The "Justice"

of Eternal Suffering

What better is the world, what better is the sinner, what better is God, what better is the truth, that the sinner should suffer – continue suffering for all eternity?

 

Would there be less sin in the universe?

 

Would there be any making-up for sin?

 

Would it show God justified in doing what He knew would bring sin into the world, justified in making creatures who He knew would sin?

 

What setting-right would come of the sinner’s suffering?...

 

If my friend has wronged me, will it console me to see him punished?

 

Will that be a rendering to me of my due?

 

Will his agony be a balm to my deep wound?

 

Should I be fit for any friendship if that were possible even in regard to my enemy?

 

But would not the shadow of repentant grief, the light of reviving love on his countenance, heal it at once however deep?

Take any of those wicked people in Dante’s hell, and ask wherein is justice served by their punishment. … Justice is not, never can be, satisfied by suffering – nay, cannot have any satisfaction in or from suffering. … Such justice as Dante’s keeps wickedness alive in its most terrible forms.

 

“God” is triumphantly defeated, I say, throughout the “hell” of His vengeance.

 

Although against evil, it is but the vain and wasted cruelty of a tyrant. There is no destruction of evil thereby, but an enhancing of its horrible power in the midst of the most agonizing and disgusting tortures a divine imagination can invent.

 

If sin must be kept alive, then hell must be kept alive; but while I regard the smallest sin as infinitely loathsome, I do not believe that any being, never good enough to see the essential ugliness of sin, could sin so as to deserve such punishment.…

God is bound by His justice

to destroy sin in His creation.

 

Love is justice – is the fulfilling of the law, for God as well as for His children… He is bound in Himself to make up for wrong done by His children… For nothing less than this did Christ die.

George MacDonald (1824-1905) 
Unspoken Sermons, Series Three (1889) 

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