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Saturday, 15 December 2012

More on hell: a superb article by Fr. Longenecker


To help with the current discussion on line on hell, Father Dwight Longenecker has this excellent article on hell. Read it and ponder. Here is a section.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/2012/12/is-anybody-there-in-hell-that-is.html


Does that mean God would cast someone down into hell to be tortured forever? Perhaps this too, can be seen the other way around. Is God too good to send someone to hell? It could be that God is so good that he actually gives everyone exactly what he or she wants. If we have spent our whole lives pursuing love, goodness, beauty and truth, then after death we may get exactly what we always wanted and find ourselves in a land where love, goodness, beauty and truth are as natural and abundant as light. On the other hand, if our whole lives are spent in an insane flight from all that is good, beautiful and true, then perhaps God in his goodness will also give us exactly what we always wanted; and that would be existence in a madhouse with no exit where love, beauty, goodness and truth were unknown: an existence in the outer darkness with gibbering maniacs like ourselves.
Life pans out, and despite our greatest efforts, we almost always end up getting what we really want. In fact, this sort of justice is built into the system. We will get what we want just as naturally and certainly as an acorn becomes an oak tree. Giving people what they really want is natural justice. To do otherwise would be cruel. We think everyone ought to go to heaven, but can we imagine that a person who hated God, goodness, truth and beauty all his life would actually enjoy heaven? If they could visit that place of eternal beauty and laughter they would howl with serious terror and run with all their might in the other direction. We know this is true because there are people in this life who hate truth, beauty, and goodness and do everything in their power to flee from the light.

2 comments:

Anita Moore said...

There is a hell, and we can all end up there. I think we don't want to face up to the fact that, thanks to original sin, we are all perfectly capable of doing what this guy in Connecticut did. I suspect that's why so many people always assume that works of colossal evil are necessarily the fruit of insanity. It's amazing how many people still think there are no truly evil people in the world, even in a world that has seen Hitler and Pol Pot and Stalin and George Tiller and Jeffrey Dahmer. This kind of thinking keeps us from begging for grace.

Anonymous said...

This post reminds me of the old "Insight" Catholic programming episode in which a egotistical man goes to hell. For him, hell is a series of mirrors which reflect him to himself and his pained yelling and screaming is repeated like an echo. This is his hell and there is no escape!