What is the Wrath of God?

102614In Yesterday’s (Sunday of the 30th Week) Mass there was a reference to the wrath of God and how only Jesus can save us from it. St Paul, writing to the Thessalonians, commends them who have turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God and to await his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the coming wrath (1 Thess 1:9-10). Well thank you, Jesus!

But what is God’s wrath? It is spoken of often in the scriptures and it is a concept with which we have to be careful. On the one hand we cannot simply dismiss the concept as contradictory to the fact that God is love. But neither can we deny God’s wrath as unfit in terms of His love.

It seems worthwhile to consider some aspects of the very complicated reality of the wrath of God. There is not enough space to cover the whole topic in this post, but the comments stay open, as always, for your additions and subtractions. What are some ways that we can explain and understand the wrath of God? Let me propose a few.

The wrath of God is not merely an Old Testament concept. In fact, it is mentioned quite frequently in the New Testament as well. For example, consider the following:

  1. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
  2. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness (Rom 1:18).
  3. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord (Rom 12:19).
  4. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things [i.e. sexual immorality] God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient (Eph 5:6).
  5. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 5:9).
  6. The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath (Rev 14:19).

There are at least a dozen other texts from the New Testament that could be referenced, but allow these to suffice. So it is clear that the “wrath of God” is not some ancient or primitive concept with which the New Testament has dispensed. And notice, too, that the wrath of God is not something simply for the end of the world. It is also spoken of as something already operative in certain people.

So again, what is God’s wrath? And how can we reconcile it with His love?  Consider some of the following images, explanations of God’s wrath. None of them alone explains it, but considered together an overall understanding may emerge.

