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PostPostano: 09 lip 2015 20:36 
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5. Wouldn't the known pains of the damned spoil the heavenly bliss of the saved?
Answer: First, how could God let grief eternally blackmail joy? Second, there are no people in Hell, only "remains." All people are loved. Third, Heaven and Hell do not coexist in time, like Earth and Mars. Heaven's eternity has the cosmic monopoly on all lived times. Heaven includes all kairos; Hell includes none. There are no lives in Hell to pity. Fourth, there is no common space either. Heaven is a real place, but Hell is not. Heaven is gloriously real; Hell is a state of mind." Fifth, the blessed, like God, know and love all, and that love is experienced as torture by the damned. Finally, like God, the blessed love and care and pity only actively, not passively (to use a distinction that has already proved useful)."

6. If in a God-created universe "all that is, is good," then either Hell is not, or Hell is good.
Answer: In one sense, Hell is not, as blindness is not. They exist, but only as privations. Darkness is not a thing, like light, but the absence of a thing. The joylessness, purposelessness, and meaninglessness of Hell are not positive being but the absence of joy, purpose, and meaning. In another sense, Hell is good. The good and proper thing to do with garbage is to burn it. God would not tolerate Hell unless it were proper, and best, and just, and even consonant with His love. Thus Aquinas's boldly consistent reasoning draws the conclusion that the blessed rejoice over the justice of God manifested in Helps-not because they lick their vindictive chops but because "all that is, is good"" and they see and praise the good in everything.

7. The main objection to Hell is surely God's tremendous, surprising, miracle-working love. Couldn't this love do something about this problem of Hell? If God is infinitely good and infinitely powerful, how can He allow Hell?
Answer: This is the same. problem as the problem of evil on earth. If God is infinitely good and infinitely powerful, how can there be evil? For if He is infinitely good, He wills only the good, and if He is infinitely powerful, He can do all that He wills. The answer to the problem of evil is the same on earth and in Hell: free will. In fact, the answer to the question: If God is love how can there be Hell? is that only because God is love can there be Hell! God's love created the highest creatures, free creatures, creatures who were also creatures of their own destinies, and some of them created Hell. God did not have to create free creatures. He could have limited Himself to infallibly obedient plants and animals. But love plays dangerous games, and love holds nothing back. Love gives what it is, and love is free, therefore love gives freedom. The only reason we know that God is love is divine revelation: Jesus, Scripture, and the Church. But all three also assure us that there is Hell. Both doctrines are surprises. Revelation infinitely extends our expectations in both directions, the heights and the depths. It shows us as potential gods and goddesses and potential fiends; it shows us "Christ in you, the hope of glory"" and the "Hitler in ourselves.""

8. If Hell is involuntary, if God forces us into it against our will, then God is neither just nor loving. But if Hell is voluntary, then we must be insane to make that choice. What is more insane than preferring Hell to Heaven? But the insane are not responsible for what they choose, and it is uncharitable, unjust, and unnecessary to punish them for their ignorant choices. Whoever chooses Hell must be mentally sick, not wicked.
Answer: This is Plato's old saw about evil being only ignorance. It simply contradicts experience, first of all our experience of our own wickedness. The argument here posed against Hell applies equally to earthly sin, and the solution is the same. Sin exists; we do make foolish and wicked choices. Evil is not mere ignorance, or sickness, for we are not responsible for sickness, but we are responsible for evil. If evil is only sickness, we are not responsible and not free. The deepest problem of Hell, then, is psychological, not theological. We got God off the hook, but how can we get man on the hook? How can we understand "the mystery of iniquity"? Is there real, free, responsible evil? Worse, is it in ordinary people, not just sadists? Worst of all, is it in me? The best and wisest of us are the surest that it is. It is always the saints who insist they are the worst of sinners. When we see a Hitler we say, like the Pharisee, "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men." The saint says, "There but for the grace of God go I." Now either the saints are greater fools than we, or greater sages. Either sanctity is a pious delusion, or it is wisdom. Either the closer we get to God the farther we get from true self-knowledge, or the closer. The choice is hardly up for grabs. How unthinkably arrogant we would have to be to patronize the saints, to tolerate their delusions with a smug and snobbish assurance that they were only exaggerating. They have looked long and deep into the human heart; do we know that heart better than they do? Worse, do we know it better than God, who says "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked"? Our picture of wickedness is usually incredibly childish and simplistic. We seldom really feel anything but physical cruelty to be evil, perhaps because we seldom feel anything but physical pleasure to be good." If your imagination as well as your faith needs to be convinced, read the most frightening book I have ever read, Charles Williams's Descent Into Hell. It is a psychologically sophisticated and credible picture of an ordinary man choosing Hell. It may well convince you of the real possibility of Hell for you. Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 23 lip 2015 10:16 
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How is it possible to prefer Hell to Heaven? Let us see.


