Talk:Problem of Hell

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A Call for an Expert[edit]

I tagged this article because I found the article to be amateurish. Needs better theological treatment. For one thing, Marilyn McCord Adams is a controversial voice in the debate. (An informed acquaintance of mine was less diplomatic, labeling her "a loon.") She is given too much prominence with inadequate balance from mainstream theologians. <>< tbc 19:08, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

I named Adams not because I wanted to appeal to her authority, but simply because Wikipedia policies require one to cite the arguments that you discuss, otherwise it looks like it's just your own ideas. Her arguments stand or fall on their own merits, regardless of what others think of her.

And I take issue with the idea that we need "theology" here. This is a philosophy of religion topic. Evercat 13:59, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I think this article might even warrent being removed, or drastically altered. It (and this page) seem to have turned into a forum for theological discussion, and a chance for people to state what they believe/think plausible. Wikipedia is not meant to be(unless Im wholly mistaken) a forum for the discussion of "has religion X got it wrong?.."

An article posing 'a potential problem' may well be ok, with links to arguments from different sides, but an article that tries to argue it out, and end by asserting one 'logical conclusion' is surely not something that Wikipedia can endorse (without the website having theological opinions..)

Even if we can get experts, then the article will become a place for them to preach what they think is the solution.. if we get one from either side of the line (i.e one saying this is a problem, we shouldnt believe.. and one saying its not.. ) then the article will become a fighting zone, as each continues to add more and more... --TM-77 20:26, 10 June 2006 (UTC)


I'm going to move this article to Problem of Hell in accordance with the general MOS proscription against the beginning titles. --Gareth Hughes 22:16, 5 May 2005 (UTC)

OK, I can't do that, because it already exists. So:
  • Isn't it the house style not to use article titles beginning with the definite article unless it is in some way intrinsic to it? Move to Problem of Hell. --Gareth Hughes 22:22, 5 May 2005 (UTC)
Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one sentence explanation and sign your vote with ~~~~

This article has been renamed as the result of a move request. violet/riga (t) 19:58, 11 May 2005 (UTC)


If this page gets moved, then The problem of evil should also be moved to Problem of evil. Lachatdelarue (talk) 14:46, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

Done this one too. violet/riga (t) 19:58, 11 May 2005 (UTC)

Tabright37 (talk) 10:10, 20 November 2016 (UTC) This page should be a sub-topic under the main topic of Hell. If it were a page dedicated to a book, then only information contained within the book should appear on this page.

Child with shotgun[edit]

On the "child with shotgun" bit:

That view, however, presupposes that we as the "child" are responsible enough to choose to go to Heaven, we're just not responsible enough to choose to go to Hell;

This argument is weird. Adams is simply saying that we're too flawed to be given a choice with such potentially negative consequences. I don't understand what you mean about being "responsible enough to choose to go to Heaven". Please elaborate.

and/or that we don't have enough knowledge right now to choose between Heaven and Hell (an issue that cannot be fully addressed by the argument).

This is mentioned in the passage below.

Alternatively stated, it presupposes that omniscient knowledge is required to make the "right" choice

How does it presuppose any such thing?

or that mortality is a test of our knowledge as opposed to which side of our nature we choose to develop under the circumstances of mortal life.

Again, it implies no such thing. Regardless of how the choice is made, it is a choice. That's all that matters for Adams' argument. Evercat 22:59, 29 May 2005 (UTC)


Thanks for explaining in depth why you reverted my changes.

I understand what you mean about making no presupposition about going to Heaven, just that any choice involving eternal destinies could not reasonably be given to ignorant creatures such as ourselves.

However, I disagree with your last point --

Again, it implies no such thing. Regardless of how the choice is made, it is a choice. That's all that matters for Adams' argument.

The reason I disagree is clear from the definition of "ignorant" and its relation to "knowledge". My point was that Adams' argument is only valid if it indeed would be unjust to judge us by decisions we make based on our knowledge, but it is entirely possible that the "test" of mortality may not be based upon knowledge at all, it may be based upon what we choose to become as a result of how we respond to tests of mortality.

Also implicit in Adams' argument is that we are somehow unprepared for the test by our ignorance. However if God is just, then we must be prepared, otherwise God would of necessity be unjust by giving us an unjust test. So if you believe God exists, and you believe in the justice of God, you cannot also believe with logical consistency that we are completely unprepared.

