Thank you for sharing that piece by St. John of R. He puts things so succinctly and simply, yet seems profound and true...
I'm sure you checked out St. Faustina's revelations of hell that I shared earlier on this thread. Notice how so many people, Protestants and even atheists, have independently described their revelations of hell in very similar ways.
I had a few brief glimpses of hell. A few years ago, I had experienced these momentary 'dips' of my soul into a place of sheer torment. The only way I could describe it was like being held down and tortured with no way out. Each time, and it was maybe 3 or 4 times total that this happened, the Spirit rushed to help me as I burst out a few words of prayer in tongues. The last time I emerged from this agony, I heard the Lord reveal to me: "When you wish somebody to hell, a part of you goes there with them!" And I instantly recalled that I had recently been so angry with somebody for hurting a loved one that I did have the wish that they would go to hell. I did curse that person, in a sense.
I shared this with the prayer group I was involved with at the time, and they blessed me by walking me through an earnest prayer of repenting and renouncing my evil thoughts. I was eager to renounce every dark, hateful impulse I ever had toward anyone. This kind of 'punishment' / justice was a great teacher for me.
Since this experience, I have been utterly convinced of the existence of hell and the importance of maintaining purity, even in our thoughts.
I've been keeping up with the research on the "God particle," which is not the same as the "God gene." The particle is a hypothetical, and still hasn't really been confirmed, except inferentially. Of course, it's not really meant to be a proof of God, but is only physicists way of referring to a "particle" (not really the right word -- more like a non-energetic impetus, which still doesn't capture the idea) that gives atomic particle their mass. If they do happen to learn more about this, it will be very interesting, as it seems to be the first movement of what's bubbling up from the beyond -- right along the God/creation interface.
Here's the scoop on the God gene.
Personally, I don't have a problem with a "God gene" insofar as we can expect the dynamism of the human spirit in its openness to transcendence to be integrated with our physiology. Like all other genes, it could either be activated or not (or partially so). Who knows but that something like kundalini might be related to the activation of such a gene? That doesn't collapse spirituality into materialism and reductionism, but provides a way to account for concomitant mystical phenomena.
I found this sentence particularly interesting. About 10 years ago I had a horrible trip on LSD that may have crossed over from drug induced to demonically induced. During that trip I felt like the world was ending and I was going to hell for my sins. I felt my skin starting to burn and cried out for the Lord to rather annihilate me. But then I felt pressure from within my being, as though I would burst into nothingness. But before that happened I cried out again and begged the Lord not to destroy me, which again brought on the sense of burning. I don't know how long this process continued back and forth for, but I can tell you it was hell. Eventually I sat down and began praying the Lord's prayer, but my prayers felt as though they were simply echoing out across an empty void. Eventually I received help from a Christian friend of my mothers and I committed my life to Christ.
The quote certainly speaks to my inability to let the Lord destroy me, even though I was in hell - Thankfully the experience eventually ended...sobering thought that for some it may never do so.
I was struck by that sentence too. Your story does seem to support that idea.
I like Phil's suggestion that it seems God would have to 'unmake' the damned souls to spare them from eternal hell.
I think what Rusybroeck is describing is the experience of the spiritual nature of the soul. Recall the classical teaching that the human soul is a spiritual substance created to give life to a physical body, and that the soul, as spirit, is immortal. Iow, the understanding is that spirit does not disintegrate into simpler fragments as the body does at death, but goes on, and cannot be destroyed unless God wills it to be so. This is a sobering thought: that we shall live forever. The question is in what condition?
Btw, I don't know if any of you peek in on rogertutt's "Snippets from the hard copy" on this board.
- see https://shalomplace.org/eve/for...4073808/m/6674036018
His last few concern how the doctrine of hell brought terror to his life.
I read some of the testimonies. Very saddening. The other links in his post are worth reading as well. There are consequences for any doctrine, and this is one of them.
i John 3: 21&22 is also doctrine -- Good doctrine for the fearful and the scrupulous to be swimming in.
