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Featured God is everywhere; is God in Hell?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Jainarayan, Feb 18, 2020.

  1. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Well, is he? For those who believe in an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God and believe in Hell, especially a literal one, is God there? I don't think it matters if Hell is literal or figurative. It's a place where condemned and punished souls are sent by God. Even if Hell is separation from God, where do the souls go? Is God not there also. Please explain the seeming paradox to me. How can an omnipotent and omnipresent God not be somewhere. To me, that negates God’s omni-everything. So, given that God is everywhere, as we were taught by Sister Mary Discipline of the Sisters of No Mercy, is God in Hell along with the tortured souls he sentenced there? Does he exist there?
     
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  2. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    This is something like what I challenge Christians with. If God is believed to INFINITE, how can creation, or yourself, be outside of God? That would make God like a block of Swiss cheese with holes in it. There would be places where God is not, making God a limited, finite creature, and not the omnipresent Reality. No one has been able to answer that. God cannot be external to us, as be considered to be Infinite.

    But the answer I give is relatively simple. God is not dualistic. God is not an object. In nonduality, there is no division between the subject and object. These are just perceptual frameworks, and not real reality. God is not our dualistic ideas about God. But that is what God is for most people. An idea. When we think about the Absolute, we make it outside ourselves, and thus not God, but an idea of God.
     
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  3. Terry Sampson

    Terry Sampson ζει

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    I say: There is one God, boundless (i.e. infinite) and eternal, in one Cosmos, which is also boundless and eternal. Heaven is being in God, knowing it, and liking it. Hell is not liking it, whether one knows where he or she is or not.
     
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  4. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I don't believe God is omnipresent, so I don't believe He's in Hell. I guess that means there is nothing for me to have to explain. :)
     
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  5. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Interesting question that i, as an atheist, obviously cannot answer. However i am sure there will be some believers in an omni everything god that will give their opinion.

    On the same track, i recently read an SF book by Iain M Banks called Surface Detail. It moves around a war to control artificial heavens and hell's. No god involved, just power hungry people. Very interesting, to me who considered Iain Banks a god anyway.
     
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  6. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Exactly... I'm a pan(en)theist (they're really not mutually exclusive) and a qualified dualist leaning mostly towards non-duality (Vishishtadvaita). For me the answer then is "Yes, if there is a Hell God is in Hell also". And he is wherever those lost souls are, therefore there is and can be no separation.
     
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  7. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Cop out! :D

    Seriously, that's a good take, and one I think makes the most sense in the monotheistic religions. Btw, most of us polytheists and other non-monotheists don't generally see God(s) as omnipresent. We usually have to scream at them to get their attention.
     
  8. Fool

    Fool ALL in all
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    and behold I AM always with you.

    psalms 139:8
     
  9. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I can remember having prayed to God for guidance and reminding Him that I may not realize it's Him talking to me unless He hits me over the head with a two-by-four.
     
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  10. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Yes, I didn't actually talk about hell in my response. :) But yes, if there is a hell, God is there too.

    Personally, I do not believe hell is a literal "place", but rather it is a state or condition of being that one can be in. I might think of it like being at the bottom of the ocean where hardly a single ray of light can be felt or seen. Those that release the weights they are holding onto which caused them to sink so low and away from the light, have a greater natural buoyancy and they rise up in the waters towards greater and greater amounts of sunlight penetrating down into their minds and souls. Upon releasing all of the weights we carry, one can rise all the way to the surface and full daylight everywhere. That's the moment of Awakening from the illusion of separation, or hell, into Reality.

    In other words, we're all somewhere in between heaven and hell, and our lives can be in hell anytime we block ourselves off and let ourselves sink down and away from Light. But when we Awaken, we realize God was there the whole time with us, while we were in hell. The common remark upon Awakening, is "It was already, always, fully there the whole time". It just wasn't seen, because we were inside the hell of our own separateness. But God was there all along with us, in our own hell. We just refused it, until we didn't anymore.
     
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  11. Invisibilis

    Invisibilis Member

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    God is real. Hell is not real.
    It's wanting and needing to believe in the unreal which makes it hell.
     
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  12. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    I agree with @Windwalker

    I know a round: "The Divine Beloved is always with you, in you and around you. Know you are not separate from Him"

    That tells me that where ever anyone is, God is there also.

