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I was going through The Great Divorce by C S Lewis and was wondering how much in line with Scripture his descriptions of heaven and hell are. I've heard very different descriptions coming from saints like St. Teresa of Jesus and they seem to conflict in many ways.

Lewis describes hell as the person's choice to reject God and to stay in hell (the gates of hell are locked from the inside), whereas others describe it as God placing the damned there and locking them up. There's also a conflict in the "design" of hell. Lewis and others describe it as a torture of the mind, whereas others describe it as a physical torture.

There seems to be support for Lewis' view in the Bible, such as the parable of the rich man and Lazarus where the rich man doesn't want to go to where Lazarus is but rather wants Lazarus to come to him. But also there's support for the other views because it's written that one can be cast into hell.

How does C.S. Lewis's descriptions of heaven and hell compare with the teaching of the Catholic Church?

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  • Christians have lots of different opinions about what sort of heaven/hell the Bible describes, so you'd need to pick one particular denomination if you want to ask this sort of question here. – curiousdannii Mar 29 at 12:28
  • How about now? Or is it still to broad? – Suryetto Mar 29 at 15:13
  • C.S. Lewis was an Anglican, I believe. I think the problem here is that you are only likely to get opinion-based answers, even if you have asked for on Catholic answers. – Lesley Mar 29 at 15:28
  • I understand. Is the question not worth asking then? – Suryetto Mar 29 at 16:20
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    @Suryetto The Great Divorce happens to be one of the most significant books for me. The Last Battle final chapters also present C.S. Lewis's same views on heaven and hell but in a different genre. Both I tag as pious speculation which fill in the gap not provided by the Bible nor by mainline church traditions. It's not surprising then to find his speculations contradict certain descriptions by the saints or by certain medieval poets although I believe all of them affirm the same revealed truths. – GratefulDisciple Mar 29 at 18:39

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