« Ch. XXXI. Q. 165. What is the doctrine of the General Judgment? | Main | Ch. XXXI. Q. 167. How do we know that the punishment of the finally impenitent is endless? »

September 20, 2005

Ch. XXXI. Q. 166. Where will the wicked go after the Judgment?

AFTER THE Judgment the wicked will depart "into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."1

2. The abode of the devil and his angels, where the wicked are to be punished, is called hell in our authorized version, Sh'ol, aons, yeevva, taptapow). That term is also applied to the general place of departed spirits2, but in its more strict use refers to a place of torment.3 The locality of hell is not known, but is spoken of as under the earth4 while its ruler is described as the prince of the power of the air.5 That it is a place as well as a state is certain.6

3. The punishment of the wicked is distinguished as (a.) poena damni, or loss of the beatific vision of God, called damnation: (b.) poena sensus, or the pains which result from damnation and from the conditions of existence in hell. The wicked will never cease to retain their bodies after the resurrection, anil will undoubtedly suffer both in body and soul, by reason at least of the organic connection existing between them. But it is lawful to interpret the biblical terms "fire" and "worm" figuratively. Yet we ought not to think that our Lord would exaggerate or misrepresent the pains of the damned. The figures employed by Him should not be interpreted, therefore, as exceeding the reality or as unworthy of emphasis. The economy which God employs in revealing His purposes (Q. 70. 2 b, 4) does not involve caricature or any other form of untruth, but an inexhaustiveness and gradualness in uncovering the truth, adapted to our comprehension. The language of revelation, therefore, is true and the safest for our use, however inadequate. No one can doubt the awfulness of hell who has faced the awfulness of sin; and nothing so emphatically declares the awfulness of sin as the awfulness of Calvary.7

4. The misery of hell will apparently include the following elements: (a.) loss of earthly goods and pleasures: (b.) loss of heaven and its joys: (c.) withdrawal of the Holy Ghost: (d.) insatiable lusts and passions: (e.) accusations of conscience: (f.) loathsome associates: (g.) external conditions: (h.) despair because of the endlessness of the misery endured.8

5. The realm of darkness is a Kingdom.9 In it, no doubt, are diversities of conditions and of misery, determined according to the degrees and types of sinfulness in its members. Divine revelation affords no warrant for the idea that their misery will be absolute, so as to be unattended by qualifying pleasures. The true doctrine concerns their condition as a whole, which will be one of unutterable misery indicated in Holy Scripture by the phrases "fire"10, "their worm"11, and "weeping and gnashing of teeth".12

1 Psa. XCII. 7: Isa. XXXIV. 10: Dan. XII. 2: Matt. XXIII. 33: XXV. 41, 46: Mark III. 29: XVI. 16: John V. 29: Rom. XIII. 2: II. Thess. I. 9: II. 12: Rev. XX. 13-15. S. Thos., Sum. Th., I. 10. 3 ad sec: 64, 2: III. sup. 97-99: Pusey's What is of Faith as to Ev. Pun.: Blunt's Theol. Dic., "Punishment": Forbes' N. Creed, 316-325: Hodge's Syst. Theol. Vol. III. 868-880.

2 Ezek. XXXII. 21: S. Matt. XVI. 18

3 II. Sam. XXII. 6: Psa. CXVI. 3: Prov. XXVII. 20: S. Luke XVI. 23: Matt. V. 22: II. Pet. II. 4

4 Ephes. IV. 9. cf. Prov. XV. 24: Isa. XIV.9:Amos IX. 2: II. Pet. III 4

5 Ephes. II. 2. cf. III. 10: VI, 12:Q.79.4

6 cf. S.Matt. X. 28. A.H. Strong's Syst. Theol., 231.

7 S. Thos., III. sup. 97 vel 98: Forbes, 323-325: Blunt's Theol. Dic., "Damnation."

8 Hodge's Syst. Theol.

9 S. Matt. XII. 25, 26: Rev. XVI. 10

10 S. Matt. XXV. 41

11 S. Mark IX. 44, 46, 48

12 S. Matt. VIII. 12: XXII. 13: XXIV. 51: XXV. 30. Hodges.

Posted by Trevor at September 20, 2005 11:30 PM