Two Eternities, Part 1

18 July 2011 by FX Turk

Q. 29. What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?
A. The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hellfire forever.

There's a popular book out these days which tries to make the Bible's portrait of hell, literally, into a mere garbage dump -- a smelly place you don't want to end up in. And in that, this book makes much of the fact that God's love wins everyone in the end, so in effect there is no garbage dump in Heaven.

In making this case, this book makes much of the fact that some passages about Hell talk about the punishment there being "for an age." That is: the view of the author is that whatever it is that is happening in Hell, it's not forever. It's just for an age. No worries.

The problem, of course, is that Heaven -- the Kingdom, the final reward -- is also for that same age. The same words are use to describe the duration of Heaven that describe the duration of Hell.

I'm really not sure how that's comforting, if it's true.