Author Topic: Heaven and Hell as not literal places  (Read 5720 times)

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Offline Addai

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Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« on: December 08, 2005, 06:36:11 PM »
Hi there I've asked about this before on another website.   MyCopticChurch.com     A while back I learned of the teaching in Orthodoxy that heaven and hell aren't actual places but more metaphorarical in nature (states of being or whatever).


Anyway I posted a url from this one EO converts Blog which desribes this.


There's No Place Like Heaven
http://www.neepeople.com/journeymanjames/


Anyway one EO convert friend I know, desperately hates this notion.   He even claims that this is a "doctrinal innovation" and not normative to Orthodoxy.   Citing a few sources so I figured I ask around and get your feedback.


Offline Bizzlebin

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2005, 08:34:24 PM »
I firmly believe that Heaven is a state rather than a "place." However, as far as I am aware, the New Jerusalem does exist in some form, as a place. So, Heaven is not limited to a place, but at the same time it is possible to have a "Holy City" of sorts. This seems to reconcile the mentioning of an actual throne of God, as well as some semblace of an actual location.
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Offline Doubting Thomas

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2005, 10:28:47 PM »
Perhaps what is meant is that heaven doesn't occupy a literal "place" in the three-dimensional spatial universe, but it actually transcends "space" as we know it.  (Sorta' like eternity transcends--and "precedes"--time.)
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2005, 01:44:02 AM »
This is actually normative Orthodox teaching.
See: http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2005, 01:57:59 AM »
I believe St. Gregory of Nyssa believed that hell is nothing but God's love that's burning sinners.  God is not "angry" to punish, but His love seems to burn all that is corrupt in them, since corruption is anti-God.

God bless.
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Offline Addai

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2005, 02:42:04 AM »
This is actually normative Orthodox teaching.
See: http://aggreen.net/beliefs/heaven_hell.html

Thanks I'll have to study the article.


I will admit when I heard about this a year or two ago, it took some getting use to since when you grow up hearing about heaven and hell as places that you go to.   Not to mention, the biblical references that speak of it that way.


So far my hunch on this, as far as Orthodox theology goes comes from our understanding of God and so forth.   In some of the Western concepts, Hell is a place that is either absence from God's presence or at the very least absence of God love.   And that is a contradiction to how we understand God as being omnipresent, Full of love etc.


And of course as other Orthodox have spoken in more Apophoatic terms, that the afterlife is a mystery, or above our earthly understanding and so forth.    Along those lines, I would also put forth that Heaven and Hell are put forward as places, since we are creatures living in the 3D world.   It kind of an idiomatic way of describing a reality that is alien to our everyday life.    I also realize thinking on this subject it is extremely difficult to talk about this subject without using that kind of expression.    We are use to going to places.   Arriving at states of being and so forth is just very weird and awkward to talk about.    And that is one reason why I would think it would be described that way in the scriptures.   Kind of like how the scriptures will use other idioms of the time.   Like "The Four Corners of the Earth".   To describe the world.   Which implies a kind of "Flat Earth Theory" of the day they were written.   We know that is literaly not true, but it was used idiomatically to communicate to people of the Ancient world.


So anyway that my hypothesis/theory so far.

Offline Addai

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2005, 02:43:57 AM »
I believe St. Gregory of Nyssa believed that hell is nothing but God's love that's burning sinners.ÂÂ  God is not "angry" to punish, but His love seems to burn all that is corrupt in them, since corruption is anti-God.

God bless.