  1. Image: God’s wrath is His passion to set things right. We see this image of God’s wrath right at the beginning in Genesis when God cursed Satan and uttered the protoevangelium (the first good news): I will make you and the woman enemies … one of her seed will crush your head while you strike at his heel” (Genesis 3:15). God is clearly angered at what sin has done to Adam and Eve and He continues to have anger whenever He beholds sin and injustice. He has a passion for our holiness. He wants what is best for us. He is angered by what hinders us in this regard. Surely all sins provoke His wrath, but there are five sins that especially cry out to Heaven: willful murder (Gen. 4:10), the sin of the Sodomites (Gen. 18:20; 19:13), the cry of the people oppressed (Ex. 3:7-10); the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan (Ex. 20:20-22), and injustice to the wage earner. (Deut. 24:14-5; Jas. 5:4) (cf Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1867). In terms of sin, injustice, and anything that afflicts or hinders the possibility of salvation, God has a wrathful indignation and a passion to set things right. This is part of His love for us. His wrath may be manifested through punishments, disturbances of our conscience, or simply by allowing us to experience the consequences of our sin and injustice.
  2. Clarification: God’s wrath is not like our anger. In saying that God is angry we ought to be careful to understand that however God experiences anger (or any passion), it is not tainted by sin. God is not angry the way we are angry. When we get angry we often experience an out-of-control quality; our temper flares and we often say and do things that are excessive if not sinful. It cannot pertain to God to have temper tantrums and to fly off the handle, to combine anger with an unreasonable lashing out. The way God does experience anger is not something we can fully understand but it is surely a sovereign and serene act of His will, not an out-of-control emotion.
  3. Clarification: God is not moody. It does not pertain to God to have good days and bad days, good moods and bad ones. Scripture seems clear enough when it indicates that God does not change. Consider this from the Book of James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights, in whom there is no variableness or shadow of turning. Hence to speak of God’s wrath does not mean that He has suddenly had enough or that His temper has flared, or that His mood has soured. God IS. He does not change. As the text says, He is not variable. And this leads us to the next image.
  4. Image: Given what we have said,  the primary location of God’s wrath is not in God; it is in us. Perhaps the best definition I have heard of God’s wrath is this: God’s wrath is our experience of the total incompatibility of our sinful state before the Holiness of God. Sin and God’s holiness just don’t mix. They can’t keep company. Think of fire and water. They do not mix. They cannot coexist in the same spot. Bring them together and you can hear the conflict. Think of water spilled on a hot stove and hear the sizzling and popping; see the steam rising as the water flees away. If, on the other hand, there is a lot of water, the fire is overwhelmed and extinguished. But the point is that they cannot coexist. They will conflict and one will win. This is wrath: the complete incompatibility of two things. It is this way between sin and God’s utter holiness. We must be purified before we can enter the presence of God otherwise we could never tolerate His glory. We would wail and grind our teeth and turn away in horror. The wrath is the conflict between our sin and God’s holiness. God cannot and will not change so we must be changed. Otherwise we experience wrath. But notice the experience is in us primarily and not God. God does not change; He is holy, serene; He is love. If we experience His wrath it is on account of us, not Him. Consider the next image.
  5. Image: It is we who change, not God and this causes wrath to be experienced or not. Consider the following example. On the ceiling of my bedroom is a light with a 100-watt light bulb. At night before bed I delight in the light. I am accustomed to it. But then at bed time I put out the light and go to sleep. When I awake it is still dark (at least in the winter). Hence I put the light on. But Ugh! Grrr! Now the light is bright and I curse it! Now, mind you, the light has not changed one bit. It is still the same 100-watt bulb it was hours earlier. The light is the same; it is I who have changed. But do you know what I do? I blame the light and say, “That light is harsh!” But the light is not harsh; it is just the same as when I was happy with it. Now that I have changed I experience its wrath but the wrath is really in me. So also consider the experience of the ancient family of man with God. Adam and Eve walked with God in the cool of the evening when the dew collected on the grass (cf Gen 3:8).  They had a warm friendship with Him and did not fear His presence. After sinning, they hid. Had God changed? He had not; they had, and they now experienced him very differently. Fast forward to another theophany. God had come to Mt Sinai and as He descended the people were terrified for there were peals of thunder, lightning, clouds, and the loud blast of a trumpet. The people told Moses “You speak to us, but let not God speak, else we will die!” (Ex 20:19) God, too, warned Moses that the people could not get close lest His wrath be vented upon them (Ex 19:20-25). Now again, had God changed? No, he had not. He was the same God who walked with them in the cool of the evening in a most intimate way. It was we who had changed. We had lost the holiness without which no one can see the Lord (Heb 12:14). The same God, unchanged though He was, now seemed to us frightening and wrathful.
  6. What then shall we do? If we can allow the image of fire to remain before us we may well find a hopeful sign in God’s providence. Since God is a holy fire, a consuming fire (cf Heb 12:26; Is 33:14), how can we possibly come into His presence? How can we avoid the wrath that would destroy us? Well, what is the only thing that survives in the presence of fire? Fire is the only thing that survives! So it looks as if we’d better become fire if we want to see God. And thus it was that God sent tongues of fire upon the Apostles and upon us at our Confirmation. God wants to set you and me on fire with the Holy Spirit and in holiness. God wants to bring us up to the temperature of glory so that we can stand in His presence: See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty.  But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years (Mal 3:1-4). And indeed Jesus has now come: For you have  turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath (1 Thess 1:10-11).

So there is a “wrath of God.” As I have tried to show, it is more in us than it is in God. But I will not say to you that there is NO wrath IN God. Scripture seems clear to indicate that wrath does pertain to God’s inner life. What exactly it is and how God experiences it  is mysterious to us. We can say to some extent what it is not (as we did above) but we cannot really say what it is exactly. But far more rich is the meditation that the wrath of God is essentially in us. It is OUR experience of the incompatibility of sin before God. We must be washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb and purified. Most of us will need purification in Purgatory, too. But if we let the Lord work His saving work we are saved from the wrath, for we are made holy and set on fire with God’s love. And fire never fears the presence of fire. God is love, but He will not change. So it is that love must change us.

One of the greatest cinematic depictions of the wrath of God occurred in the move the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Nazis sinfully think they can open the Ark and endure the presence of God. What they get is wrath, for sin cannot endure the reality of God’s presence. “Enjoy” this clip:

36 Replies to “What is the Wrath of God?”

  1. For me, His wrath taught me He is God and His mercy revealed to me He is Father. And i have experienced both, by the grace of His Holy Spirit.

