Infinite punishment for finite sins

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#16

Post by narnia4 » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:16 pm

I'm afraid that we aren't on the same wavelength, Smiley. At least, I'm not understanding some of your points here.
smiley wrote: However, the issue here is if they can tell that their wrong actions are of infinite gravity and have infinite consequences.
I'm not understanding how this effects my original argument.

What difference does it really make whether or not they realize the consequences of their wrong actions if they know that they are wrong? A murderer may not know the exact sentence for his crime, but that doesn't change that he knew what he did was wrong. Anyone who knows what they did was wrong can be held accountable. Heck, nobody TRULY understands the consequences of accepting or rejecting God. I know I don't understand it, but I've stilled made my choice.

On my point #2, that first sentence was worded badly. What I should say is that "we" know what the Bible says. Anyone who has debated on any of these topics or has access to the Bible is without any excuse. I can't say exactly what happens to those who might live on an island without any books or knowledge of Jesus (although different theologians have addressed this, and you seem to have done so as well in answering 3), but that really doesn't effect "us". If you're also talking about those who just haven't read the Bible or decided they don't want to bother about that stuff, willful ignorance is simply no excuse and it's a sign that they have rejected God in their own way.


Here's a quote from an article in the Apologetics Study Bible that addresses your question. Before this question it was established refusing to accept Christ is really the "ultimate sin", it's the mindset of rejecting God.

"But how can people be sent to hell without knowing its full implications? Even if one isn't fully aware of hell's anguish, this doesn't mean our choice is too much to bear. God is ready to equip anyone for salvation (John 16:8). Though the full consequences of our embracing or rejecting God aren't apparent to us now, grace to choose responsibly is available to all. What prevents the salvation of everyone? Individuals' choosing freely to reject the Holy Spirit (Ac 7:51). God doesn't send people to hell; they freely reject Him. Condemning themselves by not acknowledging their guilt."

So as that part of the article implies, Jesus is "knocking at the door". Those who seek will find. Seeking Jesus is something that's written into a code, part of our essence, receiving or rejecting Christ is a choice.

As far as what it means to say that God is infinite, here's a link about that-

http://www.gotquestions.org/infinite-God.html
Last edited by narnia4 on Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#17

Post by truthman » Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:26 pm

Smiley,
I understand what you are saying. The problem is that you either do not understand what the Bible says or to just not accept what the Bible says. I don't see how someone who says he has trusted Christ as his Saviour can not believe what the Bible says. Here is what the Scriptures say:

KJV: Romans 1:18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23. And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

KJV: Romans 2:15. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#18

Post by smiley » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:54 am

Narnia--here's basically my point.

Jac brought up God's infinite nature to justify the idea that all sins are of infinite gravity because, he says, they infinitely offend God (your idea was that people are punished because they reject God's forgiveness which I also object to in a similar way)

However, if people are not aware 1) the fact that God cares about what they do and takes "offense" at their actions 2) that He is infinite and infinitely offended by any wrongdoing - then how can they be held accountable for offending God?

Consider this analogy. I take a gun, I look everywhere around me, and I see that no one is anywhere nearby, and then shoot it. But then, I hear a scream. I shortly learn that there was an invisible, inscrutable man standing right in front of me--and I learn that I shot him with the gun.

Can I be held morally accountable for it? No, I would argue, clearly not. I simply did not possess enough information to know how harmful my actions could be. Certainly, the consequences of what I did are tragic, but you could not tell me that I'm evil and should go to jail because of it.

Similarly, if I knew that my wrong actions are infinitely offending someone out there, I would be much more careful about what I do. However, if I am not given enough information to know that my actions are, in fact, offrending anyone, much less infinitely, then how can I be punished for them? I am not talking about not knowing the "full consequences" of Hell--I'm talking about the people who do not even know there is any kind of "punishment" for their actions at all, and furthermore, do not know that their actions are offending anyone (for example, the so-called "thoughtcrimes").

As for God being infinite, that article says that because God is omnipotent, omniscient and all that, He must "infinite". First, omnipotence and omniscience are, at least from a Biblical perspective not "infinite" power and knowledge--they are the qualities of possessing all power and knowledge that is possible to have. At least there's no Biblical evidence of that. We are just told that He can do anything and knows everything.

In any case, even if we concede that God has infinite power, knowledge and "presence", I do not see how this means that He can not be finitely offended. Since when do the power and knowledge of the offended determine the weight of the punishment? According to that, the smarter and more powerful the victim is, the greater the punishment. That just doesn't work. It is the amount of damage that is done to the victim that determines the punishment, and since God is omnipotent, He can not, by definition, be harmed.

