I've done very limited research on this topic over the years and I've heard that there is no official doctrine on what hell truly is. I remember reading somewhere that there's 4 "official" views of hell? From it being a literal hell fire, to hell (according to St. Isaac) being an effect, etc. One thing that orthodoxy doesn't seem to sway on, though, and seems to be in full agreement with, is the idea that hell is eternal. If so, how would one make sense of this:
637 In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him."
Found on: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a5p1.htm
So apparently hell (as I understand it, is to be "deprived of the vision of God") is NOT eternal? Or is it just eternal for the damned? Can someone make sense of this for me, please?