Is God Good or Merciful? What does that mean? (Pseudo-Clementine Homilies)

As you know, I am currently reading this book. So, little snippets that stand out, I’m going to share with you. This one catches my eye:

“And others introduce an unforeseeing destiny, as if all things revolved of their own accord, without the superintendence of any master. But thus to think these things is, as we have said, the most grievous of all opinions. For, as if there were no one superintending and forejudging and distributing to every one according to his deserving, they easily do everything as they can through fearlessness.

“Therefore those who have such opinions do not easily, or perhaps do not at all, live virtuously; for they do not foresee the danger which might have the effect of converting them. But the doctrine of the barbarous Jews, as you call them, is most pious, introducing One as the Father and Creator of all this world, by nature good and righteous; good, indeed, as pardoning sins to those who repent; but righteous, as visiting to every one after repentance according to the worthiness of his doings.” (Hom. 3.13)

On facebook earlier, I was discussing the hope that all will be saved. This quote, while not specifically addressing this question, I think aids us in understanding an early account of God as both good (to forgive) and just (mercy in punishment).

The author of the book, Donald Carlson, translates the last line as, “in that he issues punishment to everyone who does not repent, according to the merits of his actions.” My question is, and help me out here, is what actions by a person would necessitate torment in an eternal lake of fire? Carlson notes the similarity in theĀ Homilies to the Rabbinical discussion regarding the names of God, perhaps showcasing a positive relationship between Christianity and Judaism.

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