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Using the 'separation from God' concept of hell - how can God be in all places yet still place a soul into a chasm of separation.

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marked as duplicate by Affable Geek, Alypius, Narnian, Greg, David Stratton Mar 25 '13 at 22:57

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Maybe hell is not so much a place as a state. –  Lawrence Dol Sep 25 '11 at 20:00
    
@SoftwareMonkey I think we covered that here –  Richard Sep 26 '11 at 12:49

3 Answers 3

Yes, God is also in hell. The separation is not from his presence as if there was a place where his power was in effect, it's a severing of the relationship with him. The thing that will be experienced in hell is the wrath of God against sin rather than the grace of God towards his Son.

I have heard this quip from several preachers so I don't know who originated it, but there is a poignant quote about heaven and hell:

Heaven is heaven because God is there. Hell is hell because God is there.

We see over and over again that Heaven is defined by the presence of God, his holy purifying presence. Unfortunately hell will also see some aspects of his presence as he stands in utter severity against those who would defy his holiness. Those there will be separated from his grace and any relationship with him other than being objects of wrath.

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For Orthodox Christians everyone experiences unfiltered love of God for eternity. Just some will not find this pleasant, his love will be like 'heaping burning coals on their heads.' But wrath is just our perception. He is actually very loving. –  user3797 Mar 25 '13 at 16:45
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Actually, His wrath is not just perception. It's called His wrath because that is what He calls it. –  Xeoncross Mar 31 at 22:07

In searching for scripture to answer this question, I found the following commentary and supporting scripture that would indicate that, yes, God is also in hell. This information was found at; www.ovrlnd.com/Teaching/omnipresence_hell.html (and the Bible).

The difficulty of grasping the Lord's presence in hell can be understood by realizing how God is described by Scripture to be present throughout His creation. By witness of the Scripture, God is said to be present to bless, to sustain, or to punish.

King David speaks of God's presence to bless: "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" Psalm 16:11.

Yet all things are sustained by the Lord's presence so that they both exist and function as the Lord allows. "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" Colossians 1:17.

In this sense the Lord our God is everywhere present and to this the author of Hebrews agrees, writing of Christ that He is "upholding all things by the word of His power" Hebrews 1:3.

The third way the Lord is present is described by this unsettling passage delivered through the prophet Amos:

Amos 9:1-4 I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and He said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. 2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: 3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: 4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.

Similarly Isaiah 59:2 reports that "your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear," as well as Proverbs 15:29 which declares: "The LORD is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous." Within the context of God's omnipresence, this doesn't say that God is not present whatsoever, but that He is not making His presence known by delivering blessings upon His people.

Therefore to summarize: God is present in every part of his creation—hell included."

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It depends on which definition of "omnipresent" you are using!!

From a Christian perspective (or at least, a Biblical perspective) the answer is no. God is not present in Hell; that is what makes it Hell!

These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power -2 Thessalonians 1:9

The problem is that the term "omnipresent" is not a Biblical term; it is a term used by numerous religions to describe their Supreme Being in a philosophically acceptable way. It has almost come to be accepted as a philosophical given (in modern times) that if there is a God, He must be omnipresent in the absolute sense.

However, Christians do not build their beliefs on the philosophical conclusions of non-Christians; we build our beliefs on Scripture. Therefore, if a Christian uses the term "omnipresent" to describe God, it is a given that it should be defined according to Scripture. So how would God's "omnipresence" be defined according to Scripture? Basically, God is omnipresent in the sense that He is present everywhere in heaven and in the physical universe, but not in Hell. There is nothing in Scripture to indicate He is present in Hell.

Responses

Someone might argue that Hell is a spiritual "separation" from God in which God is still present, but the damned don't receive His love (or something along those lines.) This is a clever solution, but it is not consistent with Scripture. The verse cited above indicates God is not present in Hell.

Someone might cite Psalm 139:7–10 as proof that God actually is present everywhere -- even in Hell. However, this verse uses the Old Testament term, Sheol, which is more accurately translated as something like "grave" or "death"; even the righteous were said to go there when they die. David's emotive song simply indicates that even if he (a righteous man in God's sight) were to die, God would be with him. Sheol is not the same as "Hell" (in the modern meaning of the term.) Hell is primarily used today to refer to the lake of fire; the place of final, eternal destruction and judgment.

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