Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on Hell

Early Christian Quotes on Hell


The Shepherd of Hermas 

(1st or 2nd Century)

Similitude 4:


The heathen and sinners are like withered and unfruitful trees. They will be burnt like wood and made to be an example of because their actions were evil during their lives. For the sinners will be consumed because they sinned and did not repent, and the heathen will be burned because they did not know Him who created them.



Apocalypse of Peter

(Early 2nd Century)



I saw a filthy place of punishment. Those who were punished there and the punishing angels had dark clothing, like the air of the place.


And there were certain people there hanging by the tongue, they were those who spoke evil about the way of righteousness; and under them lay fire, burning and punishing them. And there was a great lake, full of flaming mire and muck that contained certain men who misused righteousness, and tormenting angels afflicted them.


And there were also others, women, hanged by their hair over that mire and muck that bubbled up. They were those who adorned themselves for adultery; and the men who mingled with them in the sin of adultery were hanging by the feet and their heads in that mire and muck. And I said, “I did not believe that I would ever see this place.”


And I saw the murderers and those who conspired with them cast into a certain narrow place that was full of evil snakes, and they were bitten by those beasts, tossing to and fro in that punishment. And worms like clouds of darkness afflicted them. And the souls of the murdered stood and looked upon the punishment of those murderers and said, “O God, your judgment is just.”


And near that place, I saw a valley into which the gore and the filth of those who were being punished ran down and became a lake. Women sat in that lake with gore up to their necks, and across from them sat many crying children who were aborted. There came forth from the crying children sparks of fire and struck the women in the eyes, for these were women are the accursed who conceived and had abortions.


And other men and women were burning up to the middle and were cast into a dark place and were beaten by evil spirits, and restless worms ate their insides; these are those who persecuted and tormented the righteous.


And near those, there were more women and men gnawing their own lips and being punished with a red-hot iron put in their eyes; these are they who blasphemed and slandered the way of righteousness.


Again, there were other men and women gnawing their tongues and having flaming fire in their mouths; these are the liars and false witnesses.


And in another place, there were pebbles sharper than swords and red-hot. Women and men in tattered clothing rolled around on them in punishment. These were the rich who trusted in their riches and had no pity for orphans and widows and despised the commandment of God.


And in another great lake, men and women were standing knee-deep in blood and bubbling mire. These are the financial lenders who charge interest.


And other men and women were being hurled down from a great cliff. When they reached the bottom, they were driven by those who were set over them to climb back up the cliff. Again, they were hurled down; they had no rest from this punishment. These are the ones who defiled their bodies acting like women, and the women who were with them were those who lay with one another as a man with a woman.


And alongside that cliff, there was a place full of fire. There stood men who with their own hands had made for themselves carven images instead of worshiping God. And alongside these were other men and women, having rods and striking each other and never ceasing from punishment.


And other women and men near them were burning and turning themselves and roasting. These were the ones who left way of God.



Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs

(1st or 2nd Century)

Testament 10, Paragraph 6:


If the soul leaves the earth troubled, it is tormented by the evil spirit it served in lusts and evil works; but if it goes quietly and with joy, it has known the angel of peace, and it will comfort him in life.



The Christian Sibylline Oracles

(2nd Century)

Book 2:315-383:


The godless furthermore

Will die forever, all who did

Evil previously, and committed murders,

And all who are accomplices of them,

Liars and thieves, and those who ruin the home,

Crafty and terrible, and parasites,

And marriage-breakers speaking disgraceful words,

Dread, shameless, lawless, and idolaters.


And all who left the great immortal God,

Became blasphemers and harmed the believers,

Destroying faith and killing righteous men.


And all who with shamelessness, deceitful,

And double-faced rush in as elders

And reverend ministers, who knowingly

Give unjust judgments, submitting to false words

More hurtful than the leopards and the wolves

And more vile.


And those who are grossly proud

And financiers, who amass more and more wealth

And damage orphans and widows in each thing.


And all who give to widows and to orphans

The fruit of unjust deeds, and all that cast

Reproach in giving from their own hard toils.


And all who left their parents in old age,

Not paying them at all, nor offering

To parents familial duty, and all who

Were disobedient and against their parents

Spoke a harsh word.


And all who made promises

And then denied them.

And the servants

Who were against their masters, and again

Those who corruptly defiled the flesh;

And all who loosed the undergarments of the maid

For secret intercourse, and all who caused

Abortions, and all whose offspring were cast

Away unlawfully; and sorcerers

And sorceresses with them.


