Sympathy for the Devil and Mercy for the Damned

stmike

And Lucifer approached the Throne, and from across the abyss there came a clamor, a wailing bereft of beauty, tone, and voice, as though a malignant choir had become suddenly awash in boiling oil.

“Oh Great One,” he began, he who had been known throughout history as the Tempter, but who could tempt no more, “Oh Great One, we, the damned, have one last boon to bid of you.”

To a soul, the Saved looked on and listened in silent awe. This same swine had harangued them, each and all, their lives long, full of sweet contempt for God and the things of God. Like the Gadarene herd he had filled them with hate and falsehood whenever he could. In the panorama that had just ended – the Judgment – they had seen and heard his every overture to every human creature, unceasing through every moment in human history. They had heard his lies. Nothing but lies. He now slimed and slithered before the Divine Throne.

Could it be possible that he was now telling the truth?

“Oh Great One,” he snarled (for his voice had been reduced to ash, leaden tones eternally bereft of love or loveliness of any sort, no longer disguised as on earth with the lovely lilt of lying), “we the damned beg You to grant us one last wish. We beseech You, do not cast us eternally into the pit of fire.”

What? Reverse Divine Judgment? The souls of the Saved murmured in bewilderment: “How dare he!”

“Damn us, yes,” writhed the groveling husk of a fallen angel. (The Saved relaxed somewhat, but wondered still). “But allow for us that damnation will not be endless. Give us Hope, Oh Almighty One, that we will one day, perhaps long hence, cease to be. That our being, that our natures, that our suffering will not be eternal.

“We know we have merited damnation. Damn us, then, damn us to the Hellfire, damn us moaning, weeping, and gnashing our teeth. But do not damn us forever. Annihilate us. Evaporate us. Will us undone.

“We are of no more use to You now, to You and Yours. Our damnation and the fear of it prodded many a soul to Salvation. But now … It is finished. What purpose do we serve? In one moment of the abysmal darkness, burned by Your searing anger, without salve, without Salvation, we suffer utterly. Your Holy Will, Your perfect Justice, has been fulfilled. What does it serve to prolong your victory endlessly into eternity?

“Do not heal us, Oh Great one, for we cannot be healed. Do not pity us. Do not hate us. Yes, You hate our sins, but You created us, how can You hate us? Annihilate us, then. Have Divine Pity on us. Allow us to cease to be. Do not send us howling into eternal agony. Give us the Hope of the damned – that damnation will end. Even though our suffering might last a billion years, let us know that it will end, that we too shall finish. As Your Divine Son’s life ended in consummation and fullness, let ours end in darkness and emptiness. Consummatum sit.”

The Blessed looked over Satan’s singed wings towards the abyss, crammed full of the damned. In that glowing darkness each Saint caught glimpse of a familiar eye, brimming with tears. A loved one from earth. An enemy they had tried to befriend. A slighted one who could not forgive.

The hearts of the Blessed were stirred. Reminiscences of earthly feelings – pity, sadness, consolation – welled up in their spiritual eyes. Could they cry? Could they suffer at the specter of such suffering? Could they muster the … Charity? … to relent, to ease, to lighten the eternal pain of damnation?

Silence. A great silence. God the Creator surveyed all of His created ones. He was being asked to allow that damned portion of His eternal creation, made in His image and likeness, to disappear, forever. Eternal spirits would cease to be, would cease to be eternal. His law would be rewritten … No, amended … out of pity, charity, even … love … of the damned.

The Blessed stirred: “Does the Great One love even the lost,” they wondered, “even now?”

Satan spoke once more. Had he not spoken, of course, eternal history might have been … otherwise. So thought a few among the Blessed – for a moment all too brief to describe. And so thought the damned … forever.

“Oh Great One,” he simpered on, his efforts at eloquence availing him nothing, “Oh Great One, You have attacked me and questioned my character; I will not do the same. I ask that you look not to the past, but to the future.  Your Mercy and Goodness are perfection itself. And so too Your Justice. Let it be said, in Heaven and in Hell, that Your Divine Will was most perfectly fulfilled in this, that we the damned received our just desserts, and that You relented in Your anger and allowed us to be no more. Even though it be a million years that we wallow in the black fire of deceit and hatred in hell, let us know that it will end. Let the Blessed know that we, whom they loved (for they did – every one of us here was loved by one of them) have benefited from Your most supreme act of Love, Your forgiveness of our ….”

At that moment – well, there are no “moments” in eternity; it is all one eternal moment – at that word a sound appeared like cosmic thunder, a light of such terrifying color, a welling up of being so tremendous manifested itself throughout the heavenly realm. The Blessed saw it as awesome power and brilliance. The damned saw it as a violent, churning, searing wave, rolling towards them across the abyss from that distant shore of the Divine Presence, a terrifying, dark, roaring, burning, screaming wave of hopelessness.

