The Parable of the Net
It is absolutely basic to both Judaism and Christianity that there will come a time when the living God, the creator, will bring his just and wise rule to bear fully and finally on the world. On that day, as unanimous early tradition insists, those who wilfully stand out against his rule, live a life which scorns the standards which emerge in creation itself and in God’s good intention for it, and spurn all attempts at reformation or renewal, will face a punishment of destruction. The images of fire and vengeance—they are only images, but that doesn’t mean the reality is any the less fearful—are as frequent in the New Testament, if not more so, as they are in the Old. If there is no place in God’s world of justice and mercy for someone who has systematically ordered their life so as to become an embodiment of injustice and malice, then there must come a point where—unless God is going to declare that human choices were just a game and didn’t matter after all—God endorses the choices that his human creatures have made.