In part, Ben Witherington writes,
And here is where it may be well to ask a good question—– Why would even a holy God, the God of the Bible require infinite suffering for a finite number of earthly sins? Here I think, Rob Bell is right to ask a question about such a notion. Is that actually fair and just? The OT law of lex talionis, which says only a hand for a hand, only a foot for a foot, only a life for a life, suggests a principle of justice that involves proportional and appropriate response depending on the sin committed.
While I certainly believe God is holy, just, and fair, I also believe God is loving, compassionate, and merciful, even to the lost or damned. The issue of the whole character of God is certainly raised when we see for example, Jesus balancing justice and mercy in the famous woman caught in adultery story (John 7.53-8.11 — probably not an original part of the Gospel of John, but I would suggest nonetheless a true story about Jesus).
Let’s be honest – many times, we want to see sinners, especially those not like us, burn with everlasting torment, with a great gulf of flames… and exactly what does that say about our view of God?
The good Doctor also goes into the question, But what exactly does the Bible say about Hell?
For those who need eternal hell, read the above posts.
- Critics Heated Up By Bell’s Hell (huffingtonpost.com)
- Glenn Beck on the book of Revelation: It’s not God doing it (dwindlinginunbelief.blogspot.com)