How could Love create Hell? How could a Justice create Heaven? Christians struggle to answer this seeming “paradox,” but it is not a paradox at all. The truth is that they should never have been separated at all! They are One Person.
Love is Justice and Justice is Love. That is not a paradox too difficult to understand. It’s actually quite simple.
Established Right and Wrong
Let’s clear some things up. First, read my article about Judging Right from Wrong.
You CANNOT have Mercy or Justice without an established Right and Wrong. They both depend on that clear boundary.
How can Yehovah have Mercy if there is no right or wrong? How can Yehovah have Justice if there is no right or wrong?
Here’s the catch: if you don’t know clearly the difference between right and wrong, you won’t have a correct perception of Justice and Mercy either. As Proverbs says, “Even the kindness of the wicked is cruelty.”
Anger in Love
The seeming paradox of Justice and Mercy is a huge controversy. Some Christians have left the faith because of Yehovah’s seeming lack of Justice (how could he let this happen?) and some leave the faith because of his seeming lack of Mercy (how could he be so cruel?).
Firstly, Justice and Mercy are both the character of Yehovah, and Yehovah is ONE. He is Love–the perfect expression of both Justice and Mercy at the SAME TIME.
Some Christians just call it a “paradox” and leave it at that. But it’s not a paradox. It’s just a fact: one cannot exist without the other. They define each other.
People forget that Love is Angry and Anger is Loving. If you love children, you must HATE child abuse. If you hate child abuse, you’ll f–ing KILL any pedophile who dares to break into your home to steal your child. I mean… you will won’t you?! Or do we need to have a different conversation?
If you love your family, you’ll keep harmful people away from them. If you love yourself, you’ll have personal boundaries. That’s Justice. If you steal, repay. That’s Justice. Right and wrong are clearly established. Justice keeps it that way.
If you have Mercy on a criminal, you must demand that he NEVER do that wicked crime ever again. See? Justice and Mercy working together in an act of Love. If you sin against me, I can forgive you–but I must require that you never do it again. That’s called repentance.
Sin stays sinful. Good stays good.
Through Mercy, one can cross from one side to the other. Through Justice, both sides stay separated and never blend together.
Explaining how Mercy would need Justice is the easy part. Now, for the REAL controversy:
How can Justice need Mercy?!
That is new to me. It almost seems Heresy to the Common Culture Christian. They pride themselves on the cruelty of Justice. They firmly believe the definition of “Justice” is “Devoid of Mercy.” Eternal torture in Hell is their symbol of Justice. THAT is what sins and sinners deserve!
What is merciful about Justice?
Think about this: in the case of Hitler, would torturing him for eternity be what he deserves? All of Christianity say yes.
But is it JUST? Remember, Justice is not based on what anyone “deserves.” Justice is simply restoring what was lost. If you stole a sheep, you give a sheep. If you kill a life, your life is taken. When proper payment according to the extent of the crime is given, then Justice rests.
So as much as everyone would like to burn Hitler in hell for eternity, he is not all-powerful and neither was his sin. Exactly what he DID was limited. Everything on this earth is limited. Only Yehovah is Unlimited.
Capital punishment is not prolonging life in order to torture them endlessly. For even the case of a mass murderer, that would be said as cruel and unusual. It’s what he deserves, maybe, but it’s NOT Justice.
Why? Because if that were true, Justice is never satisfied. It is NOT true Justice unless it has successfully Righted a Wrong. That’s where Justice needs Mercy.
It may be what he deserves, but Mercy says to put an end to the torture. Mercy says it is better to just “put him out of his misery” than to let him be tortured for eternity without resolution.
Mercy puts an end to Justice. It does not take away from Justice. On the contrary, it makes it even more potent. Death is Capital Punishment because of all the LIFE that he will miss out on. It is Eternal because he will NEVER get that back. It is Permanent.
This Messianic Jew explains it better than I do. Go ahead and check it out!
No More Stumbling Blocks
Asaph wrote that he nearly fell away from Yehovah because he was so angry that there seemed to be no Justice in the world. “Until I went into the House of [Yehovah], then I understood their end.” Being a Hebrew, he would have been thinking of Conditional Immortality–that the wicked are burned up and cease from existence altogether. That is what the Jews always understood. And it gave him much comfort.
Like Asaph, many get offended against Yehovah on this misunderstanding. The idea that the soul is inherently immortal with or without Yehovah is (you guessed it) a pagan idea.
If not for Replacement Theology, the church would continue to believe in Condition Immortality as the Apostles did. And none of this misunderstanding of Yehovah’s Justice and Mercy would exist.