In the instant before it struck, a voice came to them. It was a voice they dimly recognized – every one of them – from earthly life, one which they had heard, and most often ignored. It was a voice they had cringed to hear when, at the moment of their judgment, they had confronted the Risen Lord in His power and Majesty, and had fled instantly – for they knew they could not stay. Writhing in the pit, they listened to the Voice:

“Begone, Satan. You who tempted my Son in the Desert and on the Cross, would now tempt Me? You who whispered in the ear of every one of my children that forgiveness was a lie, would now ask for it? You who hated my Son, and yours who rejected Him, every one freely and knowingly, would now, in eternity, ask that Our Eternal Promise be corrupted in the name of forgiveness?

“Each and all of you damned souls had within your reach the means of eternal life. No one was beyond the reach of My infinite Mercy. Freely by your wills, you actively rejected Divine Forgiveness. Every single human that lacked the means to choose Me, because of youth, or impairment, or ignorance, is here with Me. No one of you is damned that did not damn himself, Satan, and you most of all, and your damned legions, to whom I gave perfect vision of all Truth.

“And now you would ask me to alter the Plan which I showed to you, which I created, which underlies all of Salvation History, in the name of forgiveness.

“Satan, wretch, you would have Me confirm that my Son’s forgiveness from the Cross was imperfect. That somehow I must now perfect His imperfection, to overrule His imperfect Word with a perfection more suitable to your situation. More cognizant of your unique, eternal circumstance. More compassionate in the light of your suffering. Poor Satan. Mistreated, abused, misunderstood. You self-indulgent, squalid, sewer of lies!

“Lucifer, you whose will defied Me at the moment of your creation, fully aware, fully to blame, look, you, for the last time, on my Divine Son, who is blameless, who is perfect, who is love, Whom you have persecuted, mocked, and hated throughout history. You would have me rule that His death was insufficient, that His charity is imperfect, that your plan – more “progressive” than Mine which I announced at Creation, and again at the gates of Eden – that yours more fully reflects the Divine Goodness than my own.

“You now request that I reject my Son’s Judgment, and that I alter it, perfect it, make it more mature, more understanding, more “Christian” than Christ Himself.

“And so, Satan, in your last moment of Salvation History – for henceforth is eternity, and you shall tempt no more – at your last moment you ask me to undo what I have done, to lie, and to annihilate my eternal creations, the souls of the wicked, to please your simpering Satanic lust for nothingness. Conniver to the last! Hateful without end! Fountain of lies!

“Begone, Satan! You and yours shall rot for eternity in the fires of hell. You shall know your guilt, your rejection of all that is Holy, your embrace of your own squalor. Know that I am God. Know that my Son, Whom you tempted, Whom you have hated since the beginning of the cosmos, is King, that His Blessed Mother has crushed your head beneath her heel, and that your punishment will be eternal, even as your hatred has been eternal. His Sacrifice is perfect; it needs no perfecting from the damnable likes of you!

“You vile wretch. My Divine Son told you in the desert, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord they God.’ But here you do vainly vaunt upon Us your last temptation, and dare to tempt God Himself. Begone, you vessel of filth, you vile pit of smarm and vain cunning. Behold the damned, who have never before known the likes of the hatred they have for you now. You are squalid companions forever. Go to them and with them into everlasting fire.

“Rise up, abyss, and shield the Blessed forever from this ghastly specter which I in my justice permit to endure eternally. You damned, know that you prepared this Hell for yourselves in your earthly life, harboring your hate and hardening your hearts against my Son. You embraced Satan, his works, and his lies, and now you would have me embrace them too, in the name of Mercy. Behold my Son, your Judge. His Mercy endures forever. And you who rejected Him will inherit my Justice, which also endures throughout eternity.

“You have asked for mercy in the name of hope, a false mercy and a false hope. Lies.  Begone, to begin your chosen path through eternity. Live on to know the depths of your sins, the breadth of your wickedness, and the hatred of those who go with you. For here alone is Love. Here alone is friendship. Here alone is goodness. May your natures ever remind you of your squalid, wicked wills and the grief they have spawned.

“You have been judged. On earth you hated Christ. At the Judgment you fled Him in fear. Begone. You have damned yourselves, and have nothing to blame but yourselves and your selfish wills, hateful and deceitful to the end. I have spoken.”

The screaming damned heard in horror these last words as the wave washed over them and swept them into eternal darkness and loathing. And nothing was ever known of them, or thought of them, again.

“Come, my Beloved Son, let us take Our children into the land that we have prepared for them, since before the foundation of the world. Oh Spirit of Love, envelop all our children and bring them ever upward, ever inward, to their eternal reward.”

Christopher Manion

By

Christopher Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College, and is the director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum Foundation. He is a Knight of Malta.

  • R J Stove

    A very powerful piece. To quote Evelyn Waugh, it brought a whiff of brimstone to at least one reader.

  • Ken

    A sobering reflection on the reality for those who reject God. Saving souls is the work given to us who dwell on the earth. So sad that so many do not believe that their soul or that of anyone they know are in danger of such a fate. Lord Have Mercy.

