Catholicism: Where Is Hell, Anyway?
Ancient man believed that hell was underground, in the center of the earth, where it was hot. This belief was based on the erroneous notion that the earth was the center of the universe. When science proved that the sun was the center of the solar system, then what?
Well, the Bible and Sacred Tradition never again tried to define the exact location of hell. Because God created hell as a place to incarcerate the devil and all the bad angels who rebelled with him, and because angels are pure spirits and have no bodies that take up space, hell isn’t a physical place. It’s as real as heaven or purgatory, but you can’t travel to it any more than a spaceship can reach heaven.
The essence of hell isn’t a million degrees of heat from the fire but from the heat that comes from hatred and bitterness. Hell is a lonely and selfish place; no matter how many souls it contains, not one of them cares about anyone else. It’s utter isolation as well as eternal torment, which is why everyone should want to avoid it at all cost. Heaven, on the other hand, is a place of happiness and joy because everyone there knows and loves each other. And, most of all, heaven is desirable because of what’s called beatific vision — seeing God face to face for eternity. Being in the presence of the Supreme Being who is all truth and all goodness ought to be the desire of every person.