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A Theodicy of Hell by Charles Seymour (auth.)

By Charles Seymour (auth.)

In A Theodicy of Hell Charles Seymour tackles essentially the most tricky difficulties dealing with the western theistic culture: to teach the consonance among everlasting punishment and the goodness of God. Medieval theology tried to solve the drawback through arguing that any sin, irrespective of how mild, benefits never-ending torment. modern thinkers, however, are inclined to dispose of the retributive aspect from hell totally. Combining ancient breadth with particular argumentation, the writer develops a unique realizing of hell which avoids the extremes of either its conventional and glossy opponents. He then surveys the battery of objections ranged opposed to the opportunity of everlasting punishment and indicates how his `freedom view of hell' can stand up to the assault. The paintings may be of specific value for these attracted to philosophy of faith and theology, together with teachers, scholars, seminarians, clergy, and a person else with a private wish to come to phrases with this perennially not easy doctrine.

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I there argued that exile and capital punishment are not truly eternal, and thus are not helpful analogues to hell. Aquinas points out that this fact is merely accidental. If humans were naturally eternal, then exile would be eternal. Even so, it would be a justified response to certain crimes. Thus it is not the case that eternal punishments are unjust responses to finite sins. Aquinas assumes that if humans lived forever, permanent exile or slavery would still be just. But the argument from justice would challenge that assumption just as it challenges the assumption that our apparently finite sins deserve eternal punishment.

Today sociologists point out how the doctrine of hell has fallen into disrepute among many Christians. In the introduction to his book Walls cites various studies: one, a 1977 survey which showed that only one in three Catholic laypersons believe in hell; another, that only half of all theology faculty believe in heIl. 65 There is even a protestant denomination, the Seventh-Day Adventists, whose official doctrine excludes the notion of hell. The rejection of the traditional view is based not only on biblical exegesis but on the sort of philosophical considerations already mentioned.

Mircea Eliade (New York: Macmillan, 1987) 143-147. 60. Being a Testimony Against the Present AntiChristian World, trans. John S. (Germantown: Printed by Christopher Sower, 1753) 1-7. 61. Thomas Talbott, "Providence, Freedom, and Human Destiny," Religious Studies 26 (1990): 244. 62. Godbey 145. 63. Minois 109-111. 64. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Religious Writings, ed. Ronald Grimsley (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970) ISO. 65. Walls 2-3. 66. Francis D. , 1947) 388. The Seventh-Day Adventists, it should be pointed out, are not universalists.

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