God’s love and mercy are given even to those who go to hell. He respects our choice. He doesn’t send unjust punishment. He even limits the pain one receives.
God does not destroy the soul. For people, annihilation is kinder, but not to God. This is like people’s reasoning that a child should be aborted because he will have a defect and experience pain in life.
Utter evil has no substance, utter evil is nothingness. That is why even the damned are not annihilated. There is a trace of goodness in them that God will not allow to perish absolutely. There remains a purpose for their existence, some good that God desires to manifest and keep. Hell is the closest though as it could get to nothingness and separation from God. Maybe that is why it is also called as the abyss.
“For a damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself.” – C.S. Lewis
God shows how infinite His mercy and patience is. God awaits for eternity but none of the damned would repent. Amidst all the fire that shows the graveness of their sin, pain that reveals and screams of their error and the consequence of their separation from God, they would not turn back and would rather prefer it than accept God’s mercy. The damned keep on cursing Him and refusing Him yet God does not annihilate them nor show any injustice. God knows all these beforehand yet Jesus still suffered and died for all.
We may not understand it now but hell may yet be the kindest and most loving and just place for those who are damned. Here, their actions are limited. Here they hurt others no more. Here they don’t increase in sin and thereby increase their pain and darkness and separation from God. For even if God would allow all the damned to live on earth forever without the fires of hell, they would still suffer much because of their sins, sins that would only increase in malice and darkness. They would even hurt each other more and more and become more and more broken and dead in their soul.
GOD in His Justice and Mercy already gave us the gift of salvation when Jesus paid for our sins. All the we need is to accept His free gift. And if we do not, what more can God do?
God could never be unjust. If He merely tolerates sin, how could He be loving and merciful to those hurt by evil? Think of a good father who does not punish a child that hurt his brother and would not repent of his sins nor acknowledge the wrong he has done.
Hell is an eternal testimony to the defeat of evil, to justice, mercy and love. It helps those in heaven in humility, seeing what they deserved for their sins had they not been saved. It gives them gratitude for God’s salvation.
1. How can those in heaven be happy knowing some suffer in hell?
Our happiness comes from God and God is everything that is good and beautiful and wise. If God deems this best for the damned, those in heaven will agree with God. They will hate evil and love what is good like God. Here on earth we do not see sin as it is but in heaven we will know how repugnant it really is, how it separates us from God.
2. How can any man choose hell and be apart from God’s love?
Maybe they chose pride over love. They refuse to recognize and accept the goodness of God. They have closed themselves from God’s love.
Excerpt from Maria Simma, Amazing Secret of the Souls in Purgatory:
-What are the attitudes of heart which can lead us to losing our soul for good, I mean going to Hell?
-It is when the soul does not want to go towards God, when it actually says: “I do not want.”
Excerpt from St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul:
…I received a deeper understanding of divine mercy. Only that soul who wants it will be damned, for God condemns no one.
Excerpt from St. Bridget, Revelations to St. Bridget:
Then the Lord answered: “If I am so merciful, then, that I do not refuse pardon to anyone asking for it, ask me humbly for mercy yourself, and I will give it to you.” The devil answered him: “That I shall do by no means! At the time of my fall, a punishment was established for every sin, for every worthless thought or word. Every spirit that has fallen will have his punishment. But rather than bend my knee before you, I would rather swallow all the punishments myself, as long as my mouth can open and shut in punishment and be forever renewed to be punished again.”
Excerpts from C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce:
The choice of every lost soul can be expressed in the words ‘Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.’ There is always something they insist on keeping, even at the price of misery. There is always something they prefer to joy- that is, to reality. Ye see it easily enough in a spoiled child that would sooner miss its play and its supper than say it was sorry and be friends. Ye call it the Sulks. But in adult life it has a hundred fine names-Achilles ‘ wrath and Coriolanus’ grandeur, Revenge and Injured Merit and Self-Respect and Tragic Greatness and Proper Pride.
If ye put the question from within Time and are asking about possibilities, the answer is certain. The choice of ways is before you. Neither is closed. Any man may choose eternal death. Those who choose it will have it… Time is the very lens through which ye see-small and clear, as men see through the wrong end of a telescope -something that would otherwise be too big for ye to see at all. That thing is Freedom: the gift whereby ye most resemble your Maker and are yourselves parts of eternal reality.
3. If hell is not the answer, do we have a better alternative?
4. What about those people who are not Christian?
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium 16:
Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related in various ways to the people of God. In the first place we must recall the people to whom the testament and the promises were given and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh.(Rm 9,4-5). “On account of their fathers” this people remains most dear to God, for “God does not repent of the gifts he makes nor of the calls he issues” (Rm 11,28-29). But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator. In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.
