The Fire of God’s Mercy

Atheists often advance the argument that God’s Mercy is canceled out by virtue of eternal Hellfire. However, I’ve always found this objection wanting and more an evidence of the vacuity of those proposing it. How so? Because such an argument seems to redefine the concept of mercy entirely; twisting it into a juvenile trait uncharacteristic of any moral standard.

Allow me to explain.

Prior to getting into the notion of eternal punishment, let’s discuss what ‘mercy’ actually is. The concept of mercy today — when applied to those who have committed some sort of wrong — has come to be construed as a selfless act of forgiveness towards the wrongdoer, without any necessary reciprocating factor. Meaning, to be defined as ‘merciful’, one is obligated to release a criminal from punishment without any strings attached.

But this isn’t mercy. To forgive a criminal who refuses to repent for their crimes is not forgiveness, but stupidity. Without the reciprocity of remorse and guarantee of reform, such “mercy” ultimately becomes a means of supporting criminal behavior and completely invalidates every ideal of justice ever conceived. Thus, the type of mercy that many atheists seem to have in mind is really no different than that of a child’s; one who seeks to evade reproach every time he’s caught with his hands in the cookie jar. In other words, It is an irrational plea for moral agents to sanction immorality. But how can a moral agent complicit and still be considered moral? Is that not a contradiction?

But the atheist(s) reading this post may retort that I’ve strawmanned their understanding of mercy. But have I really? Because when examining their reactions to the Islamic version of Hellfire, it seems that I’m right on point. You see, in Islam, people don’t go to Hell for eternity because of one single finite criminal act, nor does God force them to remain in Hell arbitrarily. Rather, the punishment is eternal because the offense is eternally committed. This is stated in the Qur’an itself in numerous places, including the following:

If you could but see when they are made to stand before the Fire and will say, “Oh, would that we could be returned [to life on earth] and not deny the signs of our Lord and be among the believers.” But what they concealed before has [now] appeared to them. And even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars. (Al-Qur’an, 6:27-28)

Here, Allah states clearly that those who are being punished in Hell will never get a chance to leave, because He Knows they’re insincere in their remorse and desire to reform. They are far too arrogant to admit they were wrong in any meaningful way. It shouldn’t be surprising then that the Qur’an repeatedly emphasizes that Hell is for the “arrogant” (4:36-37, 4:137, 40:76, 7:36, 34:31-33, etc.).

Thus, because these people refuse to accept God’s Mercy, it cannot be argued that God lacks mercy. It would be fallacious to state otherwise.

That said, I expect a subsequent retort from atheists, such that it reveals yet again the vacuity of their objections. No doubt the following argument will be given: “Why doesn’t god just not create people he knows will go to hell? Or why not just make these people cease to exist?”

And the answer is simple: because both these options would be a contradiction to God’s attribute of Mercy. By denying people their free will to make the choice to rebel against God for all of eternity — whether by refusing to create them or having them cease to exists — God therefore destroys any potential for Him to give His Mercy eternally. Remember, mercy requires the potential for reciprocity. And if there are no people willing to violate the rules and be given mercy, then such mercy ultimately becomes meaningless. In other words, claims that God “lacks mercy” also become meaningless, because this objection rules out the eternal potential for mercy to be given. In summary, there can be no mercy without justice — and no justice without punishment.

But really, is this so hard to grasp? Or are atheists just projecting their own failure to comprehend what a Divine Being should be like? As far as I’m concerned, I don’t want to believe in atheists’ juvenile version of an “ideal god”.

I’d much rather prefer to believe in an All-Merciful God where the word ‘mercy’ actually means something.

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8 Comments on “The Fire of God’s Mercy

  1. Great article, you explained it in a clear way.

    • This is, to put it mildly, rather confused thinking. Your entire post rests on the assumption that atheists and nonbelievers are clearly and willingly denying the palpable signs of the truth of Islam. This is indeed not the case because we, living in the 21st century with languages quite removed from classical Arabic, have not been given any good signs or arguments to begin with. I could sincerely pray to God right now for anything like a vision or a dream to verify his existence and at least give me a reason to be obedient to his will, as laid out in the Quran and Sunnah, but this God has not revealed any thing to me. Instead, when I read the Quran and the earliest Islamic biographies of Muhammad, I find that both are awash with inaccurate information and statements that are only plausibly false. Nevertheless, what’s worse is the unjustified assertion that, even upon entering hellfire, nonbelievers would be denied the opportunity to reform themselves and be obedient to God will. Surely the more merciful and just approach would be to give the inhabitants of hell – those with the audacity to be agnostic about whether god exists or not – a limited time in hell with the opportunity to worship and follow God in another way. If eternal hellfire is all that awaits non-Muslims then God cannot be considered merciful or perfectly just for that matter. God would only reserve eternal hellfire for those who know of his existence but have given themselves to the darker spiritual forces of the world.

      • People who’ll end up in Hell are the ones who know that Islam is the truth but deny it. As for your claim that God didn’t reveal anything to you is false. The Quran has information nobody could know of back then, such as the mentioning of big bang, etc. only bad people will lie about these things, because they know that the Quran is true, and bad people hate the truth.

  2. The Qur’an is not a scientific book and did not predict anything. Even all of the most prominent Islamic apologists have abandoned this claim because it is false. The Qur’an makes no scientific claims but is full of many inaccuarcies and straight up falsehoods.

    • This article (nor any of my other articles) make any claim that the Qur’an is a “scientific book”.

      So I have no idea why you’re making such an irrelevant point.

      • I was trying to reply to Gamebotx1’s point but it seems that it went up as a general comment. I’m sure you agree however that the scientific argument is bogus.

    • The Quran is not a science book (i.e things explained in detail) but the big bang, etc. are referenced. Like I said, bad people hate the truth.

    • Also, the Quran challenges non Muslims to come up with something like it. Nobody succeeded, even one Surah with 3 verses.

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