Sunday, January 13, 2008

It’s Sunday morning and the faithful have gathered. It was announced last week that the topic today would be hell. Before leaving the house to come here I was thinking about the question: “Why is there a hell?” I noted three words on a scrap of paper—justice, punishment, and consequences.

While God loves justice and calls us to be committed to justice, I see places in scripture where God lets mercy (or grace) trump justice. Punishment doesn’t seem to be the answer I’m looking for since it looks to me like God’s light shines a lot brighter on redemption than it does on retribution. When evil and separation from God was introduced (whether in the heavenly order or here on earth), it seems that cause and effect also came into the picture. God created a complicated universe that includes consequences for choices and behaviors—in this life and carrying into the next.


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