How can we find happiness in heaven if someone we love goes to hell?


Full Question

How can we find happiness in heaven if someone we love/know goes to hell? Some people say we will be satisfied with God’s justice, but this sounds rather cruel and cold.


You are thinking very much inside the box. You can’t do that when you think of heaven. It’s not just another earth-like human situation with clouds and pastel cherubs added. What you need to do is to ask yourself if you really think heaven is for God’s sake. I mean this literally. It’s all about God. God is infinite goodness, goodness without limit, pure unlimited love. This is something beyond any experience we are capable of imagining at this time.


Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict is a Catholic who wants nothing but to spread the catholic faith to reach the ends of the world. Make this possible by always sharing any article or prayers posted on your social media platforms. Remain blessed


  1. We cannot box up God into our limited capacity as humans; we are invited by Him to experience that He alone is enough, and neither our sufferings nor celebrations can be carried with us to heaven in the same way we experience them on earth. To prepare ourselves for heaven would be to let go of our earthly desires and attachments, trust God, that He knows each of our heart’s deepest desires. Unlike here on earth, only God could finally fill us with contentment.
    Do not to be afraid for our loved ones, but continuously pray for them. As we should for our neighbors tempted by doubt.
    As added debate in the comments, Yes we all do have critical thinking, and free will, that is why believers don’t consider themselves as blind followers. Sometimes i have been visited by doubt too, but God reveals himself to us in personalized experiences, in His perfect timing. I cannot say the church of God is perfect because it is composed human individuals too, but God is perfect and knowing & experiencing His love is the ultimate goodness and purpose of the institution. We cannot judge the lives of our brothers, our task is to sypmathize with them through prayer. God will hear us.

  2. If you really love this person, why don’t you pray for his salvation before the hour of his death comes?! Nothing is impossible to God! If you truly believe in this, God will work to save this person from the eternal burning fire with our help! Eventually, God’s Love for us is bigger than we can ever imagine and he surely doesn’t want anyone of us to go to hell, unless we continually deny his presence 🙁 if you are sad for your loved ones, think about how sad he is when he sees his children are going by their own free will to hell, and he can’t do anything to help them because they don’t want him, though he tried all the ways to make them come back… But again never lose hope on someone no matter how hard the situation is…

  3. I guess I just wonder why someone who so adamantly does not believe in God would spend so much of their time on a Catholic site. I don’t go find atheist’s pages to argue with them. Go join a group with similar beliefs of your own….unless you’re here because something down deep wants more, something is telling you to seek and you shall find.

  4. I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
    And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God; begotten, not made; being of one essence with the Father; by Whom all things were made;
    Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the Heavens, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man;
    And was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered and was buried;
    And arose again on the third day according to the Scriptures;
    And ascended into the Heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father;
    And shall come again, with glory, to judge both the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end;
    And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of life; Who proceedeth from the Father; Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; Who spake by the Prophets;
    In One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
    I confess one baptism for the remission of sins.
    I look for the resurrection fo the dead,
    And the life of the age to come. Amen