Adams argues that our ignorance renders us incapable of eschewing incorrect choices and the corresponding consequences of eternal punishment.

No, she doesn't. She makes the argument that Hell is unfair even if everyone knows what is required. In another analogy, she writes:

Suppose the powers that be threaten a nuclear holocaust if I do not always put my pencil down no more than an inch from the paper on which I am writing ... Although in some sense I can comply, I am also in some sense bound to slip up sooner or later.

It's clear that knowledge is not the problem. The problem is that it is unreasonable to give such flawed creatures as ourselves any way to send ourselves to Hell forever, whether by conscious choice or merely through the way one lives one's life.

Is it possible that what you really object to is the line above that bit, that reads "so that people who do not wish to be with God are not forced to be" and you're suggesting that there's an alternate way in which the "choice" could be made? Adams' argument clearly works however the choice is made, but I see that this bit could be problematic. Evercat 11:51, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Separate from the suggestion that one chooses one's eternal fate in life, many fathers of the church believed that upon death a soul will fully understand the good and evil of all its acts during life, and (if sinful) will in fact go to Hell voluntarily because it will deem itself unworthy for Heaven.

A problem with this argument is that it implies that some people are superior to others in God's view and deserve better treatment, which is contradictory with an image of an all-loving God. It also seems to suggest that a possible solution would be to eliminate any possible chance for people to hear about "God's plan" and salvation.

I am removing the 2nd paragraph here because it is a complete non-sequiteur, as far as I can see. Evercat 29 June 2005 20:14 (UTC)

Three paragraphs above in this discussion the claim is made "many fathers of the church believed......," please give citations for this claim as many would be interested to see the evidence. 16:52, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't it seem plausible that the idea of hell is and always has been the result of a ruling class' desire to provide an impetus, to those over whom are being ruled over, not to repel and were to ask questions? Mattramzzz (talk) 20:22, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Hell in Islam[edit]

In Islam (as far I know) Humans in Hell can work off their debt to God and can then gain entry to Heaven. This should gain a mention in the above article if it can be properly sourced, as Muslims believe in Hell as much as Jews and Christians. --

Interesting, sounds similar to the second chance doctrine. Can you find a Koran verse? Evercat 09:05, 25 August 2005 (UTC)
I did a little bit of research on google and I found just the opposite:
  • Verily those who reject faith and die rejecting - on them is Allaah's Curse and the Curse of the Angels and of all mankind. They will abide therein: their penalty will not be lightened, nor will respite be their lot (2:161-162)
  • Their wish will be to get out of the Fire, but never will they get out therefrom: their Penalty will be one that endures (5:37)
  • The unbelievers shall endure forever the torment of Hell. The punishment will never be lightened, and they shall be speechless with despair (43:74)
(Info found here and here) --Nova77 20:36, 27 August 2005 (UTC)

better translation of (43:74) I don't know which translation you used this is Yusuf Ali's "The sinners will be in the Punishment of Hell, to dwell therein (for aye):"

Ibn Taymiyyah taught that hell wasn't eternal. So the question does exist in Islam, it's just not commonly addressed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:49, 23 October 2011 (UTC)

The Islamic view of hell has been under-quoted and as per the research of Nova77, mis-represented as well since it seems to suggest that punishment endures. Further, the first two problems, as mentioned in the introduction to the article, have not been elucidated since even if it is assumed for the sake of argument that punishment in hell is not eternal, still the two problems very much remain:

  • 1. There exists a hell
  • 2. People go there.

Also, there is an additional third problem

  • 3. Those who refuse to abide by God's will as desired in Quran, are bound to end up in hell irrespective of how good their deeds are.

This violates the principle of neutral point-of-view. isoham (talk) 14:30, 29 August 2013 (UTC)

Rewriting a sentence[edit]

The article is fairly well written, but I take issue with this sentence:

Three possible ways to do this (while maintaining a belief in God) are the doctrines of Annihilationism, where Hell is seen only as oblivion without consciousness, Universalism, where everyone is saved, without exception, and the Second chance doctrine (or Escapism), where even after one has been sent to Hell, one can still accept God and be saved. This would seem to deny the story Jesus told about Dives and Lazarus.

Unfortunately, this betrays a grave misunderstanding of the Dives and Lazarus saying. This saying of Jesus was not a "story" but a parable. It was not intended to be taken literally, and even if it were, the word translated "Hell" in the parable is "Hades," referring to Sheol - totally unrelated to Gehenna, the punishment-Hell referred to in this article. None of Jesus' parables were intended to be interpreted literally. There is really no good way to resolve this other than to excise the statement from the paragraph.

