A mouse showed up in my basement. I chased it but…

I got some traps, set them down. No luck. I was moving stuff out from under the sink and found a trap I didn’t know was there. It was set by a vermin man many months earlier. It was one of those black sticky ones. And there lay the poor wee thing, dead on it. A slow traumatic death. Maybe they can’t reason but they can suffer and I attribute to the little creature the panic and wondering that maybe it didn’t feel and it’ll be a while before I can like what I see in the mirror.
I don’t live where such creatures are a threat to me and I have no criticism for those who must deal with them as disease carriers. It’s the world we live in and we must deal with threats of this kind for many good reasons. Finish this off for me so I can move on without further discussion of it.
The sight of the mouse with its limbs outstretched, striving for freedom, and now the memory of it, haunts me. If you write and criticize me for having the trap I won’t complain. Currently I feel I deserve all I’d get. Later I’m sure I’ll calm down and reason my way to my “freedom”.
But the incident has led me to think about the doctrine of everlasting, conscious and ceaseless torment (a doctrine I cannot hold).
There are kind, generous and deeply religious people who fervently believe that God is going to everlastingly and ceaselessly torture human beings. These are not insensitive people; they hurt, and weep over people in far-off lands who go on hurting day after day without hope of change. They sometimes sob over people that live much nearer; people born in stinking tenement buildings, vermin infested, oppressed, unemployed and often unemployable. Many of these sincere believers are kind even to their enemies and they do them good. And yet they believe that God will everlastingly and ceaselessly torment humans and they believe it because others teach them that this is what God has said He will do; that the God and Father of Jesus Christ is the kind of God that would do such a thing and that Jesus is such a one in whose presence this endless torment will go on (Revelation 14:10-11 is used).
These sensitive and kind people see the brutal and impenitent torturers of fellow-humans and are horrified that anyone would do such things and then believe that God will ceaselessly inflict torture, unendingly, on His enemies.
This their teachers say He will do even to multiplied millions who’ve never heard and will never hear anything about God and His glorious Son, Jesus Christ. They will only come to know this loving Father and His loving Son on that day when He consigns and subjects them to endless and unceasing conscious torment. Sigh.
Don’t be afraid to doubt such teaching!
Is it not interesting how a little confused and hungry mouse, tormented on a sticky trap makes one think of God and life and the oppressed human family?

Write me if you wish:   email: holywoodjk@aol.com

This entry was posted in REFLECTIONS ON THIS AND THAT on by .

About Jim McGuiggan

Jim McGuiggan was Ethel's husband for fifty-three years. They have three children and eight grandchildren. Ethel went to be with Christ on Easter Sunday, 2009 at the close of a gallant life. He has written some books including: Celebrating the Wrath of God; Heading Home with God; Life on the Ash Heap; Jesus: Hero of Thy Soul; The God of the Towel, The Scarlet Letter; and The Dragon Slayer.

11 thoughts on “I TRAPPED A MOUSE

  1. Ken Lorren

    WOW!, Brother Jim, this has always bothered me and do we know the answer? Like the lady’s comment above, please continue this and to be honest I have always felt the scriptures teach eternal punishment and your thoughts provoke me to seek more knowledge on this subject. Thanks!!


  2. Jim McGuiggan Post author

    Suppose we punish a man by killing him. There’s no return for him. Its permanent.
    Suppose we strap him down and torture him ceaselessly without taking his life.


  3. Ken Lorren

    Yes, but if a person’s final destination is hell, it is a continuing punishment in fire forever since it is eternal. Are you saying based on your previous comments that once a person ends up in hell, that it is eternal and the punishing stops. Seems to me that is everlasting punishing.


    1. Aden Sharp

      I disagree with that statement. Punishment, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary is “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense”. “The infliction or imposition of a penalty” is punishment. And if God is inflicting or imposing His wrath (which He is) on the wicked in eternal conscious torment, that is, hell, it is to be said that God is punishing them. There is no nuance between the meaning of “punishment” and “punishing” from a lexical perspective. There is merely a shift in lexical form. Whereas “punishment” is a noun to describe the act of punishing, “punish” is the verb and “punishing” is the past participle of the verb. There is no change in meaning, and therefore, such an argument cannot be made merely from grammar.