Truthman, just because I trust Jesus does not mean I believe every word of the Bible. I believe the content of the Bible was highly influenced by the flawed opinions and knowledge of their human writers. I do not think it was dictated by the Holy Spirit, word-for-word. In this particular case, what Paul tells me runs contrary to what I see in the world. So, I go with what I see. There have been many people throughout history who simply did not possess sufficient information to rationally come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was God incarnate. That said, using the Bible as the basis for your argument in justifying Biblical doctrines is generally bad practice. What if I was an atheist to whom the doctrine of Hell was an obstacle to becoming a Christian? You could not just quote from the Bible and expect that I'm satisfied with that.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#19

Post by narnia4 » Tue Jul 20, 2010 8:58 am

Just to be clear, I don't believe I ever actually brought up the "God is infinite" thing, just provided a link about it.

Also, I don't think your example works because of objective morality. People KNOW what they do is wrong. The punishment is beyond the comprehension of humans, but if they know what they do is wrong that's still no excuse. Also, we have the advantage (as does the rest of the western world) of having all the directions here, ready for us to read. As I said earlier, for "us" (western world, anyone with access to God's Word, etc.) there is no excuse. Whatever will happen to natives living on an island who don't have the same understanding as we do, that doesn't concern us because we aren't the judge and we aren't God.
smiley wrote: In any case, even if we concede that God has infinite power, knowledge and "presence", I do not see how this means that He can not be finitely offended. Since when do the power and knowledge of the offended determine the weight of the punishment? According to that, the smarter and more powerful the victim is, the greater the punishment. That just doesn't work.
Actually, isn't this kind of similar to what you're saying? The LESS knowledgeable the victim is, the smaller the punishment?


I'm not sure that this completely addresses my point of people separating themselves from God. If people have the mindset of rejecting him, they'll get what they've been asking for. The punishment is being separated from God, which for all intents and purposes is what they "asked" for.

And finally, how do we know that those in hell are repentant and want to go to Heaven? How do we know that the "eternal" part of the separation isn't because of them and not God? Like the rich man in the parable in Luke 16, he doesn't ask to be given a chance to repent, he asks for relief from the pain.
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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#20

Post by J.Davis » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:07 pm

Hi guys, just wanted to give my thoughts on why infinite hell is fair.

1. Humans are full of sin and evil, all humans are equal concerning this.

2. Humans seek to atone for their sins and evil heart by finding what they believe is an equal trade for the immoral crimes they commit.

3. Equal moral exchange is a law.

Example...If a man cheats on his wife he may find comfort for his sin if his wife cheats on him, saying in his heart, we are even, I caused her pain and she has returned an equal measure of pain to me, I can now forgive my sin. And the wife will say in her heart, he caused me pain and I caused him equal pain, I am blameless, his punishment is just. And they both find comfort from the others pain. This also means that they take Gods place and attempt to forgive their own sin and heal their wounded heart (their pain). Because they are not saved there is no other way...pain for pain to atone for their own sins and find comfort. That is a fair and equal trade.

It is also possible that the cheating husband may find comfort if he feels he is the recipient of numerous painful immoral crimes related or unrelated to adultery and caused by his wife or any number of sources. In this case he will say, she hurt me or I have been hurt many times, my immoral debt is paid, I can forgive my sin. And he will have comfort.

Or the wife can say to the husband, I forgive you, and never seek revenge, and that will be her revenge. She will, for as long as she lives, have the power to cause him to suffer for the pain she received, never giving him the opportunity to atone for his actions against her. And the husband will seek a way to atone for his actions against his wife, so he may have comfort.

The wife could also forgive the husband and hold no resentment, saying in her heart, I have sinned against others, everyone sins, I am not so bad, I can forgive myself. She will take comfort in knowing she has received pain for pain...an equal exchange.

And because both the husband and wife are unsaved their sins will always be with them, destroying their relationship and many aspects of their life unless they find salvation in Jesus Christ.

We will all give a reaction to the sin we encounter in our life and God will judge us according to our response.

How does all of this relate to eternity in hell being a fair punishment?

The unsaved only know how to live life in the manner described above. They require a sufficient or equal immoral exchange to atone for their sins and have comfort. When it comes time to be judged by God (Jesus) and he goes over the sins of those who are unsaved (making them aware of their sins), and they realize who God is and what they have done to him as well as understanding the fact that, in reality, he didn't commit any immoral crime against them, they will seek a way to atone for their sins in the only way they know how...pain for pain, an equal exchange. And in one final act of mercy for their hopeless condition, because he is a fair and just God, he will send his beloved, unsaved sin filled creation to the only place capable of generating the level of pain they will require to atone for their sins against Jesus, so that they may forgive themselves.