Lewis quote misinterpreted?[edit]

As i was reading this article (which does come off as amateurish), i was confused by the interpretation of the C.S. Lewis quote. Here it is: "There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'"

The article says "On the latter view, which seems suggested by Lewis, those in hell can get to heaven if they choose to accept God." The Lewis quote does not imply that "in the end", a person can effect his free will to escape hell. It is saying that you can either choose God's perfect will for your life, or you can choose to live your life apart from God. And in the end, God will say "very well - you did it your way. Have a big slice o' hell."

Lewis Quote Not Misinterpreted[edit]

Lewis' statement here should be read in context with the rest of his corpus, and not in the context of whatever assorted debris of ideas are floating around in one's head, as though that formed an appropriate canon of interpretation - The Great Divorce is a helpful place to look to see how his theological view on the matter plays out. He was influenced by Charles Williams, who taught that "the doors of Hell are locked from the inside."

Lewis' mind was that the freedom of the will can increase or diminish based on virtue, or rather, holiness, participation in God. This opinion is not peculiar to Lewis, and has a very high degree of resonance - if not consonance - with the main Tradition of the Church. In his thought, the particular form this teaching takes is as a type of deification by way of increased ontology, as evidenced by some of the events in The Great Divorce, such as people from Hell on "holiday" in Heaven, and being hurt by how real things were, the pain diminishing in proportion to the visitor's increase in virtue (and coincidental with virtue, freedom and ontology). The more these diminished, the less free and less real the individual became, until they reached the point where they simply winked out of existence.

Neither Hell nor this self-caused annihilation were "punishments" in The Great Divorce, nor are they anywhere else in Lewis: it is brought about solely by the will of the individual and the consequences of that will (isolation, dimunition of being, increasing bondage of the will - but always with the possibility of responding properly to something good and beautiful and true and holy, and thus, to increase in being and virtue, etc.). If anything, it would seem that in this view, God created Hell so as to preserve in being those creatures who could not endure the level of reality in Heaven (the grass hurt the visitors from hell who went to Heaven, as I mentioned, the water that splashed up from a stream felt like rocks to one of the visitors, etc.), so as to pursue them and prolong their ability to exist as far as possible without violating the freedom for which they are made. So it seems unfair (though rhetorically cute) to characterize Lewis' view as though God "distributed" real estate in Hell based on the behavior of men and women in this life, as the commenter above did. God does not distribute anything about Hell in Lewis: it is the "location," if you will, brought about by our will, of our varying degrees of un-freedom and isolation and non-being.

I can only hope that helps. I agree with you all that the article needs desperately to be cleaned up, but I think it's merited, as it certainly isn't addressed in the entry on "Hell." It might be best to have a section for each objection and its genealogy, with authors cited and quoted (with sufficient context, of course).

The entry on Hell itself is pretty sparse, and at times misleading, and gives the reader no real context for understanding the Tradition (though there are many half-educated voices clamoring to trumpet to others what they think it is, through a small army of verses and word-definitions) and traditions surrounding the teaching on Hell.

--Abba Poemon the Ubermensch 18:24, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

needs work, or will be deleted[edit]

this article uses many lay assumption on the steretypical nature of hell ignoring alternative views. Also, it just is not encyclopedia worthy at this point and may be deleted if serous work is not invested immediatly -ishmaelblues

See also[edit]

I removed First War in Heaven and Areopagitica from See also, as they have nothing to do with this article. — coelacan talk — 07:38, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

"Denying the assumptions"[edit]

I have removed from the article the following section as it seems to refer to content that is no longer present in the article - at the very least it does not seem to make sense in the points it raises.

"For those who believe the traditional doctrine of Hell is unconvincing, and believe that claims 1 and 2 are incompatible, the only course of action is to deny one or both of them.

The first claim can be denied by rejecting the existence of God (atheism), or of a God sufficiently powerful or loving to prevent people from being consigned to Hell.

