Lincoln Blogs

The Justice of Hell in the ‘Inferno’
November 21, 2007, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Books, School Papers

In Dante’s Inferno, there is an inscription on the gate that leads to Hell. “Justice moved my great maker; God eternal / Wrought me: the power and the unsearchably / High wisdom, and the primal love supernal (III.4-6). This inscription on the gate is completely true, and the motivation of God to create Hell is completely justified.

The inscription on the gate means, simply, that God created Hell as an act of justice. Without it, He could not properly punish sinners, who deserve nothing less. Although Hell was created as a severe punishment, the inscription says that God had wisdom and love.

Many people ask why God would create such an awful place as Hell. The gate of hell answers this question. Without hell, we would not see God’s justice. And if there were no Hell, we would not see God’s mercy, grace, and love either, for there would be nothing to save us from.

This creation of Hell is unlike any other creation, in that it is an eternal place of horror that many would call bad, but that is, once considered more carefully, a just place. It is utterly unique in its contradictory, yet co-existing traits.

This wisdom of the justice of hell is demonstrated throughout the book. All who are in hell have committed dreadful sins, but none are repentant. Consider Vanni Fucci, who is in hell and hates and curses God. He is obviously not sorry for his sins, and does not think he deserves his punishment. In reality, it would be absurd for him not have to endure some sort of punishment.

Jonathan Edwards once said, “The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever…. Can the believing Father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell?… I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.”

So we see that the creation of hell was not an evil act, but a just act that shows the justice and mercy of God. Without Hell, sinners who deserve punishment would not face justice. God’s mercy would also be hidden, since none would be punished, and therefore none saved.

2 Comments so far
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Great article, fascinating

Comment by Louis

if as edwards said seeing others in hell will gladden us we will be worse then than we are now it all depends on if jesus is a sinner or not sin in the bible means failure jesus was sent to save the world john 3:17 all humanity so if he fails he is a sinner capice ?

Comment by ken hood

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