“They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength” (2 Thessalonians 1:9 NET).
We’ll close our overview of 2 Thessalonians 1:9 with some final commentary from the following author…
“…(I)t’s important to remember the punishment for any crime is not determined by the criminal, but by the authority who is responsible for upholding the standard. Justice is not determined by the law breaker, but by the law giver. Justice and punishment are established based on the nature of the source of the law, not the nature of the source of the offense. Since God is the source of justice and the law, His nature determines the punishment. Since God is eternal and conscious, all rewards and punishments must also be eternal and conscious…
A Loving God simply allows us to suffer the anguish and torment resulting as a consequence of our bad choices. There is a difference between self-inflicted torment and active torture at the hands of another. The duration of the crime has nothing to do with the duration of the punishment (even in this life). The source of the law determines the degree of the punishment, and God is a perfect eternal, conscious being. Don’t be surprised to find we often underestimate the eternal consequence of our own sinful and ultimate choice to reject God.” (1)
“…The God of the Bible is described as loving, gracious and merciful (this can be seen in many places, including 1 John 4:8-9, Exodus 33:19, 1 Peter 2:1-3, Exodus 34:6 and James 5:11). The Bible also describes God as holy and just, hating sin and punishing sinners (as seen in Psalm 77:13, Nehemiah 9:33, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, Psalms 5:5-6, and Matthew 25:45-46). It’s this apparent paradox reveals something about the nature of love and the necessity of Hell.
…When a judge pardons an unrepentant rapist without warrant, we don’t typically see this as an act of love, particularly when we consider the rights of the victim (and the safety of potential future victims). Mercy without justice is reckless, meaningless and dangerous. True love cares enough to punish wrongdoing. For this reason, a God of love must also be a God of justice, recognizing, separating and punishing wrongdoers. Hell is the place where God’s loving justice is realized and executed.
…The paradox of God’s love and justice necessitates the existence of Hell. God’s love does not compel Him to eliminate the necessary punishment and consequence for sin, but instead compels Him to offer us a way to avoid this consequence altogether. By offering forgiveness through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross (who took our punishment), God demonstrated His love for us. It cannot be said that a loving God would never create a place like Hell if that same God has provided us with a way to avoid it.” (2)
(1) Excerpted from J. Warner Wallace, Can The Existence and Nature of Hell Be Defended? (Free Bible Insert), Retrieved 5 June 2020 from https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/can-the-existence-and-nature-of-hell-be-defended-free-bible-insert/
(2) Excerpted from J. Warner Wallace, Why Would A Loving God Create A Place Like Hell?, Retrieved 5 June 2020 from https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/why-would-a-loving-god-create-a-place-like-hell/