HELL:  WHAT’S  IT  LIKE?                                 




Physical agony.

Emotional agony

Pure torment.

It’s fiery.




The Bible contains hundreds of references to hell, so I’ll just list a few off the top of my head (and then I’ll, umm, type out some of my favorite quantum physics theorems also from the top of my head, and, well, maybe I’ll just look it all up)


In Matthew 5:28-29, the Bible makes it clear that the punishment for adultery is being thrown into hell. “But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.”


"And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire; where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished" (Mark 9:42)


"[A]nd the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelations 20:10)


And if thy hand, or thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee to go into life maimed or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into everlasting fire”(Matthew 18:8)


“A fire that is not kindled shall devour him.”  (Job 20:26)


“A fire is kindled in my wrath, and shall burn even to the lowest hell.” (Deut 32:22)


Which of you can dwell with devouring fires? Which of you shall dwell with everlasting  burnings (Isaiah 33:14)


“Their worm shall not die, and their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be a loathsome sight to all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24)


“He will give fire, and worms unto their flesh, that they may burn, and may feel forever.” (Judith 16:21)


“I am tormented in this flame”  (Luke 16:24…where the rich man in hell cries out to Lazarus)

“Let him pass from the snow water to excessive heat, and his sin even to hell.” (Job 24:19)


“we have erred from the way of truth, we wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction and have walked through hard ways. What hath pride profited us? Or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us?…Such things as these the sinners said in hell.” (Wis. 5:6-14)


“Before I go and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death: a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth.” (Job 10:22)


“Depart from me into everlasting fire.” (Matthew 25:41).


“The wicked shall be turned into hell, all the nations that forget God.” (Ps 9:18)


“It were better for him, if that man had not been born.” (Mt 26:24….Christ speaking of Judas)


“In those days men shall seek death and shall not find it: and they shall desire to die, and death shall fly from them.” (Rev. 9:6)



“And I saw a great white throne, and one sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and heaven fled away, and there was no place found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged by those things which were written in the books, according to their works . . . .

…And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the pool of fire.” (Rev 20:11-12, 15)




For the latest breaking developments on hell, see:


What Will Hell Be Like?” by St. Alphonsus Liguori

http://www.cin.org/users/james/questions/q103.htm (Did Jesus descend into hell?)

http://www.cin.org/users/james/questions/q095.htm (Can souls in hell hurt us?)

http://www.catholic.com/library/Hell_There_Is.asp (Church Fathers on Hell)

http://www.catholic.com/library/Mortal_Sin.asp (Church Fathers on Mortal Sin)


http://www.marianland.com/hellbooksec.html (books on hell, hell quizzes)

http://www.unitypublishing.com/Apparitions/DoorTheWideRoad.html (Mary granted the children at Fatima a vision of hell)





THE FOLLOWING IS STRAIGHT FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH   http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a12.htm#1033


IV. HELL (Catechism)

1033 We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."612 Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren.613 To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."

1034 Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire" reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!"616

1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire."617 The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1036 The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few."618

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their teeth."619

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell;620 for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to come to repentance":621

Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this life,
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you have chosen.622

1861 Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment of persons to the justice and mercy of God.

1862 One commits venial sin when, in a less serious matter, he does not observe the standard prescribed by the moral law, or when he disobeys the moral law in a grave matter, but without full knowledge or without complete consent.

1863 Venial sin weakens charity; it manifests a disordered affection for created goods; it impedes the soul's progress in the exercise of the virtues and the practice of the moral good; it merits temporal punishment. Deliberate and unrepented venial sin disposes us little by little to commit mortal sin. However venial sin does not break the covenant with God. With God's grace it is humanly reparable. "Venial sin does not deprive the sinner of sanctifying grace, friendship with God, charity, and consequently eternal happiness."134

While he is in the flesh, man cannot help but have at least some light sins. But do not despise these sins which we call "light": if you take them for light when you weigh them, tremble when you count them. A number of light objects makes a great mass; a number of drops fills a river; a number of grains makes a heap. What then is our hope? Above all, confession.135

1864 "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."136 There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit.137 Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss



The Portuguese children to whom the Lady of Fatima (Mary) appeared in 1917 were granted a vision of hell, so they would know how vital it was to pray for souls. They were told many souls would go to hell because they had nobody to pray or make sacrifices for them.  As you may recall, the Lady of Fatima performed the Miracle of the Sun where 80,000 people saw the sun zig-zag, plunge and rise.

One of the children, Lucia, is now in her 90s and is a cloistered nun. The following is a transcript of Sister Lucy’s description of Hell as she saw it (http://fatima.org/hell.html)

"She opened Her hands once more, as She had done the two previous months. The rays [of light] appeared to penetrate the earth, and we saw, as it were, a vast sea of fire. Plunged in this fire, we saw the demons and the souls [of the damned]. The latter were like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, having human forms. They were floating about in that conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames which issued from within themselves, together with great clouds of smoke. Now they fell back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fright (it must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons were distinguished [from the souls of the damned] by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals. That vision only lasted for a moment, thanks to our good Heavenly Mother, Who at the first apparition had promised to take us to Heaven. Without that, I think that we would have died of terror and fear."



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