though Matt 25:41 says that it was prepared for the demons.However when I scale down to my experiences as a parent I do understand “tough love”, and I think all of us know/understand that God does not want to lose any onoe of His precious souls but will let them reject Him if they so choose. Yet, as a parent, He will take each one of these lost and anger-filled souls back the moment they repent!Thanks for reading, and God Bless.
good explanation, Father.