The Population of Hell

Avery Cardinal Dulles

in Church and Society

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236619 | DOI:
The Population of Hell

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This chapter discusses the subject of hell, looking at the New Testament, the Catholic tradition, twentieth-century speculations, and current controversies, and asks how many people may be expected to go there. In the Gospels, Jesus spoke many times about hell. Throughout his preaching, he holds forth two final possibilities for human existence: the one being everlasting happiness in the presence of God, the other everlasting torment in the absence of God. He describes the fate of the damned under a great variety of metaphors: everlasting fire, outer darkness, tormenting thirst, a gnawing worm, and weeping and gnashing of teeth. The constant teaching of the Church supports the idea that there are two classes: the saved and the damned. The discussion notes that the search for numbers in the demography of hell is futile. Several sayings of Jesus in the Gospels give the impression that the majority are lost.

Keywords: Jesus; hell; saved; damned; Gospels

Chapter.  5772 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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