10/22/10

Does the Devil Run Hell?

Surprisingly close vote! Yes-18, No-20.  Now look, God sends people to heaven and hell to receive their just deserts, right?  With the devil running hell, how's that going to happen?  He might have lavish parties for the worst people, because he's so evil.  He might crank up the torture devices at random, or out of spite.  How could there be divine justice in the hereafter, if the devil runs hell???? Isn't that just as crazy as putting the worst serial killer in charge of the the corrections system?  Now, my son tells me he's actually right, and the devil does run hell, because Wikipedia says so (I can't find the entry)...but HOW COULD THAT BE?

15 comments:

amos said...

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04764a.htm

The Catholic Encyclopedia sees Satan (the Devil) as condemned to hell, as a prisoner there, not as the manager.

Also see Dante "Hell", Canto 34,
where Satan is just one more convict.

DR said...

But if the worst serial killer ran the corrections system, might it not be hellish for the inmates? Throwing lavish parties would be generous and fun. That's the AC/DC vision of hell, as a place of debauchery. But if Satan is as bad as he's reputed to be, his parties wouldn't be any fun at all. And if he did turn out to be good to the damned, then God could fire him and put someone else in charge, couldn't he? So I think your son's version of what Wikipedia says might be right. No doubt there are problems for either view though.

Andrew said...

I would imagine the devil administers hell according to policies and procedures laid down by God and his senior management team of angels. The devil is subject to monthly performance reviews, which takes care of his own punishment.

Aeolus said...

Okay, I understand now what you meant with your question. One might ask "How could Mayor Tom Leppert possibly run Dallas if the municipality is ultimately under the jurisdiction of the state of Texas?" The analogy is not exact because Leppert, I presume, is not a rebel and outcast (though possibly he is a Sarah-Palin-style "maverick"?). I take it that God in effect delegates, or "outsources", punishment of evil people to the Devil in the afterlife.

Even if Satan has rebelled against God, it suits God's purposes to allow the situation to continue, as it might suit a government to allow the mafia to maintain order and dispense "justice" among parts of a populace. You see, it's all part of God's plan!

Aeolus said...

Monthly performance reviews -- I like that, Andrew. It must be hell for the Devil.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell

"Hell is often portrayed as populated with daemons, who torment the damned. Many are ruled by a death god, such as Nergal, Hades, Yama or the Christian/Islamic Devil, called Satan or Lucifer."

Jean Kazez said...

Ahh...so the devil is CEO with a bunch of demons under him. I just want to know why it is that God (being all good) would send people to hell at all, if hell is run by an evil maniac. With the devil in charge, nasty stuff is going to happen--the fires will be too hot for some, too cool for others...people are not going to get their just deserts. I'll accept that the devil infiltrates, like he infiltrates in the rest of reality, but he runs hell? Weird!

DR said...

"Nasty stuff is going to happen"--yes, I think that's the idea. And the righteous will laugh at their torment. It's all very strange. If God were in charge, making sure the torment was just right, would that be less strange? I don't think it pays to take it all too literally.

Jean Kazez said...

Yes, by all means, the idea of God causing all the torment is extremely strange too. The whole thing is strange. I just thought the devil's main job was inspiring Tea Party rallies (and the like)...not meting out punishment.

crystal said...

Not all Christians believe in hell, and some do but think no one actually goes there (Hans Urs von Balthasar), but you're right - it really makes no sense, to me anyway, that an all good God would send people to hell. Some Christians (Irenaeus) believe that eventually the devil will be saved too.

Lukeroelofs said...

"God sends people to heaven and hell to receive their just deserts, right?"

Why think this? Why not think that God sends people to hell who are in His eyes sinful enough that precise distinctions in torment are irrlevant? After all, proportionality seems absurd when an infinite punishment is being applied to a finite crime.

So hell is just a really really nasty place. The devil and his minions can torment people a bit more or a bit less, but they're unable to mitigate the overwhelming inherent awfulness of it. So the devil is a prisoner and victim in hell, but also its ruler.

Jean Kazez said...

Hmmmm....a very different picture from Dante's Inferno, with all it's levels and gradations! At the very least, Dante's Inferno is not run by the devil!

Jean Kazez said...

Crystal, There is a hell, but no one goes there...fun idea! But maybe a tad disappointing--there are a few people for whom it seems like the best place.

Wayne said...

"there are a few people for whom it seems like the best place."

...like the devil? :) I couldn't resist.

Dominic said...

for a fascinating science fiction take on Hell - see Iain M Banks new book 'Surface Detail', without wanting to reveal too many details - there are multiple virtual hells, and a (virtual) war between advanced civilisations about whether eternal (or at least long-lasting) virtual punishment should be allowed.

Dom