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The Early Church Fathers on Hell.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures



  1. St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428))
    Councils of Orange, (held in A.D. 441 and again in 529)
St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428), North African; born in Tagaste in A.D. 354, baptized in Milan in A.D. 387, ordained a priest in A.D. 391 and appointed bishop of Hippo in A.D. 395, Augustine is one of our greatest theologians. His numerous works display genius of the highest order, and have ever had great weight in the Christian churches. He is also a Doctor of the Church.

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When "our God comes, he does not keep silence.". . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . "I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in Heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence."

St. Augustine, Sermo 18, 4:PL 38,130-131

Councils of Orange, (held in A.D. 441 and 529), comprised two synods held at Orange, France. The first (A.D. 441) dealt with various church issues. The second (A.D. 529) affirmed Augustine's teaching against Pelagian challenge.

God predestines no one to go to Hell.

Council of Orange II (A.D. 529)




The Early Fathers believed in a literal Hell. The idea that the Bibles torturous descriptions of Hell were somehow symbolic of non-existence, as Jehovah's Witnesses claim, was something that would have been totally foreign to them.



The Church's Scriptures on Hell.


The Existence of Hell


A Prophecy of Deliverance from Foes

11 You conceive chaff, you bring forth stubble; your breath is a fire that will consume you. 14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling has seized the godless: "Who among us can dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?"


Isaiah 33:11,14

The Judgment of the Nations

41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44 Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' 45 Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


Matthew 25:41-46

John the Baptist foretells the just judgment

16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."


Luke 3:16-17

The Righteous Judgment of God

8 but for those who are factious and do not obey the truth, but obey wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,


Romans 2:8-9

The Judgment at Christ's Coming

6 since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,


2 Thessalonians 1:6-9

The Messages of the Three Angels

11 And the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name."


Revelation 14:11

See also:

The Pains of Hell

Psalms 21:10
"LORD's anger will consume them ... devour them with fire."
Jeremiah 9:15
"I will send the sword to pursue them until I have completely destroyed them."
Matthew 8:12
"outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding or teeth"
2 Thessalonians 1:9
"pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord"
Revelation 14:10
"fire that torments them will rise forever ... there will be no relief"

Also read:

The Endlessness of Hell

Isaiah 66:24
"who rebelled against me; Their worm shall not die, nor their fire be extinguished"
Matthew 25:41
"eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels"
Matthew 25:46
"these [unrighteous] will go off to eternal punishment"
2 Thessalonians 1:9
"pay the penalty of eternal ruin, separated from the presence of the Lord"

Also read:

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