Cruel and Unusual – Hell and Punishment

Does the punishment fit the crime?

This is a key concept in modern society.  In the name of justice, fairness, reasonableness, compassion, and many other related motivators, western society is adamant that no criminal suffer unreasonably for the wrong they committed.  Even a state willing to execute criminals finds itself concerned about limiting the suffering of the condemned.

According to Evangelical Theology, the biblical god created Hell to punish the unrighteous.  Hell is the eternal aftermath of judgment.  Since god created Hell, as his perfect punishment, one would expect that punishment to reflect his nature.  Theologically, Hell is the execution of god’s perfect Justice.  But if god is omnibenevolent, perfectly good, loving, merciful, and forgiving, as well as just, we would not be remiss to expect his final punishment to also embody those aspects too.  After all, god is who he is, and nothing he does can ever fall outside his nature.

So, how does one get to Hell? Continue reading

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The Devil Made Me Do it – or – Who is Responsible for the Evil Men Do?

Continuing on from my previous post, I want to delve into the issue of responsibility.

In that post I stated the following:

“Let’s say you are an architect and you build a beautiful theater for the purpose of housing the world’s most beautiful works of musical, dance, and theatrical arts.  It is gorgeous and perfect for its purpose – the best sight lines, the best acoustics, the best of everything.  But you design into it one simple flaw – the doors open inward instead of outward.  When a fire starts, and 2,000 people are trapped inside to burn alive, who is responsible?  Did they die because they chose to go to the theater?  Or did they die because the designer created that theater with a fatal flaw?”

Obviously a conversation of this sort tends to bleed over into other topics, such as hell, eternal punishment, free will, and the like.  We’ll get to those.  I want to keep it narrow in the interest of keeping the blog posts down to a reasonable length. Continue reading

The Birth of Dr. Evil, or, Where Did Evil Come From?

Where did evil come from?

This question is the root of some of my strongest objections to Christianity, and the source of many subtle but significant contradictions that, to my mind, demonstrate the manmade qualities of the Christian faith.

As an aside, I will state for current and future reference that when I relate specifics of Christian theology, I will use as my primary references either J.I. Packer’s “Concise Theology” (hereafter CT) or, when the short version won’t suffice, Norman Geisler’s 4 volume “Systematic Theology” (hereafter ST.)  I don’t think anyone will argue that these books don’t well represent the state of current Evangelical Christian Theology.

There are a few details we need to determine, then we’ll put them together and see if they fit. Continue reading