I think that's St. Isaac the Syrian.   St. Gregory however did say some other similar things to my recollection.   Should read up more on him.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2005, 05:23:44 AM »
 In some of the Western concepts, Hell is a place that is either absence from God's presence or at the very least absence of God love.  ÃƒÆ’‚ And that is a contradiction to how we understand God as being omnipresent, Full of love etc.
As the article explains, this was not the original Western concept. The English word "hell" comes from "helan", which is a verb meaning "to hide" or "to cower". So the souls in condemnation attempt to cower (helan) from the Presence of God, just as Adam and Eve attempted to hide/cower (helan) from the Presence of God after they had disobeyed Him. Of course, it is impossible to hide from God, (but that doesn't stop a guilty conscience from from cowering (helan) at the Presence of God). We get a foretaste of hell (helan) on earth when we sin.....when our conscience accuses us, we cower and have no boldness/courage before God.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2005, 08:28:13 AM by ozgeorge »
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Offline theoforos

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2005, 08:05:38 AM »
I believe St. Gregory of Nyssa believed that hell is nothing but God's love that's burning sinners.ÂÂ  God is not "angry" to punish, but His love seems to burn all that is corrupt in them, since corruption is anti-God.

God bless.

If X=A and X=B, then A=B, right? Well, Hebr. 12:29 says that "God is a consuming fire" and 1. John 4:8 says that "God is love", so what do we get -> love = fire !  ;D

In fact, in my Lutheran upbringing I was never taught that hell and heaven were actual places somewhere, but rather that they are states or conditions. However, it was new to me that hell is God's love burning the sinners, but it does make sense.

Offline Addai

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2005, 12:13:20 PM »
As the article explains, this was not the original Western concept. The English word "hell" comes from "helan", which is a verb meaning "to hide" or "to cower". So the souls in condemnation attempt to cower (helan) from the Presence of God, just as Adam and Eve attempted to hide/cower (helan) from the Presence of God after they had disobeyed Him. Of course, it is impossible to hide from God, (but that doesn't stop a guilty conscience from from cowering (helan) at the Presence of God). We get a foretaste of hell (helan) on earth when we sin.....when our conscience accuses us, we cower and have no boldness/courage before God.

Yeah I just read that all later last night before bed time.


And of course the Adam & Eve parallel would give more reason or explanation on the Orthodox emphasis of theosis being the goal of this life.   (And the role in stressing sacraments like Confession, and spiritual disciplnes of regular prayer and fasting and so forth).

Offline Addai

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2005, 12:22:05 PM »
If X=A and X=B, then A=B, right? Well, Hebr. 12:29 says that "God is a consuming fire" and 1. John 4:8 says that "God is love", so what do we get -> love = fire !ÂÂ  ;D

Yeah interesting.    Actually its even more interesting when you consider that God himself appeared the Israelites during the time of Moses as a literal fire.


In fact, in my Lutheran upbringing I was never taught that hell and heaven were actual places somewhere, but rather that they are states or conditions. However, it was new to me that hell is God's love burning the sinners, but it does make sense.

I went to Lutheran Catechsim (Wisconsin Synod, which is identical to "Old Missouri" synod) and I don't remember that!   I've always been taught by Lutherans, Southern Baptists who I attended parochial school with, and Episcopals, and various Charismatics and Pentecostals of Hell being a literal place.

It's only been the last 1.5 years that I've heard defitely otherwise.    Which is interesting I've been reading about Orthodoxy since 1997 but this topic never came up.   Or at the vey least, I brushed aside any comments from Church fathers that hinted this as just "figures of speech", or a minority opinion that did not really represent what most people believe.

Offline JoeS

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2005, 01:19:16 PM »
Hi there I've asked about this before on another website.  ÃƒÆ’‚ MyCopticChurch.com  ÃƒÆ’‚  ÃƒÆ’‚ A while back I learned of the teaching in Orthodoxy that heaven and hell aren't actual places but more metaphorarical in nature (states of being or whatever).


Anyway I posted a url from this one EO converts Blog which desribes this.


There's No Place Like Heaven
http://www.neepeople.com/journeymanjames/


Anyway one EO convert friend I know, desperately hates this notion.  ÃƒÆ’‚ He even claims that this is a "doctrinal innovation" and not normative to Orthodoxy.  ÃƒÆ’‚ Citing a few sources so I figured I ask around and get your feedback.