      1. Jim McGuiggan Post author

        This is not helpful Aden.
        “Punishing” is NOT a past participle of the verb
        Nouns don’t describe, adjectives
        It is also used an an adjective independent of tense [see the OED you quote]. For example, “It is a punishing race or tax.”
        It also functions as a verb. “What’s he doing?–“He’s punishing a culprit.” Here it can function as both verb and adjective of explanation. He is DOING something [verb] but he is not mugging the culprit he is “punishing”.
        To dismiss lexical form changes as “merely” shifts is a very basic mistake. SIT, SAT, SITTING. These are not mere lexical shifts they speak to different scenarios and require interpretation. There are no “mere” lexical shifts. What you call “mere” shifts the entire setting.
        I punished
        I will punish
        I am punishing
        I punish
        He won’t spending all his time punishing people
        If GOD ceaselessly continues to punish it is perfectly legitimate to say He is “punishing”.
        If He carried it out in a single act of destruction [2 Thess 1:9; Matt 10:28] and that is the issue closed we would not say He is “punishing”. We would say He “punished” that one. The “mere” lexical shift you speak of changes entire settings. If we sat watching God continuously and ceaselessly torture humans for their sins we are perfectly justified in saying “He is punishing them.” It would be silly to say “He punished them” if we were sitting watching Him doing it. The difference is obvious. According to you He never stops punishing, He keeps on doing it. We don’t say, “He keeps on punished…” What makes it so bad is this: you say it is God and Jesus who everlastingly keep on doing it. And it’s done in heaven in the presence of the Savior of all “places” [if we take Revelation 14:10-11 literally].


  4. Daniel Moseley


    (I am not writing anything you don’t know better than me, but I appreciate your indulgence.)

    Can anyone question God’s love for man including his overwhelming desire to shower us with grace and mercy? If so, they must read a different gospel than me.

    There are two subjects in question here that, more than anything, have shown me the limits of my mortal mind. First is that of eternity. Limited as we are in this Creation, we understandably fall into the rut of imagining “existence without end” instead of “existence outside of time”. Pondering this has given me little flashes of how God can say “Before Abraham was, I AM” and makes prophecy more profound than just supernatural foresight. Beyond that, I am not sure I can comprehend exactly how this applies to our existence after this life. Does it appreciably change the justice of the “second death” if the guilty are not annihilated? Maybe, but I leave that alone lest I tread into the folly of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

    The second question involves the limitations of God. How can the omnipotent God who “desires all men to be saved” FAIL to achieve His goal? We easily recite that God is omnipotent on the one hand, but also that He cannot lie on the other. The breadth of God’s power is difficult to comprehend, but so are the LIMITS imposed by His righteous nature. Romans 3:21-26 is the treatise on how God made mercy possible through Christ and overcame the unrelenting demand of justice that is likewise inherent in His nature.

    I have no doubt that God will extend the maximum mercy possible to all of His beloved creation. But He has made clear that absent Christ He -MUST- condemn the guilty. Whatever justice demands, He must grant. Whether that price is “eternal punishment” or “eternal punishing”–well, I am assured that God will do the RIGHT (and RIGHTEOUS) thing. This I know–He will lavish mercy on all He can, including among those who died in ignorance of the gospel.

    We are blessed to have a Righteous and Merciful Judge who calls us as sons and not prisoners.




  5. Jim McGuiggan Post author

    Thank you Daniel! There are several proposals here that I don’t understand and I think I don’t understand them because I don’t understand the larger context out of which they’re rising and which shapes them.
    I wonder if there’s a “principle” or “law” in existence you call “justice” to which God must subject Himself? Is there a reality outside Himself that (as you put it) makes demands that God MUST grant? Is it the same thing if God sovereignly chooses “a way/means of salvation” and a claim like: “Whatever justice demands God MUST grant”?
    When we speak of God being “limited” what precisely do we mean? If God freely chooses to create one universe rather than two does that mean He is “limited”? If He freely chooses to create a form of “fullness of life” that cannot exist apart from Him as its source, does that mean He is limited?
    There are other questions you’ve triggered that I mustn’t go on about here. This site is “limited”. PLEASE email me and perhaps we can return to the matters here. God’s blessings on you and yours. holywoodjk@aol.com


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