What we understand depends on what we love. Only if we will God's will will we understand His teaching." Similarly, only if we love our friend, will we understand him. Now when we are selfish, when our summum bonum is the satisfaction of our own will (and this is our natural state!), we tend to believe the philosophy of selfishness. We believe that Hell is more desirable than Heaven because Hell is pure selfishness and Heaven pure selflessness. We are not saints because we believe sanctity is joyless, onerous, and inhuman. We separate goodness and joy and prefer joy. The greatest work of non-Christian thought in history, Plato's Republic, was written to convince us of exactly the opposite, that justice (goodness) is always more profitable (happier, healthier, more joyful) than injustice. But the devil is a deceiver, and can make us not only be selfish but believe in selfishness, confusing Heaven and Hell. Take this little bit of Hell to its logical conclusion, and you have the motivation for our preferring Hell to Heaven. That is why faith is so necessary. Our experience, conditioned as it is by our fallenness, is not reliable. It is open to demonic deception. Satan tells us the forbidden fruit of "my will be done" will make us happy. God tells us it will kill us." The first question is: Whom do we believe? Plato was half right: if we really believed holiness always made us happiest, we would be holy." Plato's mistake was to seek to remedy our ignorance merely by reason, not faith. Plato also forgot that our ignorance was in turn caused by evil;" it is not invincible but vincible and culpable ignorance." Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 02 srp 2015 21:06 
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If "[nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God,"" then how can Hell separate us?
Answer: It doesn't. It only makes us closed to it, it makes love feel like wrath and joy feel like torture. God's love is inescapable. It is everywhere, even in Hell. "If I make my bed in hell, thou art there."3° God loves the garbage in Hell. But it does not love Him. That is what makes its condition Hell rather than Heaven.


