Theological Question

Is redemption possible in Hell?

Standard Christian doctrine would say no. When you’re in Hell,  there’s no hope. The Catholics devised Purgatory, but that was for people like me who were not quite bad enough for Hell but were definitely not Heaven-bound. In Purgatory, it’s like an exercise regimen for that roll of flab around your belly – you’ve got to work it off. Sure, the tortures are horrible, but if you survive then, you get the Manna. Plus as awful as Purgatory is, it pales compared to the never-ending horror movie you will be starring in in Hell.

How about some radical Christian thinkers?

If you read enough Dostoevsky, he believes redemption is possible in Hell, and that’s just one of the great things about him. For instance, see Grushenka’s tale to Aloysha in The Brothers Karamazov (p. 340) when she tells the story of the woman in Hell who was offered an onion by her Guardian Angel as a ticket out of Hell. This is similar to Ivan’s tale of Mary’s visit to Hell, where Hell can abide both mercy and punishment.

In a conversation between Ivan and Aloysha (p. 259), the two discuss whether there is forgiveness for the worst of men, the torturer. Both agree that if there is universal harmony, then there will be forgiveness for the worst of men. However, Ivan says that there shall be no forgiveness for the torturer and therefore this is no universal harmony. Instead of agreeing with him, Aloysha says that “Christ can forgive everything, all and for all, for he gave his universal blood for all and everything.” In other words, the Kingdom of God is not complete until there is forgiveness for all, including torturers. Aloysha believes that no one is outside of redemption. Obviously, this must include people in Hell.

This doctrine is clearly absent from the OT and NT, but if you make your way through the wondrous Apocrypha, you will stumble upon. The little known Gospel of Peter is quite clear that there can be redemption in Hell. It’s a lot clearer about it than Dostoevsky. That’s what I love about the Apocrypha. Such wild and near-fantastic tales and even doctrine in there. The Apocrypha seem to be stretching Christian theology to its very limits or even beyond, but that’s part of why they are great. It’s almost as if they are applying a nascent scientific method to the Bible, to figure out what’s really lurking back there behind it all. It’s Fringe Theology, but the fringe is OK. Many of the finest discoveries in science came from Fringe Science and were derided as pseudoscientific at the time.

In any process of discovery of knowledge, from the prosaic to the sublime, the best results are found by pushing your inquiry to the absolute limits or beyond. The only real limit in any exploratory inquiry is the limit of your own imagination.

Why be rigid? Rocks are rigid. If you are rigid, you are basically a rock. And once you decide to go rigid, you are locked in ore forever more, and for what purpose? Peace of mind? How weak. That’s no way to be an ubermensch. Go up and beyond. Rise above. Transcend. The sky’s the limit.


Connolly, Julian W. 2013. Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.

Gibson, Andrew Boyce. 2016. The Religion of Dostoevsky. Wipf and Stock Publishers.


Filed under Catholicism, Christianity, Literature, Novel, Philosophy, Religion, Science

14 responses to “Theological Question

  1. R

    No one has shown proof of a Christian hell. Or any other religion’s version of a hell. Or any proof of any kind about what may await us after death.

    It seems to me that theorizing about whether redemption is possible in a hypothetical hell is pretty much … silly. All that we imagine we know about an after-death state is religious dogma. Its purpose is unlikely to be simple straightforward facts about what happens after death, but is instead much more likely to be just a means of crowd control.

  2. Lin

    I’ve pondered the heaven and hell issue for quite a while:

    — Hell is an underground fiery place. The ancients the world over had such a notion because of 2 phenomena:

    1) Volcanic activities.

    2) Burning underground coal seams that could extend above ground. Such fire could last for decades,centuries.

    — Heaven is an astrological/astronomical notion that there’s a bigger (probably happier) place out there.

    Hell is becoming obsolete because of the advance in computer technology. Sooner or later, the mind and memory of the dying will be uploaded into a cybernetic paradise inside a supercomputer, inter-connected with other human memory entities through a powerful SW. We will be all saved, that applies to even the most wicked. Praise Jesus. Not the least, Muslim females will be reincarnated as ‘houris’ with impressive assets. Sinful sodomites will also be reborn with abrasion resistant ASSets. BTW, virtual or real ‘existence’ mean no difference to the omnipotent Yahweh.

