Interesting idea. I don't think avz's point holds up, though; it places God in a subservient role to His created universe. Seems to me He within His power to create the conditions laid out in the op if He wants to.
At least the decreasing affliction idea is an attempt to solve the tension naturally imposed by the contradictory term "eternal punishment". Punishment by definition is corrective, so adding "eternal" to it is incoherent. The logical conundrum that it fails to address is that imposed by the idea that God will restore all creation to perfection as in the beginning (1Cor 15:28), a pretty orthodox idea. If there are people separated from Him then He can never bring all together into a final state of glorification...there's always going to be that dark, nasty place (hell) where imperfection yet exists. Only universalism is able to overcome these tensions.