Fr. Tryphon is abbot of All Merciful Savior Monastery on Vashon Island, WA. He writes a blog at The Morning Offering.
“According to Saint Gregory of Nyssa, heaven and hell are not about location, but about relationship. God is everywhere, and He did not create a heaven for some, and a hell for others. If we love God, His fire will be a comforting warmth, but if we choose not to have a relationship with Him, His fire will be as hell fire. We choose how we will experience the presence of God in the afterlife, and since God can not be absent from anywhere, those who have chosen to ignore Him, will, nevertheless, be in His presence for all of eternity. Paradise and Hell do not exist from God’s point of view, but from man’s point of view. It is all about man’s choice and condition, for heaven and hell are not two different locations, but two different experiences of the same place.
“Everyone will spend eternity in God’s presence, but how we experience the Divine Presence will depend upon the condition of our soul. Those who have been transformed by the action and work of the Holy Spirit, will experience God as light and bliss. Those who have rejected God’s love will experience it as pain and suffering. For the unbeliever and the unrepentant, their sins will not allow them to enjoy the Presence of God.
“Love in Christ,
5 thoughts on “God cannot be absent from anywhere.”
That is so true.
Like conscience, when we live by it, and live it out in all we think and say and do, brings us our greatest peace. But when we fail our conscience, when we betray it, then conscience grating in our soul is the worst of sufferings. And in both instances our peace or our suffering is caused not by conscience but by our relationship to conscience. And the same is true on a greater scale in regards to our relationship to God. Hell is our discord with God.
Thank you, Crossbow, for those thoughts. You help me to keep meditating about this…
Oh, wow, interesting perspective. In the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, it says, “In Hades, where he was in torment, he (the rich man) looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.” So there is a divide, but not one that blocks. Interesting thing to think about. A blessed Tuesday to you, Gretchen!
Well, “Lazarus and the Rich Man” was a story Christ told, and not necessarily an account of an actual situation we might draw precise inferences from. Another scripture that seems to apply is in Psalm 139, where David prays, “If I make my bed in hell, you are there…” While we don’t imagine ourselves cozy under blankets in hell, we can learn something from his prayer, though again, it is not anything like a real estate listing — haha!
I absolutely believe this is true, with the added belief that Christ will eventually be “All in all”, for his love will win all to himself. ❤