Category Archives: Quotes on Hell

Fredrick Buechner quote on Hell

“People are free in this world to live for themselves alone if they want to and let the rest go hang, and they are free to live out the dismal consequences as long as they can stand it. The doctrine of Hell proclaims that they retain this freedom in whatever world comes next. Thus the possibility of making damned fools of ourselves would appear to be limitless.
Or maybe Hell is the limit. Since the damned are said to suffer as dismally in the next world as they do in this one, they must still have enough life left in them to suffer with, which means that in their flight from Love, God apparently stops them just this side of extinguishing themselves utterly. Thus the bottomless pit is not really bottomless. Hell is the bottom beyond which God in his terrible mercy will not let them go.
Dante saw written over the gates of Hell the words “Abandon all hope ye who enter here,” but he must have seen wrong. If there is suffering in Hell, there must also be hope in Hell, because where there is life there is the Lord and giver of life, and where there is suffering he is there too because the suffering of the ones he loves is also his suffering.
“He descended into Hell” the Creed says, and “If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there,” the Psalmist (139:8). It seems there is no depth to which he will not sink.”

– Fredrick Buechner “Wishful Thinking”

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Quotes on Hell


Nouwen on free will and the “Good News” of Hell

“Is there a hell? The concepts of heaven and hell are as intimately connected as those of good and evil. When we are free to do good, we are also free to do evil; when we can say yes to God’s love, the possibility of saying no also exists. Consequently, when there is heaven there also must be hell. All of these distinctions are made to safeguard the mystery that God wants to be loved by us in freedom. In this sense, strange as it may sound, the idea of hell is good news. Human beings are not robots or automatons who have no choices and who, whatever they do in life, end up in God’s Kingdom. No, God loves us so much that God wants to be loved by us in return. And love cannot be forced; it has to be freely given. Hell is the bitter fruit of a final no to God.”

– Henri Nouwen

(taken as a quote from this source)


Henri Nouwen on Hell & Death

“Is everybody finally going to be all right? Are all people ultimately going to be free from misery and all their needs fulfilled? Yes and no! Yes, because God wants to bring us home into God’s Kingdom. No, because nothing happens without our choosing it. The realization of the Kingdom of God is God’s work, but for God to make God’s love fully visible in us, we must respond to God’s love with our own love.  There are two kinds of death: a death leading us into God’s Kingdom, and a death leading us into hell. John in his vision saw not only heaven but also hell. He says, “The legacy for cowards, for murderers and the sexually immoral, and for sorcerers, worshippers of false gods or any other sort of liars, is the second death in the burning lake of sulphur” (Revelation 21:8). We must choose for God if we want to be with God.”…..


“Hell is a second death. This is what the Book of Revelation says (see Revelation 21:8). Just as there is an eternal life, there is an eternal death. Eternal life is a second life; eternal death is a second death. Our first death can be a passage not only to eternal life but also to eternal death.

Looking at hell as a second death takes away the images of eternal suffering and torture that are so prevalent in medieval art and literature. It defines hell more as the refusal to choose life than as a punishment for wrongdoing. In fact, the sins that the Book of Revelation mentions as leading to eternal death are choices for death: murdering, worshipping obscenities, sexual immorality, lying, and so on (see Revelation 21:8). When we sow death we will reap death. But when we sow life we will reap life. It is we who do the sowing!”

– Henri Nouwen “The Road to Peace”


Quote on Hell here and now by Debra Rienstra

“Hell is where sin eventually leads; it is the endpoint of the path away from God—a state of being outside the presence of God.  When we see the worst of what goes on in this world, we can see that hell is not only a place people might go after death, but the condition of destruction and utter misery in which people can find themselves here and now.”

– Debra Rienstra

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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Quotes on Hell


Pope Benedict XVI Quote on the purification of judgment

“Some recent theologians are of the opinion that the fire which both burns and saves is Christ himself, the Judge and Saviour. The encounter with him is the decisive act of judgement. Before his gaze all falsehood melts away. This encounter with him, as it burns us, transforms and frees us, allowing us to become truly ourselves. All that we build during our lives can prove to be mere straw, pure bluster, and it collapses. Yet in the pain of this encounter, when the impurity and sickness of our lives become evident to us, there lies salvation. His gaze, the touch of his heart heals us through an undeniably painful transformation ‘as through fire’. But it is a blessed pain, in which the holy power of his love sears through us like a flame, enabling us to become totally ourselves and thus totally of God.”

– Pope Benedict XVI

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Quotes on Hell


C.S. Lewis quote on Hell

“Other than heaven, the only place where one’s heart is completely safe from the dangers of love is hell.”

– C.S. Lewis

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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Quotes on Hell


Dostoyevski quote on Hell

“What is hell? I still maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.”

– Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Brothers Karamazov

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Posted by on March 17, 2011 in Quotes on Hell