29 April 2013

An Eternity in Hell? Really?

The traditional doctrine of hell seems terrible to our modern ears because it is out of step with our modern intuitions about how God should behave. But our intuitions about these matters are hardly a reliable guide, given what Scripture says about the noetic effects of sin. To put it another way, the fact that an infinite punishment for sin seems an appalling, even disproportionate, punishment to contemporary human beings does not necessarily mean it is an appalling, disproportionate punishment. It may be that this is simply testimony to our failure to take with sufficient seriousness the idea of sinning against a being of infinite beauty and value. 
--Oliver Crisp, defending Edwards' understanding of hell, in "Karl Barth and Jonathan Edwards on Reprobation," in Engaging with Barth: Contemporary Evangelical Critiques (T&T Clark 2008), 316-17

Translation: The fact that an eternal hell seems disproportionately cruel as a punishment for sinners--that very sense of disproportion--is itself one manifestation of the sin that deserves eternal punishment.

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