Video Transcript

  Even the most evil person on the planet has caused only a finite amount of harm to others. So does an eternal Hell for a finite amount of evil seems like a miscarriage of justice of infinite proportions?   In my last video, I showed that if we begin with two premises that most of us would agree to, we still wind up with the necessity of either rehabilitating a person who causes harm to others or containing them in an effort to limit the harm done. This seems to be the way many of our justice systems work, even if we set aside all belief in God or Hell.   When it comes to Hell, however, we are still left with at least two major questions. First, why couldn’t God contain evil in a nice Hell; why does it have to be so awful? Second, why does Hell have to exist forever?   Let’s tackle the second question and save the other one for the next video.   Think of the most evil person you have ever heard of. They may have caused enormous harm during their life but, sooner or later, they died. If that was the end of it, then there would be no need for some kind of a containment place for evil after death.   And so we come to our first premise, and here it is . . . a containment place for evil after death is only necessary under two conditions: a) a human being continues to exist in some form after death and b) that individual has not been rehabilitated. If a person has been rehabilitated by being spiritually reborn at some point during the course of this life, then there is no evil left within that person after death; they are flawlessly pure for all eternity.   Let’s summarize our argument thus far, using the two premises in the previous video, and the premise just mentioned above.   First, a good person, upon encountering an evil person who is harming others will either try to rehabilitate the person or, if the person willfully resists, try to restrain the evil person in an effort to limit future harm.   Second, none of us are flawlessly perfect so we, therefore, do harm others at least in small ways. For example, saying something we later regret, that hurt another person.   These two facts led us to our conclusion in the previous video, that if a flawlessly pure God exists, then he will either try to rehabilitate humanity or, if they do not wish that, contain them in such a way that the harm they do cannot continue to spread for all eternity.   Now let’s add the next premise I introduced earlier. . .   A containment place after death for evil is only necessary under two conditions: a) a human being continues to exist in some form after death and b) that individual has not been rehabilitated.   But we can still raise an objection . . . why does it have to go on forever? Surely an all-powerful God who is perfectly just and good would much rather cause the person to cease to exist after death, rather than contain them forever in a final resting place of evil. I want to mention here that within Christianity, there are a range of views on Hell in general and this in particular. Some argue for the final annihilation of the soul, others for an eternal state of self-awareness in Hell.   In the secular academic world of philosophy, the concept of being all-powerful has been defined independent of whether such a being actually exists or not. We can state this definition in the form of another premise that goes like this. . .   A being is all-powerful if, and only if, that being can do all that it is logically possible to do.   There is general agreement in secular philosophy that the attribute of being all-powerful does not include the ability to do the logically impossible. Because it is logically impossible for something to be both true and false simultaneously, it is logically impossible for an all-powerful being to create a being that is both eternal and not eternal. So, let’s consider the possibility that we have been created as eternal beings. It would be logically impossible to make us not eternal. It logically follows from this that if an evil person must be contained after death in order to limit the harm they will continue to do for all eternity, then the confinement period must also be eternal.   But we can raise another objection . . . why can’t a person change their mind after death and get rehabilitated?   That certainly seems like a good option, but there is an assumption being made. We can state that assumption as follows:   Assumption: When a person transitions from their mortal state to their immortal state, the immortal state is not fixed, but can be changed.   If we apply critical thinking skills to this assumption that can either be true or false, we need some rational justification for accepting it as either true or false.   Because we are in our mortal state, never having been immortal, we’re not really in a position to decide this due to bias. So what can we do?   A possible solution is to remind ourselves that the question of God and Hell only has any real-life application if God actually exists. Otherwise, the question of how a perfectly good God could have created an eternal place for the confinement of evil simply disappears.   So, if we assume that the God of the Bible actually exists and has created us as eternal beings, we have information we can apply to the assumption. It appears that our eternal destiny is determined in this mortal portion of our life and once we enter the larger reality of eternity, then our immortal state is fixed into one of two options. The point of this life is to prepare for eternity.   C.S. Lewis suggests that our ability to choose for or against God can only be valid in this present mortal life where our freedom of choice is not so overwhelmed that choice becomes meaningless. He wrote. . .   “What is the good of saying you are on his side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else — something it never entered your head to conceive — comes crashing in: something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not.”   So it seems that our eternal destiny relies on freedom of choice, and it is only in this life that our freedom to choose is not so overwhelmed it is meaningless.   So if it is logically impossible to destroy an eternal being, and if we continue to exist forever after death in some form, then it follows that if we freely choose to not accept the rehabilitation from evil that God offers through Jesus Christ, then on the basis of the premises discussed, a flawlessly pure God must have a way of containing that evil for all eternity, to stop the spread of harm.   But that still leaves a rather large question . . . why must Hell be so awful? We can’t God contain all evil in a five-star resort environment. He would limit the harm they can do, and they would still enjoy themselves?   Let’s think about that question in the next video.