The second claim can also be denied. Three possible ways to do this (while maintaining a belief in God) are the doctrines of Annihilationism, where Hell is seen only as oblivion without consciousness, Universalism, where everyone is saved, without exception, and the Second chance doctrine (or Escapism), where even after one has been sent to Hell, one can still accept God and be saved. Some also assert in denial of claim 2 that the only "torture" in Hell is that of separation from God — that separation from God is the embodiment of pain itself and hence that it constitutes infinite torture in a symbolic sense (cf. John 3:19-20)." GoldenMeadows 13:13, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Red herring?[edit]


I saw this thing:

"Also, if God is omnipotent, then he could quite easily generate far more evidence of his existence than he does. If he really wanted everyone to believe, why would he not leave any physical evidence of his existence (a Christian would claim that this would make it impossible to determine who has faith and who does not. An atheist, however, may claim that this is just an attempt at hiding the fact that God does not exist)."

Should this be removed? It seems like a non sequitur and red herring. This has little if any connection to the problem of Hell. At no point does this argument, which attempts to disprove the existence of God, involve Hell at any point. This seems to belong more on Existence of God or Arguments against the existence of God. I'd like to discuss this to see if it should be removed, and if so to get approval to make the edit. 06:05, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Well it has to what is called the problem of hell the following connection: God saves only believers, and he can - at any rate - make people believe, so why doesn't he make more of them, given that hell - which enters here - awaits the others? So far so clear. A Catholic (at any rate) would answer that while only believers are saved, whoever did not do a positive, culpable deed against believing is an implicit believer. I mean not by definition, which would rather be making "faith" a vain title, but by an actual disposition in the soul however hidden. A problem comes in when the said person commits other sins; it is easier (I figure) if I believe in God's existence and His rewarding those seeking Him (the minimum, according to the Letter to the Hebrews), when I have actually to believe that I still have a chance of forgiveness given what I've done. At which point, excuse me for preaching, it must be stated: There's none who wouldn't. The Precious Blood of Christ is of infinite preciousness. It was able to wash away the sins of Adolf Hitler, though we don't know whether he allowed it to. If the remembrances of Albert Speer's are correct, it fairly seems from the exterior view that Arthur Seyß-Inquart did obtain forgiveness. And with "other sins" I mean not what the Christian doctrine condemns, but what the conscience condemns, and the conscience does demand something from them also, if only not to be deaf to its cries... God help us.
And now why doesn't he put us all in the position of St. Thomas? That's a valid question to ask, isn't it. The answer might be that He does; that there are proofs by reason for those who allow (and do no more) reason to prove; that besides them valuable as they are there are things convincing enough for those letting themselves be convinced; and that it's to some blessed on earth (e. g. the well-known Mother Teresa) not to see and yet to believe. And now what would happen if He appeared in thunder? Would we believe? If not, maybe He doesn't want to give an occasion to explicit unbelief, and prefers us to remain implicit believers. And if we really need a miracle: There's a legion of legends where those who'd believe on a miracle got their miracle and did believe. Anyway, the question is one of understanding the ways of the Lord, which, not to quote some Scripture verses, is difficult.-- (talk) 16:41, 14 June 2011 (UTC)

Article makes no distinction between Venial and Mortal sin[edit]

Though some extant Christian theologies make no distinction in type and degree of sin or in culpability, that is certainly not true all of them and especially is not true of the older traditions of Christianity. That disagreement within the different Christian traditions over such issues as salvation (by faith alone or by faith and works) and either eternal (hell) or temporal (purgatory) punishment are glossed over in this article in an attempt to present a simple and easily debunked strawman 'Christian' position on hell only serves to illustrate the articles irreparable bias. Wikipedia should continue to strive to be an objective source of information and not a repository for anti-Christian apologetics. This article should be deleted.

I disagree. The so called problem of hell, e.g eternal punishment for a finite crime for a soul that was made imperfect and was brought into existence without its permission, has long troubled people. If you read the article carefully the issue does not revolve around the severity of punishment for a particular class of crime, e.g distinctions between mortal or venial sins, but rather what people see as the injustice of eternal punishment for any crime, no matter how mortal in degree. Rather than seek to suppress the article because it challenges your faith why not point out the flaws in these arguments with good citations that clearly justifies hell as a doctrine ? GoldenMeadows 14:13, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
"The so called problem of hell ... has long troubled people."
For which there is currently no source. But it certainly is more troublesome than the strange notion that it is somehow problematic that "a soul" was "brought into existence without its permission". What a bizarre thought is that? Str1977 (talk) 00:49, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

View that hell as not eternal[edit]

We should get some viewpoints on that hell is not an eternal place but a one time act that has consequences for eternity. I know that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church believes that hell is a loving act of God that is done once and for all.

