Second, there is a sin worthy of infinite punishment. Those who willingly reject the gift of God in Christ reject God himself, and given who God is, plausibly commit a sin of infinite gravity.
If I lived a completely sinless life apart from the acknowledgement of Jesus (maybe I only heard of him once in the passing and discarded it), do I deserve to be eternally punished for this?
In my opinion, no. I believe annihilation has a very strong scriptural basis - much stronger than eternal suffering.
The problem here is that the punishment of Hell does not seem to fit the crime of sin; e.g., how could we ever merit eternal punishment for a lifetime of finite sins? It would seem to be the highest injustice. I think a few points suggest otherwise, however.First, while every sin deserves only a finite punishment, perhaps the totality of our sins deserves infinite punishment. How? If we commit an infinite number of sins, then indeed we are deserving of eternal punishment. In this lifetime, we can only commit a finite number of wrongdoings. But what about in Hell? Perhaps the inhabitants of Hell, as their hearts grow harder and they continue to spurn and reject God, continue to sin and merit further punishment. In this way, Hell in infinitely self-perpetuating. This alternative might seem to leave open the option that Hell's occupants eventually repent and find their way to Heaven, an option not open to the orthodox Christian. However, as C. S. Lewis once said, omniscience knows when a person is too far gone to redeem. It is possible that God has so ordered the world that no one in Hell would repent if they did not repent in their earthly lifetime. Some people never give in.Second, there is a sin worthy of infinite punishment. Those who willingly reject the gift of God in Christ reject God himself, and given who God is, plausibly commit a sin of infinite gravity. As Craig has pointed out, we should not think of Hell as punishment for finite sins like adultery and theft, but as the just consequence of rejecting God's offer of forgiveness. This isn't to say that "only God knows the severity of sin", but rather that rejecting God himself is a sin of infinite severity.Now, if you "lived a completely sinless life apart from the acknowledgement of Jesus", you wouldn't need to be forgiven, would you? Therefore, God would not condemn you. But seeing as no one on Earth has ever lived that life, we needn't worry about it.
Hi everyone - I've been a Christian since I was 15 (I'm 30 next year) and it's been an awesome journey - I'm a big thinker, a doubter, a sceptic at times but the undeniability of Christ's prescence in my life is what has brought me through.I'm sure this will have been asked before but I'm not sure what to search for in order to find it. My question is this;We live sinful lives, apparently deserving of eternal punishment. We often speak of suffering in the sense that once compared to an eternal life with God, it pales into insignificance, and will actually become easier to deal with, if one has that perspective. Converse to this, couldn't the same be said about sin/hell? Once an unsaved person has spent 10,000 years (and set to endure infinitely longer) being punished for the sins of what is an incredibly short life in comparison, couldn't it be said that the sins committed will pale in comparison to the eternal suffering to which they are condemned? And therefore isn't it unjust?I've heard arguments about our lack of understanding on the severity of sin, but it just doesn't sit right with me. If I lived a completely sinless life apart from the acknowledgement of Jesus (maybe I only heard of him once in the passing and discarded it), do I deserve to be eternally punished for this? Yes, only God knows the severity of sin, but do I just have to accept this?
Quote from: Paterfamilia on December 07, 2015, 01:52:53 pmIn my opinion, no. I believe annihilation has a very strong scriptural basis - much stronger than eternal suffering.Seventh-Day Adventists believe that God annihilates the damned. So I wonder whether their belief can promote license.
...it would stand to reason that a sin against God is an infinitely severe sin. Therefore, since the punishment one experiences when committing a sin should match the severity of the wrong committed, a just punishment for humans would be an infinite punishment.
To properly dialogue about hell, a common understanding and definition of hell must first be established. With that being said, I’m not entirely sure you and I share the same understanding and definition of hell. However, I’d like to reflect on your question nevertheless. From my understanding, it sounds like this might be your argument: 1. If a person lives a sinful life without being saved by Jesus, then he will be infinitely punished. 2. If he will be punished infinitely, he will be punished far longer than the duration of a lifespan. 3. If he will be punished far longer than the duration of a lifespan, then the action pales in comparison to the consequence.4. If a person lives a sinful life without being saved by Jesus, infinite punishment is unjust. (HS: 1,2,3)While it is a bit strange to imagine an infinite punishment because of a finite choice, I do not believe it to be unjust. Let me explain. Forget the temporal aspect of the argument, and consider what hell might be. For the sake of the discussion, let’s say that hell is, at minimum, full separation from God. I think that almost any Christian should be able to agree on that point. Now, moving forward, as we explore the justness or unjustness of eternal hell, simply substitute “hell” for “separation from God”. I would argue that he who ends up eternally separated from God is in no way surprised by that reality, rather he has chosen separation and has simply gotten what he asked for. Further, it seems that moving away from God might work the same way that moving toward God works. I am playing off an idea that CS Lewis talks about in Mere Christianity; he writes, “Perhaps my bad temper or my jealousy are gradually getting worse - so gradually that the increase in seventy years will not be very noticeable. But it might be absolute hell in a million years”. I think Lewis is making a very strong case here. Effectively, he is giving man the option as simply as possible: heaven or hell. “The kingdom of God”, which Jesus speaks of quite often as being here and now, is apparently matched in here-ness and now-ness by “the kingdom of Satan” according to Lewis. Man takes himself to hell, or man takes himself to heaven. Obviously there’s a bit more to the picture, but I think this does give some explanation to the concept of justness, in the way that man takes himself to hell… it is ultimately exactly what he had in mind! Perhaps, my argument would look like this: 1. A man will either end up in Heaven (intimacy with God), or he will end up in Hell (total separation from God)2. A man that does not want intimacy with God will not find intimacy with God. 3. A man that does not want intimacy with God would rather be separated from God, so he would end up in separation from God, Hell. (DS: 1,2)4. If a man ends up in Hell, then he must have desired to do so. 5. If a man desires separation from God and ends up in Hell, then he gets what he wanted. 6. If a man gets what he wanted, then his reality is not unjust. 7. If a man ends up in hell, then his reality is not unjust. (HS: 4,5,6)