555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

547. Does Not the Revelation of God's Love Make the Doctrine of Hell Incredible?

Not in all its aspects. God has not revealed definitely what kind of place the abode of the lost is, but merely that it is a place of weeping, gnashing of teeth and intense suffering, typified by burning. The idea is not inconsistent with what we know of sin here. We know the kind of a life a young man will lead in his premature old age if he gives himself to vice in his youth. However loving his father may be, he cannot save the lad from physical suffering if he persists in evil courses. He can only warn him, and God does that with his children. We have no ground given us for expecting that God will give another opportunity, although he may do so, for there are no limits to his mercy; but it is an awful risk to run. Our duty is to accept the opportunity that is offered now and not to speculate on the possibility of there being another. The terms of the offer read to us like those of a final offer. We cannot conceive of God being inconsistent. The punishment of the impenitent seems to be not so much an infliction by God, as the result of choice on the part of the sufferer. You may have seen a boy at school, in spite of all warnings and all advice, neglect his lessons and give his time to play and idleness. Can he blame his teacher or his parents, if at the end of his school life he is ignorant and is unfit for a profession? If a young man voluntarily associates with men of foul life and coarse manners and acquires their habits, do you blame a refined lady if she excludes him from her home? If a child who has been warned against touching a hot stove and has had the consequences explained to him, avails himself of a brief absence of his mother to lay his hand on the glowing metal, he must not blame his mother when he suffers. If he is so badly burned that he loses his hand, he goes through life maimed because of that momentary act. We do not blame the mother, or charge her with being inconsistent All her love cannot save him from the consequences of his own perversity. When a man deliberately chooses sin after being warned of the consequences, and refuses the offer of pardon and regeneration, what is to be expected as. to his future? Still, we are not to judge others, and above all we should not attempt to set limits to the Divine mercy.