Where is Hell? It's Not Where You Think It Is
It's Not Under the Earth
The first thing that comes to mind when one talks about hell is that it is located under the surface of the earth. It is thought of as a cauldron of fire where one is sent to languish as punishment for a bad life on earth. There may be a different thought to this concept.
This Hell May Be a Misconception
The following is a true story that really happened. The names of Susan and Gloria have been changed to preserve anonymity.
Susan and Gloria: A True Experience
Susan and Gloria were having tea in Gloria’s kitchen discussing the movie they had just seen that afternoon. The film they saw was about the life of Genghis Khan.
Susan says to Gloria: “It’s just unbelievable how a man can be as evil as Genghis Khan was. I can’t fathom his ruthlessness in killing approximately 60 million people during his reign as emperor of the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s not so much the number of people killed but more than that is the brutality of the massacres they committed.”
Gloria responds: “Well, what’s so surprising about that. History is filled with people like him and there are those who perhaps were even worse than him. How about Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot, Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, just to name a few.”
Gloria continues: “If you go further back in history you will find names like Nero of the Roman Empire, Attila the Hun, Ivan the Terrible, Caligula, Leopold II of Belgium, Maximillien Robespierre, Herod the Great and there were even two clergies in the group. One being a Dominican friar, Tomas de Torquemada and the other, no less than a pope, Alexander VI. The papacy alone has a long history of evil popes but apparently, none was as evil as Pope Alexander VI.”
Some of the Most Evil Persons in History
Gloria goes on: “All the people I’ve mentioned are notoriously known for the cruelty they imparted on their victims, inflicting various forms of torture and causing them unimaginable pain and suffering. There are also those who I’m sure you’ve never heard of like Vlad the Impaler, Elizabeth Bathory and Talat Pasha. The last three are also listed in the evilest people the world has ever seen. If you do a google search you will come up with several lists that name more than fifty most evil persons in history.”
“Well, they must all be paying a very high price for their sins, suffering the fires of hell,” Susan says.
“Actually Susan, I have a different view of what hell is and I even have a concept of where it is. In our growing years, we have been educated to believe that heaven is where we go in our afterlife if we have led a moral and good life. Hell is where we are sent to punish us for an immoral and bad life we had on this earth.
“Heaven is pictured as the paradise where there is no suffering and everything is eternal bliss while hell is pictured as being a sea of eternal fire and suffering. We are told by our family and taught in schools that heaven and hell are a reward and punishment for how we lived our earthly lives. The good go to heaven and the bad go to hell. But where is heaven and where is hell?”
Gloria continues, “Telling the story of heaven and hell to a child is one thing, continuing to tell the same story to an adult is something else. It is hard to describe what heaven is like and where it is but here is my take on where hell is”
“It’s right here on earth.”
"Hell is right here on earth!"
"The world we live in is hell. This is where God has sent us to punish us, to repent and atone for our past sins. Living on earth is our punishment for our sins committed in our past life. It is also God’s way of allowing us to make up and correct our lives so that we can continue to reach for that goal of going to heaven in our afterlife.”
“So where is heaven?” Susan asks.
Our Vision of Heaven
Heaven Is an Unknown
“I don’t know the answer to that, but it is enough for a person to know that if one doesn’t make it to heaven he/she will return to hell that is earth. That person will then relive his/her new life in this world either in bitter misery if one was a big sinner, or with a lesser degree of suffering if one did not live a very wicked previous life.”
“Gloria! What are you saying? That we are reincarnated from a previous life? And that we will again reincarnate to live another life?”
“That is exactly what I’m saying. Yes if we were sinners, and not if we led a good, moral, virtuous life. The latter takes us to heaven. The former takes us back to earth. We have already lived a life before and we are here reborn as sinners paying for the bad life we led in our previous existence. Depending on how we live this second existence, as good citizens or bad, we will again go through a process of judgment when we die.
Our suffering in this world is commensurate with the sins we committed in our life before. Our hell on earth is in actuality a state of being. There are those whose sins were not of major magnitude and so they are living a reasonably happy life on earth with little or not much misery, while there are those who sinned gravely in their previous lives and are now living a miserable and tormented life. Their lives on earth can only be described as despondent. Our punishment could come in various forms.
It could a physical suffering such as disease or deformity, or physical torment of another kind like living in poverty. It could also be in the form of mental anguish such as losing several loving family members without justification. Being a parent to a child who is mentally or physically disabled is a sad life, or living to be so old that one is in a vegetative state is not nice thought..
But since God is supremely good, loving, just, and merciful He has given earthly humans a chance to redeem themselves by living a good life and allowing them to aspire for that heavenly reward in their succeeding lives.”
“As I said earlier, we will not be reborn if we led a good, moral and godly previous life. We will not be reincarnated in the same body and flesh that we were in our previous life. We will go to heaven. I don’t know what form we will take in heaven but it is enough to know that in heaven one is totally free from suffering and will enjoy God’s promise of eternal bliss and happiness.”
Gloria continues her dialogue: “By reincarnation, which is also called rebirth or transmigration, I don’t refer to the concept of rebirth that reincarnation or transmigration may be in the form of a plant, animal or spirit. My interpretation of reincarnation is that we will be reborn in the same flesh and blood that we were in our previous existence. John and Jane Doe, if they were sinners, will return to this earth as John and Jane Doe, but they will live a different life than that of their previous existence."
John Doe's Life After Death
"John Doe is a taxi driver with a wife and children. Although moderately happy with his present life, he has to struggle and cope with the daily grind of having to work hard to provide for his family. Assuming he lives a good life in this present modest setting he may go to heaven after his death. Or, if his goodness is not justifiable enough to qualify for heaven he could be reincarnated and living on earth in a life that is more elevated. Not necessarily in monetary terms but perhaps in a psychological or mental state. He could be reincarnated as a mountain recluse dedicated to worshiping and venerating his God in his new life, living a stress-free, happy life in the wilderness.”
