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Comment: Eternal conscious torment...

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Eternal conscious torment...

...is only one of three Christian views of the punishment of the age to come, even if it has been the dominant one since the Middle Ages. St Gregory of Nyssa (who was largely responsible for the Nicene Creed and was a well-respected church father), along with many others in the early Church, believed that God's punishment was restorative in nature, not solely retributive. Personally, I believe that God is Love, that his justice is merciful and his mercy is just, and that therefore every action of judgement or punishment in the short-term of this life on earth and any punishment 'in the age to come' (which is actually a better translation of the Greek 'aionion' than 'eternal') will be for the purpose of drawing each person whom He loves back into reconciliation and restoration. He will not violate our free wills, but He will exercise His own free will to remove barriers between us and the Truth, until we flee sin and death and through Christ embrace becoming the real people we were always meant to be. And then as we become more His, we actually become more our own, as well. In tune with the fundamental reality of Love and Light, we will find an even grander Liberty than we could ever have dreamt of -- free from the evils and the death of this world which had been our shackles and chains. Love will win in the end -- and all shall be well.