On Hell

For me, people’s view of hell boils down to the fact that these are acknowledging at least in some sense, God is not an interventionist; no justice on Earth but what we create. Second, these have no real concept of love and systematize it in ancient terms that never evolved from the script; retribution.

What I suspect is our sensibilities now were outpaced by Jesus then. We’ve only recently seen retributive justice as immoral and moved to reformative justice in society. Our next leap in Theology will be thinking about the transformative nature of God’s being, where we ourselves would respond to being in his presence; for instance, in the same sense that music, art, a new lover move us to fundamentally change responsive to those experiences. Jesus atones, under Moral Influence Theory, in this kind of framework; i.e. his life and sacrifice compel us into ourselves, our humanity, and the response is to love.

Think of justice as having this goal: “That this may never happen again”. Then think of the only ethical means to it. Eternal torture or annihilation would be the opposite of love, and the extreme of any opposite; for what good, quite literally, would it do anyone.

If for some odd reason you’re inclined to say, “But oh! It does do good. It does God good. We have disobeyed and angered God!”, then I have to ask, since when has a man muted the immutable and since when did utter and protracted destruction look like a moral response to an emotion elicited? This appeases anger and pleasure returns to its proper place?!

But if there is a hell, I image in heaven we’re all up there and God asks everyone if we should send Joe there, then Don, then Bubba, then Sally, all down the line, all of us knowing we have no right to say and, we’re the next name He’s about to call. Doubtless, there will be some who vehemently say “Yes!”. Immediately, they go to hell … and Joe, Don, and Bubba and Sally remain in heaven with the rest of us who are just a little more humble, a little less callous, a little less hellish, a little more burdened holding that first stone.

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2 thoughts on “On Hell

  1. campeador says:

    We humans make everything about ourselves, even God and the ‘afterlife’. As we anthropomorphize ‘god’, we see in ‘him’ the qualities that we posit for ourselves, were we to be in God’s ‘situation’. He is Just, so he ‘must’ punish wrong-doers; as God neglects to do so in this life, ‘He’ will surely do so in the ‘next’. Ditto the ‘good’ people who are not rewarded here on Earth. So, ‘Hell’ and ‘Heaven’ are no more than reflections of ourselves in the Cosmic mirror.

    We have ample evidence of ‘hell’ in our own lives, so we are able to vividly imagine ‘Hell’ in all its unalloyed gruesomeness; ‘heaven’, not so much, as we see precious little of ‘Heaven’ in our own existence. So, we settle for wings, halos and pearly gates!

    Thus, you are correct Steven, in stating that there is “no justice on Earth but what we create”. There is likewise no ‘sin’, ‘punishment’ or ‘reward’, I might add.

    Thanks for your post.

    Rod Solórzano

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