What Are We To Make of Finite Sins Against an Infinite God?

What Are We To Make of Finite Sins Against an Infinite God?

In the debate concerning the final fate of the unrepentant, the argument is frequently made that a finite number of sins warrants infinite punishment because the sins are against God, who is infinite. The level of punishment deserved, it is argued, is based not on the sin but rather on who is sinned against. Since God is perfectly holy (usually described as “infinitely holy”) and is infinite and eternal, any sin against God warrants infinite and eternal punishment.

For the sake of ease, I will refer to this as the “infinity argument” here.

Consider the words of Jonathan Edwards:

But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty. To have infinite excellency and beauty, is the same thing as to have infinite loveliness. He is a being of infinite greatness, majesty, and glory; and therefore he is infinitely honourable. He is infinitely exalted above the greatest potentates of the earth, and highest angels in heaven; and therefore he is infinitely more honourable than they. His authority over us is infinite; and the ground of his right to our obedience is infinitely strong; for he is infinitely worthy to be obeyed himself, and we have an absolute, universal, and infinite dependence upon him.

So that sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving of infinite punishment. ((Jonathan Edwards, “The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” reproduced at Christian Classics Ethereal Library, n.d., http://www.biblebb.com/files/edwards/je-justice.htm (accessed on March 20, 2016).))

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The Edward Fudge Festschrift Interview

The Edward Fudge Festschrift Interview

Last year Rethinking Hell published our second book, A Consuming Passion: Essays on Hell and Immortality in Honor of Edward Fudge. For some time it had been a dream of ours to publish a festschrift in honor of Edward, whose work on the nature of final punishment has so influenced us, whose character so inspires us, and whose friendship is so dear to us. A few months ago I had the privilege of presenting A Consuming Passion to Edward with my co-editor Ron Highfield, and interviewing them both.
 

 
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No True (Evangelical) Scotsman?—Denny Burk and National Geographic on the Rise of Conditionalism

No True (Evangelical) Scotsman?—Denny Burk and National Geographic on the Rise of Conditionalism

Recently, National Geographic interviewed Chris Date and Preston Sprinkle in preparation for this article on the rise of evangelical conditionalism, which is somewhat reminiscent of the 2014 article in the New York Times, documenting the same phenomenon (on that occasion, Chris Date, Edward Fudge, and John G. Stackhouse, Jr. were interviewed). While the article has its flaws, and the title (“The Campaign to Eliminate Hell”) is sensationalist and just plain inaccurate, overall NatGeo is to be commended for a willingness to report on this topic in a balanced way. Both articles serve to instruct Christians on the curiosity of many in the secular world, not only about the topic of hell, but also the prospect of reform, which is deemed newsworthy.

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Episode 91: Fear, Fire, and the Pharisees; A Response to Joel Richardson (Part 2)

Episode 91: Fear, Fire, and the Pharisees; A Response to Joel Richardson (Part 2)

Rethinking Hell contributors William Tanksley and Nick Quient join Chris Date to respond to arguments against conditionalism recently published by Joel Richardson, host of the web TV series “The Underground.” This episode contains part two of their discussion; listen to episode ninety if you missed part one.

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Episode 90: Fear, Fire, and the Pharisees; A Response to Joel Richardson (Part 1)

Episode 90: Fear, Fire, and the Pharisees; A Response to Joel Richardson (Part 1)

Rethinking Hell contributors William Tanksley and Nick Quient join Chris Date to respond to arguments against conditionalism recently published by Joel Richardson, host of the web TV series “The Underground.” This episode contains part one of their discussion; listen to episode ninety-one to hear the rest.

Read more about Episode 90: Fear, Fire, and the Pharisees; A Response to Joel Richardson (Part 1)