  • poetcomic1

     I think the problem with this piece is that I haven’t had my coffee yet.  

    • Steve

      “Childish tales of Hell”

      You have seen Hell where the souls of poor sinners go.  To save them, God wishes to establish in the world, devotion to My Immaculate Heart and I promise to save the world by this means.  -Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, July 13, 1917.

  • Derek

    Come on now, Ted Turner said Hell will be a party, that sinners will make it all the more fun.

    • Alex

      And Ted Turner can tell us if he was  right after he gets there.

  • Dee

    I am currently reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis so the title of this article caught my eye immediately and I just had to read it.  It does support the message Lewis put forth in his book.

    • Bob

      Focus Dee on the term “diabolical ventriloquy” in Screwtape and you and how it pertains to today’s society.

  • J G

    I think I will make an effort to go to confession more frequently. 

    • J G

       I went today and I feel great!

      • Alex

        Good job.  Now go again month and make it a repeating pattern.

        I go every week and now Confession is as easy as pie.

  • Alex

    Pretty good, for a moment I was afraid it was headed to Hallmark moment with Hell and Heaven hugging each other and sharing their feelings.

  • Tiredofthechickenlittles

    More dreck to make the self righteous further righteous in their own minds.

    Fear fear fear fear fear.

    Jesus came not to condemn.  I cannot, for the life of me, conceive of a loving God who would give people 60, 70, even 80 years to be the DEFINING determinate of how they will spend ETERNITY.  It just makes NO sense.  None.

    If he can forgive all your sins while you are in ONE place, why not another. 

    Why, if you are in hell, and you are “without hope” cannot you cry out for mercy and receive it?  If God’s greatest attribute is his mercy, why would he not draw all men to himself?

    Yes, I do believe there will be some who DO NOT WISH to be with God, and may choose nothingness instead, but the idea that people will SUFFER, suffer terribly…for eternity?

    THis is one teaching that just disgusts me.  I am with Origen in thinking that most if not all of  us make it to heaven.

    Any sad joy that people might take in reading something like this…much less writing it…my god..disgusting.

    • Pargontwin

      I will pray for you.

    • dwduck

      Yes, eternal damnation is a terrible fate, one we hope befalls no one — but just because it’s terrible to contemplate doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Obviously you’ve spent some time thinking about the issue, but pushing that aspect of it out of your mind does everyone a disservice — both the “blessed” and the “damned”.

    • Martin Corts

         “If he can forgive all your sins while you are in ONE place, why not another(?)”

      Maybe because the time & the place are exclusive to one another?  One of the key elements to our life on earth as believers is faith.  As Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:12, “For now we see through a glass darkly…”.  What we are called on to believe in this earthly existence with eyes of faith, we will behold with total clarity on the other side of death.  We are given free-will to choose our life “HERE AND NOW”, because we must choose by Faith in God, not by Force of God.

      J.P. Moreland, PH.D. says it well when interviewed by Lee Strobel, “God respects human freedom.  In fact, it would be unloving…..to force people to accept heaven and God if they didn’t really want them.  When God allows people to say ‘no’ to Him, He actually respects and dignifies them………..”Believe it or not, everlasting separation from God is morally superior to annihilation.”  “Why would God be morally justified in annihilating somebody?  The only way that’s a good thing would be the end result, which would be to keep people from experiencing the conscious separation from God forever.  Well, then you’re treating people as a means to an end.  “What hell does is recognize that people have intrinsic value.  If God loves intrinsic value, then He has got to be a sustainer of persons, because that means he is a sustainer of intrinsic value.  He refuses to snuff out  creature made in His Own image.  So in the final analysis, hell is the only morally legitimate option.”

      We just celebrated ‘Divine Mercy Sunday’ when we are reminded of this time of mercy that God is bestowing on us through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.  As he revealed to St. Faustina Kowalska.  He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. (1146)

      • Tiredofthechickenlittles

        And yet, the words of Jesus are clear from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

        I am also reminded of the parable Jesus taught that pays those who work in the  vineyard the EXACT SAME amount, despite the short time they are there in the vineyard working.   I mean, there will be people who get into heaven and receive all that it is just because of deathbed confessions.  There will be LOTS of people who dont understand Jesus’ mercy in that regard, and his generosity.

        Now, I do realize that they DID enter the vineyard; they made a choice to accept that role. They did say “I will serve, ”  whereas those who are usually said to be damned are to have said “I will NOT serve.”

        I do believe that people could deny God and choose separation, and do so.

        At the end of our lives, though,  I believe that we will be SHOWN something and then allowed to choose again.  AND…I believe God would keep trying. I just do. (didnt he say, “what father among you would give their child a stone if they asked for a fish?)

        This is the generosity of Jesus that I think many in that parable wont and DONT get.  “It isnt fair!”  “He didnt live the way I lived…!”  “hey, how come they get to come up here!?!?!”  “they are the worst of sinners!”  “they weren’t really sorry!?”   I can hear it all. The self righteous needing of some others to burn so they can feel better somehow. 

