Volume 25, Issue 1, Spring 2020
Philosophical Turn Towards Religion
Alex R Gillham
How Problematic is an Unpopulated Hell?
The Problem of Suffering (PoS) claims that there is a tension between the existence of a perfect God and suffering. The Problem of Hell (PoH) is a version of PoS which claims that a perfect God would lack morally sufficient reasons to allow individuals to be eternally damned to Hell. A few traditional solutions have been developed to PoH, but each of them is problematic. As such, if there is a solution to PoH that is resistant to these problems, then it deserves our attention. In this paper, I develop precisely such a solution. I call this the Unpopulated Hell View (UHV), which claims that Hell exists as a place where eternal damnation could take place, although it never does. First, I explain how UHV solves PoH. Next, I develop four objections against UHV and defend UHV against them. I argue that, although some of these objections do more damage to UHV than others, UHV has satisfying responses to all of them. Ultimately, I conclude that UHV merits consideration as a novel solution to PoH because it is less problematic than the traditional ones.