In this age people have found the doctrine of eternal damnation offensive to say the least. They use many philosophical arguments from God being perfectly loving or from God being unjust for punishing finite sins for an infinite duration. I believe that the doctrine of eternal punishment is biblical (Matt. 25:41-46; Rev. 20:10-15), but in this post I plan to explore an argument from God being the greatest possible being to the existence of a place of eternal punishment to settle the philosophical score as so to speak.
The argument would run as follows:
1: Hell is the greatest possible punishment
2: God is the greatest possible being (let us label this definition of God as G*)
3: G* will have every property that is better to have rather than not
4: It is better to have the greatest possible value rather than not
5: G* instantiates greatest value necessarily
6: It is better to have greatest possible justice rather than not
7: G* instantiates greatest possible justice necessarily
8: Any sin against G* who has the greatest amount of value is the greatest possible evil (from 5)
9: Agents committing the greatest possible evil deserve the greatest possible punishment
10: G* necessarily punishes agents that commit the greatest possible evil with the greatest possible punishment (from 6)
C: Hence, hell exists
Premise one seems reasonable because most Christians have argued that the duration and quality of hell makes it the greatest possible punishment. Premise two is just something obvious about God, that he is the greatest possible being either you see that or you do not. Premises 8, 9, and 10 are the really contentious premises so I will argue for them.
Premises 8, 9 and 10:
If I do not treat God as the greatest possible being then I am not treating him for what he is worth (the greatest possible worth that is). Any sin I commit I am not treating God as being with the greatest worth rather I am treating something which is created and not as good as if it were greater than God. This seems obvious wrong and such blasphemy deserves the greatest measure of punishment if a being were to maintain his justice. I am treating something that is of highest greatness as if it were not the highest greatness (or put different: I am sinning against the greatest possible being). Thus, when one sins he is being maximally unjust toward God since he is treating the evil desires as something of more importance than the greatest possible good. This is so unequal and such an unjust choice that it deserves greatest punishment. After all what could be a greater sin than sinning against the greatest possible being? Because God is just to the greatest possible degree then he ought to serve justice and in this case justice would require the greatest possible punishment. We sin against the greatest possible being and thus such a sin deserves and requires the greatest possible punishment and this punishment Christians call Hell.
The Nature of Hell:
Since our sin is that of infinite evil qualitatively (since God has the greatest possible value) I would think that God cannot punish us with a qualitative infinite amount of wrath since we are qualitatively finite so instead God extends the duration forever and makes the punishment the greatest possible given our finite creaturehood (and this would be the greatest possible justice that God could instantiate given the metaphysical conditions of this possible world).
This is an obvious truth of General revelation, as Paul Writes:
Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
God has revealed his great wrath towards sinners through general revelation. The only way one can be saved from this wrath is to grab onto Christ’s perfect righteousness through faith alone in the God-man Jesus Christ.