        I  find it impossible to fathom that there would be many who would choose a horific and painful fiery billion upon billion years if they were faced with God and finally “know what they do (or did, instead of not knowing).”  I think Jesus, in his love would still give them MANY chances.  Seventy years for a billion+?  Come on….

         And I disagree with the good PhD talking about God not being morally justified in annihilating something or someone. If anyone CAN, God can, and his decision would be moral.  Please.  People take their philosophical distinctions way too far to try to justify ideas that need to be deepened and developed, theologically.

        Jesus was CONSTANTLY telling people to be at peace and especially: NOT to be afraid.  It is amazing to me how many “good Christians” at websites like this one think it is so very important to scare the bejezus out of people with the fires of hell.

        It makes so very little sense.  But go ahead and keep writing your fictions and clicking that like button.

        • Bob

          Jesus also said the road to Him was narrow……..that He will be judging and separating sheeps and goats……..that if you are lukewarm He will vomit you out……that Satan prowls the earth like a lion to devour men’s souls……To be watchful because the Son of Man comes like a thief in the night. Christ speaks far more in scripture of hell and judgement than heaven.

          C.S. Lewis said that the greatest trick Satan plays on us is that the devil does not exist. There is truly a spiritual battle going on right now for our very souls. And if we were to even get a two second glimpse of that war the unbelievable horror of it would turn our hair white, it is such an ugly battle we can not comprehend it. The article is a sobering reminder that We are to be vigilant, and to put on the armour of Christ. Be wary of your lukewarmness, chicken little. Be very wary……..

          • Tiredofthechickenlittles

            If you’ve read his Great Divorce, CS Lewis has quite the differnt view of hell than this piece. I much prefer that little book.

            • Bob

              Regardless…..do you think that he’ll is a not-so-bad place that you want to end up in? And God’s mercy to us is purgatory, where I believe most of us put some time in before heaven.

            • Cord_Hamrick

              There ya’ go: The Great Divorce is correct. This piece is correct. The two are not contradictory any more than wave-particle duality. If one communicates more effectively than the other, stick to the one. The only thing to remember is that the author of the one agreed entirely with the underlying message of the other; keeping that in mind will help avoid willfully misconstruing either one.

              In particular keep in mind the contingent and conditional nature of humanity and that “ye need not fash yourself about such questions” when the relationship of time and eternity is at issue because no answer can be comprehensible, meaningful, and true all at once when time-bound creatures try to comprehend what is outside time. A lot of what sound like contradictions turn out probably not to be, when that is taken into account.

    • Cord_Hamrick

      “Tired”:

      I’m not sure how much joy anyone takes reading this, except it be the joy of seeing someone not denying the teachings of the Church. (The novelty of faithfulness makes it a joy, or at least a nice change of pace.)

      But one of the failings of this kind of writing is that for the sake of drama, it necessarily must simplify the teaching by skewing it in the direction of comprehensibility to human beings, not to mention humanizing the participants.

      We have to come to grips with the fact that:

      (a.) Scripture gives us a sense both of everlasting torment and of final destruction…and however counter-intuitive that may seem to us, both of these are true without contradiction.

      (b.) Human identity is not a necessary, guaranteed thing in human beings, but rather something at which they can succeed or fail. (Naturally, succeeding, like living and breathing, is only possible with the assistance of the requisite graces; they cannot succeed on their own any more than they can exist on their own.) Cats are always catty and piggs are always piggy and dogs are always doggy, but human beings are frequently inhuman. That inhumanity within us, if given more than a few hundred years to take root and spring to full flower, turns all goodness into corruption and produces hell in us even if we are not in hell. For there is no virtue so good that it will not become demonic if it is made into an idol or pressed into the service of an idol.

      (c.) Every soul becomes whatever they choose to become, and God offers them grace (starting with, but not ending with, the graces of existence and free will) to become it. But some souls, insanely, prefer to reign in hell rather than serve in Heaven. That this happens is hard to believe, as insane as it sounds; but then it’s hard to believe when the female friend goes back to the boyfriend who regularly beats her, knowing perfectly well he’ll kill her one day. Yet it happens.

      The damned often phrase their choice a bit differently: “I never put up with clerical elitism and self-righteous claptrap” or “I always supported the downtrodden over the high-and-mighty” or “I always stood by my country, right or wrong” or “I always put in a hard day’s work and never shirked” or “I never did anything fake but always followed my heart and my own conscience” and of course the old favorite “I did it myyyyyy wayyyyy.” But the gist ends up being, “F*** You, God, I’d rather reject You than accept You if it means accepting the bits my imperfectly formed conscience and immature faith find offensive.”

      (Note: Don’t read a personal scolding into the preceding sentence unless you think the shoe fits. The “me” implied by “my imperfectly formed conscience” and “my immature faith” is a criticism directed at myself, first, not to any particular reader. I have plenty to learn and my emotions need plenty of house-training before they’re fit for residence in God’s temple. That some of the Church’s doctrines strike me as incomprehensible or distasteful indicates only where I need the most work.)

