Hell Is Right As It Is
The pertinent question, then, is not whether an empty hell is something desirable—which it obviously is—but rather whether it is something “possible to obtain,” given what we know about human freedom and man’s proclivity to sin.
This statement appears in this article, dealing with the “dare we hope” hoax.
Let us leave the hoax of the empty hell aside. Let us focus, instead, on whether it is desirable that there be an empty hell. Is it desirable – even more: obviously desirable – that hell be empty?
Well, if you ask me: obviously not.
Let me first make a statement that is, I think, pretty much unquestionable. It is our job, whilst here on earth, to try to conform ourselves to God’s will. Once it is evident, and a certainty of the faith, that God considers an empty hell something wrong, why would I think differently? Who am I to decide that it would have been obviously desirable that God had done things differently from the way he did them? Am I getting something right, that God has obviously missed?
Look: call me ignorant, or theologically inadequate, but I am fully persuaded that whenever the Church shows me the truth of something willed by God, it is not my job to decide what my preferences – obvious or not – are. It is clear – actually, obvious – that whatever God has established and willed is perfect in its own way, and could not have been done in any way better.
Yeah, man. I know. We can jokingly say that we wish that fornication wasn’t a sin, or that tiramisu were good for your health and prescribed by the doctor. But we say it in jest. We know that whatever God has established is good and holy. In some ways, we even understand why; and, to stay by the example, the poisonous effect of fornication on marriage, carried out both before and after said marriage, is too evident to even discuss it, if we only stop for a moment and think seriously about it.
When we are serious about it, we know that everything that God has made is good and holy, and that this includes hell, even if – quod Deus avertat! – we, ourselves, were to merit to land down there!
Do you think that the saints, in heaven, think that it would be “obviously good” if hell was empty? Do you think that their full alignment to God’s will makes an exception when it is about their own relatives and friends who have merited to be sent the other way? What do the saints think, “God is such a nice guy, but that thing with Hell was a tad too much, if you ask me”?
This cheap “goodness” at the expense of God is not really good, though it is certainly cheap.
Plus, let us stop and reflect on the desirability of hell, even in what our little minds can understand.
If hell were empty, would not any infinitely grave atrocity (like the infinitely grave offence to God caused by, say, a life of mockery of Him and a death in the refusal of Him) end up in another God’s mockery, inasmuch as the sinner could boast that he ate his cake and had it, and that he mocked God by escaping the Divine punishment he himself has merited?
And if hell were empty, what values would all our sacrifices have? Isn’t the fear of the Lord such a fundamental part of our (God-willed) way of being Christians? If we all end up in Paradise and our good life only makes a difference in our degree of beatitude, why would not only any fornicator, but any child rapist be worried?
Are you the one who will say to the raped child that he should not for a moment think that his rape would deserve – even if the rapist dies in perfect hate for and mockery of God – anything less than heaven for his torturer? It seems to me that this cheap good-ism leads to absurd consequences, and this is what even my little mind can readily understand. Imagine how much, of the goodness and wisdom of hell, my little mind can not even begin to fathom!
No. It is not desirable that hell be empty. It is not desirable that hell be empty because we know that God has willed that it be not, and we know that there be nothing less than desirable in what he has willed.
If we can wish that God had done things differently, where does it end? Should we wish that God had not condemned sodomy? Should we wish that God had allowed concubines to have access to the Sacraments? Do you see the permanent rebellion that this thinking encourages?
Hell is right as it is.
Because God did it so.