I've added a section on it.Back2back2back (talk) 21:55, 19 August 2009 (UTC)
As Chesterton correctly remarked, a hell which is not everlasting is by definition not a hell but a purgatory. -- (talk) 23:14, 30 November 2011 (UTC)


People! This isn't a matter of "Challenging views" or about your opinions on this matter. It is a matter of fact and individual logic has no place here. Lets make this less of explaining the argument and instead put in some historical sources for this argument. Right now it is almsot entirely origional research. While it is indeed compelling it goes against the purpose of documenting a delicate matter such as this. Instead of focusing on putting holes in this argument or backing it up you should be digging up early examples of this being brought up! I haven't learned a thing about it from reading this pile of garbage except for a dozen conflicting views of the authors. 21:01, 23 April 2007 (UTC)Eric


"Also, why would an all-loving God choose to neglect other faiths when his own son, Jesus, was a Jew?"

Well, you can't exactly have Jesus being Christian, now, can you?

I've removed this sentence. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Chrisandtaund (talkcontribs) 19:44, 10 May 2007 (UTC).


I kindda find this article leaning to the Atheist side. I don't mind Atheists, and most religeous people don't mind them eather, but many still seem to attack every aspect of religeon they can find. This article has a skeptical tone to it.

That means it's a neutral article. The article isn't supposed to assume you are a member of a religious group. AllGloryToTheHypnotoad 14:51, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Obviously, AllGlory, you haven't the slightest grasp what neutrality actually means. Str1977 (talk) 00:37, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

neutrality - religion[edit]

I think this article should be renamed The problem of Hell in Christianity. Reason? It's only talking about Christian hell. AllGloryToTheHypnotoad 14:52, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I think your right but leaving the title as it is at present allows the common Christian doctrine to be compared with other religions that also have a kind of punishment but perhaps lacking what people may see as major stumbling blocks with the former, i.e issues relating to lack of justice and its unending nature. Though different religions are not featured here at the moment wiki, I hope, is here for the long term so maybe its better to leave alone. If at any time the article length/structure becomes too convoluted then , like you suggest, an article dealing only the Christian doctrine could be spun off. GoldenMeadows 16:57, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup and rewrite[edit]

I cleaned up this article as best I could, removing the more blatant and amateurish OR. We should structure the article along the lines I've indicated in the first paragraph:

There are several major issues to the problem of hell. The first is whether the existence of hell is compatible with justice. The second is whether it is compatible with God's infinite mercy, especially as articulated in Christianity. A third issue, particular to Christianity, is whether hell is actually populated, or if God will ultimately "restore all things" (apokatastasis) at the end of the world. Criticisms of the doctrine of hell can focus on the intensity or eternity of its torments, and arguments surrounding all these issues can invoke appeals to the omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence of God.

We should include the opinions of Origen and Hans Ur von Balthasar concerning the population of hell. Previously the article was written strictly from an atheistic perspective, when the problem of hell has a rich history even within the monotheistic traditions, especially Christianity, where you have the "universal salvific will" and the controversies on grace. Djcastel 16:40, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

More neutrality issues[edit]

I worked a bit on this already, but we need to keep in mind that "God" is a general term, it shouldn't be assumed to only refer to the Christian concept of god. I already had to clean up a sentence that essentially discussed how it may be unfair for "God" to punish Muslims for not believing in him. That was a really ethnocentric and presumptuous view (not to mention it was definitely not neutral), since of course Muslims do believe in God.VatoFirme (talk) 18:21, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

And, apparently my edit was immediately reverted. Can I please get an explanation on that? Are we going to say that "God" equals Christianity and that Muslims do not believe in God???VatoFirme (talk) 18:24, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
Sorry about that revert, I accidentally used the rollback for the wrong article.--RyRy5 talk 18:34, 23 March 2008 (UTC)
No problem!VatoFirme (talk) 18:39, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

About the scare tactic argument in the section 'Divine mercy'. The paragraph ends with “The argument runs flaw in that as a matter of fact, God does not say "you can believe in me or not".[10]” Unless the debate on whether that is a valid argument has been settled, the statement is coloured. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Amoranemix (talkcontribs) 13:56, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

Appeal to Authority?[edit]

This paragraph under the justice section seems like a very large cop-out instead of a real explanation.

