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I must agree with many of the other posters. I think that Hell is a place which people look at as a figurative one. While historically depicted as a place filled with demons and fire, for many Hell can exist as something very different. Typically, people associate Hell with a place under our feet in regards to the fact that it exists as a polar opposite from Heaven (typically seen as being above us).
That being said, for many Hell can be designated as a place in ones mind or a physical location. (Think "I'm in hell!" as a description of being in a place where they do not want to be.)
To me, hell is not a physical place as much as a mental state - a place of complete separation from God. I think hell may have more to do with my faith and how it carries me through the difficulties in my life than with a specific physical location.
Others believe that hell is not a physical place in the "bowels of the earth" but is actually a name given to indicate a state of non-being, that when we die and if we are unfortunate enough to go to hell, we don't go to a physical or spiritual location, but rather we just merely cease to be. Personally, I will see what happens as and when I shuffle my mortal coil!
One traditional opinion is that Hell is indeed within the bowels of the Earth, an image encouraged by the opening of Milton's Paradise Lost. A contemporary suggestion is that Hell is in one of the multi-verse bubbles that impact upon the exterior of the multi-verse bubble we call our universe. Most contemporary opinion has it that Hell--for those who accept it as some sort of a destination and location--is in a spiritual dimension that is outside of space and time, therefore not contained within the bowels of Earth.
I'm going with the "I don't believe it's a real physical place" answer. I don't think that God would need to do physical torment to get his point across to sinners. Just as Heaven is, presumably, great beyond our capacity to understand, so would Hell be terrible beyond our ability to understand. I think we are just told about the torments in terms that we (or those back when the Bible was being written) could understand.
Although I believe in hell, I absolutely do not believe that hell is somehow in the center of our earth. Believing this would be evidence (yet again) of how humans somehow think we are always the center of the universe. Hell is so very much worse than the center of our earth, ... or even the center of the sun. With all of the advancements in Geology, ... I'm sure one of the more sensitive instruments would have detected if numerous fallen angels, the devil, and lost souls were actually down there. I simply highly doubt it, ... but I'll admit that I looked at your question with great interest and not with disdain. It's an interesting concept, ... to have hell exist directly under our feet! What an irony!
There is very little that we truly know of hell, but in the Roman Catholic tradition we are taught that there is eternal fire, eternal torment, and worst of all, ... the complete absence of God.
Actually, I have been interested in this new TV series called I Survived: Beyond and Back for the very reason why you asked your question. I haven't been so interested in the people who went to "heaven" ... or found themselves in a lighted tunnel or floating above their bodies. (This is mostly because I don't think they were experiencing heaven at all, ... just a precursor, perhaps.) No, I was interested in the ones that went to hell. One man (who later admitted that his whole existence was dedicated to making money at that point) died from a gunshot wound. He said that he found himself in a dark room, devoid of all light and a feeling of utter hopelessness. He remained there for an untold amount of time until a lighted hand reached from a corner and pulled him out saying, "It is not yet your time." Yeah, he changed his ways after that.
I agree with number 3. Theoretically and practically, Hell would be below us. Maybe the idea originally came from volcanic explosions. However Hell is less an actual place than a metaphorical concept. If it was a physical place, how could we go there after death?
This is much like the Garden of Eden question. The answer to it depends largely on whether you interpret the Bible literally or metaphorically. Most fundamentalist Christians will tell you Hell is a literal place of eternal torture where unrepentant sinners are sent. Others believe it is a mental state of separation from God.
Could it be? Certainly, or at least, that is hard to disprove. But consider the possibility that Hell may not be a physical place at all. If it truly exists, perhaps it is just a state of nothingness. Maybe some Christians would say that being without God in the afterlife would be Hell. But as we know so very little about the universe an its origins as well as ours, Heaven and Hell or any alternative may be beyond our comprehension as human beings.
Hell is a ridiculously unlikely, childish, dark fantasy. How could anyone rational believe in such out-dated nonsense?
Oh! Thank you all posters. God may you reveal yourself to us everyday to your own Glory.
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