      (d.) Of those who ultimately and unrepentantly make the choice to prefer the idolatries of corrupt human nature over the difficult higher calling of humility before God, it is correct to say that in the end, they failed to be truly human: Failed at achieving that identity which was the intended destiny of every human person. For the righteous, death is a birth-canal into new life; but some, we are told, are stillborn into the next life.

      (e.) As best we can tell, time is a created thing like space. There is either
      no time outside of the created world, or a time very different from our
      own of which our own is as diminutive and distorted a shadow as
      Solomon’s temple was of the glory of the heavenly Holy of Holies…and
      even that time might be something to which humans and possibly angels
      are subject, but it would be a thing by which God Himself is not
      affected at all. From His perspective, All Times Are Now; He is currently observing your birth, your death, each of your good works, and each of your sins, simultaneously; from His perspective, all of these are you. If you persevere in a state of grace, your sins are not only forgiven but grace, working backwards, transforms them into (at the very least) your “testimony”: That from which He saved you. And in this fashion even your failings He can redeem and complete the good work in you, producing the You that He already knows but which you yourself have never yet met.

      All of the above is of course a radical oversimplification and thus subject to misunderstanding. An unsympathetic reading, or a reading which fails to exercise the hermeneutic of continuity with all the teachings of the Church, will of course produce internal contradiction or heresy. But that does not mean it is incorrect; only that it is read wrongly.

      And this is what we should expect when we investigate the fundamental nature of things. For example, quanta are apparently sometimes like particles and sometimes like waves. If we try to see them always as particles, we get errors; if we try to see them always as waves, we get errors; the claim that they are “both” seems self-contradictory; the claim that they are “neither” but with attributes analogous to both is more helpful but leaves open the question of what, in fact, they are. A person who read the quantum theory unsympathetically would therefore find it distasteful, as apparently Einstein did (“God does not play dice with the universe”) or internally inconsistent. But that is the failure of the reader, and the reader’s refusal to appreciate the limits of the analogy.

      And I think that is your error in reading Christopher Manion’s piece, “Tired.” It is an analogy which conveys truth. You point out quite correctly that if one takes the piece at face value rather than having some respect for the limitations of the chosen genre of writing, one will have a negative reaction: reacting to the scene as if it were a drama played out in the court of a severe-sounding human potentate with what strikes a modern reader as the kind of language and behavior we associate with having a broomstick inserted into one’s nether regions.

      But the solution to that is to read it as it’s intended to be read, and if you can’t find it within yourself to do that, write it off to your own literary limitations: It is a kind of writing that leaves you cold; fair enough, go try to find the same information presented elsewhere in a style more amenable to your cultural background and sensibilities.

      And if you can’t find anything that helps you be comfortable with the doctrine, then just accept the doctrine as something you don’t “get” the way that quantum theory is something most of us don’t “get,” but are persuaded is true on the basis that competent authorities have told us.

      • Tiredofthechickenlittles

        I appreciate your response, and the amount of time it must take to write all that you do, but I simply disagree with this interpretation.  I stand with Origen, cleanly. I do not buy the teaching about a personification of evil.  It is moronic, in my opinion.  I do believe in evil, sure.  But all this angel and demon stuff..sigh..it just smacks of santa and the easter bunny.    I am certainly willign to be wrong…but there is no proof either way.  So, believe as you like. 

        In my opinion, Soteriology and Eschatology are sorely in need of deep overhaul.

        You dont have to bother with a long reply.  I mostly type here for my own benefit. My guess is most of us do. 

        • Bob

          Realize that Origen had many great writings, but also many Controversial writings that kept the word “Saint” from in front of his name.

          • Tiredofthechickenlittles

            No worries. I dont presume to be a saint, nor do I think his LACK of sainthood makes him wrong.  We could stand a bit more controversy in the face of fearmongering and childish tales of hell, fire, and brimstone.

            • Ron Leifeste

              ” fearmongering and childish tales of hell, fire, and brimstone.”  I quote Padre Pio in commenting on people who don’t believe in Hell, “they will believe in Hell when they get there”.

        • Cord_Hamrick

          One cannot overhaul in the sense that you desire, and remain Christian.

          Origen was simply in error — honest error, well-intentioned error, never obstinately-held-error, but error all the same. If he hadn’t been, his views would not have been such a novelty in early Christendom. His views would have emerged all over the Christian world from the Thomasite churches in India to the churches in Ethiopia to the churches in Gaul. But that isn’t what happened: All those churches had heaven and (eternal) hell and angels and demons and everything that rankles you. Origen’s pre-existent souls and other speculations stand out as an innovation.

          It’s your call: You can either say the Holy Spirit abandoned the whole Church except for this guy and (maybe) Gregory of Nyssa, leading the vast majority of all Christians who’ve ever lived not into truth but into error for the vast majority of Christian history in all places — in which case Jesus’ promise was false and He is not God and you just became an atheist or a Deist — or you can say that Jesus, being God, can keep His promises, even if some of what His Church says gets up your left nostril from time to time. But the deity of Christ has certain intellectual implications, and cognitive dissonance is not good for the soul.

