Theological Fragments: Hell and Lutheran Theology (Fyodor Dostoevsky)

An interesting take (a critique, to be precise) on the ethical implications of the Lutherans’ non-spatial understanding of heaven:

“Surely it’s impossible, I think, that the devils will forget to drag me down to their place with their hooks when I die.  And then I think: hooks?  Where do they get them?  Wheat are they made of?  Iron?  Where do they forge them?  Have they got some factory down there?  You know, in the monastery the monks probably believe there’s a ceiling in hell, for instance.  Now me, I’m ready to believe in hell, only there shouldn’t be any ceiling; that would be, as it were, more refined, more enlightened, more Lutheran, in other words.  Does it really make any difference—with a ceiling or without a ceiling?  But that’s what the damned question is all about!  Because if there’s no ceiling, then there are no hooks.  And if there are no hooks, the whole thing falls apart, which, again, is unlikely, because then who will drag me down with hooks, because if they don’t’ drag me down, what then, and where is there any justice in the world?  Il faudrait les inventer [they would have to be invented], those hooks, just for me, for me alone, because you have no idea, Alyosha, what a stinker I am…!”

Fyodor Pavlovich in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, trans. R. Pevear and L. Volokhonsky


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