A lot of people have been challenging the justness and love of God if there is such a thing as eternal torment in Hell. And that made me think about prison.
A lot of people nowadays are dead-set against the death penalty. They see it as somehow unjust, or an overstep of our human rights and dignity, to end someone’s life outright. So instead we have growing prisons of individuals who will be there for life. Prison is not a vacation resort, mind you.
I think this has an interesting part to play in the discussion of Hell. Why do we consider it unjust on the one hand for God to punish eternally, when we as a culture are on the road to saying that it is better to prolong the punishment of prison rather than kill outright? Why do some consider annihilation a more “just and “loving” judgment from the throne of Christ, when we would not necessarily argue it being more loving and just in the prison system? It seems (to me) like a contradiction, a way of ascribing justice and love to ourselves, while accusing God.
I suppose one possibility, which comes up both about hell and prison, is the hope of reform. But prison is not always about reform. That might be the hope in many short-term punishments (whether it has a proven tack record is, I believe, questionable), but I don’t see that as being descriptive of the longer term sentences used as an alternative to the death-penalty.
How about you? Is this a false connection, or do you see any merit in this direction of thought?