Dealing with an Objection to Hell: Unjust of God to Give an Eternal Punishment for a Finite Crime?

The doctrine of an ETERNAL hell has many objectors today. A lot of people cannot fathom how God could be just and send anyone to hell, especially if it is an eternal hell for sins committed in this temporary life. The question is ‘How could such a thing be fair?’

This is an not a new question, but one that has been answered and addressed for hundreds of years. The Puritan pastor Thomas Brooks addressed it in his book “London’s Lamentations” 350 years ago (“Works of Thomas Brooks” Vol 6 pages 212-216).

I have found his seven-fold answer helpful and have restated it in modern English below (along with some direct quotes). You may not find all of his points persuasive, but I think together they help us see the just nature an eternal punishment in hell for sins committed in this life. This in turn helps us to trust in the justice of God who sends people to an eternal hell.

OBJECTION STATED:

‘How can God send anyone to an ETERNAL hell for momentary offenses committed in this life? Isn’t it unfair to send someone to hell for eternity due to sins that lasted a short time? Isn’t that UNJUST?’

Answer in 7 Points:

1 God’s will is the rule of righteousness and therefore whatever He does is just. (As God the Creator and Judge, all God does is right; He is the standard of morality).

2 There is a principal in man to sin eternally; and therefore it is but just for God to punish him eternally. (“The sinner never loses his will to sin.”)

3 God is an infinite and eternal good and thus the act of sin against God is a sin an against an infinite and eternal good. (“Every sin is of an infinite nature, because of the infinite dignity of the person against whom it is committed. Therefore it deserves an infinite punishment…”)

4 Though the act of sin be transient, yet it leaves such a stain upon the soul as is permanent, and continues forever, and forever disposes the sinner onto sin, if it be not pardoned and purged out by mercy and grace.

5 Though death puts an end to men’s lives, it does not put and end to sins. (“Hell is as full of sin as it is a punishment or torment”)

6 It is no injustice in God to punish temporal offenses with perpetual torments. (“God measures the punishment by the greatness of the offense, and not by the time wherein in the sin was active.” [We do this too with things like murder— it may only take less than a second to murder one or many people, but we see it is just to punish a person with death or life imprisonment–this is an insight I gained from an Ask Pastor John podcast. Our sins against God are infinitely heinous, and deserve an infinite punishment.)

7 Sinners in hell get what they have chosen. (They have rejected God in this life and that is what they get in the next).

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