Q. I just read, “Believe in the One He Has Sent” and I am in full agreement with what you said. My faith believes In Christ and his Word and it will be as he said, but still, you haven’t answered the question I asked when I wrote to you before (See: Punished Forever?).
“…why God appears to go out of his way to make Hell painful.”
God created hell and then he added something else – fire and brimstone. It isn’t just “outer darkness” where there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s “physical” torture. He added that. Why? The analogy for me is separating the child by placing him in the corner because of disobedience. He is now no longer in the presence of the classroom. He is separated and can no longer wreak havoc with the others. But the teacher doesn’t think that’s enough. He sets the child on fire. Does that somehow make it more appropriate? I don’t get it.
A. This is just speculation, but to use your analogy, the disobedient little boy might look at his teacher and silently think, “I can take some time in the corner, and anything else you can dish out, too. I’m never going to obey.”
But if he knew before hand that he would be set on fire for disobeying, he might think twice before doing so. Then if he learned that by obeying one simple little rule, he could always get straight A’s, be his teacher’s favorite, help her run the class, even wind up running the whole school, and receive untold benefits on top of that, the fear of being set on fire would cease to exist because there were too many benefits for obeying. What does the hymn say? “Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace that fear relieved.”
A rebellious heart can put a “best case scenario” on moderate consequences for disobedience and convince himself he can get through it. It takes consequences that are clear and clearly extreme to get his attention long enough for him to consider the benefits of obedience instead.