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Akhil J. wrote:

Hi, guys —

In the testimony of a priest I heard, he said that he saw Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. He also said that he saw Satan in Hell with his angels.

This confuses me. I thought Satan was on Earth because the Bible says that Satan was cast out of Heaven. It doesn't say that he was cast into Hell.

The Bible says that he will be cast into the Lake of Fire in the future and this lead me to the second question.

  • What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say about the Lake of Fire?

The Bible says that Hell will be cast into the Lake of fire but the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that Hell is eternal and the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet is also presence and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1035 states:

"The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of Hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into Hell, where they suffer the punishments of Hell, 'eternal fire'. The chief punishment of Hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs"

Further the Bible says:

Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

In John 14:30, Jesus called Satan the prince of this world, and the apostle Paul referred to him as the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (Ephesians 2:2) so according to the Bible, Satan does not live in Hell. He lives and works on the Earth and in the Heavens circling it.

  • What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church teach about where satan is?

The problem is this priest claims to have had a near death experience.

Akhil J.

  { Can you tell me what the Church and Catechism say about the Lake of Fire and where satan is? }

John replied:

Dear Akhil,

First of all, it's important not to get hung up on Hell as a location. The Scriptures and Catechism use location as paradigm for us to understand the condition of the soul after death.

The Bible uses the word Hell in few different ways. In the Hebrew or Old Testament the original language is Sheol. In the Greek or in the New Testament the word used is Hades.

Both words mean the underworld or place of dead. In the Old Testament, all souls went there awaiting the Messiah. Note in the Creed, we say Hell. Well, Hell (Hades or Sheol) was divided into:

  • a section for the damned and
  • a section for those who died in faith . . . called the Bosom of Abraham.
    It is really akin to Purgatory.

The Souls of those who died in faith experienced the Love of God but that love, just as is the case of Purgatory today, was both a cause of both joy and pain.

  • Joy because the souls knew/know that their ultimate destination is Heaven.
  • Pain because the love of God burnt/burns away any imperfections from their souls.
    (Revelation 21:27)

The section of the damned was a place where the same love of God is experienced. However, it is only a source of torment, because the soul perpetually is rejecting it. The conscience has been seared, the heart has been hardened, the soul has made it's decision not to accept Mercy and love and thus it is an eternal torment. However, these souls have only undergone their particular judgment. The second judgment is still to come and it will be public.

So now let's move to Revelation where it says that Hell itself will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Well, that happens after the final judgment, at which point the Hades of Damned (which can be compared to the local jail where one is held after the trial but before final sentencing) will be done away with as will the section for those who died in faith (where temporal punishment or healing pain is experienced) aka Purgatory.

But as I said before, don't get hung up on actual physical locations. These aren't meant to be taken literally. John Paul II described Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell as the same place, where the love of God is constantly poured out to everyone. But as I said:

  • For the damned, satan, and the fallen angels, the love is nothing but torment.
  • For those facing purification, the Love is both joyful and painful, and of course, for those who have been completely purified, the Love is pure joy, with no pain.

When the Church says Hell is eternal, She means that it is an eternal condition of a damned soul.

Again the confusion comes in, because Scripture uses the term differently in different passages.

As for satan, He is in Hell because his condition is eternally damned but he is allowed to roam the Earth as are some of his demons. They are often time the source of temptation, oppression, and even possession. We really don't fully understand the Mysteries of the spiritual realm. We talk of Heaven as being up there and Hell being down there but really it's all around us. We can't see behind the veil. We use location and time frames to explain Mysteries in terms that we can understand. We are every bit as much in the Presence of God, as the Saints in Heaven. We just can't perceive with our limited human, mortal senses yet by the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, we can catch glimpses.

Of course we are sacramentally present to Heaven in the Great Liturgy at the Mass. Likewise, we a present at Calvary and the Resurrection. You see, in the spiritual realm, there is no time as we understand it. To God everything is in the Eternal now! At the Mass, He makes it present to us in special way.

I hope this helps,

Warmly,

John DiMascio

Akhil replied:

Thank you,

You answered 88% of my question.

12% of my question which I still hope for an answer.

You responded:
As for satan, He is in Hell because his condition is eternally damned but he is allowed to roam the Earth as are some of his demons.

You said that satan was in Hell but the Bible does not specify that the devil is now in Hell. Only that he will be (future tense). Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of this world. Satan and his minions are not in Hell as of yet but as the book of Revelation says that on the Day of Judgement, they will:

Revelation 20: 9 And there came down fire from God out of Heaven, and devoured them; and the devil, who seduced them, was cast into the pool of fire and brimstone, where both the beast 10 And the false prophet shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Revelation 20:9-10

  • So how can you be certain that satan is in Hell?

Akhil

Mike replied:

Dear Akhil,

John sent me the following rely.

Mike,

I actually did answer this. The person just didn't read the answer carefully.
He is getting caught up in locations and interpreting paradigms that the Scriptures use over literally.

Hell is a condition of constantly rejecting the love and mercy of God, hence it is permanent torment.

Satan, while he is allowed to roam the Earth with his minions to tempt mankind, is in that permanent condition

  • of hatred
  • of rejecting God's love and mercy and
  • therefore in constant torment.

I believe I gave an extensive answer on the rest of his follow-up question, in my earlier reply.

In addition to what John said, I would just add that you don't appear to be interested in a Church-based answer or one based on Oral Tradition but one based solely on the Bible.

In ignoring Oral Tradition, which is Bible-based, you are throwing out many Christian teachings that Protestants reject from the Bible itself.

The Biblical basis for Oral Tradition, meaning those teachings that have been passed down through the Catholic Church by word of mouth from century to century, from generation to generation can be found here:

I hope this satisfies the 12% of your remaining question.

Mike

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