A Kinder, Gentler Theology of Hell? Larry Pettegrew

A short and concise critique of annhilationism, Pettegrew hits all the salient points in an article that is biblically faithful and deals with presuppositions well. Includes good quotes from Shedd, Strong and Packer. Interacts with, among others, Pinnock and Talbott.





But it is also certain that ongoing rebellion demands ongoing punishment, and there is no evidence in Scripture that a depraved person ever of his own initiative or power gives up his sinful autonomy. The evidence is actually to the contrary (Rev 9:20–21; 21:27; 22:15). No one can, in fact, repent of his sin without the grace of God, so there can be no repentance in hell. Strong observes, “Since we cannot measure the power of the depraved will to resist God, we cannot deny the possibility of endless sinning ... Not the punishing, but the non-punishing, would impugn his justice; for if it is just to punish sin at all, it is just to punish it as long as it exists.”

Quoting Shedd (Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy):
If sin is punishable and to be punished for only one thousand years, is it probable that one of the persons of the Trinity would submit to such an amazing humiliation as to become a worm of the dust, and undergo the awful passion of Calvary, in order to deliver his rebellious creature from a transient evil which is to be succeeded by billions of millenniums of happiness? A thousand years is indeed a long time, and a thousand years of suffering is indeed a great woe; but it shrinks to nothing in comparison with what is involved in the humiliation and agony of God incarnate.

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