Q. Thank you for your amazing website and your brilliant insight. When an unbeliever dies their soul goes to Hades where they suffer torment. Are they aware why they are there? Do they understand there is no way out and the worst is yet to come? Do they remember their sins and understand that is why they are in torment? Are they cut off from other souls, isolated in heat, darkness, and torment, or are they wailing away with other unsaved souls? It is my understanding an unsaved person is in eternal darkness, unaware of another soul for eternity. Is this correct?
A. The clearest picture of the state of unbelievers after death comes from Luke 16:19-31, where the context is Hades, the abode of the dead. The Rich man is in torment. He can see Lazarus and Abraham in Paradise and talk with them but can’t go where they are. He must know that he deserves to be in torment because he doesn’t ask for release, but begs Abraham to send someone to tell his brothers how to avoid winding up where he is. Being alone in darkness is usually thought of as part of the unbeliever’s permanent judgment, not the temporary torment of Hades.