"Some theological schools, most notably the Scotists and Calvinists, have taken the position that divine justice is entirely a matter of God's positive law, not deducible by natural reason. Thus, whatever God does is just by definition, and if this contradicts our human intuitions of justice, then our intuitions are mistaken. "

It seems like a massive appeal to authority "God does it therefore it's OK. We must trust that God (who we can't prove exists) in his infinite wisdom will make just decision and we must not question them."

Anybosy else see a probelm with this as opposed to the other counter-arguments made by theists?Father Time89 (talk) 01:04, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

This complaint seems to suffer from the misconception that this article is an argument. (A problem that is built into the article). If Scotists an Calvinists say that, we report it. And of course it is no more an appeal to authority then "In England, cars drive on the left because the law says so." Again: we are here to report, not to hash out the argument. Str1977 (talk) 00:16, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Why the "dubious" flag in the section "Universal Reconciliation and the Problem of Hell"[edit]

Someone has put a "dubious" flag on the phrase "is reconciling all things to himself." The context is:

Mainstream biblical theology typically includes the following three points, which are supported by numerous Bible passages in standard English translations (sample references are given for each point):
A. God has proclaimed the good news that he loves the world and is reconciling all things to himself[dubious ] through Christ (John 3:16, Colossians 1:20)

The section as a whole may well represent original research, and the overall argument should be sourced. But the particular phrase comes almost verbatim from the second verse reference given (Colossians 1:20)):

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Whatever the other problems may be with this section, it is doing a pretty good job of quoting scripture. It seems odd to single out this particular phrase for questioning. (Now, what it means in the context of everything else the Bible says is another matter - but that's the core issue being discussed.) EastTN (talk) 21:32, 7 November 2008 (UTC)


There should be a reference to something like purgatory, temporary hell. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:32, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Any proof that this is what the Problem of Hell really is?[edit]

The heading states "The problem of hell is an argument against the existence of God" but is there proof this is the true problem with hell?

The [What the Hell is Hell?] site argues that Hell as generally presented by most Christian denominations is not supported in the Bible.

I should mention that Buddism has a Hell Naraka (Buddhism) as well as Heaven but states that existence in these realms is not eternal and are merely part of the circle of life.

So is there any proof for this claim or is this OR nonsense?--BruceGrubb (talk) 15:47, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

I found an Oxford University book that gives the problem of hell as something and have thrown out the original lead in in favor of what the book Problem of Hell says.--BruceGrubb (talk) 16:13, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

How could "it be nonsense". Its about what believe/ strains of religious thought. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:11, 5 June 2011 (UTC)


In the second chapter of David Eagleman's book, "Sum", he describes a God who fires the Devil, closes down Hell, and lets everyone into Heaven. Maybe this article should mention it. It's a fictional contribution to the debate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Georgesdelatour (talkcontribs) 10:41, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

Problem of the Virtuous[edit]

Aren't there examples in various cultures of good people pleading with God to spare the people in hell? The very qualities of empathy which make virtuous people good enough for admission to heaven pretty much guarantee they won't be happy there knowing God is torturing others in Hell. In effect, the existence of Hell makes Heaven utterly unbearable for a truly virtuous person. Is this my completely original idea, or have others touched on it? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Georgesdelatour (talkcontribs) 10:45, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

The Holy Father has somewhat touched on it when he writes in his "Eschatology" about the Buddhist idea of the Boddhissatva who refuses to enter Heaven as long as Hell is still populated; and about Christ as the real Boddhissatva who empties Hell (and it is a Catholic nearly-dogma that, on the objective side, everyone is saved from the punishment of Hell) but does even more and allows them their freedom who at any costs want to remain in Hell. Besides the word torture is, here, inappropriate, since we are speaking not of any arbitrariness (except in forgiving or relaxing), but of punishment (for an infinite offense). -- (talk) 16:26, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

Hell might empty[edit]

WeirdVideos, Hi, sorry temporarily reverted As it stands this is OR/POV. Citations/refs needed, not including Bible verses. Please provide. Cheers In ictu oculi (talk) 01:01, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Another Problem[edit]

There is another philosophical problem about hell that has been explored by theologians for centuries. It goes something like this: God wills the salvation of all. But not all are saved. Therefore God is either not omniopotent, being unable to save all, or unmerciful, being unwilling to save all.This is one of the classic atheistic objections to the existence of God. But it is a sticky problem for Christian theologians as well. For God could theoretically give everyone a grace, a 'road-to-Damascus' experience, which would so compel all to accept the deity in such a manner that the person's freedom is not compromised.But if the deity does not, it withholds that grace, implying that it wishes the damnation of some, as Calvin taught. Is this worth discussing?Gazzster (talk) 21:43, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

