Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Response to Scoffer

I am glad to see that at least one scoffer has found my blog. He provided the following comments, which I have redacted and edited to either omit or restrain the blasphemy and to standardize the syntax/spelling/etc.:

Unless he punishes all sin in the individual who actually commits it, and does so in proportion to the sin, then who cares about this unjust [god]?
Unless everyone burns in hell for each of their sins in proportion to its magnitude, then la-di-da.
If you really get and eternity in hell for each sin, no matter how mild, then why not just commit them all and often?
Since you're getting the exact same punishment whether you steal a candy bar at 2 years old or rape a 2 year old at 50?
Your God is [something bad], Turretinfan. He's not just at all.


I answer:

The general objection here is that if every sin deserves eternal punishment, there is no distinction between sins and consequently God is unjust. This argument assumes something, though, namely that every person in hell for eternity receives the same punishment there.

Although the duration is the same (unending), there is no necessity that the degree of suffering be the same. Dante Alighieri (in the 14th century) proposed a view of Hell in which there are many levels, ranging from the most severe (specifically reserved for Satan) to the least severe, for those with relatively less heinous sins. This view of Hell demonstrates that it is possible for all sinners to receive eternal punishment, even while some receive a more severe punishment than others.

Jesus himself endorsed the idea that there is differentiation in hell. He stated:

Matthew 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Matthew 11:22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

Matthew 11:24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Mark 6:11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Luke 10:12 But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

Luke 10:14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.

There's also a minor objection: "If you really get and eternity in hell for each sin, no matter how mild, then why not just commit them all and often?"

a) Me personally? I don't like sinning. It doesn't please me. I prefer to honor my God.

b) There is a bit of a false dichotomy here: the two paths are not "sin a little and go to hell forever" vs. "sin a lot and go to hell forever" but rather between "go on in sin" and "repent of your sin and trust in Christ for salvation."

c) There seems to be a hidden view behind the words that maybe God punishes sins, but there's just no way he could punish them forever.

But, Jesus clearly declared that the punishment for those don't follow Him is everlasting fire:

Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mark 9:43-48
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Hell is a fearsome reality. I can appreciate that it is not a pleasant prospect: it is not supposed to be. God is not some omni-benevolent Santa Claus that will be patient with your sins forever. He has given you time to repent and believe. If you see your sins, and seek mercy rather than justice, pray to God the Father, asking Him for mercy for the sake of Christ.

-TurretinFan

2 comments:

natamllc said...

While I admire the back and forth with the scoffer, I have to say that God has limited Himself to reveal His Truth to the Elect and then, it seems also, that some things, more difficult to understand, are left for the mature.

Why do I write that?

Hebrews 6:3 implies it.

Also, with regard to the degrees of punishment I also would note from the Book of the Revelation this:

Rev 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Rev 22:10 And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.
Rev 22:11 Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy."
Rev 22:12 "Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.
Rev 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

What is implied, it seems to me, is some, who have not the ability to "enter" the city by the gates must remain "outside". It is my further belief, which I appreciate being challenged when it is not "sound" in the Faith for the purpose of being corrected, that these that are described there are not of the number described here:

Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.
Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done.
Rev 20:14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
Rev 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

I will further post these words which have a deep and abiding attraction to me when you consider that "some" are not included in the "Book of Life" and therefore are thrown into the lake of fire reserved for the devil and his angels:::>

* Note particularly verse 6.

Psa 87:1 A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
Psa 87:2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
Psa 87:3 Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah
Psa 87:4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush-- "This one was born there," they say.
Psa 87:5 And of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; for the Most High himself will establish her.
Psa 87:6 The LORD records as he registers the peoples, "This one was born there." Selah
Psa 87:7 Singers and dancers alike say, "All my springs are in you."

This seems to confirm these words of God:::>

Rev 7:2 Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea,
Rev 7:3 saying, "Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads."


Therefore it is my practice to pray this particularly as my daily desire and prayer:::>

1Ch 16:31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!"
1Ch 16:32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!
1Ch 16:33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
1Ch 16:34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!


I therefore "give thanks to My God"!

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for that comment, NatAmLLC!

Also, Ben, thanks to your comment, and I concur in your assessment, while I appreciate your attempt to deal with the guy you mentioned.

-TurretinFan