And these, wrath

Of the heavenly and immortal God will drive

Against a pillar where all around

In a circle will flow a restless stream of fire;

And deathless angels of the immortal God,

Whoever is, will bind with lasting bonds

In chains of flaming fire and from above

Punish them all by scourge most terribly.


And in Hell, in the gloom of night,

Will they be thrown under many horrid beasts

Of Tartarus, where darkness is immense.

But when there are many punishments

Enforced on all who had an evil heart,

Yet afterward will a fiery wheel

From a great river will circle them around,

Because they had a care for wicked deeds.

And then one here, another there

Young children, mothers, nursing babes, in tears

Will wail their most miserable fate. No fill of tears

Will they find, nor distressing voice be heard

Of them who moan, one here, another there,

But long worn under dark, dank Tartarus

Out loud will they cry; and they will repay

In cursed places three times as much as all

The evil work they did, burned with much fire.


And all of them, consumed by raging thirst

And hunger, will in anguish gnash their teeth

And call death beautiful, and death will flee

Away from them. For neither death nor night

Will ever give them rest. And many things in vain

Will they ask of the God who rules on high,

And then he will turn his face openly

Away from them. For to erring men

He gav, signs in the hands of a virgin undefiled

In seven ages for repentance.



The Christian Sibylline Oracles

(2nd Century)

Book 2:404-415:


And to the righteous will the almighty God

Eternal grant another thing

When they will ask the eternal God:

That He will sustain men from raging fire

And endless gnawing anguish to be saved;

And this will He do. For hereafter He

Will pluck them from the restless flame, elsewhere

Remove them, and for His own people's sake

Send them to other and eternal life

With the immortals in heaven.

This obviously false, for the punishing fire

Will never cease for those who are punished.

Also I might pray to have it so,

Branded with greatest scars of sin,

Which need more kindness. But let Origen

Of his self-confident babble be ashamed,

Saying there will be an end of punishments.

Where move far-stretching billows of the lake

Of ever-flowing, bottomless Acheron River.



Apocalypse of Peter

(Early 2nd Century):


And [Jesus] showed me in His right hand the souls of all men. On the palm of His right hand was the image of what will be accomplished on the last day. The righteous and the sinners will be separated. The righteous are upright in heart, and the evil-doers will be rooted out to all eternity. We saw how the sinners cried in great affliction and sorrow, and all that saw it cried, including the righteous and angels, and He Himself also cried.


And I asked Him, “Lord, permit me to speak Your word about the sinners: It would be better for them if they had not been created.”


And the Savior answered and said to me, “Peter, when you say it would be better for them not to have been created, you resist God. You cannot have more compassion than He does for His image, for He has created them and brought them to life out of not being. Now, because you have seen the mourning that will come upon the sinners in the last days, your heart is troubled; but I will show you their works, how they have sinned against the Most High…”


[The destiny of sinners -their eternal doom- is more than Peter can endure. He appeals to Christ to have pity on them.]


And my Lord answered me, saying, “Have you understood what I said to you before? You are allowed to know about what you ask, but you must not tell what you hear to the sinners, or they may sin even more…My Father will give to them all the life, the glory, and the kingdom that does not pass away…It is because of them who have believed in Me that I am here. It is also because of them who have believed in Me, that, at their word, I will have pity on men.”



Oxyrhynchus Fragment 840

(Early to Mid-2nd Century)

verses 2-7:


Jesus said, “Be careful that you do not end up suffering the same fate as them. For the evil-doers of humanity receive retaliation not only among the living, but they will also undergo punishment and much torture later."



2 Clement

(Early to Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 8:


As long as we are on earth, let us practice repentance, for we are as clay in the hand of the craftsman. For as the potter, if he makes a vessel, and it is distorted or broken in his hands, he fashions it over again; but if he has cast it into the furnace of fire before it is broken, he can no longer find any help for it. So, while we are in this world and still have an opportunity of repentance, let us repent with our whole heart of the evil deeds we have done in the flesh so that we may saved by the Lord. For after we have gone out of the world, we will not have the power to confess or repent for us.



Mathetes’ Letter to Diognetus

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 10:


Fear what is truly death, which is reserved for those who will be condemned to the eternal fire that will afflict those who are committed to it even to the end.



Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 45:


Some are sent to be punished unceasingly into judgment and the condemnation of fire.



