Is Eternal Punishment Fair?

If someone did not know about God and His law, is it fair to send them to eternal hell? Orthodoxy, constrained by its view of only two destinies, says the ignorant will go to hell, and God is fair in sending ignorant men there. There is, however, a solution to the dilemma posed by eternal punishment in which God is seen to be just for sending men to hell. The solution is to believe what God says regarding a third category of people in eternity. The third category of people are the nations that will inherit the earth (Mt 25:31, 5:5) as subjects of the elect/righteous who will rule over them (Rev 2:26, 3:21, Lk 19:17, 19). Of course, the third category is the sinners damned to Hades (Mt 25:41). The ignorant people saved from among the nations are the ones described in Lk 12:48 that will be punished with few stripes (Lk 12:48). These ignorant sinners will be punished in Hades during the present age. When these sinners rise from the dead, they will have opportunity to repent of their sins when they see what Jesus will do (En 50:2-3), but then it will be too late to become sons of God. The people who go to eternal hell are incorrigibles who either had every opportunity to serve God and spurned it, or else they remain rebellious to God even after they find out what His will is. How can God put people on the new earth who will not repent even after torture? He cannot, because He gave people free will. He therefore uses them as an eternal object lesson to creatures of free will in eternity. The people in Gehenna hell will serve as an eternal warning to the nations on the new earth to not disobey God. The people of the new earth (Isa 66:22) as part of their coming together to Jerusalem to serve God will go out from Jerusalem to nearby Gehenna and be reminded that the way of the transgressor is hard (Isa 66:23-24). The comforting fact is that the people who go there are incorrigibiles who will not repent even after they learn better. If a man tries to do the good he knows (Mt 25:34-36) and is willing to serve God, he will not go there. Eternity in Gehenna is all that God can do with people who knowingly reject His last offer of mercy either here or in Hades. He cannot put them on the new earth, for with their rebellious attitude, they would pollute it also. He therefore consigns them to Gehenna where they serve to warn others to not emulate their stubborn and rebellious hearts.

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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