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Will souls in Hell receive resurrected bodies?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 09/26/21

The Catholic Church teaches that all will receive a resurrected body, which could accentuate the suffering of Hell.

While the Church often highlights the glorious resurrection of the body for those in Heaven, we sometimes forget what will happen to any who choose to go to Hell.

They too will receive a resurrected body, but not in the same way as those in Heaven.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this teaching.

Who will rise? All the dead will rise, “those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”

CCC 998

Fr. William Saunders expands on this belief in an article about the Resurrection of the Dead from the Arlington Catholic Herald.

What about the resurrected bodies of the souls of the damned in hell? These bodies will have identity, entirety and immortality, but not the our transcendent qualities. They will have the condition necessary for suffering the eternal punishment of hell, but not the glorification of the Lord shared by those in heaven.

For any who choose to go to Hell to be separated from God, this will only mean suffering, as Jesus frequently mentions in the Gospels.

Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost. Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!”

CCC 1034

Yet, it should be noted that the “chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.”

The physical suffering will certainly be great, but it will be no match to the feeling of isolation from God, an isolation that these souls freely chose at the end of their lives.

Remember, no one is ever “sent” to Hell. It is a free choice by those who live their entire lives detached from God and who, at death’s door, would rather be in isolation than in communion with God.

As well, CCC 1058 tells us:

The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

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