Those who fall asleep in the Lord, and those who dont, await their judgement, but do not partake of their just rewards, not just yet. 

The poor in spirit and are pursecuted for righteousness sake shall inherit heaven.

The meek shall inherit the earth.

Those pure of heart shall see God.

My feeling is that most of us (meek) will inherit a new earth.  Those saintly will inherit heaven.

Those who rebel against God and are not repentent, well we know whats in store  here.

Am I close to the truth??

JoeS

Offline Robert

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2005, 02:11:04 PM »
Those who fall asleep in the Lord, and those who dont, await their judgement, but do not partake of their just rewards, not just yet. 

The poor in spirit and are pursecuted for righteousness sake shall inherit heaven.

The meek shall inherit the earth.

Those pure of heart shall see God.

My feeling is that most of us (meek) will inherit a new earth.  Those saintly will inherit heaven.

Those who rebel against God and are not repentent, well we know whats in store  here.

Am I close to the truth??

JoeS

Isn't this what Jehovah's Witnesses believe?


Offline Addai

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2005, 02:30:59 PM »
Isn't this what Jehovah's Witnesses believe?



Well It certainly sounds different then what Orthodox, most Protestants and Catholics teach anyway.    I'm not sure exactlyw hat JW's beleive, but I thought they believed that 144,000 or whever that number from Revelation were the only people to be saved period.   The rest of everybody is throne into the lake of Fire and permanently annihlated.    That is my best recollection of their doctrine.

So his belief is pretty unique, not really belonging to any one body that I know of.

Offline JoeS

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2005, 07:27:27 PM »
Well It certainly sounds different then what Orthodox, most Protestants and Catholics teach anyway.  ÃƒÆ’‚  I'm not sure exactlyw hat JW's beleive, but I thought they believed that 144,000 or whever that number from Revelation were the only people to be saved period.  ÃƒÆ’‚ The rest of everybody is throne into the lake of Fire and permanently annihlated.  ÃƒÆ’‚  That is my best recollection of their doctrine.

So his belief is pretty unique, not really belonging to any one body that I know of.

Just quoting the Beatitudes thats all.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2005, 07:41:18 PM »
Just quoting the Beatitudes thats all.

Which beatitude says this?
Those who fall asleep in the Lord, and those who dont, await their judgement, but do not partake of their just rewards, not just yet. 
Are the Saints "asleep" and do not partake of a foretaste of Paradise?
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Offline Addai

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2005, 11:53:01 PM »
Just quoting the Beatitudes thats all.

Wouldn't that fit more "the ladder of Divine Ascent"?

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2005, 01:15:55 AM »
Which beatitude says this?Are the Saints "asleep" and do not partake of a foretaste of Paradise?

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are the meed for they shall inherit the earth(the new earth) Why would they inherit this sinful earth as it is? 
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, and men shall say all manner of evil against you for Mysake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The righteous who fall asleep in the Lord do have the foretaste of heaven.  Those who do not repent and refuse the love of God have a foretaste of hell.

Offline icxn

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2005, 09:54:53 AM »
Quote:

...It is thus fitting that, anger and desire repudiated, we should next invoke the rule of the kingdom of God the Father with the words ‘Thy kingdom come’ (Matt. 6:l0), that is, ‘May the Holy Spirit come’; for, having put away these things, we are now made into a temple for God through the Holy Spirit by the teaching and practice of gentleness. ‘For on whom shall I rest,’ says Scripture, ‘but on him who is gentle and humble, and trembles at my words?’ (cf. Isa, 66:2). It is dear from this that the kingdom of God the Father belongs to the humble and the gentle. For ‘blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth’ (Matt. 5:5). It is not this physical earth, which by nature occupies a middle place in the universe, that God promises as an inheritance for those who love Him - not, at least, if He is speaking truly when He says, ‘In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in. marriage, but are as the angels in heaven’ (Matt. 22:30), and ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matt. 25:34), and elsewhere again to someone else who has striven with goodwill, ‘Enter into the joy of your Lord’ (Matt. 25:21). And after the Lord St Paul also says, ‘The trumpet will sound and first the dead in Christ will rise up incorrupt; then we who are alive and remain will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall be with the Lord for ever’ (cf. 1 Thess. 4:16-17).

