In religion and folklore, Hell is an afterlife location in which evil souls are subjected to punitive suffering, often torture, as eternal punishment after death.
The modern English word hell is derived from Old English hel, helle (first attested around 725 CE to refer to a nether world of the dead) reaching into the Anglo-Saxon pagan period. Hell appears in several mythologies and religions. It is commonly inhabited by demons and the souls of dead people. A fable about Hell which recurs in folklore across several cultures is the allegory of the long spoons. Hell is often depicted in art and literature, perhaps most famously in Dante’s early-14th century narrative poem Divine Comedy.
Early Judaism had no concept of Hell, although the concept of an afterlife was introduced during the Hellenistic period, apparently from neighboring Hellenistic religions. It occurs for example in the Book of Daniel. Daniel 12:2 proclaims “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.”
Judaism does not have a specific doctrine about the afterlife, but it does have a mystical/Orthodox tradition of describing Gehinnom. Gehinnom is not Hell, but originally a grave and in later times a sort of Purgatory where one is judged based on one’s life’s deeds, or rather, where one becomes fully aware of one’s own shortcomings and negative actions during one’s life. The Kabbalah explains it as a “waiting room” (commonly translated as an “entry way”) for all souls (not just the wicked). The overwhelming majority of rabbinic thought maintains that people are not in Gehinnom forever; the longest that one can be there is said to be 12 months, however there has been the occasional noted exception. Some consider it a spiritual forge where the soul is purified for its eventual ascent to Olam Habah (heb. lit. “The world to come”, often viewed as analogous to heaven). This is also mentioned in the Kabbalah, where the soul is described as breaking, like the flame of a candle lighting another: the part of the soul that ascends being pure and the “unfinished” piece being reborn.
According to Jewish teachings, hell is not entirely physical; rather, it can be compared to a very intense feeling of shame. People are ashamed of their misdeeds and this constitutes suffering which makes up for the bad deeds. When one has so deviated from the will of God, one is said to be in Gehinnom. This is not meant to refer to some point in the future, but to the very present moment. The gates of teshuva (return) are said to be always open, and so one can align his will with that of God at any moment. Being out of alignment with God’s will is itself a punishment according to the Torah.
“Sheol” in the Hebrew Bible, and “Hades” in the New Testament. Many modern versions, such as the New International Version, translate Sheol as “grave” and simply transliterate “Hades”. It is generally agreed that both sheol and hades do not typically refer to the place of eternal punishment, but to the grave, the temporary abode of the dead, the underworld.
“Gehenna” in the New Testament, where it is described as a place where both soul and body could be destroyed (Matthew 10:28) in “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43). The word is translated as either “Hell” or “Hell fire” in many English versions. Gehenna was a physical location outside the city walls where they burned garbage and where lepers and outcasts were sent, hence the weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The Greek verb tartarō, derived from Tartarus, which occurs once in the New Testament (in 2 Peter 2:4), is almost always translated by a phrase such as “thrown down to hell”. A few translations render it as “Tartarus”; of this term, the Holman Christian Standard Bible states: “Tartarus is a Greek name for a subterranean place of divine punishment lower than Hades.
Lucifer is the name of various mythological and religious figures associated with the planet Venus. Due to the unique movements and discontinuous appearances of Venus in the sky, mythology surrounding these figures often involved a fall from the heavens to earth or the underworld. Interpretations of a similar term in the Hebrew Bible, translated in the King James Version as the proper name “Lucifer”, led to a Christian tradition of applying the name Lucifer, and its associated stories of a fall from heaven, to Satan, but modern scholarship generally translates the term in the relevant Bible passage (Isaiah 14:12) as “morning star” or “shining one” rather than as a proper name, “Lucifer”.
As a name for the Devil, the more common meaning in English, “Lucifer” is the rendering of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל (transliteration: hêylêl; pronunciation: hay-lale) in Isaiah (Isaiah 14:12) given in the King James Version of the Bible. The translators of this version took the word from the Latin Vulgate,which translated הֵילֵל by the Latin word lucifer (uncapitalized), meaning “the morning star, the planet Venus”, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”.
As a name for the planet in its morning aspect, “Lucifer” (Light-Bringer) is a proper name and is capitalized in English. In Greco-Roman civilization, it was often personified and considered a god and in some versions considered a son of Aurora (the Dawn). A similar name used by the Roman poet Catullus for the planet in its evening aspect is “Noctifer” (Night-Bringer)
A figure known as “the satan” first appears in the Tanakh as a heavenly prosecutor, a member of the sons of God subordinate to Yahweh, who prosecutes the nation of Judah in the heavenly court and tests the loyalty of Yahweh’s followers by forcing them to suffer. During the intertestamental period, possibly due to influence from the Zoroastrian figure of Angra Mainyu, the satan developed into a malevolent entity with abhorrent qualities in dualistic opposition to God. In the apocryphal Book of Jubilees, Yahweh grants the satan (referred to as Mastema) authority over a group of fallen angels, or their offspring, to tempt humans to sin and punish them. In the Synoptic Gospels, Satan tempts Jesus in the desert and is identified as the cause of illness and temptation. In the Book of Revelation, Satan appears as a Great Red Dragon, who is defeated by Michael the Archangel and cast down from Heaven. He is later bound for one thousand years, but is briefly set free before being ultimately defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hell as punishment for our lousy actions doesn’t exist; according to Bishop John Shelby Spong, it is a church invention to make you go back.
In our teaching
Hell, fire, devils, Satan, Lucifer are mythology and non-existing. If you sins, you will not be punished by God, and it doesn’t affect God in any way, shape or form.
The doctrine of repentance as taught in the Bible is a call to persons to make a radical turn from one way of life to another. The repentance (metanoia) called for throughout the Bible is a summons to a personal, absolute and ultimate unconditional surrender to God as Sovereign. Though it includes sorrow and regret, it is more than that. It is a call to conversion from self-love, self-trust, and self-assertion to obedient trust and self-commitment to now live for God and his purposes. It is a change of mind that involves a conscious turning away from wrong actions, attitudes and thoughts that conflict with a Godly lifestyle and biblical commands and an intentional turning toward doing what the Bible says please God. In repenting, one makes a complete change of direction (180° turn) toward God. The words “repent,” “repentance,” and “repented” are mentioned over 100 times in the Bible.
Repentance typically requires an admission of guilt for committing a wrong or for omitting to do the right thing; a promise or resolve not to repeat the offence; an attempt to make restitution for the incorrect, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong or the omission where possible.
In our Independent Catholic Ministry, we have the sacrament of penitence; when you sin, you do not offend God, but you can offend your neighbour; we require that you apologize and, if needed, reparation toward the person that you offended.
In the case the offended do not want to forgive you for any reason, a Minister will act to forgive you, to appease your conscience.
Abp. Eric Michel