You listen to me, and listen good!" she shouted, shocking me. "I am not evil because I have a thousand years of demon smut on my soul!" she exclaimed, the tips of her hair trembling and her face flushed. "Every time you disturb reality, nature has to balance it out. The black on your soul isn't evil, it's a promise to make up for what you have done. It's a mark, not a death sentence. And you can get rid of it given time.""Ceri, I'm sorry," I fumbled, but she wasn't listening. "You're an ignorant, foolish, stupid witch," she berated, and I cringed, my grip tightening on the copper spell pot and feeling the anger from her like a whip. "Are you saying because I carry the stink of demon magic, that I'm a bad person?""No..." I wedged in."That God will show no pity?" she said, green eyes flashing. "That because I made one mistake in fear that led to a thousand more that I will burn in hell?""No. Ceri -" I took a step forward."My soul is black," she said, her fear showing in her suddenly pale cheeks. "I'll never be rid of it all before I die, but it won't be because I'm a bad person but because I was a frightened one.
I never heard enough damnation from your pulpit. Many mornings I had to strain to take hold of what you were saying, Reverend. I couldn't figure it out, and got dizzy listening, the way you were dodging here and there. A lot of talk about compassion for the less fortunate, I remember that. Never a healthy sign, to my way of thinking, too much fuss and feathers about the poor. They're with us always, the Lord Himself said. Wait till the next go-around, if the poor feel so sorry for themselves on this. The first shall be last. Take away damnation, in my opinion, a man might as well be an atheist. A God that can't damn a body to an eternal Hell can't lift a body up out of the grave either.
In reality, the damned are in the same place as the saved—in reality! But they hate it; it is their Hell. The saved love it, and it is their Heaven. It is like two people sitting side by side at an opera or a rock concert: the very thing that is Heaven to one is Hell to the other. Dostoyevski says, 'We are all in paradise, but we won’t see it'…Hell is not literally the 'wrath of God.' The love of God is an objective fact; the 'wrath of God' is a human projection of our own wrath upon God, as the Lady Julian saw—a disastrous misinterpretation of God’s love as wrath. God really says to all His creatures, 'I know you and I love you' but they hear Him saying, 'I never knew you; depart from me.' It is like angry children misinterpreting their loving parents’ affectionate advances as threats. They project their own hate onto their parents’ love and experience love as an enemy—which it is: an enemy to their egotistic defenses against joy…Since God is love, since love is the essence of the divine life, the consequence of loss of this life is loss of love...Though the damned do not love God, God loves them, and this is their torture. The very fires of Hell are made of the love of God! Love received by one who only wants to hate and fight thwarts his deepest want and is therefore torture. If God could stop loving the damned, Hell would cease to be pure torture. If the sun could stop shining, lovers of the dark would no longer be tortured by it. But the sun could sooner cease to shine than God cease to be God...The lovelessness of the damned blinds them to the light of glory in which they stand, the glory of God’s fire. God is in the fire that to them is Hell. God is in Hell ('If I make my bed in Hell, Thou art there' [Ps 139:8]) but the damned do not know Him.