Justin Martyr’s First Apology

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 28:


We call the prince of the wicked spirits the serpent, and Satan, and the devil, as you can learn by looking into our writings. And there, you’ll see Christ foretold that Satan will be sent into the fire with his host and the men who follow him, and he will be punished for an endless duration.



Justin Martyr’s Second Apology

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 6:


Since God made the race of angels and men with free will in the beginning, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. And this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue, for no one would be worthy of praise unless they had the power to turn to both virtue and vice.



The Acts of Peter

(Mid to Late 2nd Century)

Part 3, Paragraph 2:


If you do not repent while you live in the body, devouring fire and outer darkness will receive you forever.



Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 3

(Late 2nd Century)

Chapter 23, Paragraph 3:


Immediately after Adam had transgressed, as the Scripture relates, He pronounced no curse against Adam personally but against the ground, in reference to his works, as a certain person among the ancients has observed: "God did indeed transfer the curse to the earth, that it might not remain in man." But man received, as punishment for his transgression, the backbreaking job of tilling the earth and eating the bread in the sweat of his face. He will return to the dust from where he came. Similarly, the woman received hard work, labor, groans, the pains of birth. She received the job of serving her husband.


This was all so that they might not die altogether when cursed by God, nor, by remaining unpunished, should be led to despise God. But the curse in all its fulness fell upon the serpent that had deceived them. And God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle and above all the beasts of the earth." And the Lord says this same thing in the Gospel to those who are found upon the left hand: "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, which my Father has prepared for the devil and his angels," indicating that eternal fire was not originally prepared for man but for him who deceived man, the chief of the apostasy, and for those angels who became apostates along with him. They too will justly feel the fire, like him who keeps going in works of wickedness without repentance and without retracing their steps.



Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 4

(Late 2nd Century)

 Chapter 39, Paragraph 4:


Because God knows all things, He prepared fit homes for both, kindly conferring the light they desire on those seeking the light of righteousness and resort to it. But for the despisers and mockers who avoid and turn themselves away from this light, and who blind themselves, He has prepared darkness suitable to persons who oppose the light.


He has inflicted an appropriate punishment upon those who try to avoid being subject to Him. Submission to God is eternal rest, so those who shun the light have a place worthy of their flight, and those who flee from eternal rest have a home in accordance with their fleeing.


Now, since all good things are with God, they who, by their own determination, flee from God, cheated themselves of all good things. Having been defrauded of all good things concerning God, they will consequently fall under the just judgment of God. Those who shun rest will justly incur punishment, and those who avoid the light will justly dwell in darkness.


In the case of this earthly light, those who turn away from it do deliver themselves over to darkness. They become the cause for their own loss of light and inhabit darkness; and, as I have already observed, the light is not the cause of such an unhappy condition of existence; those who flee from the eternal light of God, which contains all good things, are the cause of their own eternal darkness, lacking all good things, having become to themselves the cause of the home of they will inhabit.



Hippolytus’ Refutation of All Heresies Book 10

(Early 3rd Century)

 Chapter 30:


You will escape the boiling flood of hell's eternal lake of fire and the threatening glare of fallen angels chained in Tartarus as punishment for their sins. You will escape the worm that ceaselessly coils for food around the body whose scum has created it. You will avoid these kinds of torments by being instructed in the knowledge of the true God.



Clement of Alexandria’s Fragments

(Early 3rd Century)

Chapter 3, Paragraph 14:


[Commenting on 1 John 2] Ver. 2. "And not only for our sins,"--that is, for those of the faithful--is the Lord the appeaser, for he says, "but also for the whole world." Yes, He saves all, but He saves some by converting them with punishments. He saves others, who follow voluntarily, with the dignity of honor so "that every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth;" that is, angels, men, and souls that have departed from this earthly life before His arrival.



Origen’s Against Celsus Book 6

(Early to Mid-3rd Century)

Chapter 25:


We find a certain confirmation of what is said regarding the place of punishment intended for the purification of souls by torments in the saying: "The Lord comes like a refiner's fire, and like launders' soap, and He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver and of gold."



The Roman Clergy’s Letter to Cyprian

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 7:


He has prepared heaven, but He has also prepared hell. He has prepared places of refreshment, but He has also prepared eternal punishment. He has prepared the light that none can approach, but He has also prepared the vast and eternal gloom of continuous night.



Cyprian’s Address to Demetrianus

(Mid-3rd Century)

Paragraph 24:


An ever-burning fire will burn up the condemned—a punishment devouring with living flames. They will never either a break or an end to their torments. Souls, with their bodies, will be kept in infinite tortures to suffer.


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