(In last month's Part 1 of this feature I traced to source claims to have seen a Beatle in perdition and I used this as a model to establish some rules to examine the growing phenomenon of otherworldly visions especially those of the less treated hell zone. In Part 2 I consider the implications if one is to take these visions seriously).
WOULD HELL MAKE GOD A COSMIC SADIST?
Even if under traditional rules there might be grounds for the Colombian visionaries to have seen the likes of John Lennon in hell, the larger question for us today would still seem to be should anyone have to go there, especially eternally? Is God a cosmic sadist if he leaves people to roast for eternity? If God is love? As Jung pointed out: on one side a sea of grace and on the other a lake of fire. Whatever is this about?
A traditional, rather pat, “shut you up” kind of answer is, God is love but he’s also holy, his holiness can’t stand sin and so his “justice” against the rebellion sin represents must be satisfied. Sin destroys the fabric of life so God must destroy who and whatever destroys life….. But, Please! God may indeed require holiness and some sins can wreak terrible havoc, and most us probably wouldn't mind if Hitler went to hell and/or that there was some kind of judgement rather than none to make justice. But what about the many ethically and spiritually middling cases ? Do you seriously mean God can’t stand souls falling short to the point he would have you tortured beyond anything people have ever tortured anybody, would want to, or even could do? And anyway, most of the time the theological line runs that God is your parent, your Father (though the Bible never affirms that as absolutely as some claim – one could, like the Pharisees, be “children of your father the devil”). What sort of parent if, say, a child broke a toy in a rage would throw the child out of the house forever and never let the child learn from its mistakes? Isn’t this what in effect is being claimed for God if, despite the reports of overwhelming love, deity can’t tolerate your errors even one instant. Even granted holiness means something and can be an imperative for us the religious reasoning has got to be somewhere inadequate here.
WHICH HELL AND WHOSE?
In effect the matter is more complex than popular either/ors make it and one must at least try to grasp the logic and also the background to what is involved no matter what one concludes in the matter.
One point much overlooked in the theology of recent centuries (which seems to put responsibility for just about everything onto God) is how much rather than God the increasingly ignored and disbelieved in devil along with evil generally could be responsible for the nature of any hell that exists within any free will universe. Even an “all powerful” God is necessarily somewhat self-limited in power by the very existence of the free will which must allow evil some degree of scope. Because God is scripturally portrayed as having the last word at a Last Judgement a common, and surely false, idea is that God must therefore want, (or even sit around inventing!) punishments for offences to his being. Yet it’s specifically stated that God wants no one to suffer perdition (2 Pet 3:9) and hell was only reserved/made for the devil and fallen angels (Matt 25:41), not humanity. One of the Colombians makes the point in her own words: “Many of us on Earth think there is a God up there, just waiting for us to commit a sin, so He can punish us and send us to hell. But that is not the reality”. Yet if the hell the Colombians visited exists, what then is the reality?
The more subtle truth, the subtext, seems to be that while God may pronounce the final doom (formalizing it, so to speak, since God has the last word in everything), what is also happening is that within a free will universe the forces of evil can still pretty much take and do what they like with whoever doesn’t choose God. If God is Life and heaven, the Satan (the accuser) is Death and hell. It must always be recalled that the picture Christianity inherits and develops from Judaism is of a Satan (the accuser), a Satan rather as depicted in the Book of Job, claiming rights against the individual. He/she is only freed from the death principle (which sin/evil most essentially represents and invokes) by death itself (of sacrificial animals under one dispensation, of the Christ under another).
Especially if the Satan has/makes claims, then, as numbers of thinkers and theologians have periodically maintained, to that extent people can simply damn themselves by explicit or just implicit refusal of whatever God represents. This would also mean that once the individual passes from the divine sphere to its opposite no further protection, (such as even the half way house of present life affords) is possible. While any pain of hell is obviously never desired the place/state of no God is nevertheless where the lost soul “wants” to be, in some instances perhaps imaginatively too. (Oddly enough I see from the official Lennon website that Lennon said he loved to sleep because it gave him opportunity to visit the worlds of Hieronymos Bosch and Dali that his dreams were mainly composed of. Especially Bosch is not just surrealistic but quite hellish, so is this where Lennon truly liked to visit? Cauldron Valley where he disintegrates and reforms like a Dali image in that case sounds as though it would almost suit him. “Where your treasure is there will you heart be also” as the gospels tell us (Mt.6:21) ).
