How Do We Explain Hell?

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If you want your own way, God will let you have it.
Hell is the enjoyment of one’s own way forever.
– Dorothy Sayers

Atheism is a lack of belief in God? A mere absence?
Fair enough.
Hell is a lack God’s presence, the absence of God.
God is, in His way, a libertarian. Everyone gets to choose.
– Eve Keneinan

Hell is God’s great compliment to the reality of human freedom
and the dignity of human personality.
– G. K. Chesterton

One does not miss heaven by a hair, but by constant effort
to avoid and escape God.
– Dallas Willard

Only the gospel dares to proclaim that God enters smack-dab into the middle of the hell we create. Only the gospel dares to proclaim that God was born a baby in a bloody, crap-filled stable, that He lived a life befriending the prostitutes and lepers no one else would befriend, and that He suffered, firsthand, the hellish depth of all that is nightmarish in human existence.
– Gregory A. Boyd

Hell is when and where you know there’s a party going on, that
you were invited, and that you permanently declined.
– James A. Fowler

In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell, is… a question: “What are you asking God to do?” To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But He has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven [editor: they will not accept God’s forgiveness]. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what He does.
– C. S. Lewis

The question is not, “Why would a loving God send anyone to hell?”
The question is, “Why would anyone choose hell over a loving God?”

Theology and internal combustion

JK Rowling and Dorothy L Sayers - authors who inspire addictionWhy do you balk at the doctrine of the Trinity – God the three in One – yet meekly acquiesce when Einstein tells you E=mc2? What makes you suppose that the expression “God ordains” is narrow and bigoted, while your own expression, “Science demands” is taken as an objective statement of fact? You would be ashamed to know as little about internal combustion as you know about Christian beliefs. I admit, you can practice Christianity without knowing much theology, just as you can drive a car without knowing much about internal combustion. But when something breaks down in the car, you go humbly to the man who understands the works; whereas if something goes wrong with religion, you merely throw the works away and tell the theologian he is a liar.

–Dorothy Sayers

The God who takes his own medicine

Dorothy Sayers 3[F]or whatever reason God chose to make man as he is – limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death – he [God] had the honesty and courage to take his own medicine. Whatever game he is playing with his creation, he has kept his own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that he has not exacted from himself.

He [God incarnate in Jesus] has himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair, and death. When he was a man, he played the man. He was born in poverty and died in disgrace and thought it well worthwhile.

–Dorothy Sayers,
Letters to a Diminished Church,
“The Greatest Drama Ever Staged”