How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

God’s wrath and anger flow from His love for all of us. Which of us cannot envision how we would feel toward someone who was utterly ruining the life of someone we loved deeply? Which of us would not be looking for justice if our home was burned to the ground and our loved ones raped and murdered.

I think that if God did not have a means of dealing with evil, we would be asking a different question, “Why would a loving God fail to bring justice to a violent and evil world?”

The human desire to see the perpetrators of violence pay for their crimes is a deep one. This is not a flaw in our humanity but comes from our maker. It is an outcrop of humanity’s belief in equality and fairness. God is the righter of all wrongs and will set the record straight one day. Without the understanding that God is a God of judgment, many would be sucked into a destructive cycle of violence and retribution.

“A Loving God would not allow Hell”

This idea demonstrates a fundamental mischaracterization of hell and how one gets there. The modern understanding is that God gives us time, but if we do not get it right by the time we die, our souls are cast into hell for eternity. Its as if God is saying, “You had your chance, now it’s too late.”

Yes, that would be inconsistent with a God of Love.

Many parents have lived the agony of watching a son or daughter go down the road of self-destruction. Whether it is drugs, alcohol, self-hate, or another harmful frame of mind that leads to bitterness, envy, paranoid delusions, anxiety and mental denials, and distortions. These parents do everything they can to intervene on behalf of the child they love so dearly without success until these hateful delusions eat away at life and vitality like cancer and then suicide ends it all.

God, unlike the bloodthirsty tyrant envisioned by those who cannot reconcile hell with a loving God, is more like those parents. He created us and loves us with all His being. He is in anguish at the sight of the evil that eats away at His creation and intervenes with all His power on our behalf. He is not willing that anyone should perish, but that we all would enjoy eternal life with Him.

Now consider that we are eternal beings and that after we die, we continue on the trajectory of our lives into eternity. I think it’s important to consider that eternity is not time without end but is the ceasing of time so that we stay in whatever state we are in when time ends.

Consider this passage from Revelation:

“The one being unrighteous, let him be unrighteous still; and he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11

Because we continue on the trajectory of our lives into eternity and because God must protect eternity from a cancerous destruction, sin must be judged. Once again, God is not willing to see anyone perish! This tells me that those who do, do so accompanied by the heartbrokenness of God.

Related topics:

There Must be a Final Day of Reckoning
The Problem of Evil