Since these things have been promised to those who love the Lord, what man prompted by intelligence and wishing to serve it would ever say, from a literal reading of Scripture alone, that heaven, and the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, and the mystically hidden joy of the Lord, and the perpetual dwelling with the Lord enjoyed by the saints, are to be identified with the earth? In this text (Matt. 5:5) I trink that the word ‘earth’ signifies the resolution and strength of the inner stability, immovably rooted in goodness, that is possessed by gentle, people. This state of stability exists eternally with the Lord, contains unfailing joy, enables the gentle to attain the kingdom prepared from the beginning, and has its station and dignity in heaven. It also permits the gentle to inherit the principle of virtue, as if virtue were the earth that occupies a middle place in the universe. For the gentle person holds a middle position between honor and obloquy, and remains dispassionate, neither puffed up by the first nor cast down by the second. For the intelligence is by nature superior to both praise and blame; and so, when it has put away the sensual desire, it is no longer troubled by either the one or the other, having anchored the whole power of the soul in divine and unassailable liberty. The Lord, wanting to impart this liberty to His disciples says, ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you will find rest for your souls’ (Matt. 11:29). He calls the rule of the divine kingdom ‘rest’ because it confers on those worthy of it a lordship free from all servitude... - St Maximos the Confessor, "On the Lord’s Prayer"

Offline sunny

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2005, 06:04:06 AM »
I can't believe that more people haven't responded to this. The idea that heaven and hell are not real makes no sense. Where will the people be who want no part of God? Where will Satan and the demons be? The lake of fire is reserved for them. Is that figurative too? Do you think we're all going to be milling around together-the Christians with the non-Christians? Why are we to pray for those who have died? Why are we taught to pray for those who died apart from Christ, that they might have some measure of comfort from our prayers and love? If Christ said," I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am you may be also." If Christ was real and literal and He's preparing a place for us then what else could it be but Heaven? What about those who will be weeping and gnashing their teeth? Will we be standing next to them worshipping our Lord? That makes no sense. Why the effort to work out your salvation in fear and trembling if there's nothing to be afraid of? Could those who believe heaven and hell are not real site some canonical sources who teach this?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2005, 06:09:52 AM »
The idea that heaven and hell are not real makes no sense?
Sue,
I don't think anybody said they are not "real". Just that they are not "places" which occupy space, and that Heaven and Hell are different experiences of the same thing- i.e. the Divine Energies.
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2008, 04:07:00 PM »
Split from this thread and merged here.


It's strange, I know - but I wonder if some people are simply wired to expect a kind of justice that really just turns out to be vengence - so many people seem positively delighted at the prospects of the endless suffering of all sinners but themselves. People are odd, aren't we? Lord have mercy on us all.

Are you implying that God won't torment sinners for eternity? That is what it says in the bible.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 04:45:10 PM by ozgeorge »
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2008, 04:08:18 PM »
Are you implying that God won't torment sinners for eternity? That is what it says in the bible.

Where?
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2008, 04:10:57 PM »
Where?
Wait a minute while I dust it off. I'll find it. ;)
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2008, 04:18:42 PM »
Matthew 25:46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

There, and don't give me that Greek nonsense about there being a hidden decoded message either. :D
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2008, 04:23:28 PM »
Matthew 25:46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

There, and don't give me that Greek nonsense about there being a hidden decoded message either. :D

That's how I've always understood it as well. Aside from the obvious harsh grimness of it all, why do so many  Orthodox Christians seem to minimalize this reality?
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2008, 04:41:51 PM »
That's how I've always understood it as well. Aside from the obvious harsh grimness of it all, why do so many  Orthodox Christians seem to minimalize this reality?
I don't know. Maybe you can ask George.
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2008, 04:51:23 PM »
There, and don't give me that Greek nonsense about there being a hidden decoded message either. :D
Fine.

