Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Necessity of Hell

Most people who believe in an afterlife agree that heaven of some sort exists, although few, it seems, are willing to admit to a hell that completes the duo. Yet part of the evidence to the existence of both is the experience of both in this life.

We live in the overlap of both worlds; the affluent experience a humanized heaven, the poor and subjugated often live in a reality of hell, although whether either party deserves their fortune or misfortune is debateable.

Either way, one day heaven and hell will be separated, neither experiencing or able to communicate with the other. At that time, each person will be in the place chosen by their actions, belief or disbelief during their time in this world.

But, the argument goes, there can’t be a hell, for a God of love would never place anyone in such a terrible place. This argument, of course, is based on the human value of sin—it’s not really bad enough to deserve banishment from God’s presence—which is what hell is.

Hell becomes more understandable if we see sin from the way God sees it. Justice—if we care enough about it—requires a penalty, either from the transgressor or someone willing to take his or her place. A loving God was willing to give his own Son in our place—that describes His assessment of the evil extent of sin.

I’m not sure anyone would want a heaven where everyone attained it on their own terms. Do we want a repeat of earth in heaven? Sin is like cancer, one cell can destroy the body; one sin could destroy heaven. For those unwilling to relinquish, or seek forgiveness for their sin, hell is the only place to practise it.

No comments: