Is Eternal Torment Fair?

Is it fair that a person like Cain, who died approximately 6,000 years ago and went to hell, must suffer longer than someone who dies today? Based on my limited knowledge of God’s nature, man’s nature, and the nature of our sin against a perfect, holy, righteous God, I am going to answer this.

This is my opinion only, but I believe this reasoning is flawed because hell is eternal. Even though Cain started his eternity earlier, it makes no difference since a person who dies today will begin their eternity. The start really has no effect on a person, as their torment will go on forever. The person who enters hell today will still suffer forever, so his sentence will not seem less in duration.

In addition, it’s not as if the person who dies today has been enjoying their freedom for those 6,000 years. They didn’t exist for those years. This person’s sentence is also eternal so it ends up the same for both. If a final date existed when all torment ended for everyone in hell, then in that case it would be unfair. There is no end to eternal suffering in hell.

Eternal punishment is terrifying and disturbing to think about. People argue that if God is merciful and loving, how could a person who lives 70-80 years suffer such horror for eternity? I answer this question in other teachings, but I’ll make a few brief points regarding this.

First, God loved us so much that He sent His only Son to suffer a horrific death on the Cross in order to keep us out of hell. What more could He do!  And time is the wrong premise. Our time spent in hell is not valuable or worthy enough to pay for sin. Only the shed blood of Jesus is valuable enough to God to pay for our sin

(Hebrews 9:22). 

Second, Deuteronomy 32:4 states that God is fair. It says, “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are justice: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.”

Third, God’s mercy is extended to us throughout our life on the earth. Isaiah 55:6-7 states, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Did you catch that? Seek God WHILE He may be found and WHILE He is near. This merciful invitation is not available after you die.

Psalms 86:15-16 says, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.Oh, turn to me, and have mercy on me!”

David is calling out to God while he is alive on the earth asking for mercy. There are no second chances after we die.

Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” You must call on Jesus Christ now while you still have breath.

Fourth, the Bible says we are condemned already because we are all born in sin and our sin separates us from a holy, perfect God (Psalms 51:1-5; John 3:17-18).  That is why Jesus came, died, was buried and rose from the dead – to reconcile us back to a right standing with God. This only happens when we trust in what Jesus did for us on the Cross. He was the sinless sacrifice who shed His blood and died in our place. It took an eternal God to die for our eternal sin.

Fifth, God isn’t sending anyone to hell. It is not His decision. It’s ours. In Matthew 12:37, Jesus said that our own words condemn us. People say things like, “I don’t believe Jesus is the only way to heaven” or “I don’t believe the Bible.” They send themselves to hell with their own words. Revelation 21:8 says that all unbelievers will have their part in the lake of fire. There is the warning. If you choose to ignore the warning, then you suffer the consequences for your decision.

In addition, there are different degrees of punishment in hell and God is the one who assigns a person their rightful place (Revelation 21:8; Luke 12:47-48; Matthew 24:51; Matthew 23:14, Matthew 10:15; Hebrews 10:28). There is greater punishment for some, and more tolerance for others. 

The next verses tell us that hell is eternal.

Matthew 25:46, And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Revelation 14:11, “…the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night.”

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, “those who obey not the gospel, shall be punished with everlasting destruction.”

Matthew 18:8-9, “to be cast into everlasting fire, into hell fire.”

Mark 3:29, “Eternal damnation.”

Matthew 25:41, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

I understood the eternal nature of hell in the vision God gave me. I felt completely hopeless and I knew there would never be anyone to rescue me. That was the most terrifying aspect of hell; knowing I would never escape. Isaiah 38:18, “Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for thy truth.” Jesus is that truth. We are eternal beings, and we will spend eternity in one place or the other.

When Jesus told the true story of the rich man in hell in Luke 16, it is interesting to note that the rich man didn’t question why he was there. He didn’t try to justify himself or argue that he didn’t deserve eternal punishment. He only wanted someone to warn his brothers who were still alive on the earth.

God doesn’t want anyone to go to hell.

1 Timothy 2:4 says, “God, our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

To repent and turn to Jesus for your salvation is by far the most important decision you could ever make. Please don’t treat this lightly, as your eternity could start tomorrow. The question is, “where will you spend it?”

Copyright 2007-2023 Soul Choice Ministries – All Rights Reserved
By Bill Wiese, author of 23 Minutes in Hell