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Rose Lieberman wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why would a loving God allow a soul to suffer in Hell for all Eternity?

The key element here is the length of the suffering, not whether a person should suffer or not.

  • What does the sufferer learn under such conditions?

Rose

  { Why would a loving God allow a soul to suffer in Hell for all Eternity; what does the sufferer learn? }

Paul replied:

Hello Rose,

The assumption in your question seems to be that a certain amount of suffering will change the will of those who have chosen to reject God. That's not true for those who have definitively made this choice. Like the angels, that turned into demons when they rejected God, so too, humans without repentance make that choice, and will not have a change of heart after death.

God gives us a lifetime to repent and seek forgiveness; but once death occurs our will is fixed: we either love God or we hate Him. Those who hate God will never change after death. There is no learning, repenting, or changing of this kind after this temporal life of trial has ended.

Because angels and humans are persons, God respects the free and definite choice of both, even if that choice is to hate Him. That is why demons and the damned are in Hell, not because God wants them there, but because they choose it.

Note: We don't know how many humans are actually in Hell.

Peace,

Paul

Bob replied:

Rose,

This is a great question that takes a bit of reflection.

First, God made us in his own image, and that means, more than anything, that we have the ability to have a real loving relationship with Him.

  • Think about this, could you have the same kind of loving relationship with your dog that you would have with your husband?

While the love you have (for/with) your pet may be deep, even like a true and best friend, it could never match that of a true spouse; for that you have to be equals. So, while we are not equal to God, we are made in such a way that we are not simply automatons, but free individuals, capable of giving and receiving divine love, this reaches its fullness by Grace. God shares His Own Life with us in such a way that we are real family members, by adoption. His love flows through and in us, bringing us to wondrous heights.

So, since God loves us, he respects us, and never abuses or discards us. That is what we often do to God. People choose to turn away from God and He lets them, because love is never coercive. Furthermore, there are usually some people in your life that you may love, but you just can't live with.

  • Do you know any of those?

God never stopped loving those in Hell, even satan, but He just won't live with them. They have chosen a life that embraces evil, for which He cannot abide. He also respects them enough to treat them as the beings they were created to be — immortal, and not simply destroy them because they no longer serve or love Him.

The torment people suffer in Hell is of their own doing and what they inflict on each other — God doesn't torture anyone. They torture each other — that is something I learned from reading the chief exorcist of the Vatican, Fr. Gabriele Amorth. It lasts forever because people are immortal souls by nature and it would be unloving to destroy them. Everything God does is in love; there is no vindictiveness so even if someone divorces himself from God, He doesn't become unloving toward them.

Lastly, demons are fallen angels, and their damnation came instantly because their rejection of God was unfiltered; they see with unclouded vision and made an all-in decision. We, on the other hand, have human nature and brains which tend to obscure our sight, causing our decision for, or against, God to take a lot longer. We have opportunities for correction because of our imperfect vision, and that is why we have a lifetime to get it right. When we die our decision will be final and both God and us will see it for what it is; we will be judged according to our response to God's Grace . . . and to whom much is given, much is expected.

Getting the word out to people that, they need to choose God, because they are made for love, and Hell is to be avoided, is still the timely message.

Our Catholic Faith gives us everything we need to know, because of Jesus Christ, to get off this planet alive and live happy in the Kingdom with the Only One worth living for.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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