Hell is a non-issue for the obedient, for those who remain in the vine. There is NO reason for fear or anxiety for such as these.
That being said, "not being able to love (refusal to love) a god who would let anyone suffer forever" betrays a wrong posture before the Lord.
God is God after all, and we are creature.
Certainly, I am saddened to hear of Roger's nervous breakdowns.
However, they weren't caused by the doctrine of the existence of hell. Millions throughout history accepted and still now accept the doctrine of hell with no nervous breakdown issues.
Pop-popThis message has been edited. Last edited by: pop-pop,
It's about God-image, Pop -- a very powerful source of one's sense of meaning in life. Theology also plays a role, here. E.g., hard-core Christological exclusivists usually think that most non-Christians and even a sizable number of people who call themselves Christians (e.g., Catholics ) are going to hell. Calvinists believe that some are just predestined for heaven or hell, and this also influences one's God image.
Additionally, there is the issue of scrupulosity. It's a real suffering for many, and the prospect of hell for not "getting it right" is terrifying. Others, like Roger, can't abide the notion that God would punish anyone for eternity, as this implies a cruelty unto God that makes it difficult to love Him.
I've replied on his thread that no one goes to hell who isn't completely rejecting God, and so what can God do? I said more, repeating much from this thread.
But here's an interesting thought for all of us: God, we say, is all good. How many of you would condemn anyone to Hell for all eternity -- even stubborn, close-minded folk? I sure wouldn't, and I'm quite sure that God is at least as good and as merciful as I am. What I'd do is send them to the lower rungs of Purgatory and set up some pretty strong influences to help them open up. I've seen alcohol and drug abuse programs break open some tough shells; imagine what the angels could do in Purgatory! I know, I know: God's justice is not like ours, but what I'm proposing isn't unjust. Surely God is a lot more creative than I am.
No one ought to suffer from the fear of Hell! There's something very wrong about that.
Hell is about evil, not about God.
Evil exists and is a terrible reality and a supernatural reality at that.
While I understand your compassion and your point about confused God-image, I don’t think negation of the reality of hell and the reality of evil is a corrective for a skewed understanding of God -- that negation improves God-image, or that doctrines are ever a detriment to man’s happiness.
One condemns oneself to hell. God desires well-being for all humanity and no one is pre-destined because all have free will.
I agree with you that: ‘No one ought to suffer from the fear of Hell!’
One’s focus should be on the love and mercy of God and that hell is a non-issue for all who act uprightly. Acts 10:35 clearly tells us that “the man of any nation who fears God and acts uprightly is acceptable to Him.” The CoCC says the same.
Hell is about evil, not about God.
Negation of the reality of hell and the reality of evil is not a corrective for a skewed understanding of God. Such negation does not improve God-image. Rejection of God’s wisdom does not improve God image. Doctrines (revealed truths) are not a detriment to man’s happiness.
Suppleness to God and understanding of His teachings (all His teachings) improves God-image.
I realize that you (Phil) personally have not negated the reality of hell.
p.s. And if anyone wants to put me in the hard-core box you may — it’s a free country.
I suspect that the experience of horrendous abuse has more to do with a 'breakdown' than the doctrine about hell, per se. So many are taught about hell and God in the context of parent's distortions, manipulations, and even sadistic impulses.
From Roger's website:
When I was seven my stepmother lit a fire in a beaker and said to me, "If you don't open your heart's door to Jesus and invite Him in, God is going to put you into a fire much bigger and hotter than that after you die and He will never ever let you get out of it." So in my heart I prayed the way she said that I had to.
Awhile later she said it's obvious that you still are not saved because you are still such a bad boy. At that point in time I felt totally hopeless, and I was sure that God had given up on me.
