Eternal Punishment

Boston Times

The term punishment, if attached to Deity, should have a meaning differing from that which is current, since its common use is to refer to an affliction which is prompted either by wrath or a mere determination to offset an evil deed with its merited pain. To associate this sort of practice with God, is to belittle His exalted nature and hide His unerring law. As a matter of fact, no God-made condition or law exists without a purpose; and skepticism is born and bred of the attempt to enforce the acceptance of mere dogmas without presenting therewith a rational explanation of their need and intent.

Even a human parent, if civilized, would not inflict pain upon his child as a mere matter of revenge or because he was angry, but his single object should be to correct the child. Much less would the All-wise institute any methods of torture merely because He was provoked to anger, nor would He permit such to exist beyond the lifetime of the erroneous condition which the affliction is calculated to expiate. It is the evil in the individual which is punished or which suffers, and it is irrational to suppose that God would continue the punishment after the evil is destroyed, or would establish a plan of affliction on the supposition that evil is eternal. Pain and discord are never the special visitants of God, but are always directly produced by deviation from the law of rectitude, which must ever govern harmoniously.

A careful study of the New Testament discovers that its authors had a much more scientific sense of punishment than is credited to them by some modern theologians. For example, in Matthew 25, the text, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment," could have been translated, "And these shall go away into age-abiding correction." The unjust, not being ready for the state of the just, shall endure correction throughout the lifetime of the evil in the individual.

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