    Further, "hell" is to me an emotional state after one drops the physical body and reviews the life just lived. It's like doing something that you realize was really bad and feeling emotional pain as a result but magnified in the time between physical lives.

    So we are not in a physical location but a terrible emotional state engendered by deeds we realize were mistakes we made.

    Since we're in that state, God is there with us and not separate from us.
     
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  13. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    I'll ask Him when I get to Heaven.
     
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  14. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    "Even though the eagle, king of birds, can with his powerful sight gaze steadfastly upon the brightness of the sun; yet do the weaker eyes of the bat fail and falter in the same"

    (Blessed John of Ruysbroeck (The Twelve Beguines, XII), 1363)

    To me, the above is a good description of how both heaven and hell can be understood as states of being in the Presence of God, albeit experienced differently by the heavenly and the hellish based upon the condition of their souls. The fault is in their soul (the 'eyes'), which determines whether they experience His Presence and Love after death like the 'eagle' whose good eyes steadfastly face His Brightness with joy or like the 'bat' whose bad eyes fail and falter at the same sight (i.e. a heavenly or hellish state).

    I do believe in the omnipresence of God and therefore accept He must be present even in the state of Hell. Your question is an important one to chew on, since denial of God's presence from anywhere would seem to be a real contradiction in terms and imply some kind of limitation to His 'reach'. A limited God is not an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent one.

    A particularly striking argument to this effect, that God is present even in Hell no less than in Heaven, can be found in the works of St. Angela of Foligno , (1248 - 1309), an Italian mystic of the Catholic Church:


    In a vision I beheld the fullness of God in which I beheld and comprehended the whole creation, that is, what is on this side and what is beyond the sea, the abyss, the sea itself, and everything else. And in everything that I saw, I could perceive nothing except the presence of the power of God, and in a manner totally indescribable. And my soul in an excess of wonder cried out: "This world is pregnant with God!" ...

    God presents himself in the inmost depths of my soul. I understand not only that he is present, but also how he is present in every creature and in everything that has being, in a devil and a good angel, in heaven and hell, in good deeds and in adultery or homicide, in all things, finally, which exist or have some degree of being, whether beautiful or ugly.

    She further said: I also understand that he is no less present in a devil than a good angel. Therefore, while I am in this truth, I take no less delight in seeing or understanding his presence in a devil or in an act of adultery than I do in a good angel or in a good deed. This mode of divine presence in my soul has become almost habitual


    (Paulist Press, 1993, pp. 212-213)

    There's this modern Evangelical hymn I heard the other day, which contains the following lyric in its bridge: "No matter how far I run, I run into Your love":



    (bridge starts about 2:13 minutes into song)

    Listening to it made me wonder if the worshippers singing the song had rendered that particular line the thoughtful contemplation it deserves. The theological implications of this statement would logically extend to 'hell', the furthest one could technically 'run', would they not?

    “Hell” is not, to my mind, a state in which a person is conceivably be deprived of God’s love - and ergo if He is Love, then God Himself. The New Testament scriptures literally declare God to be "Love" in His inmost Being and Nature: "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" (1 John 4:8). That's not an equivocal statement: on the contrary, it's about as unqualified a declaration of "what God is" as one is liable to find in group of sacred texts more comfortable with apophatic claims (i.e. "no one has ever seen God" (John 1:18)). .

    If this were at all possible - for God's full being and compassion to be entirely 'absent' from somewhere - then I think we'd seriously have to reconsider whether the Deity worshipped is really an All-Good, Omnipresent, Omniscient and All-loving Divine Spirit.

    Saint Isaac the Syrian (a 7th century father, venerated as a saint in both the Catholic & Eastern Christian churches) speculated that heaven and hell were both postmortem encounters with the Love of God, albeit the Glorified experiencing it as joy on account of the condition of their souls whereas the Damned experienced it as a torment:


    Those who are tormented in hell are tormented by the invasion of love. What is there more bitter and more violent than the pains of love? Those who feel they have sinned against love bear in themselves a damnation much heavier than the most dreaded punishments. The suffering with which sinning against love afflicts the heart is more keenly felt than any other torment. It is absurd to suppose that sinners in hell are deprived of God’s love. Love.. is offered impartially. But by its very power it acts in two ways. It torments sinners, as happens here on earth when we are tormented by a friend to whom we have been unfaithful. And it gives joy to those who have been faithful. That is what the torment of hell is in my opinion – remorse.’