    Thank you frPope Charles.

  2. Since God is a holy fire, a consuming fire, how can we possibly come into His presence? How can we avoid the wrath that would destroy us? In Our Lady’s case, she survived the Incarnation because she is the Immaculate Conception. The rest of us survive baptism because Jesus has died for our sins.

  3. Thank you Monsignor for your excellent description of what God’s wrath means to our souls. All we have to do is remember that what we need to do is to believe that God is on our side, and that we should not blame God for whatever we seem to think might be His “fault” in our day-to-day lives.

    I was especially taken by “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him”., and ” For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Even though believing and receiving might seem difficult sometimes it always pays to never give up on what we need to do in order to live in peace with God’s will.

  4. Wonderful, I really enjoyed this article and I saved it in my email to meditate and share. Thank you.

  5. Perhaps there is both a subjective and objective side to God’s wrath? So the subjective side would, as the good Monsignor noted, be in us. But the objective side would simply be God’s justice, which finally says “enough!” to the continuance of evil. What comes to mind here is God vs Pharaoh. Our Lord was “slow to anger” until he wasn’t and Pharaoh was punished.

    I for my part would have trouble believing that a God of Love isn’t also just. Justice and love go together in my mind. A God who simply turns a blind eye to all injustice and sin is no true respecter of human free will (which has the right to choose God or NOT) and ultimately not a God of love in my view.

  6. As always, insightful. I try to explain this concept to students by citing the pain and anger that we naturally experience when “rejected” in a loving relationship. While God is not volatile or tempermental, it is the closest expression we can identify with. The OT rightly characterizes a “jealous” God, as pained by our constant infidelity to His perfect love.

  7. Similar comments from Ralph Martin, “Will Many Be Saved?”

    Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth.

    “There is an immense amount of truth communicated in this single verse. God’s wrath is frequently mentioned in both Testaments. The truth that is being conveyed is not of an emotionally unstable God who is given to bursts of anger. It is not talking about the “emotional state” of God or the emotion of “anger.” The truth that is being conveyed is of the utter incongruity between the depth of God’s holiness and the sin of men. There can be no “integration” or “synthesis” of the two. There can be no “tolerance” or “coexistence” of the two. Ultimately only one who is willing to become holy will be able to dwell with God. One who is unwilling to become holy will be “lost,”“destroyed ,” consigned to the “outer darkness,” to the “second death,” to the everlastingness of “hell.” Becoming holy is to be saved. Refusing to be transformed by the grace of God, through faith, is to remain lost. To die refusing the grace of repentance and faith is to be lost forever. God’s wrath can only be understood when one grasps in some dim way the utter horror and evil of sin, the blasphemous idolatry of sin. It is not a matter of the emotion of “hatred”; it is about the eternally holy Being of God and the impossibility of dwelling in the presence of such holiness without oneself becoming holy.”

  8. Well done. The same thinking logically extends to thinking about Hell. Does God love the souls in Hell? He cannot turn off His love. If he did, he would not be God. Therefore, the pain of Hell is the love of God as experienced by those who hate Him. Let me offer a common domestic situation to illustrate: A loving father punishes his disobedient son. Later, the father seeks reunion. But the son resists. Even though the good father wants to set the father-son relationship right, the son refuses. Consequently, instead of feeling the father’s love, the son feels his own seething anger. That is exactly the situation with souls in Hell.

  9. I explain God’s wrath to myself as experiencing the consequences of our actions, coming under God’s justice rather than his mercy. This is because we have not repented of our sin which brings about God’s mercy. We, instead, insist on our own way, our will instead of God’s will. So God in his generosity leaves us to our own will and to the consequences it brings to us, even though it must grieve him to do so.

  10. I think the Egyptians, and others, would dispute your meaning. God’s wrath was external and spectacularly brutal for them. After all, God killed all the first-born sons of Egypt. Not just the adults, but the children. God certainly was avenging the killing of the first-born sons of the Hebrews, but it’s still slaughtering boys, presumably thousands of them. That’s not some sort of internal encounter between one’s sin and the infinite goodness of God.

