Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What the Hell?

People don't like Hell.  Shocking, I know, but the idea of hell isn't easily stomached by the modern generation.  We don't like the idea of a place of eternal torment, where unimaginable torment awaits evil for all eternity, and God is responsible for it.  Seems counter-intuitive, especially considering the nature of God as an all-merciful being and whatnot.  However, while we may not like Hell, we do want Hell.  As unpleasant as it sounds, we desire Hell, and we'd be rather upset if there were no Hell.  L'explanation:

Even Satan is bored in Hell.
Hell exists because God is just.  God separates right from wrong, good from evil, truth from falsehood, and to each is assigned its due.  We want a just God, we need a just God, precisely because we want and need goodness.  Human nature constantly aspires for goodness, we always seek for good, we seek to destroy evil.  Even in our most evil atrocities, we don't aspire to them for their own sake, but rather seek a distorted good through misplaced means and maligned intents.  As people who are oriented  towards goodness, we desire that goodness not to be in vain.  Because we take consequence with the dichotomy of good and evil, we want our quarrel to be consequential.  Nothing would piss us off more that if we found out none of it ever matter, that we could be Mother Teresa or Charles Manson and it would mean nothing either way.  We want to be good, to be right, and we really want that desire to be affirmed.  We'd find ourselves disappointed to discover that our desire for justice, for goodness, and for truth to be the vain anomalies of a cosmic void.  (I smell a prolonged debate a-brewing over this part...)  We want Hell, because we want goodness to be good, and in order for goodness to be good, evil must not be good.  (Re-read that a few times, you'll get it.)  Hell is a just God being just, Hell is a just God letting evil be evil.  We, human beings, being moral agents (dudes and dudettes who have to discern and choose between good and evil.) must then have an end to our moral choices, and having committed killers and convicted saints be ultimately indifferent would make our moral agency ultimately indifferent.  Yeah, you could say you ought to be a good person for goodness's sake, to which I'm going to respond by being an arsonist for arson's sake.  They're ultimately the same thing without justice.

Hell is the result of God's Love.  I'll say it again.  The Fires of Hell are lit by God's Love, not hatred.  People don't go to Hell because God's really really peeved by them, people go to Hell because they choose to go to Hell.  God's Love has given us a marvelously wonderful (and rather terrifying gift), and one all too often understated: freedom of will.  We are not automatons, we are not machines, we have the incredible gift of choice, and with that choice comes the capacity to Love.  This is truly God's image, that man has the perpetual choice to love.  We have the capacity to receive God's Love and return it in kind, as well as the power to receive God's Love and do absolutely nothing about it.  Hell the choice we choose when we don't choose God.  Hell is when we short circuit the Divine Cycle of Love.  The souls in Hell (if there are any there in the first place) are there willingly.  Their perpetual choice to love has been eternally cemented against God, their power of will forever turned away from God.  Their torture is not God's cruelty, but his Love.  By denying the Love that creates, sustains, and redeems them, they are torn down to their very nature.  A will against God is self-destructive, it destroys the soul from within by denying the very principles and truths that created it.  God, being a just God, allows the free will of man to be free, even unto the point of damnation.

Our God is Merciful and Just.  His Justice is His Mercy.  God has the ability to do what no one else can do:  perfectly discern Good from Evil.  He alone can immaculately mark out the line between good and evil, a line that runs right through the human soul, and thus only he is able to separate from our hearts that which is vile and evil and retain that which is good.  In this swift and precise justice, he is merciful, for he cleaves from us what is evil and nurtures in us that which is good.  Most see justice as a condemnation, but God's Justice is so perfect it is salvation.  However, one still has the choice, the choice to resist the execution of Divine Mercy, to fight against the torrent of Divine Justice, and for that person exists Hell.

So, you want to avoid Hell?  Don't resist Divine Justice.  You have married your soul to lies and falsehoods by your sins; submit yourself to God and let him take the razor's edge to your heart, so as to chisel away your hardness of heart.  The mark of a Christian isn't perfection, it is true repentance.  The extent to which you repent is the extent to which you will be exulted by Divine Justice, free of the weights to drag you down.

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