Redemptive judgment in hell? Pt 2
To address the first bullet point (under point 4 of the first post in this series) I will now list the verses cited in Paul used to imply a restorative judgment of God in hell on those not yet 'in Christ' (all NRSV) together with comments by MacDonald and Talbott.
'For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned up, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire' (1 Cor 3:11-15)
'It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father's wife ... you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord' (1 Cor 5:1, 5)
'For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world' (1 Cor 11:29-32)
'Divine judgments in the present are usually seen as reformative and educative (Heb 12:5-11; Tit 2:11-12; Rev 3:19; 1 Cor 11:29-32), though they are usually destructive (Acts 5:1-11). I Corinthians 5:1-5 is an interesting case study ... My suggestion is that we see the punishment of hell as fundamentally the same kind of punishment, albeit a more intense form' (136-37).
Commenting on 1 Cor 5:5, Talbott writes:
'So here, anyway, destruction is explicitly a redemptive concept'. Alluding to Paul's comments in Rom 11:32 that 'God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all', he continues, arguing that: 'we should, I believe, interpret all of the biblical ideas associated with divine judgment as redemptive ideas' (97).
In the next post I will suggest a point that speaks against the Universalist line of reasoning. This will lead into another proposal, in following post, that addresses the second of the bullet points in the previous in this series (under point 4). To make it clear, my purposes at this point are not theological but rather exegetical, with implications left to one side as best I can. I will work with the texts and the arguments of the Universalists first as a historical claim before I turn to matters theological.
OK, maybe the graphic is poor taste.