Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 8. 1961.
Davidson on Hell
Davidson on Hell
Sir,—A large number of contemporary " Christians," believing in the immortality of the soul, do not believe in punishment after death. They dismiss this as old-fashioned. But is this reason valid, or just the result of modern wishful thinking?
I define a Christian as "a person who believes in, and is endeavouring to follow, Christ's teachings and example." Christ taught that there is a real Hell. It seems that a Christian, therefore, should believe in Hell, or question whether he is a Christian.
According to the "non-Hell" school of thought, the teachings and the tradition of the Church are wrong. If we shall not be punished in an after-life for any morally wrong action that we have done—for turning down Christ, even—why be a "Christian": it's easier not to be.
This denies that God is infinite perfection, for if he has given us a free will, and lacks the perfection of judging, then we are governed by a finite God.
The "non-Hell believer" argues that a God of love would not condemn a soul to punishment and quotes "I come not to condemn but to save."
This, however, means that God does not condemn man, but that He gave man the right to be judged. It would be contrary to God's love to condemn without trial.
Another objection is that contemplation of Hell must destroy our happiness. But contemplation of Hell warns us of the consequences of rejecting God's love by sinning, and a Christian is only happy when he has God's love.
Despite some modern views. Hell is necessary for Christian belief, and a professing Christian who does not believe in it should re-examine his attitudes.
G. J. Davidson.