I've heard many times that once you go to heaven, you'll no longer remember your past life, or those that never made it to heaven.

Does the same apply in hell?

  • 2
    I wasn't aware of any church that teaches you won't remember you past life in Heaven. The bible says God will wipe away every tear, and that the past troubles will be forgotten. As for Hell the people there have chosen not to let God comfort them, so at the very least they won't be forgetting any of it. And the popular conjectur is that part of the torment is them reliving every moment they could have chose to serve God but didn't, however I don't know of any scripturual support for that of the top of my head. I've only heard of people in heaven forgetting their earthly lives from fairtials.
    – 2tim424
    May 25 '13 at 19:59
  • The closet thing to a church teaching this that I've heard is apacraphial writings stating that God will forget people in Hell. But not the other way around.
    – 2tim424
    May 25 '13 at 20:01
  • @2tim424 thanks for your reply. I guess my logic here comes from the fact that nothing impure can enter heaven, therefore, as earthly life is impure, surely your memory of it should be erased. Does that make sense? May 25 '13 at 20:36
  • @series0ne: I'm not sure that the logic follows that one's earthly life is impure; after all, if we are walking in faith, the blood of Jesus Christ is continually cleansing us (1 John 1:7). Why should we forget the wonderful life of living for Jesus?
    – Steve
    May 25 '13 at 21:56

Yes, those in hell can remember their past life; no, I know for a fact (according to the Bible; if you don't consider the Bible a valid source, then I got nothin :) ) that it doesn't apply in either. (Didn't want to just say "yes" or "no" because that would have been ambiguous.)

In Luke 16:19-31, the rich man in hell pleads for Abraham to allow Lazarus, a man he knew during his time on earth (not the Lazarus in John 11), to bring him even a drop of water from heaven. Clearly, the rich man remembers Lazarus, even though he is in hell (and Lazarus is in heaven). Also, Abraham remembers not only the rich man's identity, but also the things he did. Also, since Abraham had likely never met the rich man or Lazarus during their earthly lives, we can assume that those in heaven also know/remember the people they did know on earth, regardless of the final destination (heaven or hell) of either. The rich man also remembers the people he left behind and begs Abraham to send someone to warn them about hell.

Additionally, the Bible says we will be rewarded in heaven for the things we do for Christ. I'm trying to imagine what it would be like if nobody remembered anything:

God: Hey, great job. Here is your crown; it's got orange on it 'cause you really like orange. I really loved your dedication to Me in your workplace, even when it meant not getting that promotion.
Person: ...Thank you? I don't know what any of this is for? (Neat. I guess I like orange.)

I feel like the passage about wiping tears away means that the things that pain and upset us now won't matter anymore in heaven, and not necessarily that we won't remember that they ever happened.

No matter what heaven's like, though, I'm sure God will get it just right :)

  • 1
    Since you mentioned remembering the past in heaven, another passage in support is the fact that Jesus' servants will give an account of their service on earth (Matthew 25:14-30). If they could not remember, they could not give an account. Perhaps this indirectly answers the OP question: surely it would be appropriate that the people in Hades should know and remember why they were being punished - they had rejected Christ.
    – Steve
    May 26 '13 at 23:25
  • @Steve (love your username by the way) Thank you...I guess I did forget to tie it back to the question. I'm new on StackExchange.
    – ksoo
    May 27 '13 at 15:30
  • Thanks for your answer. I guess my reason for asking is that on Earth, we commit impure acts. As nothing impure can enter heaven, surely even the thought of an impure act, or the recollection of an impure act should not be allowed either? Jun 10 '13 at 10:08

Again, nice question.

I have read books about people who have had an experience of visiting hell and then coming back to earth by God's will and they all wrote that they had absolutely no concept of God in hell. In my thinking, I would imagine Satan NOT wanting memory of God or heaven in his kingdom, but God is also more powerful than Satan.

I believe there is a Bible verse somewhere, but honestly can't recall it.

My personal belief based on the things I've heard/read, you can not remember heaven, perhaps people who died and went to heaven, but not God or heaven itself.


  • Welcome to C.SE. When you get the chance, please check out our tour and specifically How we are different than other sites. Please understand - we are looking for academic answers. The book you are porbably talking about is either from Randy Alcorn or is the book 90 minutes in Heaven. The verses you are thinking about are probably Luke 16:17-32 (Lazarus and the Rich Man). But those are precisely the facts that would have made this a good answer. "My personal belief" is what we try to avoid here! Mar 27 '14 at 1:21

In the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus....the rich man remember his brothers still on the earth and ask Abraham if Lazarus could be sent back to warn them of this place of torment. Your memories are with you in hell...also notice he never complained why he was there as he knew full well...

The flip side of the question will us in heaven have knowledge of family in hell I dont believe we will...its says in Isa 65:17 "See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." We will have no knowledge ... We will serve the Lord forever in bliss, joy and love...those in hell will have full knowledge, and accusing conscience and be tormented forever without any rest...alone.


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