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Philosophia Christi

Volume 10, Issue 1, 2008

Steven B. Cowan
Pages 239-247

“It Would Have Been Good for That Man if He Had Not Been Born”
Human Sinfulness and Hell as a Horrendous Evil

Critics of the doctrine of eternal punishment may charge that this doctrine constitutes a horrendous evil unworthy of a perfectly good and loving God in that those experiencing eternal torment have lives not worth living. I respond to the problem of hell as a horrendous evil by arguing, first, that it is not clear that eternal torment constitutes a horrendous evil; and, second, that by adding to the traditional doctrine of hell the Christian belief in human sinfulness and our just desert of eternal punishment, God’s existence is compatible with the existence of persons who have lives not worth living.