Hmmm i know you guys are just sorta, philosphizing, which is enjoyable and engaging to witness. but when i give my serious attention to the question of "existence in eternal suffering" versus "non-existence" as you guys have posed them, and your reasons for your choices, if you had a choice b/w non-existence and existing in eternal suffering...hmm well maybe my mind cannot wrap itself around the situatuion fully, but is there such a thing as non-existence to consider as an option in the first place?
the fact that i asked "is" there such a thing as non-existence supplies the answer, since "is" implies being and as such cannot be used to decribe something that does not exist, that IS not. sure, in logical theory there are brothers and sisters of mine that my parents could have had but didnt...but are you implying that the SOULS of these non-existent people exist but God just hasn't decided at what point in time he will join those souls with corporeal bodies? i dont know if anyone can say that this is the case...how can we know how God creates, what his "method" is? (and if that IS what you are implying, then clearly exsistence as a soul is not actually non-existence)
hmm i think i lost my point somewhere....
i guess my point is, while amusing, i think it on some level futile to "consider" non-existence as an option. the only time non-existence, ahem, EXISTED was before God created the angels, us and the world, but EVEN THEN He
existed, and so it is viable to say that there is no such thing as non-existence.
i probably didnt get at what i intended. but just my feeble 2 cents.
as for Hell and whether it is a place or a state...i think the times in Scripture where a place is identified with Hell, it is the biblical writers using concepts and constructs that are comprehensible to those listening/reading - humans with only a human understanding of things eternal. even when God Himself uses language that seems to reveal Hell to be a place we will be sent, who is to say that God is not merely condescending in His love to use human concepts to instruct his creations, whom He loves so much to have created us? what does he care of what he hasnt created? what CAN he care of such things? He cant, because they dont exist, and He is the beginning and end of existence.
as for me...to not be loved enough to have been created into existence...that is just the most depressing idea fathomable, even though it isnt even fathomable.
i'll take my existence in whatever form, thank you very much.
besides, ever since i began existing, the fulfillment of my existence is to love Him, and even though we all fall sometimes in doing this, at the end of the day it isn't a bad deal if you ask me, and something we are all capable of.
so rather than negotiating and bargaining your way outta Hell by opting for non-existence instead, perhaps reflection on what the fulfillment of our very being is will direct your gaze upward in love, where it belongs, and in doing so you are guaranteed eternal happiness - we have been promised such, and if you doubt that promise, then that's a whole other discussion entirely.