Here depicted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel is the devil Charon driving the damned into Hell crying out,

"Woe to you perverted souls!
Give up all hope of ever seeing Heaven:
I come to lead you to the other shore,
into eternal darkness, ice and fire."

(Inferno, Canto III, 85-87)

Dante tells us that the damned curse God, their own parents, the human race and the time and place of their birth. They are eager to cross the river into Hell because divine justice spurs them on turning fear into desire. It becomes impossible for the lost to even desire Heaven because the supernatural gift of Hope given by God in life is no longer in them. Hate and despair have replaced hope which is eternal damnation.


If God is good, why does he send people to Hell forever?

First, what do we mean God is good? God is goodness itself because He is the fulness of life and being. He is infinite in his attributes: unity, truth, life, beauty, wisdom, freedom, justice and so on, and so on.

Second, from the perspective of creation, God is good because He is that which all things desire unknowingly (matter, plants, animals), or knowingly (men and angels).

Third, God has revealed his goodness by sending his Son in human nature to die for our sins or as St. Paul states it, "Go proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." (Rm 5:8)

We can chose Hell because God has made us in his image and likeness-we are gods. God wills the good of all his creatures with finality. Men, as God's images, with free will can also chose with finality, which can mean choosing the self in opposition to God. In so doing man has made his own prison and banish God's goodness from his presence. Deprived of the end for which he was made, man can only suffer without end. The eternal aspect of hell reflects God's justice, honor and majesty. Every sin is ultimately directed against God. Every sin is a direct challenge to God's nature and authority. Every time you sin you are saying, "I will be my own god. I will determine for myself what is right and what is wrong. I refuse to submit to Jesus Christ and His Word."

12. Kingdom of Hope to Kingdom of Glory