My Dad used to beat me with a bamboo cane repeatedly shouting "In Jesus Name, in Jesus Name," until the welts on my legs would bleed. He told me that it was easy to tell at an early age that I was going to go to hell. Then they both sent me away to a foster home because they could no longer cope with my bad behavior. My real mother had died giving birth to me. My Dad's second wife had died at child birth too but the child did not live either. So at the age of seven I became convinced that everyone had given up on me, including God.
None of this negates your point that the image of God and hell can be repulsive to many. Ultimately God is responsible for His self image, right? Certainly our parents and teachers and leaders make Him look pretty awful at times.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Shasha,
In fact, hell is a testament to a loving God, to OUR loving Father, to His Divine Providence.
Hell is God’s eternal ENOUGH! It is the means, the vehicle for his once and for all
precluding any possibility of evil’s further assailing of the just, the good, the meek, the upright, all those who act uprightly – in short His kind of people. Hell is His means of eternally safeguarding us. It is His means of precluding evil in the form of the rebellious angelic realm who are enemies of God and His creatures, and evil in the form of that portion of mankind who have embraced evil, who have let Satan enter their hearts, have hardened themselves via their refusal to accept grace and act uprightly, who have let themselves be the pawns of evil, have chosen darkness rather than light, and have abused, bullied, victimized, raped, molested, intimidated, tortured, scorned, (perhaps even tackled from behind), injured and maliciously persecuted His own.
Hell is His means of assuring with eternal permanence that the Gails and Kristis of the world are forever protected from any psychic and physical mistreatment.
God knows better than you or I whose hearts are shot – forever cold and incapable of conversion. He knows who should be kept separated from the good; who have made a free-willed choice for evil. He knows how often and to what degrees He has endeavored to prevent their turning from the light. Let’s let Him judge all that -- and let’s not judge Him. Let’s give Him and his hell the benefit of the doubt. Let’s believe that He may be more compassionate than we even. Let’s not reject Him because hell exists. Let’s endeavor to believe that His revealed truths (those doctrines some feel are a detriment) may have merit for our well being. Rather than eliminate His truths let’s try to understand His truths. Rather than endeavoring to shape truth, let’s accept truth, and safeguard and defend His truths. He is truth after all. In a very real sense, He is His doctrines.
and it is these that i pray for daily pop pop.. as these are also children of God yet they do not know His love. ... those who commit horrible crimes against the human family and themselves.. not recognizing the face of God within it.
mentioned here before, Howard storms NDE and how after he died in was in a state of hell .. and he cried out to Jesus.... and Jesus came... completely transforming his life, then used by the Lord to waken the hearts of men .. like Ann Rice who was far from God at the time of her conversion... i am quite sure she looked pretty hopeless at one time in the EYES OF THE WORLD.. but she was .. not.
hell is what it is... i do not think anyone can fathom such a place.... and yes , there is evil on earth.. but Gods mercy triumphs, His Most Sacred Heart... and for me anyway.. ( and it has been this way since i was a tiny little girl).. a KNOWING that if any be left out of the kingdom.. His kingdom would not be complete...
Gods mercy.. unfathomable mercy for the whole world.. especially who have most need of it.
i do not believe for one second that God sees peoples in terms of " hearts are shot – forever cold and incapable of conversion.".. conversion is possible up to the last moment before death.. and even beyond if one is to believe Howard storms account.... which i do.
i have seen the face of God and the power of His mercy.. the choice here is to focus on That..
" let’s try to understand His truths. Rather than endeavoring to shape truth, let’s accept truth, and safeguard and defend His truths. He is truth after all. In a very real sense, He is His doctrines."
God does not need anyone to defend His truth...he is Truth. your words above, unwittedly are an unconscious attempt to " 'shape His truth', mentally be defining , thru your limited understanding.
Gods doctrines point to His truth but are NOT His truth.. He is NOT a doctrine. God is love which cannot be spoken or understood by the mind, but known only thru and heart... and even our hearts cannot contain the fullness of Him...
i rarely post here anymore.. but at times pop pop.. and i sincerely do not mean to be offensive here.. it is almost like you think the more words used conceptually , the more you can pin God down and make His Truth a knowable fact via the mind.... as if we can somehow mentally wrap God in concepts then we can say how He is.. we can't.
