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In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him.
At the General Audience of Wednesday, 28 July 1999, the Holy Father reflected on hell as the definitive rejection of God. In his catechesis, the Pope said that care should be taken to interpret correctly the images of hell in Sacred Scripture, and explained that "hell is the ultimate consequence of sin itself... 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".
1. God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him. It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell. It is not a punishment imposed externally by God but a development of premises already set by people in this life. The very dimension of unhappiness which this obscure condition brings can in a certain way be sensed in the light of some of the terrible experiences we have suffered which, as is commonly said, make life "hell".
In a theological sense however, hell is something else: it is the ultimate consequence of sin itself, which turns against the person who committed it. It is the state of those who definitively reject the Father's mercy, even at the last moment of their life.
Redemption nevertheless remains an offer of salvation which it is up to people to accept freely. This is why they will all be judged "by what they [have done]" (Rv 20:13). By using images, the New Testament presents the place destined for evildoers as a fiery furnace, where people will "weep and gnash their teeth" (Mt 13:42; cf. 25:30, 41), or like Gehenna with its "unquenchable fire" (Mk 9:43). All this is narrated in the parable of the rich man, which explains that hell is a place of eternal suffering, with no possibility of return, nor of the alleviation of pain (cf. Lk. 16:19-3 1).
3. 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 andjoy. 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).
Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it. The thought of hell — and even less the improper use of biblical images — must not create anxiety or despair, but is a necessary and healthy reminder of freedom within the proclamation that the risen Jesus has conquered Satan, giving us the, Spirit of God who makes us cry "Abba, Father!" (Rm. 8:15; Gal. 4:6).
*[Note: The original Italian says, "(Più che) More than a place, hell indicates..." 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.] return to text
At the General Audience of Wednesday, 4 August 1999, following his catecheses on heaven and hell, the Holy Father reflected on Purgatory. He explained that physical integrity is necessary to enter into perfect communion with God therefore "the term purgatory does not indicate a place, but a condition of existence", where Christ "removes ... the remnants of imperfection".
Judgment ENG375/AHI318 Spring 2023 Time: Monday, 6:30 pm - 9:10 pm Location: Virtual Instructor: SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Diane Christian Email: email@example.com Office hours: To be determined and by appointment. Teaching Assistants: Marc Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org Office hours: TBD and by appointment.. Isaac Kolding email@example.com Office hours: TBD and by appointment. This course will consider great verbal and visual texts of eternalreward and punishment -- images and stories of heaven, hell and judgmentfrom ancient Sumer to modern film. We will study the Sumerian goddess Inanna'sdescent to the great below, the Egyptian weighing of the soul, classicalunderworlds, blessed places and judgment scenes. We'll also consider theChristian Apocalypse and medieval illuminations, Romanesque churches, Dante's Inferno and Paradiso, mystic visionaries, Michelangelo,Signorelli and Bosch, and Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.We'll finish with the 1946 classic film A Matter of Life and Death (Stairwayto Heaven). Syllabus and Schedule of Readings Schedule of Images Online
The Christian vision of the afterlife is far from uniform across branches and denominations of the religion, but in this apologetic book, Jerry L. Walls seeks to outline a philosophically-informed account that has the potential to appeal to those across the Christian spectrum. In addition to chapters on heaven, hell, and purgatory, Walls examines related topics such as personal identity, the problem of evil, and morality. The part of the book that will garner the most attention is surely the defense of a version of the doctrine of purgatory, since the Protestant Walls might reasonably be expected to reject the doctrine, as most Protestants do.
This is a pattern repeated over the course of the book: Walls is much more convincing when defending his doctrines philosophically than he is when trying to show their consistency with scripture. To give a further example, Walls suggests that God will not give up on any of his creatures, even after judgment, and will thus extend to those in hell the opportunity to be saved, which they may seize if they so wish (200 ff). The philosophical grounds for allowing such post-mortem conversions are indeed strong, at least if one considers God to be a God of love, as Walls clearly does. Scriptural support for the idea of post-mortem conversions is thin on the ground, however. Even worse, passages such as Matthew 7.21-23, 13.36-43; Luke 13.23-30, 16.19-31; John 5.28-29; Revelation 20.11-15; and Hebrews 9.27-28 seem to rule it out altogether. Unfortunately, Walls mentions only two of these, and his discussion of them is rather more cursory than one might expect in a work of apologetics. The target audience of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory is thus likely to rue that there is not a greater engagement with the biblical data to support the fine philosophical thinking that constitutes the heart of the book.
Lilith is cast down to Hell for rebelling against God. She thinks she will be sent to one of the nine circles of hell, tortured for eternity. But Lucifer has other plans for the fallen angel.
While most U.S. adults also believe in hell, this belief is less widespread than belief in heaven. Roughly six-in-ten American adults (62%) say they believe in hell, though once again there are notable differences across subgroups of the population.
Across most Christian subgroups, smaller shares say they believe in hell than heaven. While roughly nine-in-ten Protestants in the evangelical and historically Black traditions believe in hell, only about seven-in-ten mainline Protestants (69%) and 74% of Catholics share this belief.
Roughly a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say that they do not believe in heaven or hell, including 7% who say they do believe in some kind of afterlife and 17% who do not believe in any afterlife at all.
Just as with heaven and hell, women are more likely than men to believe in reincarnation (38% vs. 27%), but the age pattern on this question differs from the ones observed on the prior two questions. Whereas younger Americans are less likely than their elders to believe in heaven and hell, younger adults are more likely to believe in reincarnation. Nearly four-in-ten adults under the age of 50 (38%) believe in reincarnation, compared with 27% of those ages 50 and older.
Finally, what about purgatory? Although Augustine and Dante famously argued for a post-death purgatorial cleansing (an afflicted limbo state between hell and heaven), this doctrine is simply not found in the Bible. Martin Luther denied the doctrine of purgatory as having any scriptural basis, and the original true Church of God never taught this doctrine. 2b1af7f3a8