The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is It Psychopathic To Believe In Eternal Punishment?

In the past there have been some pretty crazy views on hell. But the modern Catholic view on eternal punishment is that those who die in mortal sins have their hearts separated from God’s mercy. It follows that because their hearts have all restraints removed from them that the longer they are in hell the harder their hearts will become. Thus the longer in hell the more evil they become. Those outside of the new heavens and earth (all things) are being kept out because God is protecting His children from evil’s harm. Those in hell don’t want God (having their hearts separated from all mercy). Moreover, God is love and according to scripture love always protects. Love is also eternal. It follows that hell is eternal. It’s like the creature “Gollum” in “The Lord Of The Rings”. The longer he has the ring the more corrupt he becomes and the harder it is to let go of the ring. I think it’s a likely scenario. I’m still pondering the issue over in my head though. But I don’t think it can be ruled out. And as far as I can see there’s nothing psychopathic about believing in it even though it would be a terrible place to go.

With infinite ‘time’, then, each person in hell will eventually become infinitely evil?

Let me think about that Dave. Infinity is never complete though. So, I’m not sure we can say that. But maybe we can say that the longer they are in hell the more evil they become and therefore the more just God’s punishment of them is. Is that better?

There’s some established alternatives to ECT:

Hell as symbolic description
Universalism, with hell a temporary punishment state
Annihilation or conditional immortality
Exile (akin to Sarte’s **No Exit **play)
P-Zombie (where folks become sub-human or P-Zombies

I hold a combination view of “universalism” and conditional immortality - called purgatorial conditionalism. So a majority of mankind will have salvation - if not all of mankind. But the unholy angels are destroyed.

“Is it psychopathic to believe in eternal punishment?”

No. I think “muddled” would be a more accurate term. That said, I do not think anyone has ever believed in never-ending punishment. If one did so believe, he would become catatonic. I think a more precise description would be “people who intellectually toy with the fictive, abstract notion of never-ending punishment”.

Another word that comes to mind is “incompetent”. Any deity which could not save the entirety of its creation would be, at the very least, incompetent. Only a bungling demigod could so acutely fail in its most basic task. Such an entity would be deserving of derision rather than of worship.

I don’t see how that follows at all Geoffrey. The Catholic saints all believed in eternal punishment. Many even had visions of it as being a real place. Even Mother Mary described it at Fatima in an apparition. Moreover if love is eternal and love protects it follows that hell is eternal. You seem to think that God is obligated to be merciful to rebel evil sinners who don’t want to have anything to do with Him. But this is false. God is never obligated to be merciful to a rebel sinner who doesn’t want to have anything to do with Him. He doesn’t owe grace to such a person. Not incompetence at all. Especially since He’s protecting His children from harm. Surely He deserves love and worship for this. But I’m still not sure this is the correct interpretation of the Bible. I like Randy’s suggestion that the evil angels are destroyed there. qaz also makes an interesting point.

I doubt that. My opening post in this thread explains the burden of proof one would have to meet to prove that any Greek Church Father believed in never-ending here:

I make no claim for all those the Roman Catholic Church canonized after A. D. 1054.

See the link immediately above for this, too. On top of that, visions have no authority in the Church. If authentic, a vision is authoritative for the visionary, but for no one else.

While I am not a Roman Catholic, this supposed vision of hell was never mentioned for decades after the Fatima apparitions. For decades Fatima meant “pray the Rosary”. Long after the other two child-visionaries had gone to Heaven, Lucia started supplying all kinds of reports that went way beyond what the children announced back in the early 20th century.

I don’t follow that logic.

To take it farther, God does not owe grace to any person.

The question, I think, is two-fold: Does God want to save His entire creation? Is God capable of saving His entire creation? I answer “yes” to both questions.

How would it be to God’s glory to answer “no” to the first question? That would make God less loving than (for example) George MacDonald.

How would it be to God’s glory to answer “no” to the second question? That would make God into a rather pathetic entity, wringing his hands and crying, “I really wanted to save everyone. I really, really did. But I just couldn’t! It was too hard!” Or perhaps a colder entity: “I wanted to save all, but some of them wouldn’t get with the program. Not my problem. Too bad, too sad. Oh, well.”