    Just like killing everyone in the flood (including the children).

    God’s wrath means mass killing. Don’t whitewash it.

    1. No doubt that encountering God when you’re full of sin is going to end badly. Thus, Jesus must save us from the wrath, otherwise you gonna burn up Hal. Do you know Jesus? Only he can save you from the wrath. You might also strive to show a little more sophistication in dealing with biblical texts though that use anthropomorphism. So I’ll spare the whitewash if you’ll spare the blacklisting. The Egyptians had just a little role in the wrath they experienced, I’d say.

      1. It would appear that Hal has the idea that one can sin, sin horribly, sinned repeatedly to the extent that one’s entire life is based on a course of mortal sin most vile, be warned over and over and over again with great specificity that what one is committing is gross injustice and evil, continue sinning, and do so with impunity, indefinitely. And then, when in all justice God finally puts a stop to their evil, to lash out at God!
        This pretty much sums up to me what is wrong with much of our so-called “Western civilization”–this insistence on rejecting God’s order, God’s revealed logos, His Divine Mercy which coexists perfectly with His Divine Justice, which runs through all of creation, and then when the inevitable finally happens, to pout and call God “mean” and guilty of “mass killing.”
        The current iteration of this sin-as-one’s-lifestyle to which one believes oneself to be fully entitled seems to have begun with the Protestant revolt, and to be rapidly coming to its natural conclusion. Since we did not create ourselves in the material world order, it must also be admitted that we did not create ourselves in the spiritual or moral world order either. In other words, we exist in a matrix not created by ourselves, but by God Himself.
        This is a truly hideous mindset which, alas, is so common in America as to be in danger of becoming universal. Jesus spoke in one place of a wilfully obtuse, unrepentant mindset which in and of itself renders a soul worthy of final damnation.
        There are many, many saints in the Catholic church who have had mystical experiences of being in hell, and who were granted a sort of guided tour, as it were, and then were permitted to come back and describe their experiences in very apt terms. Almost to a man (and woman), they insist that we judge ourselves at the time of death, because with the time for free will being over, and being in the immediate presence of God, there is no longer any possibility of denying God’s reality or order. Also, hellfire is not enkindled by God–it is enkindled by man himself. And they also say that the hellfire which consumes a man (or woman) comes from the inside out; that souls are consumed in hellfire which is enkindled by the sin remaining in them at their time of death, fixed by their rejection of God as they entered into bodily death. Not a few saints describe the torments of each damned soul as being specific to that individual soul, and caused by that soul’s specific unrepented sins.
        Really, the level of immaturity, nay infantilism, plus the total refusal to entertain anything but “snap judgments” and obstinately refuse to learn, to progress, to change for the better, is mind-boggling.
        Saint Faustina of the Divine Mercy revelations said that Jesus told her, this is still very much the time of mercy, but woe to those souls who refused to recognize the time of their visitation. If one refuses to enter eternity through the door of God’s mercy, he/she will have no choice but to enter eternity through the door of God’s justice.
        Pray for this misguided soul!!

    2. One small point addressed to the evident tenor of your view on God’s justice and human suffering.

      Our life is a gift from God. He sustains our existence through order scaled from the galactic down to the microscopic. We take for granted our heartbeat; our lungs and breath; our brain tissue that thinks!; gravity that keeps us anchored to dirt; planets that do what they’re supposed to. We “deserve” none of it because none of it came from we humans in the first place. God can retract His gift at His good pleasure and all our complaints mean precisely nothing. Deo Gratias!

      So in addition to your view on God’s wrath, I would submit that God’s mercy is abundant, undeserved and very much appreciated, (at least by me).

    3. Have you ever heard of miracles? Those aren’t the constant love of God, they are extraordinary events bestowed on those in need. Every event that led to the birth of our Lord was miraculous. Likewise, the plagues of Egypt were used to save Gods people, so like the birth of our Lord, they were miraculous events.