The unsaved don't have moral perfection to exchange with God....or Jesus to stand in their place. And God has no sin to exchange with them. So they can never pay their debt for the immoral crimes/sins they committed against God (Jesus). So the only way the unsaved can get what they need is for God to give them his wrath (anger and revenge). Now an exchange can be made, God will give his wrath and the unsaved will feel his wrath and hate him. In this act the unsaved have the fair exchange of pain they require to take comfort in the fact that God is finally hurting them too, with sufficient or equal pain, they can forgive their sin. And this exchange will last for all eternity, because by the laws the unsaved chose to live by, only a return of sufficient pain, suffering, torment and all the characteristics found in their own personal hell can atone for the sins they commit against others (in this case God). And only the blood of a perfect sinless being (Jesus) can atone for the immoral crimes against God. And neither will ever have what is required to forgive the other.

Many who are unsaved have resentment in their heart and blame God for what they believe is his attempt to deny them happiness, control them and force them to live up to his impossible moral standards. So they spend their life tying to be equal with God, accusing him of many lies, unjust acts and deceitful behavior so they may disprove his existence and be free of the truth in their heart. They act as god's and (in their heart) strip Jesus of his power and reduce his nature to the nature of man. They misunderstand Gods love and should they die unsaved, they will, through their actions, require a perfect, sinless and eternal God to do the only thing he can never do, sin against them so that they may be blameless, equal with God and have no need to be forgiven. Hell is the only way for God and the unsaved to complete the process required by the law of exchange. He does not want to torment those who are unsaved when they die, he must torment them or his law will be broken and destruction will follow.

And this was done so that we may all be free to choose. You want to live in a world free of a loving God that only wishes to save you from your sins (Jesus), where equal beings act and judge based on their personal moral standards, where your conscience is your judge and demands that you atone for your immoral crimes and never deems you worthy then you can have it...Just continue to find a way to make God morally equal to you due to the immoral crimes you believe he commits. I pray you do not enter heaven in that condition.
Last edited by J.Davis on Sat May 14, 2011 1:35 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#21

Post by J.Davis » Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:08 pm

Scriptures...

Proof for my first point..1 Humans are full of sin and evil, all humans are equal concerning this.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Mark 7:21-23 21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

Proof for my second point..2. Humans seek to atone for their sins and evil heart by finding what they believe is an equal trade for the immoral crimes they commit.

Leviticus 24:17-22 17 Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. 19 If anyone injures his neighbor, as he has done it shall be done to him, 20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; whatever injury he has given a person shall be given to him. 21 Whoever kills an animal shall make it good, and whoever kills a person shall be put to death. 22 You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.

In this (Leviticus 24:17-22), God confirms the Human need to be morally equal and allows equal immorality so that man may have comfort for immoral crimes committed against them until the time Jesus came to earth and atoned for their sins.

Proof that Humans had this characteristic from the beginning..

Genesis 3:12 The man said, The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.

(Adam was the man)

Proof for my third point.. 3 Equal moral exchange is a law.

Jesus confirms that equal moral exchange is a law.

Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matthew 7:1-2 1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Proof that Jesus no longer approves of the equal immoral exchange law as a way of life for those who are saved.

Matthew 5:38-39 38 You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Matthew 5:43 43 You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.

Proof that the equal moral exchange law applies in heaven..

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Proof that the unsaved will know that God is blameless when they are judged.

Isaiah 5:16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness.

Proof that the unsaved will feel remorse in heaven and attempt to be equal with God, as they did on earth.

Matthew 7:21-23 21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? 23 And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Proof that God will give his wrath to the unsaved and judge them according to their personal acts.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.

Romans 2:12-16 12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#22

Post by TallMan » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:20 pm

smiley wrote:Here are the few arguments I have encountered in defense of this Biblical doctrine:
...
I'm convinced it is un-biblical.
What do you believe?