Psychological Reasons for the Loss of Hell


Hell is usually the first of Christian doctrines to be abandoned, for there are at least six strong psychological pressures in the direction of its abandonment in the typically modern mind.
1. Evolution is our new myth, our overall structuring concept, our uncriticized assumption. This accounts for such spontaneous "refutations" of Hell as: "Are you living in the Twentieth Century or the Dark Ages?" What is behind the rhetoric is a dying but still dominant humanism, a faith in man despite Auschwitz, Hiroshima, the Gulag, Cambodia, and Jonestown. We are shocked when we hear about these things. Previous generations were not; they believed in evil. We are still Chamberlain at Munich when it comes to the soul.
2. We do not believe in dualism, especially moral good evil dualism. That is why Eastern religions are so popular in the modern West: they are monistic. They, like we, do not believe in sin or Hell. This entails loss of belief in free will, for free will can choose only between two really distinct objects. If all roads lead to the same place, we can only accept and not reject; all are inevitably blended into one Heaven. That is also why totalitarianism, collectivism, and communism are popular today; as in Eastern religions, the individual and his terrible burden of responsibility and freedom are removed. Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 14 srp 2015 17:22 
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3. We do not believe in objective values. Our picture of the objective world is merely that of science: matter, time, and space. Everything else, including good and evil, are subjective. Our model for objective reality is a rock rather than God, matter rather than spirit. Without an objective spirit, objective values have no place, no home. How could a value be "out there" like a stone?
4. We think of ourselves as having progressed in our appreciation of the value of love. But this is counterbalanced by our subjectivizing and sentimentalizing of love as mere kindness or tolerance. Thus we think of love as the rival of justice, and forget the necessity of justice. It is true that justice without love is hardness of heart; but love without justice is softness of head. We usually have a "straw man" concept of justice as mere legalism, or else an unjust concept of justice as equality of result rather than of opportunity, sameness rather than hierarchy and harmony: the "justice" of a mass age. If love is reduced to kindness and justice to sameness, of course God could not allow Hell.
5. Loss of belief in the supernatural entails loss of belief in Hell, both directly, and indirectly through the link of loss of belief in the divinity of Christ. If Christ is a mere man, He can be patronized away as a child of His time on the Hell issue. But if His wisdom is not merely ancient, or merely Jewish, but eternal and universal; if He is Who He claims to be (and if He isn't, then He is insane)"-why, then, He must know. If there is no Hell, there is no need for salvation, only good teaching and example-thus the humanists' Christ. Salvation from ignorance needs only a man; salvation from Hell needs a God.
6. A final reason for the decline of belief in Hell is simply its unpopularity coupled with modern popularism: believing whatever is popular rather than whatever is revealed. John describes it candidly: "they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." The purely practical argument of Pascal's "wager," as a last resort, should hold the dikes of sanity against this madness; but few are as sane or sensible as Christopher Hollis, who concludes his autobiography thus: I believe without hesitation in Purgatory and am more doubtful about hell. The only reason why I am hesitant about complete repudiation is the fact that there are some strange and violent threats in the Gospels of which at any rate the apparent meaning is that we cannot be indifferent to the threats of what the Mass calls "final damnation." Whoever has the arranging of the Last judgment it will not be me. So it is of little importance what I may think about it. My friend Smitt-Ingerbretsen was the Chairman of the Religious Committee of the Norwegian Government. It fell to him to give advice to the King what doctrine the King as head of the State Lutheran Church should pronounce about hell. His natural instinct was to be liberal, but then he reflected on the possibility that, if he denied all possibility of damnation, "my constituents, they will go to the Last judgment, and they will say, 'Mr. Smitt-Ingerbretsen said it would be all right,' and Almighty God, He will say, `Who the hell is Mr. Smitt-Ingerbretsen?' and I shall look like a bloody fool." He was a very sensible man." Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 19 srp 2015 17:58 
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Is Hell Fire or Loneliness?

Hell Is Not External


Just as Heaven is not a mercenary reward of physical pleasure for spiritual success, so Hell is not a mercenary punishment of physical pains for spiritual failure. First, it is not physical; or external;' second, it is not a mercenary, superadded punishment;' third, it is not brought about by failure: even failures can enter Heaven, through the gracious gate of repentance. The images of Hell in Scripture' are not to be taken literally, that is, as something other than images. But they are to be taken seriously, because they point to something more, not less, horrible than the literal images denote.' Hell is a state of mind. Nothing on earth has as much potency for good or evil, pleasure or pain, joy or horror, as the mind. Unlike Heaven, Hell is only a state of mind. In fact, ... every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind-is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heaven] In reality, the damned are in the same place as the saved-in reality!' But they hate it; it is their Hell. The saved love it, and it is their Heaven. It is like two people sitting side by side at an opera or a rock concert: the very thing that is Heaven to one is Hell to the other. Dostoyevski says, "We are all in paradise, but we won't see it."' Hell is not thrust upon us from without. Hell grows up from within, a spiritual cancer. It emerges from our freedom and eats away that freedom, just as a cancer eats its host. Hell is not literally the "wrath of God." The love of God is an objective fact; the "wrath of God" is a human projection of our own wrath upon God, as the Lady Julian saw'-a disastrous misinterpretation of God's love as wrath. God really says to all His creatures, "I know you and I love you," but they hear Him saying, "I never knew you; depart from Me." It is like angry children misinterpreting their loving parents' affectionate advances as threats. They project their own hate onto their parents' love and experience love as an enemy-which it is: an enemy to their egotistic defenses against joy.' The existence of a Hell and the nature of Hell as something other than external punishment of fire and brimstone are both confirmed by the medically dead and resuscitate '° These "death-travellers," especially suicides, often found r themselves in a place strikingly similar to the "grey town" in C. S. Lewis's Great Divorce (which none of them, apparently, had read): a dreary place in which all the earthly problems they had tried to escape were intensified-naturally, since our problems are never merely outside us but inside us, and we can never escape ourselves. Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 23 srp 2015 18:54 
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Hell Is Sin