    [St. Isaac of Nineveh, ‘Ascetic Treatises’, p 326]


    Nearer to our own time, this same theological interpretation of hell was put forth by St. John Henry Cardinal Newman in an 1845 Sermon:


    Newman Reader - Parochial & Plain Sermons 1 - Sermon 1


    So far we are distinctly told, that that future life will be spent in God’s presence, in a sense which does not apply to our present life; so that it may be best described as an endless and uninterrupted worship of the Eternal Father, Son, and Spirit…Heaven then is not like this world…We see, then, that holiness, or inward separation from the world, is necessary to our admission into heaven, because heaven is not heaven, is not a place of happiness except to the holy.

    There are bodily indispositions which affect the taste, so that the sweetest flavours become ungrateful to the palate; and indispositions which impair the sight, tinging the fair face of nature with some sickly hue. In like manner, there is a moral malady which disorders the inward sight and taste; and no man labouring under it is in a condition to enjoy what Scripture calls "the fulness of joy in God’s presence, and pleasures at His right hand for evermore.

    Nay, I will venture to say more than this;—it is fearful, but it is right to say it;—that if we wished to imagine a punishment for an unholy, reprobate soul, we perhaps could not fancy a greater than to summon it to heaven. Heaven would be hell to an irreligious man. We know how unhappy we are apt to feel at present, when alone in the midst of strangers, or of men of different tastes and habits from ourselves. How miserable, for example, would it be to have to live in a foreign land, among a people whose faces we never saw before, and whose language we could not learn. And this is but a faint illustration of the loneliness of a man of earthly dispositions and tastes, thrust into the society of saints and angels.

    How forlorn would he wander through the courts of heaven! He would find no one like himself; he would see in every direction the marks of God’s holiness, and these would make him shudder. He would feel himself always in His presence. He could no longer turn his thoughts another way, as he does now, when conscience reproaches him. He would know that the Eternal Eye was ever upon him; and that Eye of holiness, which is joy and life to holy creatures, would seem to him an Eye of wrath and punishment.

    God cannot change His nature. Holy He must ever be. But while He is holy, no unholy soul can be happy in heaven. Fire does not inflame iron, but it inflames straw. It would cease to be fire if it did not. And so heaven itself would be fire to those, who would fain escape across the great gulf from the torments of hell. The finger of Lazarus would but increase their thirst. The very “heaven that is over their head” will be “brass” to them


     
    #14 Vouthon, Feb 18, 2020
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  15. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    Jai, you are a Vaishnava. You know Lord Vishnu resides in his world (loka) at "Vaikuntha". That is like President's Palace or White House. Why would he be in hell? He has his administrators in all places looking after the works. To look after heaven, he has Indra, and to look after hell, he has Yama. If there is a need to be at any particular place, his 'vahana', Lord Garuda, will take him there. Sure, he knows whatever is happening in the world. After all, it is his 'maya'. Why the doubt?

    [​IMG]
     
    #15 Aupmanyav, Feb 18, 2020
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  16. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    Yup. Well, the Jewish version of hell, in any case.
     
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  17. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    No doubt for my tradition. It was a thought experiment. You are correct, as a Vaishnava I don't subscribe to the Abrahamic idea of Heaven and Hell. Living in a society in which the overarching tradition is Abrahamic monotheism it's a question that popped into my head. I was curious how Abrahamics actually view it, if at all... of course "curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back". :D
     
  18. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    Really!? Do tell, if you would. Though if I'm not mistaken Jewish belief doesn't hold with Hell as Christianity does, as a place of punishment.
     
  19. firedragon

    firedragon Well-Known Member

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    You believe hell is a physical place?
     
  20. Harel13

    Harel13 Well-Known Member

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    If I understood the Christian concept of purgatory, then it's more like that: a place to cleanse the soul from a life of sin. Once cleansed, the soul can move onward to a better place. It's painful, harsh, horrible - but better than nothing.
     
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