Hell indicates the lack of God's presence. However, someone who never knew God in the first place, would never be able to distinguish Hell from anything else since they would have no basis for comparison. Therefore Hell would have no meaning to them. Unlike physical things, conceptual ideas like hell are representative and therefore must have a meaning to exist. Without meaning, they can not exist. Physical things can exist without meaning, Metaphysical things can not. Therefore, in order for Hell to exist, there must be the absence of God ... with the knowledge of God.
When I posited that last sentence in my brain, all those years ago, I felt a chill. It's basically the concept of loss at the grandest scale possible. People become very irritated, angry or depressed when they lose something. The comedian Louis CK had a bit on that:
"I was on an airplane and there was internet, there was high-speed internet on the airplane. That's the newest thing that I know exists. And I'm sitting on the plane and they say, 'Open up your laptops, you can go on the internet' and it's fast, I'm watching YouTube clips, it's ama-I'm on an airplane. And then it breaks down and they apologize, 'The internet's not working.' The guy next to me goes 'Pshhht. This is bullshit.' Like how quickly the world owes him something ... he knew existed only 10 seconds ago."Louis's comments are obviously meant to make light of this phenomena, but it's true and the phenomena is in full force today... and it affects us all... not one of us is immune... and you know it.
Now, if we take my original description above and add to it the given "God is Love," it suddenly becomes much more poignant an relevant. Hell is the absence of Love, with the knowledge of Love. Suddenly it's more accessible to people. Suddenly we can see the self-made hell's we put ourselves through EVERY DAY without knowing it. Little things like, "My computer stopped working" to bigger things like "My car stopped working" to bigger things like "My kid won't listen" to bigger things like "My best friend did something I don't like" to bigger things and bigger things and bigger things until we have created hell for ourselves here on Earth rather than stay present in the Love that exists in Time and Eternity.
I am not a doctor. I can't tell you what's going on in my body right now, if something is going to stop suddenly, or if I'm going to live to be 100. I'm not a mechanic. I can't tell you if my car will start when I want to leave work or if it will run without incident for 10 more years. I'm not a mind-reader. I can't tell if you're ready to walk out the door and never look back, or stay with me until I draw my last breath. I'm a software developer, and I still can't even tell you whether the code I write today will conflict with something else on your system or if it will run through time immortal.
So what do I know? I know the difference between Love and the absence of Love. I understand the nature of hell very well, having put myself there many times. I choose to live my life in Love, with Love and for Love. I ask that you join me in that... but I will not force you.