    4. God’s Mercy as depicted throughout the Bible is not such that anyone, ever, is certainly to escape the death of the body: not God the Son Himself with respect to His Humanity, giving Himself up to letting people inflict a “spectacularly brutal” death upon Him, for their – and our – salvation, for the life of the world. (I say “certainly” not planning to attempt to consider Enoch and Elijah, here and now.)

      In the case of the specific sudden death of “presumably thousands” of Egyptian first-born “boys” at once, I do not know that we are compelled to make any assumptions excluding His mysterious Merciful interaction with each, willing and working for his good ‘in articulo mortis’.

  11. One of my favorite places on earth is the Basillica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, on the Catholic University campus, (D.C.). It ties the mercy of our Mother to her incarnate Son. The ceiling over the altar is a mosaic of Jesus in Judgement, an angry Jesus if you will. We are not used to this in 2014 America. It is stunning to me and drives me to my knees.

    Interestingly, viewing Jesus like this you notice that there is a small image of Mary suspended in air, in front of his angry countenance. Through Mary to Jesus.

    You can’t see her in the attached depiction of this mosaic, but she is essential to the full effect of this place.


    1. It’s interesting you say that, because the “Jesus In Judgement” mosaic is actually nicknamed “Angry Jesus” (also known as “Weightlifter Jesus” or “Jesus On Steroids”). I was a theology grad student at Catholic University.

      1. This makes me think of the Apocalypse/Revelation of St. John 6:16: “And they say to the mountains and the rocks: Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb [ira Agni]”. “Angry”, if suitable here, must be considered in the same way “wrath” is considered above. “Angry” at what deserves ‘anger’ for preventing ‘them’ from becoming the loving, glorious children of God they should be.

        Perhaps, again, ‘seriousness’ is as appropriate as ‘anger’ in describing this – and many another – depiction of the Pantocrator (Christ the King of the Universe). I think of T.S. Eliot’s image in his Four Quartets: “the Wounded Surgeon” (varying an image already used by St. Augustine, by accenting His Wounds: in this mosaic, “Glorious Scars” as in the Advent hymn). Intent with the greatest earnestness in doing everything necessary to cure the sinner.

        Monsignor Pope once had a very interesting post about this mosaic…

  12. The following is usually attributed to the desert father St. Anthony the Great:

    God is good, dispassionate, and immutable. Now someone who thinks it reasonable and true to affirm that God does not change, may well ask how, in that case, is it possible to speak of God as rejoicing over those who are good and showing mercy to those who honour Him, and as turning away from the wicked and being angry with sinners. To this it must be answered that God neither rejoices nor grows angry, for to rejoice and to be offended are passions; nor is He won over by the gifts of those who honour Him, for that would mean He is swayed by pleasure. It is not right that the Divinity feel pleasure or displeasure from human conditions. He is good, and He only bestows blessings and never does harm, remaining always the same. We men, on the other hand, if we remain good through resembling God, are united to Him, but if we become evil through not resembling God, we are separated from Him. By living in holiness we cleave to God; but by becoming wicked we make Him our enemy. It is not that He grows angry with us in an arbitrary way, but it is our own sins that prevent God from shining within us and expose us to demons who torture us. And if through prayer and acts of compassion we gain release from our sins, this does not mean that we have won God over and made Him to change, but that through our actions and our turning to the Divinity, we have cured our wickedness and so once more have enjoyment of God’s goodness. Thus to say that God turns away from the wicked is like saying that the sun hides itself from the blind.

  13. Bottom line….man co-exists rather ‘nicely’ with sin. God in His perfect holiness cannot, will not, does not coexist with evil. In His mercy He provides wonderfully holy Sacrament of Reconciliation that we may begin again as often as our flawed human nature should be willing to do. To Him be all glory, forever.
    Ty, Monsignor. I trust in God’s grace to be holier than before I read your magnificent treatise. 🙂

  14. Perhaps, someday Msgr. Pope you will become a pope and we’ll have to call you: Pope Pope! 🙂

  15. Amazing isn’t it how apropos Msgr. Popes teachings are. Apropos and for my sake timely. Since hearing yesterday’s first reading I have been mulling over the mystery of how our God can be both wrathful and compassionate.