Hell is not just punishment for sin; Hell is sin itself in its consummation. Sin is its own punishment just as "virtue is its own reward."" It is the state of spiritual death." The wages of sin is sin. The popular concept of Hell is eternal life with pain rather than eternal death. The popular concept comes from Greek philosophy, which believes the soul cannot die" because it is its own source of life," a little god. Scripture derives the soul's life from God." Thus souls can die when cut off from God, just as bodies can die when cut off from their source of life, the soul. When the soul leaves the body, the body is neither annihilated nor remains a body; it is transformed into a corpse. And when the life of God leaves the soul, the soul is neither annihilated nor remains a soul; it dies." It becomes spiritual garbage, and Hell is the dump where the garbage is burned. Sin-Hell-spiritual death-the three terms mean the same thing: separation from God. Sin means only in the second place specific acts of disobedience ("actual sin"). It means in the first place the state of "original sin" that underlies particular acts of sin: spiritual sterility, lifelessness. God's life is offered us every moment. He says to each as He said to Mary: May My Spirit impregnate you with My life so that My Son can be born in you?' The Annunciation is for all, not just Mary, for Mary is a type of the Church, that is, us." If we repeat Mary's fiat, it is done; Heaven enters the soul, Christ is reproduced in us. If not, not. And this "not" is Hell. If a free proposal is made, a free refusal is possible. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" He stands at the door and knocks." If the door remains locked, it becomes the door of Hell. C. S. Lewis shows how this can happen to an ordinary person in his short story, "The Shoddy Lands." Peggy's egocentrism shuts her off from "the taste for the other." At one point, as she hears her boy friend pleading, "Peggy, Peggy, let me in," she also hears (perhaps in the first voice) Another standing at her door and knocking, Someone Who is soft as wool and sharp as death, soft but unendurably heavy, as if at each blow some enormous hand fell on the outside of the shoddy sky and covered it completely. And with that knocking came a voice at whose sound my bones turned to water, "Child, child, child, let Me in before the night comes." Hell is the refusal of this divine guest of the soul. Hell is our declaration of independence against our divine husband. It is not a passive suffering but an active rebellion. Even Hell's pains are active, not passive. Even earthly pains are active: the fear or hatred or rebellion of spirit against the knife, not the knife itself. When drugs or yoga stop the inner rebellion, the pain is no longer pain. If even earthly pains are active attitudes of spirit, how much more the pains of Hell. Here is a very practical consequence of the notion that Hell is sin: If Hell is sin, sin is Hell. We have all been in Hell-at least its porch, its outer borders-many times (and, by the grace of God, out again). The practical difference this makes is that if believed, it is a great deterrent against sin. We sin because we see sin as a bargain. We unconsciously calculate that it's worth it, that it pays, that "justice is not more profitable than injustice." Sin seems to be simply a choice between alternative life-styles on earth. But if we realize that all sin is Hellish, if we see sin as Hell wearing an earthly mask, we will fly to the Father in fear. Such fear is not a bad thing: "while there are wild beasts about, it is better to be afraid than secure." We have seen that Hell is not external but internal, that Hell is sin itself, and that the essence of sin is spiritual sterility, lifelessness. We now see. Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 25 srp 2015 15:10 
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The Consequences of Lifelessness: Lovelessness


Since God is love, since love is the essence of the divine life, the consequence of loss of this life is loss of love. In Hell there is only hatred and refusal-of everything, of all four things that exist, all four things we can either love or hate: God, ourselves, others, and the world. The damned hate God because God demands they repent, and that hurts their pride, it is the death of their egotism. They see God as the enemy of what is dearest to them: their own demand to be their own God and create idols to worship. It is very easy to hate God. God is a killer." Hatred of God leads to hatred of oneself, for the self-the true self-at its heart is the image of God, is a God-shaped vacuum, is a love and longing for God. The damned hate this in themselves because they hate God, just as the blessed love themselves because those selves love God: the blessed love themselves for God's sake and the damned hate themselves for God's sake." Even here on earth the good hate their own love of evil, and the evil hate their love of good. Others are equally images of God and equally hated for this reason by the damned. Others are also part of the world and hated for the same reason the whole world is hated: the world is God's love made visible. Though the damned do not love God, God loves them, and this is their torture. The very fires of Hell are made of the love of God! Love received by one who only wants to hate and fight thwarts his deepest want and is therefore torture. If God could stop loving the damned, Hell would cease to be pure torture. If the sun could stop shining, lovers of the dark would no longer be tortured by it. But the sun could sooner cease to shine than God cease to be God. "Our God is a consuming fire." All that can be consumed, will be consumed, so that only the unconsumable will remain." Self must be consumed, must die, in order to rise. There is no other way to eternity." The blessed embrace that blessed death of the sinful self they hate, and it is to them supreme bliss. The damned refuse it (but that does not make it any less necessary; the fire burns on whether we feel it as life-giving warmth or destructive pain), and it is their supreme torture. Thus Heaven and Hell are the very same objective reality, the only one there is, the only game in town: the fire of. God's love, which is His essential being. In a sense, everything is Heaven. Earth is Heaven as a seed. Purgatory is Heaven's kindergarten. Hell is Heaven refused. Heaven is Heaven accepted. Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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PostPostano: 26 srp 2015 09:09 
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The Consequences of Lovelessness. Lightlessness


