A staple objection to everlasting punishment is the claim that the everlasting punishment is disproportionate to the crime. How can a “finite” deed merit an “infinite” punishment?
I think the “finite/infinite” terminology is equivocal. However, since that’s how the objection is framed, I’m going to play along with the ambiguities for the sake of argument.
I’m now going to propose a few counterexamples. These don’t need to be realistic hypotheticals. Any exception is sufficient to overturn the intuitive principle which underlies the objection viz. a finite deed never merits an infinite punishment.
Thought experiment #1
Suppose (ex hypothesi) that human beings are naturally immortal. Suppose they can only lose their life if they are murdered or they die in an accident. Suppose (ex hypothesi) that there is no afterlife. If they die they pass into oblivion.
Suppose a murderer kills a human being. That finite deed deprives the victim of an infinite good (immortality).
Thought experiment #2
Suppose Cal and Christie were made for each other. A matching pair. She is everything he is not. She is everything he wants in a woman, while he is everything she wants in a man. They will never tire of each other. They will be together forever.
But Bill is envious of Cal. He seduces Christie. Cal and Christie break up. That finite deed deprives them of an infinite good.
Thought experiment #3
Suppose Jim and Bryan are brothers. Jim is Christian, but Bryan is not. Not now. But he might become a Christian. Jim wants his brother to be a part of his life forever. Jim does whatever he can to influence Bryan for Christ.
Jake is a bitter atheist. Jake does whatever he can to turn Bryan against his brother. To turn Bryan against the Christian faith. Jake succeeds. Bryan dies an atheist. Jim loses his brother forever. That finite deed deprives Jim (as well as Bryan) of an infinite good.
In each case, there is infinite loss. The perpetrator maliciously causes someone to suffer an infinite loss. Hence, the perpetrator merits an infinite loss in return. That’s proportional punishment. And that’s despite the fact that his misdeed was finite.