Moreover in this place/state the devil would have a free hand, at least until such time as he is himself overcome/destroyed and perhaps by his own derivative nature and hence self contradictions. (The devil according to Catholic seeress, Jeane Dixon, is involved with “a dynamic withdrawal into nothingness”). The satanic pleasure is to be revenged on God through what reflects the divine image which is humanity. So instead of love hell presents you the torments devised by hate. Such at any rate would be stage one of a perdition process visionaries claim to be seeing in their hell inside the earth and then the visionary picture of a divided Christ, at once pitying the damned yet accepting that they must be so (because at some deep level it is effectively their choice) becomes consistent and plausible in its way.
FIRES OF WHICH KIND AND SOURCE?
However, once the devil and hell are destroyed there’s said to be only Gehenna, the lake of fire. What might this, the truer hell, the “second death” mean? Arguably it’s linked to the fact that the eternal God himself is portrayed as “a consuming fire”(Heb 12:29). He’s also portrayed as other things including refreshing rains but water is what no one gets in hell. To exist at all beings must exist through God and to that extent they are always part of God; even not wanting God they must experience God somewhat, somewhere.
If one thing is certain it is that God would not suicide over evil in the universe nor, if humanity is a total species with a soul whose intrinsic nature is to be immortal, can God annihilate some individuals while he saves others. Being what it is the human species must remain in existence somewhere. Hell therefore sounds like experiencing God negatively, experiencing the eternal God as fire eternally but not as anything else, especially not water – hence perhaps the reports of constant thirst and the unmitigated nature of the fire. The devil and hell are always going to be the precise opposite, or absence, of whatever God is. So if God is light, the devil’s realm is darkness, if God is life, hell is death, if God is love, the devil is hate, if heaven is communion, hell is solitary confinement, if heaven is peaceful and super fragrant (as the Colombian visionaries report) hell is a shrieking bedlam and stinks and so it goes.
THE NECESSARY ROLE OF OPPOSITES
This play of opposites perhaps explains why we are presented with reports of such extremes of bliss and torment. Hell sounds so ghastly one asks couldn’t God possibly tone it down? But perhaps not, because that would require God modify the divine qualities themselves that heaven contains and if God is fire, fire is what you will have to feel. Moreover once outside the body into the infinite it seems that the soul (or subtle body/aura/ body electric or whatever one calls it), will experience each sensation, every pleasure and pain more strongly. The point has been made by individuals with no interest in Christian heavens or hells like Rosleen Norton, Sydney ’s notorious witch, who described her alleged astral travelling outside the body to a psychologist as an experience greatly magnifying whatever we normally experience.
Numbers of contemporary hell visions supply rather standard information about who’s stuck there, information that may have come out of the last sermon or undue absorption with the vice lists of St Paul’s epistles themselves modelled on the work of moralists of his period. This is not to say that under the rules such as drunkards and thieves and seducers wouldn’t qualify to be where they are reported to be. All the same, I think careful reading of enough visions might leave one with the impression it is especially vice with attitude that insures the perdition. It’s not just what people do but what they intend and think that is involved – indeed even St Paul mentions regarding the Gentiles who know nothing of Christ that their confused thoughts may condemn or perhaps excuse them on the last day (Rom 2:13). This in turn reflects the parable of the sheep and the goats which appears to suggest there is always an implicit acceptance or refusal of Christ through attitude even in those quite ignorant of him. So, one notices it is especially those who deny, defy or challenge God or conscience in some way who are especially at risk. Again, not perhaps because God seeks vengeance upon them but because the attitude has aligned their soul more closely with the dark side that claims it for itself. I have also noticed that in the case of at least one Christian visionary otherwise completely orthodox/traditional in their approach to the subject of “last things” it is declared that “selfishness” of attitude is the royal route to hell
AN AUTOMATIC PRODUCTION OF HELL
Finally I have this idea. Our dualistic thought patterns which separate thought and action imagine God to his discredit as sitting down and over time working out punishments for the wicked with specific vengeance for lack of belief or holiness themselves to be worked out over time. This however is wrongly to assume that within infinity God acts or functions at all in terms of our finite experience of time. Also God doesn’t so much "think" as simply act in accordance with the divine nature immediately and automatically. In short, any divine thought is like a reflex action and part of a larger whole which would mean that heaven/hell for souls would simply spring into existence as a sort of indivisible recto/verso of a single page. Accordingly God does not so much invent hell bit by cruel bit over time as that certain attitudes towards God invoke divine action and the infinite negatively. In their production they trigger the creation of hell which is the experience of God negatively. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). One just doesn’t stand in the way of a hurricane nor does one, if one is sensible, call a hurricane :”evil” simply because it can do you harm.