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#23

Post by truthman » Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:31 pm

Smiley wrote:
Truthman, just because I trust Jesus does not mean I believe every word of the Bible. I believe the content of the Bible was highly influenced by the flawed opinions and knowledge of their human writers. I do not think it was dictated by the Holy Spirit, word-for-word. In this particular case, what Paul tells me runs contrary to what I see in the world. So, I go with what I see. There have been many people throughout history who simply did not possess sufficient information to rationally come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was God incarnate. That said, using the Bible as the basis for your argument in justifying Biblical doctrines is generally bad practice. What if I was an atheist to whom the doctrine of Hell was an obstacle to becoming a Christian? You could not just quote from the Bible and expect that I'm satisfied with that.
Smiley: CAN YOU PROVE BEYOND DOUBT THAT THE BIBLE WAS HIGHLY INFLUENCED BY THE FLAWED OPINIONS AND KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN WRITERS?

No one else has ever been able to. You have a way too high opinion of yourself, thinking you know better than Paul. No doubt you may well be much more intelligent than I am and more knowledgeable than I, but in my 50 some years of study of the Bible I have never found a flaw in it and have concluded that the very intelligent and educated scholars who have concluded that it is the inerrant inspired word of God as it claims are correct. Now if you can just convince God or your superior intelligence....
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. " 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#24

Post by Kristoffer » Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:37 pm

truthman wrote: Smiley: CAN YOU PROVE BEYOND DOUBT THAT THE BIBLE WAS HIGHLY INFLUENCED BY THE FLAWED OPINIONS AND KNOWLEDGE OF HUMAN WRITERS?
Yes but despite that, can you say that it wasn't inspired? At the least by an idea if not by a actual existing being (which I am not denying any-more)

Sorry i made a mistake, i thought you was asking this personaly and not about something smiley said.

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#25

Post by ChrisB » Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:28 pm

I know that by God's very nature He cannot be in the presence of evil, and so any unrepentent sinner will be forever excluded from His kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10, 15:50) and that if we break just one of God's laws... then it's as if we've broken all of them (James 2:10).

The one thing I'm currently racking my brain over is the possibility of those "finite" sins everyone was talking about... although just how that could be and what it could mean is beyond me.

'If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.' (1 John 5:16, 17)
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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#26

Post by smiley » Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:10 am

They are finite in consequence.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#27

Post by Sudsy » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:37 am

Hi, my first post on this forum.

Just a comment regarding those who believe in infinite as in 'never ending torment' for the unsaved -

You folk who believe this and also believe you are to love your neighbour as yourself, must be spending almost all of your waking moments pleading with people to believe in Christ and escape from this type of judgment. If you are not, I would say this belief you have is just a head belief.

Personally, I believe in a judgment and a fair sentence given out by God but since I do not read in the New Testament where the apostles were 'hell fire' preachers, I think they likely understood more about what Jesus was saying about hell than most of us. The Gospel is 'good news' but proclaimed more in the sense of freedom from the bondage of sin and reconciliation with God than escaping from a final place of unending torment.

Now I suppose I have stuck my neck out in my first post but I'm pretty thick skinned and do enjoy hearing how other believers view this topic. My current belief is that there will be a judgment and sentence and punishment for all who reject Christ but it will not last forever but until it serves it purpose and ends in destruction/perishing. I can't begin to comprehend how one would live their life as a loving Christian if they truly believed in their heart that hell was a never ending place of torment unless they were frantically involved trying to witness to everyone to try to snatch them from such a place.

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#28

Post by smiley » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:40 am

Some people just don't realize how long an infinite period of time is. Imagine, after trillions and trillions of years of torment, you're still not even a second closer to the end. That's terrifying.

In any case, given that I haven't found any satisfying answers to this, I am now inclined to adopt Annihilationism.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#29

Post by warhoop » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:15 am

Sudsy wrote:My current belief is that there will be a judgment and sentence and punishment for all who reject Christ but it will not last forever but until it serves it purpose and ends in destruction/perishing.
And what purpose does judgement and sentence and punishment serve?
smiley wrote: In any case, given that I haven't found any satisfying answers to this, I am now inclined to adopt Annihilationism.
Well, it's not really about your satisfaction now is it. Not to be argumentative, but if it doesn't make sense to me despite biblical evidence to the contrary, then the problem lies with my understanding, not with God's purpose or will.

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Re: Infinite punishment for finite sins

#30

Post by smiley » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:23 am

If it didn't make sense, and the Bible left no other alternatives but to believe it, then that would be a pretty good reason (for me, at least) to leave Christianity. Fortunetaly, annihilationism has good grounds to stand on.

Chalking it all up to God's supremacy and our inability to understand "His ways" is just the last-resort move that anyone from any religion can use.
"Imagine if we picked the wrong god. Every time we go to church, we're just make him madder and madder." - Homer Simpson

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