How glorious it is to have faith in the One Who wills the salvation of all, and Who will accomplish it! :slight_smile:

The Eastern Orthodox study Bible has their belief on eternal punishment in it. And yes it is eternal torment. Granted it’s not exactly the same as the Catholic but it’s still there. Moreover, then priest at the Eastern Orthodox church I attended said that a great number of Fathers believed in eternal punishment. Any one can research this on the internet and see that the Eastern Orthodox believe in eternal hell.

I’m sorry you don’t see the connection. If love is eternal and it always protects then there has to be something God is protecting His children from in heaven. Namely it’s the evil in hell. This is why the Lake of Fire isn’t part of the New heaven and earth.

I never said they did. But they do confirm what has been taught in the church for years. Indeed universalism was condemned twice in the councils of the church early on. Again, anyone can research these things and find them out. Search for Fatima and hell or the visions of hell from the saints and you will see. Also, type in the Eastern Orthodox church view on hell and you will see. They are not universalists.

Sure God can have the desire to save everyone but if they are rebel sinners who don’t want to have anything to do with Him He’s never obligated to be merciful. They refuse to repent and therefore God executes His justice showing His tender love to His children by protecting them. I don’t see God as being pathetic at all. Neither is He a failure.

okay Geffory I just found this on the Eastern Orthodox:

But there are numerous Eastern Orthodox who do believe in eternal Hell. I like this though. I may consider the Eastern Orthodox now.

I mean all my comments in an amiable way. I trust any of my strong disagreements don’t come across as animosity. :slight_smile:

  1. The opinions of the editors of the Eastern Orthodox Study Bible are irrelevant to the teachings of the Orthodox Church.

  2. The opinions of any given Eastern Orthodox priest are irrelevant to the teachings of the Orthodox Church.

  3. The opinions of individual Eastern Orthodox believers are irrelevant to the teachings of the Orthodox Church.

  4. I have seen the claims that the holy and glorious Fifth Ecumenical Council condemned universalism. I find the arguments lacking.

As Roman Catholic priest Reginald Foster ] said, “The world is full of stupid people who are going to live and die with their stupid beliefs.” We Orthodox are no different. Consider that nearly every time a major heresy attacked the Church, huge numbers of bishops tripped over their vestments to be first in line to sign-up to be heretics. Consider that, at least in 19th-century Moscow, most Orthodox couldn’t name the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. Consider the metric ton of nonsense written by Orthodox that has one thing in “common”: It all contradicts each other. Etc.

Considering all of that, perhaps one might understand why I care not a fig for these opinions. I have on my shelves 1,700 pages of the Church’s liturgy that I have studied. Never-ending Hell is utterly absent therein. I have recently acquired at some expense the Pentecostarion (450 pages), and I have began reading it. Still no Hell, but (as in the other 1,700 pages) plenty of universalism. I have participated in countless hours of Orthodox liturgies. Still no Hell! The Church never speaks such nonsense, but instead is pure beauty and grace. For Hell one has to go to the “stupid people who are going to live and die with their stupid beliefs”.

I know that even amongst my fellow Orthodox I am vastly outnumbered by those who believe in Hell. I care not a whit. Even if the whole universe believed in Hell, I will not. God forbid.


See my above comment to this. I realize now that there are different opinion in the Eastern Orthodox. I’m going to consider them now. Thanks!

I can’t recommend highly enough the study of the Orthodox Church’s liturgical books. I recommend starting with the Festal Menaion, translated by Mother Mary and Kallistos Ware.

Thanks buddy! I will do that. :smiley:

I once sent a child to a priest - with the same problem. :exclamation: :laughing:

Geoffrey, I like “muddled”. Mud. Cloudy water. Earth mixed and difficult to see through in varying degrees. I dont think it is hard to understand how people trained and brain-washed in a certain way have a hard time breaking out of prison. People raised under a culture of oppression often accept as bedrock the the false foundations that oppressors stand upon in order to justify their oppression.

Intellectually, people are directly threatend with etrnal torment if they consider examing whether eternal torment is real… as well as being branded “heretic” and anathmetized if they are bold enough to speak about the unreasoning horror of the teaching.

I dont think it is psychopathic to believe in eternal torment, but I do think that horrible lie contributes to the breeding of psychopaths.

For most like Thomas A. Kempis and other saints hell produces humility when coupled with a love and hope grounded in God. See “The Imitation of Christ” by Kempis. Next to the Bible it’s the most read book by humanity. See also “Humility of Heart” by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo. Also the writings of the holy Saints - St. Teresa of Avilla and St. John of the Cross.

