David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Faith and Philosophy 19 (1):58--68 (2002)
A certain conception of Hell is inconsistent with God’s traditional attributes, or so I will argue. My argument is novel in focusing on considerations involving vagueness. The target doctrine of Hell is part of a “binary” conception of the afterlife, by which I mean one with the properties of dichotomy, badness, non-universality, and divine control. Dichotomy: there are exactly two states in the afterlife, Heaven and Hell. After death each person will come to be, determinately, in exactly one of these states. (The doctrine of Purgatory does not violate dichotomy provided everyone in Purgatory eventually ends up in Heaven.) My argument does not apply to a continuous conception of the afterlife, which to my mind is more defensible than the usual binary doctrine. Badness: Hell is very, very bad. Or at least, Hell is much worse than Heaven; for most of the argument this weaker premise will suf ce. More carefully, the premise is that everyone in Heaven is much, much better off than everyone in Hell. Non-universality: some people go to Heaven, and some people go to Hell. I have no objection to Universalists, according to whom everyone goes to Heaven. Nor does my argument apply to those who uphold universal damnation. Divine control: God is in control of the institution of divine judgment, in control of the mechanism or criterion that determines who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. This is not to say that God is solely responsible for the fate of created beings, for the divinely mandated criterion might contain a role for free choices. Nor is it to say that God is vindictive. The requirement makes no assumptions about the nature of the criterion, beyond that it is in God’s control. The argument proceeds as follows. Given dichotomy, the only possibilities in the afterlife are determinate membership in either Heaven or Hell; given badness, the second is far worse the rst; and given non-universality, each is populated. Divine control requires that God be in control of the criterion determining these populations, and thus that God’s choice of a criterion be consistent with his attributes.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Kelly James Clark (2001). God is Great, God is Good: Medieval Conceptions of Divine Goodness and the Problem of Hell. Religious Studies 37 (1):15-31.
Charles Seymour (2000). A Craigian Theodicy of Hell. Faith and Philosophy 17 (1):103-115.
Ted Poston & Trent Dougherty (2008). Hell and Vagueness: Reply to Sider. Faith and Philosophy 25 (3):322-328.
Ted Poston (2008). Hell, Vagueness, and Justice. Faith and Philosophy 25 (3):322-328.
Wilko Van Holten (1999). Hell and the Goodness of God. Religious Studies 35 (1):37 - 55.
Andrei A. Buckareff & Allen Plug (2005). Escaping Hell: Divine Motivation and the Problem of Hell. Religious Studies 41 (1):39-54.
Matthew Konieczka (2011). Hell Despite Vagueness: A Response to Sider. Sophia 50 (1):221-232.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads114 ( #9,015 of 1,102,700 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #120,386 of 1,102,700 )
How can I increase my downloads?