    Ex 22: 23 “My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword…” Ex 22: 26 “If he cries out to me, I will listen; for I am compassionate.” The answer is in this piece. Thanks be to God and Msgr. Pope.

  16. Great topic. Takes me back to my Baptist roots before my conversion. Sure wish our priests would give a ‘good old fire and brimstone’ homily now and again. The ‘I love you, you love me’ type of messages are not convicting enough. We all need a hard look at sin once in a while and people need to stop getting offended and acting childish every time the priest steps on their toes. We serve a loving God but foremost he is Holy and sin can never be in his presence so we just have to deal with it. I understand this is the scary side of God. But if you think about it the whole concept of approaching God in any state whether in Grace or mortal sin it is frightening. We need to love God but our world has lost the fear of him due to ‘Barney the dinosaur’ sermons.

  17. Very fruitful discussion. Interesting and persuasive the way the distinction is made between objective and subjective wrath. Someone has said that God’s wrath is the opposition of his wisdom, love, and omnipotence to evil and sin. That would correspond to objective wrath. However at times there also seems to be an unpredictable element to God’s wrath, (and his love/grace) which our various theories of the atonement, for example, futilely strive to smooth out.

  18. Good insight in the article and some of the comments ;

    my own favorite on God’s wrath had been the equivocation from Old Testament incdent of the rather familar i narrative of David’s census and the plague ; interesting that the comments at Jewish sites too give varied reasons for the incident , helping us to know how, like Job , there are hidded depths to these that can help us to keepsearching ;

    this one deliberation seemed rather revealing too –

    His take on how God was likely displeased about David counting persons to see how many would be available for forced labor seems to make sense, since David as the prefigurement of The Lord is one to have brought freedom to his people .

    David’s act of repentance and steps to make the building of the temple – ? even a foretelling of what was to take place , in another time , under a difft king / Emperor Ceasar , who too takes a census ; the real King who was born at the time, brings deliverance and freedom as well as the new Temple / Church , for those who repented and accepted Him .

    Our Lord came to destroy the works of the devil including the wrath of God , merited by our rebellion and thus the ‘rising ‘ of the enemy in our lives , like it did for David – thank God that The Church pleads for mercy , esp. at every Holy Mass .

    http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/solar-storm-14-times-larger-than-earth-could-unleash-a-society-crippling-electromagnetic-pulse – news of another huge sunspot with potential for trouble , in this month of the ‘the Woman clothed with the sun ‘ ;
    it is awesome to think how small we are , just one breath – all of us put together …

    May His mercy be our shiled , under the mantle of the one clothed with the sun !

  19. Creation is like God. There is always an up and down, Ying and Yang.
    You can only cool something by making something else warmer.
    I think that people make a mistake by thinking hate is the opposite of love.
    Indifference is. Isn’t hell the place where God’s love is not?
    Thank you Msr. Pope for a great article.

    1. What about John 2:15 when Jesus entered the temple fashioning cords to make a whip, driving out sheep and oxen, dumping all coins and overturning tables of the moneychangers? Is this “justified anger?” I think this was very demonstrative in getting his point across. He is the Son of God so this “wrath” was “visible.”

  20. Thanks for this beautiful explanation. I remember Blessed Julian of Norwich said “All the wrath of God is on man’s part.” Also, many Christians of Eastern Rite seem very big on this concept. Many of them say that Hell’s fire is the light of God as experienced by the wicked. C.S. Lewis makes reference to this idea at the end of The Screwtape Letters.

  21. It seems to me that Jesus is very clear when he describes the state of hell as a “furnace of fire”. There is only one reason why the imagery is such as that, and that is because it involves physical torment. And this is what the Church has always taught from day one.

    1. Yeah, not sure what it has to do with this topic. Also it is mysterious as to how a physical fire would torment non-physical beings like demons. St. Thomas tries to explain it but I, who normally find Thomas compelling find the explanation strained.

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