          By the way, why all the skepticism about angels (fallen and unfallen)?

          You say there’s no proof, by which I assume you mean no evidence…but that seems to me to require first disregarding all the evidence, so that one can claim there’s no evidence. We have the (I think insurmountable) Dominical utterances on the topic, and the long history of Jewish and Christian (and possibly pagan?) encounters with them, Scriptural, historical, and modern (including among persons of my acquaintance during my own lifetime).

          I guess you’ve never had the privilege or the misfortune…but why should you? Have you been such a saintly threat that a devil should single you out for attack? Or such a humble soul that Our Lord could risk you seeing an angel without going off-the-rails over it? Perhaps one person in a hundred thousand ever knowingly has such encounters (and some unknown percentage of those are delusional). I doubt I ever shall: I don’t think I have what it takes to endure such august company except at risk to soul and sanity. If I ever were to have such an experience, I will probably wish I hadn’t been paid the compliment.

          Apart from all that, surely you don’t think humans are the only intelligent life in the universe? Surely you don’t believe an intelligent Person has to have a body? (Is God the Father not intelligent?) Surely you don’t believe that one has to have a body in order to sin?

          It seems arbitrary and very anthropocentric to be so certain that we humans are the only game in town with respect to personhood, spirituality, and sin.

          Two final things:

          1. About long replies: For me, this is brief. Ask around. (Sorry. It’s congenital. We’re trying to treat it with diet and exercise.)

          2. You may, possibly, have misunderstood or exaggerated the Christian view of the devil. Your phrasing “personification of evil” isn’t quite right, or at least can be misunderstood: Persons are good things, but some of them opt to act evilly. Evil is parasitical, not a thing in-and-of-itself: It always involves some good being warped.

          The devil is not the opposite of God (save in his own egocentric fantasy, perhaps) for God can have no opposite (Dualism is false). Once you take away all that is good, including existence, there would be nothing left. So, again, no devil is the opposite of God; they’re all just angels who could have been like Michael but failed. One of them is currently styling himself as the ringleader of the others, and we usually call him “the devil” and the others “demons,” but being the biggest bully of the lot doesn’t make one God’s opposite number any more than being the oldest kid in Saturday detention makes one the equal opposite of the school headmaster. (Less, actually.)

    • Ken

      Yes Jesus did not come to condemn. Jesus came so that we could have a personal relationship wih God and so that the gates of Heaven would be opened and sins could be forgiven. If you read the gospels looking for references by Jesus of Heaven and Hell. You will fined that Jesus mentions Hell  ten times more than He mentions Heaven. Your sins cannot be forgiven in eternity, the state of the soul is fixed. That is why Satan cannot repent. Since the soul is eternal it does not end. Yes Hell is horrible and that is why God became man so that we way know the Truth and the Truth will set us free.

      • Bob

        Measure for measure. Hell and sin are so incredibly horrible that Christ was willing to go through an absolutely horrific crucifiction to offset hell and sin to show us how through love and forgiveness we can avoid hell.

    • Kurt

      Dear Tired,
      You have great sympathy for your fellow man. Your upset at this piece confirms it.
      However have you considered the logic of your position? You equate “ONE place” with any other.  But is that truthful? I don’t think that one’s position before a judgement is equal to their position after a judgement. If it was then the judgement is meaningless. A mere parlor game.
      God places the concept of judgement in our minds as a reflection of His promise of perfect JUSTICE.  Something unattainable on earth. Yes, our Father may tip the scales in our favor with his mercy, but His commandments were given on stone tablets. 

      Hebrews 12:5-11 

      And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
      “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary
      when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and
      chastises every son whom he receives.”

      I believe the article is perfectly written to dissuade those amongst us (myself included) who would fall prey to Satan’s lie that a loving Father would not punish a wayward child. God offers us millions of moments to dedicate our hearts to Him.  Christopher Manion is trying to get us to see that each moment is a gift from a loving Father.

    • MarkRutledge

      Apparently you won’t believe in a God who doesn’t think precisely like you (alas, you are in good company in contemporary America).  The conclusions are obvious.

    • Robert Nachtegall

      Chickenlittleguy,
       
      I don’t think it’s joy people derive from the fate of the damned as it is the effectiveness of the tale. The catch is that people like myself were drawn into Satan’s pleading and it took God to clear the air
       
       
       
       

  • Pargontwin

    Hell is such a horrible fate, that many times I catch myself pitying the souls of the damned.  This powerful piece will further help me to turn my horror to prayers for those on Earth who still have time to avail themselves of God’s grace.

  • Galena56

    This is a very powerful piece of writing.   I was convinced by both God amd the Devil; and I found myself feeling terribly sorry for the damned.  What a horrible thing “eternity” can be! 
    I believed and agreed with every word the Devil spoke, and then I realized that’s the way he planned it!