The lovelessness of the damned blinds them to the light of glory in which they stand, the glory of God's fire. God is in the fire that to them is Hell. God is in Hell ("If I make my bed in Hell, Thou art there.' But the damned do not know Him. For when it comes to knowing a person, knowledge depends on love: only when we love a person do we really know him. The damned do not know God because they do not love Him." It is the "pure in heart," the lovers, who see God." The sun of God is in Hell too, but He is eclipsed by the moon of hate. We know God only when we freely affirm our being known by God, when we willingly stand in the light, when we "confess" like the Psalmist in Psalm 139. C. S. Lewis says: We are always completely . . . known to God. That is our destiny whether we like it or not. But though this knowledge never varies, the quality of our being known can... When we assent with all our will to be so known, then we treat ourselves, in relation to God, not as things [objects] but as persons [subjects]. We have unveiled. Not that any veil could have baffled this sight. The change is in us. The passive changes to the active. Instead of merely being known, we show, we tell, we offer ourselves to view... By unveiling, by confessing our sins and "making known" our requests, we assume the high dignity of persons before Him." As Augustine says, "If I would not confess to You... I should only be hiding You from myself, not myself from You. But suppose we do flee instead of confessing? Then we will cry out to the mountains to fall on us and the rocks to hide us" from the inevitable and irresistible divine gaze that becomes our torture, our Hell. Job flirts with Hell when he says: What is man, that you should make so much of him, subjecting him to your scrutiny, that morning after morning you should examine him and at every instant test him? Will you never take your eyes off me long enough for me to swallow my spittle? Suppose I have sinned, what have I done to you, you tireless watcher of mankind? Sartre embraced Hell when, as he relates in his autobiography, he felt the presence of God "only once" and "flew into a rage... whirled about... blasphemed... [until] He never looked at me again" and when he repudiates Daniel's conversion in Le sursis-Daniel is converted when he realizes he is an object to God's knowledge." That is precisely Hell to Sartre, because he believes that when others know us, they objectify us, reduce us to an object, deny our freedom; thus "Hell is other people. In contrast, Jane in C. S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength overcomes this natural rebellion against being an object to God. Jane had thought that "Religion" ought to mean a realm in which her haunting female fear of being treated as a thing, an object... would be set permanently at rest and what she called her "true self" would soar upwards and expand in some freer and purer world. For still she thought that "Religion" was a kind of exhalation or a cloud of incense, something steaming up from specially gifted souls toward a receptive Heaven. Then, quite sharply, it occurred to her that the Director never talked about Religion; nor did the Dimbles nor Camilla. They talked about God. They had no picture in their minds of some mist steaming upward; rather of strong, skilful hands thrust down to make, and mend, perhaps even to destroy. Suppose one were a thing after all-a thing designed and invented by Someone Else and valued for qualities quite different from what one had decided to regard as one's true self? Being a real self is a matter of degree. The more we endure God's gaze, the more real we are. Adam became less real, less authentic, less solid and substantial after the Fall when he hid from God. God could hardly see him when He called, "Where are you?" Adam was fading, getting a little closer to the Hell of hearing "I never knew you." Hiding from God, he then hid from Eve, by covering his nakedness and by passing the blame ("The woman whom thou gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate""). If God's gaze is your Hell, if truth is your Hell, then you are in Hell everywhere and every-when and forever, for truth is everywhere and every-when and forever. Peter Kreeft "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Heaven"

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