Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
FIRE OF HELL
The physical reality, outside the person, by which those in hell are punished besides their loss of the vision of God. It is called fire in the Scriptures to emphasize the excruciating pain it causes, and to identify it as some external agent tormenting the lost. But it is not ordinary fire, since it does not consume what it burns, and, although material, it can affect the purely spiritual substance of the soul.