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Moreover, if hell is a real fire, it cannot be everywhere, especially after the consummation of the world, when heaven and earth shall have been made anew.As to its locality all kinds of conjectures have been made; it has been suggested that hell is situated on some far island of the sea, or at the two poles of the earth; Swinden, an Englishman of the eighteenth century, fancied it was in the sun; some assigned it to the moon, others to Mars; others placed it beyond the confines of the universe [ Wiest, "Instit. The Bible seems to indicate that hell is within the earth, for it describes hell as an abyss to which the wicked descend.Haides , formed from the root fid , to see, and a privative, denotes an invisible, hidden, and dark place; thus it is similar to the term hell . It is generally supposed to come from the Hebrew root meaning, "to be sunk in, to be hollow"; accordingly it denotes a cave or a place under the earth.In the Old Testament ( Septuagint hades ; Vulgate infernus ) sheol is used quite in general to designate the kingdom of the dead, of the good ( Genesis ) as well as of the bad ( Numbers ); it means hell in the strict sense of the term, as well as the limbo of the Fathers.But the damned are utterly estranged from God ; hence their abode is said to be as remote as possible from his dwelling, far from heaven above and its light, and consequently hidden away in the dark abysses of the earth. Augustine says: "It is my opinion that the nature of hell-fire and the location of hell are known to no man unless the Holy Ghost made it known to him by a special revelation ", (De Civ. As to the fate of those who die free from personal mortal sin, but in original sin, see LIMBO ( limbus parvulorum ). 693): "the souls of those who depart in mortal sin, or only in original sin, go down immediately into hell, to be visited, however, with unequal punishments" ( poenis disparibus ).However, no cogent reason has been advanced for accepting a metaphorical interpretation in preference to the most natural meaning of the words of Scripture. The existence of hell is, of course, denied by all those who deny the existence of God or the immortality of the soul. If we abstract from the eternity of its punishment, the existence of hell can be demonstrated even by the light of mere reason.Hence theologians generally accept the opinion that hell is really within the earth. Thus among the Jew the Sadducees, among the Gnostics, the Seleucians, and in our own time Materialists, Pantheists, etc., deny the existence of hell. In His sanctity and justice as well as in His wisdom, God must avenge the violation of the moral order in such wise as to preserve, at least in general, some proportion between the gravity of sin and the severity of punishment.The Church has decided nothing on this subject; hence we may say hell is a definite place; but where it is, we do not know. Chrysostom reminds us: "We must not ask where hell is, but how we are to escape it" (In Rom., hom. But apart from these, if we abstract from the eternity of the pains of hell, the doctrine has never met any opposition worthy of mention. But it is evident from experience that God does not always do this on earth; therefore He will inflict punishment after death.
However, that opinion is universally and deservedly rejected; for it is more in keeping with their state of punishment that the damned be limited in their movements and confined to a definite place.And in proof of their doctrine they appeal both to Scripture and to reason (cf. Polycarpi", ii, n, 3; xi, n.2; Justin, "Apol.", II, n. And finally, if men knew that their sins would not be followed by sufferings, the mere threat of annihilation at the moment of death, and still less the prospect of a somewhat lower degree of beatitude, would not suffice to deter them from sin.Furthermore, reason easily understands that in the next life the just will be made happy as a reward of their virtue ( see HEAVEN ).Hinnom seems to be the name of a person not otherwise known.The Valley of Hinnom is south of Jerusalem and is now called Wadi er-rababi. Besides Hades and Gehenna, we find in the New Testament many other names for the abode of the damned.