resolutely refused to believe till they did see! Christ definitely states that final condemnation cannot be passed upon those who have not seen. Instead of grudging those who do see, let us eagerly believe in the greater blessing of those who have not seen and yet have believed!4
At this point let us remember that the salvation at the Great White Throne is not the salvation of the Sons of God who reign in Heaven. The Bride of Christ will already have been living and reigning with Christ in Heaven for a thousand years. This latter salvation is the salvation of "the nations of them that are saved" and live upon the New Earth, being ruled and shepherded by the Royal Family from the New Heaven.5 It is for this cause that the Book of Life is open at the Last Judgement, that the names of those who would have repented may be found written therein by the foreknowledge of Almighty God.6
Finally, what is the nature of, and reason for Eternal Punishment? The reason for Eternal Punishment is Eternal Sin, "whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3,29 R.V.). It is not the retribution for the comparatively few sins which even the wickedest man is able to commit in the few short years of human life. It is rather the retribution for the eternal determination to go on sinning, if possible, throughout eternity. Just as it is possible for a free will to come to eternal decision never to sin, so it is possible for it to come to an equally eternal decision not to repent: and this calls forth from the Judge of all the earth the equally eternal decision to prevent the sinner putting his desires into action. Over his will, man is sovereign: over his actions, God.
In Hades the sinner will suffer retribution due to his evil deeds. It would seem from his concern for his five brethren that this was already working in Dives' heart. But in the eternal punishment of Hell there is no thought of remedy, nor any difference of severity: it is in every case the same punishment for the same sin, eternal death for eternal rebellion. Since the Almighty cannot persuade the sinner to lay down his arms, it only remains to take those arms away: and this the Almighty will do by burning up his body in the Lake of Fire. Without a body one may desire, but one cannot do: one may long, but one cannot act. And thus the sinner will