Imagine a man wanders through your small dreary village one day claiming to be the legitimate king of the region. He demands that all must acknowledge his royal authority or suffer horribly painful consequences. You fall at the feet of this alleged king and submit. Your sister does not. This sister you love points out that any legitimate king of any degree of dignity would not threaten his subjects with horribly painful consequences if they do not acknowledge his royalty. You suggest it is better to be safe than sorry. Your sister suggests it is better to be intellectually honest than to succumb to threats.
The alleged king pulls you aside and make you a promise. “You and I are going to live happily ever after in my royal palace, and you will never ever be sad again” he says.. You thank him, then ask “But what about my sister?” The alleged king frowns. “I warned her. She will be tortured in my dungeon for the rest of her life. But don’t worry. You won’t be sad since you will be with me.” You puzzle over this for a moment. “How will I not be sad knowing you are having my sister tortured?” The alleged king is surprised at your lack of understanding. “But you’ll be with me! Why all this concern about your rebellious sister? She chose to be tortured in her rejection of my royalty. She brought this on herself. You won’t shed a tear for her once you see where you’ll be living.”
Could you be happy knowing your sister is being tortured? Do you think you would not shed any tears over your sister?
The following are some possible reasons you or I might not weep for a sister we knew was experiencing eternal pain and anguish:
1: We do not actually love our sister, and have not even the general sympathy for her we extend even to animals when they are experiencing excruciating pain.
2: We are given a lobotomy of some sort that prevents us from remembering our beloved sister and reflecting on her excruciating pain.
3: We are imbued with a cruel personality or the same wrath that the God of the Bible has that actually finds satisfaction in the suffering of our sister in her “rebellion”.
Assuming we do truly love our sister, which of options 2 and 3 will the Christian God employ to ensure there are no tears in Heaven?
(This chapter applies only to those who believe in a Hell of torment.)
It is perhaps encouraging to see many Christians redefining the notion of Hell to eliminate its torment and eternal duration, making it significantly less intrinsically unjust. Yet this move highlights the doctrinal imprecision of a book of truth presumably written by a God who would have had strong reasons to be as precise as possible. (See #03.)