Just for Catholics

Everlasting Punishment in Hell

Question: I disagree with your statement that there is such a thing as "eternal separation from God in Hell." Please tell me, is God so cruel and uncaring that he would punish rebellious people to be tortured in Hell for all eternity?

Answer: I'm not surprised that you reject the disturbing doctrine of eternal condemnation in Hell. Many reject the doctrine of Hell. Sinners do not like to think they are so corrupt and evil that they merit such a severe punishment. Sinners are more likely to malign God and accuse Him of cruelty and injustice, rather than worship Him who is perfectly just and a consuming fire.

Yet human unbelief does not change reality one bit. It is fatal to build our beliefs on sentimentality rather than the Word of the all-knowing God. The Bible is clear: hell does exist and its punishment is everlasting.

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels... And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life (Matthew 25:41,46).

Just as the righteous enjoy eternal life, even so the cursed will experience eternal punishment. The Lord uses exactly the same word to describe both destinies. 

The Lord Jesus emphasized the eternal nature of hell. Note how often He repeats that the fire of hell is not quenched and the worm does not die -

If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched - where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched - where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire - where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-48).

Yes, hell exists and its condemnation is forever.

All of us merit God's righteous condemnation. Yet there is a way of escape from the terrible consequences of our sin. Jesus is the Way. God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. May every one of us flee to Jesus for forgiveness and mercy at this last hour of grace.

Copyright Dr Joe Mizzi. Permission to copy and distribute this article without textual changes. < BACK TO Q&A