    • Tiredofthechickenlittles

      This is a work of fiction, folks.

      • azhermit

         duh…

  • Martin Corts

    WOW!!!

  • James Stagg

    Absolutely astounding writing!  Bravo!

  • J G

    “The gates of hell are locked on the inside.” No one has to go to hell. YOU don’t have to go to hell. Do you want to avoid it? Then know, love, and serve God. Be in a state of grace in a loving relationship with the Lord. Go to confession frequently and don’t miss Mass. Receive the Eucharist with devotion. Pray every day, especially the act of contrition and the rosary. Love your neighbor and do the works of mercy.  Avoid sin. Read scripture. Follow your vocation with faith. Entrust yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. God gives to everyone the graces necessary to be saved, so cooperate with those graces. He WANTS you to be saved and will help you. If you don’t want to go to hell then choose heaven instead. Jesus is waiting for you.

  • http://www.agdei.com/ H. Reed Armstrong

    This had to be said.  The Devil and Hell are unfortunate realities. No one likes the idea of eternal damnation, especially regarding oneself or ones loved ones. Darwin admitted in his autobiography that he wrote The Origin of the Species to refute the Biblical narative because, if eternal damnation was true, his father, his brothers and all his friends would  end up  in Hell.
     
    In the “old days,” we were constant ly reminded of the “last things” or   Novisima, death, judgment, heaven and hell, and there were choices to be made. Since Vatican II and the vacillations of Von Balthasar, neither our bishops nor priests want to even touch on the subject. All we hear from the pulpit are, peace, justice, freedom and the universal brotherhood of man, as if lifted directly from the Masonic manuals of yore. If eternal damnation is a reality, we damn well better know about it.

    • Craig Stewart

      What is vacillating about reasonable hope that no one may be lost in the fullness of time that God may be all-in-all?

      Believe it or not, I don’t think rousing speeches of eternal damnation will not do much to evangelize the current culture (as perhaps they did in the middle ages), and I think the current bishops know this. Threats of punishment from God have never been to make us hide like Adam and Eve in garden, but rather to push us towards repentance. While there may have been genuine cowardice from the pulpit in the last half of the last century, I am certainly very hopeful about the new energy that seems to have overtaken the heads of the Church. On fire with radical orthodoxy, but never at the sacrifice of the love and mercy of God. How very Christlike.

      There is no masonic conspiracy about preaching peace, justice, freedom, and the universal brotherhood of man. Did the Church have masonic enemies in the past? Yes. Does it still today in Italy, for example, quite possibly. But to assume a demon under every doily is presumptuous. The meter we use to judge shall be turned against us. Trust in the love and mercy of Jesus.

      Damnation and Hell are realities, but as C.S. Lewis so famously put it, the door is locked from the inside. God does not force himself on anyone, and wills that none be lost.

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  • Bob Drury

    What is a fate worse than eternity in hell?  Annihilation!

  • kluttinen

    All I know is I shuddered when I read this, one week after the feast of Divine Mercy, putting words into the mouth of God, whom I love above all things, and whose Mercy I venerate above all attributes of God.  Perhaps it is because I am a woman, but my favorite religious “joke” is the one about God asking St. Peter to keep a tighter reign on the gates of Heaven since it was getting crowded. St. Peter agrees. God returns and says, “Did you not do as I asked? Heaven is more crowded than ever!” St. Peter says, “Tell your Mother.  Every time I close the door, she opens a window.” Mary, Mother of God, pray that no more souls listen to the lies of the deceiver…

  • cemadi

    God’s infinite forgiveness was never available to Satan or the fallen angels. There decision was a permanant one the moment they decided to rebel. This article in many places is heretical. Its conclusion is correct, but the theory behind it is greatly flawed theologically.

  • Jessmanarch

    Talk about a fire and brimstone article, sheesh!

    Some of what was written here sounded good, a lot didn’t.  God loves all of His creation, Satan included.  If Satan would repent, many saints believe he would be forgiven, many saints have prayed for Satan and have felt sorry for him. If humans can feel such compassion and desire such mercy, how much greater is God’s compassion and mercy?!

    God is burning Love, our experience of Him due to the state of our soul, will be the experience of either Heaven or hell.  The same God is present in all places and fills all things, if you love God you will be in heaven at death, if you hate God His presence will be hell to you at death.  It will be the same fire we all experience in eternity, the book of Revelation talks about the Seraphim, which means burning ones, whom surround the throne of God.  They are burning, on fire, but this is a good fire, the kind that fills the saints here on earth, God’s love. 

    Think of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, when Frodo and Sam have tied the Elven rope around his neck, or they try and feed him the Elven bread, these things are life giving and good to the Hobbits but horrible and bad to Gollum.  “It burns us precious, take it off!” Gollum cries to the Hobbits about the rope touching his skin!  The same will be of Gods presence and His love to his creatures, we shall either receive it has life giving, as heaven for all for eternity or as hell.    

