Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Moral Revulsion and Hell

Many people believe that hell and a conception of eternal conscious torment is morally revulsive. For example Clark Pinnock in Four Views of Hell states:

There is a powerful moral revulsion against the traditional doctrine of the nature of hell. Everlasting torture is intolerable from a moral point of view because it pictures God acting like a bloodthirsty monster who maintain an everlasting Auschwitz for his enemies whom he does not even allow to die. (qtd. in Pettegrew "A Kinder, Gentler Theology of Hell?" TMSJ 9/2 p. 207).
Setting aside the emoting and the clear cheap shot at the painful reality of innocent suffering at Auschwitz, this intolerability lacks foundation outside of the human will.

But consider: if we have moral revulsion at the traditional view of hell we will invariably have moral revulsion at the holiness of God. If we revile the holiness of God then we have is not moral revulsion but immoral revulsion. We have defined categories of rightness and wrongness based upon our preferences. We have risen up and become the judge of the living God that he should be judged and condemned in our court rather the reverse.

It is one thing to ask: does the Bible really say that about eternal punishment? or What is the Biblical doctrine? It is quite another thing to say: "Hath God really said?" Defining moral revulsion by our own terms will leave us reviling a infinitely holy God. When we cannot see God's holiness we cannot find how moral revolting our sin really is. Good becomes evil and evil becomes good. Justice becomes tyranny and tyranny becomes justice.

Romans 3:4 "Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”"

No comments:

"The Voyages..." Forays into Biblical studies, Biblical exegesis, theology, exposition, life, and occasionally some Star Trek...