It is worth discussing, and as a matter of fact, at the moment tried to be discussed in the article. But though the problem is sticky, it is not so directly sticky as you think. If God by His omnipotence decides to create a person with a free will that includes the decision of sinning or not sinning, free-will this person has, and it is plain right to, according to what pleases Him, punish her justly or (even theoretically if there were no Redemption Act by Christ) pardon her. Even without the Redemption Act, we would not have contradictions to either God's justice or mercy, as in punishing He will punish (in degree) less than the deserved infinite degree, and in pardoning He will exercise a plain right of one who is both the Offended and the Ultimate Judge. If God is able to force a man into not sinning (which is not at all that clear, even in cases such as the Damascus experience), it is clear as well that He is not bound to do so. It is not unjust not to do so, and though it would (arguably) be mercyful to do so, mercy does not of itself oblige to specific acts (or it would be called justice), if not enforced by a commandment which nobody can give to God.
So far so clear. Thus the existence of God does not enter the discussion. That God wills all to be saved can be said without contradiction if he renders it possible for each to be saved, and does not positively hinder any from being saved. The questions which are that sticky for theologians are such as: Is there such thing as a grace irresistible of itself? If so, is it morally possible to evade damnation without such a grace? (That it is morally impossible to evade mortal sin without any grace has been made clear by the Magisterium, although in each specific act one has free-will.) When does a) grace, b) irresistible grace if it exists come into the life of a) a Christian in the state of grace, b) a mortal sinner, c) a non-Christian, having reached full use of reason and not yet having sinned, d) an unbaptized infant? And what to say in this stand about the sad reality of the division from the Catholic Church? Etc. etc. -- (talk) 12:28, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
Yes, these are real problems, and it would be good if we could cite some authors. I believe the Catholic Orders of the Franciscans, Dominicans and Jesuits treated of the problems of grace and free will. Could be worth some research.Gazzster (talk) 23:41, 14 October 2011 (

I know a solution to this. According to Christianity, Hell was created for the devil and his angels. But then Satan corrupted man and made him unfit to enter the kingdom of God and only fit to enter Hell. To fix this, God is willing to accept people into his kingdom, but they have to accept his mercy and know they are cleansed of sin. Unless they accept God's cleansing, they will go to Hell. Remember, this is according to Christianity, and I believe in the NPOV guidelines. I think this resolves this "contradiction." McBenjamin (talk) 01:56, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

It doesn't resolve the issue. Not in the least. You have not address the contradiction in any way. By withholding the knowledge if it's existence it is rendering a great many people unable to accept this "mercy". This is closely tied to the problem of evil. --Adam in MO Talk 08:42, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
First of all, the verse about Hell being created "for the Devil and his angels" is a quite mysterious one, and I'd rather not go into guessing here what it does mean... For the Devil himself, just as the human sinner, was created good first and sinned afterwards. Due to his angelic nature, the Devil cannot repent of what he has once done.
Also, Satan did not corrupt man nor did he make him unfit to enter the kingdom of God. There is some highly difficult and complicated thing called the dominion of the Devil over fallen men, but at any rate the Devil has not been granted the power to corrupt man, or make him unfit to enter the Kingdom of Glory. That the sinner does to himself. It is temptation that the Devil does.
Also, while it is true that fallen man has no right to get this situation fixed, nevertheless it is the actual fact that God did fix it, and not for an arbitrarily selected number of men but for them all.
But still... some of them, by their own malice, go to Hell.
And that's just to begin with.-- (talk) 13:07, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

The "Atheism series" template[edit]

Does this article really need the utterly humongous "PART OF A SERIES ON ATHEISM" template at the top of the page? This is a philosophical problem that has been debated for centuries by theologists within the Abrahamic religions. It's not as if it were an external criticism that originated solely from atheists. Furthermore, the article doesn't even address Atheistic views- so what is the template doing there? It seems like a case of undue weight, or non-neutrality... Lithoderm 02:06, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

I agree. We need to remove the "Part of a series on Atheism." McBenjamin (talk) 01:41, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

The problem of hell is one of the foremost arguments in atheism. The place of the template, however, has to be more discrete. So, I placed it at the bottom of the page. --Robert Daoust (talk) 03:55, 27 November 2012 (UTC)