Nor is God far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is he who gives to all men life and breath and all things, (Acts 17, 25-28) and as Savior wills that all men be saved (1Tim 2,4). Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do his will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with his grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life.
Revelations to St. Bridget:
Now, given that I am so merciful, you might ask why I am not merciful toward pagans and Jews, some of whom, if they were instructed in the true faith, would be ready to lay down their lives for God. My response is that I have mercy on everyone, on pagans as well as Jews, nor is any creature beyond my mercy.
With leniency and mercy I will judge both those people who, learning that their faith is not the true one, fervently long for the true faith, as well as those people who believe the faith they profess to be the best one, because no other faith has ever been preached to them, and who wholeheartedly do what they can. You see, there is a double judgment, namely the one for those to be condemned and the one for those to be saved. The sentence of condemnation for Christians will have no mercy in it [The phrase “no mercy” here could merely indicate the strictness of judgment, yet even for those in hell God shows mercy as discussed previously]. To them will belong eternal punishment and shadows and a will hardened against God. The sentence for those Christians to be saved will be the vision of God and glorification in God and goodwill toward God. Excluded from these rewards are pagans and Jews as well as bad and false Christians. Although they did not have the right faith, they did have conscience as their judge and believed that the one whom they worshipped and offended was God.
But the ones whose intention and actions were and are for justice and against sin will, along with the less bad Christians, share a punishment of mercy in the midst of sufferings due to their love of justice and their hatred of sin. However, they will not have consolation in the service of glory and of the vision of God. They will not behold him due to their lack of baptism, because some temporal circumstance or some hidden decision of God made them draw back from profitably seeking and obtaining salvation. If there was nothing that held them back from seeking the true God and being baptized, neither fear nor the effort required nor loss of goods or privileges, but only some impediment that overcame their human weakness, then I, who saw Cornelius and the centurion while they were still not baptized, know how to give them a higher and more perfect reward in accordance with their faith.
One thing is the ignorance of sinners, another that of those who are pious but impeded. Likewise, too, one thing is the baptism of water, another that of blood, another that of wholehearted desire. God, who knows the hearts of all people, knows how to take all of these circumstances into account. I am begotten without beginning, begotten eternally from the beginning. I was born in time at the end of times. From the commencement I have known how to give individual persons the rewards they deserve and I give to each according as he deserves. Not the least little good done for the glory of God will go without its reward. This is why you should give many thanks to God that you were born of Christian parents in the age of salvation, for many people have longed to obtain and see that which is offered to Christians and yet have not obtained it.”
Excerpt from Divine Mercy in My Soul:
Conversation of God with a Depressed Soul
Jesus: O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy.
-But the soul, deaf even to this appeal, wraps itself in darkness.
Jesus calls out again: My child, listen to the voice of your merciful Father.
-In the soul arises this reply: “For me there is no mercy,” and it falls into greater darkness, a despair which is a foretaste of hell and makes it unable to draw near to God.
Jesus calls to the soul a third time, but the soul remains deaf and blind, hardened and despairing. Then the mercy of God begins to exert itself, and, without any co-operation from the soul, God grants it final grace. If this too is spurned, God will leave the soul in this self-chosen disposition for eternity. This grace emerges from the merciful Heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand God’s effort; but conversion depends on its own will. The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and, should it show even a flicker of good will, the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.
My omnipotent mercy is active here. Happy the soul that takes advantage of this grace.
In the end, we get what we desire, either our desire for good or for evil.
Let God’s goodness not be an excuse for us however to be reckless. For if we continue to choose evil over and over in our lifetime, how could we expect to choose otherwise in the end?
Knowing that the damned will share a fate similar to fallen angels, they must also carry a sin with similar weight. The living still lack much knowledge that is why we can still be forgiven because we do not know as much. But once we reach the boundary of the next life and after receiving final grace, our final choice would determine what awaits us for eternity.
“I believe it to be for our good that His Majesty should lead us by this way, so that we may perfectly understand how worthless we are; for the graces which He gives afterwards are of a dignity so great, that He will have us by experience know our wretchedness before He grants them, that it may not be with us as it was with Lucifer.” – St. Teresa of Avila
“That which is impossible to thee is not impossible to me: I shall save my word in all things and I shall make all things well.” Thus I was taught, by the grace of God, that I should steadfastly hold me in the Faith as I had aforehand understood… For this is the Great Deed that our Lord shall do, in which Deed He shall save His word and He shall make all well that is not well. – Julian of Norwich
Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy. (Diary1588)
Write this: before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the Heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the Cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Saviour were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day. (Diary 83)