It seems as though you are leading this discussion into a single direction of apokastasis.
Recently, at any rate, I haven't been talking about apokatastasis
at all (it's spelled "apokatastasis
," with a full "kata").
My main objection arose from the follwing quote "God is not looking for repayment." This is a Protestant tenet of grace taken far too liberally.
Meaning it's an overreaction to Anselmian soteriology? So, if that overreaction is invalid, what, then, is God trying to accomplish through eternal punishment?
Let's not turn this post into an argument solely pertaining to a spatial concept of hell.
But this is essential to the matter at hand. As we know, Christ has destroyed the gates of hell. Where, then, do the unrighteous go for their "particular" hell, and whence comes the "eternal hell" in which sinners are condemned by Christ the Ultimate Judge? (You see, these are all questions that are answered by St. Basil's and St. Isaac's conception of God's justice and hell. More on this later.)
The impression I get from the above statement is that it all lies in the eye of the beholder.
So, perception and experience aren't real? I understand that you think you are avoiding some kind of phenomenological corruption of Orthodox theology, but one doesn't have to accept some sort of relativistic or even Lucretian ontology in order to say what St. Basil does.
Hell is just a distorted perception.
JUST? So, if I find a certain person extremely annoying, that annoyance is JUST "annoyance" (not really annoying)? Think of hell as an allergy. God may give us peanuts, which are and always will be peanuts. When some people eat these peanuts, they break out in terrible rashes. When other people eat them, they say, "Yum. Good source of protein." Is the former group's sufferings JUST a distorted perception? Isn't their experience a painful reality?
Punishment or retribution is an ungodly trait. Entertainig such a thought is unthinkable.
Now this is a different matter. The Scriptures do indeed seem to ascribe anger, wrath and retribution to God. I certainly don't think entertaining such things is unthinkable. Perhaps some moderns want to espouse St. Basil's ideas because they think it allows them to ignore these aspects of God's apparent personality. Nonetheless, we shouldn't confuse intent with argument.
We have to start with a definition. Either the eternal hell is a place or it isn't. If it's a place, then we have little trouble. Christ makes a lake of fire after the Final Judgment, hurls the condemned into it, and that's that. If it ISN'T a place, however, then other questions and possible conclusions arise.
In other words, one could say "God is not looking for repayment" because they simply cannot stomach the idea of God's wrath, OR they could say "God is not looking for repayment" because they have adopted St. Basil's definition and drawn some reasonable conclusion based on it. Dig? Either way, intent is really irrelevant. The question is: Which definition is correct?