Powerlessness

Parenthood should remove any doubt of the possibility of Hell, because all hell means is that it is possible to love mightily and still not win the heart of the one you love.

Every parent experiences powerlessness as the child discovers privacy.

By the time a child is 7 or 8 years old, the parent who is paying attention has had to come to terms with the pain of a child who used to be in perfect union but now wants to want you only when he wants you. If this does not cause you to suffer, you do not love as you should. To tell yourself “this is normal” is simply to anesthetize the primordial love which is the image of the Father in you. It is universal, but it is not normal, because it offends love.

It is puzzling why parenting does not make theologians of moms and dads. Take the disturbing experience of seeing free-will grow in the child, for example. There are huge theoretical considerations raised by the prospect of your child’s manifestion of a freedom to choose long before he or she has the wisdom to so choose. Even if the child is the best of children, and makes wise and rational decisions, the simple universal fact that the product of your loins can and will walk off and decide anew each day whether to choose you or ignore you raises the question of eternal damnation in any mind that rouses itself to extrapolate beyond its own calvarium.

To think that you can parent well without a theory of love — a theory that does SOMETHING with unrequited love — is to insult your own intellect.

For the theological problem of hell is simply the parenting problem of powerlessness. Parents who reject the Judeo-Christian worldview because it has in it the possibility of eternal torment presumably don’t have an intellectual struggle with the bare fact that many children choose earthly hells like drug addiction, prostitution, or oppressive marriages, and those choices stand, omnipotently.
Self-interest is the entropic ethical course, while love is the most difficult ethic; to have to love an unseen God is downright irritating.

Humans reject a God who can’t eliminate Hell and yet at the same time would reject a God who wouldn’t give them free choice. This, in itself, is puerility we would reject in our children.

So Hell is not the theological problem many make it out to be; Paradise is. Paradise is not conceivable with the potential choice not to participate in it. It is only possible to conceive a universal Heaven by an untenable mental acrobatic, whereby the results of good choice are left in the picture while the results of bad choice are amputated from the picture. Then, this resultant mental artifice (impossible in practice but possible to think) is used to critique the “archaic” theological picture which includes Hell. The archaic picture is actually the only one which preserves the human element the universalist critic amputated in a mental act of focused blindness. The child squints, till he sees what he wants to see.

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