Tag Archives: infinite punishment

Are All Sins Equally Bad?

If Jack cheats at Scrabble, is that as bad as if he cheats on his wife?

If Elmer pilfers $10 from the offering plate, is that as bad as if he embezzles $10,000 from the church?

If Annie shoots her neighbor’s dog, is that as bad as if she shoots her neighbor?

To most people, the answers to the questions are quite obvious. In each case, the answer is no: both of the actions mentioned are sinful, but the second is worse than the first. All too often, however, I encounter Christians (including some of my students) who seem confused about this issue, or who at least hesitate to give the seemingly obvious answer. I’ve heard Christians say things like, “All sins are equally sinful in God’s eyes,” and therefore they conclude that we shouldn’t discriminate between ‘lesser’ and ‘greater’ sins or make comparative judgments regarding different sins.

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Is Hell an Infinite Punishment?

One common argument against the traditional Christian view of hell, understood as an eternal punishment for unrepentant sin (Matt. 25:41-46; Mark 9:48; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:9-10), is that it is intrinsically unjust to inflict infinite punishment for finite sin. This argument has been deployed by both universalists and annihilationists. Defenders of the traditional view have responded to the objection in a variety of ways, but in this post I want to question the underlying assumption that the traditional view entails that hell is an infinite punishment. Not only does this not follow from the traditional view, I suggest, the idea itself should be rejected as incoherent. Objections to the idea of infinite punishment are really a red herring in debates over the doctrine of hell.

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