“Hell is Not Eternal – Unless We Want It to Be” – Rev. Hugh Odhner

In this Sermon, delivered at the Philadelphia Society of the Lord’s New Church, Rev. Hugh Odhner engages a theme that has occupied Swedenborgian theologians throughout the centuries: The question of the “Eternity of the Hells”. In Swedenborg’s cosmology, are hellish states static and eternal, or does the process of regeneration continue to draw us towards divine love and wisdom?

Click below for a printable PDF version of Rev. Odhner’s sermon:


The Rev. Hugh Odhner is minister at the Lord’s New Church Philadelphia Society. A bridge-builder between the different Swedenborgian branches, he has preached at several Convention ministries, including the Church of the Holy City in Washington, D.C., and has been a regular attendee and lecturer at Fryeburg New Church Assembly for many years. He lives with his wife Denise in Bryn Athyn, PA.

5 thoughts on ““Hell is Not Eternal – Unless We Want It to Be” – Rev. Hugh Odhner”

  1. Thank you. This is a message of hope, that “in the end” we will all be gathered and that even for those who do not wish Heaven now, the door will remain open.

  2. Thanks, Hugh. This was such a nice, clear, easy-to-understand explanation, and your love, empathy, and compassion show through. 🙂
    a cousin

  3. “For no evil can be banished until it has been seen.”(H.H.533)
    Those in Hell are there because of The Lord’s mercy, that He allows free choice. They will refuse to see the truth that they are in evils & falsities, until they choose otherwise, then The Lord can help them. The idea of a fixed state of Hell comes from a doctrine that does not accept the continuous changes of state that are constantly happening to us in this life & the life hereafter. A doctrine that chooses not to accept The Lord’s divine power over the hells.

  4. I thought Swedenborg said that hell is eternal, no discussion. Is this not so? “Hell” has scared me since childhood, and the thought of people there (and myself) makes me miserable. I would be so glad to know that it isn’t a fixed place, that God never gives up because there is hope (acknowledging though that some want to be there).

    1. Choice is choice my friend. Chose to be afraid or choose to be forgiven and loved. Its offer to you. How do you wanna go?

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