God is simply not measurable by human standards - therefore neither are heaven and hell. You maybe just need to count on such incommensurables and negotiate accordingly. Someone like John Lennon who “imagined” no heaven or hell and told society so to imagine failed to do that, blocking his own spiritual development and perhaps that of others for which he must take some measure of responsibility.
May God rest John Lennon’s soul. We hope it isn’t in a bad place and we can, if we want to be generous, assume some of his most ungodly attitudes resulted from various childhood traumas that made his world seem godless. Still, we must allow the visionaries could just have seen right. The more one thinks about it, the more one has to concede Lennon could qualify under the rules for where they maintain he exists. And, practically, and my starting point was merely practical, if we want to assess visions we must start with tests for consistency. So I find an element of troubling consistency here. Meanwhile, whatever we believe or conclude, people continue to have N.D.E s which they appear to be dragged down to some hell zone that Lennon singingly advised everyone to imagine like heaven doesn’t exist.
SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF A HELL JOURNEY.
While the following data can’t be proof against individual and incidental distortions to the visionaries’ record if the time of a vision is given and the experience was not pure invention its main themes should be present and described in the stellar pattern that oversees it. As it happens the time given by the Colombians doesn’t disappoint. It only raises further questions.
The season, let alone the day and moment, was ripe for revelations. If one follows culture historian, Richard Tarnas’s tracing of religious movements against planetary cycles (in Cosmos and Psyche, 2006) then aspects of Pluto to Uranus are explosive. In April 95, Uranus (anything to do with the Spirit) has recently entered its natural sign of surprising Aquarius at 0 degrees from where it exactly aspects a similarly strong Pluto in religion sign, Sagittarius. At the moment the vision begins, the moon has recently entered Virgo setting up tension square aspect to Pluto which could trigger the waiting aspect.
Just before Jesus appears and the journey begins the group had started to speak in tongues. Suitably, the sign of youth (we’re dealing with a youth group) and the sign of languages, Gemini, is rising at 10am.
This means the event’s ruling planet is communicating Mercury. Appropriately it is in degree perfect trine aspect to asteroid Beatles. So we shall not be surprised if one of the more memorable communications of the hell vision will concern the Beatles and negatively since Beatles also closely squares the restricting (and sometimes Satanic) Saturn.
Behind the rising Gemini in the hidden mystical twelfth house the basis of a remarkable pattern has formed that bespeaks what will happen. Asteroid Paradise, (itself conjunct Joya and the joys of Paradise will also be revealed) is exact to the degree challengingly opposite asteroid Isa (Arabic for Jesus) and making exact trine to the hell asteroid, Hella. And since the event ruling Gemini/Mercury factor is associated with two of anything this group can visit both heaven and hell. Interestingly too since the group will report a golden cross in the sky of heaven as a reminder of how and why they can enter paradise, I note that asteroid Paradise is in the same degree as the degree of Saturn at the time of Christ’s crucifixion so we’re looking at a crucifixion degree.
Jesus tells the group their experience is for the world. Mars at the time is merely two minutes of one degree off the 15 Leo world point. We are not surprised that it is Jesus and not some angel who appears and in order to take the group first to hell. The destiny angle at the time invokes the era conjunction of Christ’s own birth placing painful Saturn there and in opposition to the also painful Chiron, the wounded healer, itself often Christ associated and involved, like hell, with wounds that don’t heal. I have already noted the Paradise/Crucifixion connection.
However, clinching for the pattern and its most controversial, bone chilling feature is this. The Christ asteroid, Christa (asteroids were traditionally named in the feminine form) is closely conjunct asteroid, Lennon. It is so in the house (the eighth) that's hell associated if such a theme is in question and it's this house contains The Part of Revelation in this chart besides. This is why the company "reveal" and would believe Jesus met Lennon that day. They also believed he turned away from Lennon. Why? Because Lennon is in extremely close denial square to the Sun (21.17 Cap to 21.16 Aries) and in this pattern the sun, besides generally signifying light and life, is ruler of the 3rd of walking and talking. So Christ will refuse to talk and will walk away. By implication too forever….ominously, asteroid Semper (Lat:always/forever) makes denying square to Lennon and Sun from Cancer.
Did Jesus so refuse? No matter how one takes this vision and feels it can and should be literally believed I can’t help seeing the vision as almost an enacted parable denying the Lennon worldview “no hell beneath, above us only sky”. The Colombians fall into a hell temporarily in the centre of the earth and rise up into a heaven wherever spiritually located within or beyond the universe. The core message of the vision is surely to stop “imagining” and get real to the life of the soul which moreover is not about “all the people living for today” but rather people living for eternity.