An Argument Against Endless Torment


#1

Assume the following propositions are true:

  1. There is an “age of accountability (AOA)” which is different for everyone at which a person is then responsible for deciding for or against Christ. Repentance or non-repentance

  2. Prior to the “AOA” if an individual dies they would go to heaven

  3. A failure to repent and “accept Christ” by this “AOA” will put that individual “at risk” to burn in hell for all eternity unless they repent prior to death

  4. An individual who is past the “AOA” and has not repented prior to their death will indeed burn in hell for all eternity

  5. 80% of individuals who reach the “AOA” do not repent prior to death

So say I give money to a humanitarian organization which feeds children to save them from starvation. Let’s say my contributions save 4 children from certain death. 3 of the 4 children saved from starvation die after the age of accountability (let’s say at age 12) and burn in hell because they don’t repent and accept Christ as Savior the summer before they enroll in 6th grade. Had I not sent in the money the children would have died, but been spared an eternity of burning in hell and, in fact, get to enjoy an eternity of bliss because they died prior to the “AOA”.

Wouldn’t it, if we follow the logic, be more loving to cut off all support for starving children to save them from hell, assuming there was an 80% chance they would not repent prior to death?

Or, do we follow the words of John Calvin, who said “there are babies a span long in hell” and resort to a belief in double predestination so we don’t have to be emotionally troubled by these hypotheticals?

The more I think about the absurdities that surround the traditional doctrine of hell, the more I’m shocked that people can hold on to these beliefs. But I’m sure our good friend A37 will come to the rescue and set us straight :laughing:

In short, worshipping a God like this would not be worth any of our time. It would be 100x more merciful to disallow the birth of a person who would ultimately reject Christ or just simply annihilate them. So if the above propositions are true, then I guess I want no part of Christianty.


#2

Nice example F&B. Interesting.

But I don’t think giving up the traditional view of hell (as irrevocable conscious torment) solves all the problems of the scenario you shared. What to do with babies who die is still a problem on other grounds. One universalist I know argues that babies who die don’t get to go directly to heaven (a kind of free pass). This person believes “choosing” is a metaphysical requirement for creaturely enjoyment of heaven. One MUST exercise his will and so self-determine herself in relationship to God. So he thinks that babies, postmortem, have to be brought to some minimal level of maturity in a context in which they can then choose.

And some Calvinist non-Universalists take a similar approach. John Piper for example says that babies who die HAVE to encounter the gospel in some manner postmortem so they can then choose. I don’t think he says reprobate babies have to go through this. Non-elect babies who die can go straight to hell because they’re born corrupt and evil. They don’t need to choose wrongly to warrant hell. They just need to exist. But since one “MUST” be born again, even elect babies who die must make a conscious and informed choice for the gospel. Piper says God arranges the necessary context postmortem where they then choose, are born again, and THEN get to go to heaven.

And then Jerry Walls (an Arminian proponent of the traditional view of hell, albeit with a couple of interesting twists, cf. his Hell: The Logic of Damnation) argues that ALL ill-informed individuals (babies, the unevangelized, the mentally handicapped, etc.) who die without sufficient knowledge of the gospel are sufficiently informed by God (postmortem) of the necessary facts and are empowered to then determine themselves with respect to the gospel.

I was shocked to read of Piper’s belief in postmortem evangelism of the elect. I found it tucked DEEP on a sub-page of a sub-page of a sub-page on his website.

Interesting.

Tom


#3

But I love the logic of your example, F&B, given the assumptions people make about what happens to infants who die.

Another example. Given what non-Calvinist Christians generally believe about abortion AND babies who die going directly to heaven (together with the vastly increased probability of people going to hell just be virtue of surviving to the age of accountability…would it make sense of the same Christians to be, if not in favor of, at least not so vehemently opposed to abortion? Aborted babies all go directly to heaven on their view.

Tom


#4

It’s all games. God can inform those who aren’t able to be accountable but not those who are. Or maybe all those who are accountable are informed somehow. That’s something very different from what we see in reality, though. This is not the Spirit of Truth that Christ talked so much about.

All this is, however, conveniently stepping around the fact that heaven is not our ultimate destination. The earth will be resurrected and ourselves with it. Everything old and decrepit and even destroyed will be brought back to life again in full living color, eternally alive forms which are present realities already in Christ Himself.


#5

Well no, because free will is such a beautiful reality, although it’s eternally stunted by those who never get to employ it for its rightful usage, under this belief.


#6

By ‘heaven’ I mean the final state of glorified human beings fully realized in Christ, wherever you wanna locate it.

Yeah,
Tom


#7

F&B,

Since you displayed disrespectful, inappropriate behavior by unjustifiably calling me a “fraud”… I will not answer this thread with a biblical response. But leave you with this, Dr. D.A. said: “Some are quick to answer this question out of sentimentality( as you have F&B). Mere sentimentalism ignores the Bible’s teaching which bears on the issue. We have no right to establish doctrine on the basis of what we hope may be true. We must draw our answers from what the Bible reveals to be true.”

I will leave it at that.


#8

How very stoic of you.


#9

You don’t realize Aaron, there are major problems with accepting the worldview you are espousing while maintaining that God is infinitely loving and graceful, as he must be if he is God. In fact, the problem is very simple: he can’t be, under your system. It has nothing whatsoever to do with sentimentality.

Besides, F&B wasn’t giving a sentimental approach, just a pro/con one. “Should we abort babies then, if they are likely better off that way since they will definitely go to heaven?”

Waiiit… are you saying it’s sentimental to keep them alive, and we should abort them? Ohhhh… I get it. What does your congregation think of your stance on this issue? :confused:


#10

Ironically, though, you recently invited all the “grand poobahs” (in your demeaning words) such as Talbott & McDonald to answer your latest zinger of a dilemma on the unpardonable sin. Then you go on to say “and you too Jason (Pratt) are welcome” implying he’s nowhere near the level of Talbott and McDonald,but some theological wannabee (so far from the truth). This is merely one example in a long list of disrespectful, inappropriate behavior you’ve displayed. So my opinion hasn’t changed and I do not regret my comments. You’re not looking for an intellectual discussion where both sides learn from and challenge one another, you’re merely trying to force your inflexible dogma down everyone’s throats as if you’re our judge and passing it off as if it’s the indubitable truth.


#11

Not to mention we’re not the least bit threatened by such pathetic tactics. I’m yawning over here.


#12

The grand pooh-bah comment was a joke, F&B. Your certaintly entitled to your opinion of my challenges and discussions. But that is all it is, an opinion. :wink: Your “fraud” accusation about me was an unjustifiable blatant lie. (which tells me alot about your character, F&B)


#13

Your character is the only one that has been consistently seen in a negative light due to your own actions here, Aaron. You’re insane, quite frankly.


#14

F&B (&TGB)

I’ve contemplated this a bit, especially the point on abortion. Good thoughts guys. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers for you. Enjoyed reading it though! Tough questions!


#15

hi kkj

Good to see someone else posting here than just the ‘regulars’.


#16

This seems relevant: rachelheldevans.com/rob-bell-sbc … untability