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I've pondered this thread - aren't we, after all, required to believe in a literal Hell?

Alex

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depends on how hell is defined (?).

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Dear Lester,

How can we define it then?

I certainly don't know what it is like. But I believe it is important to bring hell back into our spiritual consciousness to remind us that, until we are in heaven, the possibility of being consigned to hell is a very real one (at least, for me it is).

For me to be condemned to hell would be the realization that I rejected God's Grace. And that possibility is a sobering one and one that is important for our spiritual life that helps us avoid the sin of presumption which leads to feelings of a lack of accountability of my sins, feeling that I am going to be saved despite my sins, the lack of ambition to do penance for my sinfulness and a general attitude of laxity in spiritual practice.

OLGS Jesus Christ was quite adamant about hell and He didn't mince words about it.

Alex

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Hell is as much a state as it is a place. But, I think, while we live on this planet, how we perceive x, y, and z will determine our hellish or heavenly state. Do we see things with the eyes of faith, or do we not?

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I have even preached on the fire of heaven and linked all three that is the Fire of Divine Love 1. Heaven 2. Hell 3. Purgation.
All three are experienced in different ways.
You know we are ablaze with the love of God for those saved it is most sweet, for those who need theosis it is painful that we did not love God more, and for the lost it is unbearable.

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I find that many conservative theologians avoid the topic, even while privately holding to the position that hell is real and an impending reality for all those who lack faith in Christ Jesus. Pressures of modern parish life discourage many from placing the doctrine of hell before the hearers ears in the same manner as Jesus did on so many occasions. Modernism deeply effects our understanding of the world, so that politically incorrect topics like hell seem offensive, rude, or inappropriate to our culturally sensitive ears.

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I'm of the opinion that heaven and hell are one and the same. In other words, both the saved and the damned will spend eternity in the fiery presence of God, but how this "fire" is experienced depends on the disposition of the individual.

A lot of eastern fathers use the analogy of bright light. For those who've just woken up, the light is intense and even painful, but for those who are adjusted to it, that same light is comfortable.

Sin, as I understand it, is to God as what pain is to us: the contradiction of the will. God is pure. When one is contrary to God, which is "to be in sin," the presence and love of God will be the terrors of hell.

"...those who find themselves in hell will be chastised by the scourge of love. How cruel and bitter this torment of love will be! For those who understand that they have sinned against love, undergo no greater suffering than those produced by the most fearful tortures. The sorrow which takes hold of the heart, which has sinned against love, is more piercing than any other pain. It is not right to say that the sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God, but love acts in two ways, as suffering of the reproved, and as joy in the blessed!" - St. Isaac of Syria

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Quote
I'm of the opinion that heaven and hell are one and the same.


Christ is in our midst!!

Be careful of forming one's own opinion. Scripture and Tradition seem to indicate otherwise. See the story of the rich man and Lazarus. It would seem there is an eternity of distance between the two.

Bob

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One can define Hell as described or alluded to in scripture. And scripture has numerous mentions. If one wants to go further than scripture, then refer to those special souls who have been told of it in mystical ways.
To reject these references would be prideful, imagining one's thinking to be all-knowing. Rejecting a place for lost souls is to reject Theosis, one of the basic foundations of Eastern Christian faith.
I pray that none of us learn of hell first-hand.

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