Food for thought – with David Bentley-Hart

The real question for those who advocate the existence both of Free Will and a Hell of eternal conscious torment awaiting those who reject God.

“I have mastered all of the more common arguments for the moral intelligibility of the idea of a hell of eternal torment, not to mention a good number of the uncommon ones. None of these, however, has ever persuaded me of anything, except perhaps the lengths of specious reasoning to which even very intelligent persons can go when they feel bound by faith to believe something inherently incredible.

And, to be honest, even if any versions of those arguments did seem plausible to me, they would still fail to move me, since no versions deal adequately with the actual question that to me seems the most obvious and most crucial- at least, if one truly believes that Christianity offers any kind of cogent picture of reality. The great majority of defenders of the idea of a real hell of eternal torment (for brevity’s sake, we can call them “infernalists” hereafter) never really get around to addressing properly the question of whether we can make moral sense of God’s acts in the great cosmic drama of creation, redemption, and damnation. They invariably imagine they have done so, but only because they have not sufficiently distinguished that question from whichever one it is that genuinely preoccupies them – which these days tends to be the question of whether a free, rational agent, in order to be truly free, or truly capable of a relation of love with God, must have the power justly to condemn himself or herself to everlasting dereliction, and whether then God will allow him or her to do so out of regard for the high dignity of this absolutely indispensable autonomy.”

extracted from “That All May be Saved” by David Bentley-Hart.