Satan, the great deluder, as a big schemer takes out of our mind this cogitation about hell, which is a remedy for the soul. It is a means of the divine Providence to teach us and lead us by divine fear to God and to strengthen our zeal for ascetic strive, to escape of hell. If we had known what a hell the sin brings we would have hated it, no matter what a heavenly pleasure might seem that it could bring to us.
The sin is a dirty thing which comes from the disgusting devil and he presents it to us as something pleasant and precious. And even if the man reaches the point when he is disgusted by sin and by himself after a while he wants it again. He is like the dog that after he vomits his stomach out comes back and eats what he had vomited. The sin is a poison which empoisons our soul and deprives us of the eternal life near God.
Our Orthodoxy is extremely beautiful. It is so much embellished. That is why satan fights it through the heretics. But even if it is fought it strengthens itself and pushes its roots even deeper. We haven`t realized yet what means for the soul to be separated of God for eternity. And if it had been easy to be deprived by God it would have been a smaller evil. But unfortunately the separation of God means an eternal life in the most terrible torments. We have such a big burden when we get a demonic thought. There is something which torments us and that thing is exploited and intensified by the devil then he saddens us and torments us and brings us to despair and we lose our health and many others. And what is it in fact? A simple thought we cannot surpass. I don`t know if you have ever seen a demonized man. I heard that the tongue of a demonized woman can lengthen incredibly. Does this happen physiologically? No. It is done in a demonic way. And all the facial expression and in general all the look of a demonized woman, her whole spiritual and physical look is something frightening, pitiable.
And all these are something insignificant in comparison with a soul doomed for eternity to be away of God and who knows that he will never get out of the state of damnation. If the hypostatical state of a demon is so frightening here on earth where is God`s mercy and love then how big is the unhappiness of a soul who is surrounded by uncountable demons in an impenetrable darkness, in a state of coexistence with the demons who with all her malice torment us hopelessly, mercilessly in a state of complete seclusion, deprived by the slightest ray of light and divine presence. Here we are only saying words but the reality is unimaginable. The human mind cannot perceive the pain of the damnation.
And while we, the Orthodox believe these because they are dogmas of the Orthodox Church which tell us that the hell exists, today there are theologians who studied theology in universities and who believe in a wrong and anti-dogmatic way that the hell of the souls will be in their conscience and not in an active hypostatic way. This was of course a devilish invention caused by the following reason:
The devil saw that if the man becomes aware of and engrains deeply in his soul the remembrance of the torments of hell and what means the eternal separation of God in torments, the things take a different turn, because he begins to correct his conscience. That is why the devil wants to benumb the painful feeling of the existence of hell to lower fear which is a remedy against sin.
When I think the hell will be in the conscience, I`ll try – thinking and opening a way to sin – to convince myself to create a conscience which would not muse about what he has done or not according to the will of God, so that it would not hurt and I would not feel the eternal torment following this demonic invention. Thus here I will live in delight and when I go there with this conscience I will not suffer.
All these are told to be benumbed the fear of God and thus without any impediment to be able to commit any sin or to delight of all the earthly pleasures. But if it weren`t that way, then heaven would have to be only the man`s conscience and not in reality. But unfortunately or fortunately the things are quite different. All these are a devilish invention and trap to go to hell and lose our eternal life.
Saint John Chrysostom writes many things about the real hell in accordance with the dogma of the Orthodox Church. He was asked:
`Father, where is the bottomless pit of fire?`
And the saint with the golden mouth and mind answered:
`Don`t search where is the bottomless pit of fire, but take care to avoid it by a virtuous life and repentance. Since God is real and He doesn`t lie, He doesn`t cheat, God doesn`t let Himself be offended.
Everything He said in the Holy Gospel is reality. The hell is not a tale.
And an acknowledgement of this dogma of our untainted and most beautiful Orthodox Church it is the practical life and tradition of the ascetics. We see that the frightening hell exists indeed and it waits to receive in it all those who dishonor God and listen to the advice of the cunning demons.
Excerpt from the book The Art of Salvation published by Evanghelismos.