  5. I, too have wondered about this and came to a surprising conclusion. But first, a caveat. I am not a theologist or a bible scholar. I am just a lawyer and I am in no way operating under the illusion that what I speak is the binding to anyone and that people should believe it.
    I imagine heaven as being with God. It does not matter where it is or what it looks like and what I will have while being in it. Being before God, in all His majesty and splendor is heaven for me. And why not? He created the universe and what could possibly happen to you (in a bad way), what could you possibly want more or what could you possibly fear if you are with God. All of your fears, wants, needs, anxieties, hurts and all the stresses that you experience on a daily basis will no longer be valid because you are before God who created everything. While praying the rosary and meditating, I imagine what it will be like if you are there before God Himself in heaven, meaning before his physical presence. Try it. But it has to be with a conscious thought that you are before the One who, by merely willing it, created the universe. I even imagine it kneeling and adoring him the whole time. It occurred to me that I could spend eternity there doing exactly that. I would not need to see a pearly gate, clouds and cherubims or beasts, both wild and tame, cavorting with people or an endless buffet. Why would I need those?
    Hell on the other hand is exactly the opposite. A place where God is not present. Not because He cannot go there but rather simply a place which He reserved for the damned or those who did not or refused to seek Him in life. “You refused to seek Me when you were alive, you might as well stay in a place where I will not be at”, I imagine God as saying. That alone is hell. Again, no need for real “fire”, “boiling oil” or parched earth. This is because such gruesome scenes are meant to inflict physical pain. Physical pain is a product of the physical body addressed to the mind. You feel pain to signal the brain that your body is in danger and that something has to be done to save it. But remember, you are already dead. Thus, there is no more need for pain to signal your body that it is in danger of dying. Since in hell God is not there, the “pain” which will be felt for all eternity is the emptiness and the longing for God. As an opposite to the condition while you are in heaven as described above, all of your fears, anxieties, sorrows and horrifying things that either plague you or you hear of daily when you were alive, multiply them a thousand time, will torment you. And the most painful thing about that is that God is not there to save you. It is similar when you are having a nightmare. You are tormented with pain and fears but your body is actually not in pain or distress. The helplessness that you feel despite the things that you do to save yourself while having a nightmare seems all too real. But this time it is not a dream and multiplied a thousand times. The demons who are there to torment you and stoke your fears are all too real. All the horrors that you could imagine and more are there to assault you. You call out to God to save you but He will not come. This is for eternity. The description that there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth and being boiled in burning oil does not even come close.
    An interesting side note was the comment made by Patrick about not being “you” in heaven because you do not have “free will” and that there is no hell. I am not a linguistic or bible expert so in the debate about foreign words and their archaic meanings, I will not troll into because I am o.k. in what I believe in and said so far. With respect to the matter of free will there is a marked difference of opinion in the real meaning of free will. Free will for Patrick seems to refer to the freedom to do whatever you want, good or bad, right or wrong. I demur. Free will is the freedom to do the right thing. If you did the bad or wrong thing, you are not free because there is that one malaise, addiction, instinct, obsession, craving, disordered desire or worse, demon that made you do it. Thus, if free will is the ability to do the right thing, then how is it contrary to the will of God, who is all good, all holy and all right? In fact, the real reason that you are standing before Him in heaven is because you have done the good thing and the right thing because you used your free will.
    With that, I come back to the original question: How could you be happy in heaven if you worry about your loved ones who might be in hell? It is a valid question in light of the above description. In meditating upon this question and imagining myself in heaven before God, a question was asked of me: would you be happy if only your loved ones are saved? who among your loved ones? All of them? Some of them? The ones on your left? or your right? how about those who you merely like? or those you do not know personally? or those you dislike? In all of these, before I could answer, a realization dawned upon me: If this is how I think, then I do not deserve to be in heaven. God desires that EVERYONE is saved. Unite your will with His and He will take care of the rest.

  6. My mercy does not want it but Justice demands..HELLO people did we forget. In Heaven God will not allow us to suffer by putting us in front of our earthly loved ones to see them suffer, we are made in the image of God on earth and in Heaven we will have a better understanding of Gods Big ETEAARNAL plan, our mission on earth is to love one another and STOP arguing or fighting, stop giving into Satan’s plan, instead lets pray for one another and pray that we all go to Heaven and so we pray for our loved ones to ensure a place in Heaven.. I hope this makes sense Yours Truly, 10Yr Old Alonso