Jane Doe's Life After Death
“Jane Doe, a wealthy socialite enjoying all the trappings of the rich and famous is a wicked person. Wicked to the bone in all aspects that one can think of. When she dies she could return to earth as a poor, destitute woman suffering hunger in the deserts of a famine-stricken African country. Her punishment for her previous frivolous, sinful life.”
With much disbelief, Susan says: “Gloria your theory of reincarnation is totally against the teachings of almost all religions. You shouldn’t entertain such belief. What has led you to drift in this path?”
Criminality and Natural Calamities Occur All the Time. Why Does God Allow This?
Gloria responds: “Haven’t you often wondered why evil things happen in this world? Why God, the Supreme Being who created all things, in all His goodness and love for humanity, allow these things to happen? Why did God, in all his goodness, permit Genghis Khan to slaughter the millions of innocents in his empire? Why did God allow Hitler to direct the gassing of millions of Jews and other prisoners? How is it that God did not intervene in somehow stopping the massacre and torture of thousands of Chinese and Filipino prisoners and ordinary citizens by Japanese soldiers during World War II? Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, and famines have killed millions of people. Why did God allow all these to happen?"
“How about man-made disasters such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in Russia, the Union Carbide gas leak in India that killed more than 20,000, the terrorist attack on New York’s Twin Towers killing nearly 3,000, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that killed thousands and many more such disasters. Why does God allow all these?”
The World Is In Deep Trouble from Many Sources
“The planet earth has been beset throughout its entire history by natural calamities, wars, disasters--both natural and man-made, not to mention the millions of deaths caused by its many evil rulers. Even today, the world is in deep trouble from many sources. Global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, political confrontation, hunger, disease, environmental degradation, declining quantities of non-replaceable natural resources, and many more death causing tragedies are facing us every single hour of every day.”
“Susan, did you know that in recent decades there are more and more people around the world that are beginning to wonder the same things that led me to believe in my philosophy of reincarnation?. Yes, mostly Europeans and North Americans are seeking answers to why the world is the way it is when there is a benevolent Supreme Being that could easily remedy the situation.”
We Face Many Hardships in Our Lives
“Well Susan, this is the world you and I are in. This is hell for many. Maybe not for you or me for the present since we continue to have our daily bread and the many comforts afforded in our daily lives. Our sins may not have been as great in our previous lives and so we are not in as much torment as many others. But stop to think. We are constantly faced with many potential misfortunes in our daily lives. There is always the threat of acquiring an incurable disease like cancer, having an accident that could transform you into a vegetative state, bearing a physically disabled child that requires care forever, and many more potential tragedies of which we have no control."
"Being born with a disability is not a punishment to that person. It is a punishment to the parents of that person who must bear the anguish of raising a disabled child and caring for him/her. The disabled person may not be in torment since in all likelihood he/she is not aware of his/her condition and in essence, is living a happy existence."
"Only God could control these but He does not do so. It is because we are here to accept the punishment of hell that God has imposed on us for the sins of our previous life. It is up to us to atone and live a pious life in this hell so that we can be redeemed and see the kingdom of Heaven in our succeeding life.”
“As you can see Susan. “Without a strong faith, one could easily be influenced to believe that there is no God. That we are in this world devoid of the goodness and mercy of God. That God has abandoned us to fend for ourselves in this wicked world.”
“Gloria, I think you are being overly simplistic. But I can’t argue the fact that much of what you have just said certainly makes sense. It really is very difficult to explain why and how the world is in such turmoil when there is a loving God who watches over us.
“Gloria, your arguments have merit. What about death? How does it play in your new theory?”
Death is God's Greatest Gift To Humanity
“Death is God’s greatest gift to every human being on earth. When we die we have finished serving our punishment and are ready to start a new life in another world. If we have lived a good life, we go to heaven and enjoy eternal happiness. If we lived a bad life then we will again be reincarnated and return to earth to serve a new punishment. Just like a criminal who has just finished serving his term in prison and is released. If he again commits a crime or crimes against society and is caught, he is again sentenced to a new prison term.”
Susan asks again: ‘Why do you say death is God’s gift when in fact one can return to earth to suffer again?”
Gloria responds: “It is a gift because if you have been good death will end your suffering in this material world and enter the kingdom of God in heaven.”
Susan says again: “But not all people on earth are suffering. There are many who are happy with their present existence and wish they can live forever. Dying is totally not in their minds.”
“No one on earth is free from torment. Those who may be pleased and happy with their present existence may eventually reach a point where torment and suffering enter their lives. You may be happy today and a week later you are told that you have a serious case of terminal cancer. You have only weeks or months of life. And these few weeks or months could be terribly painful physically and psychologically. Would you still have a happy life? Torment and suffering may be physical, mental or psychological. It can creep up on us at any time. When we die we are freed of the Sword of Damocles that hangs over our head."
Suicide Is Not an Option
“So if I’m not happy with my life, suicide would be a perfect way to acquire God’s gift to humanity?” Susan asks.
“No! By ending your own life you are cutting short the punishment that was meant for you to serve. You were placed on this earth to endure punishment for a number of years. You don’t have the right to decide when your punishment is over. Only God, the Supreme Being, makes this decision.”
“I’m flabbergasted by your thinking,” Susan says.
"I'm not sure I agree with you but I must admit that what you have said gives meaning to a lot of things that I’ve wondered about. Principally, it explains in plain terms how God allows the evil things that happen in this world."
Has this article made you think differently about hell?
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Daniel Mollat