Was this Jehovah's Witness right about hell?


Full Question

A Jehovah's Witness I know told me that Jehovah God would not burn his enemies in hell forever and ever, because it wouldn't “fit the crime” of sin.

Answer

First of all, Scripture describes hell as fire in order to convey something of the intensity of suffering that it entails. Actually, it’s worse than fire. God doesn’t send people to hell; they themselves choose to go there by turning their backs on God. Hell is to spend eternity without God. Only by knowing how unspeakably good heaven is can one know how unspeakably evil its absence is. When we sin mortally, we act as God’s enemies. But when we repent, he forgives us. He spent three hours on the cross that we might spend eternity with him. But we can still reject him. If we do so, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

For the Son of God to suffer such an agonizing death should convey something of the extreme severity of offense that sin is before God’s infinite goodness. The punishment does indeed fit the crime.


Fr. Vincent Serpa O.P.