As humanity has developed, the view of God has been refined. One of the early refinements beyond the rudimentary reactions of desire and fear as the basis for worship, was the expression of God as a divine king or ruler, who made laws for humanity to live by, and who rewarded those who were faithful to those laws, and punished those who were not. A further refinement came about with the concept of such rewards or punishments coming after death in the form of an eternal repose in heaven or an eternal torment in hell.
Sri Aurobindo comments: “But even apart fro these extravagances of a childish religious belief, the idea of the almighty Judge, Legislator, King, is a crude and imperfect idea of the Divine, when taken by itself, because it takes an inferior and an external truth for the main truth and it tends to prevent a higher approach to a more intimate reality. It exaggerates the importance of the sense of sin and thereby prolongs and increases the soul’s fear and self-distrust and weakness. It attaches the pursuit of virtue and the shunning of sin to the idea of rewards and punishment, though given in an after life, and makes them dependent on the lower motives of fear and interest instead of the higher spirit which should govern the ethical being. It makes hell and heaven and not the Divine himself the object of the human soul in its religious living.”
The seeker of the Yoga of devotion overpasses this stage by focusing on “…the inner relations of the human soul with the Divine; but it is these which are the proper field of Yoga.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Three: The Yoga of Divine Love, Chapter 3, The Godward Emotions, pp. 538-539