When we speak of hell in context of ANY living creature, as if we know what hell is and isn't .... we dont.
i do not in anyway think God looks at human beings in terms of God's knowing 'hearts being shot, forever cold and incapable of conversion'... that speaks directly against everything Jesus IS...Love .. UNFATHOMABLE LOVE, and this love doesn't see thru the lens of division..( words concepts .. this and that) it just doesn't.
Go pray my dear brother.. leave the world of concepts and form, mentally attempting to define God thru the meagerness of your mind.. sink deep within your spirit and touch even the outer most hem of God's love directly and you will see your brother and sister in ALL people ...........
The thing about Howard Storm and others who experienced "Hell" during their NDEs is that:
a. They didn't really die
b. If you go to Hell, you can cry out to God all you want but it will do no good.
Pop, it's not that I disagree with you about anything in particular, but think about what you yourself imply when you say things like "Hell is about evil, not about God." I would modify this by saying that it's about total evil, and it IS God's provision for those who completely reject grace.
Re. the part about evil, I think it's a really long shot that any human being is totally evil and completely closed to grace. Angels, yes, as their decisions are complete and definitive, but who knows what God might work out to steer even them? Surely they have a memory of the goodness they once knew?
There is goodness in every human being, and this goodness has some connection with God (James 1: 17). Some of the stuff we were taught as children about hell makes no sense to me now -- e.g., that you could live a good life in fellowship with God, keeping the commandments, etc., then miss Sunday Mass (or, worse, eat meat on Friday -- remember that one?) and be consigned to an eternity in Hell. Some of those teachings implied a monstrous God-image that turned me off even as a child.
I just don't know that human beings are really capable of complete and total rejection of God. Those who somehow manage to completely close themselves off to grace - - well, that would be Hell, for them, primarily because they would be so spiritually bankrupt, and because, in the afterlife, they would come into fellowship with other like-minded souls. Yes, that would be Hell.
Hell is His means of assuring with eternal permanence that the Gails and Kristis of the world are forever protected from any psychic and physical mistreatment.
Oh come on! Hell didn't prevent this mistreatment of them nor of millions of Jews during WWII.
But, yes, God's ways are not our ways, and I'm fairly convinced that we are just stammering when we come to a topic like this.
Excellent post Phil.. everything you wrote in this post i absolutely agree with..there IS goodness in every human being and this goodness does have some connection with God.
what you wrote: " I would modify this by saying that it's about total evil, and it IS God's provision for those who completely reject grace.
this is very much how in my heart i understand it.. God wants none to perish .. none.. but if one is absolutely insistent upon it.. then God has a provided a provision. but i cannot , even in my wildest dream understand what this would be like..much less why anyone would ever desire to go there and live eternally in that state..
even logically it makes no sense.
Hi all... been a long time for me too.
I must say I agree with Phil and Faustina. I do not believe anyone in his/her "right mind" would reject God/Love/Peace/Heaven, etc. etc.
And I do not believe that anyone who is NOT in his/her "right mind" CAN reject or accept God's Love. That alone is their hell in my opinion, but God has a way of reaching ALL, somehow, somewhere, some time.
WOW! LOL! Lot’s of counter viewpoints!
And gee, I had thought that what I had written was wonderfully put, too! (Vanity, thy name is Pop-pop). Aiyee! Sobering.
That said, let’s stammer just a tad more. Perhaps collectively you can show me the error of my thinking and can explain where I lose the bubble.
