Thursday Night History Lesson

It's Thursday night, put your thinking minds on, we've a history lesson to get to. Fun thing about history is that half of history is comprised of things that may or may not have happened. It's not our job as historians to explore if they were real events or not, but rather to give an objective analysis, along with some of our own thoughts on the subject matter, and present it to our peers and students in all its historical splendor. This week we're taking a look at Hell, the place. If you ask 10 historians five will tell you it doesn't exist and five will be less hubristic. So put some shorts on, or a coat; maybe both even, as who's to say what the weather is like down there.

Please note that while Hell exist in many different forms across many different religions that will be focusing on the Hell that sprang out of the Abrahmic religions. Specifically the Judeo-Christian Hell. More specifically with a bit of a Catholic leaning, as they were the first Christians around to write any good books on it, such as Dante and Flannery O'Connor and Milton even if Milton isn't actually a Catholic.

  1. Hell existed before the Bible started. Except for that part in Genesis when there is nothing and God just starts creating things including all the world and Adam and Eve, which is all summed up in a paragraph shorter than this one. Somewhere during that time when there was nothing and the snake appears in Eden is when Hell was built. Depending on which school of thought you belong to Hell could have been built anywhere between a few thousand years ago to a hundred trillion years ago. Yes, it is quite a gap, but carbon dating isn't an exact science so we have to ballpark some things.

  2. Regardless of what your high school teacher told you God built Hell. He did so specifically to have a place to cast 1/3 of the angels out of Heaven. Up until then it was unoccupied but indeed created by God for the purpose of placing his fallen angels into the worst, most vile conditions God could think up (You can find this in the Book of Matthew in the New Testement, should you find that of interest. Of course, this interpretation looks at Hell strictly from a Christian perspective, which seems to be the direction we are quickly veering towards). Which means it has to be nasty beyond human comprehension. Make all the jokes you want about how you're going to Hell, but you'll be so busy hanging out with your friends that you won't even notice, LLLLLOOOOLLLLLLLLL, and then think about how funny those jokes seem when you find yourself there; the place built from the worst place God's mind could go.

  3. There was a war in Heaven and thus begins God casting angels out of Heaven only to have them fall to Hell. Surely God has his reasons for casting angels out of Heaven and surely there was a reason for the war. Here's the short, popular version among theologians: Angels, of which Lucifer is one, were superior to man. With the coming of Jesus Christ being foretold by God, Lucifer rounded up a number of other angels and told them basically that with Jesus Christ being the third part in what we now know as the Holy Trinity that angels would have to bow and worship to a human, rendering then no longer superior. Lucifer convinced a third of the angels to take a stance with him and prevent Jesus Christ from getting this status and rendering angels less significant. Theologians call this stance non-serviam should you want to look it up and delve deeper into the history of the War in Heaven. There's a debate to be had as not everybody agrees that this was what the War in Heaven was fought over. Other theologians propose different theories for the war, but this one objectively has the best motive. Anyway, Lucifer rounded up his troops and fought God in the first ever Good v. Evil war ever over what you could argue was basically a Civil Rights movement. No you couldn't argue that. Yes you could. No you couldn't. What do I know? I have a mullet and acid-washed jeans with holes in the knee area. Do you think I know anything about rights? Before answering that question, remember you should judge not lest you be judged. It's a rights issue though. Just not a civil rights issue. Lawyers, help me out in the comments below.

  4. The Fall itself is so confusing and so debated among even the greatest minds on the topic that we're going to keep it simple and say Lucifer was cast out of Heaven along with the 33% of angels who took his side. No specific, nor any confirmed, numbers as to casualties on the other end. They landed in Hell and thus begins the Hell era, which we live in still to this day.

  5. Lucifer. I see his point. If God tells you that you're superior to man one day then drops this while Jesus Christ thing on your lap I suppose I'd be upset to. Remember though, this is before God invented mediation, something that could have stopped the need for Hell and the War in Heaven.

  6. Who is Satan? Presumably Lucifer. There is only mention of a Lucifer once in the Old Testament and never in the New Testament. Satan is mentioned several times, but if you break down the history of the War in Heaven it seems that Lucifer is another name for Satan, or a byword, if you will or if you won't. Basically, the more I read about this the more confused I became, so I defaulted to modern day usage of 'Lucifer' in the Christian Church and young adult novels wherein Lucifer is Satan and Satan is Lucifer.

  7. Remember, humans didn't exist yet, when this war happened. It was only foretold by God, so that whole thing with the snake and Eden at the beginning of the Bible was Lucifer/Satan and the war was already long over when you open up to page one of the Good Book and start reading. Which you will do. Right? Dammit. Right!?

  8. Is Lucifer/Satan the snake? Not necessarily. Remember some of the Bible is metaphor. I think the talking snake thing falls under that umbrella. Should I be wrong though, let's say no. The snake is the snake, commanded by Lucifer. Some argue that it is the devil himself and there's a fair argument to be made. For all that the devil does, it's not unreasonable that he should be able to shape-shift into a biologically less complex being than an angel.

  9. How does one go to Hell? Not as in a tour. Different religions, under even just Christianity, have different reasons. As for how one becomes condemned, well, my dad said every time you do something bad you get a black mark on your soul. Too many black marks when you die and down you go. Simplistic and reductive, yes, but it gets the point across and probably isn't too off from whatever mechanics govern who does end up there.

  10. As for staying out of Hell, I suggest you ask for absolution before you die, accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and do this all sincerely. It's no guarantee but it does improve your odds of getting into Heaven.

  11. If you don't believe in God, see number 10 and remember Hell is what awaits you should you not do this.

  12. Interesting thing about Hell. There is no getting out of Hell. Far as I know, once there you are there for good. And Heaven is not a permanent posting. You're only a human, even dead, and God has no problem casting out his angels if they cross him, so don't think you're something special if you make it to Heaven. Good rule of thumb in Heaven: Don't mess about.

  13. There is a way to get out of Hell, kind of, but it's to end up someplace worse. Some second version of Hell worse than the first. There is much written about Tarturus and much of it is apocryphal, but it exists as far back as Greek mythology and in several versions of the Bible, albeit as a footnote. The idea is that you misbehave in Hell you go to an even worse place with even worse people. Generally, you'll be chained up, unable to move for eternity in Hell's version of Hell. Which, if true, seems a solid move by Lucifer. If he can't leave, at least he can make a place worse than Hell for God's fallen creations. Even if they are an abomination. Then again, there are beliefs that Tartarus exists only to separate the evil angels from the super-evil angels.

  14. The Upshot: There was a war between Lucifer and God over humans. Lucifer lost and was cast down to Hell along with those who sided with him. God built the place, but there's a solid chance that Lucifer's made some changes over the years. There are ways to avoid going to Hell, but even if you avoid Hell, there is no place of permanency, so the Hell card is always one God can deal you. Hell, on the other hand, well, there's no way of getting out of there. Once you're damned you cannot be undamned.

  15. What about Limbo and Purgatory? The Catholic church got rid of Limbo almost 10 years ago. As for Purgatory, check out the movie Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. It's likely not an accurate representation, but the ethos is there. Plus it's really a pretty good movie.

Dr. Lorenzo Kincade

Saver of Lives; Resident of Alpha60; Renown Transplant Surgeon; Botanist; Breaker of Chain Letters; Editor of New England Journal of Medicine (Application Pending); Wearer of Livestrong Bracelet

This Island Alpha60