Vol. 5, No. 3
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It seems that every doctrine of the Bible has its objectors. There is perhaps no teaching of the Bible which has spawned more objections from people than the doctrine of future punishment. Sometimes people attempt to raise objections based upon Scripture. Does the Bible contradict itself? Not at all! Context consistently proves the disputants wrong. Other objections are based upon human reason and emotion. Simply because a thing offends our sensibilities is no basis for its denial.
Please consider three common objections to the Bible doctrine of eternal punishment. After people have made their pleas against it, the Bible still teaches the same on the matter of eternal punishment.
1."Hell is inconsistent with the love and goodness of God." That God is good, tenderhearted, loving, benevolent, kind and merciful is not to be denied (Matthew 19:16-17; Titus 3:4-5). People commonly suppose that if they were God they would do things differently: They would not allow for sickness, suffering, death or hell.
However, this sentimental ploy ignores the fact that man is to blame for the consequences of sin (Romans 5:12). It ignores the fact that God's thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9). It shows that many people have no concept of the enormity of sin and the fact that God should decree such a punishment against sin is reflective of the heinousness of it.
2."The punishment of hell is disproportionate to the infraction." We say justice demands that the penalty be proportionate to the crime. We all sin (Romans 3:23). Who is to judge of the punishment that a sinner ought to receive who dies in his sins? (John 8:24). Does the rebellious child decide his chastisement? Does the criminal select his sentence? Do murderers sit on juries? Surely, anyone can see the absurdity of it all.
It requires the judgment of one who is separate from sin (Hebrews 7:26). This only God can do (James 1:13). God is infinite in all his attributes; in mercy, love, compassion; and when we see the punishment that such a God was constrained to enact against sin we are better able to grasp the enormity of sin than from any other view of the matter.
3."If I get to heaven and my loved ones are not there I could not be happy." While in the fellowship of the flesh, Jesus wept tears of sympathy and compassion (John 11:33-36). Now, he looks down upon more human misery than we could see all at once and live. Does he weep now? Will God not thus enable us? Family ties on earth are a blessing to our existence, but in heaven will be no more (Matthew 22:23-30). The thought that my loved ones might not be saved should cause me to pray, work and talk with them. This argument assumes we will ignore the manner of life characteristic of those who are lost and desire their presence in heaven regardless.
Human objections to the Bible mean nothing. We must measure sin by the punishment that God has decreed against it.