Saturday, 16 December 2006

What is hell?

“Hell is the name of that false history against which the true story, in Christ, is told, and it is exposed as the true destination of all our violence, by the light of the resurrection, even as Christ breaks open the gates of hell and death. Hell is with us at all times, a phantom kingdom perpetuating itself in the wastes of sinful hearts, but only becomes visible to us as hell because the true kingdom has shed its light upon history….

“Hell is the perfect concretization of ethical freedom, perfect justice without delight, the soul’s work of legislation for itself, where ethics has achieved its final independence from aesthetics. Absolute subjective liberty is known only in hell…. [H]ell is the purest interiority…. [I]t is a turning in, a fabrication of an inward depth, a shadow, a privation, a loss of the whole outer world, a refusal of the surface….

“[H]ell is no place within creation, no event, though its history is everywhere told, its dominion everywhere suffered.”

—David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003), pp. 399-400.

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