“Let me go back to a point you made at the outset,” I said to Moreland. “You said God is grieved by the necessity of hell.”
“Yes, that's right.”
“Then why can't he simply force everyone to go to heaven? That would seem to be a simple solution.”
“Because that,” replied Moreland, “would be immoral.”
“Immoral?” I said in surprise. “More immoral than hell?”
“Yes, immoral. Follow me on this: there's a difference between intrinsic value and instrumental value. Something has intrinsic value if its good in and of itself; something has instrumental value if its valuable as a means to an end. For example, saving lives is intrinsically good. Driving on the right side of the street is an instrumental value; its just good because it helps keep order. If society decided that everyone should drive on the left side, that would be okay. The goal is to preserve order and save lives.”
“Now, when you treat people as instrumentally valuable, or only as a means to an end, you're dehumanizing them, and that's wrong. You're treating people as things when you treat them merely as a means to an end. You only respect people when you treat them as having intrinsic value.” (Lee Strobel, The Case For Faith, p 253)
This is the essence of Calvinism. The reprobate were created to serve as vessels of wrath. Vessels. Instruments. For Display. We are instrumentally valuable only.
Calvinism is based on the idea that God does not treat man as intrinsically valuable. That’s precisely why He has no compunction about sending them to hell. They were created as a means to an end--the end being that their everlasting suffering might bring God greater glory. They are valuable only as instruments of wrath, not as human beings, per se. The fact that they were made in God’s image means nothing. The fact that in God they live and move and have their being (Acts17:28)--a fact not often mentioned by Calvinists--means nothing. The fact that God once declared them “very good” (Gen 1:21) means nothing. The fact that God is, in some sense at least, their Father (Mal 2:10), means nothing.
None of those things afford them any dignity or invest them with any unalienable rights; they are merely inconvenient facts that are best ignored. Their only reason for existing is to bear an infinite weight of misery in order to add to an ounce to God’s already infinite glory. That’s right; it is for this very reason--to add one mite to His own already infinite glory--that God forced these people into existence and made that existence a never-ending curse to them. Is it even possible to imagine treating a person as less intrinsically valuable than to declare, by your actions, that his infinite suffering means nothing if it can provide you with just an ounce more glory than you already possessed? Imagine a billionaire with such low regard for the intrinsic value of a peasant that he steals his entire life’s savings to buy himself one more ivory back scratcher. That’s how much intrinsic value the Calvinist believes man has in God‘s eyes.
So, how can this be? How can defenders of eternal torment justify God not merely by way of explanations that are different, but that are as diametrically opposed as the East is to the West? According to the one group, God respects man so much that He must torture him forever in hell. According to the other group, God respects man so little that He elects to torture him forever in hell. Might this fantastic divergence of opinion suggest that there simply is no logical reason for God to torture us forever in hell?