    1. Hi Patrick, I have never met a grown man to think that way that you do. Although you sound very smart, it still sadness me that for some obvious reason, some of the intelligence has been wasted on lack of faith and poor leadership skills when it comes to knowing our loving God. Intelligent minds will never have all the answers, we have to live strong in faith. For me there is no need for scientific evidence. If you fact check many stories of our Saints you will see how much evidence exist about the afterlife. This is precisely the reason why we are talking about and debating this topic today. There is no need to tell my brain to believe in something that goes against my FAITH. Please don’t take any insult to anything I write. I am not trying to attack you. I am just trying to enlighten you, but the truth of the matter is that you must face reality and realize that you have created conflict within your brain and I now understand better that you are not healthy in spirit and that you may be living in misery. I hope that at this point I have not stricken a nerve in your brain, but the truth is that when I read your response I sense a lot of anger, which I agree with you that it leads to an emotional, unstable, and dysfunctional state of mind. I too suspect that because of that internal conflict and lack in faith you may be going through something very difficult. I too am not a neurologist, but rather someone that cares about you as a human person. I strongly believe that God has a mission for you and me and when I sit here and read your response it only gives me a stronger drive to grow up and help the many that have little or no faith. I know I am only 10 (I will be elven soon) and I know that I still have a long way to go and so I pray that one day I will figure what works best for many unfaithful people. There are explanations for everything and it is grown men like you that motivate me to discover what causes the lack of faith. I can only imagine that science was your favorite subject when you were my age. Mine too, except that my faith plays a more significant role.
      By the way Patrick it sounds to me that your parents raised you to believe in Santa Claus, that perhaps is something that plays different in our lives. I was raised to believe in Jesus Christ and not in Santa Claus, Santa was a story told for fun. My parents never told me Santa was real.
      I will continue to pray for you. And I bother because I have FAITH. I trust in God’s divine plan. Because I know in my heart that God’s plan for me is different on earth than what it will be in Heaven. God has plans for all of us including you. God knew that you and I would cross paths.
      My mom and dad told me that God gives us free will and that God sees everything as a whole. I am still trying to understand what all this means but it makes sense. My parents never told me I would go to hell if I am a bad person, what they do is teach me right from wrong and the power of free will to choose my destination. But my dad tells me that until I am 18 years old my “free will” will be supervised by my parents, up until I can make grown-up decisions.
      Thank you for being nice and for letting me write to you, nothing you said will derail me from losing my faith because God is in control of my life and there is nothing more in this life or the life after that I want is to be in the presence of the Lord. We were made for God by God. Life is a gift from God, we are put in this world to love one another and that is why I don’t have difficulty saying to you that I love you as a Human person.
      I will also look further in to the words that you sent me which are Sheol, Gehenna, Hades, and Tartarus. I am not sure what they mean but I am very much interested. Thank you for that.
      I also believe that God brings people together for a reason and you and I meeting is not by coincidence. Reading your responses only increases my faith and love for God. Thank you for that too, you may not know that, but it’s what my heart tells me so. You say you were very much like me, but now you are deeply angered by the childhood indoctrination that you received, which qualifies as psychological child abuse which you have struggled with till today. I am sorry for that. I wish it was different for you so that you don’t have to sit in life and suffer. Nevertheless you still sound like a very smart man and I imagine deep down inside your heart you have good intentions, but because of all that you have encountered as a young person unfortunately it has brought you to a dark place in your life today. Please know that God has looked earnestly upon those who use their talents (Matthew 25) that we are given – like “our” obvious intelligence. If we use our talents of intelligence for reasoning, critical thinking skills, and include FAITH within the same ingredients YES Patrick we will be rewarded by God. Please don’t leave your talents on the shelf, just increase your faith and come back to the Church. God loves you Patrick, please believe me.
      I will keep reading, studying, and writing, so that I can further develop my critical thinking skills, the only difference is that I will not lose my faith in the mix of science. Perhaps 50 years from now, I will see you in Heaven.
      God bless you Patrick.

