The Simple Reason Why We Should Hope Hell Exists

Deal W. Hudson
March 31, 2018

You’ve heard that Pope Francis may not believe in the existence of Hell, but all Catholics should hope he is wrong.  Why? The simple reason is this: Take away Hell, and you have taken away human freedom, dignity, and the imago Dei (Genesis 1.27).

It’s relatively simple, also, to understand why some theologians believe the Divine Caritas trumps human choices, even the fundamental choice of turning away from Him. If God is Perfect Love, after all, then it follows that God forgives those who “sin against the Holy Spirit.” Love, it is asserted, is Perfect when it forgives all and ignores how a person’s life has been lived.

In fact, this cannot be Perfect Love. Such Love does not ignore the unique dignity of the creature He made in his “own image and likeness.” Strip the person of his freedom to choose separation from God, even eternal separation, and you have lowered him to the level of farmyard animals.

Imagine meeting St. Peter at the gates of Heaven and finding out that nothing you choose, either for good or ill, made any difference in your eternal destiny, that all your efforts to live a good life and avoid evil had nothing to do with your being there.  You realize your entrance to Paradise was guaranteed all along by God’s Perfect Love.

In other words, God does not want you to suffer eternal punishment.  If so, what happens to the meaning of Christ’s Crucifixion? How can his voluntary death be seen as an act of love, an act belonging to Divine Will? If God does not will the creatures created in his image, why would he submit Himself to paying for sins that don’t really matter?

If Hell does not exist, both Good Friday and Easter make no sense — our human destiny has always been secured by the nature of God, His Perfect Love.

To my mind, the latest “mistranslated” remark of Pope Francis is the most perplexing of all since it cuts to the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

By Deal Hudson

Deal W. Hudson was born November 20, 1949 in Denver, CO, to Emmie and Jack Hudson, both native Texans. Dr. Hudson had an older sister Ruth, and eventually, a younger sister, Elizabeth. Emmie Hudson, Ruth Hudson and Elizabeth Hudson now live in Houston, TX; Jack Hudson passed away some years ago. The late Jack Hudson was a captain for Braniff Airlines in Denver at the time of Dr. Hudson’s birth. Later the family moved to Kansas City when his father joined the Federal Aviation Agency. From Kansas City, the Hudson family moved to Minneapolis, then to Massapequa, NY, and finally to Alexandria, VA, where they first occupied a home overlooking the Potomac River adjacent to the Mount Vernon estate. After a year, the family moved to a home on Tarpon Lane a few houses up the street from the Yacht Haven boat docks. Dr. Hudson attended Mt. Vernon Elementary School from grades 4 to 6 and has a special gratitude for the teaching of Mr. Hoppe who first told him was a ‘smart lad.’ Having moved with his family to Fort Worth, TX in 1960, Dr. Hudson attended William Monnig Junior High and Arlington Heights HS. In high school, Dr. Hudson was captain of the golf team, editor of the literary magazine (Guerdon), and performed the role of Peter in the ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ during his senior year. Dr. Hudson graduated cum laude with a major in philosophy from the University of Texas-Austin in 1971 where his undergraduate advisor was Prof. John Silber. His teachers at the University of Texas included Prof. Louis Mackey and Prof. Larry Caroline. Dr. Hudson minored in both classics and English literature. Dr. Hudson lived in Atlanta from 1974-1989, where he attended Emory University, receiving a Phd from the Graduate Institute for the LIberal Arts. He also taught philosophy at Mercer University in Atlanta from 1980-89. In 1989 Dr. Hudson and his family left Atlanta when he was hired to teach philosophy at Fordham University in the Bronx. Dr. Hudson taught at Fordham, and also part-time at New York University, from 1989 to 1994. Dr. Hudson first came to Atlanta in after graduation from Princeton Theological Seminary (PTS) with an M.Div. While at PTS, Dr. Hudson managed the Baptist Student Union at Princeton University and became its first director. Dr. Hudson also was licensed at a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention at Madison Baptist Church in Madison, NJ. Dr. Hudson’s primary area of study at PTS was the history of Christian doctrine which he pursued with Dr. Karlfried Froelich. In 1984 Dr. Hudson was received in the Catholic Church by Msgr. Richard Lopez, with the special permission of Archbishop Thomas A. Donnellan, at the chapel of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cancer Home in Atlanta. Dr. Hudson has been married twenty-five years to Theresa Carver Hudson and they have two children, Hannah Clare, 23, and Cyprian Joseph (Chip), 15, adopted from Romania when he was three years old. The Hudson family has lived in Fairfax, VA for more than fifteen years, after having lived five years in Bronxville, NY and a year in Atlanta, GA, where Theresa and Deal were married.

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