That's how I've always understood it as well. Aside from the obvious harsh grimness of it all, why do so many  Orthodox Christians seem to minimalize this reality?
Have a read of this thread, and then feel free to ask me anything. It's just that I have had to repeat myself so many times in so many threads about this. You'll find a list of some of the other threads which this topic was discussed in here: http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php?action=tags;id=9
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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2008, 05:01:20 PM »
As the article explains, this was not the original Western concept. The English word "hell" comes from "helan", which is a verb meaning "to hide" or "to cower". So the souls in condemnation attempt to cower (helan) from the Presence of God, just as Adam and Eve attempted to hide/cower (helan) from the Presence of God after they had disobeyed Him. Of course, it is impossible to hide from God, (but that doesn't stop a guilty conscience from from cowering (helan) at the Presence of God). We get a foretaste of hell (helan) on earth when we sin.....when our conscience accuses us, we cower and have no boldness/courage before God.

That's a nice, fanciful explanation of the etymology of the English word "hell" but it's really pushing to put a Christian spin on a word that was used for the Underworld long before the Norse ever set eyes upon a Christian.  While "hell" does indeed ultimately derive from an old proto-Indo-European word meaning "to cover, conceal", as the OED makes clear, its meaning has far more to do with the inability for the living to actually see where the dead go (hence "cover, conceal") than with any concept of cowering before the presence of God.  

The use of the word "hell" to translate into English the various states of afterlife has more to do with the early mistranslation of both hades and gehenna into the Latin infernus.  In Norse mythology, Hel was simply "The Abode of the Dead", much like Hades was "The Abode of the Dead" for the ancient Greeks (cf. Sheol in Hebrew).  True, there was a special place set aside in Norse belief for the warrior dead (Valhalla), but they were the exception rather than the rule.  At some point (I believe it was in the 8th c. but I could be mistaken, I'll have to check my sources at home), the Latin infernus, which had been used in much the same way as hades and sheol took on the additional meaning of gehenna.  By the time the Bible was translated into English, the word "hell", once an almost direct translation of hades/sheol/infernus took on the same meanings its Latin counterpart had a few centuries before.

I've always liked the way the Orthodox separated the concept of Hades and (place of eternal punishment), particularly in its hymnography.  
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Offline Simayan

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #29 on: April 23, 2008, 05:36:35 PM »
I have a minor mental block with this:

The article George posted is what I've always been taught. It makes perfect sense to me, because if God is "everywhere and filling all things," then he must be with us after death at all times.

The "gnashing of teeth" we experience must come not so much from the sins we commit on Earth, but the inability to accept God's love afterwards. However, how could any of us NOT accept God's love once we see Him? And it would seem that all humans, no matter how sinful and unrepentant, would accept that perfect love once we experience it.

I feel like I'm speaking in circles, but any help would be appreciated.
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2008, 05:38:07 PM »
At some point (I believe it was in the 8th c. but I could be mistaken, I'll have to check my sources at home), the Latin infernus, which had been used in much the same way as hades and sheol took on the additional meaning of gehenna.  By the time the Bible was translated into English, the word "hell", once an almost direct translation of hades/sheol/infernus took on the same meanings its Latin counterpart had a few centuries before.
Thanks for that.
This has raised two questions for me:
What was "infernus" originally?
I've always understood Sheol and Hades as being the same thing. Is this how the Greek Fathers always thought, or is it a more recently "corrected" view?
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Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2008, 05:42:59 PM »
Split from this thread and merged here.

Are you implying that God won't torment sinners for eternity? That is what it says in the bible.