    2. Dear Mr. Gannon – Please accept my apology, it was not my intention to disrespect you in any way. I take great pride in how my parents are raising me and my older brother. my parents are both Criminal Defense Attorneys, except that my mothers job is different than my fathers job, her primary role as a criminal lawyer is to represent people that break the law in the criminal court system. Her job encompasses court arraignments, pretrial hearings, settlement conferences, trials and sentence hearings. She defends adults and juveniles at the federal, state and local level, she has even defended children my age. I love to hear their stories and what they do in their jobs, although I am not allowed to discuss in details anything about our personal lives, where we live exactly, and our full names. MY parents tell me there are limitations on what I can share, but what I can tell you is that I was born in Los Angeles California, my parents are both from San Jose Costa Rica and came to the US when they were children to live a better life. I love my parents because aside of how busy they are always have time for me and my older brother when he comes home in the summer. Both my parents tell me that in life we have to be mindful of peoples feelings. They are always reminding me and my older brother to never judge anyone, respect our elders, forgive those that hurt us and always put God above all the things that we do in our lives. I heard my dad say once that when you place God in the center of your life everything will be more fruitful and life gets better. My dad told me once that when he was a kid my age he wanted to be a Priest, I myself like to play the role of a Priest and sometimes I do with my cousins, although they think I’m funny.
      Thank your for sharing, but I still don’t comprehend how people in life cannot believe in God, the afterlife and in Gods divine plan. I try not to spend too much time understanding something that big and I believe my parents when they tell me to rely on faith and nothing more, that is sometimes enough for me. I continue to attend mass regularly, I go to confession, I take holy communion and now I’m preparing for the sacrament of confirmation. I love the church and the teachings. I love reading scripture and going to adoration to visit Christ. Every time that I visit the blessed sacrament I feel something that I cannot explain in words, it is beyond my comprehension. My parents tell me that this is how God communicates with us, when we give God time in silence, God speaks to us through our heart and not our minds. Maybe this is the disconnect with science. There is something magical that happens to me in adoration.
      My parents don’t want me to offend anyone and they have asked me to stop chatting on this website, they tell me that I am not mature enough to understand older people yet, you Mr. Gannon were in fact a topic of our conversation at the dinner table, while they both trust this website and allow me sometimes to interact and hear other peoples perspectives in life and religion believes, they would much better want me interacting with kids my age. I myself find kids my age really boring. They only want to run around the mall, and or play video games. I don’t care for any of that. I want to go grow up and travel the world. I also want to attend Harvard like my older brother. My parents want me to be a lawyer, but I would much rather do something that can help the poor. Sometimes I think about growing up and becoming a Priest to help save souls, but more importantly to consecrate the bread and the wine into the body of Christ.
      Sometimes I feel like I am growing up too fast and perhaps I should slow down a bit. I do like playing monopoly. My only reason to come on this website its because God tells me in my heart that it is ok to reach out to people and share my faith, nothing more. God tells me that I will never please the whole world and unless people open their hearts they will never understand his divine love and mercy.
      It was a pleasure chatting with you Mr. Gannon – God bless you and YES I will continue to pray for your soul.
      Love and Peace

    3. All the Best to you Alonso! This sinfull world needs a smart but “God Fearing” person like you.Hope you become a Priest someday and teach the children of tommorow make choices according to the Will of the Lord. Always remember that “Blessed are those who don’t see and yet Believe, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs”.

      1. Thank you Francis for your kind reply. My faith and love for God has deepen beyond my human comprehension. I am so ready to enter a seminary and live out my vocation for Christ so that one day I can teach children my age about the “Love of God” and how great and majesty his love is for all of us. I pray the rosary every night for anyone who has lost their faith in Christ or who does not love God and deep inside my heart I feel an unimaginable love that I never knew existed on this planet, My parents have asked me to describe what I feel and I cannot. I only share that its bigger than the love they have for me. I cannot find words to describe the joy, peace, love and security that I feel upon finishing every rosary. I feel God’s love. I have had dreams of the blessed Mother coming to me. The blessed Mother of God is so beautiful and she tells me things that I cannot remember when I wake up, I don’t know why. I just remember her smile and her love. Please pray for my vocation and I will have you in my prayers as well. Love Peace and Joy to you Francis – I hope it is ok to call you by your first name I don’t see a last name

