The Hell You Say?

People often ask about how a loving God can allow hell.  Since tonight is supposedly “Devil’s Night”  (though I much rather think of it as “The Baptized Stick a Finger in the Devil’s Eye Night”) I thought I’d share a little reflection on how I make sense of these two seemingly diametrically opposed concepts of a loving God and Eternal Punishment.

When the question of Hell comes up, I suggest to people that Hell is nothing more than the fire of God’s love licking at the hearts of those who can’t melt.

Huh?

Well, nothing exists without God or outside of God.   When we die, we will be utterly dependent upon God for our continued existence.  Being utterly dependent upon the one being you have spent your life hating, ignoring, and rejecting and simultaneously having nowhere to run, no way to hide, and no way to reject at least a minimum of his presence, represents, to my mind the fires of Hell: a constant torment of being surrounded by the flames of an all consuming love you cannot recognize, cannot accommodate to, and cannot escape.

St. Augustine was once asked what God does to the souls in  hell.  His reply?  “He loves them.”  The above represents my attempt to make sense of his reply.

Happy Halloween

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About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit www.CatholicCounselors.com.

  • Jordan

    I’ve always liked that explanation, along with some saints who’ve said something to the effect of the door to Hell being locked from the inside, and people really sending themselves there if they continue to refuse God’s love. It’s like being at a party where everyone’s enjoying themselves, and you just feel like sulking and being angry at all the happy people (that’s a really childish explanation, haha, but I think it helps a bit).


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