Wednesday, 18 October 2017 14:11

VIII. The problem of eternal hell

Written by Gabriel Baicu
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    If one doesn't take the first 11 chapters from the book of Genesis to be literally real he or she is entitled to have doubts about the reality of other parts of the Bible also. One doesn’t need to become Gnostic in order to explain the profound inconsistencies between the O.T. and the N.T. Looking to the O.T. as to a compilation of many exaggerations does the same thing. How can one be sure that the history of the Jewish people as it is depicted by the O.T. is real if the story about the creation of the world isn’t real? None can get such assurance from the Bible and particularly when he or she tries to compare the image of God in the O.T. and in the N.T.

    Many problems arise from this comparison. One of them is the problem of the existence of hell. How can a generous and loving God punish anyone with eternal hell for an action which took place on earth? Every human being on earth leaves under specific conditions and has to fight for his or her survival hence punishing someone for his or her innate instincts of survival out of the context of life on earth is absurd.   

    Any punishment that we get on earth has to consider the human condition and also has to have a limit taking into consideration that human beings are mortal and live under a finite perspective.  

    All things which are done in the finite dimension of the reality have to be judged in that dimension and bad deeds have to be punished accordingly. Punishing a human person with eternal hell for mistakes made in a finite life on earth is preposterous. We are not eternal beings who live eternal lives or at least many human beings don’t believe that we are. Building any doctrine on the premise of human immortality without any proof that we are immortal and accepting as rational the condemnation of human beings to an eternal punishment for their earthly mistakes or even more for their unbelief in God are very dangerous principles. Even if one doesn’t believe in immortality he or she will be punished with hell if eternal life really exists. Why should one be punished for something which doesn’t exist for him or her? This doesn’t make sense. One should be punished only for his or her mistakes which are connected with tangible realities or at least with his or her faith.    

    People make many mistakes sometimes with good intentions and they are mostly punished for them during their life on earth. After suffering the consequences of their wrongdoings on earth human beings would have to pay again a very high price for them being punished for the second time for the same deeds with eternal hell. 

After a life of many problems and sometimes sufferance on earth, many sinners would be deemed unworthy for heavens and doomed to hell according to with the classical theistic view of Christianity.

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    This double jeopardy is unacceptable and if God can do what He wants being stronger than humankind this by itself doesn’t make things right. Even a child born in another religion than the Christian one or in an atheist family and who died before attaining full discernment and maturity of thinking would be punished for eternity and that for only 14 or 15 years lived on earth. In the narratives of the O.T., many innocent children have died following divine actions. If all stories from the O.T. are as accurate as the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis it wasn’t God killing those children but human imagination.  

   In any case, children from another religion than the Christian one or born in an atheist family would be considered by many Christian followers to be doomed to hell anyway if those children wouldn’t become adult Christians. It would be the fault of their parents for keeping them far from the Christian baptism. 

   Only Jesus is considered to be the Way of salvation and there isn’t another way for eternity. It isn’t only about the name Jesus but more importantly is about the content of His teachings. Jesus thought humankind a set of principle which must be practiced not only professed theoretically. What would be better for salvation to be a Christian only by the name or to practice Jesus’ teachings without the name Christian attached to the person? Jesus’s teachings are universal and they become effective when someone becomes a loving and spiritual person with or without allegiance to a certain religious institution, religious doctrine or dogma. This universality of Jesus’ teachings makes them valid for anyone who practices them. 

   There are many texts in the Bible which can bring us to the conclusion that hell isn’t a real place in which the sinners would spend their eternity. God has said that He had set in front of the Jewish people the life and the death and that He advised them to choose life.

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