    4. patrick are you seriously saying all these? let me tell you the truth, God dosnt send people to hell, people send themselves to hell, the Bible said that no one goes to hell blindfolded, hell mean being alone without God, do you think that fire and other thing is what they suffer? no, there greatest suffering is the absense of the presence of God, God dont send people to hell but people make choices to be on there own without God. And when it comes to your reply of free will, am sorry but you are lost, everybody was created with free will, even angel, it is because of this free will that satan chose to go against God, it is because of this free will that man chooses to do evil, now let me make it clear to you, God wants us to be in heaven with him on our own free will, he dosnt force people to be in heaven that is why he gave us choice, so when you finally make choice to be with God in heaven then you will be with him forever, you are trying to make it look like God enjoys sending people to hell. if my friend or my family member does not want to be with God in heaven and goes to hell, why should i care, not that i dont care but it was his choice and not God choice, understand this, God doesnt make the choice for us to go to hell, we make the choice ourself by choosing not to be with God, so just know that GOD dosnt send us to hell, he loves us and that is why HE sent His only begotten son so that we will all believe in Him and chose Him yet some people chose not to choose Him. if you dont go to heaven then you go to hell, its just like a two end of a stick, you cant be in the middle, if not hell then heaven, if you choose to be with God then heaven but if you dont want to be with GOD then you will go to a place where the presence of God dosnt exist. My brother ask any christian around you, using myself as an example, if God is to remove my free will and take me to heaven i will be very happy, understand that free will dosnt make you, it is a gift to choose, if you choose GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART then you be with him eternally. All these things you are saying is misusing the gift of free will, i wish God will remove that free will from me so that i will not be tempted to chose hell, devil made his free will and the angels in heaven made there choices and now both are where they are eternally, God does not want you to be with Him in heaven when he knows that if you have a choice that you will not be with him there, just know that we have free will to choose between God and the devil, for me i choose to be with God and i wish God will even remove that free will so that i will be with Him eternally in bliss as i was created to be. why will i bother my self with people who made there own choices, it was there choice and not God’s choice, they chose not to be wit God and God respected there decision so why will i not be happy in heaven, please lets stop allowing the devil to confuse us, Hell is real and so is HEAVEN. it is also your free will that will make you chose to believe this truth i just told you or to throw it away, its your choice. GOD LOVES YOU

    1. Dear Patrick, no name calling hear or anger with your remarks or beliefs, forget about the question for a moment.
      Try to read and understand scripture a little more, especially the Gospel’s and hear the words that Christ speaks to us all. You are not hated by me or wrong to think the way you do as so many others feel the same way as you do in todays crazy society, unfortunately. The “evil one” who we all know by name (I prefer not to call him by name) really tries to twist the truth to make us all believe in what he wants us to believe, which is a lot of what your thoughts and beliefs are. I won’t judge you but I will pray that you and many others that think the same way find the peace that I have found in Christ, its unbelievable! But you have to find it on your own in your journey of life. All I can tell you is try to seek Christ, truly seek Christ. If you do that, you will find him because he will come to you and you will find the truth about life and the next life.
      God Bless,
      Carmine Q

  7. Dear Patrick, you haven’t a clue as to what you’re speaking about.. Sounds like you just like bashing Catholics for the sake of doing it… Otherwise, you wouldn’t have felt the need to even come on here and spew your ignorance. Educate yourself, and stop being a heathen.

    1. To start, I would read the visions of Fatima. The idea that there is no literal hell is one of the first lies of Satan. You say that people in heaven will be like “Drugged out zombies” That sounds like a pretty bleak myopic cynical perspective for something that brilliant theologians have struggle to describe for centuries. Truth is, Paul tells us in Corinthians “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” That sounds to me like a pretty awesome promise, like that of a loving father who has a very special treat in store for His children. I would also recommend the book “Search for Lost Fathering” by James Schaller.
      Most people who have trouble envisioning a loving God had an absent or abusive father, Here, I speak from experience.

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