The Fall of the Damned

Happy Halloween!

Last year for Halloween, I featured a picture depicting the Fallen Angels. Which was a very creepy image! But, trust me, it’s pales in comparison to what I am going to feature this year. Because this time, it’s about us humans and what happens when we fall away from God… permanently. And that’s honestly a bit terrifying.

After all, according to tradition, the angels made their decisions to fall away from God with full knowledge of what they were doing at the beginning of time.

We humans on the other hand?

Some of us made the decision to reject God utterly in a very definitive way. In fact, I know several of people who have told me explicitly in fact that if God is who He says He is, they would rather serve Satan and end up in Hell.

But most of us fall into sin in a sort of mundane sort of habit of sinning that utterly separates us from God in a slow and very boring sort of manner that happens through the course of years. Yes, we may believe in God. Yes, we may even call ourselves Christians. But, honestly, sometimes following God seems pretty tough and honestly painful. Picking up our crosses and following after Jesus? Who really wants to do that, anyway?

On the other hand, the sins that tempt us are exactly that: tempting. They tempt us to indulge in ourselves in ways that go beyond what is reasonable to the point that we become horribly self-absorbed people who are constantly hungry toward the next thrill, because we cannot be satisfied.

After all, it is God who ultimately satisfies. After all, did not Christ say to us that the water that He would give to us would make it so that we would never thirst?

So, when we are perpetually looking to indulge in ourselves and cannot seem to satisfy that longing, no matter what we do, and we keep looking for a bigger and better thrill with the next big sin, we are just dogs chasing our tails. There is no satisfaction from it whatsoever because our hungry appetites will never be filled.

Not without God, anyway.

Worst yet, we may know inwardly that we are sinning and that the things that we are pursuing are not good for us. After all, we might even be judgmental toward people who sin in the exact same manner as we do. But we might then give ourselves a pass because we justify our sins to ourselves. “God would understand my situation, because it’s different than those other people who do it for selfish reasons,” we say to ourselves as a way to comfort ourselves.

And that is the smooth and easy road toward damnation and Hell.

Now, most pictures of the damned show the damned either as being judged in the Last Judgment or wallowing in the abyss of Hell. Or, sometimes both! (Take a look at this picture for an example!)

But, while browsing around through artworks, I found this startling image of the Fall of the Damned by Rubens. Take a look at it… and remember, if you want to take a closer look at it, all you have to do is click on it for a full-sized image!

The Fall of the Damned, by Peter Paul Rubens
The Fall of the Damned, by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1620. Alte Pinakothek, Munich, Germany.

Mind you, this would happen directly after the Last Judgment!

Much like the images of the Fall of the Rebel Angels, the Fall of the Damned features the damned humans falling away from the light of God and into the abyss to their new home, Hell.

Some of the damned fall away from the Light freely, blinded by all that they see. Others are dragged down by demons, who claw and pull at them in ways that would normally tear apart the human. Then, the further down below the art gets even more morbid. Less humans are seen and more demons, who are tearing apart the damned with hungry mouths.

It’s… a bit terrifying, to be honest.

So let us pause and reflect on the sins that we have committed. Let us repent from these sins and recommit ourselves to God. And let us look upwards toward Heaven and never be tempted by the darkness of Hell.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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