Why would a perfectly good and loving God consign anyone to eternal suffering in hell? In Sinners in the Presence of a Loving God, R. Zachary Manis examines in detail the various facets of the problem of hell, considers the reasons why the usual responses to the problem are unsatisfying, and suggests how an adequate solution to the problem can be constructed. Historically, there are four standard explanations of the nature and purpose of hell: traditionalism, annihilationism, the choice model, and universalism. In Manis's assessment, all are deficient in some crucial respect. The alternative view that he develops and defends, the divine presence model, stands within the tradition that understands hell to be a state of eternal conscious suffering, but, Manis contends, avoids the worst problems of its competitors. The key idea is that the suffering of hell is not the result of a divine act that aims to inflict it, but rather is the way in which a sinful creature necessarily experiences the unmitigated presence of a holy God. Heaven and hell are not two "places" to which the saved and damned are consigned, respectively, but rather are two radically different ways in which different persons will experience the same reality of God's omnipresence once the barrier of divine hiddenness is finally removed.
|Author||R. Zachary Manis|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|