Physical death is separation of the body from the soul. Spiritual death in hell is further forced separation of the will which is absorbed into God and the intellect which alone remains to suffer horribly and eternally. As a result, hell is a deliberate murder of the soul, i.e., destruction of the soul’s nature by God as punishment for sins.
Now the Catholic doctrine insists that only glory or shame, heaven and hell are permissible human destinies, and “a middle state, a merely natural happiness, does not exist.” And yet it seems entirely possible that a man, Smith, can live and die though not in the state of grace, still in the state of natural righteousness. Perhaps he scrupulously obeyed the natural law, yet for whatever reason was deprived of grace. His nature even after death as regards the union between will and intellect exhibits great integrity. If God nevertheless withholds glory from Smith, must He still by that very fact guillotine Smith’s soul in half, suck out the will, and throw the mind to the devils?
The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that the “eternal election to glory alone, that is, without regard to the preceding merits through grace, must be designated as (inadequate) predestination. Though the possibility of the latter is at once clear to the reflecting mind, yet its actuality is strongly contested by the majority of theologians…”
If that cannot be a solution to this problem, then, given that (a) there is no “natural happiness” in the next life but that (b) natural happiness (or pursuit for it) is the very essence and condition of this one, we are led to conclude that a soul that merits neither heaven nor hell (e.g., of a pious Jew?) must needs be reincarnated. Without this device, even the Church would seem to exist mainly in order to populate hell. QED?