“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

Talking about Hell is always an uncomfortable subject.  Besides being something we’d like to avoid (and we wish everyone avoided) it calls to mind the image of a good God who willingly tortures people, when he could “send them” to a nice place instead.  But that is not what Hell is.

In today’s reading Jesus puts the focus on Heaven instead of Hell, calling heaven a king’s wedding feast.  Showing up for such a party sounds easy, but time and time again people have some place they would rather be.  Can’t we be happy and NOT be at the wedding party?

“Good things as well as bad, you know, are caught by a kind of infection, if you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to, or even into, the thing that has them. They are not a sort of prize which God could, if He chose, just hand out to anyone. They are a great fountain of energy and beauty spurting up at the very center of reality. If you are close to it, the spray will wet you: if you are not, you will remain dry. Once a man is united to God, how could he not live forever? Once a man is separated from God, what can he do but wither and die?”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Hell is simply the state of not accepting God.  I myself hope that people are given a final chance to change as they enter a life without time, but it’s not guaranteed.  Better to embrace life now.

My final Lewis quote simply says that “the doors of Hell are locked on the inside;” that is, Hell is not a place we are sent to suffer, but rather that miserable as it is it will someday be the only place we could hide from God.  We aren’t sent there.  Those who go simply prefer it to the way Heaven is.

 

 

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