First off, I’d like to say that when I wrote of evil, indeed I was meaning ‘total evil’. I was thinking (and I thought writing) in terms of the rebellious angels (whom I anyway, consider totally evil -- though maybe some of you think otherwise) and that portion of mankind whose hearts were ‘shot’ (as I had put it) -- that is, those God knows to have totally and finally rejected Him. I thought that what I had written had been clear on that. Both of theses groups I believe must essentially be totally evil. Both of these groups I believe would be hell-worthy. And of course, I wrote based on my belief that there is indeed a hell.
My thinking in these regards is that man can reject God, and indeed that some do. I base this thinking on scripture which indicates that man has a free will and can and does indeed reject God, and that testifies to the existence of hell.
I must also admit that I had truly liked what I had written relative to the Gails and Kristis of the world. So, let me say that I do indeed realize that hell is not a preventative at this time (in the days prior to the Last Judgment) and that it couldn’t / wouldn’t preclude the assailing of mankind by the fallen angels nor that portion of mankind that embraces evil. As such, hell doesn’t in this era prevent the wrong use of man’s free-willed choices nor the assault of the demonic (who prowl the world seeking the ruin of souls – as they say) and thereby didn’t preclude G & K’s being victimized nor the genocide of millions of Jews during WWII. What I was endeavoring to express clearly was that hell would preclude in the eons after the Last Judgment all possibility of the upright from being assailed by those two groups that are totally evil; that hell is God’s safeguard for us in the period of eternity that will follow the Last Judgment. ‘Hell is His means of eternally safeguarding us.’ was how I had expressed it, meaning after the Last Judgment.
I am unfamiliar with Howard Storm. However, in any event, I put my faith in the authority of the revelation given us by Christ (and I am sure that you all would agree that Christ’s has primacy). So let’s keep to Christ’s as you help clarify my thinking.
So, I see things this way: man has free will (his greatest power). There are other scriptures but this one suffices nicely: (Sirach 15:11-20) “Say not: ‘It was God’s doing that I fell away’, for what He hates He does not do. Say not: ‘It was He who set me astray’, for He has no need of wicked man. Abominable wickedness the Lord hates, He does not let it befall those who fear Him. When God in the beginning created man, He made him subject to his own free choice. If you choose you can keep the commandments; it is loyalty to do His will. There are set before you fire and water, to whichever you choose stretch out your hand. Before man there are life and death, whichever he chooses shall be given him. Immense is the wisdom of the Lord; He is mighty in power and all-seeing. The eyes of God see all He has made; He understands man’s every deed. No man does He command to sin, to none does He give strength for lies.”
Some men in fact, use their free will and embrace evil (despite what you have written Christine and Katy, and despite God’s UNFATHOMABLE LOVE, man rejects God and God (as love necessitates) allows man to do so. Is that unfathomable or what? Thus we read in John 3:19 “The judgment of condemnation is this; the light came into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were wicked.” Thus we read in John 5:29: “Those who have done right shall rise to life, the evildoers shall rise to be damned”. And in John 12:48 “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words already has his judge, namely the word I have spoken, It is that which will condemn him on the last day.” In John 13:27 we read concerning Judas, “Immediately after, Satan entered his heart.” Thus one reads in Acts 5:1-11 of Ananias and Sapphira who both lied to the Holy Spirit and were struck down dead.
What do you believe the striking down of this couple tells us? About them? About God? About the possibility of losing one's salvation.
What does this scripture tell us? 2 Thess 2:11 & 12 – “Therefore God is sending upon them a perverse spirit which leads them to give credence to falsehood so that all who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evildoing will be condemned”
What does this mean: “Take care my brothers, lest any of you have an evil and unfaithful spirit and fall away from the living God?” (Heb 3:12)
Despite God’s unfathomable love, is it not possible that man can lose his salvation? Is not just such a possibility what is shown us by Heb 4:1, “Therefore while the promise of entrance into His rest still holds, we ought to be fearful of disobeying lest any one of you be judged to have lost his chance of entering”?
