Jesus was clearly distressed and in pain all the time over the sins of others.  In the guise of concern, he judged them as in danger.  He claimed that concern and judgement were compatible.  He went on about Gehenna and judgement and the horror of sin and the urgent need for repentance more than anything else.  He warned of eternal punishment in Hell from which there is no escape if you leave repentance too late.  He spoke of a sin against the Holy Spirit that you can carry forever for it will not be washed away by forgiveness.

A saint is a person in Heaven, who is supposedly enjoying eternal life.  Enjoying?  How can you be happy in Heaven when children and your mother and father and child are in Hell?

Then Heaven is as much perpetual torment as Hell is. When the saints are so good they must suffer as much as the damned suffer at the thought of them suffering. Why go to Heaven in that case?
The view that the saints are happy and that this doesn’t mean they don’t also suffer at the same time to think of the suffering of the damned is advanced by JP Moreland in the notorious The Case for Faith page 259 (Lee Strobel, HarperCollins, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000). There it is said that maturity enables the saints to hold the two feelings at the same time.

This assumes several things. JP Moreland holds that the Bible alone is the supreme doctrinal authority and the only sure voice of God so his theory is unacceptable if it undermines it or adds to it. And it does fit the Bible which speaks of saints in the Book of Revelation begging God to avenge sins.

He says that they are able to handle the grief because they know that the damned chose Hell and because God had to respect their dignity and their choice they had to go there. So they understand and this eases their pain. But does a person cutting their limbs off mean you are entitled not to care because they are doing it to themselves? One major point about caring is that you suffer if people make the wrong choices. Otherwise there is little or no point.
The Bible never says that God lets people go to Hell to respect their dignity. It may be that he has to degrade them for one of his mysterious purposes and the Bible continually declares the mystery of God’s providence and his ways.
Moreland says that Hell is not a torture chamber (page 241). People who go there reject God and this rejection is so awful that it affects their bodies so they suffer physically but they are the cause of their suffering not God (page 243). So people torture themselves there willingly out of rejection of God but it is not a divine torture chamber. So in short, the damned reject the source of happiness, God, and the result is a loneliness and a sense of failure that is more than they can bear but which they have to face forever.
He argues that it is not a torture chamber because everything that happens to the damned in Hell is their own creation. He says that the fire of hell spoken of in the Bible was never meant to be taken literally because Hell is described in it as utter darkness and you can’t have such darkness where you have such great flames (page 245).
First of all, how does he know it is the utter darkness that is literal and not the fire? Why doesn’t he say that the utter darkness is what is not literal because flames give light? When Jesus described Hell most often as a fire it would follow that the fire had the best chance of being meant literally. And the vast majority of Christians since Jesus’ time did take hellfire literally so why couldn’t Jesus have meant it literally?
Jesus described Hell as fire but God can make a fire that doesn’t give off light or maybe he just cloaks the light so nobody can see it.
Jesus described the damned as being sent into the fire or everlasting fire as eternal punishment.
God respecting the choice of the damned to freely suffer and reject him forever is not punishing them but honoring them in the Moreland theology though he doesn’t see that. He says Hell is punishment only in the sense that God can’t make them happy when they refuse his kindness which is absurd. And they are not punishing themselves – you don’t punish yourself for drinking by getting a hangover. They hate God and are not intending to punish themselves. God is punishing and torturing them.
If Moreland is right that Hell is just a metaphor for the loneliness of having given up God forever then what did Jesus need a metaphor for? Why didn’t he restrict himself to saying it was endless loneliness? The answer is that the fire even if it is symbolic makes it clear that Hell is indeed a torture chamber. The fire if symbolic pictures the pain of burning. The metaphor doctrine is nowhere in the Bible. Hell is a torture chamber and it seems God tortures there and lets the damned and the demons torment each other.
Moreland’s attempts to deny that Hell is a torture chamber in the sense that God tortures people there. What we must remember is that is only his interpretation – and we can disagree if we want. He believes that it is a state which there is no escape but which is rather a state of unending loneliness which God doesn’t want to happen even to the damned but which they choose for themselves. This is what a Christian is obligated to believe. He would tell you that you must believe that when you die rebellious to God you have to go to Hell to suffer forever and there is no hope for the Bible says that but you don’t have to believe his interpretation. So we are free then to accept or reject the torture chamber interpretation. To make people free to believe such an evil and vindictive doctrine proves that Hell is an evil and vindictive doctrine!

The motive behind attempts to show that Hell is not a torture chamber is to butter people up because modern society sees torture as immoral. It is strange to argue that the loneliness is unimaginable and then to have a problem with Hell being a place of torture. It is hypocritical.
In summary, Hell is a torture chamber.  And even if it were not, there is no way the saints could bear to see the suffering of the damned. The only option is for them to gloat and wish they could make a trip to Hell just to increase the torments of the damned.


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