Mythological origin[edit]

It is obvious that the vision on hell has mythological origin for instance Greek mithology. (talk) 18:40, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

"It is obvious" = "original research". You need a reliable source that says that, not just your personal opinion. Edward321 (talk) 23:47, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
From where have you infered "It is obvious" = "original research"? Please check again the text of OR before making fallacious inferences based on impressions. Assuming that is case, statement like water is a liquid would be OR, which clearly isn't the case.-- (talk) 21:59, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
uch of the imagery of hell has certainly been coloured by Greek and Roman mythology. The Gentile Christians of the first fww centuries of Christianity could probably readily identify the concept of everlasting punishment with the punishment by the gods in Tartarus. But the origin of the concept is Christian, with tenuous roots in Judaism. Many other religions have simultaneously come up with concepts of punishment after death.Gazzster (talk) 23:40, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

Shouldn't God refrain from creating a free being who risks to choose eternal torment?[edit]

That question is an important one in the discussion about free will and hell. It surely figures in the literature, but I cannot find it. Can someone help? --Robert Daoust (talk) 04:41, 27 November 2012 (UTC)


"Hell" is something that one choses for themselves.[edit]

So, I can do whatever I want, and still expect to go to Heaven if desired? (talk) 14:19, 18 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a forum. I see no suggestions for article improvement here. McBenjamin (talk) 20:19, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Judaism/immortality of soul[edit]

The claim in the article that Judaism does not believe in the immortality of the soul is contradicted by all major rabbinic writings throughout the centuries; including Maimonides, Nachmanidies, not to mention Talmudic writings and of course Jewish mystical writings. Isaiah, Daniel, Samuel, etc. all make reference to reward/punishment after death. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:54, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Added Bauckham to lead[edit]

Seems incongruous and against WP:WEIGHT and WP:NPOV that the article makes appear still a large majority in the lead a view many if not most Protestant theologians now reject. Added ref Richard Bauckham "Universalism: a historical survey" (@, Themelios 4.2 (September 1978): 47-54. "Here and there, outside the theological mainstream, were some who believed that the wicked would be finally annihilated (in its commonest form. this is the doctrine of 'conditional immortality')." "Since 1800 this situation has entirely changed, and no traditional Christian doctrine has been so widely abandoned as that of eternal punishment.3 Its advocates among theologians today must be fewer than ever before. The alternative interpretation of hell as annihilation seems to have prevailed even among many of the more conservative theologians." In ictu oculi (talk) 07:56, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

"Those not believing" link[edit]

On the second paragraph of this article, the text says:

The belief that those not believing a particular religion—and, among those supposed to believe...

"Those not believing" is linked to a page on Wikipedia called "Infidel". "Infidel" is not a neutral word, it's very derogatory to those who do not believe. Instead, I have linked to it to the "Atheists" page, which I feel is much more neutral.

Joejoe92 (talk) 12:26, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Phrasing in introductory paragraph[edit]

Let me start off with a quick note - this isn't supposed to be kickstarting a theological debate, this talk post is about a linguistic issue.

Call me pedantic, but I've got a bit of an issue with the phrasing of the first sentence in the second paragraph. The sentence starts off with "The minority Christian doctrine that...", which is a bit unclear. Did the author mean that Christians are a minority, or that this doctrine is only held by a minority of Christians? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

Remove neutrality tag[edit]

It would be difficult to say what prejudice might apply to this whole article: I suggest that in its present form it reflects much commendable scholarship and gives fair treatment to may points of view. Where individual statements are not supported, the "citation needed" tag is quite sufficient. Thanks to all who have contributed to this article over the years, for producing a very helpful article, Jzsj (talk) 11:13, 31 May 2016 (UTC)

moved this sentence out[edit]

This was under the issues section- There are several major issues to the problem of Hell. The first is whether the existence of Hell is compatible with justice. The second is whether it is compatible with God's mercy, especially as articulated in Christianity. A third issue, particular to Christianity, is whether Hell is actually populated, or if God will ultimately restore all immortal souls (universal reconciliation) in the World to Come.

and this sentence, which I removed: Lastly, if Hell ceases once the wicked are destroyed or consumed.[1]

I took it out because it didn't feel like one of the main "problems of hell" more like an intriguing sub issue, also the source looked less then scholarly...

It is an intriguing issue, topic if anyone can find a place for it, please do! Sethie (talk) 00:39, 16 March 2017 (UTC)