Theodicy, Regress, and the Problem of Eternal Separation
The problem of eternal separation is the problem of explaining how someone could be happy in heaven while knowing that his beloved is in hell. Some argue that this problem is insoluble, while others try to solve it through the lover, the beloved, or the love between them. I argue that the problem of eternal separation is really three problems, namely, of suffering, separation, and regret. I show that no existing reply solves these problems simultaneously. I then present a new approach through theodicy. I argue that, if we reflect on what it would take to defeat the suffering from losing one’s beloved to hell, a regress emerges, and an adequate solution to the problem of eternal separation is a solution to this regress. I articulate five replies to the regress and evaluate their prospects. The upshot is a roadmap to defending the traditional Christian view of heaven and hell.