raping the divine
In my local paper recently, I learned that a young man who used to be my neighbor, was charged with the crime of rape. The story is complicated, because his ex-girlfriend is the accuser. When the romance was reciprocal, their intercourse was acceptable, but once that reciprocity was broken, the same act was heinous and terrible. There are many directions to go with this. Keeping sexual intercourse within marriage is a good start, however, rape can happen within marriages as well. But my mind drew a line between this incident and something I read on a blog, which I can no longer find, equating promiscuity with worship. We are all made to worship God and the sensation of those experiences are similar in their aspect of transcendence. I've written about transcendence before and those other near miss attempts at transcendence (sex, drugs) that only true worship satisfies (see this post on other religions and the transcendent).
But can rape be transcendent for the rapist? I wouldn't know. But there must be something so desperate in the rapist's mind that reciprocity is not needed, or maybe it's projected, like the man who hires a prostitute and seeks to believe the lie his money affords. All that remains for the violator from that act of violence is a surge of hormones that bear a faint resemblance to transcendence and some bodily fluid. But there is also the victim, robbed of privacy, dignity, security, safety, and, in some countries, family and the presumption of innocence.
But I'm not trying to write again about transcendence. This is a post about hell. At this point in out culture, we still revile rapists. Seven years incarceration still does not seem long enough to pay for the crime, in my opinion as a father of two girls. No time served can restore what was taken from victims. Opinions on rapists seem to elicit rage from people. "The death penalty is too good for them..let them be castrated." Justice for rape is hard to find. I believe that forgiveness for rapists is possible, that Jesus can forgive even the rapist, if the rapists repents and asks. I believe God can and does heal rapists and victims, but apart from God, on our horizontal level, there is so little that can be done to right such grievous wrong.
Where does hell fit into this? I think a life lived apart from the true worship of God, through Jesus Christ alone, is a violation of God's general love for us as humans. God forgives those who repent and seek to live in a reciprocal relationship with Him, who worship Him in spirit and truth. But for those who refuse that proper relationship, who live a life of rape towards God, how can God's just response to that, eternity in hell, apart from Him, be called unjust? We are all guilty of participating in the violation and execution of Jesus. Yet he offers to all forgiveness for that. How gracious is our God.