Edwards on why hell is eternal

“The crime of one being despising and casting contempt on another, is proportionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligations to obey him. And therefore if there be any being that we are under infinite obligation to love, and honour, and obey, the contrary towards him must be infinitely faulty.

Our obligation to love, honor and obey any being is in proportion to his loveliness, honorableness, and authority. . . . But God is a being infinitely lovely, because he hath infinite excellency and beauty. . . .

So sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous, and so deserving infinite punishment. . . . The eternity of the punishment of ungodly men renders it infinite . . . and therefore renders it no more than proportionable to the heinousness of what they are guilty of”

“The Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards [Banner of Truth], 1:669.

(HT: Sam Storms)

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

One thought on “Edwards on why hell is eternal

  1. Peter,
    Thanks for the clear statement regarding eternal nature of divine wrath against sin.

    The righteousness and justice of a holy God demand that all sin be punished. No sin shall remain unpunished. The sins of the people Jesus Christ were paid for as our Lord, made to be sin for us, sacrificed himself as the substitute for his people under the wrath of God and put away our sins forever.

    Sins committed by finite beings against the Infinite Being and not atoned for by our Surety at Calvary can never be paid for by a finite being no matter the duration and intensity of their suffering. The nature of God demands it.

    My flesh and my finite mind are not comfortable with that concept. However, I acknowledge that I must submit to the authority of scripture, the revelation by Almighty God of himself to men, that just as the eternal salvation of God’s elect glorifies God so does the eternal torment in Hell justly suffered by the unrepentant.

    To God alone be the glory.

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