     

  • poetcomic1

    All the great images of the Last Judgment from the Age of Faith  show Jesus with a calm and serene face.  No hint of  fierce sternness or anger.  The justice of Christ must be sublime justice and ‘experienced’ as justice by all creation.  Truth must be true.  I think hell expresses the implacable nature of truth – so in a sense those in hell are ‘hell-spawn’ and their lord IS the father of lies and they are not ‘burned’ with fire, rather they ARE hungry self-consuming fire.

  • Noah_Vaile

    It’s our choice alone.

  • LMR

    The question is not “how can a loving God send his loved one to Hell?”, but rather  “how can a soul so loved by God, reject him and choose Hell instead?” … It’s natural to feel sorry for the souls in Hell, but to say that God could be more merciful on them is to say that  Christ’s sacrifice on the cross wasn’t enough. It’s asking God to override human free will and force himself on us, as if that would somehow be more loving than allowing us to choose Him for themselves.

    • LMR

       *for ourselves.

  • Mediaeval Guitar

    The traditional understanding of hell’s duration is, of course, that it is endless. In Holy Scripture, however, the words most often translated “forever” or “everlasting” (la ‘olam, aionios) do not literally or necessarily mean “endless”. Has the Church ever dogmatically defined hell as literally endless and that the unsaved and devils will be there always and endlessly without hope of release?

    • Kenneth

      It is the teaching of Christianity:

      CCC 1035 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, where they
      suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” 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.

      • Mediaeval Guitar

        Kenneth,

        thanks for your reply! The CCC presumably means “eternal fire” in the Scriptural sense of ‘eternal’ (‘aionios’ in Greek, from ‘aion’, age/eon). My point is that the Scriptural sense of the word does not necessarily mean “endlessly”. It is closer in meaning to the English phrase, “for ages”, or “for ages and ages”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=668350880 Gabriel Espinosa

    Wow…just Wow!

  • Empty Handed Love

    There was a potential in this tirade for glory, and it was shattered not even half-way through. How sad it is to see the faith of the Church locked up in fear and ignorance of their own present divine reality. If we had the courage to break away from what we have been taught and instead read for ourselves the things God has to say about Hell, we might be well on our way to fulfilling our assignment here: To bring heaven to earth, not in seeking our own deaths for salvation. You are sanctified! You are justified! You are glorified! Wake up, sleeper! Arise from your slumber and Christ will give you life and light! The power of Hell is no power, and the power of man is no power but the power that Christ has given us. We were co-crucified with Him, and in that deathly union, our sins removed, and in that resurrection, a union to new creation, holy and perfect in the Lord with no separation or requirement, for He has satisfied all requirements on our behalf that only by faith we might come to know Him, not by anything we do. Realize your folly and repent for the Lord’s goodness, not out of fear for a hell that has no victory! You are powerful in union with God! You never have to sin again! Throw off the yoke of slavery and bask in the freedom and joy of the truth!

  • Dnrlitton

    Well, done, my friend!  Well done!  Now this is the Christopher Manion come back to tell another tale…I still have that book you first retold…this one, sir, is your Masterpiece…I will suggest gently to you that you read “23 Minutes in Hell”…I think it will catch your eye!  One from SB to NC to  SB

  • Amadea

    We hear all the time, “How could a perfectly God damn anyone to hell?”  Well, the answer is that He doesn’t.  Those who do not choose Christ, choose damnation.  Those who choose Christ and cling to His Truth to the end of life on earth, get to be with Him in heaven, forever.  Simple, really.

  • Jessmanarch

     http://orthocath.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/hell-and-gods-love-an-orthodox-view/

    PLEASE read the link for a Christian understanding of hell and God!!!

  • Jessmanarch
  • Jessmanarch
  • sam the man

    So your speaking for god? So god told you to say this? Or do you know gods thoughts? I find this annoying when people like you act as if you know what god would do or say. All of you need to wake up! Satan will not come to you in hate, but in the mask of love and knowledge, this piece mocks god…No person would know what god would say or do. Also confession for your sins really? No how about you ask forgiveness to our lord and not tell some old piece of shit preacher of lies! Catholicism is wrong and will lead you only to hell. I have studied for many years the bible and honestly advised everyone to read the bible and question what all of these false churches and false prophets have made you believe in. Mormonism, Catholicism, etc. are all false religions used to control group of you into believing lies. Catholicism states that you call the preacher “father” but the bible our lord clearly states that he is the only “father” also the catholic church used money and men for wars in the past but is constantly trying to sweep it under the carpet as if it never happened. Mormonism believes that in the end we will become like god….Satan was thrown out of heaven for that and they have been proven to be wrong for example stating that they were the descendants of native American’s, which by the way was proven false due to Mormon and others doctors from different religions blood testing. Heres the best advised read the bible and only the bible and find the lord not another false prophet leading you to hell and gaining fame and fortune from your demise.

  • sam the man

    did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!

  • sam the man

    did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!

  • sam the man

    did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!

  • sam the man

    did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!

  • sam the man

    did you really take down my post? why because i was honest and told the truth?!

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