Putting my comment in context:

ozgeorge said:

Welcome to my world! I've even been told I was "anti-Christian" for not believing in a god who is a bloodthirsty Kali-like deity that demands pain, suffering and blood sacrifices before it will accept an apology.

I said:

It's strange, I know - but I wonder if some people are simply wired to expect a kind of justice that really just turns out to be vengence - so many people seem positively delighted at the prospects of the endless suffering of all sinners but themselves. People are odd, aren't we? Lord have mercy on us all.

I implied nothing regarding hell and heaven; but I certainly don't believe in a God who will torment sinners for eternity.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2008, 05:44:15 PM by Riddikulus »
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2008, 09:43:54 PM »


I implied nothing regarding hell and heaven; but I certainly don't believe in a God who will torment sinners for eternity.

That is Riddikulus. Are you saying there is no hell?
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #33 on: April 23, 2008, 09:45:44 PM »
That is Riddikulus. Are you saying there is no hell?

Nope.
I believe in One God, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #34 on: April 23, 2008, 09:53:54 PM »
Nope.
Love is like fire than. and gods love will feel like hell to those who are in hell and love to those who are not. Do I have that Right?
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #35 on: April 23, 2008, 10:10:58 PM »
Love is like fire than. and gods love will feel like hell to those who are in hell and love to those who are not. Do I have that Right?

Demetrios,

I would say that heaven and hell are different experiences of the same "place". And God isn't a torturer, let alone one for eternity. 

I'm not sure why I'm on this thread! ??? ;D  My comment to ozgeorge had nothing to do with the doctrine of heaven and hell, but a tangent does seem to have ensued.
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2008, 10:16:34 PM »
Demetrios,

I would say that heaven and hell are different experiences of the same "place". And God isn't a torturer, let alone one for eternity. 
One could look at it this way, I guess.

Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

Offline buzuxi

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2008, 10:20:02 PM »
Christ crucified told the repentant sinner, 'TODAY you will be with me in paradise'. and He descended into Hades for 3 days. Its all the same place just degrees of seperation from the divine Light, the farther you are from Christ the greater the effects of Hell are. .  Read and understand the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk 16.9). Sin means 'missing the mark' and is seperation from God, the more you seperate yourself from God who is the eternal Light, the darker it is and those rays feel like a burning fire.

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2008, 10:24:03 PM »
I'm not sure why I'm on this thread! ???
I split the tangent off to prevent the original thread being derailed.
Tangents are like childhood monsters- if ignored they lose their power. ;)
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Offline Riddikulus

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2008, 10:29:55 PM »
I split the tangent off to prevent the original thread being derailed.
Tangents are like childhood monsters- if ignored they lose their power. ;)

^^LOL - a great axiom!
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Offline Tzimis

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #40 on: April 23, 2008, 11:02:48 PM »
I split the tangent off to prevent the original thread being derailed.
Tangents are like childhood monsters- if ignored they lose their power. ;)
You are correct George. I see that now.
Excellence of character, then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. Now it is a mean between two vices, that which depends on excess and that which depends on defect.

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Re: Heaven and Hell as not literal places
« Reply #41 on: April 24, 2008, 12:26:27 PM »
Thanks for that.
This has raised two questions for me:
What was "infernus" originally?
I've always understood Sheol and Hades as being the same thing. Is this how the Greek Fathers always thought, or is it a more recently "corrected" view?

The word infernus comes from the root infra- meaning, "under" and was used to denote "The Underworld" which houses the dead. 

I've always understood Sheol and Hades to be the same thing, as well.  From my own reading of the Lenten hymnography, it seems to me that the Greek Fathers thought that, too. 

It's curious, though, that the words sheol and hades ultimately derive from words whose origins are unclear, the latter deriving from Homer's name for the god of the underworld and the former being even more shadowy.  Some scholars have tried to find an ancient Egyptian root for sheol but haven't made very convincing arguments.  The history and study of that particular word is fascinating.
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