It seems to me that scripture shows us that while God is unfathomable love and mercy, it ain’t necessarily true that man will choose Him. I read that throughout the bible. Despite God’s unfathomable love and mercy, a third of the angelic realm exercised their free wills and did not respond to this very same loving God that you speak of. They chose disobedience and rebellion. You choose to believe that a similar choice cannot be made by man? You choose to believe that -- despite numerous scriptures that say otherwise? Christ said of the wide and smooth path to hell, that many choose to walk it. A similar third would constitute ‘many’ – though I have no idea of course what exact percentage will apply.
Christine, what I have written is simple scripture not fancy ‘concepts and form’. Certainly as you state God wants no one to perish. But certainly love by its nature must be something freely given. Man like the angels can be upright and obedient – or not. What God ‘wants’ versus what He ‘gets’ --- is not the same thing. It is not the same thing because our free wills are involved. The angels fell from grace willfully by choice, and we too (who already did fall in Eden) can similarly fall again from the grace offered through Christ,
If what I have written is not what Divine Revelation informs us, please point to where scripture and I disagree. I of course champion your daily prayers for sinners and your compassionate nature, and I definitely agree that God desires no man be lost and that God is infinite in mercy and so wants us to pray and evangelize. And I agree that as you have written: “God knows better than you or I whose hearts are shot – forever cold and incapable of conversion.” I never said I know who they are (or aren’t).
I believe as do you all in the inerrancy of scripture and that as Paul wrote to Timothy that ALL scripture is inspired and useful. Therefore I must also believe that God has clearly shown us that not only does He will all to be saved, but that He intends (wills) that there be a judgment so that in eternity the upright will be separated from all evil and evildoers (in the form of angels and humans), and that they be consigned to a place called hell for ALL eternity.
Therefore when we are praying ‘Thy will be done’ and praying ‘in Jesus’name’ and evangelizing, we need to be accommodating in our understanding ALL that God has shown us of His will and intent. And, btw, He Himself mentioned hell, judgment and sorting long before Pop-pop came on the scene and read His revelation. He himself put the entrance to heaven as a narrow gate and the road to hell as wide and smooth with ‘many’ walking it. So in all honesty, I find (vain meanie that I am) more fullness in my understanding than in yours.
Folk ‘truth shape’ whenever they dismiss, contradict, distort or neglect to mention what Divine Revelation informs us. Thus those who transpose the narrow gate and the wide smooth road in their applying scripture or dismiss the reality of hell and the possible eternal consequence of being judged as goat, chaff, evildoer, or one whom God will say He never knew, are truth shaping and not truth accepting. It is not for us as creatures to reject any or all of the fullness of God’s will as He has revealed it. To reject His will is to reject His wisdom. To reject any of the fullness of truth, the splendor of truth as some say, is to posture yourself as wiser and holier and more compassionate than He. To refuse to accept a God who intends a hell and a separation is as a minimum foolish. To evangelize its disappearance is a millstone I understand.
I tried to show that hell is a vehicle for God’s providential safeguarding of all men who have lived upright lives, that He loves us in such intent to safeguard and rewards and heals us in such a last judgment.
Anyway, I endeavor to wring you all a tad of peace from my ever-small heart and wish I had more than a tad, but alas, ever-small has been the limit of my grace -- thus far anyway.
You all of course with your fullness of grace can help in setting me on the firmer path of your understanding of all of scripture.
Meanie Pop-pop the anger maker.
Pop, I don't really disagree with anything you've written in your post above. All very good! I think the only question some of us were raising is if it is possible for one to completely reject God. I know that it is, theoretically, and if one does, then Hell is surely the fitting judgment for such souls.
Got to run. . . on vacation these days.
hey pop pop.. nice post.. i will post in a few days.. in the process of moving and it has been nuts around here.. no time to do anything other than pack & paint .................. also my dad is not doing well again.. so may be flying out to Seattle here soon.....
i will post .. it just isn't going to happen in the next few days...
thanks for taking the time you took to write and clarify your first post...makes more sense to me now...
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