Eliza commented, Embracing that sinful life will lead to untold sorrow and ultimately eternal destruction in hell. I asked her that question. I can think of various answers.
1. Quiet satisfaction. God’s wonderful purposes are being worked out, and that has to be good, right? God moves in a mysterious way. Well, the God of Love is torturing billions of people, either right now or in some Eternal fashion outside time, and feeling anything other than horror at that is psychotic.
Then I looked at a thesis by Trevor Johnson.
He quotes Tertullian: How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? what my derision? Which sight gives me joy? which rouses me to exultation?-as I see so many illustrious monarchs, whose reception into the heavens was publicly announced, groaning now in the lowest darkness with great Jove himself, and those, too, who bore witness of their exultation; governors of provinces, too, who persecuted the Christian name, in fires more fierce than those with which in the days of their pride they raged against the followers of Christ.
Johnson argues, this knowledge and sight of the condemned dead is not troubling to the saints, but rather gives more cause for praises. He argues that God perceives suffering, and is still joyful, because His ultimate plan is good. If God were merciful to the suffering, He would be unjust. God’s mercy would have no meaning if God could not withhold it from whom He chose. At p75, the depth of God’s nature is complex. It passes understanding.
If the unrighteous could make God unhappy by going to Hell, this would be some small victory for them. But no. Those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Almighty miserable. God is not defeated in the triumphs of his righteous judgment. Quite the contrary…they will unwittingly provide an occasion for God to rejoice in the demonstration of his justice and his power and the infinite worth of his glory.
OK, I am convinced. If you believe in Hell, quiet satisfaction- or delight- is the only allowable response, for the alternative is to judge God wanting. St Paul’s unceasing anguish that Israel had rejected God would turn to satisfaction. It is only permissible to feel pity for those outside God’s mercy before death.
But then I read on to Romans 11:32: For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.
2. Horror. Eliza’s answer is that she feels “distress and discouragement”. I see people I cannot blame: Hitler was a product of his past and surroundings just as everyone else is. Many have alternative religions, which prevent them from affirming Christ.
My answer to the horror is that Hell does not exist, and God would just be monstrous to give someone a ghastly (or even luxurious) life on Earth followed by eternal torment.
Apropos of nothing but the fact that it is fun, here is Vlad Putin with Medvedev in a bra. St Petersburg police impounded the picture, making it world famous.