Kingdom of eternal night
It is where the very love of God is experienced as torture by Satan and his followers….
It is that state where the very light of God's truth, is hated and fled from by those who love darkness…
It is a reality, though denied by many or recognized by few…. stays a certainty.
It is a fact taught throughout the Bible in innumerable passages. The Lord Christ Himself probably had more to say about it than anyone else.(Mark 9:47–48,Matt. 7:13–14…)
Then the Catechism of the Catholic Church came to declare:
"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…. 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" (CCC 1035).
Now over the years, Hell depiction took many shapes and colors, in preaches poems or pictures…. Its fires were vivid in paintings and portrayals. Many artists saw Hell as a physical place of fire and flame, with odd torments and monsters. Other artists added their own ideas:
Hieronymus Bosch, in the 15th century painted a highly unique vision of hell, a scene of violence and excruciating tortures.
There, we see horror piled upon horror, fires and torments and all manner of fearful demons, half animal, half human or half machine…There we see nightmarish torments that may symbolize the deadly sins.
Sitting on an object that may be a toilet like throne, there is a gigantic bird-headed monster feasting on human corpses, which he excretes through a cavity below him, into the transparent chamber pot on which he sits.
The monster is sometimes referred to as the "Prince of Hell", a name derived from the cauldron he wears on his head, representing a debased crown.
Gehenna, was a word Jesus used for hell. And Gehenna was a valley outside Jerusalem that the Jews used for the permanent burning of garbage because it had been desecrated by heathen tribes who used it for human sacrifice.
Thus, meeting symbolically with Bosch’s depiction, hell is a “position” where people, as a result of their final choices, turn themselves into “remains”, into “corpses”…. Hell, just as seen representatively by this Flemish artist, is more than eternal life with torture, it is something far worse: it is an experience of eternal death, as a result of the separation from God.
Now come those who like to argue and deny Hell’s reality, in name of God’s Love…. but the existence of Hell is related intimately to God’s love that cannot exist without the double gifts of free will and heaven.
Philosopher Kreeft states it skillfully: “if there is a heaven, there can be a not-heaven. And if there is free will, we can act on it and abuse it. Those who deny hell must also deny either heaven.”
And it is NOT the loving God who sends people to hell, but individuals who consign themselves to hell through unrepentant sin…. Heaven is an invitation while hell is our decision. That is why the catechism of the Catholic Church warns us: “To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice.”
In his book (Crossing the Threshold of Hope) Saint and pope John Paul II wrote that too often "preachers, catechists, teachers . . . no longer have the courage to preach the threat of hell" (p. 183). But, our modern world badly needs to hear about hell: not only out of honesty but out of love…. For love never takes us down the road of mediocrity, but walks the road of truth....and telling truth is the most loving thing anyone could ever do!!!
Yes, we may be mocked and described as vindictive or fundamentalists, but we badly need to declare this: Hell exists!! Lest we experience it as a truth known too late!!