Hell Saves Us From Nihilism

Hell is an Antidote for Nihilism.

If there is no hell, everything is permitted.
If everything is permitted, then nihilism is correct
So, if there is no hell, nihilism is correct.

At the conclusion of my post“Does Death Prove Nihilism?” I wrote ‘I cannot have a reasonable hope that life has meaning and a purpose unless I have a reasonable hope that I can go to hell!” Prima facie, my statement borders on the absurd.

Can one coherently believe we need to hope for that which we hope won’t happen? A little thought brings out its sober sense. Whenever we began a task or a game we hope for success. Success, however, requires the possibility of failure. There cannot be a successful completion if all outcomes are satisfactory.

Overcoming nihilism requires believing human life has a goal. A genuine goal is one we can fail to reach. So, overcoming nihilism requires believing that humans can fail at living. Failure at living is hell. Why? Our final thought is final for eternity. The last judgment is our final thought. If that judgment is “I failed at life; my life was a waste,”for eternity I judge myself a failure.
What is it, though, to fail at living?

Abstractly expressed, we fail at living if we fail to save ourselves from eternal failure – hell. I specify the details of successful living in terms of obeying and forming ourselves to obey the commands of the divine moral commander. My specific moralistic account of saving ourselves from failure in living is a theory of salvation or soteriology.

I will not detail my soteriology in this post. It is scattered throughout my posts. The reason I introduce the notion of soteriology is that outlining it is a logical condition for making a persuasive case for some surivival after biological death – “immortality of the soul.” A case for the survival after biological death should be guided by an account of that for which we survive: the reward of successful life and fate of the unsuccessful. An account of the post-mortem reward and loss, can be called “eschatology.” Eschatology is best done when there is a understanding of that for which there is reward or loss.

I think that I am using theological terms correctly when I write: Soteriology theoretically precedes eschatology.

In my next post, I will outline my soteriology as a preliminary for an argument for immortality.