Seven Hells: An Incomplete Survey of the Afterlife

Temporary Hell
Altarpiece of the Holy Sepulcher: Descent Into Limbo (©Corbis)

Christian Universalists believe that God is all-loving, all-powerful and ultimately way too nice to let folks suffer in Hell for all eternity. Plus, you can throw in some metaphysics about how we're all sort of pieces of God and therefore inseparable from him/her in the long run.

But that doesn't mean evildoers are off the hook. There may not any ignum eternum on the menu, but there's still ignum enough to burn away your sins. Only then do you get to rejoin the divine in the afterlife.

So this Hell functions as a sort of cleansing purgatory.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.