“But you must allow that God hates and punishes sin — and that is a terrible thing.”
“It would be ten times more terrible if he did not hate and punish it. Do you think Jesus came to deliver us from the punishment of our sins? He should not have moved a step for that. The terrible thing is to be sinful, and all punishment is to help deliver us from it, nor will it cease until we have given up being sinful. God will have us good; and Jesus works out the will of his Father.”
I myself do not believe that mere punishment exists anywhere in the economy of the highest. I think mere punishment is a human idea, not a divine one. But the consuming fire is more terrible to the evildoer than any idea of punishment invented by the most riotous of human imaginations. Punishment it is, though not mere punishment, which is a thing not of creation but of destruction: it is a power of God and for his creature. As love is God’s being and a creative energy in one, so the pains of God are to the recreating of the things his love has made, and sin has unmade.
— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 148