I know for me hell has caused problems in the past but I’m through it now. Perhaps a purgatorial process I went through? I’m not sure. I know in healthy people there has to be a fear of the consequences of their actions. But I can handle a painful purgatory to be that. I think if hell is purgatory that it is extremely painful. So much so that I don’t want to go there.

I still must hold that Satan and his angels are tormented forever and ever though. Love is eternal and love always protects. It follows that God must protect His children forever from something. This would be the evil angels in hell.

I understand the sentiment but I do not see that in the scriptures. It does perhaps, (wondrously) “miss the mark” concerning the original purpose of God in creation, because the creation was not subjected to futility(chaos, darkness, sin, death) of its own volition.

**every knee **should bow, of those **in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue **should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:10

Unto what do they bow? When? Why?

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Rom 8:19-22

This is seen(imo) fulfilled in Rev 5

And **every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth **and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Rev 5:13

This (again, imo)was the Creator’s original plan and purpose, and the reason the Lamb was slain from the beginning of the world.

having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure(eudokia-kind intention) which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. Eph:9,10

They bow in order to receive His love, reconciliation and transformation/restoration into the glorious liberty of the children of God- which is love, light and newness of life, in Jesus Christ, in the new nature, in the new creation.

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death. 27 For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28 **When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. **Rom 8:25-29

God is love. Jesus is Lord and the subjection He brings within His Lordship and Kingdom is to love. The conversion/transformation of the whole creation into the glrious liberty of the children of God is a translation from this present evil age into the kingdom of His glorious light.

As all have been adversaries- all will be converted, every knee shall bow. Else how could God be all in all? How could Jesus be Lord of all? Where there is anger, remorse, agony and hatred, How has every thought been taken captive to the glorious light? How has every tower and stronghold exalted against the true knowledge of God been torn down? His plan is greater than our reasonings, perceptions and sense of justice. Is it better to punish forever than to transform the adversary to friend? The fool to wisdom? The wicked to righteousness? The hater to love?

“His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” Eph 3:10

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 **For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. Rom 11:33-36

God has never planned from the beginning for any creature to dwell in darkness forever, but rather to bring the whole creation through chaos/futility (in the beginning the earth was without form and void and the Spirit hovered over the waters and God said, “Let there be light”) into being “friends of God”, in union, communion and harmony.

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets **since the world began.

This gospel of Jesus and all the apostles has been procalimed to every creature under heaven.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven…” Col 1:15-20

We were all formerly adversaries. We were reconciled. Paul goes further here to show that this gospel is for every creature under heaven.

"…And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. Col 1:21-23

This is consistent with the writings in all his epistles, and consistent with John, James and Peter…

Peter… “until the times of the restoration of all things spoken of by all the holy prophets from ancient times”. Acts 3:19

This was the gospel of Peter from day one…

…But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Pet 3:13

James… “You were begotten by the word of truth that you may be a kind of firstfruits of His creation” James 1:17

Paul… "The whole creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God

John… And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. 1 John 2:2

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; **that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever(all generations of the age of the ages). Amen. Eph 3:14-21

Paul’s desire for us is that we be rooted and grounded in love…“filled up to all the fulness of God”.

Jesus is the firstborn of all creation.(Col 1)

We are a kind of firstfruits of His creation.(James 1)

The whole creation is in pangs of child-birth even until now.(Romans 8)

Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.

Why is He exalted above ALL heavens? Why will every knee bow, whether in heaven or one earth or under the earth? Why is it that God’s plan is a “kind intention” which He “purposed in Himself” to “gather all things into one in Christ Jesus”?(Eph 1) Why was it God’s pleasure “to make all fulness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself whether things on earth or in heaven”?(Col 2)

Because He who descended to the lowest place is ascended to the highest place in order that He may fill all things so that God will become ALL IN ALL.

In ALL that He ever created.**

Now THAT, EW, was one heckuva great post!

Can you elaborate for a moment on this from your post : “according to His good pleasure(eudokia-kind intention)”?

There is a more than subtle difference between ‘good pleasure’ and ‘kind intention’ - the first does not suggest any intention other than pleasing Himself; the second, obviously, means that there was intention to do kindness towards us and creation.

Is that the way you see it?