  3. Jason Y

    Unfortunately, I believe hell is a type of purgatory – even for Nazi trash. There is no way God could sentence people to suffer for eternity. It goes against his nature and isn’t macho (as some suggest) but is just over-the-top cruelty.

    • Jess

      It seems you nigs are obsessed with YTs more than anything that you bring in us even if it’s not relevant to the topic. Lol TNB at its finest.

      • Jason Y

        Burn in hell Nazis. 😆

        And I’m not a black person.

        How doesn’t it relate? You’re just mad cause you’re insulted.

        • Jess

          Hello hymie, that reference was because you’ve earned a honourary tnb degree for constantly sticking up for them and hating YTs which I suppose is your races’ genesis 3:15 hatred of goyims. Now if you are really a white man, then you must stop behavin like a emasculated sissy.

        • Jason Y

          The notion that 97 percent of white males who don’t favor racial extremism are sissies is absurd. That would also include bodybuilders, boxers, and football players.

          It’s even ludicrous to think good ole boys favor it, unless they’re stoned on whiskey

      • Jason Y

        What does Jess think of Tulio? He’s black, but she cannot comprehend how he could be so smart, so she ignores the freak show – just like she does with any other smart black person. That’s how these small town hick racists behave.

        • Jason Y

          An unanswered question for Jess that she’s too much a coward to answer – because that’s how these bitchy small town racist sluts tend to act in these situations. Instead, they’d rather call a white person “nigger” at a line in Wal-Mart (and giggle in the background).

  4. Evergreen

    Must read ‘Heaven and Hell’, full title ‘Heaven and its Wonders and Hell from Things Heard and Seen’ by Emanuel Swedenborg.
    One is not the same after reading it !!
    Have to read it again.
    Only thing I don’t agree with is that he says animals don’t have afterlife, but I believe a cherished pet does, there is too much proof they do from many people !!
    Proof : when my cherished toy poodle passed, I spent a whole day one time driving several hours to visit her at the cemetery, & when I got home, this same size shadow was running all around my house, and to my surprise, my very sane friend had said she saw the same thing when her Westie passed.
    And other proof also.

    • Who was Swedenborg? Philosopher?

      Yes my family and friends have seen the ghosts of family members. They appeared in their homes at either the time of death or right afterwards. I believe them too. I think they saw something that actually existed.

  5. Evergreen

    Yes, he’s most noted as a philosopher, scientist, theologian.

  6. Lin

    I just post the followings at another forum after someone mentioned Swedenborg, a name I once came across many years ago:

    Swedenborg, theologian&scientist;I would say he missed the chance forming a new sect of Christianity. He was a contemporary of Newton. Modern science then was still at the nascent stage. Let me remind people here, Issac Newton, great scientist that he was, practiced various forms of occultism like alchemy and numerology.

    I first came across his name when I took a course on religions. A few days ago, someone mentioned him at another forum (Robert Lindsay’s). I would say he was a better candidate of formulating ‘Mormonism’ than Joseph Smith

    My proposal of Yahweh as a Quintic God:

    The Father, the Mother, the Son, Holy Spirit& Lucifer.

    Here I refer to understanding of God as within the grasp of biological humanity, or God’s projection onto the plane of human existence. The true identity of God is beyond us if we believe in ‘His’ Omnipotence. God is omnipotent, so ‘He’ can pick up whatever human genders ‘He’ wants. What’s the point of being God if that choice is not available? So God is hermaphrodite, both Father and Mother.. Or put it this way: why is the cult of Virgin Mary part of Roman Catholicism?

    Humans need propagation of species, by whatever means, so God is also the Son. God is also human conscience, ie Holy Spirit.

    Is Lucifer evil? IMO, Lucifer represents radicalism, rebellion, or certain bad human behavioral traits. Certainly Lucifer is evil from the view point of the establishment or if the radicalism is destructive. Let us call it Satanism. But humanity also need changes from time to time; rebellions took place all the time in history. Let us call positive radicalism ‘Luciferism.’ So if Yahweh is the fountain spring of positive attributes of humanity, Luciferism should be included. Let’s ‘dehorn’ the ‘Devil’.

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