Chapter in Immortality or Extinction. Merely skim-read the rest of the book. A few useful contrary illustrations.
As David Hume pointed out ‘heaven and hell suppose two distinct species of men, the good and the bad; but the greatest part of mankind float betwixt vice and virtue. Were one to go round the world with an intention of giving a good supper to the righteous and a sound drubbing to the wicked, he would frequently be embarrassed in his choice, and would find the merits and demerits of most men and women scarcely amount to the value of either’.
Rudolf Hess as the Deputy Fuhrer of the Third Reich must be regarded as at leas partially responsible for the appalling crimes of that vile regime. Yet after he had served more than thirty years of his life-imprisonment the conscience of the western world began to clamour for his release: ‘Enough is enough; no purpose is served in continuing to incarcerate that frail old man for his crimes committed so long ago.’ Few civilised countries are prepared to regard a sentence of life imprisonment as binding upon the prison authorities. no matter how dreadful the offense a time will come when parole is considered and eventually release granted. Is God less merciful than we are?
I now turn to the most dreadful aberration of the Christian conscience, namely that the spectacle of the sufferings of the damned will provide one of the greatest joys of the saints in heaven.